INDY Week 9.16.20

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Raleigh | Durham | Chapel Hill September 16, 2020

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September 16, 2020

Raleigh W Durham W Chapel Hill VOL. 37 NO. 34

Donald Dean, p. 12 PHOTO BY JADE WILSON

CONTENTS NEWS 8 Durham debates new measures in limiting police force. BY CHARLIE ZONG 10 PETA wants to know why UNC euthanized lab rats in nonessential experiments. BY LEIGH TAUSS 11 A new financial relief fund for LGBTQ students of color at UNC gets off to a strong start. BY MARY KING 12 Did the doctrine of sovereign immunity prevent justice for Donald Dean? BY THOMASI MCDONALD

FOOD 16 Saint James cracks the problem of takeout oysters.


MUSIC 18 21

With Bile and Bone, a prolific, solitary song-maker slows down and opens up. BY WILL ATKINSON It's like the Beatles never happened in Chris Stamey's A Brand-New Shade of Blue. BY DAN RUCCIA

A No t e o n O u r E n d o rs e m e n t s


5 15 Minutes

7 A Week in the Life

COVER Photo by Jade Wilson/Design by Jon Fuller


Digital Content Manager Sara Pequeño


Editorial Assistant Cole Villena

Interim Editor in Chief Brian Howe Raleigh News Editor Leigh Tauss Deputy A+C Editor Sarah Edwards Staff Writer Thomasi McDonald

Theater+Dance Critic Byron Woods Voices Columnists T. Greg Doucette, Chika Gujarathi, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Courtney Napier, Barry Saunders, Jonathan Weiler

Contributors Jim Allen, Will Atkinson, Jameela F. Dallis, Michaela Dwyer, Lena Geller, Spencer Griffith, Howard Hardee, Laura Jaramillo, Kyesha Jennings, Glenn McDonald, Josephine McRobbie, Samuel Montgomery-Blinn, Neil Morris, James Michael Nichols, Marta Nuñez Pouzols, Bryan C. Reed, Dan Ruccia, David Ford Smith, Eric Tullis, Michael Venutolo-Mantovani, Chris Vitiello, Ryan Vu


e have received many messages asking if our endorsements will be published early this year. In a perfect world, they would have dropped as your absentee ballot arrived in your mailbox. Unfortunately, we're short-staffed in an unprecedented time, and because of the amount of work behind our endorsements— from our carefully tailored questionnaires to background research on the candidates and soliciting community input—we are unable to responsibly move up the timeline. Our endorsements will be published in a special issue on October 14. If you want to wait on us while ensuring your vote gets counted, remember, you don’t have to rely on snail mail. You can drop off your completed ballot in person at your local Board of Elections office. —Leigh Tauss, Raleigh news editor



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Interns Mary King, Bella Smith

September 16, 2020



Last week, Thomasi McDonald wrote





Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in Durham striking after learning an employee had tested positive for coronavirus.

Frustrated by low pay during the pandemic, these essential workers demanded a $15 an hour living wage.

Some of our readers had thoughts: “We need to be able to unionize,” wrote Facebook user ROCKY DAVIS. “The state has no right to tell us we can’t.” “If you pay them what they are worth most would be worth $2 a hour,” BETTY WILLIAMS opined. “Pay the good ones the $15.” “I’m glad you’ve mastered the ability to judge a person’s worth based on how you got your burger, Karen,” replied ROY PINE. “The fast food restaurants should pay $15 a hour and then deduct money every time your order is incorrect. Durham has the worst fast food workers in the state of NC,” JASON WILLIAMS wrote. “You’re literally saying that these people don’t deserve to making a living wage because your cheap food wasn’t perfect. Maybe you can cook for yourself next time?” AMANDA LEE MORRIS replied. “High paid, less skilled fast food workers means cheap fast food isn’t available and people complain about $20 for a burger and fries and say only middle income can afford fast food. You increase the pay of construction workers and the cost of housing goes up and people complain that you are trying to gentrify the area. You will never have anything if you don’t work your ass off for it and your not going to get it sitting in the grass beating a drum,” JASON WILLIAMS responded. “You keep moving the goalposts. Your initial post seemed to indicate that you thought they should be paid $15 and then deducted for mistakes, meaning that you think excellent employees should be paid well, and thus you wouldn’t cry about an “expensive” hamburger if it was delivered to you perfectly and that your whole beef (pun intended) was quality of service,” replied PINE. “Or am I reading too much into it, and you’re just another mediocre white guy looking to find something to bitch about so you can feel smug and superior?”

WANT TO SEE YOUR NAME IN BOLD? @IndependentWeekly @indyweek 4

OP - E D

September 16, 2020

Child Care Facility Safety Can’t Take a Backseat During COVID BY SENATOR NATALIE MURDOCK


nown as the City of Medicine, Durham and the surrounding area have a high number of essential medical workers, many of them struggling to keep the rest of us safe and disease-free. But a bill passed recently by the General Assembly that will probably be signed by Governor Cooper to offer parents additional childcare options may put the children of those essential health-care workers at risk. As part of allocating how to spend $1.1 billon of the state’s share of the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds, the state also relaxed requirements that childcare facilities follow strict guidelines. Tucked into House Bill 1105—better known as Coronavirus Relief 3.0, which expanded broadband access to rural areas and allowed schools to operate without threat of a loss of funds because of reduced enrollment—was language that allowed temporary childcare centers to bypass a number of safety regulations. They are no longer required to ensure that employees have background checks, including those for childabuse charges, or are CPR or first-aid certified or can pass a TB test. Additionally, centers aren’t required to report confirmed COVID-19 cases to public health officials, and their facilities don’t have to pass fire department regulations. To continue to offer child care options beyond the summer, the state’s YMCAs asked if they could continue their summer programming and give students places to do their virtual instruction while schools are operating remotely. The state’s Child Care Commission attempted to ease restrictions by having the facilities, including the YWCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, and parks and recreation centers, contract with local school systems so they could operate during the pandemic. But the facilities wanted more. The General Assembly, with HB 1105, eased restrictions allowing them to continue to operate and not comply with restrictions required of the state’s childcare facilities. The bill also loosely defines child care centers so they can include any group wanting to watch children during the day, such as churches, other nonprofit organizations,

or even groups of parents creating learning pods in one of their homes. The pandemic has resulted in all of us having to do things differently and adjust our schedules to ensure that we are safe and not spreading COVID-19. But those alterations should not put children at risk.

