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Tree hugger’s wrath

N&R reports on an incident right up the street from me:

Attention, tree lovers of Greensboro:

The red ribbons recently placed on trees in Green Hill Cemetery are part of a plant inventory.

They do not, repeat, DO NOT indicate plans for tree removal.

Apparently, someone made that assumption this past weekend and removed some 300 ribbons from trees and shrubs placed there by a professional botanist who is donating his time to inventory the plants in this 52-acre cemetery.

“You would think that if somebody had a question, they would call and ask,” city cemetery supervisor Mike Moye said. “I’m not sure what they hoped to accomplish.”

Trust me, way too many persons of interest here in tony Fisher Park to speculate on who done it.

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N&R politicizes murder-suicide

The N&R’s Doug Clark takes a cheap political shot in the wake of yesterday’s tragic double murder suicide:

Our legislature is so tightly controlled by the gun lobby that it granted a demand to make gun permits — formerly public records — confidential.

So a woman, possibly threatened with death by her husband or boyfriend, is not entitled to know if he has a permit to purchase a handgun.

It’s apparently none of her business.

So, did Menice Montell Smith have a permit to purchase the handgun he carried with him on his rampage yesterday?

Thanks to our gun-lobby-owned legislature, you don’t have a right to know.

In the words of Hillary Clinton following Benghazi —-what does ti matter now? I’m not going to embark on the typical permits for crowbars argument, despite the fact that police were first alerted that Smith was on his insane rampage by the victim who had the hell beat out by a crowbar. One of Smith’s murder victims “was beaten so badly police police could determine a cause of death” –so is it unreasonable to assume she was beaten to death with the same crowbar?

Yes Smith shot his second murder victim and eventually shot himself following a police chase. But this guy was a loaded weapon, period. Yesterday’s N&R cover story reported Smith “had a history of complicated relationships with women. In fact, the former girlfriend held by police for her own protection had taken out a restraining order against Smith:

But at a later hearing, Judge Susan Bray refused to extend it because “the plaintiff had failed to prove grounds,” court records show.

According to court records, Brown said Smith had threatened her in the presence of law enforcement officers. But Smith wasn’t arrested.

Bray said Tuesday she can’t recall the details of the case.

“Typically officers would arrest someone if a threat was made in their presence,” Bray said.

“And so I must not have believed that he threatened her in the presence of officers, or otherwise he would have been arrested. I’m assuming that’s why I did not issue the order.”

So I hope Clark is as outraged at Judge Bray for not extending the restraining order, as if Smith were prone to obey restraining order— probably about as prone as he would be to dutifully get a permit for his gun.

Smith was set on a tragic and violent course, and heaven help the women in his path. It defies explanation and, certainly, politics. I would say we should expect more from out local paper of record than to politicize such a tragic event. But we’ve just come to expect less for so long now.

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Pricey Harrison on MSNBC*

At about the four-minute mark, discussing the Dan River coal ash spill with Chris Hayes:

*Because unlike all the people who tell me what a mean nasty blowhard Bill O’Reilly while admitting they never watch him, I actually spend some time with the lefties over at MSNBC.

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W-S council hops on streetcar line

At last night’s meeting the Winston-Salem City Council endorsed plans for a streetcar line running between Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Fifth Street. Council member Robert Clark was the lone ‘no’ vote:

Pointing out that the city’s consultants, HDR Inc., is involved in building streetcar systems as well as doing consulting, Clark said that someone would expect a life insurance salesman to recommend getting more life insurance.

“It is awfully difficult to predict these things,” Clark said, citing examples of North Carolina cities that have seen shortfalls in attendance at museums. Closer to home, Clark said the downtown trolley – a type of bus – is heavily subsidized and doesn’t have enough riders.

Clark said Winston-Salem may simply not have the urban density to support at streetcar.

Supporters Dan Besse and Derwin Montgomery pitched the old tail wagging the dog theory, aka ‘transit-oriented development:

Besse made the argument that developers will build next to fixed rails because they know the streetcar isn’t going away, but won’t develop near a bus route that can disappear at any time.

Montgomery said it is better to act now instead of waiting for people to say later on that the city didn’t take the steps it needed to take.

“Someone had to see the vision to see these things happen,” Montgomery said.

Bottom line is “transportation policy is too important for much-needed resources to be expended in a manner that has nothing to do with a community’s actual transportation needs.” Take a look at down I-40, where GTA is looking at a $2m budget shortfall.

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Civil rights museum can’t keep the lights on

Not a lot of buzz about this bit of info from Inside Scoop on where the International Civil Rights Museum has spent city money:

The group has spent just shy of $580,000 on of the city’s $750,000.

A big chunk –some $281,000 — went to bank loans.

Another large portion — nearly $135,000 — paid utility bills. Of that, about $60,0000 went to pay overdue Duke Energy and Piedmont National Gas bills within days of the museum getting the city’s cash.

Yet more evidence of the museum’s dire financial straits.

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N&R electric car catfight

Ouch —N&R Shortstack calls out the two Greensboro City Council who voted against the downtown electric car charging station:

Despite the obvious lack of any downside, City Council members Zack Matheny and Tony Wilkins voted no last week to the installation of a recharging station for electric cars in downtown Greensboro. Fortunately, their seven colleagues voted yes.

That’s because the station adds a forward-looking convenience and public service that may attract more visitors to downtown. Also, the electric car market is expected to expand significantly in coming year, according to city transportation officials.

And the station won’t cost the city one red cent.

Asheville-based Brightfield Transportation Solutions will install the station in the South Elm Street public parking lot. Brightfield will pay the city $1 a year to use the space for 10 years. After that, the city has an option to buy the station.

This was a smart investment in a no-lose proposition.

How dare they vote against electric cars. And I’m not seeing the ‘it won’t cost the city one red cent’ logic when in the next paragraph the N&R says the city has an option to buy the station in 10 years.

*Editorial’s scolding tone reminds me of my favorite bit from The Soup:

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Chinqua Penn tour

Not pretty.

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Dealing with Deena Hayes-Greene Part II

A couple of things jump out at me when reading International Civil Rights Museum board chair Deena Hayes-Greene’s further response to Greensboro City Manager Jim Westmoreland’s follow-up questions.

First is the way the letter jumps back and forth between arrogance and groveling. The other is how poorly written the letter is, given Hayes-Greene is also a member of the Guilford County Board of Education.

Update: The N&R’s Doug Clark calls Hayes-Greene’s latest response ‘disappointing.’

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New life for Golden Gate?

Biz Journal reports a retail developer has purchased Golden Gate shopping center and “is planning a renovation that could cost up to $4 million when complete in the next three months.”

Harris Teeter left a big hole in Golden Gate when it pulled out a couple of years ago, and a noncompete agreement with the Food Lion dictates that another grocery store will not go in that space. Word has it that plans call for “a unique adventure park,” but developer Mark Gold declined to comment.

Worth noting —I read the article twice and never saw the word ‘incentive.’ Let’s hope we don’t.

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Yippee! Downtown Gboro car charging station

At last night’s meeting the Greensboro City Council “agreed to work with” Asheville-based Brightfield Transportation Solutions on an electric car charging station at the South Elm Street public parking lot.

Good news is it will be at no cost to the city. Even better —yippee !—-the city will even make money:

Brightfield will pay Greensboro $1 a year for space in the parking lot. The proposed agreement would be good for 10 years, after which the city may buy the equipment.

That lot gets a little cramped, especially when Ham’s is hopping; trying to figure out how it will handle all the electric cars lining up for a charge.

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