All posts filed under: Uncategorized

Neighbors to city council: “Urgent need to correct the zoning”

– Neighbors point out the developer’s proposal is based on the wrong plan from decades ago, highlight the increased flooding on the Eno River. 
– Developer and partners: Environmental impacts have “no relation to the issues presented” and invoke memories of Margaret Nygard.
– Black Meadow Ridge, West Point and water quality.

“I am here to impress upon you the urgent need to correct the zoning of Black Meadow Ridge,” said Arienne Cheek…

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 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.

The fight for the West Point on the Eno

Every year, thousands of Durham residents flock to the West Point on the Eno Park for the annual Eno River festival, to look at crafts, eat food, listen to music, and even take a dip in the river itself. But with a dense residential development planned for nearby, some neighbors are sounding the alarm that the project could ruin the park, and damage the health of the Eno River. Sun Forest Systems, a Chapel Hill-based custom design and building company, wants to build “Westpoint at Eno,” with 278 townhomes and 101 single-family homes. The 94-acre site runs along the south of the West Point on the Eno park, with an entrance on North Roxboro Road. The development would build over Black Meadow Ridge, an area that is a buffer between the West Point park and neighborhoods. Black Meadow Ridge has been under discussion for possible conservation over the years. “We had heard about this just through word of mouth,” said Chris Hodgson, who lives in one of the neighborhoods right behind Black Meadow Ridge. Hodgson …

Seafood in the summer

By Matt Goad A door slams shut behind a satisfied customer and another door opens with a new customer not far behind. This happens all day long, three days a week in the small, cinder-block shack that houses Tom Robinson’s Carolina Seafood of Carrboro. With a small staff, the business manages to get to the North Carolina coast every Wednesday to get fish and shellfish to sell in the Piedmont on the weekend. It brings in salmon from Nova Scotia, and some oysters from Virginia, depending on the season, but almost everything comes from North Carolina. Manager Salvador Bonilla generally travels to Morehead City, Swansboro and Beaufort to deal with the local anglers there. Tom Robinson started the business in Chapel Hill in 1975, selling from the back of a truck parked at Pantana Bob’s bar on Rosemary Street. Bonilla has managed the business for the last 16 years. He didn’t know much about the fish business at the time. He worked as a chef at Vespa, the defunct Italian restaurant on Franklin Street, and …

Photo gallery: Scenes in downtown Chapel Hill

UNC students working on Franklin Street. The margaritas at Bandido’s. Murals in hidden places. The photos covering the walls of Sutton’s Drug Store. Some things have not changed in downtown Chapel Hill. Long-time photographer Karen Tam, who has worked for The News & Observer and The Raleigh Times, and freelanced for The Associated Press, spent a recent Friday afternoon capturing the goings-on. See the photos here.   Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

Opinion: The Wake Stone quarry should be rejected for these reasons

1. RDU does not need the money. When Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s leadership began work on the “Vision 2040” master plan in 2015, the airport was the most modern it had been in decades. The top executives and the board of RDU had basically inherited a perfect airport, the culmination of decades of planning and work. So why is it that by 2019, RDU signed a lease with Morrisville-based Wake Stone to mine the Odd Fellows tract for $24 million over 35 years? RDU also recently got $49.5 million in federal aid for coronavirus relief. Before that, it received about $61.5 million total in federal and state capital contributions for the past three years. On top of that, RDU has posted jumps to its bottomline in recent years. For fiscal year 2018-2019, ending in March 2019, the airport’s net position increased by $128.2 million. In 2018, it increased by $56.3 million. In 2017, it was $26.4 million. The airport has had passenger total booms in recent years that are just reset by the coronavirus. In 2015, …