Raleigh | Durham | Chapel Hill December 15, 2021
December 15, 2021
Raleigh W Durham W Chapel Hill VOL. 38 NO. 48
A display at the NC Chinese Lantern Festival at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, p. 15 PHOTO BY LIZ CONDO
CONTENTS NEWS 5
Raleigh council member Nicole Stewart announces she won't run again, throwing a wrench into the race for her at-large seat in 2022.
Service providers at Piedmont Health Care petition to form a union.
As opioid overdose deaths soar, addiction specialists say lawmakers should fund established programs providing evidence-based treatment.
BY LEIGH TAUSS BY THOMASI MCDONALD
BY TAYLOR KNOPF
It's tough to get public records on jail deaths, but even tougher to get them for non-fatal overdoses and suicide attempts. BY ELIZABETH THOMPSON 13 Plaintiffs suing N.C. Republicans for gerrymandered congressional and legislative district maps will see their day in court next month. BY LYNN BONNER
ARTS & CULTURE
15 The NC Chinese Lights Festival is back, and better than ever. (Plus: the Triangle's best Holiday light displays.) BY RACHEL SIMON 16 "It puts us on the map," says Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod of Scott Crawford's latest restaurant, Crawford Cookshop. BY LENA GELLER 18 Shame Gang looks toward the future. BY KYESHA JENNINGS
THE REGULARS 4 15 Minutes
20 Culture + Music Calendar
COVER Photo by Brett Villena / Design by Jon Fuller
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 Managing Editor Geoff West
Arts & Culture Editor Sarah Edwards
Theater+Dance Critic Byron Woods
C RE ATI V E
A D V E RTI S I N G
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, Rachel SImon
Wake County MaryAnn Kearns
Staff Writers Jasmine Gallup Thomasi McDonald Editorial Assistant Lena Geller Copy Editor Iza Wojciechowska
Jon Fuller Staff Photographer
Durham/Orange/ Chatham Counties John Hurld
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December 15, 2021
BACK TA L K
Last week, Jasmine Gallup wrote about the Raleigh City Council’s decision to limit the operating hours of outdoor food vendors, mandating that, instead of at three a.m., they’ll have to close at one fifteen a.m. going forward. While the council majority took the vote to benefit downtown residents who have long complained about noise, vandalism, and other mischief, this was not, as far as we can tell, a popular decision. Certainly, our readers on Facebook had thoughts.
“First the Raleigh city council was against food trucks (years ago) and now this,” wrote commenter CHRIS JAY. “What is their problem with people earning a living selling food who aren’t in a brick & mortar? I think it’s obvious.” “I am just about sick to damn death of people moving to live in an area with a robust nightlife and then doing everything they can to shut that nightlife down,” wrote commenter PHILLIP ODOM. “If you want it to be quiet, you move to the suburbs.” “Defeats the whole purpose of late night food options without driving,” wrote commenter JASON WILLIAMS. “Everyone should walk to downtown city council members homes after bars close and protest for about two weeks. Melton is the only one who voted against it.” “Absolutely idiotic,” wrote commenter JR HARVEY. “The city council seems to want to steer Raleigh towards a white-washed image of [what] they consider a good city.” “What is wrong with Raleigh City Council?” wrote commenter TONY WALDRON. “They must love to pull the rug out from hard working entrepreneurs. “Come to Durham folks. I need a late night snack.” “Food carts are essential when you leave a bar,” wrote commenter RICK HADSALL. We’ll leave the last word to commenter VICTOR GARCIA: “It was very dumb to approve that.”
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December 15, 2021
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15 MINUTES Sydney Upchurch, 15 Ballet dancer BY JASMINE GALLUP email@example.com
In February, Cary native Sydney Upchurch will participate in the Prix de Lausanne, a prestigious international ballet competition held in Switzerland, as one of 81 dancers representing 17 countries across the globe. There, Upchurch hopes to be chosen as a student for The Royal Ballet’s residential school, which could lead to a fulltime career with the London-based dance company.
How did you get into ballet? I started dancing when I was 10, so I haven’t really been doing it for too long. Growing up, I kind of did every sport, I tried it all. Then I did dance and I really liked it. I started with comp[etition] dance, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, all that stuff. When I was 13, I started focusing on ballet. It feels like I’ve been doing this forever. [I love] the artistry and being able to perform for people and put a smile on everyone’s face. It’s almost like it’s a calling. I just feel like this is what I was meant to do. I love it so much. Learning new dances and ballets and variation and getting to partner, it’s all so fun.
What is your day-to-day like? [I’m at the studio] 30 to 40 hours a week. I started [homeschooling] in sixth grade to start really focusing on dance more. I just joined Cary Ballet’s [online] school this year. I usually do my school in the morning from eight to 10:40 [a.m.]. Then I’ll have dance [class] all day long, usually until around five thirty or six [p.m.]. Then I’ll go home and I’ll continue to do whatever I didn’t get done.
PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA
What are you working on right now? I have some in-studio goals like working on my artistry and upper body. There’s so many little things I want to be able to nail down, like fouetté turns and other big jumps like saut de chats. I’ve never really been a natural turner, so turning can be hard for me sometimes. But I’ve been working on it, so I’ve definitely been able to get better. Jumping and the height, that’s always come naturally for me which is really nice, because jumps are very tiring.
What are your goals for the future? I would love to go dance in London. The Royal Ballet is my dream company. My big, long-term goal is to have a long, really good career with a company in Europe. It’s very competitive. But you just have to keep working hard for the things that you want.
What keeps you going? I’ve always just wanted more, because there is so much more. You’re never perfect, there’s always things you can still improve and get better at. There are so many goals I have for myself. So I just keep pushing myself to keep going every day until I reach the dream. There’s days I come in here when I’m just so tired, I don’t feel like moving. We all have those days. You just have to remember why you do it. I love it. I don’t even know how to put it into words, I just love it so much. W
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Game Changer BY LEIGH TAUSS firstname.lastname@example.org
he general rule of thumb is it’s hard to beat incumbents. Add to that the fact that the 2022 Raleigh municipal election is a nonpartisan race—expect none of those helpful Ds and Rs next to the names—and that the Raleigh mayor and council races will appear at the bottom of a lengthy ballot, and you have a recipe for the current board’s slate to slide with relative ease into another term. No one on council would have an easier time seeking reelection than Nicole Stewart. She received more votes than anyone on the council in 2019, including about 10,000 more votes than Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. But instead of coasting to victory, Stewart says it’s time to walk away. On Tuesday, Stewart, 40, announced she will not run for reelection next year. “Dear Raleigh, Thank you for the privilege to serve,” Stewart wrote in a statement. “During my tenure, I am proud of the progress we have made and believe now is the right time to let the next leader step up and serve our beloved city.” The news comes as a disappointment to those who have followed Stewart’s political career. While her two terms on the council may seem relatively brief, her tenure saw her transition from the underdog on a council dead set on thwarting development to a member at the forefront of a sea change in Raleigh politics, ushering in the city’s future as a modern, dense, and vibrant metropolis. Baldwin praised Stewart for her “intellectual, data-driven approach” to governing. “What we’re doing right now is so hard because we’re going from a small city to a big city,” Baldwin told the INDY. “It’s a transition and it’s uncomfortable for some people because change is hard. People don’t want to see change, but we
Nicole Stewart PHOTO COURTESY OF SUBJECT are changing and Nicole had that vision about where we needed to be and who we needed to be as a city.” Under the previous council, that vision made Stewart often the sole voice of opposition. At the time, she was the council’s youngest member at 37, and the council majority was composed of an older guard that prioritized preserving the past over making room for growth. While Mayor Nancy McFarlane and council member Corey Branch sometimes tried to compromise and come to a consensus on issues, including on regulating shortterm rentals and allowing ADUs, Stewart was unafraid to be the lone dissenting vote—for example, on issues such as a water and sewer rate increase she felt was inadequate or against a proposal to
eliminate a sidewalk plan, at the behest of a few vocal residents, for an inner-city neighborhood that had been in the works for years. Stewart’s boldness made her stand out among the crowd in the 2019 election; she solidified a leadership position on the council when a new development-friendly board majority was sworn in that December and was appointed mayor pro tem. Stewart said her goal serving on council was to “increase access to the decision-making table to help make our City Council more diverse.” Among her accomplishments, Stewart says she’s proud of helping to pass the $80 million affordable housing bond, supporting a goal to lower emissions 80 percent by 2050 to combat climate change, and stopping future development from being built in the floodplain. Stewart’s exit from the council provides a big opportunity for a newcomer to run, without the threat of facing off against a formidable incumbent. In an otherwise sleepy election year for the council, an open seat could shake things up considerably. In addition to serving on the council, Stewart also works full-time as development director for the NC Conservation Network. Prior to serving, she helped found the Beehive Collective, a giving circle that has raised more than $400,000 for local causes. “When you leave council it doesn’t mean you stop doing good,” Baldwin says. “She’ll find other ways to have a voice. We have her for another year and I expect it will be even stronger than it has been.” It’s a rare thing for an incumbent to step away at the top of their game. When asked if Stewart would consider returning to political life at some point down the road, she replied, “I’m not ruling it out.” W
ke up w a W i
Nicole Stewart went from being council underdog to leading a sea change in Raleigh politics. Now, she says it’s time for someone new to step up.
