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W-S council approves BB&T Ballpark development

By a 7-1 vote, the Winston-Salem City Council approved financial aid for a proposed $53 million mixed-use development near BB&T Ballpark:

The $53 million investment by Brand would create a project bringing in about $300,000 in annual tax revenue to the city, although that money and more will be needed to make the payments on a parking deck the city would build to bring in the Brand investment.

The city contribution in the form of a 510-space parking deck would be built by Brand and sold to the city for $8.3 million. The city would finance the purchase at a 4 percent interest rate over 20 years, with the city making about $610,000 in annual payments over that period.

Because the annual payments are more than the annual tax revenue from the project, parking deck revenue plus a contribution from Forsyth County would be needed to make the project work.

That pretty much says it all—question now is what happens if county commissioners vote not to support the project? For what it’s worth, two council members —D.D. Adams and Jeff McIntosh “pointed to the city’s big investments downtown and suggested that it may be time for the city to stop priming the pump and let developers pay full cost.”

Adams said the “pump is running dry,” but it seems to me it never runs dry at any level of government.

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Skins cut Gboro’s Amerson

Update: Raiders claim Amerson off waivers.

In a setback for what was supposed to be a promising NFL career, the Washington Redskins have waived former N.C. State and Greensboro Dudley standout David Amerson:

For his career (33 games), Amerson recorded 111 tackles, 18 pass deflections and two interceptions (one returned for a 45-yard touchdown). On Monday, he became the highest drafted player from 2013 to have been cut by his original team.

Asked what he wanted to have seen more of from Amerson, Gruden said, “I think he needs to work on consistency. He does show flashes of being an excellent corner. He’s got the size and he’s got all the measurables for a defensive back. But for whatever reason, they don’t always show on a consistent basis when he’s out there. But we feel good about the cornerback depth that we have and we had to use that roster spot.”

Amerson is still young, and hopefully he will get a shot with another team.

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Where’s the hate?

I read with an open mind yesterday’s N&R article on Saturday’s downtown Greensboro Peace Festival.

Mind you the print edition headline shouted from the rooftops that the festival was a response to an incident of hate:


A hate letter galvanized Greensboro into hosting the first peace festival downtown

Ok, bad stuff I think to myself as I start reading:

The letter that sparked the responses arrived at the Islamic Center during Ramadan, a holy month of fasting, introspection and prayer held in late June and early July.

The writer said he was a business owner and had worked hard to establish a successful business in Greensboro. But he had received many complaints from customers concerned about Muslims being close to the property. It asked that the Muslim community be “less visible.”

Qureshi did the unexpected. He went to the business owner to talk with him about the letter. It turned out that the owner had not sent it.

I can understand Mr. Qureshi taking offense to the letter —-whoever wrote it— but does it represent out and out hate? Maybe I’m naive, but I didn’t see it.

And the N&R Republicans are divisive.

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Re: Breaking the Guilford animal shelter info dam

Have to say the N&R did a pretty good front-pager on conditions at the Guilford County animal shelter that resulted in indictments against former director Marsha Williams and two other employees in Davidson County, where the nonprofit United Animal Coalition ran the animal shelter there.

The Rhino’s Scott Yost digs up more infor in this week’s edition. Long read—here’s a highlight:

It has also come to light that, before the scandal broke, Williams was pleading with the UAC board to pull out of Davidson County because of what Williams said were continued racially based threats from some in that county. Williams became especially upset after an incident at the Davidson County shelter where a Davidson County resident brought a lunch of fried chicken and watermelon to Williams and her predominantly black staff.

Some UAC board members claim that the investigation and prosecution that came out of Davidson County resulted largely due to racial motivations of those intent on driving Williams and her staff out of that county. However, state and local authorities seem to have had plenty of legitimate reasons to intervene.

Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes continues his investigation and has decided to present all of the evidence and charges to the district attorney’s office in “one package.” Among the evidence —admittedly the least of law enforcement’s concerns given the condition in which many animals were found at both shelters—is court-ordered volunteers sent to the shelter as part of their sentence didn’t do anything. Imagine that.

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Say Yes says yes to Guilford County

N&R reports:

It’s big news that centers on one little word: Yes.

Guilford County is officially the next Say Yes to Education partnership community, local and national officials announced this morning.