“A bill passed recently may put the

children of essential health-care workers at risk.” Without background checks, parents don’t know who could be working with their children. They may have previous convictions for child abuse. They may have COVID19. The facility itself may have fire department violations. The list of potential issues and problems is unlimited. Language in this bill was created by the House Republicans and offered Democrats little opportunity to participate. Additionally, because the bill moved through the House and Senate so fast, the public was not allowed to review what was included. As a result, we have a flawed law. My Asheville colleague, Senator Terry Van Duyn, attempted to offer amendments that would have required the facilities to have at least one person CPR or first-aid certified, ensure that staff can pass a background check, and notify local health departments of COVID-19 cases among children or staff. But that effort failed. In the interim, our children are at risk. How can we ask our frontline health-care workers and all the others who work so hard every day to put their children at risk so that we can get medical care, buy groceries, ride public transportation, tend to our elderly, and do all those things we need to survive? Contact your local state elected officials and let them know you want this changed. You want your children and the children in your neighborhoods to be safe. You should expect nothing less. W Natalie Murdock represents N.C. State Senate District 20.


15 MINUTES Chantel Johnson, 33 Founder of Off Grid in Color BY ERIC GINSBURG

What led you to become a farmer? I got into farming because back in 2014 my youngest brother was shot several times in Chicago and died about 15 months later. He was not a saint, but he also didn’t have good choices in the community we grew up in. Everything failed, not just my brother, but other people in the community. They were closing about 50 public schools around that time, and there wasn’t a Level 1 trauma unit for adults at the nearby hospital. And here I am, while this is happening in my community—I got a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in social work, and for what? When he died, I remember talking to my mom that, “I’m just going to start doing things by myself, from making my clothes to the food I eat.” She laughed, and I was like, “I’m serious.” It really started with this burning desire to be more self-sufficient because I did not trust our government officials or community leaders to do the right thing.

Off Grid in Color is more than a livestock operation. What else do you do? I like to describe it as a homestead sanctuary for health and wellness. The whole idea of a homestead is to be self-sufficient. Farming was an outlet for that. I’m building the farm up so that I can have these other things. Another part of Off Grid In Color is we have doula services. And we do all kinds of educational things to teach people how to be more self-sufficient. One project is called the Pork Futures Project. I rehomed 20 pigs that were going to be euthanized. I said, “Yo, if people want to go in on this, I’ll give you a good deal.” Usually I sell a whole hog for $1,200, but I would do this for $900. Within seven days, I raised $13,000 for these pigs. I like to do crowdfunding where people are involved in the ups and downs, which is truly how community-supported agriculture should function—that you take the wins and the losses with the farmers.


Your Thanksgiving turkeys follow a similar model. Why should people be planning for Thanksgiving already? Well, over a hundred already sold. The farmer has to plan for the future. You should, too. I start promoting turkeys in May, and people say, “Oh my gosh, I can’t even think that far ahead.” Well, that’s what I’m here for. If you want it from me, you better get it while the getting’s good. The Durham Co-op is going to have 10 of them, too. I’m also giving turkeys away, probably about a half-dozen. It’s $80 for a small turkey to go to a family, and you can donate as much as you want. The feelgood part is, you know this turkey is going to a family who can’t necessarily afford it but appreciates sustainably raised meat. W Learn more at and support the farm’s fundraiser to find a permanent Triangle location at

September 16, 2020



Upcoming Virtual Events



DONALD TRUMP holds a rally in Winston-Salem to bolster his standing in North Carolina, a key swing state in the presidential election. Polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight shows Biden with a 1.3 point lead in North Carolina and a seven-point lead nationally.

9/9 • 919.828.1588 • North Hills 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road, Raleigh, NC 27609 CHECK OUT OUR PODCAST: BOOKIN’ w/Jason Jefferies

The NORTH CAROLINA MUSEUM OF ART opens its doors to the public for the first time since March as part of North Carolina’s Phase 2.5 reopening plan Journalist Bob Woodward releases recordings of an interview he conducted with Donald Trump in February indicating that THE PRESIDENT KNOWINGLY LIED to the American people about the severity of the coronavirus. “I wanted to always play [the virus] down,” the president said in a recorded interview on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” The CHAPEL HILL TOWN COUNCIL votes unanimously to make Juneteenth a paid holiday. The council also indicates that they will re-examine the use of force, including chokeholds, by police officers in a later meeting.


All events are online. Register for Quail Ridge Books Virtual Events Series at

The National Trust for Historic Preservation announces a preservation easement for NINA SIMONE’S CHILDHOOD HOME in Tryon, meaning the building will be preserved indefinitely as a historic landmark.



The North Carolina State Board of Elections announces that 10,380 voters submitted MAIL-IN BALLOTS in the first week of voting, with 9,966 ballots accepted. More than 60 percent of those ballots were submitted by Democratic-registered voters.


9.18 9.20

(Here’s what’s happened since the INDY went to press last week)

Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle Even As We Breathe 7pm Forever Young 7pm Triangle Tolkienists 7pm Brad Schwartz & Max Allen Collins Eliot Ness and the Mad Butcher 2pm Christopher Paolini To Sleep in a Sea of Stars 7pm

UNC-CHAPEL HILL kicks off its football season with a 28–6 home win over Syracuse University. DUKE falls to Notre Dame 27–13. NC STATE’S season opener against Virginia Tech, originally scheduled for this past weekend, was delayed two weeks due to a coronavirus cluster within State’s athletics program. Former Garner mayor RONNIE S. WILLIAMS dies at 72. Williams served 20 years on the town’s board of aldermen and then as mayor from 2005 until last December.



The CAROLINA PANTHERS drop their season opener to the Oakland Raiders, 34–30. Former Panthers quarterback CAM NEWTON rushes for two touchdowns in his first game for the New England Patriots, a 21–11 win over the Miami Dolphins.



United States Senate candidates THOM TILLIS and CAL CUNNINGHAM face off in a debate hosted by WRAL. FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics show Cunningham with around a three-point lead in the most recent polls. North Carolina’s AQUARIUMS reopen to the public, bringing Phase 2.5 of the statewide reopening plan closer to its full rollout. IVANKA TRUMP campaigns for her father in Wilmington. Donald Trump had visited the port city just 12 days prior.



