INDY Week 10.27.2021

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Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill October 27, 2021

e t n Da s ’ h Hig the n i d n a b l a loc t s e g g i b e Th ay l s o t e r e h world is

by Brian Howe, p. 16


Raleigh W Durham W Chapel Hill VOL. 38 NO. 41

Dancer Olivia Richardson, a member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, p. 8 PHOTO COURTESY OF DIX PARK CONSERVATORY

CONTENTS NEWS 6

Meredith Pruitt's campaign for CHCCS Board of Education is raising concerns among locals—and could reflect national political trends. BY HANNAH OLSON

8

A powow at Dix Park this weekend is a belated acknowledgement of the Indigenous people who once lived in Raleigh—and a celebration of Native American culture. BY JASMINE GALLUP 9 A video showing police using excessive force against a Wake Forest mom went viral last week. BY THOMASI MCDONALD 10 Our endorsements for Durham's general election. BY JANE PORTER

FEATURE 12

Residents push back against environmental pollution at the hands of industrial hog and poultry farmers in eastern North Carolina. BY MELBA NEWSOME

ARTS & CULTURE

15 Eight Halloween activities for those who dare. BY RACHEL SIMON 16 Dante High launches a new album with a sprawling 'Horror in the Hills' party at Shakori Hills. BY BRIAN HOWE 18 Phil Cook teams up with Johnson County gospel legends, The Branchettes, for a live album of their music. BY SPENCER GRIFFITH 19 Remembering Jermaine "mainMan" Monroe. BY KYESHA JENNINGS 20 Seven thrillers for the discerning Halloween enthusiast. BY GLENN MCDONALD

THE REGULARS 3 15 Minutes

4 Quickbait

5 Voices

COVER Photo by Brett Villena / Design by Annie Maynard

WE M A DE THIS PUBLIS H ER S Wake County

MaryAnn Kearns Durham/Orange/ Chatham Counties

John Hurld EDITOR I AL Editor in Chief Jane Porter

Arts & Culture Editor Sarah Edwards

Theater+Dance Critic Byron Woods

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A D V E RTI S I N G

Creative Director

Senior Writer Leigh Tauss

Contributors Will Atkinson, Madeline Crone, Grant Golden, Spencer Griffith, Lucas Hubbard, Layla Khoury-Hanold, Brian Howe, Lewis Kendall, Kyesha Jennings, Glenn McDonald, Anna Mudd, Dan Ruccia, Jake Sheridan

Annie Maynard

Wake County MaryAnn Kearns

Staff Writers Jasmine Gallup Thomasi McDonald Editorial Assistant Lena Geller

October 27, 2021

Staff Photographer

Brett Villena

Durham/Orange/ Chatham Counties John Hurld Sales Digital Director & Classifieds Mathias Marchington

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Graphic Designer

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PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

BACK TA L K

I appreciate your article highlighting Mr. White’s experience living in Battery Heights. I am emailing because I feel the impacts of rent control are misunderstood or ignored and the benefits are overstated. We do not have to guess what the impacts of rent control are, we know—and they are disastrous. This is a quote from an article written by an economist about rent control: Economists are virtually unanimous in concluding that rent controls are destructive. In a 1990 poll of 464 economists published in the May 1992 issue of the American Economic Review, 93 percent of U.S. respondents agreed, either completely or with provisos, that “a ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available.”

The folks who push for rent control are trying to solve an economic challenge with a policy sledgehammer. Rent control temporarily delays a massive problem, not with housing but with living wage standards and expectations. It attempts to solve a symptom instead of the bigger issue. Minimum wage. Supporters of rent control would be better suited advocating for higher minimum wage, government/employment-funded childcare, health care, and maternity/paternity leave. These are the problems that need to be solved—not controlling supply and demand. Rent control is an easy target for politicians who need a quick turnaround on “impact” to get re-elected. It’s not the rent, it’s the paycheck that is out of control. Our federal minimum wage is $7.25. NC doesn’t have one and instead defaults to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. It has been $7.25 since July 2009. It was $5.15 in 1997. This means the minimum wage has increased by $2.10 in 24 YEARS. That is the problem. Solve this and rent control will not be on anyone’s radar. Full disclosure, I am a rental property owner in downtown Raleigh. One hundred percent of my tenants are below the poverty line and most have experienced homelessness, prison, and addiction. All of my homes are sandwiched between $400,000–$800,000 new/renovated homes. In the last 10 years of renting properties downtown, I have never received a salary or any regular compensation. I have evicted many people over the years (most of which ended in a handshake or a hug) and have provided a combined 85+ years of free rent and utilities to those same people and many others during this time. The front-page story of the INDY on August 8, 2018, “As Raleigh’s Housing Crisis Worsens, Its Housing Authority Is Having Trouble Convincing Landlords to Participate in Its Section 8 Program,” was about the experiences my tenant and I had working with the Raleigh Housing Authority and Section 8. It was a disaster then and still is. I am a landlord and a tenant advocate. As a tenant advocate, I do not support rent control. —Andrew Clark, Raleigh resident

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Raleigh

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15 MINUTES Jesse Jones, 57 Creator of the Oakwood Halloween House BY JASMINE GALLUP jgallup@indyweek.com

Why do you go all out for Halloween? When I was growing up, my dad saw [Halloween] as a waste of money. It wasn’t a religious thing, but we just didn’t really do it. Sometimes you felt kind of left out when other kids were getting dressed up and had cool costumes. I’ve always been able to create crazy stuff, so I always wanted to do something for Halloween. Now my dad comes and participates and he thinks it’s the greatest thing in the world.

You put up a lot of frightening decorations—is there anything that scares you? Growing up, I had a really bad fear of witches. [My mom] used to dress up as a witch and scare us and do kind of strange things. She thought it was cool, but as a kid [it scared me]. Until I was in high school, I had to have a light on and I couldn’t see a witch or I would get really upset. The cool thing about it is I married a witch. One of the [decorations] on my house is [a sign that] says, “The wicked witch does live here.” That’s directed specifically at [my wife, Sue]. She does not like the Halloween production; she says my front yard looks like Walmart threw up. And I tell her, “You can’t get this stuff at Walmart, honey.”

Are there any new decorations you’re excited about this year? [This year], I’m making a whole pirate skeleton scene on one side of my house. When I finish it, it’s gonna be dedicated to my mom.

My mom had severe schizophrenia her entire life and she was obsessed with pirates. She died four months ago, so it’s still close.

What do you like about celebrating each year? If you come to my house on Halloween, you see every race, every nationality, every religion, everybody’s there. It’s so cool to see that. I think Halloween shows people, Hey, this person is exactly the same as you. The only thing different is their skin color, but when they’re dressed in a costume, you can’t tell. I’m also the lawyer for the Harnett County NAACP, and I do a lot of civil rights cases. With Trump, it got so bad, I have made political statements [with the decorations]. Now that Trump’s gone, I’m trying to cut back because I want everybody to come to my house, not just the progressive liberals; I want the right-wing conservatives to come also.

What’s your favorite thing about Halloween? I grew up in a big family, so I love being around children. The same kids from the neighborhood come by every day and help me decorate. Every year, the same children come to visit. You know what the best thing is? When you see this family you know struggles in life and they show up in costumes they made with cardboard boxes and reusable products. You see those costumes, the ones that are handmade, and you’re just like, “Man, that’s the prettiest costume I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” W INDYweek.com

October 27, 2021

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QUICKBAIT

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Halloweekend BY JASMINE GALLUP jgallup@indyweek.com

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ith Halloween coming up in the Triangle, it’s time to celebrate the spookiest night of the year! Whether that’s at a haunted house, costume contest, or a scary movie, here are 13 ways to enjoy All Hallows’ Eve.

Chapel Hill 38 Bennett Ridge Rd.

The Spider Den of Five Points 504 Oakwood Ave. 9401 S. Mere Ct.

203 Homegate Circle Padstone Drive

12 11

Skygrove Dr. Diggory Dr.

drafts

Trunk or places to get candy Treat? at the Glass Jug Beer Lab's Halloween celebration in downtown Durham

WakeMed Cary Hospital, 5:30-8 p.m., Oct. 29 Learning Together in Raleigh, 2-6 p.m., Oct. 29 Wendell Park, 5-8 p.m., Oct. 29 Downtown Hillsborough, 6-9 p.m., Oct. 29 Gladwelli Orthodontics, 10 a.m.-noon, Oct. 30 Holy Trinity AnglicanChurch, Raleigh, 10:30 a.m.- noon, Oct. 30 White Street, Wake Forest, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Oct. 30 Sanderford Road Park, 5-7 p.m., Oct. 30

$10

Raleigh Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour Haunted Trolley at Mordecai Historic Park Historic Oakwood Cemetery Tour Thrills n' Chills Moonlight Tour, Chapel Hill Durham Pub Crawl and Haunted Adventure Durham Dark & Mysterious Ghost Walk

4th annual

Garner Holly Springs

6222 AAdamsPoint Point Dr. 1422 Fawn Hill Ct.

Clayton 228 Rothes Ct.