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December 15, 2021
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Collective Care Physicians and medical care providers at Piedmont Health Services have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board and the organization’s own CEO to form a service providers union. BY THOMASI MCDONALD email@example.com
ission-driven. That’s a term one hears often while speaking with the medical providers who care and treat many of the region’s most economically vulnerable patients at Piedmont Health Services (PHS), which employs 600 people and operates eight community health centers in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Lee, Orange, Person, and Randolph Counties. “As medical providers, we are not focused on salaries. We’re content with our salaries,” Rupal Yu, a family physician who has worked with PHS since 2012, told the INDY last week. “The kind of people working at Piedmont Health aren’t going to work for Duke Health. We care for patients who have very little, and we are trained to meet their needs, to close those gaps in a powerful and meaningful way.” The acceptance of relatively modest salaries notwithstanding, Yu, along with nearly 50 other physicians and medical providers at PHS, is focused on having a seat at the table. On November 23, PHS physicians and medical providers petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to form the Piedmont Health Services Providers United and submitted a petition to PHS CEO Brian Toomey that explained why they felt it was important to form a union. The petition noted that the petitioners are “a diverse, united group of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurse midwives who have chosen to work at this organization because of our alignment to the PHS mission: ‘To improve the health and well being of the community by providing high quali6
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ty, affordable and comprehensive primary health care.’” Chief among their concerns is not having a voice in organizational decisions that affect how they deliver patient care. “We see how our patients must overcome multiple hurdles to access our care,” the group stated in the petition. “They suffer when basic clinic functions are neglected and staff experience burnout. We are tired of not having the time, tools, and support we need to do our work. Every time we fail to meet our patients’ needs, we feel the pulse of our beloved PHS growing weaker.” The group emphasized the importance of collective bargaining and asked Toomey “to recognize our union.” Toomey could not be reached for comment. But the same day the petition was filed with the National Labor Relations Board, PHS responded by hiring Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, a powerhouse law firm with a national reputation for union-busting. This spring, Duke University officials hired the law firm after Duke University Press (DUP) employees announced their intention to form a union. Ogletree Deakins was a formidable opponent, but the DUP workers prevailed. “[This fall] the National Labor Board ruled in our favor,” Sandra Korn, an assistant editor with DUP, told the INDY this week. “The workers won the vote, but Duke has not yet recognized us. So at the moment, we’re without legal recognition. It’s as if their anti-union law firm will pull some legal feat to delay as long as possi-
PHOTO COURTESY OF RUPAL YU
ble. It’s like [Ogletree Deakins’s] business model is to intimidate workers and prevent people from having the power in the workplace that they deserve.” PHS Providers Union members are awaiting the outcome of a pre-election hearing Tuesday with Ogletree Deakins attorneys at the NLRB offices in Winston-Salem, Michaela McCuddy, a family medicine doctor at the PHS center in Siler City, told the INDY. “It is occurring because [PHS CEO] Mr. Toomey refuses to recognize our supermajority outright, and the purpose is to sort out the details of our election,” McCuddy said. “We find it reprehensible that our management is squandering our precious resources to delay our election,” Yu said about this week’s hearing. “We are ready to have elections. We are ready to vote, and that needs to be done. We have work that needs to be done with patients that need our care and this is a needless distraction and delay.”
Ogletree Deakins officials were not available for comment. PHS’s seemingly anti-union stance appears counterintuitive to its origins, a little over a half century ago, as a federally qualified health center that’s eligible for reimbursement under Medicare and Medicaid. Agencies like PHS function as a medical safety net that offers high-quality primary care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay, according to ruralhealthinfo.org. Company officials on the PHS website note the health care provider was started in 1970 by UNC–Chapel Hill health care professionals and community members who were concerned about access to primary health care in their communities. Then known as Orange-Chatham Comprehensive Health Services, the organization placed “special emphasis on those who weren’t receiving proper healthcare and who lacked access to services,” according to its website.
Piedmont’s mission is why Yu, a family physician and UNC–Chapel Hill medical school graduate, started working at PHS’s Carrboro clinic after completing her residency with UNC Family Medicine. Yu was attracted to PHS because of its reputation as one of the largest providers of community health services in the country and its mission of inclusiveness that translates into 50,000 people being treated each year. “The majority are uninsured,” Yu said. “I worked there at two clinics as a medical student and really looked up to the physicians and medical providers I worked with, who are all brilliant and dedicated. So I knew I wanted to come here after my training. It was a no-brainer because I’m mission-driven.” McCuddy echoed Yu’s sentiment about PHS. “I always wanted to be here and work in this specific community in Siler City,” she said. McCuddy said she decided to work in rural, Spanish-speaking, Latinx communities while attending UNC medical school. That’s also when she first became aware of PHS. “I wanted to bring care where it’s needed most,” she explained. “I love rural medicine. As a doctor, it’s like I’m part of the family in some regards. You can be a pillar in the community in so many different realms, inside and outside the clinic.” McCuddy said a close friend told her about an opening at PHS’s Siler City clinic. “Siler City is close to me. I felt compelled,” she said. “I felt like, ‘Yes. This is where I want to be.’” Krishna Kothary is a family nurse practitioner who earned her advanced degree in nursing from Johns Hopkins University. In 2018, she began working at PHS’s Siler City and Carrboro clinics. Along with being a primary care physician, her expertise is in addictions, gender-affirming care, and HIV care. For her, PHS was a natural fit. “Community health is where my heart and soul is, for all of my career,” Kothary told the INDY last week. “It’s a mission that I wanted to be a part of. I’m passionate about caring for underserved communities.” Kothary says the work is about treating high-risk patients who are challenged by a complexity of barriers, including economic and language obstacles, particularly in Siler City, where she treats a significant number of Spanish-speaking patients. “Those barriers can affect their health and also affect their ability to obtain health care,” Kothary said. “There are these social determinants of health: unsafe neighbor-
hoods with poor air quality, intergenerational trauma, poverty, a kid living in poverty whose asthma is worse because of poor housing or a relative who smokes …. It’s what I treat every day.” But the medical providers who spoke with the INDY say PHS has strayed from its roots. They point to workplaces where they have no input in decisions that affect the lives of their patients and their own, where they feel bullied when they ask for change, and where there exists high employee turnover because of frustration, increased workloads, and cuts in their own health coverage. McCuddy said that even though the Siler City clinic is exactly where she wants to be because people bring so much passion to their work, she’s beginning to see issues with PHS’s ability to retain its employees. “People want to be there,” she said. “They feel supported by the other providers, but they don’t have a voice in the organization. Every other week, or every three weeks, someone leaves, and people are sad to be leaving. They want to be here.” Yu said frustration has been “building up quite a while” among her colleagues. She added that those frustrations have been exacerbated by the pandemic. In addition to a lot of staff turnover, she decried patterns of poor management by managers who don’t have the expertise or support to do their job. “We need to have a mechanism in place to raise issues,” Yu said. “The issues are many. The problem is we have no mechanism. We need to have a seat at the table.” Kothary said the PHS system is “an added barrier to barriers that our patients already have.” “One of the main reasons I want a union is to have a say in the system,” Kothary said. “A lot of medical providers apologize [to their patients] for the system. There’s not one day I don’t apologize for the system.” Kothary added that it’s one thing to apologize to her patients because of the “shitty lives” they have to endure and quite another to apologize for a system that’s supposed to help them but feels more like it’s exploitative. “My heart is breaking at this point at how the system represents itself and has become a hindrance,” she said. Yu said that as agents of nonprofit health care centers, PHS medical providers “have an obligation to serve our vulnerable population with dignity and respect.” “And we believe a strong medical providers’ voice will create stability and enhance our mission and make Piedmont Health a better place for all.” W INDYweek.com
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Off Target As drug overdose deaths hit record numbers, addiction experts say lawmakers should be spending money on established programs providing evidence-based treatment. BY TAYLOR KNOPF firstname.lastname@example.org
ne of the largest allocations for substance use disorder treatment in the recently enacted state budget—$10 million—is going to a new nonprofit set up by a church in Robeson County, home to one of the most powerful Republicans in the state senate. The nonprofit, called Hope Alive Inc., is a ministry of Greater Hope International Church in Lumberton. Its lead pastor, Ron Barnes, told his congregation during a Sunday service on November 21, which was livestreamed on Facebook, that Hope Alive received a grant to open an “82-bed drug addiction rehab facility.” There’s no evidence on the six-year-old church’s website to suggest it has experience in treating addiction disorders, and the church failed to respond to multiple media requests for details of the nonprofit’s plans. More than 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses during the pandemic between April 2020 and April 2021, the largest number recorded for a 12-month period, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Substance use experts argue that, at a time when a record-breaking number of people are dying of drug overdoses, state money should be directed to clinics and organizations with a track record of providing evidence-based addiction treatment, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder. Providing MAT to patients requires special medical licensing, which many churchrun drug treatment programs do not have. “It’s really infuriating to see $10 million going somewhere that doesn’t have any details attached to it,” said Jamie Carter, primary care and addiction medicine physician at Lincoln Community Health Cen8
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ter in Durham. At Carter’s facility, which didn’t receive money from the state budget for addiction treatment, patients historically would miss MAT appointments because they struggled to scrounge up the $10 needed for their copay. Currently, her patients’ copays are being covered by a temporary grant set to expire next year, but she said there are patients at other community health centers in the state that still struggle to afford copays. “That amount of money [$10 million could cover the costs of copays for patients through all the community health centers in the state for years, I would imagine,” she said. It’s unclear what kind of treatment Hope Alive will provide with the $10 million grant. NC Health News reached out to Greater Hope International Church multiple times by phone, email, and Facebook to learn more details about Hope Alive’s plans for its drug treatment facility, but no one responded at the time of publication. NC Health News sought information about Hope Alive from the office of state senate leader Phil Berger (R–30th District), which led budget negotiations for the chamber. His office directed us to state senator Danny Britt (R–13th District), since it’s in his district. Britt is a rising Republican star who has said he’s considering a run for the statewide office of attorney general in 2024. He also has not responded to multiple email, phone, and text message requests for comment on this story.