September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020




Is Eight Enough? As the 8 Can’t Wait campaign gathers political support, some say Durham needs to go further in transforming policing BY CHARLIE ZONG


summer of change was just beginning when Durham’s elected leaders vowed on June 15 to “transform policing” in response to local and national protests against systemic racism and police brutality— matters long debated in Durham. Among other promises, Mayor Steve Schewel and council members pledged to review and reform the police department’s rules on police use of force in the next 90 days. With that deadline approaching, the mayor and Police Chief Cerelyn Davis are preparing a presentation concerning the department’s rules on police use of force, said David Anthony, executive officer to the police chief. The mayor’s office and police department have not specified a release date or whether the presentation will be the city’s final response to the 90-day pledge. “Force” in this context means physical tactics police can use against people who don’t comply with lawful orders as spelled out in department policies. The department updated those policies in June, but activists and some city council members say some rules are still not clear enough. The reform campaign 8 Can’t Wait—a project by Campaign Zero, a national group that promotes what they say are evidence-based reforms—won the support of some Durham officials, activists, and residents. Launched June 3, the campaign urges police departments across the nation to adopt eight policies intended to restrict the use of force. They include banning chokeholds, requiring officers to exhaust all means before using deadly options like firearms, and requiring police to intervene if they witness another officer using excessive force. Durham Police Department spokesperson Amanda Fitzpatrick said in an email that the department’s rules “are currently aligned with the recommendations.” 8

September 16, 2020

Protesters march in Durham


But an analysis by The 9th Street Journal of Durham’s manual of rules for officers—which was updated on June 10—found that DPD written policies meet only six of the eight recommendations explicitly.


fforts to reform how police interact with residents began long before this summer. In 2013, a 17-year-old named Jesus Huerta committed suicide in the back of a Durham police cruiser. Investigators determined Huerta shot himself with a gun hidden on him at the time of his arrest, and officer Samuel Duncan was suspended without pay for violating search protocols and failing to switch on the cruiser’s video and audio recording devices. Though the Huerta family ultimately accepted the findings, police donned riot gear and released tear gas at a vigil for Huerta. The controversy intensified pressure on the city to reform its police department. From 2013 to 2019, 203 people were killed by police in North Carolina, according to the Mapping Police Violence research project. Black people were 38 percent of those killed, though they make up only 21 percent of the state’s population. Durham, where police killed five Black people and one white person between 2013 and 2019, had the largest racial disparity between rates of Black and white civilians killed by police among major cities in the state, the research project found. Officers were not charged in any of the cases, as tracked by Mapping Police Violence.

In 2015, the city commissioned a study by the International Association of Chiefs of Police that found the Durham Police Department faced “deteriorating relationships” with the community and a “lack of public trust” stemming partly from perceptions of racism and discriminatory practices. In 2016, the city hired police chief Cerelyn Davis, who vowed to build a “culture of trust” between police and the community. Durham has made significant strides since Huerta’s death in 2013, said city council member Mark-Anthony Middleton. They include requiring police to obtain written consent before vehicle searches, de-emphasizing marijuana violations, and monitoring data on traffic stops for racial disparities. Davis has been a “change agent” who led “a definite shift in the culture of our police department,” Middleton said. But recent controversies over a police officer being accused of assaulting a high school student and officers drawing weapons on three youngsters have renewed demands for an end to police violence.


he 8 Can’t Wait recommendations are based on Campaign Zero’s 2016 analysis of civilian deaths involving officers and restrictions on the use of force at 91 of the 100 largest police departments in the country, including Durham.

The group’s analysis says the typical department uses only three of the eight deadly-force reduction practices intended to help prevent officers from harming or killing civilians. According to the group, in 2015 Durham had only two of eight policies on the books explicitly. “Harm reduction is important, and you can’t enforce what isn’t against the rules,” said Samuel Sinyangwe, a cofounder of 8 Can’t Wait. Cities across the country, including Raleigh and Durham, have moved to reform their policies in line with 8 Can’t Wait’s recommendations. With revisions made in June, the Durham police department’s General Orders Manual explicitly lists six of the eight recommendations. What’s missing? Durham officers are encouraged—but not required—to exhaust all possible alternatives before resorting to deadly force, the manual states. Officers are required to file a use-offorce report only if physical force or injury occurs. The 8 Can’t Wait recommendations say reports should be filed every time violence is threatened, including when officers point guns at people. Fitzpatrick told The 9th Street Journal that the manual is being updated “to explicitly state officers have a duty to intervene to prevent or stop excessive force if witnessed.” The manual states officers are not trained in the use of chokeholds, nor are they listed among authorized force options, which escalate from hand techniques and pepper spray up to firearms. But the manual does not explicitly say chokeholds are prohibited, either. In an interview, Mayor Pro Tem Jillian Johnson said that ambiguity in the policy is a problem. Johnson early this year criticized Durham as “one of the poorest-performing cities” when it comes to having a clear and explicit use-of-force policy, citing the absence of an explicit ban on chokeholds and the department permitting officers to use deadly force before exhausting other options if the officer deems it “objectively reasonable,” according to the manual. “When you give the officer discretion to determine whether it’s reasonable … That’s my main point of contention with the interpretation that we meet these guidelines,” Johnson said. “Those hedges make it so that we don’t actually meet the guidelines as they’re written.” She and a coauthor called for “significant improvements” in a January op-ed in USA Today that recently retired city man-

ager Tom Bonfield and council member Mark-Anthony Middleton strongly rebuked. Middleton said he did not agree that police use-of-force rules were only effective if they closely followed the wording in standards created by 8 Can’t Wait or other groups. “It’s not true that our department is woefully lacking in use-of-force standards,” he said.


