INDY Week 7.28.21

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Raleigh | Durham | Chapel Hill July 28, 2021

BY BYRON WOODS, P. 17

Durham’s Adam Dipert spends his days working as a nuclear physicist and circus artist. His next frontier?

Space juggling.


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Raleigh W Durham W Chapel Hill VOL. 38 NO. 28

Portrait of E. Clement Swan (Eddie) in her group meeting room at home in Durham, p. 8 PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

CONTENTS NEWS 6

Meet the four women who have applied for an upcoming opening on Orange County's Board of Commissioners. BY SARA PEQUEÑO Raleigh leaders plan to use federal funds to fix up downtown.

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BY CARYL ESPINOZA JAEN

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A group of Durham women are working to dismantle systemic racism. BY THOMASI MCDONALD

10 Durham still has work to do to make its playgrounds accessible to all children. BY REBECCA SCHNEID 12 The N.C. Department of Public Safety is still failing to report COVID-19 prisoner deaths accurately. BY ARABELLA SAUNDERS

FEATURE 14 A photojournalist looks at what's left behind after Confederate statues come down. BY MELISSA LYTTLE

ARTS & CULTURE 17 18

What's the next frontier for nuclear physicist and circus performer Adam Dipert? BY BYRON WOODS A new brewery helps support rescue dogs, one beer at a time. BY JOHN A. PARADISO

20 Fullsteam Brewery celebrates 500 nights of Trivia.

BY GRACE ABELS

THE REGULARS 4 15 Minutes

5 Quickbait

COVER Photo by Brett Villena

WE M A DE THIS PUBLIS H ER S Wake County

MaryAnn Kearns Durham/Orange/ Chatham Counties

Arts & Culture Editor Sarah Edwards Senior Writer Leigh Tauss

John Hurld

Staff Writer Thomasi McDonald

EDITOR I AL

Digital Content Manager Sara Pequeño

Editor in Chief Jane Porter

Copy Editor Abigail O'Neill

Managing Editor Geoff West

Theater+Dance Critic Byron Woods

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

C R E AT I V E

A D V E RTI S I N G

Creative Director

Wake County MaryAnn Kearns

Annie Maynard Graphic Designer

Jon Fuller Staff Photographer

Brett Villena

Durham/Orange/ Chatham Counties John Hurld

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Contents © 2021 ZM INDY, LLC All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission.

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C I RC U L ATI O N Berry Media Group

Interns Caryl Espinoza Jaen, Ellie Heffernan, Rebecca Schneid

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BACK TA L K

Last week, our intern Rebecca Schneid wrote about Durham’s new Community Safety Department, which aims to reimagine policing so that social workers and mental health professionals, rather than armed officers, can respond to nonviolent 911 calls, among other initiatives. We think the department sounds like a good idea, but others have some concerns. DAVID SMITH, the secretary of Friends of Durham, sent us the following letter:

“We at the Friends of Durham have some concerns about the new Durham Community Safety Department. While the concept may be good, we are skeptical about how practical it will be. This is an academic experiment and may have unintended consequences. Firstly, how will the 911 dispatcher know who to send to a situation? Police officers will tell you that some of the most hazardous situations they see are domestic disputes. These can rapidly escalate to a violent armed confrontation. If the conflict cannot be resolved can these new people arrest someone if the situation becomes violent? Will they have that authority? We may be sending unarmed personnel into dangerous situations. What about traffic incidents? Frequently this involves some sort of violation. Will these safety personnel be able to write citations? Presumably these safety personnel will have some sort of uniform so citizens will understand they have some sort of official position? Isn’t part of the reasoning to calm problem situations by not having uniformed police called? The community will likely not understand the difference. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? The Community Safety Department may be a good idea but we should start small and see how effective it is before we transfer more funding from the police department. Close monitoring with a clear, stated goal is essential.”

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Raleigh

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15 MINUTES Yvette Holmes, 56 New CEO of Southeast Raleigh Promise BY ELLIE HEFFERNAN backtalk@indyweek.com

What drew you to housing-related and racial equity nonprofit work, and why has accessing affordable housing in Raleigh become so challenging? It is challenging for people to access quality, safe, affordable housing. People are feeling the pressure because incomes are not keeping pace with the cost of living. They still work 40 to 60 hours weekly just to make ends meet. It’s not acceptable. When do you spend time with your family if you’re working all the time? Imagine what it’s like for a single parent who has to manage home, go to work every day and pursue their own personal careers, and put themselves in a better position to earn higher income. It’s impossible. Everybody wants to come to Raleigh and Wake County. It’s great to live in a city that is so attractive, but that creates upward pressures on the cost of living here.

You led community engagement efforts as DHIC’s co-project manager for the Washington Terrace redevelopment project. Why is community engagement important? When the property was being sold, it had all the makings of a market-rate development opportunity—not affordable. The preexisting housing was affordable for people living there at the time. The neighborhood had such a rich history, dating back to 1950, when it was the only place that upwardly mobile African American professionals could live outside of public housing. Before we turned one morsel of dirt, we needed to introduce ourselves as the owners. People didn’t know us, and they thought, ‘They’re gonna come in, and everybody’s going to be displaced.’ And we said, ‘We’re here to do this process together. We’re here to be of service to you.’ It took time to build a relationship. Our word at the time didn’t mean anything. We had to back that up with actions. We had a series of resident meetings around the redevelopment master planning process and did everything we could to ensure the barriers to

PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

accessing those meetings were removed. We had meetings at the Tarboro Road Community Center, only a few blocks away. They could’ve walked there, but we did a shuttle. We did design charrettes in one of the vacant units . People could drop in and provide feedback.

You’ve lived and raised your sons in Southeast Raleigh. What does the community mean to you? One of the women from Washington Terrace talked about how a unit had been converted, back in the ‘50s, to a library where a resident was teaching the youth how to read. You could walk to the store safely, and there were community gardens grown in the backyards. You could go and get your fresh vegetables and fruits from a neighbor. They talked about the parade of bikes with little tassels on the end that would be streaming down the street each Christmas when every kid got a bike. That inspired me. We have to recreate that somehow. That sense of ownership, place of belonging, and a place of community. We long for that today, quite frankly. We live in a society where we don’t know each other, and everybody’s on technology. Everybody’s blinds are drawn, and nobody sits on their front porches. We took all that feedback and tried to create a more contemporary community that had features like that. This is why there are porches and balconies where people can sit out and decorate. These are things the residents said they wanted.W


Q UIC KBA I T

Here Comes the Sun(flowers) A few facts about the annual bloom at Dorothea Dix Park BY LEIGH TAUSS ltauss@indyweek.com

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he city’s annual Sunflower Field at Dorotehea Dix Park bloomed last week, drawing in crowds of flora aficionados and families seeking cute photo ops. The sunflowers stay in bloom for only two weeks, so catch them while you can. The best way to see the sunflowers is to park off of Hunt Drive near the former soccer fields. We definitely recommend stocking up on sunscreen because it is, of course, an open field. And don’t be a jerk and pick the flowers.

