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What You Need to Know About North Carolina– The Sunset Edition

What You Need to Know About North Carolina the Sunset Edition

If you’ve noticed I’ve been absent for a couple of days, then you are right. It’s come time for me to suspend the daily blog portion of this site.

I started the daily blogs as an extension of my original online home, The Black Urbanist, to prove a point. Namely, that I could write something straightforward and without an agenda. At the time, I was working in a place where I didn’t agree with a lot of what was going on there and I felt like I couldn’t speak my mind properly. Eventually, I split this project off and many of you told me how much it made your day. I appreciate that and I wish I could continue writing this in good faith.

I can’t. I want to get back to writing The Black Urbanist full time, with a few North Carolina stories sprinkled in, but some others, from my new home in Kansas City and other places.

For those of you who only read this as a news source. I need to call you out. No, the mainstream media is not perfect and often has flaws. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s all bad. I don’t make up these stories, those people do. For what it’s worth, they still get paid to report things. I don’t and that makes a huge difference.

If anyone wants to take on this project of doing a daily newsletter via email and audio podcast, please let me know. In the meantime, after a sabbatical, I’ll be back to this space with a new format of stories and I invite you to join me back over at The Black Urbanist, for new blogs, a rebooted podcast and more stories from that vein.

Again, thanks for your support for this nearly two-year-old project, but I’m excited to be back to a stronger, more authentic way of expression online.


What You Need to Know About North Carolina for September 22, 2015

It’s Tuesday, shall we go ahead and just dive into the news:

It’s another day and another website people have just barely heard of, has a study saying that Greensboro is bad for tourists. This one got its information from Twitter.

Greensboro Police have officially partnered with the neighborhood-based social network Nextdoor.com. The network requires a street address verification, before it allows you on the site, so that it pairs you with your in-person neighborhood association.

We have new candidates for U.S. Senate and for state attorney general. Both men are Democrats.

Concerns are rising in the Forsyth County Board of Elections over the failure ofr several Winston-Salem area universities to actually mail voter registration and maintenance cards back to the Board of Elections. Several of these schools have their own post offices, in addition to relying on the U.S. Postal Service. These on-campus post offices were often understaffed and only sent some, but not all cards back to the Board of Elections.

Now that it’s getting cooler, be on the lookout for more copperheads.

For once, the UNC system is set to get a cash infusion, thanks to the $2 billion bond referendum proposed by the governor.

The committee tasked with assessing the Common Core and other state academic standards for its public schools, heard from many supporters of the Common Core curriculum at a hearing yesterday.

Actions against owners of an Asheville community coffee-shop, who also had a major online platform slamming and recounting vulgar and inappropriate relationships with women, continue, as loans, business partnerships and customers pull away from and even protest the business. The business has also been closed since the revelation that the coffee-shop and online platform were connected.

Also, a national study has noted that nearly one-fourth of UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate women were victims of unwanted sexual contact, 12% were victims of penetrative rapes during their time in school. This is in line with the national survey’s findings of nearly one-fourth of all undergraduate women in the 27 school survey.

A new development in the historically-Black Charlotte neighborhood of Cherry will not happen after all, as the Charlotte City Council listened to complaints of neighbors and rejected the proposal.

There is an online petition to remove several racially-insensitive statutes from the front of a Charlotte Mexican restaurant.

The N.C. Senate has a new jobs incentive bill and wants to funnel more money into charter schools.

Charlotte’s Tremont Music Hall will close after two decades in business.

People are still filming in Wilmington.

These are the people running for mayor in Fayetteville.

Wake County has added gender identity and sexual orientation to its list of protected classes against job discrimination among its 4,000 current employees and any future employees.

And finally, this is why you didn’t have cable or phone service in the Triangle yesterday; there was a construction accident where the fiber lines were cut. Sources have told me that many people were wearing their Google Fiber shirts yesterday, possibly in protest of the fiber companies affected?

Stay informed about North Carolina! Get this and other great facts and news about North Carolina in your inbox every weekday by clicking here. Or, you can listen to this and previous episodes of our podcast edition here.