hile 8 Can’t Wait has gained traction among local governments being pressured to take action, not all local activists agree that its agenda is enough. Some say cities, Durham included, should “defund” or abolish their police departments and focus instead on community wellness and crime prevention. Andréa Hudson, director of the North Carolina Community Bail Fund, said she considers the emphasis on 8 Can’t Wait a distraction from defunding the police and spending more money on community health and safety initiatives. “A system that has white supremacy embedded in it will not change just because you banned them from doing things that they shouldn’t have been doing in the first place,” said Hudson. But city council members remain focused on achieving what they say is sustainable, long-term change. The city council in June unanimously passed the city’s $502 million 2020–21 budget, which included $70 million for the police, despite a vocal campaign from local activists. In a June op-ed in Spectacular Magazine, Middleton pointed to the city council’s 2019 decision to reject hiring 18 officers— only to hire six officers several months later in response to gang violence—as evidence that the city needs to first develop viable alternatives to the police. Also in June, council members committed $1 million to form a Community Safety and Wellness Task Force, a resident-led group that will recommend alternatives to traditional policing. As the city wraps up its 90-day pledge to review police use-of-force rules, Johnson said she wants to see an explicit ban on chokeholds and more comprehensive reporting when police use force. But Johnson’s end goal is deeper. “These reforms are useful, but they’re not systemic reforms,” Johnson said. “Ultimately, I want to do less policing overall.” W

This story was produced through a partnership between the INDY and The 9th Street Journal, which is published by journalism students at Duke University’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy.

September 16, 2020



Chapel Hill

Rat Rage PETA wants the state to audit UNC, which allegedly euthanized animals being used for nonessential research at the onset of the pandemic BY LEIGH TAUSS


n March, UNC-Chapel Hill instructed its laboratories to suspend all experiments deemed nonessential as the school prepared to shut down on-campus activities due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus. Scientists were instructed to write “priority” in red ink on the rodent cages that needed to be maintained. The rest of the animals were likely euthanized, a new complaint from animal rights organization PETA claims. And while that’s terrible, it’s not exactly what PETA is protesting. They want to know why taxpayer money was used to fund “nonessential” experiments in the first place if they weren’t necessary and are call-

rodent laboratories in 2002 and 2003, claiming to discover understaffing, neglect, overcrowding, and animal cruelty. In 2015, following more undercover investigations at factory farms, North Carolina passed a law to keep animal-rights organizations from going undercover by giving employers the ability to sue those who leak internal documents. However, a court overruled the so-called “ag-gag law” earlier this year due to First Amendment concerns: Not only would it stop legitimate whistleblowers and allow employers to conceal criminal activity, but it would also prevent journalists from doing their jobs. But as one smokescreen lifted, the pandemic seemingly dropped another. As coronavirus panic spread over the country in March, the school, which receives $543 million in state funding annually, some of which is funneled into its agricultural experiments, scaled down its laboratories. All experiments that fell outside “critical research activity” were to be “ramped down, curtailed, suspended or delayed,” by March 25. Exactly what that entailed was left ambiguous, but PETA believes the result was the “the destruction of hundreds of animals UNC-Chapel Hill deemed extraneous, noncritical, or nonessential or described using similar terminology.” The school did not respond to the INDY’s inquiry about how many “nonessential” animals were euthanized that did not fall under “critical research activity.” Instead, they put out a PR statement highlighting the importance of the research conducted at the school.

“PETA is calling on state officials to follow the money and prevent taxpayer waste.” ing on state auditor Beth Wood to find out what happened after the school shut down. “UNC-Chapel Hill’s experiments on animals were undoubtedly cruel, and apparently, not even the school can justify them,” PETA Vice President Shalin Gala said in a statement. “PETA is calling on state officials to follow the money and prevent taxpayer waste—and animal suffering—in laboratories that should never have received funding in the first place.” This isn’t PETA’s first clash with UNC. The organization previously conducted undercover investigations of the school’s 10

September 16, 2020


“Critical research activity, including the care and maintenance of our animal population, is continuing under the University’s reduced operations,” the school’s media team responded in a statement. “UNC-Chapel Hill is committed to humanely caring for the animals our researchers rely on in their search to cure and treat disease—both during normal operations and in this time of reduced operations. Our employees and the administration take their ethical responsibility to care for our animals very seriously.” No one is debating the necessity of critical research, but if the school has nothing to hide, then why not be transparent about what happened at the labs this spring? Furthermore, it’s unclear how much of the research happening at the school falls outside of the realm of “critical.” On both counts, UNC isn’t telling.

PETA believes that ceasing these experiments will cost more in the long run because of the cost of restarting the research and repopulating the animals. This “nonessential” research, PETA claims, comes “at an apparent annual cost of millions of dollars, some of which may have been funded by the state,” and is “the height of absurdity and wastefulness.” That deserves a hard look, not only from an ethical but also from a fiscal perspective. The mysterious extent of that wastefulness might interest Wood, a Democrat running for reelection this year who has served as an auditor for a decade. She did not respond to the INDY’s inquiry about whether she intends to investigate the school’s animal-testing programs or the aftermath of shutting down its labs. W


Chapel Hill

If Need Be A student-run mutual aid fund for queer and trans people of color at UNC gets off to a promising start BY MARY KING


student-run aid fund that supports financially struggling LGBTQ students of color at UNC-Chapel Hill aimed to raise $500 within the first week of September, but the fund reached its goal nearly overnight. Eri Kakoki, a junior and the co-president of UNC Queer and Trans People of Color, said the fund went live the night before September 1. By the afternoon of September 2, donations had met the $500 threshold. Most people have discovered the fund through the small digital flyers the organization posted on its social media pages, she said. UNC QTPOC has also asked other campus LGBTQ organizations to promote the fund to their own members. “It really came down to: People cared about the community, and they wanted to make sure that queer students were safe and in good health,” Kakoki said. UNC’s School of Education Graduate Student Association donated $300 from funds it had previously raised, said doctoral student Sean Hernández Adkins, the association’s president at the time. The other $200 consisted of individual contributions, Kakoki said. The group uses its Venmo handle, @QTPOC-UNC, to collect and distribute donations. Although white queer students can apply to the fund, Kakoki said LGBTQ students of color are prioritized. To request aid, students can fill out a form on UNC QTPOC’s website. “We would distribute however much they needed,” Kakoki said, “whether it was for a meal, or for gas, or for things like housing, for instance, which was major because a lot of people had

“The power To is advertise or feature a pet for adoption, in the please contact investment of the community itself.”

