Author: springmagazine

Quick look: The “Leandro” case and the court-ordered $1.7 billion. Where the money will go.

Superior Court Judge David Lee of Union County issued a historic order on Nov. 10 in the long-running “Leandro” case on inequities in public schools, requiring the state to spend an additional $1.7 billion on education statewide. From the court order, here’s how the $1.7 billion would be spent: $189.9 million to Department of Health and Human Services $1.5 billion to Department of Public Instruction $41.3 million to UNC system How do those numbers further break down? Here is how Every Child NC, the coalition that has been the primary proponent of a Leandro settlement, wants the money to be spent. The coalition actually wants $3.74 billion spent over eight years. There would be no increase to teachers’ salaries or that of principals, but teachers’ assistants would get additional funding of $20 million in the first year, with that projected to increase to $217.7 million fiscal year 2028. Assistant principals will not get any money in the first year, but by 2028, funding for them would be increased by $30.9 million. Transportation? Career and Technical …

Election Day 2021

By Monica Chen It was a beautiful, sunny Autumnal day on Tuesday as voters in the Triangle headed to the polls to cast their ballots. After 2020, this year was decidedly less intense, but for many, it was still an important election. In Orange County, the school board and the town council were up for re-election, as was the mayor. Durham had a less complicated election, with three seats on the city council and the mayor’s position open that, as it turned out, became an uncontested race. On Tuesday, candidates and volunteers made a last-minute push to get out the vote, camping out at polling places with booths and flyers. Meanwhile, voters headed to polls with major concerns about their communities and their governments. Growth and development were the biggest issue for voters in both counties. Here was the scene at four polling places in Durham and Orange. Carrboro Town Hall, 11 a.m. In sunny Carrboro, candidates and volunteers alike flocked to the parking lot to appeal to voters, who arrived in a steady stream …

Rep. David Price “in strong support” of $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan

By Monica Chen Rep. David Price, D-N.C., has come out in support of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan.   Price’s office provided a statement this week in response to media inquiry: “Congressman Price stands in strong support of the Build Back Better Act, a transformative investment in our people and our future. It will assist those historically left behind while combating some of our nation’s most pressing challenges, many of which have been thrown into sharp relief by the pandemic.” North Carolina has been plagued by mishandling of funds related to infrastructure in recent years. In 2020, an audit on the N.C. Department of Transportation found the agency overspent its budget by $742 million in 2019. According to The News & Observer, the Office of the State Auditor found the NCDOT had exceeded its budget of $5.94 billion by 12.5 percent. It got a bailout of $220 million from the state legislature. Price represents the 4th district, which includes Durham, Orange, Franklin and Granville counties, and parts of Wake, Chatham and …

EXCLUSIVE: What happened to “Evacuate Our Allies”?

By Monica Chen The shocking chaos and destruction in Afghanistan has escalated in recent weeks as the Taliban rapidly occupied the country following the sudden and poorly planned withdrawal of the U.S. military. But this withdrawal did not have to happen. For months, an Iraq War veteran pressed the Biden administration and members of Congress to implement an organized plan to evacuate Afghan allies to Guam. The plan, called “Evacuate Our Allies,” identified 18,000 Afghans who had helped the U.S. military, as well as their families, totaling 70,000-80,000 people who needed to be evacuated. It worked out logistics and gathered support from more than a hundred veterans and humanitarian organizations. The governor of Guam also supported evacuation to the U.S. territory. Chris Purdy, who served in Iraq from 2004 to 2011 and is the program manager of Veterans for American Ideals, put together “Evacuate Our Allies.” VFAI is a project of New York-based nonprofit Human Rights First. “Our plan was pretty reasonable, we thought,” Purdy said this week. “We were asking not to create any …

Grata Café, built on gratitude, filling void left by Elmo’s

By Monica Chen CARRBORO – Inside Carr Mill Mall on Tuesday, Jay Radford was busy getting his new restaurant ready. Full of energy and optimism, Radford walked here and there in the former Elmo’s Diner space, gathering materials, telling construction workers what he wants done, enlisting the help of one of his sons. Other business owners in Carr Mill and employees stop by to chat with him. Grata Café can open as soon as in the next couple of weeks, Radford said, as soon as the permits are approved. Would he like to sit down for this interview? “Oh, no. If I sit down, I’ll fall asleep,” Radford said. Radford is a man who likes to keep moving. Over the course of his life so far, the 52-year-old has built a multitude of experiences and skills. They are all informing his approach to Grata Café. His work style is rooted in the ‘80s and ‘90s. A native of Washington, D.C., he worked as a page at the Capitol Building when he was young. (“When I …