What You Need to Know About North Carolina for September 21, 2015

Happy Monday folks! This week’s image is of a Sunday afternoon sunset in late April that I took in the passenger’s seat as we were driving down I-40/I-85 between Raleigh and Durham. Being in the drivers seat on this route at this time of day can be awful and nearly blinding. In the passenger’s seat, you can capture scenes like this, of pure beauty.

However, because we aren’t that far past sunrise today, it’s time for me to give you some news:

UNC-Chapel Hill’s student store is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Currently operated entirely by the school, the school may join many others soon and bring in a private vendor to operate it.

More details have emerged on the state’s Medicare privatization plan. The plan is seen as a compromise between the House’s desire for nonprofit operators and the Senate’s desire for full private-sector influence.

Political newcomers can face long odds in any race. The case is no different in Greensboro, but if even one newcomer wins an at-large city council seat, the balance of power could take a major shift.

Some Greensboro residents are concerned about changes a new set of apartments could bring to their idyll neighborhood.

A town in the Piedmont that has almost been totally absorbed by Winston-Salem, continues to mark its own special history, this time with a plaque.

There are many changes that could happen with highway funding if the Senate’s new bill makes it past the governor’s desk. The Asheville Citizen-Times explores what that could look like for Western North Carolina roads.

Asheville is in need of poll workers in advance of early voting starting on September 24th in the region.

Medical examiners will get more pay and training in the new state budget.

You may not have heard about this (the state admits as much), but if you are at an intersection with a traffic signal that has arrows telling you when to turn, you can not turn right on red if you have a red arrow. If the light uses a solid red color, you can still turn right on red.

Two new franchised businesses are coming to the Wilmington-area and more could be on the way.

Fort Bragg has cut back on mowing its grass.

And finally, one other major cutback from the state budget; regional mental health resources.

Stay informed about North Carolina! Get this and other great facts and news about North Carolina in your inbox every weekday by clicking here. Or, you can listen to this and previous episodes of our podcast edition here.


What You Need to Know About North Carolina for September 18, 2015

Thank you!!!!! Yes, you. Especially if you open up the emails and read them regularly. Namely if you’ve been listening on audio on Soundcloud. If you’ve clicked the links on Facebook and Twitter. Especially there, because there’s so much clutter. Essentially if you are in any way supportive of this venture, thank you. You could get your news from anywhere else (and probably do), but thank you for making my news gathering part of your day. Also, for those of you who did the reader’s survey a while back, much gratitude for you. I am still working on putting a lot of those things in place. And if you know of anyone who should be a reader or listener of What You Need to Know About North Carolina, please share.

Also, hop over to www.kristenejeffers.com to get a sense of all the things I do and give to the world. And bit.ly/voteformyapartment to help me in my quest to start doing more interior decorating! And with that, news about my beloved North Carolina:

The trees are a-turning! This year’s fall color map has mountain tree colors peaking in the next few weeks. If you want to see fall in the mountains, like we think of fall in the mountains, get out there before October 15! In other parts of the state, you’ll get great color at least through the end of October.

Guilford County has said yes to education. Well, at least yes to last dollar scholarships for all public school students. The announcement was made at my alma mater, Ragsdale High School in Jamestown yesterday morning.

Downtown Greensboro could be getting a second grocery store, something along the lines of Durham’s Parker and Otis, on the south side, where I used to live when I lived down there.

Also in Guilford County, its commissioners approved an incentives package for the semiconductor company Qorvo. This company was formerly known as RF Micro Devices, one of the Triad area’s few homegrown technology startups.

You could be paying more to visit state parks, thanks to a new budget provision.

Speaking of the budget, it’s left the State House, for good this time. Now only the Senate and the Governor need to approve it.

Your legislators are also moving forward with putting a statute of Christian evangelist Billy Graham in the U.S. Capitol and a compromise corporate incentives bill.

Charlotte is marking Park(ing) Day with a contest for the best parking space turned park.