By the numbers

40,000 seeds planted across five acres Cost:

$1,300 to plant the seeds

$1,900

for field irrigation How long does the bloom last?

World records

2 weeks

Tallest sunflower ever:

25 feet, 5.4 inches Biggest sunflower head:

32 inches

What happens after the bloom? After the flowers die, the plants are harvested by Raleigh Water and converted to biodiesel, which is used to operate city farm equipment and for educational purposes.

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NEWS

Orange County

Once in a Lifetime The Orange County Board of Commissioners has had only three vacancy appointments since the 1950s. Come September, the new total will be four. BY SARA PEQUEÑO spequeno@indyweek.com

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erry Cohen has been in local politics for decades. He currently serves on the Wake County Board of Elections. Before that, he was a special counsel for the North Carolina General Assembly. Before that, he served on the Chapel Hill Town Council—one of only three UNC-Chapel Hill students to be elected to a seat in recent history. He has kept up with Orange County despite no longer living there and is a treasure trove of information for writers and the greater community. So it comes as no surprise that Cohen was considered for an empty seat on the Orange County Board of Commissioners in 1973 as a UNC-CH law student. Cohen describes members of the Democratic Party going through a nomination process to create a slate. Seven people were nominated by others. “Four candidates got a majority, and three did not, so those four names went on to the county commissioners,” Cohen says of the process. “I was one of the four—I finished second place. In fact, I nominated somebody else who finished first, and then somebody else nominated me.” This month, a new appointment process began for the Orange County Board of Commissioners to fill the seat of Mark Dorosin, who was only a few months into a four-year term when he accepted a job at Florida A&M University law school. It’s only the fourth time in the last 70 years that a vacancy has opened on the board. The last one was in the 1980s. Almost 50 years after the iteration Cohen remembers, the appointment process looks a little different. The applicants still have to be Democrats, but they aren’t nominated by other people and have yet to 6

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be approved by county Dems. Instead, the four women who applied submitted candidate questionnaires online, leaving the commissioners (and their constituents) more to consider before the September 2 hearing, where the commissioners could vote on Dorosin’s replacement. Marilyn Carter, Rani Dasi, Penny Rich, and Anna Richards have a range of experience, from serving as president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP to being former elected officeholders. Rich was a county commissioner for eight years before losing the Democratic primary in June 2020 by seven votes to Dorosin, another incumbent. Rich hopes this will be considered in the appointment process. “Cameron Indoor [Stadium] only fits 9,300 people,” Rich says. “That means 3,200 people that voted for me would be standing outside. I mean if you put that in perspective, it’s a ton of people . . . it’s a lot of people to shut down their vote.” While not a former commissioner, Dasi has served on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education since 2015. She prioritizes “community health” by seeing that people’s basic needs are met. “I have focused on education as a pathway to community health and as I have gotten deeper into that work, it has become more apparent that so many factors outside of schools influence overall community wellness and what happens in schools,” Dasi says in her application. “County government has the scale and resources to provide structural supports which more broadly contributes to community health.” Carter and Richards also come from political backgrounds. Carter recently

Clockwise from top left: Anna Richards, Marilyn Carter, Penny Rich, and Rani Dasi. served as the chair of the Orange County Democratic Party; Richards is the former president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP. Richards says the commissioners’ role as a “safety net” for the community is what called her to apply in the first place. “I thought, ‘Maybe this is an opportunity for me to take the perspective that I have of having been a community organizer and an advocate to that board,’” Richards says. “It was a hard decision, but I decided that I would apply, and we’ll see what happens.” There will be time allotted for the applicants to answer questions about their applications on September 2. It’s likely that the board will cast their votes that night, but the results could lead to even more waiting. Cohen’s appointment process had a strange outcome. At the time, he says, there was a split among the four commissioners; while they were all Democrats, two were more conservative and two more liberal. The vote came to a stalemate, stayed there for 60 days, and was decided by the clerk of superior court. The clerk chose

Melvin Whitfield, a dairy farmer from White Cross whose name was not introduced by the county Democrats. There’s a possibility that this happens to the commissioners this year. If the six remaining members can’t choose a finalist, it could once again end up in the hands of the clerk of superior court. Mark Kleinschmidt, who currently holds the job, previously served as mayor of Chapel Hill. Rich says she feels that Kleinschmidt’s integrity would keep him from appointing someone who hadn’t gone through the formal application process, but he could still make that decision. Technically, the county could, too. Whitfield was up for re-election months after his appointment and lost in the primary to Jan Pinney—the man who received the most votes in the Democratic Party nominating process. Similarly, the 2021 appointee would serve until only 2022, when the public will decide through a special election who will serve out the remainder of the term. It could be worse—four vacancies since the 1950s is remarkable. “That’s pretty low all-in-all,” Cohen says. “I guess they elect healthy people.” W


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Raleigh

Downtown Recovery Raleigh will use federal funds for an ice rink and other improvements downtown, as well a grant pool for local businesses. BY CARYL ESPINOZA JAEN backtalk@indyweek.com

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he federal government is set to begin funding various renovations in Raleigh to combat the economic losses brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, the Raleigh City Council unanimously approved a resolution to accept approximately $73.2 million in direct funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury, marking the beginning of many renovations and economic aid coming in the city’s future. “The American Rescue Plan clearly outlines a need to utilize funds to assist vulnerable populations to address the health and economic impacts including housing, homelessness, mental health, and food security,” Mary Vigue, director at Raleigh’s Budget and Management Services, said at a council meeting July 6. The Biden administration passed the American Rescue Plan, an economic relief plan, back in March. The act, famously known for the stimulus checks it delivered to many Americans earlier this year, has given Raleigh and various cities financial aid to combat the economic losses of the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Raleigh plans to phase its usage of the funds in order to pay for different needs at different times.

“When we previously presented [the American Rescue Plan], we proposed a multi-phase approach to allocating these funds,” Vigue said. “The initial phase will identify immediate needs to get funds into the community to address health impacts, negative economic impacts, and to assist the hospitality industry.” From the approved $73.2 million, $2.3 million will likely be used this fall. From that first wave of funding, $400,000 will be allocated for light and sound improvements in downtown Raleigh to mitigate COVID-19 transmission by promoting more outdoor space usage. An additional $200,000 will be allocated to fund a grant pool, where local businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply for financial aid. Another $250,000 will be used to fund the creation of an ice rink in downtown Raleigh. Vigue said in an email to the INDY that the decision to fund an ice rink came from a study from the city’s Economic Development and Innovation Committee, which looked at ways to improve economic growth in the downtown area. “The prior ice rink drew visitors to the downtown during the fall and winter months,” Vigue wrote. “This outdoor

“Downtown was hit hardest by last year’s protests but also COVID, so we’re still feeling that impact.”

