The Rhinoceros Times
Vol. XXIII No. 6
© Copyright 2013 The Rhinoceros Times
Greensboro, North Carolina
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Jail log tells of lengthy ordeal by Scott D. Yost county editor
Photo by Elaine Hammer Photo by Elaine Hammer
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is performing at the Greensboro Coliseum through Sunday, Feb. 10. Monday night there was a free show for those willing to stand out in the cold to watch the elephants march by.
Council Delays Outlawing Bars By Alex Jakubsen Staff Writer
The Greensboro City Council put off voting on an ordinance that would require property owners in the Central Business District
to take bars off of windows and doors, replace cracked windows and peelings paint or face fines of up to $500 a day. Greensboro Mayor Robbie
City v. First Amendment by john hammer editor
The level of arrogance and incompetence recently displayed by the Greensboro city staff is difficult to convey. On Wednesday, Jan. 30, Greensboro Police Attorney Jim Clark applied for a temporary restraining order asking the court to stop Yes! Weekly from printing and distributing its publication. This is called “prior restraint,” High Point News............ 8 or censorship, and if it is ever Entertainment Guide.....11 granted and upheld many believe it would end freedom of the press Uncle Orson Reviews... 12 Yost Column................ 15 in this country. Imagine if the City of Scott’s Night Out.......... 16 Greensboro were granted the Rhino Real Estate........ 17 right to censor newspapers Puzzles............ 14, 22, 43 because it disagreed with or Letters to the Editor..... 45 didn’t like the content. Editorial Cartoon.......... 58 The incredible arrogance and under the hammer....... 59 ignorance of thinking that the publishing of some police files, which were released through gross incompetence, was worthy of a legal action that has never (Continued on page 56)
Perkins – who recently relocated his real estate office out of the downtown for cost-saving reasons and more convenient parking – has been a proponent of the ordinance, which was discussed at the Tuesday, Feb. 5 City Council meeting in the council chambers at city hall. Assistant City Attorney Tom Carruthers said the “Good Repair Ordinance” would offer landlords “proper encouragement” to maintain the aesthetic appeal of their buildings by mandating that
they fix or replace all boarded, broken or barred windows and deteriorated or damaged walls adjacent to public streets. “We will be the first city to adopt this kind of an ordinance,” Carruthers said when asked by Perkins. Some city councilmembers expressed concern about the proposed legislation. Councilmember Zack Matheny said that he wasn’t sure that the city planning department should (Continued on page 46)
Logbooks from the old Guilford County jail in downtown Greensboro show that Christopher Mason Armstrong, the inmate who died in December 2010 after being held in a restraint chair for the better part of three days, was checked on frequently by detention officers. However, (Continued on page 52)
Rhino Rumors From staff and wire reports
We’d like to welcome Ham’s to downtown Greensboro. Hams will be renovating and moving into the old Bin 33 location at 324 S. Elm St. Rocky Scarfone, (Continued on page 10)
Inside this issue
Photo by Sandy Groover
Woody the Groundhog at the Natural Science Center on Lawndale Drive saw his shadow on Groundhog Day and predicted six more weeks of winter. If he means more of those 70 degree winter days, we’re all for it.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Everybody But Us Getting City Money by john hammer editor
The first part of the Greensboro City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5 had a wonderful juxtaposition of items that demonstrated why your taxes are so high. During speakers from the floor, a young black man went to the podium and said he had started a barber college on Phillips Avenue but wanted the money to buy the building he was renting. Mayor Robbie Perkins said they would try to find some money for him, and the majority of the council seemed to agree that finding money to give to this young businessman was what the council should be doing. A few minutes later in the meeting, a middle-aged white guy was up at the podium representing Proctor & Gamble, a company with revenue of over $83 billion last year and profits of over $10 billion. Proctor & Gamble wants to expand its operation out by Bryan Park and was asking for about a million dollars. The City Council voted unanimously to move forward with giving this huge, multinational, multibillion dollar company a million Greensboro tax dollars. So struggling young minority companies get money and huge majority corporations get money, but what about all of us in the middle. In 21 years of operation The Rhinoceros Times has never received anything but bills and grief from the City of Greensboro. Seven or eight years ago, when The Rhino Times had to find a new home, it didn’t occur to us to go to the city and ask the City of Greensboro to help us buy a new office. This week we hired a new employee, but there is no program to give money to small businesses for hiring new employees, only for huge corporations that don’t need the money. But is there any difference to the economy in 200 small businesses each hiring one new employee or one huge corporation hiring 200 employees? The average small business owner and homeowner is just expected to pay the various bills and taxes that the city levies and be thankful that the city doesn’t charge more. The tax rates in Greensboro are already the highest in the state, and you only have to attend a council meeting or two to see why. The council likes to give money to those who ask, big and small. Not only does the city not give us anything, the city is constantly making it more difficult to do business in Greensboro and downtown. When the City Council wanted to hop on the bandwagon and try out a new fad, it closed a busy downtown street and a block worth of parking spaces so that food trucks could come downtown and set up in the street. Not only that, the city sent a mid-level administrator down every day to hang out and make sure the food trucks had everything they needed. Plus, the city gave the food trucks free advertising on its website. The fact that downtown businesses were inconvenienced by the blocked off street and the lack of parking didn’t bother this City Council. Nor did the fact that the city was driving business away from restaurants that do pay city taxes to trucks that don’t. The city didn’t offer free parking, free advertising or the use of their own personal city employee to downtown restaurants, and their business was significantly off while the food trucks were being courted by the city. The food trucks received what is a huge asset downtown, and that is lots of free parking. (Continued on page 51)
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The Rhinoceros Times, an award-winning newspaper, is published weakly by Hammer Publications, 216 W. Market St., Greensboro, North Carolina. The Rhino Times is intended to entertain and inform its thousands of readers worldwide. Mailing address: P.O. Box 9421 Greensboro, NC 27429 News: (336) 273-0880 Advertising: (336) 273-0885 Fax: (336) 273-0821 Beep: (336) 273-0898 Website: www.rhinotimes.com Letters to the Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Thursday, February 7, 2013
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
School Leftovers Probably $132 Million by paul C. clark Staff Writer
Several months ago, The Rhino Times reported that Guilford County Schools, once it finished its $457 million building program, would have $130 million left over to play with. At the Guilford County Schools winter retreat on Saturday, Feb. 2, the Guilford County Schools Facilities Department released a list of proposed school renovations that would use up the $71.5 million left over from the doomed $72 million airport area high school that the school board voted to kill on Tuesday, Jan. 8. The money to fund the renovations on the list also included all the money left over from the 25 other building, renovation and maintenance projects the school board initially proposed paying for with the $457 in school bonds approved by Guilford County voters in May 2008. The cost of the projects on the new list, which includes major renovations of 11 Guilford County schools? A total of $132 million. That includes the money originally targeted for the airport area high school. Facilities Department administrators claim the spending priority lists they generate are independent of the amount of money available to them – but that doesn’t match the smell test. Since the $1.2 billion 10-year “master
plan” wish list released by the department in September 2011, the priority lists the Facilities Department has come up with have matched more and more precisely the amount of money left over from the school bonds approved by voters – although the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has not yet approved selling the school
bonds that were originally intended for the airport area high school. The Facilities Department, at the school board’s last retreat in September 2012, presented a different priority list to spend $75 million – just about the proposed cost of the airport area high school. At that time, all administrators knew was that
the airport area high school project was probably going to die. It’s pretty much a given that the $132 million list presented Saturday is the proposed cost of the airport area high school, plus the amount of money school board Chairman Alan Duncan thinks will (Continued on page 50)
Fuller Names Acting Directors by Scott D. Yost county editor
Interim Guilford County Manager/ Assistant Manager/Human Resources Director Sharisse Fuller just got that title on Friday, Feb. 1, but she wasted no time before taking charge of the county and naming interim directors. Last month, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to make Fuller interim manager. Fuller took the place of former County Manager Brenda Jones Fox, who retired at the end of January. Former Guilford County Facilities Director Fred Jones and Information Services (IS) Director Barbara Weaver stepped down on Thursday, Jan. 31 – the same day Fox did.
Emergency Services (ES) Director Alan Perdue and Board of Elections Director George Gilbert are leaving Guilford County government at the end of February. On Friday, Feb. 1, Fuller announced that in several county departments the second in command will serve as the new interim director. Facilities Operations Manager Orville Woodard was promoted to interim facilities director; IS Deputy Director Bridget Lindsay was promoted to IS director, and will now head up the department that
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Commissioners Eye Sheriff’s Slush Fund by Scott D. Yost county editor
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is called the “IT” department just about everywhere other than Guilford County government. Jim Albright, the deputy director of Emergency Services will be promoted to interim director. Fuller sent an email to the Board of Commissioners explaining the rationale behind the moves. “They have worked closely with their Directors and can easily transition into the Interim Director roles until such time that the positions are advertised and filled on a
You might expect a sheriff to say, “Get your hands up!” However, these days, Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes is saying, “Get your hands off of my federal forfeiture fund!” The Sheriff’s Department’s federal forfeiture fund contains over $669,000, and that amount is expected to grow in the coming months after new seizures by the Sheriff’s Department are processed by federal authorities. After a drug bust where cash or other property is seized, the bounty goes to the federal government, which gives 80 percent of the take back to the local law enforcement agency that confiscated the money, or other items often sold at auction. The deal is sweet for the feds because they get a cut without doing anything. In the past, Barnes has enjoyed nearly free rein over the money in the fund. He’s almost always gotten approval from the Board of Commissioners for everything he’s wanted to use the fund for – but now he’s sensing a shift in the winds. Guilford County has a new Board of Commissioners that’s facing record debt service and anemic revenues in the upcoming 2013-2014 budget. The commissioners are looking everywhere to find extra funds, and the forfeiture fund money is starting to look like a small pot of
unused gold to some of them. Over the years, Barnes has gotten the board’s approval for many special programs, capital projects and equipment purchases not covered in the Sheriff’s Department budget. However, Barnes got a rude wake-up call recently: At the Thursday, Jan. 17 Board of Commissioners meeting, the commissioners voted down Barnes’ request to use $49,655 from the fund to buy seven Segways. Barnes said he believes he should have a wide degree of latitude over how the fund is used since it’s not taxpayer money, so he was noticeably ticked off by the 5-to4 bipartisan vote last month that prevented him from purchasing the gyroscope-aided, single-rider vehicles with a top speed of about 12 mph. Worse for the sheriff is that his Segway request seems to have backfired. In the wake of that vote, the commissioners are eyeing the fund and wondering if they can use it to offset costs for the Sheriff’s Department budget – and therefore for the county budget as a whole. Commissioner Bill Bencini said of the Segway request that Barnes simply wanted more “toys,” and, after the discussion at the Jan. 17 meeting when Barnes request was voted down, Chairman of the Board (Continued on page 52)
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Thursday, February 7, 2013
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Thursday, February 7, 2013
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Duke Energy Revving Up Chainsaws By Alex Jakubsen Staff Writer
Duke Energy District Manager Davis Montgomery said Monday, Feb 4, that his company plans to resume tree cutting operations on Monday, Feb. 18, although only on high voltage transmission lines. Montgomery addressed the Tree Ordinance Review Committee of the Greensboro City Council at its first meeting on Monday in the council chambers at city hall to talk about moving forward with line clearing and developing a new tree ordinance. “The distinction that we always try to draw is, again, that this is the transmission system,” Montgomery said. He said that Duke Energy never agreed to stop work on transmission lines, which, unlike distribution lines in neighborhoods, are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. One of the transmission lines that Duke Energy wants to start working on runs through Lindley Park. Montgomery said the transmission line work is not related to the attempt Duke Energy made to start cutting trees on Collier Drive in Lindley Park two weeks ago. Montgomery said that he planned to meet with Lindley Park residents on Thursday, Feb. 7 to talk about the transmission line work. Councilmember Nancy Vaughan, chair of the Tree Ordinance Review Committee, asked Montgomery to clarify the relationship between Duke Energy and Asplundh. Montgomery said, “Asplundh is our sole contractor for tree work at this point in time.” He added, “Through this situation in Greensboro we have met with their leadership,” and he said they would be expected to abide by whatever Duke agrees to. Vaughan also asked if Asplundh really has an arborist in every crew. “Asplundh does not,” Montgomery said. He said that if a customer raises concerns to an Asplundh crew, they have been instructed to stop work. The crew foreman would then meet with the concerned
customer. “If the customer still has concern then the next level is our arborist,” Montgomery said. Greensboro Urban Forester Mike Cusimano made his first appearance at a City Council meeting, City Council committee meeting or City Council small group meeting since the dispute over Duke Energy’s tree cutting practices began in December. Cusimano presented a matrix comparing tree protection ordinances of other cities in North Carolina. “In every case the pruning standards are the ANSI [American National Standards
Institute] pruning guidelines,” Cusimano said, although the Raleigh ordinance has additional restrictions setting how far from a power line branches can be pruned. However, Cusimano said that, “Out of all the city’s that we canvassed, Raleigh is the only city that is actively enforcing its ordinance on power companies.” He said other cities have informal agreements with the power company. Councilmember Yvonne Johnson asked if there had been any disagreements between Raleigh and the power company. Montgomery said that since Raleigh’s arrangement was with Progress Energy,
until it recently merged with Duke Energy, he didn’t know. Cusimano said in his discussions with Raleigh that they said they had a “great relationship” with Progress Energy. Like Greensboro, Raleigh has a franchise agreement that requires the power utility to abide by city ordinances. “They do have the authority to issue a stop-work order, which they have done a number of times,” Cusimano said. But he said they had been able to resolve the dispute themselves. The Raleigh tree ordinance only (Continued on page 10)
State Of Our Schools: Better by paul C. clark Staff Writer
Guilford County School Superintendent Mo Green held his annual State of Our Schools address at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro on Thursday, Jan. 31, and it was a presentation with a reason to exist. Since Green released his 2012 four-year strategic plan for Guilford County Schools at the Koury Auditorium at Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) in Jamestown in January 2009, he has held three increasingly elaborate State of our Schools events. Green’s annual State of Our Schools speech has been part pep rally, part update on the successes and failures of the school system under the strategic plan, part marketing event and part chance to lobby the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and members of the Guilford County state legislative delegation for funding. The 2009 event in Jamestown was important because of the release of the strategic plan – the first for Guilford County Schools, and one that set relatively ambitious goals for improving Guilford County public schools, particularly ones that had been mired in mediocrity or outright failure for years.
