JLF Piedmont Triad BlogRSS

Re: Gay couple’s complaint against Green Street Methodist Church

Winston-Salem Journal’s write-up made the point, but it needs to be emphasized: Green Street United Methodist Church pastor Rev. Kelly Carpenter believes gay couples should be married in the Methodist church.

That belief was put into action when in 2013 the Green Street “announced that it would not conduct marriages for heterosexual couples until the denomination allows pastors to conduct same-sex marriages.”

And what does Rev. Carpenter’s support get him? A gay going going over his head to his boss and filing a complaint. Question is how far behind is legal action?

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Gboro mayor speaks out on civil rights museum

N&R reports Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan “broke ranks” with International Civil Rights Center & Museum board members and spoke out regarding the termination of executive director Lacy Ward.

Unfortunately the mayor didn’t say much:

“I thought we were moving ahead,” said Vaughan, who said she voted to keep Ward. “But obviously a majority of the board thought we weren’t.”

…Vaughan said Ward’s firing may erode public support and hamper efforts to raise money for the struggling museum. “I certainly don’t think we will offer any more assistance other than what we’ve already promised,” she said, referring to the city.

Meanwhile board chair Deena Hayes-Greene said Ward’s dismissal was the result of a “serious problem” that the board “had to act on.”

Whatever serious problem is was, it didn’t prevent Ward from wining and dining the Greensboro Rotary Club last week and sharing his vision for the museum with N&R publisher Grits Gauger, who was impressed and thus was caught by surprise when Ward was canned.


Dudley’s championship run in jeopardy?

Greensboro Dudley High School is anxiously waiting on word from the NCHSAA following appeal of the Panthers’ suspension from the state football playoffs for using an ineligible JV player in the final regular season game.

The Panthers are the top seed in western bracket of the state 4A playoffs and were poised to make a run at a second straight championship.

N&R columnist Ed Hardin says Dudley’s season shouldn’t ruined on a technicality, but by the same token, coaches need to know the rules. I wouldn’t say precendence is on Dudley’s side; the NCHSAA came down on Northern Guilford for using an ineligible JV player last season, ending the Nighthawks 34-game win streak.

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Not the way to get your downtown business going

I’ve got a buddy who does accounting work for the new Gibbs Hundred Brewing Company in downtown Greensboro. Back in September we ran the Retro 5k that started and ended at Gibbs Hundred, and afterward we drank a few beers and checked it out. Great place, and I was anxious for the official opening.

Turns out last night Gibbs Hundred had a packed house, only the crowd wasn’t there to drink craft brews on tap —they were there to discuss to discuss the two violent incidents over the weekend at South Elm and Lewis streets, one of which was shootout (involving a police officer) in which a man was killed.

This is problematic for Greensboro officials —Mayor Nancy Vaughan and City Council member Zack Matheny expressed their concern —-because Lewis Street is finally starting to develop, luring people to the far end of South Elm Street. Props to Gibbs Brewing for getting involved, but I know they’d rather have a packed house on a Monday evening for another reason –namely drinking good beer.

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Gboro civil rights museum fires exec director

Well that was short—Lacy Ward Jr. is out as executive director of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

Ward was hired in April to —as WGHP paraphrases Martin Luther King Jr.—-“rehabilitate the finances — and reputation — of a monument that reflects a moment.”

Guess he wasn’t pulling that off, although board members —notably Deena Hayes-Greene (also a member of the Guilford County school board) are remaining tight-lipped regarding the exact reason for Ward’s dismissal.

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New HP council–now what?

How will turnover in High Point’s City Council election affect efforts to revitalize downtown? Hard to say, especially since a new city manager will be in the mix:

The top at-large vote-getter in the council race, Cynthia Davis, is not a proponent of the type of city-initiated revitalization efforts for which the City Project and others have long lobbied.

…(Mayor) Jim Davis said candidates for the city manager’s job have shared interesting insights about revitalization efforts they’ve been involved with.

“Their experience has been that revitalization is a very expensive thing to do,” he said. “It costs millions of dollars, normally. So, the question becomes, does council have the appetite to spend that kind of money? Because, if that’s what they want, it will require a tax increase. I certainly don’t have an appetite for that.”