K9 costume contests

tickets to Carolina Theatre's The Howling Oct. 29-31

8 5

costume parties

Halloween Fall Festival at Laurel Hills Park Fall Festival at John Chavis Memorial Park Spellbound Square at Moore Square Halloween Fun and Concert at Peach Road Boxcar Bar and Arcade

at the Carolina Theatre, Oct. 29-30

INDYweek.com

Apex

Pup-O-Ween Dog Costume Contest, Hi-Wire Brewing, 6-8 p.m., Oct. 29 Barks & Brews Dog Costume Contest, Raleigh Brewing Company, 1-4 p.m., Oct. 31

Rocky Horror Picture Show

October 27, 2021

Raleigh

200 Mystic Quartz Lane 220 Point Park Circle

Crossroads Plaza, 6-9 p.m., Oct. 30 Triangle Town Center, 1-4 p.m., Oct. 31 Crabtree Valley Mall, 5-7 p.m., Oct. 31

6 ghost tours

4

haunted aunted houses ouses

acres

of scarecrows on the Powell Drive Park scarecrow walk on Oct. 29-31

7 p.m.

showing of The Nightmare Before Christmas Oct. 29 at Moore Square

30,000 people

at Chapel Hill's costume parade on Franklin Street on Oct. 31

2 pumpkin flotillas

at Bond Park, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29 and 6 p.m. Oct. 30

Lorem ipsum

1 phantasmagoria Show 6:30-9:30 p.m., Duke Homestead


Memento Mori – Part I

voices

A first-generation perspective on growing up in America BY JEREMY CARBALLO PINEDA backtalk@indyweek.com

H

ow do you tell your childhood “Border patrol’s ears are attuned to a friends you’re moving schools because you got evicted? You don’t. distressed child’s voice. Her hand tasted like You lie through your teeth until it becomes second nature. What do you say to a col- a saltine cracker that’s been dropped in sand. lege peer who asks about your birth counYour tears must have slipped in.” try even though you have no memory of it? You lie through your teeth until it becomes dropped out, began working, and took night New Jersey, in a Wendy’s, soon after your second nature. classes at a local high school. She gradu- exodus from Central America. You wore Time runs astray as you reminisce about ated after many long nights. You wish you a buzz cut—the cheapest haircut. Cheeks a time when it was just you and your mom— could hear her tell her story; you can’t help chubbier than the Michelin Man’s. You used to smile ear to ear. Your cheeks would overMaria. You were her first child. She had you but tear up as she smiles through it all. Before you were born, and after grad- power your slender eyes. Your eyes would at 21. She had her whole life ahead of her, like you do now. You two were raised alike— uating from night school, Maria settled disappear from joy. There’s no need to see in Costa Rica. Let’s just say that Nica- when lighthearted ignorance is penetrating well, to a degree. You attended public schools in North Car- ragua isn’t flooded with opportunities. the air. You and Maria had caramel skin. But olina, never skipped a free meal at school, Currently, your aunt in Nicaragua can’t New Jersey isn’t that sunny. The desert’s laughed along when a white kid called you afford to pay for her toddler’s diapers. rays must have caramelized the both of you. “beaner,” but kept moving forward. You are Although, that doesn’t reveal much. the oldest of three, and the first to have a Maria couldn’t afford your siblings’ diaour time alone with Maria came to home away from home. Maria is the old- pers in North Carolina either. an end in second grade. You were est of three. Maria has two younger sisters. seven. Giovanni, your brother, came Maria’s mom, your grandma, worked as a hen you were three, Maria and into the world. You were still learning janitor for the local hospital. you walked through the smolder- English then; Dora the Explorer became ing deserts of Mexico. That was your tutor. You and Maria had settled in On occasion, when your grandma needed an extra hand and her monthly check when she cared for you. She could not bear a small town in North Carolina, Lincolnarrived, she and Maria would walk down the to raise a child in her birth country. And you ton. It had a vibrant Costa Rican commustreet to the outdoor market and buy fresh could not bear to stop crying when you lay nity and Maria became a cook at a local cheese. She literally needed an extra hand— in the bed of the blue pickup truck. It was Hispanic bar. She hated it. But the experias a kid, your grandma fell from a tree and covered by a plastic tarp, you two were hid- ence came in handy, years later, when she ing underneath, headed north, away from cooked for you and your siblings. her left arm was amputated. Giovanni was always by your side, and Maria played the role of the eldest sibling your grandma, away from your birth counin a working-class family a little too well. try, Costa Rica. The tarp screeched as the you were by his. You changed GiovanShe won a scholarship to a private high wind tested its endurance. She held you ni’s diapers. You were the only one who school in Nicaragua. A once-in-a-lifetime close and put her hand over your mouth. understood his gibberish when he was opportunity. She borrowed her neighbor’s Border patrol’s ears are attuned to a dis- learning how to speak. You slept by his skirts and shoes to fit the dress code. She tressed child’s voice. Her hand tasted like a side. You taught him how to read. You was the only kid from her neighborhood at saltine cracker that’s been dropped in sand. taught him how to write. You two have the same nose. Both of your apexes drip private school. Maria had never been sur- Your tears must have slipped in. When you were bright-eyed and four, you over like a teardrop. An eternal reminder rounded by so much opulence before. Don’t get so happy—the role of the eldest always experienced one of Maria’s “firsts.” You were of your blended reality. You and Giovanni shared many living comes first. Your grandma needed her to there for many of her firsts. She ate her first work. A scholarship can’t pay the rent. She burger and fries with you. You two were in spaces over eleven years. Living spaces— a

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euphemism for cars, family friends’ houses, women’s shelters, bunk beds, sheets on the floor, mattresses in different rooms. But you don’t remember all the locations, so “living spaces” fills the gaps. Through every eviction, every new school, every new living space, you were there for Giovanni. He turned to you when he needed clarity. In the absence of clarity, you turned to God and pleaded, “Let the suffering end, let the tears end, save us.” It didn’t matter that Maria would take you and Giovanni to church three times a week. Nothing changed. You realized, Only I can make it end, I will end the suffering one day. You calmed yourself and thought, Memento mori, you will die one day, and the ordeal will be over. Until then, you are the oldest and you will commit to your role. So, you calmed Giovanni. You assured him there would be better days. You knew the story would repeat itself every day, every week, every year. You knew a retrograde was inevitable, waiting to unveil itself at any second, so you slept in perpetual fear. You never admitted this to Giovanni. You wanted to preserve his joyful ignorance for as long as possible. You wanted him to forget about the fighting, forget about the solitude, forget about God, and find peace within himself. So, you lied to him, lied to yourself. And you continued to lie. And you never stopped. 2 This is the first in a multipart series about the author’s experiences as an immigrant to the United States from Central America. Voices is made possible by contributions to the INDY Press Club. Join today at KeepItINDY.com.

JEREMY CARBALLO PINEDA is a DACA-mented senior at Duke University. INDYweek.com

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Chapel Hill/Carrboro

The Odd One Out Meredith Pruitt’s campaign for CHCCS Board of Education raises concerns among locals— and could reflect a nationwide trend. BY HANNAH OLSON backtalk@indyweek.com

M

eredith Pruitt is not your typical candidate for the Chapel Hill–Carrboro City Schools Board of Education. For one thing, she’s a registered Republican in one of the bluest counties in the state. For another, she’s raised a lot more money than any of her five opponents in the nonpartisan race, likely the most ever in a CHCCS school board race. This, combined with a vague platform and a handful of high-profile, conservative donors, means Pruitt has garnered much more scrutiny than other candidates. She’s emblematic, some parents and activists say, of a local iteration of a right-wing infiltration of school boards by conservative candidates hoping to launch their political careers that’s playing out nationally. “Beware the right-wing effort in the Chapel Hill Carrboro School Board elections,” wrote Susan Hester, a Chapel Hill resident and political activist, in an email to school system parents that was forwarded to the INDY. “School boards are the entry point for many elected officials—and the right-wing is maximizing that tactic.” Pruitt did not respond to the INDY’s multiple requests for comment for this story. According to her website, Pruitt is a 10-year resident of North Carolina, originally from Boston. While in North Carolina, she served as the chief of staff and senior vice president of the UNC System under President Margaret Spellings from 2016 to 2019. Prior to this, she worked for Davidson College, where she served as special assistant to the president of the university. Most of Pruitt’s career, however, was spent working in national politics, includ6

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ing as a senior advisor to Spellings, who was then the U.S. secretary of education under George W. Bush, as a vice president of external affairs for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers in 2009, and at lobbying firms. Spellings—who donated $500 to Pruitt’s campaign and officiated Pruitt’s wedding in her 2020 marriage to her husband Jonathan Pruitt, the COO of the UNC System and former vice chancellor for finance and operations at UNC–Chapel Hill—left a sour taste in the mouths of many. She was selected secretively after the UNC System Board of Governors fired Democratic System leader Tom Ross. In 2005, as education secretary, Spellings wrote a public letter to PBS condemning gay characters in a children’s television show. She went on to make disparaging comments about LGBT “lifestyles” around the time she was appointed as the UNC System president in 2015. “Ms. Spellings has been a vocal opponent of the gay and transgender community,” said Chris Sgro, the director of Equality NC at the time of Spellings’s appointment. “Our schools’ administrators are responsible for creating safe environments for our students to learn without distractions. Spellings does not have the needs of North Carolina’s LGBT students in her interests.”

Big money Along with Pruitt, Riza Jenkins, Mike Sharp, George Griffin, Tim Sookram, and Ryan Jackson are vying for spots on the CHCCS board. According to her

Candidate Meredith Pruitt

PHOTO MEREDITHPRUITT.COM

35-day campaign disclosure, Pruitt raised $14,079, blowing the other candidates out of the water. Next in line was Jenkins, who raised $2,142.83 (Jenkins herself was the largest contributor). Candidate Griffin has amassed $1,018.77. Sookram, Jackson, and Sharp have not filed finance reports with the state Board of Elections because they are not spending more than $1,000 on their campaigns—the threshold at which a report needs to be filed. A large chunk of Pruitt’s cash haul— $4,820—came from herself and several relatives. Among other top donors are a number of well-known Republicans. John Preyer, who is the current vice chair of the UNCCH Board of Trustees, nominated by state senate president Phil Berger, is known for voting against tenure for Nikole Hannah-Jones and was the lone vote against the moratorium on renaming UNC buildings named after white supremacists; he contributed $1,000 to Pruitt’s campaign and has a track record as a major Republican donor. Other conservative donors include Lauren Maddox, a Washington, D.C.–based lobbyist who also worked under Spellings, and Andrew Miracle, who is related to McMichael textile manufacturing magnates; both contributed $1,000 to Pruitt’s campaign. Nina Owcharenko, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation and a member of the Trump transition team, gave $200

to Pruitt’s campaign, and $250 came from Holly Kuzmich, the Dallas-based executive director of the George W. Bush Institute. “They are literally trying to buy the seat,” CHCCS parent Karen Herpel wrote in an email to the INDY. “Her signs are everywhere, mailers have hit people’s boxes, pop-up ads are on the web, and she has a professionally designed website sprinkled with educational buzzwords.” Such buzzwords and right-wing talking points—goals of “data-driven” decision-making and “focusing on the fundamentals: reading, math, and science”—fill Pruitt’s website, and she has repeated them when speaking publicly. While it’s not clear what data Pruitt would use to drive what kinds of decision-making, critics say that focusing on “data” is a way to avoid having to address the equity issues that exist in public schools, especially around race, a topic that Pruitt has been seemingly loath to address. Pruitt has also alluded to data informing decisions to keep students at home during the pandemic, with which she disagreed. “One of my focal points of my platform is I think students need to be in school full-time learning, and I would say that hasn’t happened over the past year and a half and we could have done a much better job in thinking about data points that came down from the CDC or the American Journal of Pediatrics or whomever it was who had some thoughts,” Pruitt said at a recent candidate forum hosted by Tar Heel Teachers.