The first three State of Our Schools events were best treated as spectacle and reviewed the same way you would review a movie. Green reported already-known improvements in the school system, sometimes acknowledged already known failures and left the stage periodically so that students could dance, sing, recite poetry and the like. The State of Our Schools events did nothing to improve schools in Guilford County, but were funded by donations from corporations and foundations, as Guilford County Board of Education Chairman Alan Duncan reminded the audience Thursday, and at every such event. Although, at first, the events seemed a tad grandiose for Guilford County, if companies and foundations wanted to pay the tab, and if the events improved the morale of Guilford County teachers, no harm done. The 2013 State of Our Schools event had more weight, as it was the fourth anniversary – and the end – of Green’s four-year 2012 strategic plan. It gave Green, politicians and the public a chance to measure the success of that plan. The bottom line is that Guilford County schools, despite having significant
problems, are better performing, better managed, and (thanks to Guilford County voters, who approved $457 million in school bonds in 2008, better housed and equipped) than they were when Green took the helm of the school system from former Superintendent Terry Grier in 2008. Surveys released at the school board’s retreat on Saturday, Feb. 2, show that parents and, to a lesser degree, the public at large, are happier with Guilford County Schools than they were four years ago. Guilford County Schools and many other public school systems were so bad in recent decades that there was room to make significant improvement an still leave a school system with a long way to go before it could be called well performing. Green acknowledged that obliquely throughout his speech, saying Guilford County Schools has a long way to go in some areas, and a lot of work to do in others. For example, when Green took over, only 55 percent of fifth and eighth grade school students read at grade level, according to state tests. Now, 68.1 percent are. That’s a 13.1 percent increase in reading proficiency, mostly in poorer performing (Continued on page 10)
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, February 7, 2013
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Thursday, February 7, 2013
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro HIGH POINT
City Chips In $50,000 For Fancy Architect by paul C. clark Staff Writer
The High Point City Council on Monday, Feb 4 voted unanimously to give the High Point City Project $50,000 toward the $410,000 cost of hiring the Miami-based architectural firm Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. (DPZ) to design a new High Point city center along North Main Street and redesign High Point’s furniture showroom district and the commercial areas around High Point University. At a meeting of the City Project earlier in the day, Richard Wood, the City Project’s point man on the DPZ project, said the City Project has $370,450 in private donations in hand. The City Council’s $50,000 contribution brings that up to $420,450. The contract with Duany Plater-Zyberk, signed by City Project Chairman Aaron Clinard but not yet signed by DPZ, pending the City Council vote, provides that the company will be paid the $410,000 plus up to $40,000 in reimbursable expenses, which, if maxed out, would bring the cost of the company’s services to $450,000. Wood said that architect Andrés Duany, a founding partner of the firm, and his team will come to High Point May 8 through May 15 for a public “charrette,” or design brainstorming session, which will involve the company’s designers, city officials, the public and representatives of organizations such as the City Project, the Uptowne High Point Association and High Point University. Architect Tom Low, the director of the Charlotte office of DPZ and, according the contract, part of the DPZ team that will come in May, has said the company will open a design studio in which a 50-50 mix of High Pointers and outside experts will spend seven to 10 days brainstorming on High Point’s future. According to the contract, Duany will be the project principal, Low will be the project manager, and the team will also include, as subcontractors, High Point based Freeman Kennett Architects; Hall Planning & Engineering Inc., which does traffic engineering; The Community Land Use and Economics Group, which does land-use planning; and the engineering firm The Crabtree Group. Wood said the City Project received the $370,450 in 83 donations ranging from $3 to $125,000, the latter being the amount contributed by High Point University President and CEO Nido Qubein. In September 2012, Qubein organized a fundraising dinner to kick off the drive, in addition to making his contribution. The contract provides that DPZ will produce an economic feasibility or market study, hold the charrette and produce a drawn master plan, perspective drawings, detailed plans of a complete build-out of a key section of the three neighborhoods, a parking plan, building floor plans, and
several regulatory documents, including a zoning ordinance customized to suit the plan. Wood predicted a large turnout for the charrette, the first session of which will be held in the High Point Theatre. He said, “We think we’re going to have a tiger by the tail.” Clinard said the rest of the charrette process will take place in the old Wright’s Clothing Store building at 126 N. Main St. City officials up the food chain recommended the $50,000 in city funding. In a Jan. 30 letter to High Point City Manager Strib Boynton, City Project Executive Director Wendy Fuscoe, a High Point city employee, recommended approval of the $50,000. Fuscoe wrote, “The Washington Street
District Plan was completed in 2008, but there is no such plan for Uptowne.” In a Jan. 31 memo to High Point Mayor Bernita Sims and the City Council, Boynton recommended spending the $50,000. “I support and recommend your approval,” Boynton wrote. “The City Project has raised $370,450 or 90% of the $410,000 necessary contract dollars from private sources, including more than 80 High Point citizens and businesses. At 90%, the private dollars represent significant wide-spread support for the DPZ planning process.” The City Council approved the $50,000 with no discussion. Clinard said that some of the strongest supporters of hiring DPZ are among High Point’s largest building owners.
“They stepped up in a substantial way,” he said. “That tells me that they’re interested in a substantial way in what happens in this planning process.” The City Project brought Duany to High Point on March 25, 2012. In a series of meetings with High Point officials, business groups and the public, he critiqued High Point in a series of humorous but all-out assaults on city planners, environmentalists, architects, bureaucrats, road and highway designers and even High Point itself. Duany, a proponent of New Urbanism, is perhaps best known to the public at large for designing entire master-planned towns, including Seaside, Florida, and Kentlands, Maryland. In Greensboro, his firm helped design the Southside and Willow Oaks neighborhoods.
Council Takes Up Gambling by paul C. clark Staff Writer
The High Point City Council on Monday, Feb. 4 voted 8 to 1 against a proposal to essentially outlaw video sweepstakes parlors in the Uptowne, Washington Street and Southside neighborhoods of High Point. The sole “no” vote was cast by Councilmember Jay Wagner, the chairman of the High Point Uptowne Association and the vice chairman of the High Point City Project, a public-private urban renewal board created by the City Council, which proposed the ban. The motion was to table, which essentially kills a motion without elected officials having to vote against it. The proposed amendment to the High Point zoning ordinance defined video sweepstakes parlors, applied off-street parking requirements to them and made them permitted uses only in neighborhoods zoned General Business (GB), essentially banning them from those three neighborhoods, as well as other places in High Point. The City Project is dominated by the Uptowne High Point Association, a group of business owners on North Main Street between State and Ray avenues. Wagner said Uptowne businesses don’t think video sweepstakes parlors contribute to the family and pedestrian friendly business district High Point is trying to create. The issue last came before the City Council in September 2012, when the City Council unanimously sent the ordinance back to the City Council’s Planning, Economic Development and Information Technology Committee, chaired by former Councilmember Chris Whitley. The ordinance had been favorably recommended by the High Point Planning
and Zoning Commission. Since then, Whitley ran for mayor and lost to Councilmember Bernita Sims, who abolished all the City Council’s committees, leaving the ordinance in limbo. Only a few video sweepstakes parlors have opened in High Point, but other business owners have complained about them. Wagner seemed to be having a hard time on Monday finding a rationale for the opposition, resorting to the argument that a video sweepstakes parlor in a strip mall had allowed smoking, which let smoke escape through the air-conditioning system into stores in the same mall. The legality of video sweepstakes parlors in North Carolina manages to be both clear and fuzzy at the same time – not a bad trick. On Dec. 14, 2012, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld a state law outlawing video sweepstakes. It overruled the lower courts by finding that the video sweepstakes law limits gambling, with only incidental restrictions on freedom of speech. As High Point legal consultant Fred Baggett told the councilmembers at the time, “Therefore, as of this moment, internet sweepstakes games are illegal.” Nonetheless, Wagner and other councilmembers expect video sweepstakes parlor operators to modify their gambling software to bypass the law, which defined video sweepstakes so precisely as to invite and end-run around the definition. For example, the law banned gambling through a video machine with an “entertaining display.” Wagner said that video sweepstakes machine companies have developed new software for their machines they think won’t fit the definition
– by making them less entertaining, perhaps. Wagner said that Davidson County Sheriff David Grice has reported that video sweepstakes parlors have already re-opened in Davidson County with new software. Wagner said, “They think they are going to be able to operate legally due to this new software.” The councilmembers discussed the proposed ordinance as if it was a given that the video gambling industry would find a way around the state law. Wagner ran against former High Point mayor and current at-large Councilmember Becky Smothers in 2010 and lost. Since then, he hasn’t been Smothers’ favorite person. It appears that he isn’t stacking up to be new Ward 3 Councilmember Judy Mendenhall’s, either. Smothers and Mendenhall ganged up on Wagner, saying they could see no reason to ban video sweepstakes parlors if they find a way to operate legally. Mendenhall argued that sweepstakes parlors would wind up in Ward 3. “I think those of us in Ward 3 are just as interested in family-oriented businesses as anybody in Uptowne,” she said. “I just really have a problem with this.” Mendenhall also said, “I just don’t think we should zone for moral reasons.” Wagner argued that High Point does that all the time, citing strip clubs. But he said that Uptowne businesses object to the sweepstakes parlors primarily because they take up space that could be used for restaurants or other businesses that attract foot traffic. “These businesses tend to be selfcontained,” he said of the sweepstakes (Continued on page 10)
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, February 7, 2013
The Sound of the Beep What follows has been transcribed from the answering machine tape on our comment line 273-0898. We edit out what is required by the laws of the state, of good taste and of good sense. The limit on phone calls is one minute and each caller may make up to two calls per week. If you have something to say, call our comment line at 273-0898 and start talking at The Sound of the Beep. Yes, I see where the City Council is talking about raising property taxes, or maybe not. Do they not understand when we reelected President Obama we gave him the mandate, along with all government agencies to raise taxes? Everybody wants their taxes raised. Please, City Council, raise the Greensboro residents’ taxes. You have a mandate. %%% Hi. I was disappointed there was no Sudoku puzzle this week. I hope you’re not thinking of dropping that. That’s one of my favorite things of the newspaper. Please, send us – give us back the Sudoku. Thanks. %%% Editor’s Note: Sometimes those Sudoku puzzles are hard to catch. Last week the puzzle got loose in the office and we were all running around trying to catch it. Finally we gave up and sent the paper to print without the puzzle. Of course, then we easily caught it, and that one and this week’s puzzle, God willing, are both in this paper. %%% Aren’t random acts of kindness wonderful? Today I had to go to the doctor, and it was my first time using the bus in my wheelchair. And when I was exiting, the front wheel of my power wheelchair went off the ramp. And this young man, and I don’t know, he lifted it and me, but he lifted it and got it back on track. I thanked him. Everybody was in a rush, because it was time for the buses to pull out. I don’t even know his name. But I hope he reads The Rhino Times. Thank you again so much. That was such a wonderful, sweet thing for you to do. And you are very strong. No one else offered to help him. He did it by himself. It was amazing. I was amazed at his strength and his kindness. Just thought I’d … %%% Hey, I’m just watching Obama appointing more people to the heads of his Cabinet and all. And I’m wondering why, why don’t you reckon he has more black people up there, and women. I mean, has he forgotten about all these people? Just like to hear something on that. %%% Hey, Pat McCrory, he needs to go to this Rockingham DOT and what they do on the roads, because they don’t do. They’ve been getting away with a lot in the last couple of years. Maybe now it’s time for the change with you there. But they don’t do nothing for Wentworth or Reidsville. And, then, they get mad when you call them, and they’re very vindictive against you. Let’s do something now, Pat. You be the man. Have a great day. %%% Hey, I’m sitting here at Ham’s Friday afternoon thinking about, OK, let’s see. What kind of band I want to see tonight? Um, where do I want to go. What happened to the band schedule guys? It’s not in The Times. We don’t see it. We need it. Band schedule. Band schedule. Is that a fluke, or is that like a permanent kind of thing? Anyway, we love y’all. Bye. %%% Editor’s Note: Call the clubs and tell them you want their band schedule back in The Rhino. We’ll be happy to accommodate them. %%% Yes, the recent article in the News & Record about Kay Hagan. Let’s get real here. Those coffee breaks that she’s been giving and meeting with people cost the US taxpayers and people of North Carolina billions of dollars. In fact, trillions. How about Obamacare? How about the Cadillac plan, the $60 million Cadillac plan? How about $700 of Medicare? These are things that she voted for. The bailout of the unions which – car dealers that we owe – that owe us $45 million? And on and on. All she is is a political hack, a rubberstamp for Obama. Get real. %%% (Continued on page 13)
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Fuller (Continued from page 4) full-time basis,” Fuller wrote. Each interim department head will get a 7 percent pay increase. For as long as anyone can remember, the county has given 10 percent salary increases to county staff who were promoted to interim director.
Gambling (Continued from page 8) parlors. “People go there and do their business. You don’t get a lot of spinoff business.” Smothers said she would like to tax video sweepstakes parlors, but that she thought the opposition to them was moral. Smothers said High Point police haven’t reported higher crime near the parlors. She said, “From a public safety standpoint, I don’t think there’s a justification for this.” At the September City Council meeting at which the issue came up, former Councilmember Latimer Alexander exhibited a newfound purist streak of economic libertarianism, accusing Wagner, who was then speaking from the floor instead of the dais, of unfairly singling out video gambling. On Monday, Ward 6 Councilmember Jason Ewing used a similar argument. He said, “At this point, I think we should be happy to get any kind of business in the city.”