The Raleigh City Council

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITY OF RALEIGH

activation will support small businesses and restaurants negatively impacted from the pandemic.” Approximately $230,000 will also be used to fund a downtown economic development study in collaboration with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. According to Vigue, the study will look at more ways that downtown Raleigh can improve retail strategies and other economic opportunities for the city to grow. The study will focus on finding ways to increase diversity and equity initiatives within downtown Raleigh. An external consultant, selected by the city and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, will complete the study, according to Vigue. Vigue and council member Nicole Stewart emphasized during the July 6 council meeting that, as the first wave of funds are targeted to quickly address some of the more critically hit areas in Raleigh, it means that a lot of the initial funds will go towards downtown areas, but downtown Raleigh will not be the only area to receive funding. “I want to recognize that downtown was hit the hardest during last year’s protests but also COVID, and so we’re still feeling that impact,” Stewart said. “My understanding was that this was an opportunity to quickly respond to that initially but also to be able to have funds to help businesses outside of downtown moving forward, and I just want to get

that on the record and make sure I have that right.” To help manage these new initiatives, approximately $230,000 will be used to create two new temporary senior fiscal analyst positions to manage federal grant compliance reports over approximately five years. A few council members expressed concern over these grant-funded jobs, however, stating that the city’s budget would have to take on new employees, such as social workers. “If they have one social worker that can only do 40 hours but this person has helped people find housing and receive assistance and services, I would really employ whatever we can do to push the social worker part and then we can figure out the funding,” council member Corey Branch said. “We have time, but the need is now.” Despite some pushback, the Raleigh City Council unanimously approved the resolution. Vigue will present the next update for the American Rescue Plan Act’s fund redistribution in a future work session. Vigue told the INDY that the funding overseers would update the city council on each project shortly. The city has until December of 2024 to commit the funds, Vigue said, and its phased approached is guided on advice of the U.S. Treasury. A further update is expected to come to the council in August or September. W INDYweek.com

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Durham

Building Bridges A women’s group in Durham is working hard to dismantle systemic racism. BY THOMASI MCDONALD tmcdonald@indyweek.com

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ust after 6 p.m. last week on an evening threatening rain and thunder, I met a group of women at the Whole Foods on Broad Street. For the past three years, these women, and several more, have comprised a Durhambased, multi-racial group from different cultures and classes that gathers each month to discuss, learn, and heal around the issues of race, class, and gender. Today, they are working with women and others all over the country to help create a less racist society. And they are hoping their work will serve as a national model. Women Dismantling Racism operates as a subgroup of Our Sacred Circles and privately owned Joyoushout, founded by Rinah Rachel Galper that “works at the intersection of justice, healing, spirituality, and creativity,” according to the OSC website. Galper, who is white, says WDR first came together in May of 2018, when a “bunch” of women from different races and backgrounds met at the LRoom, a women’s retreat center in North Durham. “We wanted to understand why the relationship with women of color and the white community was so broken,” Galper told the INDY. “How do we repair that relationship?” Galper says those initial meetings included forming a leadership group and getting educated, but also exploring how to go about healing the broken relationship between women of color and white women. Another member, K, who declined to give her full name due to the nature of her work, says it’s incumbent upon white women to educate themselves about systemic racism, not to be “fragile” in their interactions with people of color, and to build relationships with people of color outside of work or meetings. 8

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“There was definitely a lack of trust at first,” K says. “A lot of white women don’t see their microaggressions toward Black women. Being anti-racist is a daily practice outside of meetings and book study groups. It’s a mental, and emotional practice to do every day.” Our Sacred Circles has a Wisdom Council whose members provide support to women and others who are doing racial justice and healing work. The Wisdom Council has an intentionality and immediacy about the need to address historic wrongs. Part of the ongoing work includes healing rituals. During a recent gathering, the white women in attendance apologized on behalf of their ancestors to the Black women, who accepted the apologies on behalf of their ancestors. “We are not passing the torch,” K says. “This is a place where we are trying to hold this torch together.” That was easy enough, Galper says about the growing understanding that’s taking place inside the meetings. “It was the action part when the women failed,” she says. “They were doing really good at reading books. White women have failed miserably on many occasions.” “They have failed to put the anti-racist work into action,” K adds. In response to the pandemic and in order to reach more justice workers and healers across the country and even globally, Our Sacred Circles is now completely virtual. An upshot was that the number of attendees increased, says Donna Frederick, who formerly owned and operated The Play House, a toy store on Ninth Street for decades. The pandemic, especially during the shutdown, left everyone in the same boat, with their lives “turned topsy-turvy without job security, ways of meeting, and not having that next paycheck.”

From left: Rinah Galper, Donna Frederick, & E. Clement Swan (Eddie), members of Women Dismantling Racism PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA Galper says the pandemic has accentuated the worst elements of American society, particularly the actions of white supremacists. It was also during the pandemic that the group’s members, like everyone else in America and around the world, witnessed the murder of George Floyd. Frederick says Floyd’s death marked a turning point for the group and helped to galvanize their understanding of systemic racism where white boys are, for the most part, assured of coming home to their mothers after an encounter with the police. Black sons and their mothers have no such guarantees. She says the group had been talking about racism, but to witness a white officer kneeling on the neck of a dying Black man begging for his life was an epiphany. “You can talk about something, but then when you actually see it, it’s different,” Frederick says. “With all the demonstrations last summer and all of the things we were talking about were coming to a head. It was recognized before, but [with Floyd’s death and the protests] it was like, ‘Oh, now we really see it. That’s the difference.’” The racism that fueled the genocide of this country’s indigenous people and enslavement of kidnapped Africans to make white men wealthy is called this country’s original sin. That said, the anti-racist group members know that dismantling systemic racism in America is well-nigh impossible. The WDR members say they see setbacks in voter restrictions, state-sanc-

tioned attempts to whitewash history, and the ridicule faced by supporters of reparations to Black Americans whose ancestors labored under the lash to build this country. Galper says discussions about reparations are “a constant” in her consulting and classes. “We’ve talked about equity being on a continuum toward the goal of reparations,” she says. Reparations critics talk about slavery as if it were ancient history, but I grew up with a grandmother and uncle whose parents were born into slavery. Moreover, as a TikTok user pointed out recently, Thomas Jefferson was still alive when Harriet Tubman was born, and Ronald Reagan was alive when she died. “I don’t know if white people are willing and able to make changes,” Galper says about the quest to save America from its original sins. “But we have to keep doing this work because right now, this is the best game in town. This is the most important struggle of our time.” “It’s fear,” Frederick says in reference to the CRT (critical race theory) debate. “It’s all about fearing the truth will come out. How can you build if you’re suppressing the truth, and thinking you can work around it?” “White folks are scared of being held accountable,” Galper says. “Everything we have, we’ve stolen. The fact that many white folks feel that they have worked hard