The Asheville Chamber of Commerce has a launched a new five year jobs and economic development plan. Meanwhile, the website for the Guilford-Randolph County megasite is live.

An interesting flower arrangement has appeared overnight in an abandoned Asheville warehouse, with a poem.

Charlotte-area LGBT advocates want the city to revisit its nondiscrimination ordinance to include more protections for LGBT folks. The City Council voted down several new provisions to the ordinance back in March.

Wilmington leaders have released a plan they hope will end youth violence city-wide.

The battle over the next Sanderson Farms plant in the eastern part of the state continues, this time with environmental groups fighting the permitting process, with the hopes of keeping the plant from opening that way.

The UNC System wants to increase pay ranges for all of its administrative staff.

More on the plans for faster passenger rail in the state, namely a new route for Amtrak trains between Raleigh and Richmond.

Medicaid in North Carolina is going private.

And finally, support is building for March primaries for presidential elections.

Stay informed about North Carolina! Get this and other great facts and news about North Carolina in your inbox every weekday by clicking here. Or, you can listen to this and previous episodes of our podcast edition here.


What You Need to Know About North Carolina for September 17, 2015

Two things. One, it’s Thursday, and two, don’t forget to vote for my apartment. One thing I love probably more than news and politics is house shows on HGTV and the website Apartment Therapy. Some of that furniture you see is good ol’ High Point market samples. Even though it’s in Kansas City, you can show your North Carolina pride for voting for it. Thanks to everyone who’s already shared it and voted! Anyway, enough talking about me, here’s your news for today:

Speaking of the High Point Furniture Market, they are getting more money from the state.

Also, your legislators  are  trying to add more regulations to sex ed.

Another Triad-area company, this one tied to the growing aviation industry, is cutting 450 jobs. Another major employer in the Charlotte area, almost moved just south of the state line, on Carowinds Boulevard. The road’s namesake amusement park straddles the state line and seems to be doing ok.

A lawsuit against current and former Greensboro City Council members over a broken contract, thought to be broken over race, was heard in federal court yesterday. The plaintiffs had approached the city for a loan, much like it gives to other corporations on occasion. Not all of the terms were satisfied with the beginning of the loan, yet the plaintiffs spent money anyway and are now wanting both the original loan amount and damages from the city. The hearing was to completely dismiss the lawsuit.

Yes, that’s a one in the dollar column on the signs at various gas stations around the state.

Next week, one of the presidential candidates from last night’s GOP debate is coming to the state.

The Asheville Citizen-Times asks a valid question about all these city rankings and surveys: can they capture the true essence of Asheville?

There’s still uncertainty around teacher jobs in the new state budget. Also uncertain are payments to state eugenics program victims.

The Hickory City Council has chosen to take no action yet on allegations that the Hickory Housing Authority misused funds and also may have sexually harassed tenants of housing units under their care.

Several Wilmington-area homeowners are being required to hook their properties up to the public water and sewer utility, at a cost to them. Needless to say, many of those homeowners are unhappy.

The Durham City Council candidates discussed their now retiring police chief, among other things at a recent candidate forum.

More young, accomplished, neighborhood-focused candidates are running for city council in Raleigh and the Indy Week takes a look at the records and platforms of three in particular.

And finally, Several Raleigh residents are concerned about a city park redevelopment plan. The residents also say the plan is not needed.

Stay informed about North Carolina! Get this and other great facts and news about North Carolina in your inbox every weekday by clicking here. Or, you can listen to this and previous episodes of our podcast edition here.


What You Need to Know About North Carolina for September 16, 2015

You’ve made it to Wednesday. Congratulations. Now, for a shameless plug. I’ve entered my apartment into a design contest. Here are the links to vote for my room designs, from now until September 30. I could win an IKEA gift card, a West Elm gift card and a custom Kansas City wooden sculpture. Yes, a reminder. I live in Kansas City now. I still love North Carolina and this is why you get news daily. You can vote here, here, here and here for my rooms. And then you can go read the news.