Thursday, February 7, 2013
The justification often given for the pay increase is that the interim department heads take on additional responsibilities and therefore should be compensated to a greater extent. Fuller said this week that the 7 percent increases – rather than 10 percent increases – are an indication of the tough financial times that the county is facing. She said she had spoken with each of the three interim directors and said they had agreed a 7 percent increase would be acceptable. Fuller also said that, in addition to their new duties, the interim directors will keep their old ones. “They are expected to continue all their current responsibilities,” Fuller said. By law, the election director position is filled by the executive director of the NC State Board of Elections, not by the county manager, so the vacancy created by Gilbert’s retirement won’t be filled by Fuller. After Gilbert announced he was stepping down at the end of February, the Guilford County Board of Elections recommended that Guilford County Board of Elections Deputy Director Charlie Collicutt, Gilbert’s second in command, fill the job. Though that appointment requires approval at the state level, state election officials are expected to follow the recommendation of the county’s Board of Elections. Gilbert said he would be very pleased to see Collicutt named director. “I have been fortunate to have him as my deputy the past seven-and-a-half years,”
Chainsaws (Continued from page 6) deals with trees on public land, and the Greensboro City Council has expressed interest in also protecting trees on private property. The Charlotte ordinance addresses trees on private property. However, City Attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan said that it applies mostly to developers and is sometimes used to prevent property owners from cutting down trees on their own land. The current Greensboro ordinance does as well. Shah-Khan said the Charlotte tree ordinance does not deal with line clearing activity on private property. Deputy City Manager Jim Westmoreland said the work team appointed to look at tree issues for the city would continue to work with Duke Energy and the city to help develop a new ordinance. Westmoreland also suggested giving Duke Energy representation on the Greensboro Beautiful board of directors. Although Vaughan has objected to Duke Energy being involved in the development of the Greensboro tree ordinance, she did not object to that suggestion. Vaughan later commented that putting Duke Energy on the Greensboro Beautiful
board of directors might be a good idea, because it would expose the company to how important trees are to the city. “It might be a good educational opportunity,” she said. Towards the end of the committee meeting there was an opportunity for some members of the public to speak. Brian Higgins asked if Duke Energy is over-pruning now so they wouldn’t have to for another seven or 10 years. Montgomery said, “In terms of frequency it should no longer be time based, but it should be based on reliability statistics.” He said that work on lines was always an ongoing process based on encroachments on the power lines rather than a long-term schedule. Gail Barger asked if lines in neighborhoods like Westerwood, which run along the front and back of properties, could be consolidated. Montgomery said that was something Duke Energy was looking but that the “meandering” of the lines, which grew with the neighborhood, made that difficult. The next meeting of the Tree Ordinance Review Committee is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the council chambers.
Gilbert said. “Guilford County is fortunate to have the opportunity to keep him.” Collicutt’s pay as the next elections director is still up in the air. The Guilford County Board of Commissioners sets that salary and right now Gilbert is suing the county over his salary – arguing that his compensation isn’t in line with other election directors across North Carolina, as is mandated by state statute. That legal battle could influence what Collicutt ends up making as the county’s next elections director. Fuller said she had some guidance when filling the three vacancies that she decided on. “I am following the county succession plan,” Fuller said. Woodard, who did a lot of direct oversight of projects as the facilities operations manager under Jones, has been with Guilford County since October 1974. Woodard was making $68,097 a year. Now, with the 7 percent increase, his annual salary will rise to $72,864. Lindsey was making $110,315 a year and as of Feb. 1 that jumped to $118,037. Lindsey has worked in the IS Department since the summer of 1999. On Monday, Jan. 28, Lindsey set up and handled the commissioners’ remote video interviews of county manager applicants in a meeting room on the third floor of the city hall. Lindsey spent much of that five-hour interview session waiting in the hallway working on her iPad with a portable keyboard. She would occasionally be called into the room to set up a new video conference with another applicant or whenever there was a glitch. For Emergency Services, Albright will take over on Friday, March 1 from Perdue, who surprised many when he decided to retire while still in his early 50s. But Perdue had put in many years with Guilford County: He was a teenager when he first took a part-time fire and rescue job with the county. That soon turned into a full-time job. Albright, who will take over the department, attended Grimsley High School, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before taking a job with the county. Albright was hired by Guilford County in January 1989 and, as deputy director, his responsibilities included strategic planning, some budget oversight and a wide variety of other duties. Albright was making $88,554 a year. With the 7 percent increase on March 1, he will be making $94,753. Fuller said in an email, “Guilford County is fortunate to have experienced and capable employees who are prepared to assume the roles.” Fuller also said the three will continue as interim directors until the positions are advertised and filled. She made it clear to the county commissioners that there are other employees qualified for the positions. She said they may apply for the director
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
positions when advertised. Fuller announced in December that she was going to retire at the end of February, but she stayed on at the request of the commissioners. If she had followed through with those plans, the county would also have a vacancy at the top of the Human Resources Department. Fuller said that, since she’s remaining in county government until the end of June, she’ll continue to serve as human resources director. Apparently, being county manager and Human Resources director are both part time jobs. However, Fuller said she is only able to do so much by working all the time. She said that she will give up a few human resources duties that conflict with being interim manager. “Otherwise,” Fuller wrote in an email, “I will continue the following functions: Interim County Manager/Assistant County Manager/HR Director, ER [Employee Relations] Manager, Trainer for the County, and Recruitment Manager (given an upcoming retirement the end of February).” The next county manager is expected to select and hire the new department directors that fall under the manager. Several commissioners said that’s how it should be because he or she is the one who will have to work with those new directors. The commissioners have narrowed the field to three candidates for manager and those finalists will be brought in for interviews, probably later this month, with a final selection likely being made soon after the interviews. It is expected that a new manager would need some time to leave their current job and move to Guilford County, and then it will be Fuller’s job to show the ropes to the new manager. All of that means that, regardless of how quickly the search goes, Fuller will play a key role in forming the county’s 2013-2014 budget, which the Board of Commissioners is expected to adopt in June.
Rumors (Continued from page 8) the president of Ham’s Restaurants, said, “I have looked at many locations throughout the past year in downtown Greensboro and this site was a perfect fit due to the close proximity to CityView Apartments and all of the new development currently happening downtown.” Keith Holliday, the president of the Carolina Theatre, said, “I think it’s a huge, huge deal for the downtown and it’s just going to be great.” We’d like to echo Keith’s response and can’t wait to walk down the street and get some homemade chips. --At Tuesday’s City Council meeting the proponents of the Performing Arts Center thanked everyone involved – the city staff, (Continued on page 46)
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, February 7, 2013
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Thursday, February 7, 2013
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Uncle Orson Reviews Everything
Savannah, Chips and Dark Age History by orson scott card
Long ago, driving home from Florida, my wife and I drove through Savannah and fell in love with neighborhoods of old houses. This was the old South – older than Atlanta, which was, after all, a “new” capital, established in order to draw settlers into the interior and away from the coastal plantations. Savannah was where Georgia – the newest of the 13 colonies – began. There was history there, or what passes for history in America – it’s worth remembering that when Georgia was founded in 1733, there were cathedrals in Europe that were already a thousand years old. So when my wife and I had a chance to take a four-day weekend, we drove down to Savannah. Our daughter and her husband had honeymooned there, and gave us several recommendations; but their strongest recommendation was for the historic downtown of the city itself. Our goal was to do nothing, in an interesting way. I had no books to sign, no speeches to give; she had no classes to teach, no workmen to supervise. We walked everywhere, though by the third day we started talking about taking pedicabs or carriages or taxis. There were places that had become a bit
malled: Broughton Street is becoming like Georgetown in DC, or Third Street in Santa Monica: Standard mall stores have moved in and taken over. But there are many other streets, full of shops and galleries. City Market is meant to be a low-rent space for shops and artists’ studios, and while much of the art is only barely better than awful, enough of the artists have skill and vision that walking through the whole complex is worthwhile. The Riverfront is an interesting walk; the west end of it is decayed, which means that some buildings are shuttered, but some really interesting niche shops thrive because the rents are low. In fact, that’s the paradox of retail: Uniqueness and variety thrive in failing or just-coming-back neighborhoods, where landlords are grateful to have tenants at all; rents stay low, so small-volume shops can stay in business. But when a cluster of such shops attracts a crowd of shoppers grateful to find stores that are different from the ordinary mall selection, the big stores start offering much higher rents to the landlords. The landlords follow the economic incentives, and drop the low-rent tenants. Where once there were three strange and delightful shops, now there’s one
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overfamiliar mall store. And now there’s no particular reason to come to that shopping district anymore, since you can find all the same stuff in a mall at home. It’s not quite the same with restaurants – no matter what the rents are, you can only fill the space with a certain number of tables. Fast-food places only survive because they turn over customers so quickly; their low prices are compensated for by volume. As soon as a space becomes a sit-down restaurant, big chains have no advantage over one-of-a-kind restaurants except familiarity. You know what you’ll find at an Outback or a P.F. Chang’s – and it’ll be good. But my wife and I love finding restaurants that are both original and good. Now, because we were in Savannah, we had to have one supper at Olde Pink House, despite the absurd “olde,” a historic building with a tradition as a solid upscale restaurant. The food lived up to expectations, though I wish our waiter had remembered that we didn’t come to chat with him. We meant to share each other’s company while he merely brought us food. Naturally, though, we were most excited about the restaurants we found for ourselves. On our first day there, we stopped at a nice-looking Mexican restaurant called Cilantro’s on Bay Street, just for a snack. Chips and salsa. A guacamole. Well, the guacamole was superb, and our waitress was delightful – she was from one of the southernmost states of Mexico and very proud of the way Cilantro’s reflected her traditions. Add to that some wonderful Maya-glyph-inspired food art on the walls, and we had to come back for dinner. When we did, we were well rewarded. Everything we had was excellent; it was not quite at the gourmet level of La Serenata in Los Angeles, but what is? Cilantro’s was certainly as good as the best Mexican restaurants we’ve found in the East. The artist who did the wonderful work on the walls, Claudio Rodriguez, does not show his work online – not yet, anyway. (There is a charmingly humorous artist named Claudio Rodriguez Valdes, whose work is well worth looking at; but he did not do the art my wife and I so enjoyed at Cilantro’s.) Much as we enjoyed Cilantro’s, though, the jewel of Savannah’s restaurants is an innovative marvel called A.Lure at 309 West Congress St. Zagat doesn’t list them yet, which is a shame, because with Olde Pink House rated 24, A.Lure would deserve a 30. Zagat ratings tend to inflate outside the major metro areas; a Los Angeles 20 can be a 25 in places like Savannah; but the reverse often happens, with “provincial” diners undervaluing restaurants that would get superb ratings among more sophisticated
diners who are used to a better selection. Greensboro has no Zagat ratings, but we do have a restaurant history. Truly brilliant places like 223 South Elm close, while other, more ordinary restaurants do a booming business and get weirdly enthusiastic reviews, often of the “I can’t believe I got so much food for the price” variety. Our experience is that if you try, you can usually find delicious, high-quality food in surprisingly small cities. Greensboro has at least five, even after losing a few to attrition; some of our favorite restaurants have been in places like Des Moines and, yes, Savannah. A.Lure is that restaurant. It was such a dining experience that even if we were spending the night in Atlanta, Charleston or Jacksonville we would seriously consider driving to Savannah for one more dinner at A.Lure. Best homemade potato chips anywhere – and the competition for this is fierce. (In Greensboro, try the hot chips at Mediterraneo. Excellent, but ...) Sweet potato chowder. Strawberry and goat cheese salad. Perfect salmon. Ambitious menu of astonishing combinations. And the best hamburger I’ve had in my life. Yes, at a gourmet restaurant I actually ordered the burger. Wagyu beef, perfectly cooked (I asked for well done because I hate blood in my meat, and I wasn’t punished for it – it was moist and delicious). And once you’re there, stay for dessert. The goat cheese souffle was brilliant. Really. You think it won’t work, and then it does. (Check out the menu at http:// AlureSavannah.com.) That’s the pain and the joy of finding great one-of-a-kind restaurants. We rejoiced when P.F. Chang’s opened a restaurant in Greensboro, because it’s the best of the chains. But we’re also glad that in all the world, there is only one A.Lure. Yes, it means we can’t go there very often – but we have Leblon and 1618 Seafood and Green Valley Grill and Mark’s and M.J.’s and Gnam Gnam and Positano and Fuji Sushi and Cafe Pasta and Mediterraneo here in Greensboro, so we’re not suffering. And if I start on my list of great Greensboro restaurants that closed – 223, Le Rendezvous, Mark’s on Westover, East/ West Bistro and Asiano head our list – Greensboro has clearly been fortunate to have a tradition of restaurants far better than the size of our city would lead anyone to expect. I’ve never been back to Des Moines – the gorgeous little Asian place we fell in love with may have been out of business now for a decade. I may never get back to Savannah, either – who knows? But A.Lure (Continued on page 14)
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Beep (Continued from page 9) Sen. Bob Shaw did so much for the county and the state as a true conservative Republican. Can’t say the same about Linda Shaw. I guess it shows who is the real Republican leader who cared about his constituents and how smart the Democrats were to put her as chairman. God help the true Republicans of Guilford County and the county commissioners. Wonder if she can be impeached as a Democrat in Republican clothing. Maybe the County Commissioners should consider that, along with the citizens of Guilford County. %%% Hey, I would like somebody to tell me, what is the difference between Jesse James and these utility companies? Jesse James, he robbed the rich and gave to the poor. These utility companies, they rob from the poor and give it to rich. There’s some other’s wrong. Every winter when the senior citizens don’t get but a 1.7 percent raise, utility companies run up there and ask for a 9 percent raise. Now, you going to tell me that’s right when we’re setting out here with our temperatures pushed down so low now we have to wear two and three layers of clothing in our own homes just to stay warm? Something’s wrong in this country, very wrong, very, very, very wrong. And hell is going to be piling up with them. %%% Hi. I’m just calling. Let me say it. I love your paper first of all. But I’d like to talk about the former city manager, Mitchell Johnson. You know, I agree with Steely Dan Man. I just want to know where all this money to pay for these lawsuits are coming from. The taxpayers, are they paying for those guys’ mistakes? I don’t understand it. I’d like if we could find out. I don’t know how we could find out. Maybe Mr. Hammer could check into that and see what’s going on with that. But, yeah, it’s interesting to see how much more we have to pay. Well, thanks for your time and have a good one. Bye. %%% Editor’s Note: The money to pay for all those lawsuits is coming from you. %%% Yeah, Steely Dan Fan Man. I stand corrected. And I’m no fool. Thank you. %%% Yes, I would like to know when the human resource’s director position will be advertised as a vacancy in Guilford County. Ms. Fuller has continued to occupy this position in addition to her position as a deputy county manager which to many of us, current and former employees, is considered a definite conflict of interest. Since Ms. Fuller is delaying her retirement and staying on as acting county manager, she should not continue to be occupying the HR director position. That position should be filled now, as well as the
Thursday, February 7, 2013
manager position. And it’s very debatable as to whether or not there should be a deputy county manager position. When the manager is unavailable, the position can be covered by the budget director as it was very efficiently done in the past prior to Ms. Jones Fox assuming the position of county manager. So, thank you. %%% I just read your article on the Martin Luther King project in High Point. As a High Point citizen, I’d like to address Ms. Sims. With all the madness going on this world, our innocent school children being slaughtered at the hands of evil people, with a lot of the country’s people out of work, taxes taken a bite out of our paychecks, families going hungry, how dare her to worry about a street name. What difference does it make what a street is called? Many of the streets with Martin Luther King on them are somewhat impoverished areas. So, Ms. Sims, let’s get real. Let’s make High Point a more productive city. Let’s start to implement some of the so-called future plans that has cost this town a lot of money just to get a feeling for what might be, not what we name a street. The future is now. Rebuild this town so we can be a … %%% Hello. This is a note for Scott Yost. The whales are not fish. They are mammals. They have to breathe air, and they come to the surface every few minutes to do so. If you take a break from cultural literacy and study some zoology, maybe you would know this. Are you just pretending to be stupid the way Stephen Colbert pretends to be conservative, or are you just ignorant? Anyway, thank you. And do better. Bye. %%% This is Drew over in Colfax. Reading the Jan. 31 Times. Scott Yost needs to do a little bit more checking. Google should be his friend, because he’s talking about the movie, The Big Miracle. He says whales are fish. Whales are not fish. Whales are mammals. They have to breathe. He needs – maybe he needs to do a little Googling next time. But, anyway, whales are mammals, and they do have to breathe. Boy, I’ve not seen one that bad in a long time. So, tell Scott he needs to – he needs his hand slapped. Y’all keep up the good work, bye. %%% Yes, I’m calling from High Point. I was just reading your – the Thursday Rhino Times under Yost’s column. Whales are not fish. They are mammals. And they do breathe. That’s the reason they have breathe holes – blow holes. That’s the reason they have to come to the surface to breathe. Somebody needs to recheck – he needs to do his fact check. Thank you. %%% Editor’s Note: We stand by Scott Yost’s story. %%%