what we plan to do to our community. There’s no way to prove if you’re LGBT+, and we certainly don’t feel like pushing them to send a picture of themselves or anything. So, I guess part of it is based on trust, but we’re really relying on that PID as verification.” Andrea Pino-Silva, a UNC alum and digital organizer who advised the group in setting up the fund, said that while larger charities and community organizations are essential for achieving longer-term goals, mutual aid funds help fulfill immediate needs. Mutual aid funds also incur fewer overhead costs, so more of the donated money goes straight to the communities in need. “The power is really much more in the investment of the community itself, who’s leading the fight and should be getting the funding directly,” Pino-Silva said. So far, the fund has received eight requests. Kakoki said some requests have to move out of their dorms early this involved housing expenses, while others semester because of the pandemic out- have related to LGBTQ-specific medical break. That really left students in kind of and hormone treatments. For now, requests are capped at $100, disarray, and a lot of people needed help but UNC QTPOC hopes to raise that with the transition.” To verify that applicants are UNC stu- maximum, Kakoki said. As a semester of dents, the form requires them to sub- virtual undergraduate classes continues, plans to keep spreading mit their names, class levels, andoruniverTo advertise feature athe petorganization for adoption, sity-granted personal ID contact numbers, and awareness of the fund via social media please then they must specify a dollar amount and word-of-mouth. After surpassing to request. From there, they are encour- their $500 goal, they’re still deciding aged to provide only as much detail as which number to aim for next. To because advertise featurea lot a pet “Just thisor is moving faster they feel comfortable about why they are thanfor we first expected, you know?” Kakoki requesting these funds. adoption, please contact really on the rise here. But we’re “We really felt that what was import- said. “It’s ant to this community is trust, and we definitely planning on upping our goal so didn’t want to force people to explain that we have a greater capacity to help themselves,” Kakoki said. “That’s not the community on campus.” W

To advertise or feature a pet for adoption, please contact

SUPPORT LOCAL To advertise or feature a pet for adoption, please contact

businesses by purchasing gift cards, shopping online, donating, ordering takeout, and tipping more

September 16, 2020




Broken Chain Donald Dean always wanted to do things the right way, even when a false accusation and violent encounter with Durham law enforcement wrecked his life BY THOMASI MCDONALD


oes the doctrine of sovereign immunity in North Carolina give members of law enforcement a license for misconduct? A Durham County case was dismissed by a Superior Court judge in January because qualified immunity bars legal actions against governmental entities—including law officers—absent a consent or waiver. Donald Dean is an Army combat veteran who says he was targeted by Durham sheriff’s deputies in 2016 and falsely accused of being a drug kingpin. Dean, who turned 40 last month, struggled for more than two years after sheriff’s deputies in unmarked cars pulled him out of his 2013 Dodge Charger and manhandled him so badly they aggravated injuries he had received in Iraq and Afghanistan. After the trauma of the beating, false accusations, and wrongful imprisonment, Dean lost everything. He lost three security jobs that paid more than $35 an hour after the sheriff’s office did not return his handguns. His car was repossessed after he fell behind on payments. He fell behind on child support and had to go to jail. The fiancée he was planning to build a home with ended their relationship. He slept in his car with his belongings before he ended up on his mama’s couch. “I felt like killing myself,” he told the INDY. On April 8, 2019, three years after deputies snatched Dean out of his car and accused him of selling drugs, attorneys Gwendolyn Hailey of Mebane and Florence Bowens of Durham filed a complaint seeking compensation and punitive damages of at least $250,000 on his behalf. The attorneys accused nearly a dozen deputies and supervising detective Casey 12

September 16, 2020

Norwood of depriving Dean of his civil rights with an unlawful search of his car, seizure of his handguns, false imprisonment, fraud, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. But Dean’s day in court was short-lived. On January 13, 2020, Durham Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson dismissed the case. Hailey says the judge was restricted by the sheriff’s office attorneys’ claims of sovereign immunity, which shields law enforcement agencies from a lawsuit of any kind unless the state consents to be sued. “That’s all you heard was ‘sovereign immunity, sovereign immunity,’” says Hailey, who also worries that the deputies’ body and dash-cam footage of the confrontation with Dean may be destroyed. The NAACP took an interest in the case in the summer of 2017, says Vivian Timlic, executive director of the Durham chapter. She remembers the sheriff’s attorney’s refrain: “It’s not true. It couldn’t have happened. The sheriff’s office has integrity.” “Our heads just dropped,” Timlic says. “Mr. Dean was injured. We have medical records, and his car was torn apart.” Dean was unable to afford an attorney, and Timlic says it was difficult to find one in Durham to take the case. Hailey and Bowens picked up the case contingent upon Dean receiving compensation. These days, Dean is finally doing better. Though he lost in his bid to hold the deputies accountable, being awarded full disability and a retroactive lump sum in June of last year has provided some solace. He has a one-bedroom apartment in Southwest Durham. He’s converted the den into a bedroom for his 19-year-old daughter, who is taking virtual classes at Johnson C. Smith

Donald Dean


University in Charlotte. There’s pastel art on a recessed wall in the dining area. The splash of color accentuates the light gray sectional sofa and comfortable recliner in the living room. Track lighting in the kitchen gives the place a cool and calm ambiance. “Everything in here is fresh. I came here with nothing,” says Dean, a stocky, bald-pated guy wearing a red Polo T-shirt, blue cargo shorts, and flip-flops. According to the complaint, the sheriff’s deputies stopped Dean’s Dodge Charger on NC 98 in East Durham, pulled him out of the car with guns drawn, slammed him to the asphalt face down, and handcuffed him. One of the officers, who wore the hooded mask that is part of the vice squad’s tactical gear, pinned Dean to the ground with a knee on his neck, while a second deputy had a boot on his spine. Norwood arrived and told the deputies “good job” and “we got him now.” Norwood twice called Dean “a dumb motherfucker,” and said, “in order to get out of this, you’re going to have to give me something, motherfucker,” according to the complaint. When the deputies transported Dean to an interrogation room at the sheriff’s office on Dillard Street, they handcuffed him to a

table “like a dog” and continued to question him about being a “drug dealer.” According to the complaint, one of the deputies pointed to a gold chain Dean was wearing and said, “I’ve been doing this for over twenty years, and you sure look like a drug dealer to me.”


ean was born in Oakland, California. He moved to Durham with his mother when he was seven. Early on, he made a decision that determined his life’s trajectory. “I wanted to do things the right way,” Dean says, to break “generational curses” of poverty and a fatherless household. “I was raised by a single mom, and my dad was part of the 1980s crack epidemic. He did time in prison. I had to learn how to become a man on my own and find a way to support my family.” Dean attended Durham Public Schools and graduated from Tarheel Challenge Academy, a military school in Salemburg. In 2000, he enlisted in the Navy. Following a four-year stint, he joined the U.S. Army Reserves through the “Blue to Green” program before going on active duty in 2005. He looked forward to a 20-year career in the military and planned to serve in all four branches. But then he was wounded in Iraq.