to get what they have sometimes obscures the fact that we have stolen from so many and deprived them of the opportunity of a good life that we all deserve.” A similar fear drives the voter suppression measures proposed or passed in statehouses across the country. Far from preventing voter fraud that doesn’t exist, the waves of legislation show a willingness on the part of whites to criminalize Black people’s access to the ballot. The Black vote can no longer matter if it causes white discomfort. K calls it “white fragility.” “White fragility is actually white sabotage,” Galper says. “[White people] are afraid of losing power.” Frederick says the disenfranchisement of Black voters drives her work to get people to realize the political power that voters actually have. “Sometimes, we just take for granted that coming together has no power,” she says.“You know, that our voices are not heard. We’ve seen that [in] a bunch of people coming together, saying, ‘No, this is not right,’ but also attacking the system that makes it not right. Learning that the system is not right is powerful.” “One thing that makes this group unique is we’re building personal relationships,” K says. “For women we do not, or I should say, I do not trust a lot of white people, period. But I have gained trust through building relationships.” K added that she’s part of another anti-racism group in the Triangle, “where we, the parents, have built relationships.” “So now we know what my son goes through when he goes to school, and what my daughter was going through,” she says. “Because those relationships were built, they can put a face on the child going through these issues.” Galper says white people should exercise more humility and openness, and white women should use their privilege to actively work to dismantle systemically racist systems. “White people have to be willing to give up power, or share power,” Galper says. “That’s the hardest part, even within myself.” She tells the story of a child she met at a queer culture camp where she was working recently. “[I told her] I have these two parts of myself. One part of me wants to mobilize and connect with other progressives. The other part of me wants to ship all of the white supremacists off to an island with no boat. “And [the child] said, ‘Perhaps you need to build a bridge to those warring parts of yourself.’ Isn’t that awesome? She’s 15 years old. That gives me hope.” W

The US Environmental Protection Agency is seeking

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Payment for screening, study and out of town travel 919-966-0604 www.epa.gov/epastudies The EPA Human Studies Facility is located on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus

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bill.burton.lawyer@gmail.com INDYweek.com

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Durham Rockwood Park in Durham, NC PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

For All to Play Durham’s public playgrounds still need work to provide spaces and structures for children with disabilities. BY REBECCA SCHNEID backtalk@indyweek.com

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t the 53 playgrounds in Durham, most children can enjoy all the structures available, including slides, swings, and see-saws galore. For Victoria Facelli and her daughter, Elizabeth,* though, this is not the case. Elizabeth has cerebral palsy, and Facelli continuously reckons with how her daughter is excluded from the community in ways that she did not anticipate. As Elizabeth enters her childhood years, this exclusion is very noticeable on playgrounds. “It’s really limiting, and that really sends a message to my kiddo about whether or not she’s welcome, and whether or not Durham is proud that she lives here,” Facelli says. 10

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While all new or renovated playgrounds must adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, these requirements are outdated at 30 years old. An ADA-compliant playground might have an accessible entrance and transfer stations—spaces where a child in a wheelchair can pull themselves onto a play structure. But even with those features, many kids will still find themselves relegated to certain parts of the playground, unable to enjoy most of the play features. Furthermore, while each playground has to have one structure that is accessible for children with disabilities, that could be something as small as a tic-tac-toe board. And if an entire playground is surrounded by mulch, it

makes the entire structure hard to maneuver for someone in a wheelchair. Of all the playgrounds in Durham, only one listed on the city’s Parks and Recreation website has an accessible swing: Drew/Granby Park. Facelli and her daughter often go to accessible parks in Raleigh, such as Sassafras All Children’s Playground at Laurel Hills Park. But, when it was closed for months during the pandemic, the two couldn’t even go there. “That’s the problem with having these tokenized spots of inclusivity … when they’re closed, we’re stuck,” Facelli says. Why does this happen? For one, says Betsy MacMichael, the executive director of First In Families of North Carolina, it’s the cycle of inaccessibility. The group is a non-profit dedicated to helping people with disabilities and their families be engaged in their communities, When a space is inaccessible for children with disabilities, their families don’t access those spaces, and these children are not seen. Able-bodied families in the spaces then tend to forget disabled children exist, so then, when largely able-bodied planners are creating new parks, they often don’t keep accessibility in mind, and the cycle continues. “In these small neighborhoods, when there’s an accessible swing, sometimes the parents will take it down with the excuse that it’s a big swing that takes up space and ‘no one uses that one anyway,’” MacMichael says. “It takes a while for this to become the norm.” Additionally, Durham’s playgrounds are not large, regional spaces. Many of them are small neighborhood parks, and while the number of them means they’re accessible geographically, it also means they are rather basic play structures. Durham’s parks department sends out an evaluation survey periodically to Durhamites, asking them what kinds of play structures have been working, which have not, what they want to see in playgrounds, and more. Facelli says she applauds this effort, but asks: what about the minority, left out in a system that rewards the majority? Earlier this year, Facelli emailed the Durham city council and parks department, telling her and Elizabeth’s story and asking that the city celebrate Disability Pride Month—in July—by tending to the needs of the children with disabilities within the city. “As we are needing to tear down unsafe structures— like what’s happening at [Rockwood in South Durham, where the youth structures are being renovated]—and replace them, can we replace them with accessible structures?” Facelli asks. “We need to restructure the way our


“Ultimately, it’s the will of the leaders who have funds for the parks to say, ‘Look, discussion time is over. It’s time to make the damn parks accessible.’” playgrounds are so as to not segregate disabled kids from non-disabled kids.” Facelli acknowledges that, in many of the accessible playgrounds she’s visited, features are beneficial for all kinds of children. But at the rare playgrounds built for children with disabilities, the structures are often overrun with non-disabled kids. “It’s because those playgrounds are cool,” Facelli says. “Kids love an accessible zipline and an accessible swing. It becomes a problem of having to educate these kids to keep those spaces open for children with disabilities.” Wade Walcutt, the director of Durham Parks and Recreation, is relatively new to the role. He moved to Durham and assumed the job in October of last year. Facelli says Walcutt, and the city council, have been receptive to her ideas on how to make more accessible spaces in Durham. “It was great to hear from her. It started the conversation of, not just with Rockwood and other parks we’re renovating, but what can we do to make sure that we’re all on the same page and have accessibility and inclusion at the top of mind in the future?” Walcutt says. Specifically, with the new playground under construction at the Wheels Family Fun Park (which the city bought last year), the city is looking to adopt accessible concepts. Facelli says she hopes that other people with different disabilities will speak up to the parks department about what they need. “I had the experience of hearing from someone that an accessible playground was accessible in some ways, but their kid had a visual impairment, and the color of the steps in the playground was so similar to the ground that they couldn’t see them,” Facelli says. “That’s something I would’ve never thought about, because that’s not my experience with my child.” Wallace says he will continue to work with Facelli in order to figure out more

tangible ways to design spaces for kids with disabilities like Elizabeth. The goal, he says, is to eventually adopt basic standard operating procedures for every single renovation and building project the department works on—and to look at them through a social equity lens. Recent discussions estimate that these basic guidelines will be ready to celebrate Disability Pride Month 2022. Wallace says he’s proud of the geographic diversity in playground improvement, and is quick to discuss the extensive list of renovations in playgrounds throughout the past 10 years. Further, he points to new projects. including the “highly inclusive” Hoover Road playground in east Durham. But, he concedes, there is work to be done. “We also want to establish a strong connection with … other inclusive groups of people with different abilities so they become asset groups for us when we’re thinking about park design,” he says. MacMichael says this kind of proactive initiative-taking is needed, and is adamant that it should not be on those affected by the cycle of inaccessibility to advocate for the necessary changes. In order to break the cycle, she says, those in power must step up and finally begin implementing ADA requirements as a bare minimum, and more robust accessibility standards. As MacMichael talks about her previous experiences, both in her professional life and as the mother of a now-29-yearold with disabilities, it’s evident in her voice that she’s tired. “We shouldn’t have to work so hard,” MacMichael says.“The people who need it shouldn’t have to be advocating to make us all get it right. Ultimately, it’s the will of the leaders and the city of Durham who have the funds for the parks to say, ‘Look, discussion time is over. It’s time to make the damn parks accessible.’” W *Not her real name INDYweek.com