taylor theatre, UNcG
336-334-4849 or boxoffice.uncg.edu for tickets
Thursday, February 7, 2013
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
The New York Times Crossword Puzzle
A WHIFF OF COLOGNE By Dan Schoenholz / Edited by Will Shortz
6 División of a house
10 They may be running in a saloon 1 7 S u n , i n Ve r d u n 18 Thin ice, e.g.
45 Dick ___, co-creator of “Saturday Night Live”
79 Like many a fraternity party
51 Either end of an edge, in graph theory
85 Puppet of old TV
4 9 Ta n g l e
52 Ph.D. hurdles
23 How overhead photos may be taken
5 5 Wo r k e d t h e s o i l , i n a way
21 Alternative to white
2 4 “ T h a t ’s _ _ _ e x c u s e …”
25 Like St. Louis vis-àvis New Orleans 27 Name
28 End to end? 2 9 To r n
31 See 67-Across 33 Kind of tape
54 Diamond stat
56 “A Clockwork Orange” hooligan
57 Actress Loughlin of “90210” 58 Soda fountain option 59 Spritelike
60 Skater Midori 61 Cool
6 2 R o o s e v e l t ’s successor
3 4 “ H o w I M e t Yo u r Mother” narrator
6 4 R o o s e v e l t ’s successor
36 Who said “Familiarity breeds contempt — and children”
6 7 Wi t h 3 1 - A c r o s s , f a v o r, a s a b a l l o t measure
35 Put out
RELEASE DATE: 2/10/2013
3 7 L i k e Vi rg i n i a a m o n g states to ratify the Constitution 38 Booth, e.g. 41 Sphere
4 2 S u i t s i z e : A b b r. 43 PC component
4 4 Ta rg e t o f m i n o r s u rg e r y
For any three answers, call from a touch-tone phone: 1-900-285-5656, $1.49 each minute; or, with a credit card, 1-800814-5554.
65 Shade provider
68 1952 Brando title role 69 Enzyme ending
70 Fairbanks Daily News-___
7 1 G e r a i n t ’s w i f e , i n Arthurian legend
72 European coin with a hole in it
8 0 I n s e c t ’s o p e n i n g f o r air 87 French Champagne city 88 Make a call
8 9 M a s o n ’s t r o u g h 90 Noodle
91 Group of bright stars?
92 Baseball commissioner Bud 93 Homey
94 Bushel or barrel: A b b r. 95 Chem ___
9 6 P o t t e r ’s p e d a l
98 Language related to Ta h i t i a n 9 9 To u s l e s
102 Low grade? 104 Noble rank
105 Playwright Joe who wrote “What the Butler Saw” 1 0 6 Te s s e l l a t i o n 107 Clipped 108 Cool 109 Pass
1 Alternatives to combovers
73 Sex partner?
2 Ingredients in some candy bars
7 7 T h e o l o g i a n ’s s u b j .
75 Fraternity member 78 Actress Dennings of “ T h e 4 0 - Ye a r- O l d Vi rg i n ”
Uncle Orson (Continued from page 12) is there right now, offering surprising combinations that are stunningly good, along with excellent, unobtrusive service. If you happen to be in Savannah, and you really care about good new cuisine, don’t miss it. And if you aren’t all that interested in innovation, but do like Mexican food, Cilantro’s will be a cause for rejoicing. Savannah also has a lot of artists – as coastal cities often do. In Savannah’s case, the presence of SCAD – Savannah College of Art and Design – may have encouraged a larger-than-normal art community. Even outside City Market, we found several studios where the artists both worked and sold their art, which gave us a chance to chat with artists whose work we liked. Some of them, quite aware of the value of their work, were priced above what we’re willing to pay – we generally prefer to buy prints, because we buy art to look at, not as an investment. Just walking along Habersham Street, a half block up from Columbia Square, I
3 Move, as a plant
5 Camera type, briefly 6 Hidden
7 A l a n o f “ A rg o ”
8 Schreiber who won a To n y f o r “Glengarry Glen Ross”
9 Place for a Dumpster 1 0 Va u d e v i l l e s i n g e r ’s prop
1 3 O l d N e w Yo r k p a p e r, f o r s h o r t 14 Actress Gardner
15 Novel that focuses on character growth 16 High-quality
1 7 P e l o p o n n e s i a n Wa r winner
18 Import, as water or music
2 0 “ C h r i s t i n a ’s Wo r l d ” painter Andrew 22 Paavo ___, 1920s Finnish Olympic hero
26 Practical approach to diplomacy 3 0 I t ’s a b l e s s i n g
32 Customizable character in a computer game 3 3 C o u g a r ’s p r e y
36 E-mail forerunner 37 Los ___ mosqueteros
49 Big media to-do
41 Ring event
53 Caught at a 41Down
40 Some “Bourne” film characters 44 R apper?
5 5 We n t a f t e r
63 More pink, maybe 6 6 A l l ’s p a r t n e r 6 7 G o e s o ff o n a tangent 70 Small bit 74 Mark of ___ 76 Discuss lightly
8 4 Tr i m 8 5 Ti m e ’s s e c o n d African-American P e r s o n o f t h e Ye a r 86 Primates with tails 87 Scold 8 8 M a r k o f a r i f l e ’s laser sight 91 Conductor Kurt 92 Present-day personality?
79 Big ___ 80 Ill-humored
5 8 S t . P e t e r ’s B a s i l i c a feature
48 Jungle vine
47 Depressed at the poles
ran across the studio (145 Habersham) of a wonderful artist named William Armstrong, a low-country artist, one of whose originals is now hanging in our living room: http://www.williamarmstrongartist. com/bio.html We also picked up some charming items for grandchildren at the Paris Market; and at An American Craftsman Gallery at 223 West Broughton – one of four galleries in a very small chain – we found all kinds of irresistibly wonderful pieces. (Google them to see a sample of their wares, but you can’t buy anything from their website, www.anAmericanCraftsman.com .) One of our favorites, the “bobtanical” glass art of Bob and Laurie Kliss, is also offered at Artful Home: sn.im/bobtanical. (Full URL: (http://www.artfulhome.com/ artist/Kliszewski-Glass/6423 ). These downright voluptuous and brightly colored jars, bowls and pitchers, with plantlike forms, require a certain sense of humor, but we happen to have it. One of the reasons we went to Savannah is because we could drive there. Anything
50 Informal social gathering
46 Forceful advance
39 Confident testt a k e r ’s c r y
45 Inner ___
12 Show over
11 “ I n t h e A m e r i c a n We s t ” p h o t o g r a p h e r
81 ___ set (tool assortment) 82 Jumbled 83 Cheap, as housing
to avoid TSA screenings. Because of the shape of the American coastline, Savannah is actually closer to Greensboro than many points along the Outer Banks – and it’s freeway every speck of the way, so you make better time and don’t get stacked up in traffic. I don’t mean that you should go to Savannah instead of the Outer Banks – while Tybee Island is a lovely beach community, you can’t pry me away from my weeks at the Outer Banks beaches each year. I’m just making it clear that Savannah is no farther away than a drive that thousands of Greensboro citizens make every year.
While driving home from Savannah, we stopped at a gas station that was selling potato chips with unusual flavors (to say the least). The Flavor Mill offers “Kansas City Prime” flavored potato chips. I had to try them, and to my surprise, these potato chips really did taste like prime rib. But it wasn’t an overwhelming taste. It had some subtlety to it. Usually, flavored
9 3 A l f a l f a ’s l o v e i n “The Little Rascals”
95 Mother of Castor and Pollux
97 Gaelic ground 98 Principal 1 0 0 Wo r d m i s s i n g twice in the
Beatles’ “___ Said ___ Said”
101 One on foot, informally
1 0 3 Ve r i z o n f o r e r u n n e r
chips are grossly overdone – the flavor is so strong that it becomes too much after just a couple of chips. The Flavor Mill, however, goes for flavor subtle enough that you can enjoy it through the whole package. When we got home, I looked up The Flavor Mill and found that it’s a brand of Herr’s Foods – which I now know is a very common brand in the Northeast, though I had never seen it before in the South and the West, where I encounter most of my snacks. At the Herr’s website – http://www. HerrsStore.com – you can order every one of their extraordinary flavor selection. The trouble is, they sell only by the case. In my effort to serve you better, I sacrificed and bought a couple of custom cases. My scientific tasting system – getting trusted friends to sample them along with me – worked well enough to tell me that the Kansas City Prime was not a fluke. These folks know how to make flavors that work over the long haul – much better than anything I’ve had from Frito-Lay. (Continued on page 48)
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Yost Has Key To Get Through Pearly Gates by Scott D. Yost county editor
A few years ago, before the Harris Teeter at Golden Gate Shopping Center closed down, I used to shop there all the time, and sometimes I would see this older black lady shopping there, and, every time I saw her in the store, she was holding a well-worn Bible. The first few times I saw her, I just kind of thought to myself, “Well, that’s unusual – I wonder why she always has a Bible at the grocery store.” Then, one day, when I saw her in the produce section holding her Bible, I went up to her and I said, “Excuse me; I was just wondering why you always have a Bible with you when you’re shopping.” And her face lit up and she answered. “Oh, I always have my Bible with me,” she said. “I have it with me everywhere I go.” She then went into a short sermon about how you always need to keep God at the center of your life, in everything you do, and she said that an essential part of that is reading God’s word, studying it and keeping it close at all times. When she finished, she looked at me and asked if I was saved. I told her that, yes, I believed I was. “Have you read the Bible? Cover to cover?” “Yes,” I said. Then she had another question for me. “But have you read the King James Version?” she asked. I told her I’d read some of the King James Version, but the times that I had read the Bible cover to cover, it had been other more modern versions. And, still grinning from ear to ear, she said, “Oh, well you need to read the King James Version all the way through.” I thanked her for that advice and, while I didn’t go home and start reading the King James Version cover to cover, that conversation apparently did plant a seed in my mind. It got me thinking: Is it really important which version of the Bible you read? I’d always had the view that it didn’t matter which version you read – just that you did read one. The first Bible I ever read all the way through was The Living Bible, back when I was a teenager. When I was growing up, The Living Bible translation was my favorite version. I had read the stand-alone New Testament version of The Living Bible first – called Reach Out – and I still have that book today. After I read Reach Out, I wanted to have that translation of both the Old and New Testament, so I got The Living Bible, which I read for years as my Bible of choice. I read that and highlighted it and took notes in it from Young Life and Sunday school at West Market Street United Methodist Church – where former Greensboro Mayor Jim Melvin was my Sunday school teacher by the way. Every now and then, I would hear someone criticize The Living Bible translation – saying it wasn’t a very good one because it took too many liberties with the language and it was written too much in modern day vernacular. Over the years, I bought or was given a lot of different versions of the Bible including the King James Version, the Revised Standard, the Max Lucado Devotional Bible and several others. But, for me at least, The Living Bible had one major overriding virtue compared to the King James Version and some of the others: When I read it, I could understand what it was saying. You know, when I read some of the others – especially when I read the Old Testament – sometimes I had no idea what was going on because the language, while often beautiful, was hard to understand. Recently, I was thinking about all this, and I was curious to see how many versions of the Bible I had in the house, so I went around and collected them and took a picture. (Continued on page 16)
Thursday, February 7, 2013
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Yost (Continued from page 15)
Scott’s Night Out On Super Bowl Sunday Kristen (above, left) and Gretchen at Stumble Stilskins downtown donned their team colors. In the other shot – from KickBack Jack’s – two San Francisco fans also root their team on, though to no effect. Everyone in Greensboro was talking about how exciting the big game was going to be, but I have to tell you, I watched it for about 30 minutes Sunday night, and, to me, it just looked like a bunch of people standing around in the dark. – Scott D. Yost.