“Honoring our faith” Pastor Barnes said he established Hope Alive in July 2020 because the Lord spoke
Harm reduction worker Colin Miller (at the end of the table in a black T-shirt) packages naloxone kits with volunteers at the state’s Opioid Summit in June 2017. PHOTO BY TAYLOR KNOPF to him through prayer and told him to “form a separate benevolence outreach ministry,” Barnes explained from the church pulpit as music played and the worship team swayed behind him. Both entities use the same mailing address. While Hope Alive has no website, Greater Hope International Church has a prolific online presence. The church and Barnes have very active Facebook pages with thousands of friends and followers, a YouTube channel, an Instagram account, and a radio broadcast in Robeson County. Barnes is Facebook “friends” with Senator Britt and several other Britts. The pastor doesn’t appear to be connected on Facebook to the two other state lawmakers who represent Robeson County in the state legislature. “God said I’m going to do something to blow people’s mind. And let me tell you something, my mind got blown this week,” Barnes told his congregation the Sunday after the state budget deal was announced. “There’s been some work going on, and we’ve been doing some things but … Hope Alive was granted $11 million [sic] for drug rehab.” During his Sunday morning announcement, Barnes did not include that the grant was from the state government. “Don’t take me as bragging, but yes,
I am,” the pastor continued. “No other church, no other ministry in this county has ever stepped out on faith like this. God is honoring our faith.” Robeson County certainly has a need for substance use treatment services. The county had the highest rate of emergency department visits for drug overdoses in the state last year at 495 per 100,000 people and the second-highest rate of overdose death at 62 per 100,000 people. The Robeson RCORP Consortium, a more established organization aimed at treating addiction in Robeson County, received $2.2 million from the state budget.
Many “ministries” get state opioid dollars It’s not uncommon for the state legislature to give isolated grants to groups with Christian affiliations aimed at helping people with substance use disorders or to fund other special projects. The News & Observer created an interactive graph that shows which counties received the $3.1 billion in earmarks this budget cycle. Much of the funding allocated by earmark this year is the result of federal COVID relief dollars passed by Congress in March.
According to a Supreme Court ruling, religious groups cannot use taxpayer funds for anything “inherently religious,” but funds can be used for nonreligious social services. Several other groups throughout North Carolina—both religious and nonreligious— received onetime grants to provide resources and services to people with substance use disorders. Most of the larger allocations are designated for the opening of new addiction treatment facilities.
“Gold standard” addiction treatment MATs, such as methadone and buprenorphine, are well documented to greatly reduce opioid overdose deaths and help people with opioid use disorder live normal lives. However, many of the groups receiving state money rely on older abstinence-based approaches to addiction recovery and don’t offer MAT. For example, the Brunswick Christian Recovery Center received $1.1 million from the state budget for a new treatment facility, and the organization’s website says it doesn’t offer “conventional drug and alcohol treatment or MAT services. Our program is designed to encourage recovery by developing a relationship with Jesus Christ and working the 12-step program.” “I know the General Assembly cares a lot about the overdose crisis. So I would hope and I would think that they would allocate funds to existing, established, legitimate, credible, evidence-based programs,” said Alex Gertner, MD/PhD candidate at the UNC School of Medicine and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Gertner has published multiple research articles and conducted award-winning research in the field of opioid use disorder and treatment. “So when I see money going to places that no one’s heard of in places that don’t provide gold-standard care, it worries me and it concerns me.” State lawmakers have increased funding to address addiction issues over the past several years due to the rising level of drug overdose deaths. “There’s no wrong road to recovery. So people find and use all kinds of resources when they’re dealing with addiction,” Gertner said. “For some people that can be church. For some people that can be camping. It can be family, it can be golf, you know, whatever. People find support, they find meaning in lots of different activities.” While these activities can be helpful, they are not treatment, he said.
“When we allocate money to deal with serious illnesses, like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, we generally give it to proven, evidence-based programs, and that’s what we should do for addiction,” Gertner said.
Abstinence-only treatment increases overdose risk Opioid addiction treatment that doesn’t use MAT has a 90 percent failure rate, said Gertner, citing a study published in JAMA Psychiatry. “What’s worse is that it can be harmful,” he added, “because when someone who has an opioid addiction stops using opioids for a short period of time, and then returns to using opioids—which is often what happens in abstinence-based approaches—it increases overdose risk. So what we don’t want to do is fund programs that could actually put people at higher risk of overdose and death.” Over the last several years, an increasing number of street drugs contain fentanyl— an opioid that’s much stronger than heroin or morphine—which makes returning to drug use after a period of abstinence much more deadly. “We know that we’re just throwing millions of dollars toward ineffective detoxand abstinence-based methods for a population that has single-digit success rates when we use those methods,” said Colin Miller, cofounder of Twin City Harm Reduction Collective in Winston-Salem. Miller said he has a history of homelessness and drug use and in the past went through an abstinence-based residential treatment program in Winston-Salem as an alternative to a jail sentence. However, MAT has been more effective for Miller. He’s now on Sublocade, a monthly shot of long-release buprenorphine. He said state lawmakers need to allocate money “intelligently and to what is actually evidence based.” “It’s just crazy to see the same shit, year after year, as the overdose rate just continues to climb,” Miller said. There are tight regulations around providing MAT that prevent some well-established programs from administering the medication to participants. Miller said the abstinence-based programs, instead, rely heavily on the 12-step recovery model, “and you’re constantly told that abstinence is the only way, and that it’s not ‘real recovery’ if you’re on MAT.” Carter, a primary care and addiction medication provider in Durham, said she is
Onetime state budget funds to groups providing services or treatment for substance use disorders:
$21,400 to Living Free Ministries in Alamance County $50,000 to The Anchor Holds in Nash County $100,000 to Fellowship Hall in Greensboro $112,000 to Ground 40 Ministries in Union County $200,000 to Dew4Him Ministries in Wake County $250,000 to Hope Restorations in Kinston $500,000 to Samaritan Colony in Rockingham $500,000 to Partners for Behavioral Health Management in Surry County
$500,000 to Wilkes Recovery Revolution in Wilkes County
$900,000 to Outer Banks Dare Challenge Inc. in Manteo
to Gateway of Hope Addiction Recovery Center in Stanly County
$1.1 million to Brunswick Christian Recovery Center in Brunswick County
$1.3 million to Bridge for Recovery, Inc., in Union County $1.5 million to Will’s Place, Inc., in Stanly County $1.5 million to First Contact Ministries, Inc., in Hendersonville
$2.2 million to Robeson RCORP Consortium in Robeson County
$3.25 million to Burke County for a substance use treatment facility
$5 million to Healing Transitions in Wake County $10 million to Hope Alive Inc. in Robeson County $11 million to TROSA in Durham County *These funds do not include millions coming to North Carolina from the multistate settlement agreements with opioid distributors and manufacturers.
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, ENTS TUD RE S R A FO LTHC D H E A E R S, A N K W O R AC H E R S TE
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This map shows the rate of drug overdose deaths in North Carolina in 2020. MAP COURTESY OF THE N.C. DHHS OPIOID AND SUBSTANCE USE ACTION PLAN DATA DASHBOARD
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“horrified” that these programs don’t give participants the option to receive MAT. “I think these programs have a moral and ethical obligation to be offering and educating anyone who comes to them who’s asking for treatment about the treatment options that are the standard of care,” she said. If a program doesn’t provide MAT, they need to give participants the option to receive it, even if that means driving participants to a facility that does, she said.
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This map shows the rate of drug-overdose-related emergency department visits in North Carolina in 2020. MAP COURTESY OF THE N.C. DHHS OPIOID AND SUBSTANCE USE
Beyond treatment money While program funding to address substance use disorder plays a crucial role in treating addiction, it’s not the only piece of the puzzle, according to Sarah Potter, director of Addiction Professionals of NC. “Increasing funding does not improve the system’s infrastructure. The reality is that the behavioral health workforce is dwindling due to secondary trauma and burnout,” she said.