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N E WS

North Carolina

Failure to Report North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety still isn’t reporting COVID-19 prison deaths accurately, despite an earlier promise to improve. BY ARABELLA SAUNDERS backtalk@indyweek.com

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n November 14 of last year, Robert McIntyre, a 70-year-old man incarcerated at Central Prison, was admitted to the UNC REX medical facility in Raleigh for pneumonia, COPD complications, and a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction, a type of heart attack. He received medical care and tested negative for COVID-19. Then, he was sent back to Central Prison. Less than a month later, McIntyre returned to UNC REX on the evening of December 13, suffering from shortness of breath. His oxygen levels fluctuated between 85 and 89 percent, and his heart rate was abnormally high at 150 bpm. At 11:51 p.m, McIntyre was pronounced dead. The death certificate issued clearly states COVID-19 as a contributing cause of death, but the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) has never included Robert McIntyre in its official COVID-19 death count—making McIntyre at least the seventh incarcerated person in North Carolina whose death the state has failed to report either entirely or in a timely fashion.

Bungled process, broken promises After a February 2021 investigation by North Carolina Health News and VICE News found that the North Carolina DPS was misleading the public about the numbers of COVID-19 deaths of incarcerated people, the state promised to do better by changing its policies to ensure accurate COVID death counts. 12

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Before, the state agency received death certificates but chose to ignore them. DPS, which is tasked in part with oversight of state prisons, had exclusively used its own medical reports without cross-referencing external documents including those produced by external state-contracted medical examiners. That didn’t work and led to information presented to the public via the DPS website that, in some cases, starkly conflicted with the reality understood by family members of the deceased. At the time, the state’s chief medical officer for the prison system, Les Campbell, told VICE and N.C. Health News that there was no reason for DPS to “try to hide or conceal” the reason for an inmate’s death. DPS went on to publicly adjust its count in March, updating it to include Billy Bingham, 61, and Daryl Washington, 51, two men in DPS custody whose COVID-related deaths were uncovered in the N.C. Health News/VICE report. The agency said it would start checking its own numbers alongside official death certificates. Yet a third person in DPS custody whose death certificate named COVID19 as a cause of death, Luther Wilson, still hasn’t been added to the count. The agency has also known about and excluded the death of Wilson, who was 60, due to renal failure and COVID-19 complications, for at least five months. Death certificates for three more incarcerated individuals who died in custody—McIntyre, Thurman Mosley, and Oliver Johnson—all have COVID-19

PHOTO VIA UNSPLASH

named as a primary or related cause of death, but none of the men are included in the count. DPS has known about Mosley and Oliver’s exclusion from their count tally for months. “It angers me, but what I need to do now is research and challenge the state of North Carolina to make them include him in this,” Mosley’s brother, James Mosley, said. Billy Bingham’s brother, Jay Bingham, says he feels like there’s been no closure surrounding his brother’s death. “I’ve sat back and waited—August third is coming up—and it’s gonna be a year,” Bingham says. “And I have not heard any feedback [from DPS]. I have not heard any follow-up or any kind of condolences on the whole situation, on what’s happening, or what’s going on, or what’s going to change to make it better. I have not seen that.”

An ongoing problem of wrongful reporting In addition to the failure to report at least seven COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began, DPS reporting is laden with mistakes. Even when its officials were informed about the errors, the agency took months to correct false information posted to its own website. On March 29, DPS communications officer John Bull was made aware of a mistake in the bungled reporting of the death of David Scudder, 73, who was incarcerated at Hyde Correctional Institute at his time of death on January 16, 2021. Scudder’s death was counted twice. On March 19, DPS posted a correction online to include a “previously unreported” January death, bringing its total from 52 to 53.


“I’ve had three dreams where my brother told me in the dreams that he died unjust, that he was a person, too.” On June 9, a second correction was finally issued explaining that Scudder was mistakenly counted twice—meaning that the agency’s own March correction was an error. Also on June 9, DPS added a previously unreported death to its list: Alexander Correctional facility resident Jerry Combs, 55, who passed away in November. In keeping with its policy, DPS did not release his name. Instead, the agency simply referred to Combs as “a male in his mid-50s.” Combs’ death certificate lists cardiovascular disease—not COVID-19—as his cause of death, as does a medical investigation conducted after his death. The medical investigation also states that following Combs’ death, the North Carolina Baptist Hospital advised DPS to request the performance of an external examination and a COVID test. The June 9 correction states that a positive COVID-19 test result was received three days after Combs’ death. Lucy Combs, Jerry’s mother, said DPS never informed her that her son could have possibly died from COVID-19. She said that she got home from church on Sunday, November 15, and, shortly after, an Alexander Correctional Institute employee called her and told her that Jerry had died. Lucy communicated with the prison system one more time—to request medical records—and then never heard from the agency again. “After he passed, I called Raleigh Central Prison to get medical records (and) about two weeks later they called and told me I had to send a death certificate, which I did,” Lucy says. “They sent me a box of medical records of 2,700 pages . . . and then they charged me $50 for the papers.” The last letter Jerry sent to his mother was dated November 3, 2020. “I see at the top when I open the letter he had put at the top, big letters, ‘Listen, put your gloves on before reading. I’ve been a little sick and they tested me for

COVID-19. I don’t think it is. I’ll find out soon. Stay safe,’ ” Lucy says. When asked about the June 9 correction detailing Combs’ death, Bull, the DPS spokesman, said in a statement that when the agency concludes an incarcerated person’s death was due to COVID-19, the website is updated “in the interest of transparency.” “We’re not going to address anything about a particular offender,” Bull said in the statement. “State law prohibits us from discussing an offender’s medical condition, including his or her cause of death.”

The costs of inaccurate reporting DPS’s repeated failures in accurately reporting COVID-19 deaths within its facilities point to a level of bureaucratic incompetence, says Aaron Littman, deputy director of the UCLA Law: COVID Behind Bars Data Project. “It’s a major state agency with a very large budget that should have no problem sharing accurate information in a timely fashion,” Littman says. “The fact that it isn’t doing that is, I think, reflective of a choice to be opaque.” Bull said in a statement that the agency has nothing to gain by not reporting an incarcerated person’s COVID-19 death. For family members of incarcerated people, the lack of accurate information surrounding COVID-19 deaths in DPS custody has lasting impacts. “I’ve had three dreams—and this is crazy—where my brother told me in the dreams that he died unjust, that he was a person, too,” Bingham says. “And he was in prison, but he was a person that deserved proper care and he deserved medical attention and he didn’t deserve to lay back there and he couldn’t even breathe. He didn’t deserve that. Nobody does—no matter what the situation is.” W Hannah Critchfield contributed to this report.