Durham’s Police Chief has been forced to resign, but will actually retire. Also retiring, Surf City’s police chief after a racist Facebook rant.

Greensboro Council candidates had their first fourm last night.

The new state budget caps UNC System school fundraising office spending at $1 million a year. This is how UNCG’s development office will handle that change in policy.

Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neil is running for state attorney general.

Former Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker is officially running for state labor commissioner. For those who aren’t aware, that means his face could be the one you see in the elevator on the state inspection stickers.

Winston-Salem doesn’t have as much money as it expected to fix Buisness I-40.

Asheville’s science museum and its civic center have new names.

Charlotte, you voted and now you have a mayoral runnoff election and several new councilpeople.

Average monthly apartment rent in Charlotte is now $1000.

We may be fishing too much flounder off our coastline.

Solar panel tax credits will not be in the new state budget and advocates of solar declare they will move their business elsewhere.

The state budget also deals a major blow to the funding for the Durham-Orange light rail line.

And finally, listen to Rhiannon Gidden’s story and some of her songs on WUNC’s The State of Things.

Stay informed about North Carolina! Get this and other great facts and news about North Carolina in your inbox every weekday by clicking here. Or, you can listen to this and previous episodes of our podcast edition here.


What You Need to Know About North Carolina for September 15, 2015

Before I get any deeper into the news today, I want to clear up that that bridge in Winston-Salem will be named after George Hamiliton IV. Again, the country singer, not the Beatle. I do know my Beatles, maybe a bit too well. Also, why it’s important to click on the links to the news stories.

But in that spirit, I’m happy to announce that we have a budget. There’s so many things in it, like taxes on car repairs, a reduction in the income tax, a restoration of the historic tax credit and some money to deal with the Medicare expansion and fiscal emergencies, such as building repairs. Among everything else the budget has are some goodies for teachers.  It still needs votes and a signature, but this is a significant step to a final decision about how the state will spend its money and how we will be taxed or not taxed.

And with that, more of your news:

Unfortunately, we should also add another person to the list of people who have died in police custody in our state, a Raleigh man passed away last night.

Rockingham County, namely Eden, is facing a huge loss of jobs, as the MillerCoors plant shuts down, taking at least 500 jobs with it. It may also strip other distributors and manufacturers of products for the plant of their jobs as well. Economic development and other officials in the county had celebrated victories in attracting other plants, and there’s another plant coming that could replace a significant number of those jobs.

Also leaving Rockingham County, the coal ash around the Dan River, that Duke Energy is ready and willing to move this fall, pending it has an approved place to take it.

Winston-Salem employees and police could lose their jobs if they are in a car crash in their city-issued vehicles.

Also in Winston-Salem, several school buses were chopped up on the inside, that is $50,000 worth of slashed seats across 17 buses.

A man in Forsyth County claims the state Department of Transportation chopped up and now needs to fix his driveway.

One of the major campaign issues in Asheville, raising local taxes.

And if you are in Charlotte, don’t forget to vote in your primary! Often municipal elections are decided on primary day, versus the regular election day.

Forbes magazine values the Carolina Panthers at $1.56 billion. No surprise, it is a major sports team after all.

There are more apartments in Charlotte, however they are also still really expensive.

Some federal money for foreclosure prevention will run out next year, which also won’t help folks trying to keep a roof over their heads. Meanwhile, people seem to have no trouble buying homes in Brunswick County. People are also moving to Apex, near Raleigh, due to its vibrant downtown.

However, the new rail plan I mentioned recently has some positive elements for transportation statewide.

A tree in Wilmington will cost $20,000 to remove. It’s that massive and is also on both private and city property. The city wants it off their property.

Bladen County is closing 3 of its 13 public schools.

And finally, in the wake of the shut down of High Point’s human relations commission, the fair housing program is also at risk.

Stay informed about North Carolina! Get this and other great facts and news about North Carolina in your inbox every weekday by clicking here. Or, you can listen to this and previous episodes of our podcast edition here.