Potter noted that overdose deaths have continued to rise for the last 15 years, but she said the workforce cannot keep up with the demand. “Funding is only as good as you have professionals to help. With the significant strain on our frontline addiction and mental health workers—who are traditionally overworked and underpaid—our workforce is in dire need of help,” she said. “Yes, more funds are needed but the field cannot use the funds effectively without a sufficient number of healthy and capable workers. She applauded state lawmakers for increased addiction funding in the budget but criticized them for the nearly fivemonth delay in approving the funds. “While legislators went back and forth with negotiation, service providers went without much-needed support, delaying projects and work across the state,” she said. W This story was originally published online at NC Health News.
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North Carolina A sign reading “Inmate Intake” points to the High Point Detention Center. PHOTO BY ELIZABETH THOMPSON
Incarceration, not treatment
aths have 15 years, It’s not keep
tricky to get public records on jail deaths, but attempted suicides and drug overdoses that do not end in death are almost impossible to track.
you have BY ELIZABETH THOMPSON email@example.com ignificant and menditionally workforce round eight p.m. on Monday, November 22, a man incarYes, more cerated at the Alamance County jail was found unreannot usesponsive. Jail staff administered naloxone, an opioid overdose sufficientreversal drug, and he was transported to the Cone Health workers. Alamance Regional Medical Center, according to the jail. akers for This man, Craig Hodge, overdosed on drugs, according to the bud-the jail incident report. He survived his overdose. early five- Less than an hour later, jail staff found a second man nds. unresponsive, a 21-year-old named Gerard Barnes. Staff and forthand local emergency medical services were unable to revive ers wentBarnes. He died. delaying At the time of the jail’s press release, Barnes’s official ate,” shecause of death had not been announced by a medical examiner. That investigation could confirm whether Barnes also overdosed. online at That same day, a third man incarcerated in the Alamance jail, Torre Jamel Haith, was found in possession of a bag-
gie “containing a small amount of powder substance which tested positive for fentanyl,” according to the jail. He was charged with a felony for possession of drugs on jail property. Alamance County Detention Center spokeswoman Michelle Mills confirmed that another person had also been found unresponsive two days before Barnes died. But she couldn’t confirm whether that person overdosed. “As far as I know, we didn’t receive a toxicology report on that inmate so there is limited information that can be released,” Mills said in an email. While there was an incident report for the overdose that occurred before Barnes died, Mills said, incident reports are not necessarily written up every time it is suspected a person might have overdosed. “Incident reports are for crimes,” Mills said, “so they wouldn’t necessarily have an incident report—it may just be medical records for that inmate.”
The cluster of overdoses at the Alamance jail comes at a time when there have been a record number of overdose deaths in the United States—and in North Carolina (see map page 10). An average of more than eight North Carolinians died every day of 2020 from a drug overdose, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. More than 28,000 North Carolinians died of a drug overdose from 2000 to 2020. There has been movement at the state and national level to help people with opioid use disorder, including funds in the state budget for addiction treatment and recovery and settlement money coming into North Carolina as a result of Attorney General Josh Stein’s lawsuit against major opioid manufacturers. But people with opioid use disorder often end up in jail rather than receiving treatment. Federal data shows that as much as 85 percent of the prison population either has a substance use disorder or was arrested for crimes related to drug use. In the state’s jails, which are controlled by county sheriffs and often lack comprehensive oversight, opioid overdoses are not uncommon. Local jail deaths due to drugs or alcohol intoxication have more than quadrupled across the country from 2000 to 2018, according to national data. “We incarcerate people for the crime of mental illness and the crime of substance use disorder,” Evan Ashkin, professor of family medicine at UNC School of Medicine previously told NC Health News. But it’s almost impossible to know the total number of incarcerated people who overdose. While overdose deaths that occur in jails are reported in North Carolina, the number of nonfatal drug overdoses in jails is almost impossible to track. Jails often have to wait for a myriad of different reports to come back to truly identify the actual cause of death, said Luke Woollard, attorney for Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC). An autopsy with a toxicity screening is required to rule a death as an overdose. It is most common for a person to overdose if they have entered the jail soon after consuming drugs, Woollard said. For example, a person may have ingested a large amount of drugs to try and hide them upon their arrest. If staff does not check on them, they can die in a cell alone. It’s also possible, but less common, for someone to bring drugs into the jail and die from overdose. Methods of treating people with substance use disorders are also inconsistent in the state’s jails. Some jails provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs, where detainees are allowed to continue taking or are prescribed medications such as methadone INDYweek.com
December 15, 2021
or buprenorphine, which allow people with substance use disorders to get off harmful street drugs without going through withdrawal. Other jails offer no such treatment, forcing people into withdrawal while in custody. Opioid withdrawal usually looks like a flu-like illness, including symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. It’s an unusual occurrence but left untreated, people can die from those symptoms. “Somebody comes in,” Woollard said, “and the ones we see, often they’re either noted as being in Percocet withdrawal or some sort of withdrawal, and it’s the same issue. They have serious medical problems over a number of days and then eventually just sort of succumb to them.” Forcing people through withdrawal also lowers their tolerance over time. This can be a problem once people are released, said Susan Pollitt, supervising attorney for DRNC. A study by UNC–Chapel Hill researchers found that incarcerated people in North Carolina were 40 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose within the first two weeks after release than someone in the general population. There’s another complication to tracking how many people overdose in jail. If the person dies outside of the jail facility—whether because they were quickly discharged or en route to the hospital—the jail staff does not generate a report. “We take a lot of steps to try and stop this,” Woollard said, “but it is still a fairly common thing for jails to try and take somebody who died from suicide or overdose, get them while they’re in really bad shape but en route to a hospital, try and get them posted bail or something, so that they can say they weren’t in custody to avoid all of this reporting that they’ve had to do.” And if there is a suicide attempt or overdose that doesn’t result in death, no documents are generated, Pollitt said.
A bill to record attempted jail suicides After a 17-year-old died in the Mecklenburg Jail North Juvenile Detention Center, state representative Carla Cunningham (D-Mecklenburg) started to research jail deaths due to inadequate medical care. “I started looking at it closely and saw that yes, these things were happening in facilities,” Cunningham said in an interview with NC Health News. “And that it really is not a lot of oversight or a collection of the 12
December 15, 2021
“It really is not a lot of oversight or a collection of the data ... The information is there but you’ve got to dig for it.” data …. The information is there, but you’ve got to dig for it.” Cunningham filed a bill at the state legislature in May which would have required the state Department of Health and Human Services to conduct compliance reviews following reports of an attempted suicide. Cunningham, a registered nurse, said that in health professions, preventative measures are paramount to reducing harm. If someone comes into a medical setting who is suicidal, health professionals know to be on high alert. But jail staff may not have the medical training that nurses do, Cunningham said. “That is still a responsibility that they have,” she said, “and if they aren’t able to fulfill that, then someone else needs to be stepping in and helping them understand the training, helping understand how to apply it and understand how to be more preventive in those steps.” Cunningham’s bill went nowhere this year. She said that one reason it may not have moved forward through the legislative process could be because some legislators didn’t want to put “additional stressors” on sheriffs. Cunningham said she doesn’t consider having more of a paper trail to be a stressor. She noted data is key in the medical field. Without comprehensive data on overdoses in the state’s jails, it’s hard to tell how many close calls there have been, which is a problem, even as overdose deaths tick up across the state, partly due to the introduction of fentanyl into the drug supply. More powerful drugs like fentanyl mean a greater risk for a fatal overdose in jail. The public will get a record then, but that means another person will be dead. W This story was originally published online at North Carolina Health News.
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North Carolina The N.C. Justice Building in Raleigh PHOTO NCCOURTS.GOV
of appeals and taking their cases directly to the state’s highest court.