When they’re all put together like that, it looks like I’m some sort of religious nut, but I don’t think you can have too many Bibles in your house. When Judgement Day comes, and the Good Lord is separating the wheat from the chaff, I seriously doubt that having too many Bibles around can do anything other than work in your favor. In fact, and I’m just guessing here, but I’ll bet that, if you’re right on the line between getting into heaven or not, and God is trying to decide what to do with you, then having a lot of Bibles around might be the thing that really tilts the scales in your favor and saves you from eternal damnation. Whichever Bible you read, I do think it’s important to pay attention to the names of the books in the Bible – especially in the New Testament – and I think it’s very important to pay close attention to the order of the books. I have this theory about what happens when you’re at the gates of heaven and they are deciding what to do with you. I think one major part of the test to get in to heaven is that they ask you to name the books of the New Testament in order. I think that’s probably a key question on the test and if you get it right then they let you in – and, if you don’t, well, then you don’t want to know what happens. At one point back in high school when my mind wasn’t so foggy and I was active in Young Life, I could strike a match, hold it between my fingers, and name all the books of the Bible – Old and New Testaments – before the match burned down to my fingers. There’s no way I could do that now. But naming all the books of the Bible in order is a lot to ask anyone and I don’t think the angels at the gates of heaven will ask you to do that. I think it’s only the books of the New Testament that you have to know. I don’t think there’s any way they would expect you to know the books of the Old Testament because then practically no one would get in. Also, you would have a problem whenever a Catholic tried to get in because I think the Catholics throw about a half dozen extra books into the Old Testament, so it would get very complicated; and, for all those reasons, I think they’re likely to stick to the books of the New Testament. Also, before you get too worried because you can’t even name the books of the New Testament in order, I don’t think you have to get them all exactly right. I think it’s like your driver’s license exam, where, if you get three wrong answers or whatever, you’re still good to go. In addition, like on the sign identification part of the driver’s license test, I think
that, if you get stuck and you’re right on the line between getting into heaven or not, they drop you a few hints. Like, if you get to the end of naming the books of the New Testament and you’re almost there, and you’ve already missed your limit, but you can’t think of what comes before Revelation, I think they jump in and give you a hint like, “Well, just take a breath and stop trying to think of it for a minute. In the meantime, let me tell you about the music in heaven. Everyone up here really likes the Beatles; you know, personally, one of my favorites is that song … oh my, what’s that song called again? It’s got a two-word title, ‘Hey, something.’ I think it’s a girl’s name or something.” Because, you know, they’re angels, not devils, and they’re pulling for you to get in. Anyway, as long as your Bible has the books in the right order, I think you are golden. But, look, I don’t know what else there is to the test, but there certainly might be other questions, and, after giving some thought to what the woman in the Harris Teeter said, I wondered if there were any relevant differences between the different Bibles. So this week, while we’re talking about Bibles, I decided to take a look at what she had told me, to see if all Bibles said basically the same thing or not. I decided to pick a passage and look at it in different versions of the Bible and see if there are any important differences. I picked John 11: 35, which is a pretty well known Bible verse. In the King James Bible, the verse reads, “Jesus wept.” In the New International Version, John 11:35 is translated as, “Jesus wept,” while, in the English Standard Bible (2001 translation), that verse reads, “Jesus wept.” In the God’s Word translation, the verse is “Jesus cried,” and The Douay-Rheims Bible tells us, “And Jesus wept.” So those two are a little different but not so much as to cost you a question on the heaven entrance exam because I’m sure you would get credit for both “wept” and “cried.” The Message – which is the New Testament version that I like the most these days – has this: “Now Jesus wept.” And the Revised Standard Version said. “And Jesus wept.” While The Living Bible has, “Tears came to Jesus’ eyes.” So that’s not really a comprehensive scientific study, but from what I can tell just from that quick comparison, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference which Bible you read. I think the important thing is that you find one that speaks to you and one that you understand – oh, and one that has the books of the New Testament in the right order.
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Letters to the Editor Give us some truth Dear Editor, I have been patiently waiting for our president to stand up and be a man. He is our leader. He is the commander in chief of our Armed Forces. I believe Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said “The Buck Stops Here.” I would like President Obama to answer one question for the American people: Why did you decide it was OK to let four Americans be killed by a mob on 9/11 even though help was available? The American people would like to hear from you, Mr. President. The buck stops at you. Tell us, Mr. President. All we want is the truth. Eric Lowe
Boy Scout Orders Dear Editor, President Obama spoke in favor of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) allowing gay boys and adult leaders into their organization. I have no problem with allowing gay kids in. But if his position is to allow gay adult leaders in too, this is not acceptable. Young boys in this age group are very vulnerable and susceptible to the advances of sexual predators. This is not asking, it is begging for trouble. I was an adult BSA volunteer for over 30 years. It would be a shame to see this organization fail. But, if they fold to the pressure from the Obama administration and others to accept homosexual adult leaders, they will lose a lot of support, including mine. Gov. Rick Perry said, “The radical homosexual movement seeks societal normalization of their sexual activity.” He wrote, “I respect their right to engage in the individual behavior of their choosing, but they must respect the rights of millions in society to refuse to normalize their behavior.” Ramon Bell
Participation credit Dear Editor, I recently read a headline on an article that caused me to ponder. The headline was, “Leave the debate over education concerns to state legislatures.” We have left the debate and the passage of laws dealing with education to our legislators since the court decisions of the 1950s and 1960s. What we have gotten in return is a declining education system throughout the US. It is time that the people and especially the parents were brought back into the debate about education. The North Carolina General Assembly made a start at bringing the parents back into the education debate with the removal of the cap on charter schools. We now need our lawmakers to find
more ways to bring the parents and the people back into the decision making process. There has been some discussion about a voucher system for North Carolina schools. If applied correctly a voucher system would be another way to bring the parents back into the debate on educating our children. We need more than unlimited charter schools and a voucher system that requires the engagement of the people in educating our children. We know from past experience that the way most elected officials address any problem is by allocating more money to the concerned area. We know that more money has not stopped the declining education level within our schools. Nor has more money stopped the dropout rate or stopped the education system from graduating functionally illiterate individuals. It is time the people demanded to be a part of the debate on how our children are educated. It is time we demanded our legislators and elected officials pass and implement laws requiring parents to make the major decisions on how their children are educated. It is time we returned to community schools where the parents and members of the local community are the individuals making the final decision on how education is conducted within their community. Ray Shamlin
dictionary describes them as “fish-like mammals.” Whales must surface to breathe, thus the blow hole on top. This is the only mistake I’ve ever read in The Times. Keep up the good work. Ron Abee Editor’s Note: If it looks like a fish and swims like a fish, what you’re saying is it is not a fish.
Who is being protected Dear Editor, On Monday, a man was assaulted in the alley between the Bargain Box and the Greensboro city parking deck. He was badly beaten and managed to crawl out to the street at the park. He was found and sent to Cone Hospital. Funny that the news or newspaper didn’t have anything about this. Could it be that Greensboro doesn’t want people to know that those types of incidents happen right there in our nice little downtown? Would it stain the image they have so tried to make people think is just happy and wonderful? And now it has been said that the detective that is investigating the incident was told not to check the cameras in the garage or across the street at the park to see if there was any footage of what happened
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(Continued on page 58)
Water on the brain? Dear Editor, Scott, my man, you’ve been hangin’ round those lovely fillies so long your brain power is sliding. A whale is not a fish, silly guy. It is a mammal like you and me. But, wait, we don’t suckle our young. However the object of our affections are generally capable of doing so. Whales, unlike fish, do not get their oxygen from the water. They breathe air to meet that physiological need. Hence they most certainly could drown without exposure to air for very prolonged periods. Methinks you must have got a D or quite possibly a lower grade in biology/zoology. Better bone up and review your cetaceans before printing a whale of a whopper like that in today’s weekly Rhino. By the way, a rhino is a mammal too. Provided as a public service and with every best intention, Ray Sullivan Editor’s Note: Scott hasn’t generated this many letters and beeps since he informed our readers that “gullible” wasn’t in the dictionary.
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Whale of a tale Dear Editor, Please tell Scott Yost to check his facts on the statement from the Jan. 31 edition of The Rhino. Whales are not fish. The
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Council (Continued from page 1) be the judge of the aesthetic quality of things like paint jobs. “Some people pay a lot of money for whitewash brick,” Matheny said. “I get an old broken down window like the one you showed, that’s easy, but when you branch out into stuff like this, it’s going to get insanely difficult.” Councilmember Nancy Vaughan said, “I also have a problem going into that much detail.” Councilmember Tony Wilkins asked if bars used for security would have to be removed. “If they are not moveable, yes,” Carruthers replied. The ordinance does allow moveable coverings to be placed over windows after business hours. Nick Piornack of Momentum Development Partners, a company that received a $200,000 loan and 1,400 square feet of right-of-way from the city last year for parking for a Mexican restaurant downtown, said that it was extremely difficult for his partners to sell downtown Greensboro because of buildings in disrepair. “I do believe we need to put some perfume on the pig, you might say,” Piornack said. He said it wasn’t necessary to repair the interior of the buildings, but that repairing the exteriors would be helpful. Ed Wolverton, president of Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI), also spoke in favor of the ordinance. He said that DGI had a facade grant program in place to help finance the repairs. He said the program provides 50 percent on a matching basis up to $5,000 to help finance exterior repairs. Matheny questioned why more people weren’t taking advantage of the facade grant program already. He said he would encourage upping the facade grant. “Unfortunately, some of the folks that have blighted buildings probably don’t take advantage of the facade grant because they can’t afford it.” Matheny went on to say that if they couldn’t afford the facade grant, they wouldn’t be able to afford repairs either. Dawn Chaney, a member of the DGI board of directors who owns rental properties downtown, said she supported the ordinance. “When I bring people to our city looking for properties to lease and they ask me about boarded up buildings, it bothers me immensely,” she said. Chaney, however, noted that she was fortunate to have all of her rental space occupied at this time. Sidney Gray, owner of the Silver’s building at the corner of West Washington and South Elm streets, and several other properties in downtown Greensboro, spoke against the ordinance. He said that he was waiting for tenants for his properties before investing in repairs. Gray also questioned why DGI was supporting this ordinance when they had not gone to their “forced membership” for their view on the situation. “Not once has
Thursday, February 7, 2013
DGI brought me a potential tenant,” he said. “We should ask among other things why businesses move their offices out of downtown, why other businesses choose not to locate downtown,” Gray said. Gray said that while the stated intent of the ordinance was to preserve the character of the city, the character of the city was first established by individual entrepreneurs, not city inspectors. “I am sure that these concerns about certain buildings can be rectified without an ordinance,” he said. When asked by Matheny if he had taken advantage of the facade grant, Gray said that he had been waiting to develop the whole building and didn’t feel it was necessary to “waste taxpayer money unboarding windows.” “Sometimes you might need to dress it up in order to attract a tenant to come there,” Matheny said. Gray said that there was a possible tenant looking at one of his buildings already. Billy Jones also spoke against the ordinance. He said a study by Action Greensboro indicated that the downtown rental market could not support downtown building repairs. Jones also said he was concerned that the ordinance was a “land grab” attempt that could lead to the city seizing properties and auctioning them off to the highest bidder. Carruthers said that the liens the city could impose under this ordinance would be inferior to any mortgages. After the public hearing Councilmember Jim Kee said, “It looks like this item is going to require a lot of work,” and suggested considering it further at a work session. Matheny agreed, and said that he thought the ordinance as presented was a feel good solution. Matheny pointed out that there were other areas of the city that needed improvements too, including High Point Road. Matheny suggested looking at incentives rather than regulations to encourage improvements. Councilmember Yvonne Johnson said the city may need to look at a combination of regulations and incentives. Perkins said that the item could be discussed later but said, “we’re gonna have to get tough on the folks that are making it look like the dickens.” Calling out Gray he said, “you’ve got a couple ones that absolutely look like the dickens.” The council voted 8 to 0 to table the ordinance. Councilmember Dianne Bellamy-Small had been excused part way through the meeting due to illness. Earlier in the meeting the council voted unanimously to give Procter & Gamble $961,000 if the company chooses to expand in Greensboro. The grant will be paid out over three years after Procter & Gamble has created 200 jobs and completed its capital investment of $100 million. There were several speakers on the item who questioned why a multi-billion dollar company would need public money to
expand in Greensboro. Jones presented figures on the company’s finances, including a net profit of $9 billion. “How is it that a company that makes $9 billion in a single year feels the need to ask a city for money?” he asked. Jones said that he had mixed feelings about the incentive grant, because the company would be bringing jobs and his employers had worked with Procter & Gamble in the past. Shannon Leonard said he had been fighting to bring his property back down to market value after it was inflated by other properties in Guilford County; meanwhile a company as successful as Procter & Gamble was being offered public money. “Taxpaying citizens need a break, we are paying out the wazoo for everything,” Leonard said. The Greensboro Performing Arts Center (GPAC) Task Force also gave its final presentation to the council. Unlike previous presentations from the task force, there was no PowerPoint presentation and no updates from individual subcommittees. There was a brief presentation from task force Chair Louise Brady and Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro President Walker Sanders that gave an overview of the task force’s work. The center is still estimated to cost $60 million. Private donations would reportedly cover $20 million of the cost and money from user fees and the hotel-motel tax would pay for another $20 million. The task force now recommends that the facility be operated by the Coliseum staff. The source of the remaining $20 million is still undetermined. Brady suggested possibly seeking state and federal grants to help fund the facility. The council has considered funding the facility up to $41 million, but due to doubts about whether a bond referendum would pass, has scaled back its possible commitment. “The reality is we can’t do $40 million, it would kill us,” said Matheny. However, Matheny said that he liked the idea of user fees funding GPAC, and thought that additional money could be raised by GPAC proponents. Vaughan thanked the task force and said it was time for the council to take the next step. Perkins did not allow public comment on the task force presentation, despite the fact that several people were there to speak on it. The council also voted unanimously to give, not sell, Duke Energy an easement at 4100-4199 Keely Road to relocate a large tower for the Urban Loop. Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter asked about the tower’s proximity to Keely Park, and City Engineer Ted Partrick said that the tower would be moved further from the park and could not be seen from it. The council also voted 5 to 3 against a resolution for the city to rent property at 500 Benbow Road for use by the Sebastian Medical Museum. Matheny said he thought renting property
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
for the organization would be setting them up for failure since they had not demonstrated an ability to raise significant funds on their own. He suggested housing them in the historical museum. During the discussion Kee said one reason they may not have been able to raise funds was because they had been dealing with an eviction from the same property. “Jim, I love you, but if I was getting evicted I would raise some money,” Matheny said. Mayor Perkins and Councilmembers Nancy Hoffmann, Vaughan, Matheny and Wilkins voted against renting the property for the museum. Councilmembers Johnson, Kee and Abuzuaiter voted in favor of the motion. Bellamy-Small was absent.