At the same forum, she said she supports having armed police officers in schools. “We live in a world of laws and rules and we need some sort of enforcement when things get violent, and so having some trained safety officials on-site at these institutions makes some good sense to me,” Pruitt said. “It’s kind of common sense in that regard.”

A national strategy Some public schools advocates say campaigns like Pruitt’s are indicative of a growing national movement and that we can expect to start seeing conservative foundations donating money to elect school board candidates, apiece with a broader strategy to undermine public schools and teachers’ unions through the school choice and voucher movements. “Earlier this year, Steve Bannon started talking about the way towards victory for Republicans was through local school boards,” says Carol Burris, the executive director of the Network for Public Education, an advocacy group with a mission to preserve, promote, improve, and strengthen public schools. “It’s not a coincidence. It is part of this strategy and it’s been a somewhat effective strategy.” The movement has culminated, post-pandemic, in heightened scenes at school board meetings, with attendees railing against mask mandates and strawman issues like critical race theory education, to the point that most parents “don’t even understand what is happening in terms of instruction in their schools,” in Burris’s words. Put another way, it’s a means to excite the base. “[Republicans] certainly seized on the pandemic as a way to get a good foothold into all of this by promoting the narrative that parents were very unhappy with their local schools during the pandemic,” Burris says. “All of it is incredibly disruptive and incredibly discouraging for the professionals who dedicated their lives to work with children. If you’re out to destroy what you consider to be a government school, what better way to do it than to create chaos?” But Pruitt’s supporters, including a local nonpartisan group that formed to petition for reopening schools during the pandemic, comprised of several dozens of CHCCS parents, are trying to steer voters away from the partisan narrative. Pruitt is the only candidate the group endorsed. In an email to the group’s listserv, Leyla Stambaugh, a psychologist who donat-

ed $250 to Pruitt’s campaign, wrote the group doesn’t endorse the Republican or Democratic candidate “but rather voting on the issues.” “We have seen some emails attempting to paint the school board election as overly political,” the email begins. “Our group includes parents from across the political spectrum. On the issues of protecting in-person instruction and putting students first, we believe that Meredith Pruitt remains the best candidate.” Stambaugh writes that Pruitt is the only candidate talking about “the fact that 40% of CHCCS students are not reading at grade level” and the only candidate “who has acknowledged the learning losses accrued from remaining in remote school for over a year.” “We do not foresee any of the other candidates bringing real change to the Board in terms of focusing on the learning and emotional needs of all students in the district, and getting away from the over-use of online technology in everyday learning, in particular for the youngest students,” the email says. The email also mentions using bullet voting—where voters vote for only one candidate for the three open seats—as a way to shore up support for Pruitt. Pruitt herself has pushed this strategy to her supporters, too. “So many of these candidates are ‘same old, status quo’ and that will do nothing but perpetuate the recent and current directions of the Board,” the email states. “It’s not a requirement to vote for three board members.” This strategy is alarming to voters like Hester, the political activist, and parents like Herpel. Despite some nominal support from Democrats and the unaffiliated—Pruitt’s campaign finance records show a $500 donation from Lindsay Kelly, the press secretary for Teach for America and a registered Democrat married to Andrew Kelly, senior vice president for strategy and policy for the UNC System and Pruitt’s former colleague—many in the community still view Pruitt’s campaign with skepticism. “Her candidacy is the Republican party’s first true attempt to infiltrate this school district,” Herpel wrote in a widely circulated email that was forwarded to the INDY. “As we have seen, they have been extremely successful in wielding power and therefore policy down the road at UNC-CH and across the state at every level of government, including school boards. Her candidacy is a strategic, well-funded effort to get a Republican on the CHCCS School Board.” W INDYweek.com

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Raleigh

Walking in Two Worlds An intertribal powwow at Dix Park this weekend is a belated acknowledgment of the Indigenous people who once lived in Raleigh—and, organizers hope, a conversation starter. BY JASMINE GALLUP jgallup@indyweek.com

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livia Richardson is an aunt, accountant, and dog lover who works for a construction company in Raleigh. But she’s also someone else—a Native American. Richardson, a member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, hails from Hollister in Halifax County, where she grew up learning about her tribe’s culture, language, and artistic traditions. In Raleigh, Richardson often feels like she’s “walking in two worlds,” she says. “Being in a city setting that’s not close to a tribe, you have to be able to find ways to continue to [be in touch with your heritage],” Richardson says. “You want to be able to live what we call ‘American life’ as well as hold on to your Indigenous ways and traditions.” That feeling of living a double life is common for Native Americans, says Christina Theodorou, a member of the Lumbee Tribe. For her, going home means seeing her family but also getting back in touch with her tribal roots. “When you are from a tribal community, you kind of live in two worlds,” she says. “You live and you function and you work your dayto-day … but you have to go home to have that cultural [connection]. You have to spend a lot of time on the road to get that boost of energy and good medicine that comes from going to a tribal powwow.” Sandon Jacobs, a member of the Waccamaw Siouan, says living in Raleigh can sometimes be challenging. “We’re so spread out,” he says. “When you go around the Lumbee community in Pembroke, Native folks are together. They live down the road from one another, [they] go to church together on the weekends. “Raising a family here is a lot different. I do miss that experience for my kids, being immersed [in Native culture]. It’s nice to be around people who have your lived experience.” Jacobs and the 168,000 other Native Americans who live in North Carolina will 8

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have the chance to come together Saturday at Raleigh’s Inter-Tribal Pow Wow at Dorothea Dix Park, the first funded by the city. Raleigh officials’ decision to literally invest in the Indigenous community means a lot, says Richardson. “They’ve taken it upon themselves to acknowledge that there were Indigenous people who lived here [in Dix Park],” she says. “[They’re saying], ‘We want to take the time to appreciate you. To allow people to witness you.’” In Raleigh, powwows at local colleges are regular but relatively small events. There have been attempts to start a large annual powwow at the NC State Fairgrounds, but they’ve faltered due to lack of funding, says Jacobs. This event feels different, like “the start of something lasting,” he says. In the past few years, recognition of Native American communities has increased. In 2018, Governor Roy Cooper turned Columbus Day—once a celebration of Christopher Columbus, who led the conquest and extermination of hundreds of Native Americans upon landing in South America—into Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Recently, local officials have also acknowledged land in the state that once belonged to Native American people. Policy changes like these and cultural programs like the Dix Park Pow Wow should be “conversation starters,” Jacobs says. “As the Native people living here, it’s up to us to make ourselves seen,” he says. “To show up in the community, in our schools and our workplaces and our politics …. To make sure that the history of the Indigenous people in this state isn’t just glossed over in a couple of pages in your fourth-grade textbook.” North Carolina has one of the largest Indigenous populations in the United States—with eight tribes and four urban Indian organizations—but many think

From left: Olivia Richardson and Patrick Green of Native American culture as extinct, Theodorou says. “Our presence truly hasn’t been known,” she says. “There’s not really been an acknowledgment of Indigenous culture in the Triangle.” That’s partly because there is not a tribe specifically anchored in the Triangle, she says. The closest community is the Occaneechi Tribe in Hillsborough. Powwows help the wider population understand that Native American communities are alive and well, Theodorou says. Moreover, they educate people about Native American culture. The Dix Park Pow Wow is an exciting and “emotional” event, Theodorou says, but it’s also an opportunity to reduce the stigma and stereotypes associated with Native American communities. “When you are an Indian who lives in a city, an urban setting, oftentimes you’re one of the only Indians that is in your school or your job. You’re constantly asked questions that are offensive or ignorant,” Theodorou says. “We need to have frank, open, and honest conversations about what people don’t know about tribal cultures here.” Powwows are a time to come together, says Trey Roberts, community engagement manager for the Dix Park Conservancy and a member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe. “It’s a moment for us to celebrate our culture. Up to 1940 or 1950, it was illegal for us to even dance,” Roberts says. “Powwows are an opportunity to gather and dance and celebrate what we’re proud of, our artistry

PHOTOS COURTESY OF DIX PARK CONSERVANCY

and our culture and the things that have been passed down to us.” The all-day celebration will include dancing, drumming, and singing, with performances by former Miss Lumbee Alexis Raeana and singer-songwriter Charly Lowry. Jacobs, a singer and emcee, will perform with the Stoney Creek Drum Circle, he says. Their higher-pitched style of singing comes from the Northern Plains area, around the Great Lakes, he says. He and other members of Stoney Creek will be singing in the Tutelo-Saponi language. Richardson, meanwhile, is one of the lead dancers for the powwow alongside Patrick Green. She’ll perform the “jingle dance,” a healing dance that originated in the West. In the story she was told, the dance healed a young Native girl who was very sick, she says. The girl’s grandfather saw the dance and the dresses worn by dancers in a vision. The story is told in many different ways, but that’s the version Richardson carries with her, she says. Every time she dances, she tries to think of someone who is in need of healing. “I always take the time to pray for someone who might be sick. I pray for someone who went through the loss of a family member. I pray for someone that’s going through depression,” she says. “The dresses are heavy, but when you’re wearing them, the weight tends to distribute across your entire body. As I’m dancing, I try to think of that weight as someone’s hurt or someone’s sickness that they’re going through. I carry that on myself, just enduring it, and helping them endure it as well.” W


N E WS

Wake Forest

Use of Force In the latest episode of Triangle police officers using force against residents, video footage of officers smashing a vehicle’s window and dragging a woman to the ground went viral last week. BY THOMASI MCDONALD tmcdonald@indyweek.com