Due Process North Carolina’s primaries are delayed until May as plaintiffs secure a speedy review of their gerrymandering lawsuits by the state Supreme Court. BY LYNN BONNER firstname.lastname@example.org
tate courts are wading into the bare-knuckle fight over new congressional and legislative districts that Republicans say are just fine but Democrats and outside evaluators argue are heavily skewed to the GOP’s advantage. Three lawsuits have been filed against the redistricting plans. The NC League of Conservation Voters is challenging the congressional and legislative districts, saying the plans are unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders and dilute minority votes. North Carolina voters tend to split their choices about evenly between Democrats and Republicans, but Republicans will win nine or 10 of the state’s 14 congressional seats even if voter preferences shift significantly toward Democrats, the lawsuit says. Civil rights groups are also suing. The NC NAACP/ Common Cause of North Carolina lawsuit claims the state house and senate maps were drawn improperly, because Republicans did not consider whether they
should create districts that comply with the federal Voting Rights Act. And a group of voters backed by the National Redistricting Foundation claim in their lawsuit that the congressional plan is “an extreme and brazen partisan gerrymander” of the kind that forced the legislature to redraw district lines in 2019. Last week, justices on North Carolina’s Supreme Court ordered that the state’s primary elections move from March 8 to May 17 in order to give the court time to hear the complaints. The trial will run from January 6 through January 8, with a verdict from the court scheduled to come down on January 11. These legal challenges are familiar territory for North Carolina. Between 2011 and 2019, courts required state lawmakers to redraw district lines several times to correct racial or partisan gerrymanders. Attorneys in the most recent redistricting lawsuits asked to speed up the appeals process by skipping the state court
overnor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein, both Democrats, asked the state Supreme Court last week if it could support the requests for “discretionary review,” or to bypass the court of appeals, in the cases filed by the NC League of Conservation Voters and the National Redistricting Foundation–backed plaintiffs. Republicans adopted gerrymandered districts “improperly entrenching themselves and their political party in office,” their court brief says. “This case raises profound issues of constitutional law that go to the heart of our State’s ability to function as a democracy,” the Cooper-Stein brief says. “Partisan gerrymandering, exacerbated by today’s technology, allows legislative majorities to entrench themselves in power without regard to the popular will. It prevents the people from meaningfully exercising their sovereign authority to select their representatives, and to thereby ensure that the State’s policies reflect the views of the people as a whole.” Attorneys in the lawsuits filed by the National Redistricting Foundation and civil rights groups have asked that Justice Phil Berger Jr. be disqualified from participating in the case. Justice Berger Jr.’s father, senate leader Phil Berger Sr. (R–30th District), is a named defendant in redistricting lawsuits. Motions last week to have Justice Berger disqualified mirror a similar request made by plaintiffs in a voter ID case pending before the court in which Senator Berger is also a defendant. The request that Berger and Justice Tamara Barringer, a former state senator, step down has prompted a sometimes heated public debate over judicial conflicts of interest. Senator Berger is often named in lawsuits challenging legislative actions by virtue of his position as senate leader. But in their motion, lawyers for the civil rights groups say that Senator Berger is more than a nominal defendant, having appointed the redistricting committee and helped pick lawyers representing legislators. “We believe that this is an exceptional case where it’s not a mere formality,” Hilary Harris Klein said in an interview. Klein is a lawyer with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice who is representing the civil rights groups. The North Carolina Judicial Code of Conduct says judges should recuse themselves when they are related to a party in a case. “We believe that is a clear conflict,” Klein said. Klein said that the recusal request does not have to delay consideration of their case. The civil rights groups are suing over legislative districts, claiming that Republican mapmakers did not conINDYweek.com
December 15, 2021
BILL BURTON 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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sider a need to draw districts that comply with the federal Voting Rights Act, as a state Supreme Court ruling from the early 2000s requires. In redistricting committee meetings this year, Republicans said they did not use racial or partisan data in creating the district plans. Phillip Strach, a lawyer for Republican legislators, said in a hearing last month that GOP lawmakers did comply with that earlier court ruling and that Voting Rights Act districts “were not required because of the long litigation history that preceded this redistricting.” “Of paramount importance is that voters, when they go to the polls, are able to exercise their rights on equal terms,” Klein said. Independent evaluators, including the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, have determined the plans skew in favor of Republicans. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave each of the three redistricting plans an “F” for partisan fairness. In a court hearing earlier this month, a lawyer representing Republican lawmakers said the maps look the way they do because Republican voters are spread across the state, while Democratic voters are concentrated in higher-population counties. A lawyer for the National Redistricting Foundation–backed plaintiffs countered that the congressional plan intentionally packs Democrats into a handful of districts and parcels them out to other districts with heavy Republican majorities where they don’t have a chance of influencing election outcomes. Voters in the state’s largest, heavily Democratic counties, Wake, Mecklenburg, and Guilford, are divided among three districts. Guilford does not have a self-contained congressional district. Its voters are split among three districts that all have Republican majorities, the lawsuit says. The League of Conservation Voters lawsuit asks the court to order the state to use its proposed maps, produced by computer algorithms, if the legislature does not redraw districts in time for the 2022 primary. One of the reasons the league offered its own maps was to show that the legislature could have created fairer maps while complying with traditional redistricting principles. “The General Assembly cannot claim that North Carolina’s political geography or state law compelled the skewed results the enacted plans yield,” the lawsuit says. W This story was originally published online at NC Policy Watch.
at comply Act, as a the early
NC CHINESE LANTERN FESTIVAL
Through January 9, 2022 | Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Cary | boothamphitheatre.com
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A display at the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival PHOTO BY LIZ CONDO
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Standing in the Lights North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival is back better than ever. BY RACHEL SIMON email@example.com
vily Demburg, and hen the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival was canceled in 2020 due to districts. the pandemic, the news came as a serious disappointment to the thousands of contained people hoping to attend the annual wintertime event. are split Luckily, the festival has returned this year—and judging by the crowds so far, visitors ve Repub- from all over the state are feeling more festive and eager to witness the stunning, handcrafted lantern displays. n Voters First launched in Cary in 2015, the festival, held at the town’s Koka Booth Amphithe state theatre, has become one of the Triangle’s most must-see holiday events. Each year, duced by over 25 Chinese artists and performers from Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc., come to North gislature Carolina to spend a month hand-assembling the thousands of lanterns needed for the e for the spectacular artworks that are then installed around the amphitheater. The 2021 festival features 36 all-new displays, including interactive exhibits like e offered light-up swings and a foot piano for kids to enjoy. And of course, the 18,000-pound, the leg- 21-foot-tall floating dragon—a festival highlight—is back to loom large on Symphorer maps ny Lake. al redis- While the festival has always brought out big numbers, this year’s event is seeing record attendance, with more than 56,000 tickets purchased in the first two weeks ot claim alone, per ABC11—over a 100 percent increase from 2019. eography It’s easy to understand why. With tickets starting at just $11 (prices vary depended results ing on age and attendance date) and including nightly acrobatic shows by Chinese uit says. W performers in addition to the lantern displays, the festival makes for a satisfying, accessible experience. online at Kids can have a blast playing on the rainbow-hued, donut-shaped swings and facing off against the giant lantern robot, while adults are sure to be drawn in by the festi-
val’s gorgeous floral creations and relish a leisurely stroll through the mesmerizing, color-changing tunnel. Guests of all ages will appreciate the dozens of lit-up, moving animal displays placed throughout the space, from a giant peacock strutting its feathers to a row of “floating” turtles set up in a swimming formation. And then, of course, there’s the dragon. Stretching 200 feet across Symphony Lake, the massive lantern is the well-deserved star of the festival. According to the amphitheater’s website, it took a 15-person crew as well as a crane to get the artwork installed on the lake. The beauty of the festival creations is a testament to the hugely impressive efforts of the Chinese artists involved. Each of the over 2,500 lanterns used was created by hand (and exclusively for the event) with materials shipped to North Carolina from Zigong, the city long considered to be the lantern capital of China. To make the lanterns, the artists designed the creations on silk fabric that was then stretched over steel frames and lit up with hundreds of LED lights. The art of lantern making is a traditionn going back centuries, in China, having begun over 2,000 years ago during the Han Dynasty. The colorful lanterns are said to symbolize respect and good luck, and lantern festivals are held across the world to mark the annual Chinese New Year, which occurs on the 15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar. While ancient lanterns largely had simple designs, modern ones are often ornate and embellished, as seen in the various displays throughout the Cary festival. The North Carolina town is one of only six American communities to host the Tianyu-made Chinese lantern festival this year; the others are Seattle, Little Rock, Oakland, Oklahoma City, and Orlando. It’d be a must-see event any holiday season, but after such a long past few years, the 2021 festival feels extra special, offering a fully immersive, awe-inspiring experience attendees (like this reporter) won’t soon forget. And couldn’t we all use a bit of extra luck going into the new year? W
Best Holiday Light Displays in the Triangle BY JASMINE GALLUP
Lights on Holt Road 1012 Holt Road, Apex Tuesday, Dec. 21–Sunday, Dec. 26, 6-10 p.m.
Miguel Guerra opens the gates to his suburban mansion for only a few weeks each Christmas, but his stunning light display is worth the wait. Decorations include colorful bulbs wrapped around trees, lining the driveway, and adorning the gazebo. The line to drive through the four-acre property starts near Salem Pond Park on Old Jenks Road.
Happyland Lights 5504 Huntingwood Drive, Raleigh Monday–Thursday, 6–9:30 p.m.; weekends 6–10 p.m.; Christmas Eve 6–11 p.m.
An animatronic dinosaur and dozens of Christmas carolers line the lawn of this Raleigh home, a onetime winner of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight.
Lake Myra Christmas Lights 10 South Cypress Street, Wendell 5:30–10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31
If you’re looking for lights and music, there’s no better live show than the one in Wendell. The half-hour synchronized display is a little out of the way but well worth it.
