All posts filed under: current stories

Opinion: West Point is for all of Durham

When I think back on my experiences of West Point, it has always felt country, a drive away from the city center, and a place that I don’t really get to most of the time, busy with life and work. In the ‘90s, when I was growing up, it was the place of crowded, sweaty Eno River Festival. In the Aughts, when I was a reporter at The Herald-Sun, it was still a place for the annual crowded, sweaty, fun, Eno River Festival. Crafts, food, the mill, stalls of people selling things. It was so Durham. But in the past year when I’ve gone to West Point to write about the development slated for Black Meadow Ridge, something has changed. North Durham feels smaller, meaner – and during the summer, even rotten. It should feel like a trip to go from the Super Target and Sam’s Club area, where The Herald-Sun’s office used to be. But nowadays, it does not. There is something that has changed in Durham that made going to West Point in …

Blog post: Impeachment articles have been filed against Joe Biden. What happened in 2016 with Hunter Biden and the Ukrainian prosecutor who was fired?

One day after Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States, he is getting impeached. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a freshman Congresswoman from Georgia, announced Thursday afternoon she had filed the impeachment articles against Biden, making good on a promise she had made on social media. Greene said in her announcement that the action is being taken because of Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine, specifically having to do with possibly getting Ukraine’s top prosecutor Viktor Shokin fired in 2016 because he had an active investigation into Burisma, the energy company on whose board Hunter Biden was serving. “President Joe Biden is unfit to hold the office of the Presidency. His pattern of abuse of power as President Obama’s Vice President is lengthy and disturbing. President Biden has demonstrated that he will do whatever it takes to bail out his son, Hunter, and line his family’s pockets with cash from corrupt foreign energy companies,” the news release stated. “President Biden is even on tape admitting to a quid pro …

The music of the Ciompi Quartet

On a recent bright winter day, the members of the Ciompi Quartet gathered at Duke University to play. Inside the airy concert hall space of Baldwin Auditorium, the quartet started, stopped, and tweaked the way they played. An audio technician sat to the side with a laptop and recording equipment for the session. Negotiations abounded. Because of coronavirus restrictions, the group played with their masks on. And then there were the discussions with the composers, both in person and over Zoom, on how to best approach their pieces. The four pieces were by students in Duke’s Music Department. The music was challenging, abstract, moody, with discordant melodies, full of feelings of disconnection and isolation. The music uncomfortably heightened what was going on in the world. One of the pieces was even called, “Disconnected.” After one successful “take,” viola player Jonathan Bagg asked, “How did that sound to you, James?” The composer, himself taken aback by the beauty of the quartet’s playing, had to snap back to reality before responding, “That was great. Thank you.” Despite …

Blog post: A look back at Bush-Gore

It’s hard to say who Americans wanted in the White House in the year 2000, Bush or Gore? On the morning of Nov. 8, when everyone woke up to the news the presidential race had not been called, there was an air of chagrin, shock, a little humor. But then everyone went about their business. Over the following month, the nation would be treated to the spectacle of the Florida recount, “hanging chads,” court decisions at every level, teams of lawyers and a complete media frenzy. In the end, on Dec. 13, Gore, clearly disappointed but not defeated, conceded to George W. Bush. The race had been won by just 537 votes in Florida. In 2020, the situation is much more desperate. The nation is more divided. Both sides are more angry. There is more at stake. Here are some ways 2000 differed from 2020: Florida did a statewide machine recount immediately the day after the election and it was completed Nov. 10. Apparently this can be done. So why hasn’t it been done in …