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n a video taken on a cell phone, exactly one minute and 14 seconds elapsed before a Wake Forest police officer used his expandable baton to shatter the driver’s side window of Maria Carmen del Rendon’s sport utility vehicle. Wake Forest police chief Jeff Leonard defended the officer and a second cop who yanked Rendon out of her SUV and took her down to the ground alongside a busy highway. Rendon was hit with a battery of charges after she refused to open her door and allow police to detain her son for questioning. In the days that followed, a video of the October 15 confrontation, originally posted by TikTok user @biancaibarra48, went viral. Rendon isn’t talking to the media. It’s not clear what the TikTok poster’s relationship is to Rendon and her family. Leonard, in a press release, explained that his officers wanted to detain her juvenile son, who was wanted on charges of felony strangulation, and that the police were forced to react in a situation that was entirely avoidable. “None of this would have happened had Ms. Rendon not recklessly fled the scene endangering the lives of her young passengers and motorists in the area and had she exited her vehicle when officers repeatedly asked her to do so,” Leonard said. “Most of our residents offer no resistance during the calls we respond to, but unfortunately in this case we met resistance at every turn from Ms. Rendon and the male suspect.” In a separate statement released by the Town of Wake Forest, described as a police effort “to add more to video of driver’s removal from vehicle during Friday traffic stop,” Leonard noted that before

his officers were seen on video, Rendon drove off and “came close to striking an officer with her vehicle before running a stop sign and nearly colliding with an oncoming tractor trailer.” Police charged Rendon with resisting a public officer, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, driving while her license was revoked, and aggressive driving, according to arrest warrants filed in Wake County District Court. But even though Leonard says Rendon “came close to striking an officer,” she was not charged with assault on a law enforcement officer. Leonard noted that his officers were investigating accusations that Rendon’s son had strangled a 14-yearold girl, and “the male suspect refused to cooperate.” Rendon’s family spoke with the INDY this week and added context on her behalf. One family member said the police officer who first approached her in the neighborhood where she lives would not tell her why they wanted to detain her son. Rendon had also insisted on being present when the officers questioned her son. Juveniles have the right to have a parent or guardian present while being questioned by police, according to state law. The Wake Forest Police Department’s 21-page use-of-force policy outlines definitions of resistance and when the use of force is authorized. It also includes a section on when it is appropriate for an officer to de-escalate a potentially volatile encoun-

ter with a citizen, instead of escalating the situation by resorting to actions such as breaking their car window. After listing the authorization of force to prevent assault, injury, serious physical injury, the threat of harm, and death, the policy notes that “where circumstances and time reasonably permit, an officer(s) shall take reasonable and prudent actions which operate to mitigate the immediacy of the threat thereby giving the officer(s) time to call more officers, utilize other tactics, or request specialty assistance, such as crisis negotiators.” Leonard says it was just after two thirty p.m. when officers stopped Rendon’s SUV, after she had turned out of her neighborhood on Plott Hound Lane and onto NC 98. The video, a little over 13 minutes long, begins with an officer whose last name, Minor, is emblazoned on his uniform. He tells Rendon to open the door on the passenger side of the SUV. “No, no,” Rendon answers. “You can come this way.” Minor then tells her while wielding the baton, “You’re gonna open the door, or I’m gonna open it with my stick.” Rendon is reportedly on the phone with an attorney and explains what is happening. Meanwhile, Minor whips the retractable baton down, causing it to expand. “Open the door now,” he says. “I don’t want to break your window.” Along with her 15-year-old son, Rendon’s 13-year-old daughter and two younger children are in the SUV. “You’re gonna break the passenger window?” she asks. Minor nods while saying again, “Open the door.” “Where my children are? Are you serious?” Rendon asks. One of the smaller children in the back seat starts to whimper. Minor smiles and crosses over to the driver’s side of the SUV, where he tells her, “Ma’am, step out of the car.” The officer adds, “You have a choice, you either step out of the car or I break your window and pull you out.”

“You’re gonna break the passenger window? Where my children are? Are you serious?”

He then tells her she has to five to open the door. A voice can be heard over the phone telling Rendon to ask the officer to slow down. Minor never reaches five. He gets to three, backs up, and uses the baton to smash the SUV window. “He just broke my window,” Rendon yells. “He just broke my window with all [of] my children in the car.” Rendon’s smaller children scream and cry. “Let her go!” Rendon’s older daughter yells as Minor and Officer S.C. Stone pull her mother out of the SUV. The officers take Rendon down to the asphalt road. For about eight seconds, one of Minor’s hands is clasped around Rendon’s neck. Stone has pinned the woman’s legs. “Let me go, I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” she yells. “You can breathe,” Minor tells her while moving his hand away from her neck. “Relax.” Later, while handcuffing her son, Minor can be seen jerking the teen’s handcuffed wrists upward near his shoulder blades. “You’re twisting my arm,” the teen tells the officers. His younger sister starts crying. The smaller siblings wail in terror. At least 11 more minutes pass in the video, showing the children standing along the side of the road, waiting for an adult to drive them home. The older child tries to calm her younger siblings, repeating, “Stop crying.” Rendon was placed under a $3,000 bond, according to a release order. She is declining comment publicly. The Wake-Wendell branch of the NAACP did not return emails and phone calls to its office last week. Town commissioners Bridget Wall-Lennon, Adam Wright, and Chad Sary and Mayor Vivian Jones all declined comment because the incident is still under investigation. Richard Keith Shackleford, a Wake Forest attorney who is a candidate in the town commissioners’ race, offered guarded comments. “I respect our citizens too much to jump to conclusions, and I respect the police department,” said Shackleford, who has practiced law for the past 25 years, first as a defense attorney and now as an estate attorney. “I want to see more facts.” W INDYweek.com

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2021 Durham

Endorsements BY JANE PORTER jporter@indyweek.com

DURHAM MAYOR

Elaine O’Neal Challenger: Javiera Caballero Please note that council member Javiera Caballero suspended her campaign following the municipal primary. Caballero’s name will still appear on the ballot and she will keep her seat on the city council until her term ends in 2023. We have republished a version of our endorsement here as written before the October 5 primary. 10

October 27, 2021

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The two candidates in the Durham mayor’s race—council member Javiera Caballero and retired judge Elaine O’Neal—are both exceptionally qualified, experienced, and pioneering public servants. Appointed as an at-large council member in 2018 and elected to the seat in 2019, Caballero is the first Latina to serve on Durham’s city council and a champion for the city’s growing immigrant and refugee populations. Not only has Caballero advocated for inclusion in city government processes, but she has achieved outcomes: she helped build a language-access program

D

ear INDY readers and voters, We are republishing our endorsements for the Durham City Council races ahead of Election Day next Tuesday, November 2. The candidates we are endorsing have not changed since the October primary, but now the race for each seat is limited to the two candidates who received the most votes in the primary elections. Please note we are not endorsing in the Ward III race as one of the candidates, AJ Williams, is the child of our staff writer Thomasi McDonald. All candidate questionnaires that were submitted are available on our website, and we’d urge you to read them in addition to these endorsements. Please do your civic duty and cast your ballots in the general election. Your city needs your voice at the polls!

and pushed for funding for an immigrant and refugee coordinator; she helped establish an immigrant legal defense fund, and she organized community members and health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Caballero is a solid supporter of city initiatives on affordable housing, sustainability, and community-centered policing. By all accounts, she’s an engaged, hard-working, kind, and dedicated leader. Elaine O’Neal has spent a 28-year-long career in the judiciary, including as the first woman elected to the county’s Superior Court. In addition to her work in the judicial system, the Durham native served as interim dean of N.C. Central University’s law school and chaired Durham’s 17-member Racial Equity Task Force, which submitted a comprehensive report last summer. As mayor, O’Neal will be well-positioned to implement the actionable recommendations as outlined in the report from the Racial Equity Task Force that she led. She might have to ruffle feathers to achieve measurable equity, but we think she will be bold enough to do so. That disruption will not be disruption for its own sake but in the service of the greater good—for O’Neal’s own stated goal of uniting Durham and its fragmented social and political factions, so that the Bull City can enjoy a future in which everyone thrives. O’Neal is the most qualified candidate in the mayoral race. We believe she will be a transformative force for the Bull City.

WARD I

DeDreana Freeman (incumbent) Challenger: Marion Johnson Marion Johnson has worked on LGBTQ+ health care policy at the national level and brought that advocacy to North Carolina in her work in opposition to Amendment One. As a budget and tax policy advocate at N.C. Justice Center, Johnson described her mission in that role as making sure North Carolina residents “feel engaged and empowered by our state’s budgeting process, and recognize their powers as constituents to hold their elected officials accountable to their values.”


It follows, then, that as a Ward I candidate, Johnson has made inclusionary budgeting a centerpiece of her campaign. The rest of her platform is, accordingly, rigorously detailed: Johnson proposes advancing the city’s living wage policy from $15 an hour to a “thriving” wage policy of $25 an hour for municipal employees and contractors; connecting the city via sidewalks and bike lanes and installing bus shelters; advocating for small area plans so residents have a say in development; and expanding city resources for residents facing eviction. A progressive candidate through and through, we have no doubt Johnson would make an excellent addition to Durham’s city leadership. But DeDreana Freeman has been a fine leader on the council and has done nothing—including voting against the 2019 affordable housing bond proposal and, initially, against a budget that she felt didn’t appropriately center equity initiatives— to warrant removal. Freeman has always

insisted on equity as a core value, and work to achieve greater equity in Durham has guided her actions and votes. Freeman is revered in the local community for her passion and dedication to service. Freeman deserves recognition for her efforts working with young people, including organizing summits on racism and childhood poverty; raising money for the Thriving Communities Fund to stabilize local businesses owned by women and people of color during the pandemic; implementing policies to address environmental justice; working closely with McDougald Terrace residents; and introducing the CROWN resolution to end discrimination on the basis of hairstyles and textures. We applaud Freeman’s commitment to creating a more equitable Durham. The council shouldn’t be an echo chamber. Dissenting voices, in our view, create balance when big-picture goals align. We therefore endorse Freeman for another term.