Stonehenge Neighborhood North Raleigh
This neighborhood has two breathtaking light displays, triggering competition at other houses around the block. Check out the Heindel family’s decorations at 8501 Sleepy Creek Drive, open 5–11 p.m. through December 31, then drive around the corner to ooh and ahh at 2216 Abbey Lane, open 5–10 p.m. through December 25. More in Raleigh: Goldman Family Lights, 6331 Deerview Drive | Nelson Family Lights, 3909 Falmouth Drive, 6–9 p.m. Thursday–Sunday through Jan. 2 More around the Triangle: Gebhardt Family Lights, 1033 Hortons Creek, Cary | Garner Lights, 1236 Magnolia Hill Road, Garner, 5–11 p.m. nightly | Houston Family Lights, 9021 New Century Road, Wake Forest, 6–10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 8 INDYweek.com December 15, 2021 15
FO O D & D R I N K
CRAWFORD COOKSHOP 401 East Main St, Clayton| 919-307-4647 | crawfordcookshop.com
Scott Crawford at Crawford Cookshop in Clayton PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA
Quieter Pastures Burned by pandemic-era customer callousness and seeking a small-town feel, Scott Crawford turned to Clayton, North Carolina, for his latest restaurant. BY LENA GELLER firstname.lastname@example.org
ccording to Mayor Jody McLeod, the town of Clayton has been trying to get a Chick-fil-A for a decade. “That has literally been a goal of the town council,” McLeod says. “On the record, a goal. And we can’t get it, because we don’t have enough people in a five-mile radius.” So when five-time James Beard Award semifinalist Scott Crawford announced he would be opening a new restaurant in the Raleigh suburb, McLeod was thrilled. “Of all the places he could’ve chosen to invest, he chose Clayton,” McLeod says. “It puts us on the map.” 16
December 15, 2021
Crawford, the celebrated chef-owner of downtown Raleigh’s Crawford & Son and Jolie—as well as the upcoming Crawford Brothers, a steakhouse slated to open in Cary’s Fenton development in spring 2022—launched his third restaurant, Crawford Cookshop, two weeks ago in downtown Clayton. For someone who has spent his career working at big-city restaurants, Crawford’s decision to open the Cookshop in a town with just under 30,000 residents was an unexpected change of pace. But because Clayton is one of the fastest-growing towns in North Carolina—its population has
nearly doubled since 2010—McLeod says it makes sense that Crawford would want to put down roots. “Clayton is getting so big that I can literally go to Walmart and not worry about what I look like, because I don’t know anybody in there,” McLeod says. “How awesome is that?” Crawford says Clayton’s growth trajectory helped draw him to the location, but ultimately, the community’s warmth and hospitality sealed the deal. “The more time I spent down here, the more I fell in love with it. The people are so nice and welcoming,” Crawford says. “I grew up in a smaller town where people respect each other and support each other. This reminded me of that.” And despite Clayton’s burgeoning population, McLeod says the influx of new residents hasn’t detracted from its “small-town feel.” “It used to be that everybody who lived here grew up in Clayton,” McLeod says. “Now we have new Claytonians and old Claytonians. That weave is creating a tremendous sense of community.” Crawford Cookshop is housed in the former J.G. Barbour and Sons Hardware building, which was built in the early 20th century and stands on Clayton’s Main Street. Crawford renovated the building in a way that, similar to the town’s populace, intertwines the past and the present. Working with the architect Louis Cherry, he put his own modern stamp of “clean lines” on the space while also honoring the history of what McLeod says is the oldest structure in downtown Clayton. After discovering a hand-powered rope pulley elevator in the bowels of the building, Crawford and Cherry took it apart and incorporated its wood and gears into the restaurant’s decor. “When we were remodeling the building, we wanted to respect and preserve the era it came from,” Crawford says. But elevator gears are far from the only repurposed aspect of Crawford Cookshop. The restaurant was born out of the pandemic—a member of the food industry’s rare “Children of the Quarn,” if you will—with a menu that Crawford originally created while adapting his flagship restaurant to curbside-only service during the first lockdown. When restaurants closed in March 2020, Crawford and his team spent several days conceiving an entirely new menu for Crawford & Son because, he says, the items on the restaurant’s pre-COVID menu were “too composed” to be packaged to go. “We sat down and said, ‘What travels well? What’s gonna comfort people?’” Crawford says. “We came up with this classic Americana elevated comfort food that was really in line with what we cooked everyday but more casual.” After a few months, Crawford and his customer base grew so fond of the curbside menu that he decided it had earned its own brick-and-mortar spot. In December 2020, Crawford & Son reopened for indoor dining, reinstating
the carefully plated, temperature-sensitive dishes it offered pre-pandemic, and almost exactly one year later, an iteration of Crawford & Son’s box-friendly menu resurfaced at Crawford Cookshop in Clayton. When it comes to high-end restaurants, the word “casual” often has elastic applications: Crawford, for example, categorizes Crawford & Son as a “casual neighborhood eatery” and Crawford Cookshop as “totally more casual” than his previous restaurants. It’s true that it does deviate from his standard cuisine in a number of ways: unlike his other two restaurants, the Cookshop’s menu includes snacks, sandwiches, and wings as well as three kid-friendly dishes. That being said, the food is still distinctly upscale (and a far cry from casual Chick-fil-A fare); one of the “snacks” is rabbit rillettes, and the server will likely encourage you to get the duck wings rather than the chicken. Crawford says he aimed to make this restaurant less expensive than his first two, and though the sandwiches, which range from $14 to $18, make the Cookshop’s entrées slightly more accessible, the rest of the menu prices are essentially on par with Crawford & Son and Jolie. In a nutshell, the Cookshop is “more casual” in that its menu and ambience are less formal than their Raleigh counterparts but also in that its beef tartare is $15, and Jolie’s is $16. But regardless of the way he categorizes it, Crawford’s cooking is exquisite as ever, and it’s particularly delightful to try the handful of menu items that are genuinely more modest than his usual creations— notably, the smoked fish dip with pickles and fried saltines and the spicy fried chicken sandwich with fermented pepper sauce and miso slaw—as their execution is equally impressive as the higher-end dishes, and they allow Crawford’s skills to shine in a way that feels fresh. The Cookshop is currently only offering dine-in service, but items like the fish dip and the chicken sandwich will eventually be available for delivery and curbside pickup. About 75 percent of the menu will have a takeout option, according to Crawford, while dishes that don’t travel well, like the tartare, will be limited to dine-in customers. If you’re dining in, you may notice that the restaurant’s interior is a sort of tabula rasa, offering little of its own personality and assuming, instead, the vibrancy of its food and guests. The chairs are so bare-bones that customers almost appear to be floating when seated around a table, and the overall color scheme is monochromatic in a way that directs your attention toward the vivid hues of the ingredients on your plate. Sit-
“Of all the places he could’ve chosen to invest, he chose Clayton,” Mayor Jody McLeod says. “It puts us on the map.” ting down for a meal at the Cookshop feels like you’re stepping into Lois Lowry’s The Giver, where you forget that color exists until someone hands you an apple-andfrisée salad and a Cheerwine cocktail. The dining room is anchored by a sleek, square-shaped bar, with three sides of seating and two televisions mounted above the wall of liquor. The televisions are unprecedented fixtures at a Crawford restaurant, which Crawford says indicates just how “chill it is.” Outside, a spacious covered patio invites guests to cozy up under toasty gas heaters and enjoy a view of Clayton’s quaint Main Street shop fronts, which are currently aglow with thousands of tiny holiday lights. The patio will be convenient if the Omicron variant shuts down indoor dining again— and it’s also a good option if you’re uncomfortable with the fact that none of the Cookshop employees are wearing a mask; Johnston County doesn’t have a mask mandate for restaurants, so most every staff member and customer is barefaced. Crawford is known for naming his restaurants after his family members—his French bistro, Jolie, is named after his 11-year-old daughter; Crawford & Son and Crawford Brothers are self-explanatory—and though he doesn’t have a nephew named Cookshop (I asked), the name is indeed tied to relatives. “Cookshop is a super old-school term for a kitchen or a place that serves prepared foods,” Crawford says. “I grew up with blue-collar roots. My great-grandparents had a farm, my grandparents had a sawmill, my uncle had a machine shop, and I worked at all these places. The Cookshop name sort of just reminded me of that.”
Naming his restaurants after loved ones is meant to honor them, though the gesture has, during an era of nasty online reviews, sometimes backfired. After Crawford stopped offering curbside service at Crawford & Son and Jolie, he encountered what he describes as “Facebook adult temper tantrum[s],” including one aggrieved customer who posted a string of profanities online—and blamed Crawford for ruining his wife’s birthday— after Crawford refused to sell him steak tartare to go at Jolie. “This guy was like, ‘F—— you, Jolie!’” Crawford says. “Do you really have to put that out on the internet? You want me to put raw beef in a box, and you could get sick, and then it’s my fault. And because we wouldn’t do that, because we weren’t offering curbside, you cursed out my daughter’s first name.” Crawford hasn’t previously discussed this issue with the media, he says, but hostility toward restaurants has escalated so severely during the pandemic that he feels a need to address it. “The world should know what we have been dealing with,” he wrote in a text message shortly before forwarding eleven screenshots of expletive-filled Facebook comments, all from customers who were enraged that he had taken away curbside pickup. “It is shocking to see the venom from an adult on a public forum insulting my family.” Because Crawford had devised curbside-specific menus for his Raleigh restaurants, he explains, continuing curbside service after reopening for indoor dining would have meant offering two completely different menus worth of food, and “we can really only do one or the other.” After divulging frustration about being on the receiving end of “some of the most vulgar, insulting language I’ve ever heard,” Crawford emphasized that most of his customers are considerate and accommodating—but it can be hard not to focus on the ones spewing vitriol. “Please be sure to mention we did receive a lot of support from our Raleigh people too but were surprised at the animosity and anger from so many,” he wrote in a follow-up text. Crawford’s recent wariness of the internet adds another contextual layer to his location choice for the Cookshop; after months spent trying to navigate the vast anonymity and outrage-dominated culture of the digital realm, it makes sense that he would be particularly charmed by an intimate, community-forward town like Clayton. “The town really went out of their way to welcome us,” Crawford says. “We felt every step of the way that we were supported.” W
Down Home Concerts
Live music is back—
tickets on sale now!