Trump makes rousing comeback speech at NCGOP Convention

By Monica Chen GREENVILLE – Former President Donald Trump returned to North Carolina on Saturday and gave a rousing speech at the N.C. Republican Party Convention, where he blasted President Joe Biden, said critical race theory should be banned, slammed China on COVID-19, spoke on election fraud and his team’s continued legal efforts, and touted his accomplishments in office. Trump also endorsed Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., for Richard Burr’s senate seat.Daughter-in-law Lara Trump announced she will not run this year. It was the former president’s first major appearance since leaving office,and he delivered the speech in a more low-key manner than at his campaignrallies. However, Trump did not hold back in criticizing Democrats and inparticular the Far Left. “It’s great to be back in Greenville with so many proud North Carolinapatriots who love our country, support our military, respect our police, honorour flag and always put America first. We don’t put America second,” Trump said in kicking off his speech. And Trump immediately criticized the Left. “They stick together. They don’thave some of the people …

Gallery: Scenes from the NCGOP Convention

Delegates, vendors and demonstrators flocked to the NCGOP Convention in Greenville on Saturday. Selling their wares, holding up pro-Trump signs and chatting with other attendees, the crowd was energized by the prospect of catching a glimpse of the former President Donald Trump. “Maybe I’ll see him pass by, in the motorcade,” one demonstrator said. A man who wanted to be called “Cosmos A Clown” waved flags to passing motorists and danced. Some of them jeered, but he took it in stride. “Clowns, we don’t get the respect we deserve, so I’m here to support our President Donald Trump.” Check out our photo gallery of the day below:

Live blog: The NCGOP convention in Greenville

The NCGOP Convention on Saturday is drawing some high profile speakers to Greenville, including the former President Donald Trump. The event is being held at the Greenville Convention Center. We are live-blogging the event. One of the first speakers is Rep. Virginia Foxx, representing North Carolina’s 5th District. 12:25 p.m.: Virginia Foxx is speaking. “Most people in Washington will tell you that the North Carolina delegation punches its weight. We work very hard together, and we’re all working for the entire state. We are all very optimistic about taking back the House.” “We’re not going to let the Far Left take this country from us.” “We’ve got to double down in 2022.” 12:30 p.m.: Kristi Noem speaking. The room standing up for applause. “You send amazing people to Washington in your delegation. Not governors…,” and the crowd laughed. “There’s no women’s issues in this country. What there is is a woman’s perspective on every issue.” “I’m going to help you get a new governor.” The room explodes in applause. Another moment of applause. “I believe …

Blog post: New restaurant for Elmo’s space in Carrboro

When Elmo’s Diner closed during COVID-19 last March, Carrboro residents wondered when the restaurant would reopen. The months passed, lockdown orders came and went, and still the restaurant remained closed.   Then came word in September that they had decided to close permanently, although Elmo’s ownership seemed to leave the possibility open that they would return. “We have not sold to anyone, so we do not know the future of the space,” the last post on their Facebook page said. But since then, that prime spot in Carr Mill Mall has changed hands. There is definitely a new tenant now. Grata Café, which will focus on Italian cuisine, is currently sprucing it up and getting ready to open. “Eat with gratitude,” is the slogan displayed on its web site (www.gratacafe.com), which also states that “grata” is Italian for “gratitude.” The owner is Jay Radford, founder of the Not So Normal 5K races in Carrboro some years back that raised money for a variety of causes. Radford is also the man who is behind the “Mom …

What is Chapter 160D?

A new state law passed in 2019 will change local government planning processes statewide. In May 2019, the N.C. General Assembly passed Senate Bill 355 to combine city and county development statutes and “modernize” local ordinances. It was signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper in July 2019. Local governments have to change ordinances to comply with the law by July 1 this year. By July 2022, cities and counties statewide also are required to have comprehensive plans or else zoning ordinances cannot be enforced, as required in 160D. The state legislature proposed similar legislation in April 2015 and March 2017. But it was in 2019 that it finally passed. The UNC School of Government states the bill was proposed by the N.C. Bar Association, and that the final version passed was a combination of that bill and another proposed by the N.C. Home Builders Association. Chapter 160D replaces the former 160A that applied to cities and towns and 153A for counties. They were much more detailed, the original writing for which date to 1905 …