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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 …

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 …

The Fragrance Shop, a family journey of timeless scents

Among the thousands of perfumes lining the shelves at The Fragrance Shop in Carrboro are a perfume that is more than 200 years old, a perfume worn by the empress of France, and an oil that smells exactly like a well-loved lotion of a popular brand. That first perfume, which smells of citrus with a cool, medicinal undertone – or is it overtone, intended to mask body odor in the 18th Century — is called “4711.” The perfume worn by the empress of France in 1860 is called, fittingly, “Imperiale.” It was created by the perfume house Guerlain to soothe her migraines. “Burt’s Bees, we have a scent,” says long-time manager Jenny Mann during a recent visit to the store. And Mann pulls out, as she does, a bottle from tucked behind other bottles that only she remembers. “Someone told me they used to work at Burt’s Bees, right here in Carr Mill Mall,” she says. The bottle smells exactly like Burt’s Bees’ milk and honey lotion. Mann is The Fragrance Shop’s expert “nose,” the …

Durham Fire Department to build $8M new station in South Durham

Durham Fire Department wants to build a new fire and EMS station to the tune of $8 million in South Durham by the city-county line. Instead of renovating the existing fire station in the Parkwood subdivision, the department has staked out a new site at 6919 Herndon Road two miles away, along a rural and residential stretch. On Tuesday morning, the department got the go-ahead from the Board of Adjustment for the project. It was a decision that neighbors in the area seem to have expected. “They drive by here all the time. We see them several times a week,” said Enrique Galvan on Monday as he stood on his front porch, lined with pots of bright red Christ thorn bushes.   Tracey Price, who also lives on Herndon Road, echoed Galvan’s observations. “They come this way anyway,” she said. Durham City bought the land in 2017, paying $700,000 for the 2.2-acre lot, which is assessed for $182,280. The new station is projected to cost $8.02 million. Durham County will be paying for 24.8 percent of …

Government watch: Durham Board of Adjustment, April 27

Stone Bros. & Byrd planning some moves A new mixed-use development appears to be in the works at the long-time downtown garden store Stone Bros. & Byrd. According to an application with the Board of Adjustment, what’s planned for the site at 512 W. Geer St. are tenant spaces at the front of what is currently the store, a residential lobby and structured parking. The Board of Adjustment will hear this matter and others at its monthly meeting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. When The Spring Magazine reached Stone Bros.’ long-time owner George Davis this week, Davis referred questions to Beacon Street Development of Raleigh. Beacon Street recently built “620 Wade,” a five-story condominiums development located at 620 Wade Ave. in Raleigh. The swanky condos, the web site for which boasts of their 10-foot ceilings and white oak floors, and amenities such as a fitness center and a rooftop terrace, are near the corner with St. Mary Street. The luxury development is located next to the Raleigh Rehabilitation Center, at 616 Wade Ave. A fire station …