Rumors (Continued from page 10) the volunteers, President of the Community Foundation Walker Sanders, the city councilmembers, everybody but the person running the whole show. The task force had one full-time employee who was reportedly paid more than $100,000 for her work and that was Ross Harris, who in 2011 ran Robbie Perkins campaign for mayor. But Tuesday nobody mentioned Harris, even though she was in the room. So Perkins got his campaign manager hired with city money for a year and now that the City Council campaigns are kicking off again, he has a campaign manager available. It’s a pretty neat trick and it didn’t cost Perkins a dime. You paid for it. --Finally someone at the post office has looked out the window and realized that it is the 21st century. On August 1 the post office is going to stop some Saturday mail delivery. They should cut out mail delivery on Tuesdays and Thursdays also, and deliver mail three days a week to homes and businesses. If people need mail more often, let them get a post office box. Communications that are time sensitive are not sent by snail mail. In this world of email, texting and twitter, the mail is about as relevant as the buggy whip or print newspapers. --The only holiday named for a Hollywood movie, Groundhog Day, has come and gone. As those who have seen the movie know, Phil the giant squirrel in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, is the one that counts, and he proclaimed there would be an early spring. The Greensboro groundhog, who just doesn’t have the clout of Punxsutawney Phil, said six more weeks of winter. In this case, I think I’ll go with Phil. After all, he is a Hollywood movie star. --We watched elephants walk to the (Continued on page 59)
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Uncle Orson (Continued from page 14) Unfortunately, closer examination showed that about half their chips and snacks use monosodium glutamate, which causes me to get a rash. Oops. Then again, the other half don’t us MSG, and that includes most of my favorite flavors. You can get a box of 15 potato chip bags (3.75 oz size) for $25.35, plus shipping. You can pick the mixture of flavors. If your family routinely goes through that many snack-size bags of potato chips, you might want to give it a try, not to save money (remember, you also pay for shipping), but to see whether these flavors make a difference for you.
I love history. In my life, I’ve discovered that whenever I’m not interested in any period of history, it’s because I haven’t yet learned enough about it. There is such a thing as badly written history, either because of inaccuracy or in clarity, but the history itself – the things that happened, and the reasonable guesses about why they happened – is always fascinating to me. But there are holes – eras that I’d love to know more about, yet which are stubbornly elusive. That’s why I sometimes indulge in speculative history – those tantalizing webs of guesswork around the edges of what we actually know. One of the most frustrating gaps in our historical knowledge is the history of the “barbarian tribes” that invaded the Roman Empire, taking over this or that portion of it and governing it to benefit new rulers. The old idea of “collapse” has been done away. The end of the unified empire did result in a collapse of trade and a lot of new poverty – just as the collapse of the pax americana would have devastating effects on the global economy were such a thing to happen today (as our current foreign policy is designed to bring about). But this was not viewed by the participants as the end of everything, as the beginning of a new dark age. People adapt, as do institutions, and in most places the “barbarians” – who had almost all served in the Roman military, and spoke Latin – merely replaced the previous ruling class and attempted to maintain the civilization as they found it. True barbarians, like the Islamist fanatics of today, who want to destroy civilization, or like the Communists, who shattered the entire structure of the societies they took over, were not involved in the “fall of Rome.” Yet the interconnected, history-writing civilization did fade away, not because people stopped writing histories, but because there was no easy way to get copies to many different places for storage and duplication in order to withstand the ravages of time. What was lost was a powerful economy with plenty of profits, allowing a leisured class to “waste” time and money copying
manuscripts and writing new ones. You know – the activities that the Obama economic program is designed to eliminate, as he tries to tax “the rich” (i.e., people who work hard and finally reach their earnings peak) into nonexistence. My point is that what caused the “dark age” was the collapse of a vast interconnected trading network, along with a huge and ever-growing bureaucracy. But the Germanic invaders did contribute to the breakdown of the trading system. And, contrary to the dictum that “the winners write the histories,” the historical account of the Germanic tribes, such as it is, was written almost exclusively by their enemies – the losers. The result is that it’s devilishly hard to reconstruct an accurate and useful history of the tribes themselves. That’s why I was delighted to find that there was a series of scholarly histories called The Peoples of Europe, including entries for The Early Germans, The Etruscans, The Gypsies, The Mongols, The Byzantines, The Normans, The Huns, The Serbs, The Goths, The Basques, The Franks, and – my favorite so far – The Vandals. The series is an ambitious one, fraught with frustration. The Etruscans, for instance, who once dominated central Italy and ruled over Rome before it rose as an empire, have been almost entirely lost to us. Most of the book on the Etruscans is spent analyzing archaeological finds, reaching few useful conclusions. Other books can only assemble the tantalizing hints from various histories, since there is almost no identifiable archaeological record. The Goths, for instance, seem to have been an ad hoc assemblage of many different tribes (with different languages, though they were mostly Germanic and probably could understand each other reasonably well), and once they entered the historical record, they never stopped moving. There is no place and no era that we can identify as “Gothic” per se, so all we have are what others wrote about them. Malcolm Todd’s The Early Germans does as good a job as is possible of assembling a sort of overview of how these early tribes came into being, made their mark, and then – usually – faded into the surrounding tribes and nations. But some of the invaders did establish kingdoms that lasted for a century or more. The Vandals, for instance – after spending a time in southern Iberia (where “Andalusia” preserves their name) – conquered the Roman province of Africa (coastal Algeria and Tunisia) and ruled it quite effectively until the Byzantine emperor Justinian toppled them. The Vandals, by Merrills and Miles, had a far richer trove of historical material about the Vandals, and while most of it trashes their reputation – which is why “vandal” survives in our language as a pejorative, and “vandalism” as a crime – in fact they became quite Romanized and, had they
lasted, probably would have built a nation rather as the Franks did in France. The result is perhaps the most readable of the books about the Germanic invaders, with many colorful characters and memorable tales. I don’t expect you to flock to the bookstores to buy these books. You can’t anyway – most of them are out of print, and some are so rare that each copy, even electronic copies, can cost more than a hundred dollars. (Used print copies are usually much cheaper from online usedbook dealers, which is how I bought my copies.) But there are some of you who will be happy to know that they exist at all. And for the rest of you who care about history, these books represent the edge of the possibility of history. The scholars who wrote these volumes
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did their best to create coherent knowledge out of fragments of information that are either nearly useless to history (like archaeological findings, which reveal culture and population information, but rarely help with actual history), or grossly misleading because they are second-hand, or are filtered through the perceptions of observers from other cultures. Just as science finds its boundaries where observation and measurement become impossible, history’s boundaries are reached where the data becomes steadily less reliable or downright nonexistent. Maybe there’ll be discoveries of hitherto unknown manuscripts – but the truth is, from preliterate societies there never were manuscripts. We cannot discover what never existed. The tragedy of the time machine is that we don’t have one.
Better (Continued from page 10) schools – since students in well performing schools could generally read to begin with. It’s a strong increase in four years, but still leaves 31.9 percent of elementary schools not reading at grade level. Improvements in other subjects during Green’s tenure jumped similarly. The percentage of eighth-grade students who tested as proficient in science jumped from 51.2 percent to 71.7 percent. The percentage of fifth and eighth grade students who tested as proficient in math increased from 71.4 percent to 82.1 percent. The percentage of mostly high school students who tested as proficient in the composite of their scores in all subjects increased from 63.7 percent in 2008 to 79.7 percent in 2012. All of the numbers above have to be taken with a grain of salt. The state and federal governments have been playing games with the testing system throughout Green’s tenure. Standards have been changed. The state began allowing schools to retest students and count their scores, and the federal No Child Left Behind Act standards have been virtually scrapped by a statewide waiver for North Carolina. At times, Guilford County Schools has claimed performance gains that turned out to be statistical mirages. Even so, numerous Guilford County schools are in better shape now than they were in 2008. The average performance composite – the systemwide average of the results of the Guilford County schools – increased from 60 percent in 2008 to 75.9 percent in 2012. Guilford County Schools used to complain about test score comparisons not being “apples to apples,” sometimes disingenuously. But with the state and federal governments both having changed their testing systems, that complaint has become more valid. Next year, North Carolina is entirely abandoning its ABCs
of Education system for judging school performance, which has been in place since 1995, for a new system called READY. With the testing landscape continually shifting, perhaps the best measure of Green’s success has been the State of North Carolina’s ranking system for public schools. It’s a rough measurement, but it shows, in general terms, how many Guilford County schools are great, good, not so good and lousy. In North Carolina terms, great schools are “honor schools of excellence”; good schools are “schools of excellence”; decent schools are “schools of distinction”; average schools are “no recognition schools”; bad schools are “priority schools”; and really bad schools are “low-performing schools.” At the high end of the scale, in 2008, Guilford County Schools had only one honor school of excellence. In 2012, it had 19. In 2008, Guilford County Schools had nine low-performing schools. It reduced that number to zero in 2011. But in 2012, one school, Cone Elementary, slipped back into that category. In general, Guilford County Schools under Green has successfully moved schools from one category to a higher one, although it’s important to remember that in some cases the improvements are marginal. In 2009, the first year of results under Green, The Rhino Times used an only moderately facetious school performance measurement that probably matches the real world better than the state’s: the oldtimey test grade. In 2009, taking 70 percent out of 100 as a passing grade (the cutoff for getting a D that most of us are familiar with from our days in school) and applying that cutoff to the performance composites of individual Guilford County schools showed that 54 percent of schools were failing and 46 percent were passing. (Continued on page 57)
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Thursday, February 7, 2013
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Leftovers (Continued from page 4) be left over from the other projects. The $132 million list released on Saturday does not include $21.5 million in maintenance projects that the school board voted to fund with school bond money on Oct. 9, 2012. At that meeting, school board member Darlene Garrett made a motion for staff to come up with a new list to spend up to $25 million on maintenance projects. School board member Ed Price seconded it. Garrett argued that the November 2012 elections could generate a Guilford County Board of Commissioners that would snatch millions of dollars away from the school board before it could be spent. Duncan said he could not bring himself to spend $25 million. He said, “To me, the elections are not persuasive at all, because we have to go through the county commissioners anyway.” Duncan said he could live with spending $21.5 million. Price, the only real estate agent on the board and an inveterate haggler, said, “Would you be happy at 22.5? We’re kind of negotiating a house here.” Duncan said, “I would agree with that.” Garrett’s theory that the school board should spend its money before the new Board of Commissioners was elected didn’t accomplish much, if the school board still has $132 million in cash and bond authorization left over and the commissioners still have to vote to issue $71.5 million of the bonds. Also, the school board never seems to learn the lesson that insulting the Board of Commissioners, who provide much of their funding and must approve issuing school bonds, isn’t a good idea. That’s especially true when, as happened unexpectedly in November, the Board of Commissioners was taken over by a Republican majority, theoretically committed to cost-cutting and facing a Guilford County that is $1.1 billion in debt. The payments on that debt, which are made by the Guilford County commissioners out of the county budget, not by the school board out of its budget, are expected to increase for the next several years. The commissioners are also facing an apparent $41 million gap between spending and revenue for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, and $106 million of that spending is estimated to be debt service. The school board wouldn’t be in this mess if it hadn’t, like the Light Brigade, charged against hopeless odds to build the airport area high school, which no one really wanted. The school board pursued the airport area high school for four years without doing proper due diligence, or bothering to check whether the jurisdictions where the high school would be built wanted it, or building support for the school. Then the Facilities Department came up with the politically unsalable $75 million priority list. To paraphrase Tennyson, “Into the Valley
Thursday, February 7, 2013
of Death road the 11.” Or, to quote him directly, “Some one had blunder’d.” Not only did the school board not create support for the airport area high school, it sparked a last-minute revolution from supporters of older schools, led by those of High Point Central High School, who want crumbling Guilford County schools fixed, rather than a $72 million new one built. The $75 million priority list from September, in addition to ignoring schools with great needs for renovation, included things that weren’t construction. Of the $75 million, only about $33 million would have gone to construction of any sort, namely roofing, paving, electrical upgrades, windows and doors and improvements to athletic facilities. The other $42 million or so would have gone toward technology: air-conditioning systems, security alarms, cameras, voice-over-Internet Protocol phone systems, computers, and audio and video equipment. The $132 million list released on Saturday, after the High Point Central revolt and complaints from other schools whose supporters want real renovations, is a very different beast. After jiggering enrollment projections, actually looking at some schools and checking Price’s Magic 8-Ball, the Facilities Department came up with a list of 11 schools “considered for major renovations or replacement.” Before the High Point Central revolt, Central – despite having a miniscule library, a 150-student capacity cafeteria so tiny that most students can’t eat there, hideous bathrooms, crumbling walls and walls and ceilings covered with something that may be paint or may just be dirt – wasn’t on the $75 million priority list. That, even more than the school’s problems, enraged High Point Central supporters. Now, HIgh Point Central is one of the schools slated for major renovations – and is on the list for $23 million, the most of any of the 11 schools. It’s amazing what a few pitchforks and torches can accomplish. The other schools on the “major renovations or replacement” list are, in descending order of the amounts proposed to be spent: Hunter Elementary School (a $19 million replacement); McIver Education Center, a special education school that is being replaced by two new autism and special education facilities (an $18 million renovation); Nathanael Greene Elementary School (a $17 million replacement); Guilford Middle School (a $12 million renovation); Peeler Elementary School (a $9 million renovation); Bluford Elementary School (a $9 million renovation); Morehead Elementary School (an $8 million renovation); Western Guilford High School (a $6 million renovation); and Northwood Elementary School (a $4 million renovation). The total is $132 million, meaning the entire list is school replacements and renovations. Western Guilford High School was one
of the schools that would have supplied students to the mythical airport area high school in the first place – although most of the proposed school’s students would have come from Northwest Guilford High School, the best-performing regular high school in the county, which now has 27 mobile classrooms. In general, Northwest parents didn’t want their children to go to a new school – they simply wanted new classrooms. The mystery is: Why is Western Guilford – which has a capacity of 1,310 students without mobile classrooms and an enrollment of 1,257 – is on the list instead of Northwest, which has a capacity of 1,625 without mobile classrooms and an enrollment of 1,904. As school board member Rebecca Buffington said of Northwest, “It’s not just like we can shift some neighborhoods and make this go away.” Guilford County Schools Director of Facilities Planning Donna Bell replied, “I think that would be difficult.” That raises the issue of redistricting, the school board’s least favorite and most politically fraught activity, but one it’s going to have to take responsibility for
Slush Fund (Continued from page 4) of Commissioners Linda Shaw requested that Barnes give a presentation to the board on the specifics of how the county can and can’t use the fund. The Board of Commissioners has scheduled a discussion on the use of the federal forfeiture fund for a Thursday, Feb. 7 work session. The board’s four new commissioners – Jeff Phillips, Alan Branson Hank Henning and Ray Trapp – have said they want to put everything on the table when it comes to closing a supposed $41 million gap between expected revenues and projected costs in the next budget. Henning and Branson voted against the sheriff getting the Segways, as did Commissioners Carolyn Coleman, Bruce Davis and Bencini. Davis said this week that Barnes has often used the fund as a “slush fund.” Davis added that the sheriff’s request for something as extraneous as Segways put the fund “on the radar” for the commissioners. Davis also said he and other commissioners want to explore possible ways the fund can be used to reduce the cost of running the Sheriff’s Department. Davis said this week that Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne, in response to inquiries from several commissioners, had sent out information that outlined the legitimate uses of the fund. Davis said that he’s eager to study the list and ask questions about the fund. The nine-page document that summarizes the proper uses of the fund, sent from Sheriff’s Department Attorney Matt Mason to Payne, is an excerpt from the “Guide to Equitable Sharing for State and Local Law
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doing to solve some of the school system’s capacity needs. Duncan said, “The unpleasant subject of redistricting is rising in the next year.” School board member Linda Welborn, who was elected in November, said, to laughter, “Had I known that before I came on the board ...” Duncan replied, “It’s an ever-popular conversation.” The school board can’t dodge that conversation. To give just one example, High Point Central supposedly has a capacity of 1,386 – and can’t use mobile classrooms because of its designation as a historic building. It has an enrollment of 1,390. That 1,386 enrollment is suspect, because High Point Central teachers, students and parents report crowded classrooms with students sitting on floors and radiators. High Point Central’s enrollment is projected to increase to 1,612 by 2021. Andrews High School in High Point, by comparison, has a capacity of 1,225 – but an enrollment of only 789, meaning it could hold 436 more students if the school board redrew the attendance zones of Central and Andrews.