What You Need to Know About North Carolina for September 14, 2015

This week’s photo is in honor of early fall football. I took this shot in the old grass seats ten years ago at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. I can’t remember if we won or lost the game, but so much of going to football games in our state is not about winning or losing, as much as it is going to the stadium, enjoying something off a grill, a little something to drink and in the case of our HBCU’s, the band show at halftime.

For the first time in known history, this came to UNC-Chapel Hill, this past weekend when they played NC A&T State University and both bands played together, with NC A&T dominating most of the show. Check out the video and be sure to not only peep out the performance, but all of the celebration and chatter between both bands after the performance on the sidelines.

So now that your body is moving, let’s get to the Monday news:

That presidential candidate I mentioned last week came to Greensboro last night and filled up the whole room.

Meanwhile, if you’ve noticed more contestants on reality shows from North Carolina and the Triad specifically, you are right.

Sadly, six people have died in custody at county jails thought the Triad. Only one was a reported suicide and the others were reported to be natural causes.

Also sad, according to analysis of the state’s congressional districts, many of those districts have residents with higher than normal cancer rates.

A church in Winston-Salem is celebrating its 240th anniversary.

The state has backed a proposal to name a bridge after country singer George Harrison IV in Winston-Salem.

A development at the Winston-Salem ballpark won’t be as large as originally planned.

Ashevillians have buried another time capsule.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials are concerned about a drop in SAT scores among their seniors in the past year.

Charlotte it’s time to vote! Here’s a guide in case you haven’t yet voted in tomorrow’s municipal primary. Several records were broken during early voting this year.

Meanwhile the Raleigh mayoral race is a rematch of the one in 2013.

This Charlotte community is celebrating the demise of its gangs.

Many of the children who have immigrated by themselves over the past few years from Mexico into Charlotte are struggling to adjust.

While there are many islands and coastal developments with high-value homes and exclusivity, Figure-Eight Island is recognized as the center of that coastal affluence. Proof of such exclusivity? You need to be on a guest list before you even get on the island.

Wake County Schools are running less buses, which leaders say are more efficient and others are saying are more crowded on longer rides.

The IndyWeek recently what Durham’s two new boutique hotels in historic spaces are saying about the present.

Chatham County has a plan to stop fracking for good in its boundaries.

And finally, just a little more music, Rhiannon Giddens and her sister as well as others singing and playing over images of he National Folk Festival, which brought thousands to Downtown Greensboro this weekend and will be back for the next two years. Photos and commentary from Raleigh’s Hopscotch, also this past weekend.

Stay informed about North Carolina! Get this and other great facts and news about North Carolina in your inbox every weekday by clicking here. Or, you can listen to this and previous episodes of our podcast edition here.


What You Need to Know About North Carolina for September 11, 2015

Fourteen years ago today, I was in a high school choral class when word was sent down that the World Trade Center towers had been the scene of not just one but, two plane crashes. By the end of that day, I’d cried as I witnessed both towers crashing completely down, and heard of news of both a Pentagon crash and one in a field that was redirected from its target, thought to be the White House or the Capitol Building.

I really meditate on the fact that there are now teenagers who are the same age as I was then, who have no witnessed memory of this incident. Maybe there’s a parent, grandparent or other family member they didn’t meet because of their succumbing on that day. Others have seen family members struggle with memories. But, for them, it’s like when people tell me about Challenger exploding, or Pearl Harbor.

Yet, this day for my generation is when a lot of things changed, not unlike when we experienced the economic recession of the later decades.

My first few stories today are of ways 9/11 is still affecting our state.  First, a Charlotte man who was a first responder to the World Trade Center scene, reflects in the Charlotte Observer. In the Wilmington Star-News, a woman reflects about being at the Pentagon.There’s a new memorial near Charlotte that has a piece of one of the towers and if you want to do a service project, the News and Observer has a listing of a few that are going on today.