The election of Guilford County Commissioner Bill Bencini as mayor certainly indicates a desire for council with a more conservative makeup. That said, it will be interesting to see their for revitalization— desperately needed in HP —- without government initiated efforts such as a road diet for Main Street.

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WFMY: journalism for sale

While we were all focusing on the hotly contested and election, the Greensboro City Council (unfortunately) went about its business:

The council voted to give WFMY News 2 $35,000 for its advertising campaign in support of aviation jobs. In response to a question, it was revealed that WFMY had not asked Guilford County for any money, but Forsyth County was putting in some. WFMY has been promised $5,000 by Winston-Salem and $10,000 from High Point. But it seems the Greensboro City Council looks like an easier touch than the other two and got hit up for more than twice as much as those two put together.

WFMY did reveal that their news stories are for sale, since they promised a number of news stories would result from this advertising campaign. So the News & Record is not the only one in town presenting paid advertising as news stories.

I guess WFMY didn’t ask Guilford County commissioners for money because they knew what the answer would be.

As for the sales tax hike that went down hard in Guilford (though not as hard as in Rockingham County looks like commissioners are off the hook. Not just because it failed, but because it didn’t tip the election to Hagan, as the Rhino’s John Hammer speculated it might (which in turn drew a snippy response from N&R editor Jeff “Grits” Gauger).

By the same token, Hagan did crush Thom Tillis in Guilford County, which would lead me to conclude that many of the same women who for Hagan also voted against the sales tax hike.

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Election 2014: The Big Picture

The N&R’s Doug Clark is quick to point out that Thom Tillis’ 48.87 of the vote is the lowest in state history, undercutting John East’s 1980 victory over incumbent Sen. Robert Morgan.

A commenter adds “conservatives who think Tillis shows a mandate for GOP policies in North Carolina are kidding themselves.”

And yes, as Clark points out, Tillis’s victory margin was minus the state’s urban counties–the only major city he won was Wilmington and that by a razor-thin 60 votes.

But take a look at the big picture. JLF president John Hood draws it:

Not only did Hagan lose, but most of the candidates they put up in competitive legislative races fell short. Republicans actually expanded their majority in the North Carolina Senate and lost a net of just three seats in the North Carolina House. Conservatives also defeated sales-tax increases on the ballot in several counties, including populous Mecklenburg and Guilford. Only the Democrats’ takeover of the county commission in Wake County, the second-most-populous in the state, brightened what was an otherwise dismal disappointment for a party that, until just six years ago, seemed firmly ensconced as North Carolina’s governing majority.

The other exception of course is the approval of five bonds in Winston-Salem. But note Republicans in Forsyth County held onto the school board, with “cuts” to education being a big issue in the Senate race.

It will be an interesting two years, both at the national and state level.

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W-S approves bonds

Winston-Salem voters approve five bonds on yesterday’s ballot:

Street and other transportation improvements totaling $42.35 million in what was the largest of the five issues before voters. Of that money, about $15 million is earmarked for repaving streets and another $10 million for sidewalk construction and repair. Meadowlark Road would be widened at a cost of $5.6 million. Other improvements will affect Old Salem, school safety, greenways and bike paths.

A $31 million bond issue for public safety that would pay for three new district police stations, refurbishing the central public safety building and renovating fire stations.

Park and recreation bonds totaling $30.85 million that would make a number of improvements at many existing parks, and pay for the development of new ones, including a start on the renovation of an old Vulcan Materials quarry.

Economic development bonds totaling $25 million that would go to pay for such items as streets, water lines and other improvements in business parks in order to lure jobs. The money would not pay for any financial incentives paid to companies to move to Winston-Salem.

The $10 million bond issue for housing improvements — the smallest of the bond issues — that would go to fix up housing in low income neighborhoods.

Strong majorities voting in favor; I guess W-S residents know what’s best for them.

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Guilford, Rockingham reject sales tax hikes

Voters in Guilford and Rockingham counties overwhelmingly rejected quarter-cent sales tax hikes on yesterday’s ballot.

Eight out of 10 counties rejected sales tax hikes yesterday, with only Anson and Ashe counties voting in favor.

Guilford County Schools Superintendent Mo Green says that while he is “confident that our students, our employees, our district will continue to strive for excellence, despite these challenges,” he can’t rule out additional budget cuts.

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