“I’ve been doing this for over twenty years, and you sure look like a drug dealer to me.” “I was in a convoy, and the vehicle forty feet in front of me hit an IED,” he says. “The explosion ricocheted, which caused our vehicle to flip.” Part of the metal from the Humvee’s frame went into his kneecap. The hot metal was rubbery, and Dean’s fellow soldiers were able to pull the shrapnel out. “If not, I would have lost my lower leg,” he says. Dean’s military career ended on August 12, 2008, with an honorable discharge for medical reasons. He enrolled at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Virginia and then in an HVAC program at Everest College. During that time, he was offered work as a mechanic for Mantech International, a military contractor in Afghanistan. He worked in the warzone to help repair combat vehicles. It was Ramadan in the summer of 2013 when a missile landed at the base where Dean worked. “I fell off the vehicle I was working on and split the side of my head open. That’s all I can remember,” he says. “I woke up with nine staples in my head.” Dean came home to a woman he had met while working in Afghanistan. They clicked as a couple and moved into a home together near Hillside High School in Durham. Dean landed three jobs as an armed security guard. Then came the encounter with the sheriff’s deputies that led to what he calls his “downfall.” On August 7, 2016, Dean had an appointment at the VA Hospital, where he received injections every six months for headaches and nerve damage. Dean says he had to find someone to ride with him because medical officials would not allow him to drive after taking the heavy dosages of pain medicine. The only person available was Jason Brown. Dean says that when he went to pick Brown up, he did not know his friend was wanted by police for failing to appear in court. Dean and Brown stopped for a red light at the intersection of NC 98 and Lynn Road. Dean says he traveled slowly through the light after it changed and noticed a sheriff’s patrol car pull behind him. The cruiser’s lights were flashing, but the siren was not activated. According to the complaint, Dean stepped on his brakes and turned on his signal to indicate he was moving into the far-right lane, out of the patrol car’s way. That’s when a white Crown Victoria sped up and struck Dean’s Dodge Charger to bring it to a halt. Nearly half a dozen deputies rushed to the Dodge with guns drawn. One of the depu-

ties pulled Dean out of the car, slammed him on the ground, and handcuffed him. “I instantly knew what was going on,” Dean says. “They’re thinking my friend is a felon, and they are about to shoot us because they think he’s going to run.” Dean knew Brown had previous drug-related run-ins with law officers. According to a motion filed in November, deputies targeted Brown after he sold marijuana and cocaine to a confidential informant. Dean thinks the deputies looked at his car and the gold chain around his neck and fingered him as Brown’s supplier. The tension eased a bit after the deputies searched his car and found his military ID cards and the contractor ID from Afghanistan. They also found the two handguns Dean used for security and his concealed-carry permit. One element of the traffic stop was particularly painful for Dean. Once the white deputies realized he wasn’t a drug dealer, they backed off and told him they were just doing their job. Dean says supervising detective Casey Norwood, who is Black, acted as if he had hit the jackpot. “He told me I was the dumbest vet he knew to hang out with the dumbest drug dealer in town,” Dean says. While being questioned at the sheriff’s office, one of the deputies told Dean they had an arrest warrant for him if he didn’t say the guns found in his car belonged to Brown, according to the complaint. Norwood told Dean, “You’re not going no motherfucking where until you tell me what I want to know.” Counting on Dean to lay a false charge on Brown, “Norwood slid a piece of paper and pen” to Dean, according to the complaint. Dean told them that he couldn’t say weapons belonged to Brown and explained that he purchased the firearms, which were registered in his name, for his work as a security guard. Norwood and the detective left the room and never came back. Other officers uncuffed Dean from the table, handed him back his license, and told him he was free to go. Dean was unable to retrieve his firearms from the sheriff’s office for nearly a year. When Dean left the sheriff’s office that day, he went to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. The military vet’s encounter with the deputies happened more than four years ago, but for Dean—who always wanted to do things the right way—the pain endures. W

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Best eArly childhood leArning fAcility in orAnge / chAthAm county Chapel Hill Cooperative Preschool FINALISTS Casa Club Spanish Immersion Preschool; Children’s Campus; Learning Outside

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Design, LLC, Hollow Rock Construction

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Follow the Child Montessori School; Little by Little; Preschool for the Arts at APA

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FINALISTS All American Carpentry; Big Monkey Renovation and Repair; Tingen Remodeling

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September 16, 2020

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Oysters at Saint James Seafood


Shuck and Thrive How to eat fresh raw oysters at home without winding up in urgent care BY ERIC GINSBURG


’m so sick of my own cooking. I used to enjoy the act of preparing a meal, getting lost in the repetitive physical motions of prep work. Modifying a recipe with what I had in the fridge felt like a low-stakes yet rewarding challenge. But I’ve cooked more meals in the last six months than the previous few years combined, and it’s exhausting. I crave meals that I’m not adept or patient enough to execute on my own. And yet, like many of you, I’m not willing to eat at a restaurant anytime soon, even outside. The persistent threat plus quarantine fatigue means takeout and delivery are my saving grace. But that puts some dishes like raw oysters in an awkward position. Fried oysters travel just fine, as proved by meals I’ve brought home from Saltbox Seafood Joint and Skrimp Shack (both in Durham). Raw oysters aren’t as straightforward. The more confident among us can order a raw oyster kit from Locals Oyster Bar. The business—which has Raleigh and Durham locations—will sell you a straight-tip oyster knife for $12 or a pricier commercial version. No doubt that’s perfect for some of you, but if I snagged a bushel and attempted this DIY approach, I’d end up at urgent care. Too much work and too much risk.