Durham County WARD II

Mark-Anthony Middleton

(incumbent)

Challenger: Sylvester Williams Perennial candidate Sylvester Williams (he challenged mayor Steve Schewel for the seat in 2019) has some interesting ideas, especially around economic development. The pastor and former financial analyst suggests incentivizing corporations relocating to Durham to subsidize affordable housing, leveraging federal Opportunity Zones in the city, and using money from Durham’s “failed light rail project” to fund transit and infrastructure improvements. Williams also wants a lot more police. While Durham is experiencing significant public safety issues and a marked increase in gun violence, it’s not clear that adding more officers to the city’s police force will actually help the situation. It’s also not clear where Williams stands on the city’s newly created Community Safety Department, which we think is a good idea. The good news is incumbent Mark-Anthony Middleton is one of the Community Safety Department’s biggest proponents, one of the first members of council to propose hiring, training, and deploying unarmed mental health professionals to respond to crises in Durham. Middleton has championed several other progressive ideas during his first term on council, too, including the Guaranteed Basic Income pilot program, which will soon begin paying out $500 to Durham’s residents most in need. And his ideas for the future, including his proposal for “a Marshall Plan type infusion of municipal funds into Durham’s historic legacy Black neighborhoods for the purpose of stabilization and preservation” are similarly exciting. Middleton is an effective, engaged, visionary candidate. We endorse him for another term representing Ward II. W

MAYO R Elaine O’Neal

WAR D I I Mark-Anthony Middleton

WAR D I DeDreana Freeman

WAR D I I I No endorsement

Orange County Chapel Hill Mayor and Town Council

Hillsborough Mayor and Board of Commissioners

MAYO R Pam Hemminger

MAYO R Jennifer (Jenn) Weaver

TOWN C O U N C I L ( FO U R S E AT S ) Camille Berry Paris Miller-Foushee Karen Stegman

B OAR D O F C O M M I S S I O N ER S ( T WO S E AT S ) Robb English Kathleen Ferguson

Carrboro Mayor and Town Council

C HAP EL H I L L - C AR R BORO CITY SCHOOLS B OAR D O F ED U C AT I O N ( T H R EE S E AT S ) George Griffin Riza Jenkins Mike Sharp

MAYO R Damon Seils TOWN C O U N C I L ( T H R EE S E AT S ) Barbara Foushee Danny Nowell

INDYweek.com

October 27, 2021

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An aerial view of an industrial hog farm and lagoons filled with waste in eastern North Carolina.

FE AT U RE

ALL PHOTO CREDITS: CAPE FEAR RIVER WATCH

These living conditions disproportionately impact Black people in the eastern part of the state. Nearly 40 years ago, Ben Chavis had just finished leading a protest over the state’s decision to dump cancer-causing chemicals in a poor Black community in Warren County when a state trooper pulled him over and arrested him for driving too slow. “This is environmental racism,” Chavis yelled, as the jail door slammed shut. Those words, credited with birthing the environmental justice movement, continue to resonate, as people of color in eastern North Carolina face ongoing environmental injustices.

More than just a nuisance

Hog Hell As large-scale hog and poultry industries continue to grow in eastern North Carolina, local residents push back against decades of air and water pollution. BY MELBA NEWSOME backtalk@indyweek.com

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n a Sunday evening in July, about 30 residents from around Sampson County gathered at Byrd’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Rose Hill, about 20 miles from the county seat of Clinton, to hear about a soon-to-be-constructed methane pipeline. For many, it is simply another in a long list of Smithfield Foods’ intrusions into their lives in Duplin and Sampson Counties over which they seem to have little sway. As they sat masked and socially distanced in the pews, the residents rose one by one to recount the way their lives have been forever changed since Smithfield built thousands of hog houses in their communities. 12

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The overwhelming majority of the state’s 2,100 concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are located in Duplin and Sampson Counties, where hogs are said to outnumber people 40 to one. Meanwhile, the hogs are being outnumbered by poultry, an industry that’s been expanding in the region. The residents, mostly people of color, talk about what life is like as a result: the disruption to their overall quality of life and deafening noise from tractor-trailers night and day. They liken the putrid smell from the farms to that of a decomposing body or rotten eggs. It seems to arise out of nowhere and traps them inside with the windows closed and the air conditioning going full blast 24/7.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the long-standing health and health care disparities that communities of color face across the state. In eastern North Carolina, the adverse effects of living close to industrial farms are well documented. A study conducted by the Environmental Health Scholars at Duke University School of Medicine and published in the North Carolina Medical Journal found that communities located near hog CAFOs have higher allcause and infant mortality, resulting in more deaths due to anemia, kidney disease, tuberculosis, and septicemia. These residents also experience higher rates of hospital admission, emergency room visits, and low-birth-weight infants. Nitrogen from the unlined pits of hog waste seeps into waterways and contributes to groundwater and well pollution. Ever since an industrial hog farm was established a quarter of a mile from her house in the unincorporated community of Waycross, Elouise Stokes Jacobs hasn’t been able to drink her own water. “In the late 1990s, Murphy’s hog farm tested my water and it was so bad, they put a new well down, which lasted about 10 years,” said Jacobs. “I went back to them because we’re having the same problems all over again. They told me they weren’t gonna do anything else about my water, that I had to do it on my own. “The county said there weren’t enough people on my road to put in water. How is it that we pay taxes and don’t have none of the services that should be provided to people?” Raising a small number of hogs was a side business to growing tobacco and cotton for most families in the area before industrial hog farms began swamping this region. Thirty years ago, there were 22,000 farmers and about 2 million pasture-raised hogs. Now, there are over 9 million hogs, mostly raised by contract growers for Smithfield Foods. Since Smithfield opened the world’s largest hog slaughterhouse on the banks of the Cape Fear River in the town of Tar Heel 30 years ago, the people who live in these communities have been asked to shoulder the environmental burdens without sharing in the economic benefits. The residents have waged a three-decades-long struggle for environmental and health justice and for laws and regulations that protect them.


Aerial view of piles of litter on an industrial poultry farm.

A bird’s-eye view Kemp Burdette, the Cape Fear riverkeeper, has spent more than a decade trying to protect the Lower Cape Fear River from nitrogen, phosphorus, and heavy metals discharged from CAFOs, a job made exponentially more difficult by industry-friendly regulations and lax enforcement. On a recent Friday morning flight from Wilmington to the industrial farms in Duplin and Sampson Counties, the sprawling CAFOs were in plain sight. At ground level, the CAFOs are largely hidden by towering rows of corn or dense forests, but at 2,000 feet up, they are everywhere: uniform rows of elongated, white barns with steel roofs glinting in the sunlight. Inside the buildings, there are thousands of hogs being mechanically fed and watered, livestock that will never see the light of day except when being moved from one grow facility to the next. Outside, there is little visible activity, except for the automated irrigation system showering the fields with hog waste—teeming with bacteria that turns the slurry hot pink—pumped from the football-field-sized lagoons.

Move over, Boss Hog These days, it’s not just the hog farms. Flying over Duplin and Sampson Counties, you are likely to see an industrial poultry farm situated near a church or school, because they are quickly outnumbering swine farms. A year ago, there were about 4,800 factory poultry farms in the state. Now, that number stands at around 5,700. North Carolina is the second-highest poultry producer in the country after Georgia, and poultry

is the top agricultural industry in the state. And it happened with virtually no oversight. The state raises over 500 million chickens and turkeys a year. Yet you don’t hear nearly as much about it because the poultry industry has made a concerted effort to avoid what it views as the mistakes made by the hog industry—including being too high profile. In fact, not only is the industry largely unregulated, but state legislators even prevent the disclosure of the locations of the poultry operations. Even the environmental regulators don’t know the precise locations of most of the farms. At first blush, the poultry farms are indistinguishable from swine farms until you realize there are no lagoons. While the hogs are jammed into houses by the hundreds, each poultry barn contains 30,000 to 35,000 birds. Dry litter is scooped up by tractors and stacked in massive piles outside on the berms to be later used as fertilizer. Burdette, the riverkeeper, pointed out several violations from the airplane. “The rule is you can’t leave dry litter uncovered for more than 15 days, because every time it rains all that stuff is just running off,” Burdette says, pointing to the massive piles at the edge of a poultry farm. “We’ve seen piles left uncovered for months and months, so they totally disregard those rules. But even those tarps don’t really stop anything. It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.” Under current state law, any new or expanding swine farm must eliminate discharge into nearby waterways and substantially reduce soil and groundwater pollution, ammonia emissions, odor, and pathogens. But no such restrictions exist on poultry operations, although they are a dangerous source of air and water pollution and a disruption to the neighboring communities. INDYweek.com

October 27, 2021

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The largely unregulated poultry industry has come into the same eastern North Carolina communities already experiencing disproportionate impacts from large hog operations. Robeson County largely escaped the industrial hog farming industry. But an analysis by the Environmental Working Group and Waterkeeper Alliance found that, since 2012, the estimated number of chickens and turkeys has increased by about 24 million in Robeson County. State Democrats introduced legislation this spring that would require commercial chicken farms to submit waste management plans so the public would be aware of what happens to the litter, but the bill went nowhere. That’s hardly surprising, because, two years earlier, a bill proposed by former state senator Harper Peterson, D-New Hanover, to study the environmental and human health impacts of dry-litter poultry farms failed after strong opposition.