They called that news “historic” and life changing for students in Guilford public schools.

The most immediate benefit of the partnership is that students in the class of 2016 will be eligible for last-dollar tuition scholarships that close the gap between tuition costs and the amount covered by other scholarships and grants. Guilford high schools had about 5,330 seniors as of Tuesday, according to an unofficial count.

The partnership will be a “huge benefit” for Guilford students, many of whom are traditionally under served by colleges and universities, said Nora Carr, chief of staff for Guilford County Schools.

“So that’s very exciting,” she said.

According to the N&R, the “details about program governance still are being ironed out.”

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Budweiser absorbing Miller?

On the heels of the announcement that MillerCoors is closing its Eden plant comes news that Anheuser Busch InBev NV has approached SABMiller with proposed takeover:

London-listed SABMiller said AB InBev “has informed SABMiller that it intends to make a proposal to acquire SABMiller.” It cautioned that no deal was certain. AB InBev soon followed with its own statement, saying it intends “to work with SABMiller’s board toward a recommended transaction.” No terms were disclosed.

AB InBev and SABMiller are the world’s two largest brewing companies, and a combination would trigger an intense antitrust review around the world.

Meanwhile, the N&R editorializes on the ‘bitter finish’ in Eden, managing—imagine this—to get in a shot at Sen. Phil Berger, expressing hope that Berger “will rethink the decision to slash unemployment benefits” since “his own constituents may need more help than a maximum of $350 a week for 16 weeks.”

N&R also notes Eden and Rockingham County “will lose significant tax revenues but still have to provide public services and operate schools.” Interesting then that Rockingham County Manager Lance Metzler said redistributed sales tax revenue to rural counties that was included in the long-delayed state budget deal would help lessen the blow of the plant closure.

Worth noting that the N&R editorialized strongly against the redistribution of sales tax revenue, calling it a “share-the-wealth scheme” devised by Republicans to pit rural against urban interests.

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Memo to Mark Gottfried…..

Far be it for me to question the N.C. State basketball coaches recruiting methods—especially after you land a top point guard.

But if you don’t want the media present during recruiting trips—risking the possibility of an NCAA violation— then don’t arrive in a helicopter.

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Making BB&T Ballpark development work…

An Atlanta-based developer is scaling back a proposed mixed-use development at Winston-Salem’s BB&T Ballpark, but the bigger question remains–whether or not the city and Forsyth County want to go in with the developer on a parking deck deal:

Winston-Salem and Forsyth County would still be providing parking, although with half the number of spaces at about half the cost. Under the proposal being considered by the Finance Committee,

Brand would build the deck and sell it to the city for about $8.3 million. Final approval of the city’s part of the deal must come from the full city council.

The city would pay for the parking lot by financing the purchase over 20 years. That would take about $609,000 per year. City officials say they estimate that, as proposed, the development would generate $6 million over 20 years, or about $300,000 a year.

So county involvement in the deal will be necessary, city officials say. Garrity said that it would take a commitment of about $300,000 a year from the county to make the deal work.

The city’s finance committee will consider the deal at today’s meeting.

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MillerCoors shuttering Eden brewery in ’16

WFMY reports:

MillerCoors announced Monday morning it is closing its doors permanently next year.

The announcement was confirmed by Eden’s Economic Director Michael Doughtery

Dockery said the company employs 500 people.

According to the MillerCoors’ website, the facility opened in 1978 and was the first brewery to produce Miller Genuine Draft back in 1986. It has annual brewing capacity of 9 million barrels.

I’m a Miller man myself, further justifying my choice knowing I was supporting the local economy.

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Bernie Sanders comes to Gboro….

…And—-according to the N&R headline—- “emphasizes diversity” in front of a “very white crowd” of 9,000 at the coliseum’s Special Events Center on Sunday evening:

The crowd for the independent senator from Vermont skewed young, but did range from high school and college students to young families and senior citizens.

Still, for a campaign that has outflanked Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton on a host of progressive political issues, the audience was noticeably less racially diverse.

“It’s a very white crowd,” said Cheryl Pressman, 38, of Charlotte. “But right now, at this point in the campaign, maybe that’s not a surprise.”

Lotta luv for Bernie these days, but he’s going to be a problem if African-Americans sit out the 2016 election.

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