JLF Piedmont Triad BlogRSS

Re: WFU selling alcohol at football games

The N&R’s Ed Hardin weighs in on news that Wake Forest University will sell alcohol at football games this season.

Reading Hardin’s column, I can’t tell if he is mocking WFU’s Baptist heritage or if he is truly offended.

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Gboro: Close to somewhere you’d like to be

The Rhino’s John Hammer on the state of economic development in Greensboro:

Scott Yost’s slogan is, “Greensboro: Close to Somewhere You’d Like to Be.” I doubt if that one will catch on, but it’s what everybody says about Greensboro. “It’s close to the mountains. Close to the beach.” What they could add is, “If you like top quality college basketball it’s close to Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham and Winston-Salem. If you like professional football or basketball it’s close enough to drive down to Charlotte for a game but you don’t have to live with that Charlotte traffic every day.” Maybe that’s not a bad slogan, kind of understated, although a bit long.

But if the groups in Greensboro that promote the city can’t get together on a simple thing like a slogan, how can they hope to do something like attract an automobile manufacturing facility or Boeing?

Hammer puts Greenville, S.C. and Austin as cities Gboro needs to look at to see what they’re doing differently. I’ll say this much — high powered developer Marty Kotis –whose whose recently opened Marshall Free House got a solid review from the N&R —-cites Greenville’s greenway –with its bars and restaurants —- for its success downtown. Greensboro is certainly following that model as it promotes its fledgling downtown greenway.

Hammer says “more convinced than ever that a quick fix over at the Partnership offices will not be enough to solve the problems.” The City Council is wise —-maybe the days of –as Hammer puts it — meetings and consultants and parties and “reinventing the wheel” and are winding down.

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‘Pulls at your heartstrings’


So says a police officer following the arrest of Reidsville High School booster Stacy Setliff for alleged sexual encounters with two football players:

Investigators said the alleged incidents occurred off campus between February and August.

According to police Lt. Nancy Bennett, the sexual activity happened in a “office-type building” and a residence. She wouldn’t confirm the exact locations.

Bennett said she and several officers devoted full attention to the case ever since police received the tip last week that Setliff was having sex with a student at the school.

Reidsville High administrators received a similar tip, according to police.

“It pulls at your heart strings,” Bennett said.

Not exactly my thought, especially after seeing the mugshot.

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Farewell War Memorial Auditorium

The O’Jays play Gboro’s 55-year-old venue tonite and then it becomes a parking lot.

Literally— premium parking revenue for the next-door Greensboro Coliseum will help offset deficits for the downtown Tanger Center for the Performing Arts:

The center will need the help. According to a study by AMS Planning & Research for the Arts and Entertainment Industries, the center will operate at a deficit of $174,000 its first year, $188,000 its second, $88,000 its third and $43,000 in its fourth. It should turn a $57,000 profit its fifth year, according to the study.

When city officials admit up front a venue will run deficits, don’t be surprised when those deficits are worse than initially projected.

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Megasites on the agenda?

N&R speculates Gov. Pat McCrory will call a special session of the General Assembly in the coming weeks to debate economic incentives for proposed “megasites” to lure automobile manufacturers:

McCrory said Tuesday at an event in Pembroke that he will consider this week calling the legislature back to Raleigh to discuss economic development issues, but he did not give a timetable, WECT-TV in Wilmington reported.

Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat, said Tuesday that she talked recently with a local proponent of megasite incentives who said the item would definitely be on the General Assembly’s plate.

“This was the first I heard last week that there would be something specific for the megasite,” Harrison said.

The speculation is centered around a consultant’s report stating that N.C. needs to get the ball rolling on legislative support for a megasite if the state wants to attract an auto manufacturer. As you probably well know, proposed megasites in the works are in Chatham and Randolph counties, respectively.

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Gboro council closes Lindsay Street

Last night the Greensboro City Council voted to close a portion of Lindsay Street to accommodate high-powered developer Roy Carroll’s $50 million hotel, retail and residential development. The vote was 8-1, with council member Jamal Fox casting the lone ‘no’ vote.

When watching the meeting I was surprised there was not more opposition. Speakers opposing the move included owners of Zito wine shop and the Smith Street Diner —notably absent was the owner of the trendy Undercurrent restaurant. Also speaking out in opposition was former City Council member Florence Gatten, who said “this is a public street being closed for a private use.”

Gatten’s right, and Carroll does have a helluva nerve making this request, especially when he warned the council there was no ‘Plan B’ if they didn’t vote in favor. But he’s Roy Carroll, after all. Now —looking at the other side of the coin here —will the public truly be inconvenienced by having the portion of Lindsay Street right across from New Bridge Bank Park cut off? I’ll only speak for myself —as a tony fisher Park resident, I travel those streets often and I occasionally take Lindsay off Eugene Street to get to the new SECU on Murrow Boulevard or to get to my mechanic on Elm Street. But are there other routes I can take? Sure.