The fight for environmental justice

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Duplin County officials have given residents plenty of reasons to distrust the cleanliness of their groundwater. The Mt. Zion AME Church in the Taylors Bridge community is surrounded by massive hog farms. For several years, the health department posted a warning on the door of the church that the water contained high levels of nitrates. The small rural church of fewer than 100 members was forced to spend nearly $4,000 to dig a new 225foot well to avoid the nitrates caused when animal waste in the soil leaches into the groundwater. “Our only fault was being too close to a hog farm,” says pastor Jimmy Melvin. “The congregation has had to invest finances and time and energy towards a problem we did not create.” Smithfield denies it is responsible for the church’s water problem. However, in July, the company and the NC Pork Council sent a letter to the pastor asking to meet with him to discuss the issue. Sherri White-Williamson, environmental justice policy director at the NC Conservation Network, was born and raised in Sampson County. After more than a decade in Washington, D.C., in the Office of Environmental Justice for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, she enrolled at the Vermont Law School and earned a law degree and a master of energy regulation. She returned to North Carolina in 2018 and launched the Environmental Justice Community Action Network to focus on the many environmental burdens for the county’s residents of color, particularly a lack

of safe drinking water for those who don’t have access to municipal utilities. Working with faculty and students from Appalachian State University, the group has provided free water testing for high levels of nitrates for more than 150 homes, while mapping the location of the industrial animal farms and landfills in proximity to the highest levels of groundwater pollution. White-Williamson says Duplin County has refused to extend municipal utilities to those rural communities. “Their rationale is that they’re using the money in the fastest-growing parts of the county along I-95 and I-40,” White-Williamson said. “That means that most of that water money is going to predominantly white parts of the county. They need to have at least 10 homes per mile to qualify for municipal water. That’s a tough marker to meet for rural communities.” For decades, there has been a schism between the mainstream conservation movement, led primarily by affluent whites, and the environmental racism movement that focuses on the concerns of more basic needs and concerns of low-wealth communities. However, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color has put a spotlight on the historical and present-day injustices that have left people of color exposed to far greater environmental health hazards. People in this part of the state increasingly see the fights against climate change and racial injustice as linked. Redlining and segregation forced communities of color into flood-prone and undesirable neighborhoods. Then, they argue, systemic racism allowed their communities to become dumping grounds for toxic waste and to be inundated with these high-polluting industries, the effects of which were exacerbated by climate change. “One of the things that was documented early on and has been shown time and again is that members of disenfranchised minorities—including Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people—are much more likely to live near one of these CAFOs than if you are a white person, even if you take money out of the picture,” said Ryke Longest, codirector of the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. “This becomes, what I would call, an issue of environmental racism, because these are located and expanded in places where the surrounding community did not have the political voice and ability to stop it.” W This is the first in a two-part series that was supported by a journalism fellowship from the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative. This story originally published online at NC Health News.


E TC.

Ahead of the Carve Eight Triangle-area Halloween events and activities to spook, scare, and surprise BY RACHEL SIMON arts@indyweek.com

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et out the candy corn and start carving those pumpkins—Halloween, a perfect holiday, is fast approaching. While many Halloween activities in 2020 were subdued or outright canceled due to the pandemic, Triangle residents still managed to make the most of the holiday by dressing up in elaborate costumes and adorning their houses and storefronts with orange-and-black decor. This year, though, with restrictions loosened, there are plenty of events for locals to partake in, from a kid-friendly pumpkin send-off to a haunted trolley ride meant for only the bravest adults. Plan your nights accordingly by checking out the INDY’s roundup of eight intriguing options for your Halloween this year.

Go on a haunted trolley ride

Raleigh residents know that there’s no location in the area creepier than the Mordecai House on Mimosa Street. Not only was the home built in 1785, making it older than the city itself, but legend also has it that the ghost of one of its late former residents, Mary Willis, haunts its walls. Curious? See the house in all of its spooky glory this Halloween on the Haunted Trolley, which takes riders on a late-night tour of downtown Raleigh’s most (supposedly) haunted spots. Hitch a ride on October 29 or 30 for $10 a ticket.

Indulge in “Boos & Booze” with farm animals

If you’re looking for an adults-only celebration but your fear tolerance isn’t what it used to be, Chapel Hill’s Spring Haven Farm has just the thing for you. At “Boos & Booze,” guests are given a full range of the farm to check out all the animals, along with drink tokens, a Halloween treat bag, and the option to enjoy henna, tarot card readings, and other activities. The 21+ event takes place on October 28, and tickets go for $55 each.

Get the spookiest car wash of your life

PHOTO VIA PEXELS

Show off your dog’s Halloween attire

Dog owners, this one is for you. Hi-Wire Brewing in Durham is holding “Pup-O-Ween,” aka a costume contest and celebration for canines and their owners. Dogs will be judged in categories including scariest and “Bartenders’ Choice,” so make sure your pup is in its best, and most creative, form. The event is on October 29 from six to eight p.m., with the free-to-enter contest starting at seven.

Go on a costumed bike ride with a brewery

Plenty of Triangle breweries and taprooms are hosting Halloween-themed events this year, but Crank Arm Brewing Company’s especially caught our attention. The downtown Raleigh spot is offering a group bike ride, where costumed riders will decorate their bikes, take a stroll through town, and compete for prizes. It’s happening on October 30 from six to eight thirty p.m., and it’s free to participate—just make sure you bring your helmet and motivation!

In the mood for something a little different? Get in your vehicle and head to the car wash, because not one but two Triangle businesses are offering haunted versions of the cleaning process this year. At the Car Wash Lodge in Garner, drivers can go through the “Tunnel of Lost Souls” for an interactive ghoulish experience, while Raleigh’s Splash Car Wash promises a “frightening night of clowns, car washes, shakes and shivers” to drivers who dare to participate in its “Night of Nightmares.” The Car Wash Lodge event occurs on October 29 and 30 from seven to ten p.m., for $24 per car until the day of the event or $30 on-site; the Splash Car Wash event will be on October 29, 30, and 31 from 8 to 11 p.m. for $20 per car.

Experience a phantasmagoria, if you dare

Watch The Nightmare Before Christmas outside in the park

What better way to close out October than by saying goodbye to your good ol’ pumpkins? At Bond Park in Cary, attendees of the Pumpkin Flotilla bring their own jack-o’-lanterns and watch them set sail across the lake—at twilight, of course. If you want to be even closer to the action, you can hop on a boat ride; discounted tickets are available to those who enter a pumpkin or sport a costume. The event on October 29 goes from four thirty to seven p.m., and the pumpkins will set sail at six thirty. They’ll be relit the next night. though (October 30th), if you’re busy on Friday but don’t want to miss out on the fun. W

Every Friday between October 15 and November 12, Moore Park in Downtown Raleigh plays home to Cinema in the Square, where visitors can take in a classic movie and some pre-show entertainment under the stars. Keeping in the Halloween spirit, the October 29 edition will feature pumpkin painting, a costume contest, and other themed activities, followed by a screening of the 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas. The event is free, with food for purchase available on-site.

For those who prefer their Halloween celebrations to be more eerie than full-out scary, the Duke Homestead State Historic Site and Tobacco Museum in Durham is offering a “Halloween Phantasmagoria,” where visitors can wander the property while learning about spiritualism and—maybe—encountering some surprises. Just take it from the event copy, which promises that it will be “unlike any other Halloween experience.” If you dare, buy a $10 ticket and stop by the Homestead on October 29 from six thirty to nine thirty p.m. All ages are welcome, but those with young kids might want to sit this one out.

Give your pumpkins an epic farewell

INDYweek.com

October 27, 2021

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M U SIC

HORROR IN THE HILLS HALLOWEEN PARTY

Saturday, Oct. 30 & Sunday, Oct. 31, $20–$25 (12 and under free) | Shakori Hills Community Arts Center, Pittsboro | shakorihillsgrassroots.org

Ari Picker in Pittsboro PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

Ari’s Inferno On the never-ending good old days of Dante High, the biggest local band in the world BY BRIAN HOWE music@indyweek.com

A

ri Picker’s favorite part of our interview was when I told him some of the musical references I heard on his new album, Dante High II, a frothy and exhilarating pastiche of the guitar and synth music of classic rock radio through a modern indie sheen. To me, “Deeper Love” sounded like a blend of Porches, which Picker had never heard, and Tears for Fears, which he ranks with Depeche Mode as an analog-production ideal. But really, he copied the idea of the stormy opening soundscape from the first Black Sabbath record and filched the beat from former Eagle Don Henley’s softrock hit “The Boys of Summer.” “Victims of Victims,” meanwhile, sounded like the stylish French band Phoenix—which Picker admires but doesn’t especially follow—covering Blue Öyster Cult, if mainly just because of that cowbell. “I was trying to do a David Bowie ‘Rebel Rebel’ kind of thing,” he says, sitting in his home studio in Pittsboro with 16

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the analog gear that makes Dante High’s new album feel more live than its software-leaning debut: a Yamaha DX7 synth here, a modded Oberheim DMX drum machine there. “Or something Stones-y, where the progression doesn’t change. Can you carry a song that way? That was the exercise.” “Worthless Dreamer,” I thought, sounded a lot like The Outfield’s “Your Love”—a song that rips off The Police so hard you might assume it’s theirs—as produced by the horror icon John Carpenter. It’s natural to consider Dante High in cinematic terms, and not just for its saturated wide-screen colors and sound effects. The name itself implies some purgatory between eighties teen comedy and The Divine Comedy, an impression bolstered by the two albums’ sequel titling. “You got that one,” Picker says of the Carpenter crib, though the slasher-movie ostinato is also basically a

slowed-down version of the synth line from Depeche Mode’s “Black Celebration.” “I’m not opposed to stealing at all, if it’s obvious and fun,” he adds. It is. Some musicians wouldn’t warm to the suggestion that their songs were collections of citations, but you get the sense that Picker could play this game all day quite happily, unraveling each strand in a finely woven tapestry of the popular music of his youth. Certainly, he prefers it to discussing his more recent past in Lost in the Trees, the orchestral indie-pop band that rose from Chapel Hill’s Trekky Records to LA’s Anti- for a four-record run that earned Picker a full-time living and a national following, while illustrating both the industry advantages and the personal toll of painful musical autobiography. In significant ways, Dante High is about leaving all of that behind. Still, it forms the backdrop for how a new single by a small-town band that has played about ten shows in four years could earn more than 25,000 Spotify streams in one day, as “Deeper Love” just did. Usually, those rare local shows are special events at skate parks or skating rinks, not standard nightclub dates, and that tradition of quality over quantity continues in Dante High’s Halloween bash at Shakori Hills. With guests like bassist Will Hackney and saxophonist Daniel Chambo joining core members like drummer Pete Lewis, guitarist Thomas Costello, and keyboardist Emma Nadeau, Picker headlines a weekend of music, arty and spooky happenings, and camping. Expect to hear the new music, which is on Bandcamp now, but not to bring it home. This is the beginning of a soft rollout, as Picker, it seems, works out a rather novel and bespoke way to be a rock star. “I am trying to be the biggest local band in the world,” he says, laughing. It’s a striking idea and one that he specifically might just be able to pull off. They say you have to go big or go home. But why can’t that “or” be an “and”?