Friday, January 7
Carolina Gospel Jubilee
THE GLORIFYING VINES SISTERS, JARED L. PAYTON & THE VOICES, AND WILLIAM RITTER & SARAH OGLETREE Cosponsored by North Carolina Folklife Institute
Friday, January 21 Dan Tyminski Band More Upcoming Concerts March 25: Lúnasa
April 8: Doc & Cover: Robbie Fulks, David Grier, and Jack Lawrence play Doc Watson May 5: Pastor Shirley Caesar & The Caesar Singers
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E South St, Raleigh Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or negative test required.
pinecone.org Call PineCone and save on fees: 919-664-8333 INDYweek.com
December 15, 2021
M U SIC Shame Gang in his studio PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA
Long Game Newly signed with Roc Nation’s indie distribution company and on the cusp of a tour with N.C. legend rapper Big Pooh, Raleigh-based rapper Shame Gang looks toward the future. BY KYESHA JENNINGS email@example.com
don’t mean to interrupt you two, but I was listening to your conversation and I want to say good luck, and keep doing what you’re doing.” The elderly gentleman who uttered those kind words to the Raleigh-based rapper Shame Gang and me could’ve easily passed for either of our granddads. Almost in unison, we expressed gratitude, before jumping promptly right back into our conversation—though I was a bit sidetracked, wondering who else might be listening in at this semibusy North Raleigh Starbucks. And as Shame Gang continued to share stories, my mind imagined what the snatches of conversation might sound like to the group beside us. From man18
December 15, 2021
agement distribution deals to sold-out tours, studio time with household rap names, and conversations with Jay-Z’s nephew—well, if I weren’t the one facilitating the conversation, Shame’s accolades would also catch my ear. Shame Gang, born Darren Clark, had an abundance of good news to share. Even before I finished the first draft of this article, I received the following text message: “Can’t wait to announce this next week. It’s my first official tour with Pooh and [my] name on the official bill.” Going on tour and sharing a show bill with rapper Big Pooh, one-third of the legendary hip-hop group Little Brother, is quite a big deal.
It’s been seven years since Shame Gang, a father of two, relocated from the D.C. area to Raleigh; in those years, he’s made a name for himself within North Carolina’s local hip-hop scene (Shame Gang formerly went as Shame, but switched his name earlier this year.) He’s performed and headlined local festivals, opened up for a number of hip-hop heavyweights, including Wu-Tang Clan, formed his own rap collective (Kulture Gang), and curated his own series of hip-hop shows and beat battles (Shame Sundays and Sounds of the Kulture Beat Battle). To many, Shame Gang is one of the hardest-working talents in the area. But even with the amount of success he’s achieved, his identity as a transplant pushes him to work harder. “I always felt like, in a sense, out here, I always had to work a little harder because I’m not from [North Carolina],” he says. “Typically, you have artists from here that are ushered in through high school or college. They have easier access to the local support.” To make sure he’s building a rap career that’s profitable 10 or 20 years from now, instead of focusing on just obtaining support within the Triangle, Shame Gang has shifted his energy to winning over listeners across the East Coast, and according to 2021 Spotify Wrapped stats, his number of listeners he has close to 30,000. Earlier this year, his second album, No Safe Haven, was released to rave reviews—and the attention of Jay-Z’s nephew. “Rel Carter, who’s actually Jay-Z’s nephew, ended up giving us a call,” Shame Gang says. “And he was like, ‘I listened to the album. Love it.’ He was like, ‘Man, it’s really good. Let me put this out for you.’” The younger Carter is the director of artist relations for Equity Distribution, Roc Nation’s independent distribution company that helps artists distribute their music worldwide while allowing them to retain ownership of their masters. Through Equity Distribution, No Safe Haven received marketing and promotional support to reach a much larger audience that extends outside of North Carolina. Prior to beginning a partnership with Equity Distribution, Shame Gang and his team were already in motion shopping around No Safe Haven to Atlantic, Sony, and Universal Records. They received an unimpressive offer from Universal, which led them to feel more comfortable moving forward with Equity Distribution. “It really wasn’t a fair deal,” Shame Gang says of Universal. “It was more so benefitting them, and they would’ve
had to do a lot. I was like, I’d rather do it on my own first for a while. And then if I want to major down the road, I’ll have more to bargain with. Rel told me and my team, ‘Give me a year. If everything works out, and if someone offers you a deal, we can try to match that or try to match you with Roc Nation, because we’re their sister company.’ My response was ‘OK, that sounds pretty good to me.’ The first three days No Safe Haven released it had like 35,000 streams on Spotify.” Unlike many other creatives, Shame Gang chose not to put any music out during the early part of the pandemic. “I wanted to go out,” he says, reflecting on the decision. “I wanted to be able to touch people plus talk to people and do shows—basically everything that I am doing now. My thought process was we could get more out of the release right away.” If there were two themes attached to Shame Gang’s career, they would be building relationships and networking— both unique skills that many emerging artists struggle to navigate. Building relationships is how he began working with his former DJ turned manager, Chaundon, who is a former member of the now defunct Justus League, arguably one of North Carolina’s most prized hip-hop possessions after Little Brother. Building relationships is also how he collaborated with Skyzoo and Lute West. His close proximity to the Dreamville signee has allowed him to learn and model effective business and marketing strategies. And it’s how he came into the opportunity to open up for the legendary Wu-Tang Clan and hip-hop’s current front-runner, Griselda. “We kind of use the path Lute and his team has created as a blueprint to what we’re doing,” Shame Gang says. “You know, even though it’s still hip-hop, it’s different styles.” After indulging in Starbucks treats and talking both on and off the record for more than three hours, Shame Gang reflected on his relationships and what they hold for the future. “I have a good relationship with Raekwon’s brother. He assisted me a lot with Wu-Tang. And I have a song on my project with Buffalo rapper Che Noir. She has a relationship with Conway and the whole Griselda team. Once I got the insight that they were going on tour, like anybody else would do, I had my booking agency reach out,” says Shame Gang. “I didn’t have to do anything or say anything. [Conway] was just like, ‘He’s dope. We already heard about him through Che, so make it happen.’” W
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CULTURE CALENDAR Spider-Man: No Way Home
Ronny Chieng: The Hope You Get Rick Tour
PHOTO COURTESY OF SONY
PHOTO CREDIT: MARCUS RUSSELL PRICE/NETFLIX
The Comedy Experience: J Bliss $10-60. Wed, Dec. 15, 7 p.m. Transfer Co. Food Hall, Raleigh.
art Holiday Reception Thu, Dec. 16, 2-5 p.m., and Fri, Dec. 17, 6-9 p.m., PS118, Durham A Night Out at The Matthews House Fri, Dec. 17, 5 p.m. The Matthews House, Cary. Art-n-Soul Makers Market Sat, Dec. 18, 12 p.m. Mystic Farm & Distillery, Durham. The Art of Giving Nov. 16–Dec. 31, various times. Hillsborough Gallery of the Arts, Hillsborough.
A Christmas Carol $36.50+. Dec. 15–19, various times. DPAC, Durham.
Atmospheric Memory by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer $15. Dec. 2–17, various times. Memorial Hall, Chapel Hill.
Carolina Ballet: The Nutcracker $27+. Dec. 17–24, various times. Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh.
Third Friday Durham: Art Walk & Gallery Crawl Fri, Dec. 17, 6 p.m. 115 Market Street, Durham.
Cary Ballet Presents The Nutcracker Suite $13. Dec. 17–19, various times. Cary Arts Center, Cary.
Virtual Slow-Art Appreciation: Alphonse Mucha Wed, Dec. 15, 7 p.m. NCMA, Raleigh. Winter Solstice Lantern Walk Sat, Dec. 18, 5 p.m. NCMA Museum Park, Raleigh.
International Ballet Company Nutcracker $30. Sat, Dec. 18, 6 p.m. Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh. Jason Banks $30+. Dec. 17–19, various times. Goodnights Comedy Club, Raleigh. Rob Schneider $30+. Dec. 17–18, various times. Raleigh Improv, Raleigh. Ronny Chieng: The Hope You Get Rich Tour $35-45. Sat, Dec. 18, 8 p.m. The Carolina Theatre, Durham. Taylor Tomlinson $27+. Sat, Dec. 18, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh.
Graphic Novel Book Club Wed, Dec. 15, 5 p.m. Online Zoom program hosted by Durham County Library.
screen Advanced Screening of Spider-Man: No Way Home $15. Thu, Dec. 16, 6:45 p.m. Northgate Stadium 10 Theater, Durham. The Best Man Holiday $6. Fri, Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m.; Sat, Dec. 18, 5 p.m. The Cary Theater, Cary. Elf Screening/ Christmas Car Decoration Contest $10.7512.90. Sun, Dec. 19, 5:30 p.m. The Drive-In at Carraway Village, Chapel Hill.