~~ Looking for Answers? Follow @INDYWeek on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for breaking news. INDYweek.com

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FE AT U R E

Where They Stood A photojournalist documents North Carolina’s (and the nation’s) fallen Confederate monuments. BY MELISSA LYTTLE backtalk@indyweek.com

This photoseries was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.

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t’s been a long time since I sat in an American history class, but what I remember of my education in Jacksonville, Florida, in the 1980s and 90s, is how much of it was not fact, but myth. I was taught that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights—a concept that seemed plausible to a kid—and that our side had its own heroes and its own stories worth remembering. Where did slavery and white supremacy fit into that history? Plainly, they didn’t. We must have skipped the chapter explaining that the South’s fight was in defense of slavery, if it existed at all. In high school, I played soccer and ran track and competed regularly against teams from Nathan B. Forrest High School and Robert E. Lee High School, the former named for a Confederate general and first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and the latter named for the famous Confederate Army general. The history of slavery was everywhere if you wanted to find it—even in the city’s name. Jacksonville comes from Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. president and a prominent enslaver. (We weren’t taught that part of his life in school either.) 14

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Raleigh Confederacy Monument, Highsmith, C. M., photographer. / via the Library of Congress. ALL PHOTOS BY MELISSA LYTTLE UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. Several of my relatives who live in north Florida still fly the Confederate flag on their boats and paste stars and bars stickers on their trucks. Some of them wear it on T-shirts, claiming, of course, “Heritage Not Hate.” But to me, what the Confederate flag celebrates is Southerners’ long tradition of lying to ourselves about the past. It’s not a rallying cry of loyalty to our homeland; it’s an unspoken threat, a reminder that white supremacy lives on. I do believe there’s a lot of good to celebrate in the South, from writers Zora Neale Hurston and Eudora Welty to grits, sweet tea, syrupy drawls, and mossy oak trees. These days, Jacksonville makes me proud, as it’s home to “the three D’s”—celebrated writers Deesha Philyaw, Dawnie Walton, and Dantiel Moniz. Long after I moved away, the schools named for Forrest and Lee were renamed Westside High School and Riverside High School. Monuments, markers, and signs venerating the Confederate dead have come down in Jacksonville and throughout parts of the South, sometimes by popular choice, sometimes by force. Most of these monuments didn’t go up immediately following the Civil War; instead, their time frame coincides with the segregation era in the South as a reminder of who was in charge.

“These monuments were also built in an effort to reinforce white supremacy at a time when Black communities were being terrorized and Black social and political mobility impeded,” writes journalist and author Clint Smith in his book How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America. “In the late nineteenth century, states began implementing Jim Crow laws to cement this country’s racist caste system. Social and political backlash to Reconstruction-era attempts to build an integrated society was the backdrop against which the first monuments arose,” Smith said. “These monuments served as a physical embodiment of the terror campaign directed at Black communities. Another spike in construction of these statues came in the 1950s and 1960s, coinciding not coincidentally, with the civil rights movement.” Across the South and far beyond, they have been powerful symbols of racism, our nation’s original sin. Now time is catching up with them. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s 2020 Whose Heritage? report, which tracks public symbols of the Confederacy across the United States, found that 168 Confederate symbols were renamed or removed from public spaces in 2020. Ninety-four of those symbols were Confederate monuments.


Above: Salisbury Monuments and Fame statue

PHOTO COURTESY OF NORTH CAROLINA

COLLECTION PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVES, WILSON LIBRARY, UNC-CHAPEL HILL

Left: Charlotte Reunion marker PHOTO BY KAREN L. COX, PH.D., PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, UNC CHARLOTTE

“2020 was a transformative year for the Confederate symbols movement. Over the course of seven months, more symbols of hate were removed from public property than in the preceding four years combined,” Lecia Brooks, SPLC chief of staff, said. By comparison, 58 Confederate monuments were removed between 2015 and 2019. More than 2,100 Confederate symbols are still on display in the U.S. You can find them on streets, parks, schools, military bases, and government buildings; 704 of those 2,100 symbols are monuments.

Rocky Mount Monuments

But the reckoning has begun. Fueled by episodes of police violence and institutional racism, many Americans are truly seeing these monuments for the first time, not as benign relics, but as part of a campaign to dehumanize Black citizens long after the Civil War had ended. Cities, counties, churches, and universities are awakening to the bitter significance of these symbols and covering them up, tearing them down, or dismantling them entirely. Where elected officials have been slow to act, ordinary people have taken matters into their own hands.

Protestors in dozens of states have pulled down or vandalized the likenesses of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Nathaniel Bedford Forrest, and others who fought to enslave people. Others have been removed by local officials under the cover of night, either to protect the statue or on the grounds that it was a public nuisance. “The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity. It sought to tear apart our nation and subjugate our fellow Americans to slavery. This is the history we should never forget and one that we should never again put on a pedestal to be revered,” said former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu. Last fall, I began to document the Confederate monuments that have been taken down since George Floyd’s death. In April, I started a five-week, 7,300-mile road trip throughout the South to continue this work. My goal is to create a record of an unraveling—this moment in time when long-held narratives about Southern pride and memo-

The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity. ”

PHOTOS COURTESY OF BURWOOD BARBOUR COLLECTION OF NORTH CAROLINA POST CARDS, N.C. COLLECTION PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVES, WILSON LIBRARY, UNC-CHAPEL HILL

INDYweek.com

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Asheville Vance/Lee Monuments COPYRIGHT (C) 2014 NAGEL PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK

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It’s history. That’s history too. ” rialization of Civil War leaders are literally being knocked off their pedestals. I’m photographing the spaces where the monuments once stood, as well as where they’ve ended up. And I’m pairing those photos with archival images of the monuments, commemorated on postcards, in state and university archives, and in the Library of Congress. Some government officials were proud of their city’s actions, saying off the record that “it’s about time.” Others allowed me access to where their monument is being stored, while they wrestle with the question of what, if anything, should be done with them now.