W

hen I said I loved the little wolf howls on “Carphone,” which turned out to be an homage to sample-happy rock bands like Pink Floyd, I didn’t know Picker was going to show up for his INDY photo shoot in a werewolf costume. A secret connection? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s almost Halloween, and Ari Picker just likes being someone else. After Lost in the Trees, which released its final album in 2014, Picker was disillusioned with the music industry and the strain of artistic subsistence. He turned his energy to building his house in Pittsboro, which he didn’t know how to do when he started. He used what he learned to build up his own small construction business. He got married and had two kids. In 2018, Dante High’s self-titled debut was Picker’s unexpected return to music as a lamb in wolf’s clothes. The vision first started to form when he recorded with Josh


“Coming from indie pop or rock or whatever, everything’s got to be shrouded in this hip thing. But I wanted raw emotion and fist-pumping good times.”

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Kimbrough’s new-wave rock band, Teardrop Canyon, which would have been called Joshy K instead if Picker had his way. “I was like, it’s got to be a name, you’ve got to be able to create this persona to hide behind, because it’s like a theatrical performance,” Picker recalls. “And he didn’t go for it.” Still, that idea found its place when Picker named his band Dante High, an uninhibited and confident persona compared to the tremulous one of his orch-pop days. One inspiration was the metalhead jocks of small towns like Pittsboro before the internet, the mulleted mavericks Picker regarded with awe in high school. Another was the music he heard constantly on construction crews, from Judas Priest and Huey Lewis to The Misfits. “When I quit music full-time, music just became more fun,” he says. “I went back to what got me into it in the first place, listening to eighties and nineties radio as a fan more than an artist.” Fatherhood also exerted an influence, as Picker found himself awash in Disney ballads both old and new. “There’s this kind of stripped-down emotion, like, love!—110 percent, not complicated,” he says. “Coming from indie pop or rock or whatever, everything’s got to be shrouded in this hip thing. But I wanted raw emotion and fist-pumping good times.” Dante High II took shape over a year and a half. Picker set out to make “a direct sequel” to the naïve and hedonistic first record, but it came out darker than he intended. “I wanted to write a working man’s record, a party record, like, ‘It’s Friday, let’s get some beers!’” he says. “Instead, it’s like, ‘I hate my boss, I need to go on vacation.’ I think there’s this constant buzz in the back of my mind of everybody working themselves to death.” The theme is overt on “Love the Job, Hate the Commute,” but it also reverberates through “Deeper Love.” (In its video, Picker appears in various states of shirtless meatheaded-ness, all somehow adorable.) When it’s suggested that it’s interesting for someone who’s happily self-employed to start singing about work angst now, he smiles and muses, “It is interesting, isn’t it,” either just considering it or playing it close.

“I do feel a lot of dignity in construction work, which is nice because I think musicians feel this constant dread about whether they’re successful and how they’re going to sustain,” he says. “When I built the house I live in, it was about as hard as making a record, but nobody’s going to come and review it, and it’s not going to just disappear.” On that sturdy foundation, Picker can build endeavors like Horror in the Hills, an album-release-show-turned-festival that also features Skylar Gudasz, Shirlette Ammons, Canine Heart Sounds, and more. Most of the music is on Saturday, but the weekend is stuffed with “haunted shenanigans and art installations” wrangled by Caitlin Wells and the kinds of sundry activities generally called family fun. It’s some hoopla for the second album by a band that’s never left the state, but it’s just right for one whose course seems tilted toward beautifully produced songs, lavish shows, and high-concept concert films instead of the old-school PR-and-touring grind. And if Dante High II’s good times are shot through with darker threads than Picker had planned, perhaps it’s just a sort of afterimage, a delayed reaction. Some dreams, and their attendant fears, take time to fade, even as better realities arise in their place. “I’ll run little visuals in my head. Like, with ‘Addicted to the News,’ I’ll see a big concert, and the band’s playing the song, and all of a sudden a phone’s ringing, and I run backstage, and it’s my boss,” Picker says, as if storyboarding his next video in real time.. “He’s like, ‘Where are you, why aren’t you at work?’ So I leave the concert through the back door and drive to work, and all of a sudden the whole dream of being a rock star is gone and you’re in the daily grind. “The whole ‘love the job, hate the commute’ thing is about artists, but instead I’m talking about people driving to work and getting stuck in traffic,” he adds. “That was a long period of my life that was painful to let go, but I’m so much happier now. So maybe that’s what it is—I’m happy but reflecting on that process.” And the good times roll on. W

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M U SIC

THE BRANCHETTES: STAYED PRAYED UP

[Spiritual Helpline; Oct. 15]

Say a Little Prayer The Branchettes’ spirited, soaring new live album might persuade even the most agnostic listeners to sing, shout, and testify BY SPENCER GRIFFITH music@indyweek.com

“S

inging is the thing I’ve done all my life,” says Sister Lena Mae Perry, “and I’ve seen that a song will do things for you.” Few would know better than—or, perhaps, be foolish enough to dispute— the octogenarian vocalist and leader of long-running Johnston County gospel group The Branchettes. “If you don’t feel well or something isn’t going like you wanted it to go,” she says, “you jump up on one of those old songs and you start singing and everything just goes back to smooth sailing.” Sister Perry has spent the last 50 years doing just that at area churches, hospitals, and nursing homes—and the occasional far-flung locale like Ireland and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival—though The Branchettes have more recently gained attention from outside those circles, in part thanks to Music Maker Relief Foundation appearances and collaborations with Durham’s Phil Cook at Eaux Claires and other festivals. Perry’s potent voice, infectious enthusiasm, and uncompromising faith are now poised to win over even more hearts thanks to the release of The Branchettes’ first live album, Stayed Prayed Up, and the concert film that shares its name. Recorded two years ago at Newton Grove’s Long Branch Disciples of Christ Church, The Branchettes’ home church, Stayed Prayed Up finds The Branchettes— Sister Perry and pianist Wilbur Tharpe, who passed away in May—in spirited form, accompanied by Angela Kent and Rev. Kenny Nichols and backed by Cook’s Guitarheels, which features familiar locals Brevan Hampden on drums, Michael Libramento on bass, and James Wallace on organ. 18

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A grant from the North Carolina Arts Council helped fund the release of the album, which also serves as the debut of Cook’s Spiritual Helpline label and platform. Crackling with energy, the soaring, spirited half-hour set might persuade even the most agnostic listener to shout, sing, and testify. Featuring interviews and footage of live performances, the accompanying film slowly grew into a feature-length documentary over the course of the pandemic and has begun being screened at festivals, with a wider release currently set for spring 2022. Following the world premiere of Stayed Prayed Up at the famed Telluride Film Festival, Sister Perry—joined by Cook and Kent—delivered a Sunday morning program of southern gospel hymns. “Oh my goodness! There were so many people hollering and clapping their hands,” she remembers. “The spirit got up in there and I had to holler. I tell you what, that was an experience!” Through Spiritual Helpline, Cook hopes to help create more of those types of experiences for audiences and underrecognized tradition bearers alike. He attributes Sister Perry’s impact on his life with inspiring Spiritual Helpline, which he describes as “a platform for collaboration, connection, and community” involving storytelling along with more music and film releases, with a particular focus on Black gospel music. Cook mentions that several components of the project are currently on hold due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic, which itself led to the unexpected launch of his Sunday morning radio show. Also under the Spiritual Helpline name, Cook’s DJ sets—which are currently available on YouTube and are centered on gospel music—

The Branchettes with Phil Cook & The Guitarheels were born from a desire to do something different after experiencing burnout from live-streaming his own solo performances. As with Stayed Prayed Up, Cook isn’t sure what shape his efforts will eventually take. “I don’t know exactly how or when they will be coming out, or in what format, but it feels pretty wide open right now, in a beautiful way, and I’ve grown to love the openness of it,” he says. There’s plenty of room, he believes, for Spiritual Helpline to work alongside like-minded organizations like PineCone and Music Maker, which introduced him to both Sister Perry and Charlotte’s Thomas Rhyant, who will be featured on Spiritual Helpline’s second release. “North Carolina has a vast cultural wealth that is absolutely fading away, day by day, as people die,” Cook says, stressing the urgency to preserve the state’s heritage. “COVID-19 has also expedited the amount of tradition bearers who are no longer with us, especially due to its impact on the Black community.” Cook is frank, too, about his hopes to “repair the exploitative practices” of the

PHOTO BY D.L. ANDERSON

music industry when it comes to taking advantage of Black performers. “Everything has to be based on relationships,” he says about Spiritual Helpline’s work. “The relationships that are built are the only way that the projects will stay honest and true.” Though Sister Perry’s admiration for Cook is clear—“He’s wonderful to work with, and it’s just like he’s one of my children, the way I love him”—there’s another essential element in their relationship: “We know that God is in it and you’ve got to put him in front of everything you try to do or want to do.” Even in conversation, Sister Perry seems to be offering minisermons, alluding to the times she’s asked God to open a door for her to step through, a prayer she professes she continues to make. “As the song goes, it’s a long time coming but a change will come,” says Sister Perry. “My change has come and I’m just as happy as I can be. I’ve had such a good time on this journey and I don’t regret not one day of it.” W


M U SIC

Remembering Jermaine “mainMan” Monroe The Triangle’s hip-hop community remembers the spoken word artist and radio host BY KYESHA JENNINGS music@indyweek.com

“O

nce upon a time, I was born,” reads the Facebook bio of Jermaine “mainMan” Monroe. “I did some Dope Shit. Someday, I’ll pass away. But till then, I am main.” Only a poet who has a deep love and appreciation for hip-hop could write a prophesying bio like that, which has the power to give any reader chills. It has been two months since the Triangle’s art community lost Monroe, an undeniably talented hip-hop head, spoken word artist, and motivational speaker. On August 18, Monroe transitioned, a result of complications from COVID-19, just two days shy of his 50th birthday. The father of three used his talents to invest in young people through his mentoring program M.A.D.E (Make a Difference Every Day). In fact, his love for mentoring and performing can be seen even on his social media accounts On July 30, he shared the following status on Facebook: “Just like Wu-Tang, Main is for the children. So much so that I am having a poetry slam for my students in Gibsonville Middle that I’ve been working with since summer started.” It wasn’t unusual for Monroe to view his life’s interest through the lens of hip-hop. On August 11, he wrote a heartfelt birthday tribute post to his youngest daughter and reminded everyone that she in fact shares a birthday with none other than hip-hop, which is often said to have origins in an August 11, 1973, block party. In another caption, Monroe even affectionately referred to himself and his fiancée, Tyamica Mabry, as “B-Boy main & Around The Way Ty” to appropriately describe their eighties-inspired hip-hop attire.