Election Day 2020

On the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 3, this year, people quietly, wearily went about their business, too exhausted to be excited about the election. Later that night, voters would see the results of this contentious, overly partisan fight between President Donald Trump and the former Vice President Joe Biden for the White House, in this historic election that has been much referred to as a fight for the soul of this country. For more than a year, there have been protests, bumper stickers, yard signs, a screaming, shouting Democratic Party primary, followed by the fears, anxiety and exhaustion resulting from the lockdowns from the coronavirus. But in the end, many people still went about the voting process like normal, rushing to cast their votes before polls closed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. At Hope Valley Baptist Church in Durham, toward the end of the day, voters were still rolling into the parking lot, bringing their kids with them after work. Erin Durkin, a volunteer with Democracy NC, a Morrisville-based nonprofit advocating for voter’s rights, had been …

Election 2020: Biden in Durham

By Karen Tam Former Vice President Joe Biden made a mysterious trip to Durham on Sunday where few people heard or saw him. Biden had a virtual meeting with African-American faith leaders and he spoke inside the Riverside High School campus to a selected few. As he spoke at Riverside, Redouane and Kim Hafidi of Durham wore their “VOTE” masks as they stood outside the fenced area. Redouane Hafidi, originally from Morocco, said he thought Biden would be a better president who will be more supportive of the immigrant population. Eight-year-old Owen Weinard of Durham, along with his mother, Ashley Weinard, also waited outside Riverside, hoping to get a glimpse of Biden. Owen said he is also counting the years till he can vote. Later in the afternoon, the Latino part of the Biden campaign, Todos con Biden, organized a car parade. Cars gathered at the Compare Foods shopping center on University Drive, lining up for what would become a horn-honking caravan to the South Regional Library for early voting. Biden did not make an appearance at the Todos …

Election 2020: Trump holds rally in Greenville; some supporters ready to hear more about policy

President Donald Trump made his seventh campaign visit to North Carolina this election year to Greenville on Thursday, where he told about 1,000 supporters at Pitt-Greenville Airport to get out and vote, boasted of the number of votes he got during the 2016 election, and touted Republican plans for the country. “For years, you had a president who apologized for America. Now, you have a president who is standing up for America and standing up for the great people of North Carolina,” Trump said toward the end of his speech. “So again, this is the most important election of our lives, maybe in the history of our country. So get your friends, get your family, get your neighbors, get out and vote! The red wave is coming. The red wave is coming,” Trump said to cheers.   Supporters from Greenville and around the state began filing into the event stage on the tarmac of the airport early Thursday morning, bringing their families and friends, donning MAGA hats and outfits made out of the American flag, …

Blog post: Pierce Freelon has been appointed to the Durham City Council. But is it legal?

Durham City Council voted on Aug. 31 to appoint Pierce Freelon to the Ward 3 seat. The seat had been left vacant by Vernetta Alston in April when she left for the 29th district seat on the state House of Representatives. Freelon is a musician and son of the late architect Phil Freelon and jazz musician Nnenna Freelon. He had run unsuccessfully for the state senate this year and for Durham mayor in 2017. In April, the city council was debating whether to appoint someone to the seat or to let the public decide on election day. So why was the appointment of Freelon suddenly made some four months after Alston left? And was this action legal? Both the city charter and the state statute are written in such a way that they require the appointment to be made soon after the vacancy occurs, and that the appointment should be in place only until when the public can elect a new representative. That is, the law protects the public’s right to vote for their elected …

Election 2020: Trump in Winston-Salem

President Donald Trump was in Winston-Salem on Tuesday for his fourth visit to North Carolina since July, where he drew thousands of supporters from around the state. The campaign rally was held at the Smith Reynolds Regional Airport. Supporters donning Trump T-shirts, Keep America Great hats and holding up signs waited for hours for Air Force One to arrive. Trump’s speech began shortly after 7 p.m. and focused on familiar themes of his campaign this election year: Bringing jobs back to America, tax cuts, and warning the crowd against mail-in ballots. Trump criticized Gov. Roy Cooper for North Carolina’s continued lockdown and gave Lt. Gov. Dan Forest a boost for his run for the state’s top office. Trump was also in Florida on Tuesday. “I just left Florida. We’re going to win Florida,” he said to the North Carolina crowd to cheers. Check out the photo gallery by Karen Tam.