Let us all take a moment and reflect on what this day means, then let us continue on and honor the memory of those lost, by continuing to make this world a better place.  And now, other news:

The state DOT has adopted their Comprehensive State Rail Plan, which sets rail policy, planning and projects for the next 25 years. I’m very excited about this plan, as it will set the stage for more and faster trains through the state.

The former director of the Guilford and Davidson County animal shelters, along with a former employee, have been arrested on federal felony charges of animal cruelty. They had been removed from their jobs at both facilities. Meanwhile, a Winston-Salem man can no longer be a reptile wrangler, at least not at his home.

N.C. Court of Appeals judge Linda Stephens will run for re-election in 2016. She’s one of four judges of the 15 judge bench that’s up for re-election. The court hears cases in panels of three.

The coastal ferries will be switching to their fall schedules in the next couple of weeks, which means there will be less ferry trips to and from points on the Outer Banks to the mainland.

Four McDowell County magistrates are recusing themselves from performing same-sex marriages. By law, these folks will also be barred from performing any marriage ceremony for six months and magistrates from adjacent counties are filling in.

Several parts of Western North Carolina are now under a severe drought. Drought conditions are also increasing in the Charlotte area.

Five nonprofits with common missions of getting people back to work will be housed in a new campus just north of the Charlotte Douglas Airport.

Lidl has come to Charlotte and is giving people more options for low-cost groceries.

Cumberland County may bring back their driver’s ed classes next October.

State House and Senate leaders have agreed to put a state bond referendum on the ballot of next year’s presidential primaries. However, what the $2 billion bond will cover is still being debated between both houses and the governor.

And finally, Duke Energy has settled an EPA lawsuit that was filed against it in 2000 over issues at a power plant in Gaston County. It will direct $4.4 million to environmental sustainability projects and pay almost a million dollar fine.

Stay informed about North Carolina! Get this and other great facts and news about North Carolina in your inbox every weekday by clicking here. Or, you can listen to this and previous episodes of our podcast edition here.


What You Need to Know About North Carolina for September 10, 2015

It’s Thursday already? Wow. I guess that’s what happens when you have a four day workweek! Well, that’s nice. Here’s some news too:

Starting with some news from my alma maters, the student center officially opened and the new chancellor started. You might want to click the links to find out where which event happened. And also, one of those schools has taken a major leap in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. A university in High Point is breaking ground on the state’s next pharmacy school.

Triad City Beat explored what it’s like to be a cyclist or a pedestrian in Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

At a recent national forum, renewable energy advocates want the state laws on how much renewable energy can be produced to be frozen. They claim the freeze allows the utility to be regulated better and utilities can better charge people for generating said energy.

So, tax credits for film productions are coming back to the state budget after all. However, it won’t be in time for things to pick up in Wilmington, which has no returning TV productions and so far only has one TV pilot slated to film there this year.

Winston-Salem’s mayor will run for his fifth term this fall.

It’s now more demanding to be on unemployment insurance in the state. Applicants need to now list five job contacts, instead the two that were required before. In addition, businesses are getting a tax break for paying into the system.

A proposed park in an Asheville forest was scrutinized by a number of its city council members at their most recent meeting.

Take a break and take the Asheville Citizen-Times‘s quiz on Western North Carolina small towns.

Six issues have slowed down the state budget, which is now slated for a vote next Wednesday.

Billy Packer, who you might know as that guy screaming on ACC Basketball and other sports broadcasts (as well as for his own playing career), is now debating the City of Charlotte over a bridge that will cut through one of his property developments.

Former State Senator Harold “Bull” Hardiston has died at the age of 92.

Topsail Beach’s anti-drilling resolution has died as well. The community is one of the few who is not strongly speaking out against federal efforts to allow offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean just off our coastline.

The City of Fayetteville will have its next Facebook Town Hall meeting soon.

And finally, one presidential candidate came to Garner this week to express his ideas on tax reform.

Stay informed about North Carolina! Get this and other great facts and news about North Carolina in your inbox every weekday by clicking here. Or, you can listen to this and previous episodes of our podcast edition here.

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