Liberation Station Storytime Wed, Dec. 15, 10:30 a.m. NCMA, Raleigh.
H.G. Wells’s Things to Come Thurs, Dec. 18, 8 p.m. Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NC State, Raleigh. Indie 101: Cinema Paradiso $6. Thurs, Dec. 16, 7 p.m. The Cary Theater, Cary. Kusama: Infinity $5 (members, youth ages 7-18, college students with ID); $7 (nonmembers). Sat, Dec. 18, 2 p.m. NCMA Cinema, Raleigh. Love, Actually $6. Sat, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m. The Cary Theater, Cary.
One Story Away Seminar Thurs, Dec. 16, 7 p.m. The Fruit, Durham.
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December 15, 2021
SA 12/18 @HAW @HAW RIVER BALL ROOM
CHATHAM COUNTY LINE
ELECTRIC HOLIDAY TOUR
PHOTO BY JADE WILSON
FR 12/17 &
SA 12/18 @CAT’S @CAT’S CRADLE
THE MOUNTAIN GOATS
W/ MAC MCCAUGHAN (12/16), FLOCK OF DIMES (12/17) & BOWERBIRDS (12/18) CAT'S CRADLE
2021 Holiday Ball $75. Fri, Dec. 17, 8 p.m. Downtown Durham (location disclosed upon registration). Blue Cactus/ Emily Nenni $10. Thu, Dec. 16, 8 p.m. The Pinhook, Durham. Community Music School Holiday Concert Sun, Dec. 19, 2 p.m. NCMA, Raleigh. Darrin Bradbury/ Willie Carlisle/ Dylan Earl/ Severed Fingers $10. Fri, Dec. 17, 8 p.m. The Pinhook, Durham. Deck the Halls with Bands of Raleigh: A Benefit Concert Sat, Dec. 18, 11:30 a.m. The Pour House Music Hall, Raleigh.
Ephemeral feat. LP GIOBBI $15. Sat, Dec. 18, 9 p.m. The Fruit, Durham.
THE MOUNTAIN GOATS
The Homosexual Agenda $5. Sat, Dec. 18, 11 p.m. The Pinhook, Durham. Magic of Lights $46+. Dec. 7–Jan. 2, 5 p.m. Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, Raleigh. PUSH PLAY with David Berrie $2233. Fri, Dec. 17, 10 p.m. The Fruit, Durham. Raleigh Flute Choir Holiday Concert $6-10. Sun, Dec. 19, 2 p.m. North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh. The Vegabonds $15-37. Thurs, Dec. 16, 8:30 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh. A Very Jerry Christmas Party feat. Bring Out Yer Dead $12+. Sun, Dec. 19, 7 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh.
FR 12/17 THE
WE 3/9/22 GARY NUMAN W/ I SPEAK MACHINE TH 3/10/22 WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS SA 3/12/22 LEPROUS W/THE OCEAN
W/ FLOCK OF DIMES
TH 3/17/22 LA LUZ W/ MAMALARKY
SA 12/18 THE
TU 1/5/22 CURSIVE W/ THE APPLESEED CAST ($22 ADV/$25 DAY OF) SA 1/8/22 MACHINE W/ JOHNNASCUS SA 1/15/22 MAGIC
FR 1/21/22 COSMIC CHARLIE GRATEFUL DEAD TRIBUTE SA 1/22/22 BLACK ANGELS W/VACANT LOTS ($23/$26) TH 1/27/22 EL TEN ELEVEN W/ SEGO ($15)
TH 12/16 WEDNESDAY W/ TRUTH CLUB, BANGZZ
2/21/22 ILLUMINATI HOTTIES, FENNE LILY
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3/17/22 THE DEAR HUNTER, TWIABP
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4/15/22 SHOVELS & ROPE
3/1/22 BOB MOULD SOLO ELECTRIC
TH 2/10/22 DOGS IN A PILE WE 2/16/22 SQUIRREL FLOWER W/ CHRISTELLE BOFALE TH 2/17/22 SUN JUNE W/ DAPHNE TUNES SU 2/29/22 A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS TU 3/1/22 WE ARE SCIENTISTS SA 3/5/22 MARIELLE KRAFT, SKOUT TH 3/10/22 DEL WATER GAP FR 3/18/22 SECRET MONKEY WEEKEND W/ DON DIXON AND JEFFREY DEAN FOSTER
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SU 3/27/22 REMEMBER JONES
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MO 5/9/22 [CANCELLED HOODOO GURUS]
TU 3/29/22 NAKED GIANTS W/ WOMBO
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TU 5/10/22 THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE
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SU 4/10/22 HOT FLASH HEAT WAVE
SU 2/27/22 IGORR, MELT BANANA, VOWWS ($20)
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FR 4/15/22 POM POM SQUAD
SA 5/21/22 BEACH BUNNY W/ KY VOSS
MO 4/18/22 ANDMOREAGAIN PRESENTS THE PACK AD
FR 5/27/22 EELS ($37/ $39) FR 6/10/22 SYMPHONY X, HAKEN, TROPE
TH 4/21/22 HOVVDY W/MOLLY PARDEN
TH 3/3/22 DEAFHEAVEN ($25)
TH 6/23/22 BIKINI KILL
TH 5/5/22 BORN RUFFIANS
SU 3/6/22 KNUCKLE PUCK, HOT MULLIGAN
WE OCTOBER 26 AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT
FR 5/20/22 DRY CLEANING
4/14/22 JAMES MCMURTRY 4/20/22 DEL AMITRI ($29.50/$35) LINCOLN THEATRE (RALEIGH) 3/25/22 SPARKS IN CONCERT 3/29/22 THE MIDNIGHT RITZ (RALEIGH) 1/30/22 COURTNEY BARNETT W/ SHAMIR
2/18/22 MITSKI 3/31/22 SHAKEY GRAVES (RESCHEDULED FROM NOV.) 4/12/22 MT JOY
5/4/22 PUP W/ SHEER MAG, PINKSHIFT DPAC (DURHAM) 3/24/22 GREGORY ALAN ISAKOV W/ JOE PURDY FLETCHER OPERA THEATRE (RALEIGH) 4/9/22 THE MAGNETIC FIELDS 4/10/22 THE MAGNETIC FIELDS HISTORIC DURHAM ATHLETIC PARK
WE 3/30/22 LEIF VOLLEBEKK
WE 4/20/22 ADULT., KONTRAVOID, SPIKE HELLIS
TU 3/1/22 DAVID BROMBERG QUINTET W/ ROB ICKES & TREY HENSLEY
3/19/22 LANGHORNE SLIM 4/6/22 BLACK MIDI W/ NNAMDI
2/10/22 JONATHAN RICHMAN W/ TOMMY LARKINS
SA 2/19/22 LOW CUT CONNIE
MO 2/28/22 SAMMY RAE & THE FRIENDS
2/19/22 JOHN MORELAND / WILL JOHNSON
SU 1/30/22 GLOVE W/ GOOD DOG NIGEL AND MOREAGAIN PRESENTS: LOMELDA W/ ALEXALONE FR 2/4/22 49 WINCHESTER
TH 2/10/22 G LOVE & THE JUICE ($29.50)
3/21/22 SUNFLOWER BEAN 5/10/22 JOY OLADOKUN / BRE KENNEDY HAW RIVER BALLROOM (SAX) 12/18 CHATHAM COUNTY LINE ELECTRIC HOLIDAY TOUR
SA 1/29/22 RED WANTING BLUE W/ JON TYLER WILEY, MEAGHAN FARRELL
SU 1/23/22 JAKE SCOTT
WE 2/9/22 REPTALIENS, YOT CLUB RENATA ZEGEUR
TU 2/8/22 THE BROOK & THE BLUFF
3/8/22 SHAME W/ THEY HATE CHANGE
MO 1/24/22 MAN ON MAN
SU 4/17/22 LIGHTS SA 4/23/22 HOMEHSAKE W/ BABEHEAVEN ($17)
4/22/22 SHARON VAN ETTEN ($31/$34; ON SALE 12/10) THE ARTSCENTER (CARRBORO) TU 2/1/22 THE WEATHER STATION
FR 4/15/22 PORCHES
SA 2/5/22 RIPE W/ THE COLLECTION
FR 2/18/22 SARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS
WE 12/22 SIMON DUNSON QUARTET
WE 1/19/22 TALL HEIGHTS, ANDREA VON KAMPEN
WE 4/20/22 SIERRA FERRELL
SA 2/12/22 THE MARIAS
SA 12/18 RAVARY, NIGHTBLOOMS T. GOLD
MO 3/21/22 KISHI BASHI ($25/ $27)
MO 1/31/22 BEST COAST W/ ROSIE TUCKER ($25/$27)
MOTORCO (DURHAM) 1/26/22 REMO DRIVE
MO 3/7/22 DRAMA
W/ MAC MCCAUGHAN ($39.50)
The Mountain Goats with Mac McCaughan $40, Thu, Dec. 16, 8 p.m., Cat’s Cradle, Chapel Hill.
CAT'S CRADLE BACK ROOM
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December 15, 2021
P U Z Z L ES
ALL RE A LTHC T HEA ERS GE K R WO
FF O % 10 ON ALKLS
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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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December 15, 2021
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