That’s where an innovation from Saint James comes in. The Durham seafood restaurant takes the work out of the equation by shucking the raw oysters for you, replacing the top, and vacuum-sealing them. Then they surround the bag in ice and seal it again, keeping the oysters snug and fresh for easy transport home. “We get it; shucking’s dangerous,” chef Matt Kelly explains in a demo video on the Saint James website. “It was an idea I thought of to save my ass.” His concept is pretty basic, really, but the results are jarringly satisfying. At home, I cut the outer layer, dumped the ice into a bowl, and then opened the inner seal, nonchalantly stacking the oysters on top. Tipping one back and slurping, I could almost hear the ocean’s gentle roar as the salty contents hit my tongue. I haven’t experienced anything on par with the luxuriousness of these bivalves since COVID hit. I might’ve teared up slightly and untensed my shoulders while splitting half a dozen with my wife. It was a rare moment of forgetting, of being transported to the pre-pandemic era. Saint James offers a couple of street-side seats underneath its awning, but with free curbside pickup delivered to your car, I see no reason for added risk. Until the pandemic clears, it’s vacuum-sealed or bust for me. W


Lamb in Wolf’s Clothing The prolific, solitary song-maker al Riggs slows down and opens up in the deceptively gruesome Bile and Bone BY WILL ATKINSON

al Riggs




[Horse Complex Records; Sep. 18]

couple of weeks before the release of Bile and Bone, their new album with Lauren Francis, al Riggs’s right arm is wrapped in a cast. Recently, doctors had removed a ganglion cyst the size of a Brussels sprout from Riggs’s wrist—a lump that, while mostly painless, had been bothering them at least since they named an album ganglian in January. Riggs recounts this episode with the same wry, detached bemusement that features so prominently in their music. They recall the bizarre experience of going under general anesthesia only to wake up what felt like seconds later, the surgery completed. Now they have to keep sunscreen on the wound for a year, which is just the kind of idiosyncratic detail that might appear in an al Riggs song. “Every time I go out, I have to put on, like, SPF 30,” Riggs says with a laugh. “I’ve never heard of having to do that, but I’ve never had this intensive of a surgery.” An intensive surgery might be just about the only thing that could slow down the prolific output of Riggs, who writes and releases music at an astonishing clip. Since they started

September 16, 2020


Soil & Water Conservation District, Wake County



September 16, 2020

forming solo in 2012, they’ve put out dozens of full-length albums, with numerous one-off singles and covers in between, all while finding time to join The Mountain Goats on their Goths tour in 2018. Now they’re deep in the publicity cycle for Bile and Bone, which comes out September 18 on Riggs’s Horse Complex label. Yet even in the weeks before the surgery, Riggs was rushing to finish another project from their home studio in Durham. This is to say that a new al Riggs record is hardly a rarity, even if they’re consistently excellent. But Bile and Bone is different than their usual projects. For one, it’s the most purely collaborative effort Riggs has released to date, with Francis sharing equal billing for her contributions as producer. “I’m not lying when I say Lauren Francis PHOTO COURTESY OF ARTIST that if anything on this album sounds different or good, it is because through eight different weather patterns of Lauren and her influence,” Riggs says. in a day,” Riggs sings as an electric piano “Everyone that I bring in to work with sparkles to life. “Love Is an Old Bullet” follows, featuring ends up changing the song.” It’s also the longest time Riggs has backing vocals from Vaughn Aed’s Rook spent developing a release. When it comes Grubbs, who also sings on the title track. to producing music, they’re an embodi- “Apex Twin” is a highly personal meditation ment of the DIY ethic. They’re a staunch on childhood and multiverse theory that’s defender of Apple’s GarageBand software, named after the famous British electronwhich they have used for years—“if it ain’t ic musician Aphex Twin (though you’d be broke, don’t fix it,” Riggs says—and they forgiven if you don’t hear a resemblance). “Dying Bedmaker Variation” includes an typically mix tracks on their own. But Bile and Bone germinated over a interpolation of an arrangement by the span of years, with some of its tracks legendary American Primitive guitarist featuring ideas from as far back as 2016. John Fahey, while the last two minutes of To mix and master the recordings, Riggs album closer “Past Few Shows” dissolve and Francis enlisted Alli Rogers, a local into soothing ambiance. But of course, it wouldn’t be an al Riggs musician whose engineering experience includes working on the crew of erstwhile album if there weren’t some mischief to “pull one over on the audience,” as Riggs Raleigh resident Bon Iver’s acclaimed i,i. The result is an album that is at once puts it. “I want to make a very knowingly beauintimate and expansive while staying true to Riggs’s identity as a songwriter. Their tiful and well-made album, and everything plainspoken lyrics and thorny acoustic about it, I want it to turn people off,” guitar work remain central, but they’re Riggs says. “How can I make a really beauelevated by Francis’s arrangements, which tiful thing surrounded by all of this displace nearly orchestral flourishes over gusting imagery?” insistent yet understated rhythm tracks. “Let’s make something big and pretty hough these are some of the prettifor a change,” Francis says, explaining her est songs Riggs has written, they arrive way of thinking about the project. under a title evoking guts and gore. The The first track, “Werewolf,” was the first cover art, which was designed by illustrator song Riggs shared with Francis when their and graphic novelist Cameron Lucente, feacollaboration began. The song unfolds like tures the ripped, shirtless chest of a werea spring morning, opening with a memo- wolf, which Riggs maintains has nothing rable image: “If you’re sitting straight up to do with the music, beyond the title of in the middle of the city/You can pass the first track.