But on my road trip, I saw firsthand how other cities have handled this question. Cities in Alabama and North Carolina have moved their monuments to the Confederate dead to Confederate graveyards. Cities in Georgia and Florida have moved some of their monuments out of the public eye and onto private property. Clinton, North Carolina, displayed their town’s statue with some context in a war exhibit in the Sampson County History Museum. At the behest of their mayor, the Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) was the first African American cultural asset in the country to be the recipient of a Confederate monument. The HMAAC’s CEO John Guess Jr. said that taking in the monument was an effort to reclaim the narrative and to “have an honest discussion about race here in Houston.” Other cities have hidden theirs away in shipping containers, warehouses, storage sheds, public works facilities, city impound lots, prison maintenance yards, and other “secure disclosed locations.” And some monuments that were vandalized or spray-painted with graffiti have not been cleaned up and whitewashed. Chris Haugh, historic preservation manager at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland, told me he’d like to see the ones that were torn down in protest make their way to a museum someday. “It’s history,” he said. And so is the damage and spray-paint left on the monuments, which he left alone. “That’s history too.” With that comment, Haugh captured the story I want to tell. It’s about the moment we began to reject the cruelty and white supremacy of once-revered men. And about what comes next, what’s worth preserving, and why. W


STAGE

DREAMING OF SPACE JUGGLING | SPACE JUGGLING: BEHIND THE SCENES

Adam Dipert | thespacejuggler.com | Through Aug. 8

The Force is With Him Adam Dipert spends his time as a nuclear phycisist and circus artist. His next frontier? Space juggling. BY BYRON WOODS arts@indyweek.com

A

porthole ringed with ghostly LEDs looks out into the darkness of deep space. Just beyond it lies the future—or more specifically, a future form of entertainment, and perhaps even a future art form. In the void, Adam Dipert slowly spins, a trim, bald young man in a high-tech black flight suit with blue piping. In front of him, four white balls float, suspended in mid-space. As the camera spins with Dipert, the stars go whizzing by behind him, and the spheres careen in orbits that seem at first eccentric before an eerie symmetry manifests. All the while, the revolving man deftly keeps the globes in motion and in check through a series of gentle corrections with his hands. Then the camera stops. When it does, we notice something that should not be. In this perspective, the same balls in the same patterns now are moving in triangular and polygonal patterns—in straight lines— across the visual field, as we’d expect in zero gravity. Then the camera spins again, and the same orbs in the same mobile matrix start curving, arcing, and spiraling once more. Welcome to the world of space juggling. If it’s any comfort, Dipert, its inventor and sole proprietor who lives in Durham, was at first as baffled as you when his research began to suggest that, after Erwin Schrödinger killed his hypothetical, metaphysical cat, he joined the circus, and began persuading moving balls to occupy two contradictory states at the same time. “I didn’t expect to find the curves,” Dipert says. “That wasn’t part of my plan; it was part of the discovery.”

You can see the contradiction for yourself. After working on the project in secret over the last two years, Dipert’s been revealing the first full-length videos documenting his new creation over the last two weeks. Their first showing took first place at the 2021 International Jugglers’ Association Festival on July 15, where Dipert also took home first prize in the juggling championship competition. Last weekend he held a launch party for the general public in online events on his website. The videos will be available for viewing there through Aug. 8. Dipert’s been a high-profile fixture in the region’s cirque scene for most of the last decade, thrilling audiences in productions with Imagine Circus and Cirque de Vol. It’s not as widely known, though, that the entertainer also completed his PhD in physics during that time, and is now in a postdoctoral program at Arizona State University. In recent years, Dipert’s worked to combine his two passions in increasingly unconventional ways. He flirted with thoughts of space art for years, but after viewing the aircraft for a friend’s unlikely 40th birthday present—a parabolic flight simulating weightlessness— Dipert saw he didn’t need more technology to pursue his dreams. “The only thing between us and realizing it was doing it,” he says. His first parabolic flights divulged scientifically rigorous insights into movement research in microgravity, and research published in scholarly journals including the Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress and Contact Quarterly. Along the way, Dipert began studying embodied cognition, which looks at how our brain’s body awareness and the effects

Adam Dipert, Space Juggler

PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

of our senses on physical action influences not only the things we think but the types of things we can think. That would come in handy as he started musing on the possibilities of what he calls “space juggling”—juggling in a simulation of zero gravity. When he does it, Dipert’s body hangs horizontally, suspended from a harness used for theatrical flying and trapeze acts, inches above a clear plastic membrane on which the balls he juggles rest. As he manipulates the spheres, a camera placed below, that can spin in sync with Dipert’s body, captures the performance. The pandemic gave him the gift of hyperfocus. “I had the next idea, and the next idea, and as I dug into the mathematics, that started influencing the way I was rehearsing, and sometimes in rehearsing I’d find something I wanted to uncover in the math,” he says. Dipert estimates that he’s put “at least 1,300 hours” into the new form since he started.

At the start of the pandemic, he posted a challenge to the world on social media. Dipert observed that Isaac Newton invented calculus while he was forced to stay at home because of the plague in 1666. “So, what’s your Calculus going to be?” he asked. Looking back now, Dipert laughs. “I’ve got my answer.” He knows that centrifugal force and something called the Coriolis effect explains part of the apparent contradiction in spheres that appear to curve and travel in straight lines simultaneously. He also finds a deeper metaphor in our deeply schismatic perceptions of the phenomenon. “We’re having such a hard time now communicating perspectives to each other,” he says. “It feels really relevant to demonstrate an example of how seeing a different perspective can fundamentally change something as simple as the trajectory of a ball.” W INDYweek.com

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FO O D & D R I N K

DINGO DOG BREWING COMPANY 410 N Greensboro Street # 150, Carrboro | dingodogbrewing.com

Hair of the Dog A new taproom in Carrboro helps support rescue animals, one beer at a time BY JOHN A. PARADISO food@indyweek.com

T

he modern craft beer landscape is dominated by hype. In such a packed, competitive industry, it’s hard to carve out space for oneself. Up-and-coming breweries often chase the latest trends, capitalizing on the fickle desires of craft beer enthusiasts. More than likely, you’ve noticed the steady rise of hazy IPAs, heavily fruited sours, dessert stouts, and, most recently, hard seltzers. There’s even been a trendy offshoot of the hard seltzer craze with “smoothie hard seltzers.” For a brewery just starting out, it might feel like you’re constantly playing catchup with whatever happens to be in vogue that season. At the end of the day, though, this is only one model. There are plenty of breweries that have found success forging their own path—and, critically, finding their own definition of success. In Carrboro, that’s exactly what Dingo Dog Brewing Co. has done. Dingo Dog, which just opened its taproom at 410 N Greensboro Street earlier this year, launched in 2015 as a genuine farmhouse brewery. Situated on PlowGirl Farm on a dirt road just outside of Carrboro, the Dingo Dog brewery began extremely limited production in an old horse stable. The idea of a modern craft brewery might conjure thoughts of gleaming stainless steel tanks, reclaimed wood bars, and wide open floor plans. Dingo Dog Brewing Co. is not so glamorous. Founder Tim Schwarzauer and head brewer Billy Gagon operate on a vintage brewing system that’s just a step up from homebrewing. They’ve retrofitted the barn to their needs but the setup is still simple. And it works for them. 18

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Before launching Dingo Dog, Schwarzauer and Gagon were avid homebrewers themselves but, unlike wide-eyed enthusiasts who say in unison “we should open a brewery” over a pint of beer, Schwarzauer saw launching a brewery as an answer to a question he had been asking himself lately: “Why can’t a brewery, or any kind of business, generate revenue for a non-profit?” In 2005, Schwarzauer, who grew up just outside of Jackson, Mississippi, witnessed the destructive aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Schwarzauer, his mother, and stepfather assisted in volunteer efforts to rescue stray and abandoned animals, relocating them to temporary shelters and sanctuaries. Later that year, his family founded the Animal Rescue Fund of MS, a non-profit, “no-kill” animal sanctuary. Schwarzauer then moved from Mississippi to North Carolina, bringing with him a passion for supporting animals and a desire to contribute to that work. All that was missing, apparently, was the beer. Dingo Dog Brewing Co.’s motto is “saving lives, one pint at a time.” It’s a cutesy tagline but the small team at Dingo Dog takes it to heart. With each can and keg of beer sold, Schwarzauer was able to build funds to establish the real thrust of the brewing operation: Dingo Dog Charitable Trust, a 501(c)(3). “Everything after our operating costs gets funneled into the non-profit,” Schwarzauer explains. The foundation was established to set aside grant money for various local animal groups. Current partners include: Beyond Fences, Paws4ever, Carolina Adopt-A-Bulls, and Animal Park.