His younger sister was the first in school with graffiti pants because Main painted them for her. He also gave her the dopest hip-hop esque haircut by cutting her name in the back of her head. Monroe was the host of Radio Unfriendly, a hip-hop talk show that aimed to place a spotlight on Carolina hip-hop heads and educate listeners about hiphop as an art form. With an audience of approximately 13,000 listeners, Radio Unfriendly was simulcasted on two radio stations, WHUP 104.7 FM and WAVE 87.9 FM, and became accessible on all major podcast platforms from Apple to Spotify. The show ran for three seasons and was nominated by YES! Weekly for “2020 Podcast of the Year”; it was also featured in a recent INDY Week piece celebrating the top hip-hop-related podcasts in the Triangle. Monroe’s ultimate gift to the world was his infectious personality, quick ability to make others laugh, and deep wisdom. His legacy will forever live on in North Carolina’s hip-hop and literary community. In the weeks following Monroe’s death, the INDY spoke with fellow artists and close friends to get a deeper sense of the man who was a friend, mentor, and allaround talented creator. Tyamica Mabry (fiancée): He had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. He gave me a love I never knew was possible. Although our time was short, it was absolutely beautiful. Everyone he loved knew it, and that’s how he wanted it to be. He gave us flowers while he could. He had no regrets.

Photo Jermaine “mainMan” Monroe

PHOTO COURTESY MEDIA BY PRINCE

We both always said we were who we prayed for. I prayed for him. He prayed for me. I thank God for sending him to me. For showing me a love I never could have imagined. I enjoyed every moment with him. We never had an argument. We always talked through the tough moments, which were few. He loved me. Everyone knows that. And I love him. Beyond this physical life. I had to be the luckiest woman in the world to experience his love the way I did. I realize our love was an inspiration to many. I pray that you find what we found in each other. There is nothing like it. Terrence Walker: I would always remind Main [that] he was my favorite poet. People always say there was nothing like this person or that person, but Main was definitely like no other. Anyone that knows him knows that for sure. DeeJay Samps: Anyone that has talked to Main or had the pleasure of being interviewed by him knows he was the embodiment of what a “hip-hop head” is. He always supported [my team] and [our] music. Eshod “Eternal the M.C.” Howard: I remember meeting up with big bro and building and playing chess together. He was a very great chess player. He told me stories about how his pops and Uncle Reggie taught him and told him that the

“Everyone he loved knew it, and that’s how he wanted it to be. He gave us flowers while he could. He had no regrets.” day he beat him, he could have a vintage chessboard from Japan. mainMan still had that chessboard. We would even gather people at his house to have an impromptu chess tournament. I plan on having one in his honor when the time permits. Mocha DrAmerie: All I can say is he inspired me to DO DOPE SHIT! #MyHipHopHero Dasan Ahanu: mainMan is a powerful force on that stage and on the mic. But he is also one of the coolest, dopest, and authentic dudes I’ve met. It’s always been a joy to share space. I’m so glad he got to rep the Bull City. The Hayti will hold your energy in it. W INDYweek.com

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SC R E E N Eve’s Bayou

Director Kasi Lemmons’s Eve’s Bayou is less a horror film than an exquisitely rendered blend of family drama, magical realism, and scary movie. A young Jurnee Smollett (who also stars in Lovecraft Country—watch it!) plays a 10-yearold with psychic “second sight” powers in 1960s Louisiana. If you notice a lot of little kids in these scary movies, that’s on purpose, and Eve’s Bayou is more artful than most in making the connection that growing up is scary as hell.

Warm Bodies

Those in the market for something on the goofier side will want to consider the horror-comedy-romance Warm Bodies. Nicholas Hoult stars as a sad-sack zombie several years into an undead apocalypse. He’s not too zombified, which helps explain his romance with Julie (Teresa Palmer), a human survivor. The twist is that Hoult’s zombie has eaten the head of Julie’s ex, giving him access to memories of love. The tone is reminiscent of funny-scary classics like An American Werewolf in London, plus you get an extended cameo from John Malkovich.

The Awakening

Gothic and moody, The Awakening is a good choice for those who prefer the calm spookiness of haunted mansions on the moors. Rebecca Hall plays a paranormal investigator who visits a 1920s English boarding school menaced by the ghost of a dead boy. The story has the twistiness of a murder mystery and the handsomeness of a period prestige picture. A still from Pan’s Labyrinth

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE FILMMAKERS

Event Horizon

Seven scary movies for the discerning Halloween enthusiast

On the space-horror tip, Lawrence Fishburne and Sam Neill headline this ambitious 1997 sci-fi film, which involves a derelict and possibly sentient spacecraft recently returned from, well, hell. The film pulls from Russian science fiction and classic haunted house films like The Shining to deliver some intriguing riffs on traditional cosmic horror themes. Heads up, though: it’s pretty gory.

BY GLENN MCDONALD arts@indyweek.com

Room 237

Screen Screams W

atching scary movies at home is a noble tradition around Halloween. But the sheer number of options can be daunting and—let us be frank—so very many of them suck. Below, find a list of relatively below-the-radar scary movies that do interesting things with the genre, selected for variety and mood. All are available online, one way or another, and the website Decider.com is a good place to find what is streaming where.

Let the Right One In

My personal favorite in the sophisticated-scary realm, this 2008 Swedish film is a vampire story, ultimately, but it’s truly unlike anything else in the genre. Set in suburban Stockholm, the story follows a 12-year-old child who’s been 20

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INDYweek.com

12 for about 200 years. The film’s mix of Gothic horror and early adolescent angst will make your heart race and ache at the same time. (The English-language remake, Let Me In, is pretty good, too.)

Pan’s Labyrinth

One of the most visually delicious scary movies ever made, this baroque 2006 fantasy is what director Guillermo del Toro made his bones (heh) with. The story is set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War and concerns a young girl’s encounter with profoundly creepy mythological creatures. Del Toro’s visual fever dream was inspired by classic weird fiction, Catholic iconography, and his own experiences with lucid dreaming.

Speaking of The Shining, that film is, in my embarrassingly considered opinion, the single best scary movie ever made. Everyone has seen it, though, so here’s an option for the serious nerds: Room 237 is a documentary on the film’s weird and enduring resonance in the culture. Director Rodney Ascher specializes in fringe theories and theorists, and here we get a parade of interpretations on the film, including Native American genocide, fake moon landings, the Holocaust, Greek myths, and a half dozen other hypotheses. Our current trouble with conspiracy theories lends the film a different kind of scariness.

A quick list of other recommendations if you’re still in a pinch:

Near Dark, Under the Skin, The House of the Devil, Monsters, Get Out, The Conjuring, Mama, Stoker, and The Witch. W


P U Z Z L ES If you just can’t wait, check out the current week’s answer key at www.indyweek.com, and click “puzzle pages” at the bottom of our webpage.

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© Puzzles by Pappocom

There is really only one rule to Sudoku: Fill in the game board so that the numbers 1 through 9 occur exactly once in each row, column, and 3x3 box. The numbers can appear in any order and diagonals are not considered. Your initial game board will consist of several numbers that are already placed. Those numbers cannot be changed. Your goal is to fill in the empty squares following the simple rule above.

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CON T. BILL BURTON NOTICES

RESOLUTION TO ADOPT TIME FOR COUNTING OF ABSENTEE BALLOTS NOVEMBER 2, 2021 ELECTION On September 7, 2021, the Durham County Board of Elections met in Durham, North Carolina, at its office and adopted the following resolution: WHEREAS the county board of elections is authorized upon adoption of a resolution to begin counting of absentee ballots between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Election Day; WHEREAS such resolution also may provide for an additional meeting following the day of the election and prior to the day of canvass to count absentee ballots received pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §163-231(b)(1) or (2); WHEREAS the times for these meetings will be at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 2nd and at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, November 8th for the purpose of counting absentee ballots; WHEREAS the location of these meetings shall be held at the Durham Board of Elections Warehouse, located at 2445 S. Alston Avenue, Durham, NC 27713; WHEREAS the board shall not announce the results of the count before 7:30 p.m. on Election Day; WHEREAS these meetings are open to all who may want to attend; and, WHEREAS the adoption of this resolution is in compliance with North Carolina General Statutes §§ 163-234(2) and (11) and will be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county within the statutory time frame. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Durham County Board of Elections hereby unanimously approves the time for Counting of Absentee Ballots as set forth above. This the 7th day of September 2021.

ATTORNEY AT LAW

Un c o n t e s t e d Di vo rc e Bu s i n e s s L a w UNCONTESTED In c o r p o r a t i o n / L LC / DIVORCE Pa r t n e r s h i p MUSIC BUSINESS LAW Wi l l s INCORPORATION/LLC WILLS C o l l e c t i o n s SEPARATION AGREEMENTS Mu s i c

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Dawn Y. Baxton., Chairman PAID FOR BY DURHAM COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS

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an Arts & Culture Newsletter

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Staff Members of Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books Every week a local book guru answers reader’s questions. Please submit your questions at askabookworm@indyweek.com

For the reader who wants to laugh out loud: “I always start a new David Sedaris book with a little trepidation: ‘Can I possibly love this one as much as the last? One day he’s bound to disappoint me.’ Maybe one day he will, but not this time. A Carnival of Snackery is 578 pages of merciless observation of those David encounters over the last 17 years, but, most mercilessly, himself. Included are many hilarious conversations with his fans at signings (hours of which I’ve had the privilege to observe) as he asks them questions only he could come up with. If you’ve ever been to a David Sedaris event you know what I’m talking about. And you might be in this book! What brings it all together is the kindness and love for family, and other humans, that shine through his shrewd depictions. A perfect book to snack on.” —Sarah

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October 27, 2021

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