Enforcement Agencies.” The guide states that the fund “shall be used by law enforcement for law enforcement purposes only.” There are certainly some allowable uses of the fund that the commissioners ordinarily include in the Sheriff’s Department’s budget. Legitimate uses of federal forfeiture funds include overtime pay for officers; law enforcement investigations; training cost directly associated with law enforcement duties; purchasing guns, ammunition and other law enforcement equipment; paying travel and transportation expenses for officers; as well as funding awards and memorials for law enforcement. The money can also go toward drug and gang awareness programs, or to fund any non-profits that “support a law enforcement policy.” The county has seen growing costs created by the giant new jail in downtown Greensboro that Barnes pushed so hard to see built. With jail costs rising dramatically, the commissioners have been attempting to find ways to offset those costs. One of the permissible uses of the money in the federal forfeiture fund is to pay “costs associated with the purchase, lease, construction, expansion, improvement, or operation of law enforcement or detention facilities used or managed by the recipient agency.” The money can also be used to offset the Sheriff’s Department’s portion of a project that enhances county government as a whole. “For example,” the guide states, “if a town purchases a new computerized (Continued on page 52)
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Thursday, February 7, 2013
City Money (Continued from page 2) By comparison, The Rhino Times needs a parking space in front of our building on Thursday morning about 8 a.m. for less than an hour. It is to facilitate the deliver of bundles of newspapers to our office, and because bundles of newspapers are extremely heavy it’s very helpful to get one of the parking spaces in front of the office. For the last 15 years, when the papers arrive at the loading dock, we have gone out and put orange cones in an open parking space on the street to hold it. The city has now decided that The Rhino Times can’t do that. The city says that we have to rent the parking space for the entire day, which we would be glad to do, but the city also says we don’t qualify to rent a space. It is classic City of Greensboro helpfulness. There are two other businesses in our block. One is Lambeth-Osborne Realty; they don’t have a problem with us blocking off a space. The other is Stumble Stilskins, which is not open at that hour and has no need of the spaces. At that hour of the morning people who live in the condominiums on our block are leaving, not arriving. Often there are four or five spaces open in the block, but it is helpful to us to get one of the ones closest to the office. It doesn’t hurt any other business and we have been doing it for years.
Suddenly the city changed its policy for the sole purpose of making doing business more difficult for this particular small business. The retaliation came after we wrote about the fact that the city refused to enforce the parking laws on the Greene Street Club even when their vehicles partially blocked our driveway the city refused to write them parking tickets. The city’s response was not to start giving tickets to the cars, vans and trucks illegally parked in front of the Greene Street Club, but to decide to enforce some regulation against us. I asked why delivery trucks and utility trucks could put out orange cones but we could not and was told that they could and we could not. Another City Council issue that should disturb people who want to know what is going on in their government is that Mayor Robbie Perkins is shutting down public access to everything he can. For years the City Council outlawed small group meetings, which are held for the express purpose of evading the North Carolina open meetings law. Three or four councilmembers get together to discuss a topic, and since there is not a quorum present the city contends those meetings can be closed to the press and public. When Perkins insisted that small group meetings be reinstituted, a deal was struck
that the meetings would be open to the media if the media found out about them, but that the city would not be obligated to give notice to the media or public. Reporters from The Rhino Times and the News & Record have attended any number of small group meetings under this agreement. This week Rhino Times reporter Alex Jakubsen was thrown out of a small group meeting between representatives of Duke Energy, Perkins and Councilmembers Tony Wilkins and Nancy Vaughan. What makes this even more interesting is that at a similar meeting in December with Duke Energy the media was allowed to attend. It appears that Perkins thinks he has the votes to close the press and public out of meetings where the actual business of the council takes place, and the press and public will – if Perkins has his way – only be allowed to attend City Council meetings that will then become basically ceremonial. All the important discussions and decisions will be made behind closed doors, which is the way the council operated for years until Mary Rakestraw, Trudy Wade and Mike Barber, all former county commissioners, were elected to the City Council and got the council policy changed to do the city’s business in open meetings, not in back rooms behind locked
doors with armed guards standing outside, which is the way it is done now. Perkins, before he was mayor, cried crocodile tears every time a speaker from the floor was delayed or cut off. Now that he is mayor, Perkins doesn’t want to hear from the public. He did not allow the public to speak on the Performing Arts Center presentation. He allowed those who agreed with him, who are in favor of the performing arts center, to speak as long as they wanted. They had no clock. But he refused to allow those who had signed up to speak against it to speak at all on that agenda item. Several chose to speak during speakers from the floor. And while speakers from the floor, according to the published agenda, receive a maximum of three minutes each to speak, Perkins changed that to two minutes on Tuesday night and then enforced it haphazardly. People like Charles Cherry got cut off at the two-minute mark, but Michael Roberto, who was speaking in defense of Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter, was allowed to drone on and on. If former Mayor Bill Knight had done something like that when he was in office, Perkins and Councilmember Dianne Bellamy-Small would have been crying “racist.” But it is evidently OK for Perkins to discriminate.
Small Procedures Can Really Make a Difference Sometimes patients come to me and want or need a big change in their anatomy. But, oftentimes, making several small changes can really add up to a big difference. Let’s talk about some less invasive and less expensive options that can make that big difference. The number one procedure year after year lately is Allergan’s Botox Cosmetic. There are over three million treatments done a year! You might be surprised to hear one million are men. It works great when it’s injected in the right way for the right reason. At Saving Face, Tammy Rice, RN, is our nurse injector. She is simply awesome. She has been trained by the best and has years of experience. You want her to be your injector. In fact, Allergan’s representative
arranges her schedule so Tammy can do her injections frequently! Botox Cosmetic relaxes muscles. It’s the pull of muscles that can create wrinkles. By relaxing the muscles, the wrinkles are softened or sometimes can disappear. A common area of injection is for the muscles between the eyebrows that create a harsh/frown type appearance. The injections are done in four or ﬁve places and gives you a more relaxed and pleasant appearance. You do not get the starried-eyed look portrayed in the skit so commonly seen on Saturday Night Live! The needle is very small and only feels like a slight pinprick. After a discussion on your goals, the whole procedure only takes about 10 minutes. The results are not immediate, but take a few days. Sometimes we have you come back in two weeks for evaluation and ﬁnd you can beneﬁt from a few more units. The results last between three to four months before you may want another treatment. We have found that with repeated treatments, the results tend to last longer. A very nice thing. A typical cost is around $300 to $400. The ﬁllers help wrinkles, by, well, ﬁlling. There are different kinds of ﬁllers, and we have most here, but one of the most common is Juvederm. It is a semiliquid that is injected to ﬁll out depressions and wrinkles. It also works great when done on the right person in the right way, and Tammy will take care of that for you. Plumping wrinkles, or acne depressions, scars or lips are very common uses. The fold from the nose to and around the mouth (nasolabial folds) are treated very well with Juvederm. The ﬁllers can sometimes last up to a year – again, very nice. The injections can be painful. Some of the ﬁllers now come mixed with numbing medicine, which helps some. At our ofﬁce we have two ORs. What this means is that we have anesthesia available to you. If you can arrange a driver, you can have some IV sedation and feel no pain whatsoever! We have found from experience that great results continue with
repeated injections. For many patients, these treatments become part of their maintenance. The cost varies with how much volume you need, but is more expensive than Botox, so it’s nice that it lasts much longer. Spider veins in the skin can be very unsightly. No one really knows why some folks get them and some don’t. Why do they come on the face for some and on the legs for others? Who knows? Thank goodness we have treatments for them. There are two common methods for treatment. One is to use a laser and the other is to actually inject them. The laser is more effective if the skin is thin, which is typical of facial skin, and not the legs. The laser clots the blood inside these small vessels, which we do not need for circulation, and then the body absorbs them. Larger veins, typical of ones on the thighs or ankles, are commonly injected with a solution to clot them off and let the body absorb them. Either works well. It’s very common to repeat any treatment to get rid of more and more veins. One session is rarely sufﬁcient. This is best done in the winter months as you do not want to tan any areas treated or you may wind up with dark areas. So, now is the time! These small procedures can make a big difference about how you feel about yourself. Call today and we’ll help guide you towards the treatments best for you!
Slush Fund (Continued from page 50) payroll system, and the police department represents 20 percent of the total use of the payroll system, then the police department may use shared money to fund its pro rata share.” As for impermissible uses, money from the fund “may not be used to pay the salaries and benefits of current, permanent law enforcement personnel, except in limited circumstances – such as pay for overtime and for new positions that do not extend beyond one year. “ After one year, any new positions would have to be put in the budget and they could no longer be funded through the federal forfeiture fund. Money from the fund also can’t be used for “extravagant expenditures.” The guidelines state that law enforcement agencies must use the money “prudently and in such manner as to avoid any appearance of extravagance, waste, or impropriety. For example, tickets to social events, hospitality suites at conferences, or meals outside of the per diem are impermissible uses.” The money is also not supposed to be hoarded, though the Sheriff’s Department seems to keep a good deal of money in the fund at all times. The guide states the funds should be spent for permissible uses “as they are
Jail log (Continued from page 1) those logbooks only contain one instance of Armstrong being let out of the chair in the final 24-hour period of restraint that led up to his death. Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes said that, based on conversations he’s had with jail staff as well as other evidence, he’s convinced detention officers did remove Armstrong from the chair more than once during that 24-hour period. He said they failed to note doing so, however. Barnes said that, though not reflected in the logbook, Armstrong was occasionally let out of the chair to walk around and use the restroom. Barnes contends that the only thing his staff did wrong was fail to keep proper records of Armstrong’s confinement in the chair. A Report of Autopsy Examination from the NC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill cites blood clotting in the lungs as Armstrong’s immediate cause of death, and that same medical report states that his restraint was a contributing factor in his death. In other cases around the country, sitting for prolonged periods of time in similar restraint chairs – sometimes referred to as “the devil’s chair” – has been associated with the type of pulmonary clotting that apparently killed Armstrong. In some cases, blood congeals in the inmates
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received.” However, it adds that they can be retained in a holding account for up to three years for a department to save up for large long-term projects such as capital improvements. Davis said that, the more he hears about allowable expenditures, the more he wonders why Barnes isn’t using that money to help keep the cost of his budget down rather than using it to purchase extraneous items. Davis said that was what rubbed him the wrong way when Barnes requested to purchase the Segways. “That just did not jive with me,” Davis said. Davis said Barnes points out frequently that the Sheriff’s Department controls that fund, but Davis added that, when it comes to spending money from the fund, it takes two to tango – the sheriff and the Board of Commissioners. “He can make an appeal to the commissioners, but we have rights also when it comes to that fund,” Davis said. Davis added that, even though the money doesn’t come from tax revenues, it could lessen the tax burden on county citizens. Barnes said he already frequently uses the fund to help keep the cost of his department’s budget down. For instance, the sheriff said, he used money from the fund to pay for a district office, and he said this week that the Segways, too, were a
legitimate use of the fund and the purchase of the Segways would have meant a real increase in school safety. Barnes added that any request to use the fund must come from the Sheriff’s Department; it cannot come from the Board of Commissioners. Payne concurred. “The sheriff must bring the request forward and the Board of Commissioners must approve it before the funds may be used,” he said. The new debate over the forfeiture fund has some interesting parallels with a similar debate that raged nearly a decade ago. At that time, the dispute was over the county’s inmate welfare fund – another fund Barnes used for a wide variety of non-budgeted items. Money for that fund comes from charging inmates’ friends and families for collect phone calls that inmates make from jail, as well as from money the inmates spend on buying toiletries, candy and other items for sale in the jails. The inmate welfare fund was set up by the previous sheriff, Democrat Walter “Sticky” Burch, with the intention that the money be used to enhance the lives of county inmates – for instance, to purchase books for the jail libraries, bring speakers to the jail, or for other things that would enhance inmate welfare. However, over the years, Barnes got more and more creative with that fund. He
immobilized arms or legs, forming clots that then move to the lungs causing death. On Nov. 1, 2012, Guilford County paid Armstrong’s family $475,000 to settle a wrongful death suit against the county. A copy of the isolation/segregation logbook pages during the time Armstrong was in the chair were obtained by The Rhinoceros Times through a public records request. Those records reveal two extended periods of confinement in the chair for Armstrong – one that began in the early morning hours of Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010, ending sometime later that day, and the final period, which began Sunday afternoon, Dec. 26 and ended shortly after 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 27. Just after 4 p.m. on Dec. 27, Armstrong was finally removed from the chair. Moments after that he collapsed. He was taken to the emergency room at Moses Cone Hospital where he was declared dead. The copies of the logbook pages provided to The Rhinoceros Times are redacted and at certain points illegible due to handwriting or poor reproduction quality. The first sheet in the log provided to The Rhino Times states that Armstrong was first put in the chair at 2:20 a.m. on “12/24/10” – a date that was filled in twice at the top of that sheet. However, Matt Mason, the attorney for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, stated in a letter that accompanied the delivery of the logbook
entries to The Rhino Times: “Note that the first page actually begins with the early morning hours (2:20 a.m.) of December 25, 2010, not December 24, 2010.” Assuming that’s the case, the first page indicates Armstrong was restrained in the chair on Christmas morning, and was held there, for his first stay, from 2:20 a.m. Dec. 25 until at least 2:02 p.m. that day. At that point, the final notation for that stay in the chair is at the end of a page of a logbook. It states, “Sitting in chair.” However, it does not say Armstrong was removed from the chair. Since the notation is on the last line at the end of a page, and it indicates he was still in the chair, it’s not clear when his release from confinement on Christmas Day came. But the logbook clearly indicates he was held in the chair from 2:20 a.m. until at least 2:02 p.m. that day. The next page provided to The Rhino Times is dated “12/26/10,” which was Sunday, Dec. 26, the day following Armstrong’s 12-hour or longer confinement. The records pick up again on Dec. 26 with a notation on the first line of a new logbook page that states that Armstrong was placed in the restraint chair in Holding Cell Number 1 at 3:57 p.m. due to being on suicide watch. According to the jail records, he was held in the chair until 4:09 p.m. the following day – Monday, Jan. 26 – when he was (Continued on next page)
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
used the money to buy everything from drug-sniffing dogs for the jail to shock belts for the inmates. Barnes argued that inmates benefited from a drug-free jail and, he said at the time, if jail guards had the belts to shock inmates into submission those guards would have less need to beat the inmates. Barnes even attempted to use money in the fund to build a golf course and a driving range at the Guilford County Prison Farm near Gibsonville, using the argument that the golf course and range could be used to teach the inmates grounds keeping skills, which could help make them more likely to get a job when they got out. Due to the debate over such unusual uses of the inmate welfare fund, the commissioners began to look into exactly what that fund could and couldn’t be used for – and they were delighted to learn from The Rhino Times that the money was part of the county’s general fund and the board could therefore use that money for any county purpose. Ever since then, the commissioners have periodically raided the inmate welfare fund to pay for a wide variety of things – though the board’s use of the fund has almost always been tied somewhat to law enforcement purposes. Now some commissioners want to know if they can put the federal forfeiture funds to use to offset budget costs. Barnes said that, when it comes to the federal forfeiture fund, there won’t be a repeat of what happened with the inmate welfare fund. “The difference between the inmate welfare fund and the federal forfeiture fund is that the federal forfeiture fund is not part of the general fund,” Barnes said. Barnes also said the commissioners need to be aware that, if federal authorities determine that Guilford County has spent any money from the fund on unacceptable purposes, the feds have the right to demand repayment from the county – retroactive all the way back to the start of the federal forfeiture program. “They can make the county pay every bit back going back to 1985,” Barnes said. Barnes said he doesn’t know exactly how large that amount would be, but he said he’s currently researching that number so that the commissioners will understand what kind of penalty they’re facing if they spend the money improperly. Barnes said that, since 1985, many millions of dollars have been spent from the fund. Of course, the chances of that happening are probably much less than the chances of the commissioners being struck by lightening on the way home from a meeting on a cloudless night. When Barnes was asked in an email if he knew of any instance where the federal authorities had taken back funds from a law enforcement agency going back to 1985 he responded, “No, not from us, but they have cautioned us on some uses which we did not do because of their warning.”