Winnie, a Dingo Dog Brewing Co. regular

PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

Schwarzauer and his team are brewing unique, experimental beers with ingredients grown on the farm or foraged nearby. Plenty of breweries around the country are doing the same, though. What’s novel about Dingo Dog is the space they’ve carved for themselves. Schwarzauer has bucked the trends by fully embracing the small, local, charity brewery model. Opening the taproom in Carrboro was about as big of an expansion for Dingo Dog as we can expect for quite some time. Schwarzauer is hoping to build up the brewhouse so they can increase production,

but for now, that’s it—they’re keeping things small. “We really just want to be producing enough to sell out of the taproom,” he says. “We’ve become the neighborhood bar. There are people who come by, grab a beer while they’re walking their dog, and keep going.” Schwarzauer is not looking to build a craft beer empire—he just wants to serve his community, and maybe save a few lives along the way. “The entire purpose is a moral imperative for me based on my experiences in animal rescue,” he says. “The beer is kind of secondary for us.” W


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TRIVIA NIGHT

July 29, 8-10 p.m. | Fullsteam Brewery, Durham | fullsteam.ag

Trivia host Arturo Sanchez PHOTO BY REBECCA SCHNEID

Smarty Pints 500 nights later, Fullsteam Brewery celebrates a time-honored Durham tradition: trivia night. BY GRACE ABELS arts@indyweek.com

T

he air stirs as the game is about to begin, possibly from the giant ceiling fan or maybe from all the brainwaves filling the bar. The best and brightest of Durham have gathered and are preparing for cerebral combat. The screen flashes to life: “Fullsteam Brewery presents the 499th edition of Thursday Night Trivia.” Very soon teams will be huddled in heated discussion over a vital fact: Which color M&M is said to act as an aphrodisiac? Fullsteam Trivia Night is a quirky Durham tradition that has been puzzling residents for the past 10 years. Every Thursday night, locals, Dukies, and highrise-dwelling millennials gather to show their trivia chops and have a pint of the local brew (try their summer specialty, Above-Ground Pool). Approaching its 500th edition 20

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on July 29, Fullsteam’s weekly trivia night has garnered such a loyal following because, let’s face it: Durham is a city of nerds. Add up (and this group likes to do math) Duke University, Research Triangle Park, and Google—not to mention Apple on the horizon—and the abundance of brainiacs makes Durham a place where it is cool to be smart. We take pride in knowing which Civil War officer is mistakenly credited with inventing baseball or being able to identify various types of beans. Facts and a good IPA make for a perfect night out. Fullsteam, a Durham institution since 2010, serves as the location for this meeting of gray matter. It fits with founder and CEO Sean Lilly Wilson’s vision of serving “as a community center and a mirror of Durham.”

Teams such as the QuaranTinas and Hookers for Jesus sit at orange picnic tables to go head-to-head in the cavernous (and partially air-conditioned) warehouse. Despite the towering brick walls, the houseplants and skylights keep the brewery welcoming and bright. Odd team names are an essential part of the experience. Some, like Arturo’s Batgoats (named after host Arturo Sanchez), are regulars with team T-shirts, while others dig deep for their inner comic week after week. Other recent names include Nerd Immunity, Trivia Newton John, Botany is Bitchin, and Tequila Mockingbird. The collective brainpower of the crowd is impressive. Many participants are Duke graduate students, such as the members of Fran’s Spicy Meatballs. The rest are young professionals and a few long-time Durhamites. The game is so alluring that some Fullsteam employees stay after their shift to play. Tonight, host Zak Norris rattles off the rules and announces the first category: National Flags Made Out of Food. (Snarky categories are part of the fun, such as Canadians, Funky Body Parts, Famous Elves, Words That go with “Duck,” Things that Spin, and The Supermarket as seen by your Dog—Blurry Groceries.) As the questions begin to roll out, “It’s like watching a ripple go through the crowd,” says Sanchez. “When you ask the question, it gets quiet. You see heads come together at the table. It’s almost like a communion.” Immediately there is a chorus of hurried whispers and nods of agreement. Sometimes after a momentary freeze, faces light up. At one table, players celebrate their guesses, prematurely sure of their correct answer. At another, hands fly, gesturing to argue their side in a fierce debate. For the really hard questions, an audible “huh?” can be heard in the sea of blank faces. Then, the big question of the moment: What is the most recognized smell in the world? Teams whisper their guesses: Gasoline? Chocolate? Fish? Beer? Players take another desperate sip to find the answer hidden somewhere in the foam. Once all 10 questions in a category are asked, teams submit their answers on paper or through their phones. (Occasionally, teams will leave messages or doodles for the host as well.) The questions change each week, but this trivia night is much like the 498 that have come before. It began in 2011 when Norris approached Fullsteam about a weekly event. In 2019, Sanchez joined as an alternating host. During the pandemic, he started virtual trivia “because it gave me that sense of continuity, that sense of normalcy that people were craving so much.” Sanchez enjoys being the center of attention and fills his trivia nights with jokes and personal stories. He


“It’s like watching a ripple go through the crowd,” says Sanchez. “When you ask the question, it gets quiet. You see heads come together at the table. It’s almost like a communion.” will never reuse a question, but there are some noticeable themes. Watch out for celebrities he thinks are cute, anything related to queer culture, U.S. politics, and “The Golden Girls.” Norris, on the other hand, is a “straightforward, no-frills” kind of host, Sanchez said. All answers are submitted on paper and while it takes him some time to tally the answers by hand, Norris likes this break. “I think sometimes a question might spark a memory for somebody and they’ll end up telling their table a story,” he says. Norris enjoys the research to put a game together, but unlike his counterpart, “I actually don’t like getting up in front of people.” He focuses on keeping the game moving and creating a pleasant, mind-expanding evening. When it’s finally time to announce the answers, the bar becomes quiet. Sonic + the Hedgehogs team member Olivier Boivin (a Duke genetics PhD student) sums up the drama. “It’s been a real roller coaster of emotion,” he says. Finally, Norris gets to the tricky one. “According to a study by Yale University,” he says, “What is the most recognized smell in the world?” “Coffee.” Cheers erupt and picnic tables rock as a few competitors leap out of their seats for high fives to celebrate a surprise correct answer. When the game is done, eyes scan the Excel spreadsheet to see how they have fared. The winner of the night is Zack’s Zealots. Team member Matt Lawing is a trivia pro who has been playing at various spots in Durham for the past 10 years. He finished the night with a perfect game. W This story was published in a partnership with 9th Street Journal.

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