Viscera and comic-book monsters aside, Bile and Bone is remarkably inviting, thanks in large part to Francis’s dexterous guitar and production. Riggs and Francis seem to have as harmonious a producer-songwriter relationship as one could hope for. They rarely disagreed over arrangements. “‘Picture it better,’ is what I kept saying to myself” while recording the album, Riggs says. “This isn’t a fight; this isn’t a battle for dominance; this is a collaboration. And as someone who hasn’t really collaborated at this level before, that was a hard thing to come to terms with early on. But once I did, everything flowed naturally.” “I’m very low- and high-maintenance at the same time, I think,” Francis adds. “You have to know what hill to die on. You have to pick and choose your battles.” Francis is modest about her contributions (“I never thought my name would be on the record!” she admits), but it’s clear she was instrumental in crafting the record’s atmosphere. After hearing some of her earliest arrangements, it became evident to Riggs that Bile and Bone was no longer “my” record, but “ours.” The collaboration goes back to when Francis lived in Chapel Hill, performing with her former band Fluorescence. Impressed by her playing, Riggs wanted to get to know her. It wasn’t long before Francis joined Riggs’s backing band on the Mountain Goats tour. “I was immediately blown away,” Riggs says of the first time they practiced with Francis. “She’s adding all these ideas to the song that I didn’t even think of.” By the time work on Bile and Bone began, Francis had moved to New York. Riggs would send her demos of the songs, and Francis would record ideas for accompaniments. Some of the original iPhone recordings that Riggs sent, in fact, wound up on the final mixes, including on “Dying Bedmaker Variation” and “Livalon.” But for the most part, they sought to avoid remote recording as much as possible, and Riggs made the trip to New York twice to work on the album. “I basically had an IKEA desk with two monitors on it and an Apollo Twin interface,” Francis says of the cramped Chelsea apartment where the initial sessions took place. “We made a pop filter using a pair of hosiery and a hanger.” Work on the album continued between Durham and New York over the months

“Let’s make something big and pretty for a change.” that followed. A last-minute addition to the Hopscotch lineup in 2019 allowed Riggs and Francis to play songs from the album live for the first time, in an enviable slot at Raleigh’s Fletcher Hall ahead of Daughter of Swords, Gruff Rhys, and Cate Le Bon. The final stretch of production was bookended by two events involving the late John Prine, whom Riggs considers a hero and a major influence. In November 2019, Riggs had the chance to see Prine perform at DPAC, just as the recording for Bile and Bone concluded. In April, Prine died of COVID-19. At the time, Bile and Bone was in the final stages of mixing, and Riggs and Francis chose to dedicate the album to Prine. “There’s a kindness and an empathy and a sweetness to how he writes, and a simplicity to it all, that works no matter what he’s singing about, no matter what he’s doing,” Riggs says. “It hurt when he died in a way that it didn’t hurt when other people that I grew up loving died. When Lou Reed died, it was bad. When David Bowie died, it was bad. When John Prine died, it kind of broke me in a weird way.” Prine worked as a mail carrier before he was discovered, writing music in his head—simple songs narrated by characters on society’s margins—as he rode his daily route. Riggs similarly mines empathy from the mundane. Even their most politically charged subjects (the U.S. government’s persecution of “sexual subversives,” the stigma surrounding mental health, and the fallout of the 2016 election) and their most fantastical lyrics are always grounded in a refreshing honesty and humility. Bile and Bone is just the latest example—though, knowing al Riggs, it will only be the “latest” for so long. W

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HHH [Omnivore Recordings; July 17]

Kinds of Blue Chris Stamey’s archeology of pop BY DAN RUCCIA


n a way, Chris Stamey’s music has always been an archaeology of pop, particularly the pre-1970s variety. From his albums with The dB’s to his work with Big Star’s Alex Chilton and his projects as a producer, everything revolves around exploring different conceptions and inscriptions of the popular. On Stamey’s prior album, 2019’s New Songs for the 20th Century, Vols. 1 & 2, the Chapel Hill native actually wrote new songs as though he were an inhabitant of Tin Pan Alley or the Real Book. A Brand-New Shade of Blue continues in that vein, conjuring the smoky, twilit, jazzy New York of the late 1950s (or is it the Paris of the French New Wave?). Stamey is explicit about his source material—Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Burt Bacharach, Jimmy Webb, Harold Arlen,

and Antonio Carlos Jobim—and these songs are imbued with a world before the British invasion or the folk revival. They all began as lead sheets written late on winter nights, and they channel a world in which every chord change matters, painting the lyrics in different hues. An album this rooted in the past walks a fine line between copying and pastiche, and it risks falling into an uncanny valley between the past and the present. Stamey and his Fellow Travelers—a multigenerational band of sharp musicians, most of them from North Carolina—do a decent job navigating this. Lead vocalist Brett Harris could never be conChris Stamey PHOTO BY GAIL GOERS fused for one of those late-50s crooners. His wispy tones make the songs more delicate and crystalline, But sometimes, the unreal pokes through. There are bringing the emotional core a little closer to the surface. times when the lyrics seem a little too winking towards And the instrumental solos and filigrees are perfectly their inspirations, where they self-consciously twirl the lanon point, evoking cool jazz without being too beholden to guage of the standards, like the title track or “In a Minor it (especially on instrumentals like “Un Autre Temps”). The Key.” Some of these songs feel strangely similar, using the raging electric guitar solo in “Cerulean Is Lovely” makes it same kinds of interchangeable building blocks—I’m not much more than a Coltrane homage. And Django Haskins sure I could tell you the difference between “In a Minor shows up for the closer “Dangling Cheek to Cheek,” a post- Key” or “It Must Be Raining Somewhere.” As a result, parts modern banjo-driven romp that sounds like a slightly more of the record feel indistinct, painted in nearly indistinguishbuttoned-up version of Squirrel Nut Zippers. able shades of blue. W

September 16, 2020



September 16, 2020



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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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9.16.20 September 16, 2020




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NOTICES ELECTION DAY POLLING PLACE LOCATION CHANGE NOTICE Effective with the 2020 General Election, the Durham County Board of Elections unanimously approved the following polling place changes. • Precinct 15, previously located at Shepherds House United Methodist Church has moved to Holton Career and Resource Center, located at 401 N. Driver Street, Durham, NC 27703. • Precinct 17, previously located at First Presbyterian Church has moved to Durham County Main Library, located at 300 N Roxboro Street, Durham, NC 27701.

• Precinct 35.3, previously located at City of Durham Fire Station #18 has moved to Triangle Bridge Club, located at 5110 Revere Road, Durham, NC 27713. • Precinct 48, previously located at Woodcroft Clubhouse has moved to the Boys and Girls Club of Durham and Orange Counties, located at 1010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway, Durham, NC 27713.

M I S C.

Questions regarding polling place changes can be directed to the Durham County Board of Elections by phone at 919-560-0700 or via email at elections@ For information on the upcoming elections, please visit the Board of Elections website at

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