So here’s hoping Carroll’s development is everything he and his supporters say it will be.

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GPD chief: N&R just plain wrong on cop cameras

Check out below the N&R’s interview with outgoing Greensboro Police Chief Ken Miller in wake of the controversy over body cameras on cops in wake of the police shooting of 47-year-old Chieu-di Thi Vo.

Miller, who’s shaking Gboro’s dust off his boots come Sunday, deflects the reporter’s semi-probing question pretty well, taking a nice parting shot at the local paper of record by saying they’re “plain wrong” in demanding Miller release footage from the officer’s body camera the during the Vo shooting.

Meanwhile the city will host “a panel of legal representatives and what it described as ‘thought leaders’ in a discussion on the topic of police body worn cameras and public records.” If you think that’s going to get anything done, think again. The Rhino’s John Hammer is right when he hopes “someone will take this to court and let the courts decide whether a video taken by a police officer is a part of that police officer’s personnel file.”

Which is what’s happening out in St. Louis, where a citizen journalist is filing a lawsuit seeking the release of Michael Brown’s juvenile records.

It’s not quite that simple— St Louis County court officials denied the request, arguing that state law requires juvenile records to be sealed for the protection of the juvenile in order “to facilitate their best interests as they proceed through life.”

But –plaintiff argues —what if the juvenile is no longer proceeding through life—deceased — as is the case with Michael Brown?

All interesting questions for the court to ponder. I would think if the N&R really, really wants to see the video, they would break out the check book and lawyer up. But things are pretty over on East market Street these days.

Update: Removed the video —watch via the N&R link above, if you have the patience to get through the ads and the other news items.

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Medicare deadline looming

WFDD reports the Forsyth County Department of Social Services is scrambling to clear its backlog of Medicaid applications by the end of this month, which –looking at my calendar — is this Sunday. With more than 1500 applications yet to clear, county officials say —imagine this — it’s likely they will not meet the deadline.

Guilford County’s backlog is around 700 cases, and DSS officials there “believe the county will be able to meet the state’s August 31st deadline.”

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Womble crash suit settled

Winston-Salem Journal reports the ongoing legal dispute between former state Rep. Larry Womble and the downtown restaurant Sixth and Vine has been resolved. The suit was filed following a 2011 head-on crash in which Womble was seriously injured and Winston-Salem resident David Carmichael was killed:

Womble was initially charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in the Dec. 2, 2011, accident, with police alleging that Womble crossed the center line on Reynolds Park Road and crashed into the car driven by Carmichael, 54. But Steven M. Arbogast, a state prosecutor with the

N.C. Attorney General’s Office, voluntarily dismissed the charge after further investigation, including an accident reconstruction, indicated that it was Carmichael’s car that crossed the center line.

Womble alleged in the lawsuit that Carmichael had consumed a large amount of alcohol at Sixth & Vine on the night of the accident and left the restaurant “in an extremely intoxicated condition.” Just after 11 p.m., Carmichael got in his car and started driving home. While in the eastbound lane in the 2600 block of Reynolds Park Road, Carmichael crossed the center line and collided head-on with Womble’s car in the westbound lane.

According to the lawsuit, toxicology reports showed that Carmichael had a blood-alcohol level of 0.29 percent, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The lawsuit said that Carmichael had three separate receipts from Sixth & Vine in his pockets, all dated Dec. 2, 2011, with the last receipt issued to Carmichael about 20 minutes before the accident.

Sixth and Vine maintained that Carmichael did not purchase alcohol while he was there and that the receipts found in his pocket prove that. But the terms of the voluntary dismissal with prejudice are confidential, according to Womble’s attorneys, so we may never know the real story.

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Paging Thom Tillis

While a lot of eyes are on Sen. Kay Hagan’s embrace of President Obama in Charlotte –right after she slammed the president on the VA—- opponent Thom Tillis is hopefully boning up on the latest JLF report praising the North Carolina’s ’14-’15 budget, in which Tillis played a major role as house speaker:

Most reports about the new budget have focused on an average teacher salary increase of 7 percent, “one of the largest pay raises for North Carolina teachers in a generation,” according to the report. The budget sets aside $282 million for teacher raises.

The budget not only increased Medicaid spending but created a $186 contingency fund for (expected) Medicaid shortfalls. Yet all anyone will hear was how North Carolina chose not to expand Medicaid.

It’s going to get real interesting after Labor Day, but in the midst of all the craziness I hope Tillis chooses to run on his record, not run from it.

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