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Jail log (Continued from previous page) removed shortly before his collapse and death. During the final period of restraint from Sunday afternoon to after 4:09 p.m. Monday, there are many notations, several an hour, but there is only one entry in that 24-hour period that states Armstrong was removed from the chair. The logbook entry for Monday, Dec. 27 at 2:10 a.m., states: ”Taken out of chair to use bathroom and go to room.” Armstrong is recorded as being placed back in the chair 15 minutes later, where he remained until he was removed shortly before his death, according to the entries in the logbook. When County Attorney Mark Payne was asked in an email if there is a legal limit on how long an inmate can be confined in a restraint chair, Payne responded, “There is no statute I am aware of that speaks directly to the question of how long should one be restrained in a restraint chair.” The Rhinoceros Times has obtained the Sheriff’s Department’s jail policy manual for the use of the restraint chair, and that document does not list a maximum time for which an inmate may be confined to the chair. The policy manual calls for guards to check on restrained inmates at least four times an hour. It also states the chair should never be used to punish an inmate but is to be used only when an inmate is a danger to himself or others, or when he or she is displaying highly irrational behavior that is resulting in the destruction of county property. Also, it states that any inmate confined to the chair must be kept isolated from other inmates. The policy manual also states that detention officers are to make a notation in the logbook each time an inmate is let out of the chair. According to the rules laid out in the manual, a sergeant or someone of higher authority must evaluate the inmate’s condition every two hours and document that the review was conducted. In the materials provided to The Rhino Times, there’s no indication that procedure was followed. On each page of the isolation/segregation report form, there is a space on the left side of the sheet to write down the time, a space on the right for the officer to sign his or her name, and, in the middle of each line, there is a place for comments. The form offers some examples of the sort of comments that should be made: It says, “Comments (i.e. shower, attorney visit, medical, out-ofcell.)” There are many entries in the logbook that indicate Armstrong was observed by guards frequently. There are multiple notations – usually four an hour – in which Armstrong is recorded as “Sitting in chair,” “Sleeping in chair,” “Sitting in chair coughing,” or “Appears to be sleeping.” There are many similar entries. At 3:57 a.m. on June 27, Armstrong
Thursday, February 7, 2013
is noted as “Asking to get out of chair,” and the next notation, at 4:10 a.m., states Armstrong is “Sitting in chair with head down.” When Barnes was asked why guards would take such frequent notes but not list what would seem to be a major event – taking Armstrong out of the chair and putting him back into it – Barnes said he didn’t know why guards didn’t record those events. Barnes said his look into the matter, however, has convinced him Armstrong was released from the chair; and he said there is a video that shows Armstrong out of the chair during that 24-hour period of confinement. Barnes added that Armstrong wasn’t relieving himself while in the chair, and he said that’s further evidence Armstrong was periodically removed and taken to the bathroom. Barnes also said there’s no proof that being in the chair caused Armstrong’s death. The sheriff said that anyone in good health in normal circumstances could be unfortunate enough to die by blood clotting of the type that medical examiners say killed Armstrong. Barnes also said the 21-year-old inmate had been banging his head on the cell walls before being put the chair, which was one reason he was restrained in the first place. In the logbook at several points in time, it mentions, “Nurse present” or has a similar indication. In addition to suing the county, the family also sued Prison Health Services (PHS) – which now goes by the name Corizon – the company that provides medical service to the county’s jails and also to the county’s clinic in southeast Greensboro. One source with knowledge of that suit said that PHS/ Corizon settled the suit against them for a larger amount than the nearly half million dollars paid out by Guilford County. Bill Hill, an outside attorney who handled the case for the county, like Barnes, contends that the main issue for Guilford County was a failure to keep proper records during the time Armstrong was confined to the chair. Hill also said the family wished to keep the matter quiet. According to Payne, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners approved the terms of the $475,000 settlement in closed session in mid October. Payne said it is permissible under state law for the board to give consent on legal settlements in closed session, and he said he had also gotten an opinion on that from the NC Institute of Government, which he said concurred with his opinion. NC General Statute 143-318.11 states, “The public body may consider and give instructions to an attorney concerning the handling or settlement of a claim, judicial action, mediation, arbitration, or administrative procedure. If the public body has approved or considered a settlement, other than a malpractice settlement by or on behalf of a hospital, in closed session, the
terms of that settlement shall be reported to the public body and entered into its minutes as soon as possible within a reasonable time after the settlement is concluded.” Payne said official notification of the settlement will occur when the minutes for the closed session in which the settlement was discussed are approved by the board. That is expected to happen at the board’s Thursday, Feb. 7 meeting. Those minutes do not mention the nature of the case or the amount of the settlement. A draft of the minutes of the Nov. 1, 2012 closed session states: “William Hill, Attorney representing Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, informed the Board that settlement documents have been signed regarding the death of an inmate in the Guilford County Detention Center. Chairman [Skip] Alston asked questions concerning the settlement and Sheriff Barnes explained the events of the case. Sheriff Barnes said he has addressed the issues that led to the settlement and as a result a policy change has been made in his department.” The minutes also state that former Commissioner Paul Gibson ask Hill in that closed session how much he was getting paid by the county and, according to the minutes, “Mr. Hill said in excess of $10,000.” The Rhino Times has requested the total legal cost of Hill’s services from Payne in two emails and a phone call but the county attorney has not provided that
information. Armstrong was being held on a $4,000 bond, which meant that $400 paid to a bail bondsman could likely have gotten him out of jail. Armstrong was in jail for about a week before his death. He was being held on assault and battery, extortion, and two counts of failure to appear. Sources who described Armstrong at the end of his life say he was a troubled man with mental issues; however, his life up until a few years before his death seems to be a different story. He was born on Nov. 1, 1989 in Wilmington to Terrell Edward Williams and Marsha Lorraine Armstrong. That means the settlement was paid to the family on what would have been his 23rd birthday. According to Armstrong’s obituary, he graduated from Heide Trask High School in Pender County in 2007. After high school, he spent part of the summer traveling before he went on to become a student at NC State University. His obituary states, “While in High School Mason would be a very good student and an exceptional athlete who participated in basketball, football, Track and Field, and JROTC. He attended the New Born Church of God and True Holiness. He sang in the Youth Choir, and played the saxophone. Mason loved to play the saxophone and developed into a skillful musician. In March of 2004 Mason received the Gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Thursday, February 7, 2013
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, February 7, 2013
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The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
First Amendment (Continued from page 1) been upheld by the US Supreme Court is shocking. The Supreme Court has said that cases where prior restraint would be justified are conceivable – the example of troop ship movement during a war is given – but each time it has come before the Supreme Court, the court has ruled against prior restraint of the press. During the Vietnam War when confidential CIA files were stolen from the Pentagon and were being printed by The New York Times and The Washington Post, President Richard Nixon expressed
concern that the security of the nation would be compromised if the information was released to the world. The courts held that the freedom of the press trumped fears about the security of the nation. But here in Greensboro, North Carolina, City Attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan decided that having Yes print some information from police files would be deemed more dangerous to the future of this country than stolen files from the Pentagon during the height of the Cold War, and the City of Greensboro should be granted a temporary restraining order.
Shah-Khan said that prior restraint was legally possible and he is correct. But this situation doesn’t come close to meeting even the minimum standard set by the courts. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun said that prior restraint should be granted, “only where the evil that would result from the reportage is both great and certain and cannot be mitigated by less intrusive measures.” The evil here, if there was any, was neither great nor certain, and could have been remedied by other means, and might have
been if the city attorneys had concentrated their efforts on something other than a wild goose chase for court ordered censorship. Imagine for a moment how many times in this nation’s history a government has not wanted a newspaper to print something. Take into consideration that in the history of the government a case of prior restraint against a newspaper has never, not once, been upheld by the Supreme Court, and that is what Shah-Khan and Clark were asking. Shah-Khan said it was his decision to request a temporary restraining order (Continued on next page)
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The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Thursday, February 7, 2013
First Amendment (Continued from previous page) and he takes full responsibility for that decision. Yes wasn’t even told that the city was filing for a temporary restraining order to keep them from printing and distributing their paper. So if the temporary restraining had been granted, would the police in full riot gear have appeared at the Yes offices to arrest anyone who touched a newspaper? Wouldn’t that have looked good on the national news? Greensboro police in riot gear shutting down a newspaper. Fortunately for Yes, the Police Department and the citizens of Greensboro, the judicial system is not so easily swayed. What was so dire that the City of Greensboro legal department was asking the courts to take action to keep a newspaper from printing and distributing? Yes was revealing that City Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter was a “confidential informant” for the police. This information could certainly harm Abuzuaiter’s political future, since in some of the circles she runs in police informers are not highly thought of. But it hardly rises to the level of endangering national security. What both Shah-Khan and Police Chief Ken Miller said is that they didn’t know what was in the Yes article by Eric Ginsberg and were not sure how many confidential police documents he had received, but since they thought it could be bad they decided to try to legally stop the presses. Shah-Khan said, “I stand by that decision. It was my call.” He added that with the information they had at the time, “We made the decision that we thought was appropriate.” Shah-Khan said it was during the process of applying for the restraining order that they found out that Yes had already been printed. Yes, of course, never should have had the information that Abuzuaiter was a police confidential informant. But the incredible incompetence of the city’s communications department is responsible for handing over confidential police files to a newspaper. The communications department has no director because it reports directly to City Manager Denise Roth, who began her career with the city running that department. More bad news is that Roth is responsible for developing the protocols used to fill public records requests, which is the system that broke down and resulted in Yes receiving confidential police intelligence information. Both the Police and the Information Technology departments have to accept a share of the blame because confidential police files do not belong in a database that is accessible to the communications department. The people in the communications department have no more right to see confidential police files than Yes. But in this case first the communications department had the files, but evidently no
one in that department took the time to look at them, or if someone did, whoever read them for some reason thought it was standard procedure to release confidential police files to the public. Shah-Khan said, “Unfortunately some of the vetting that normally takes place did not.” A few years ago, during the reign of former City Manager Mitch Johnson, who was fired at 9:27 p.m. on March 3, 2009, the response to every public records request had to be vetted by the city attorney’s office. This, as you might imagine, held up simple public records requests for months. It is one of the problems that Roth was hired to fix. Now it appears that nobody in the city is vetting public records requests. In the private sector the employees responsible for this fiasco would have already been fired, but this is city government. So the city did something really inexcusable in releasing confidential police files, then it compounded that error by going to the courts and requesting that the courts suspend freedom of the press so the city would not be embarrassed – something the courts would not do even when the security of the nation was at risk. But it is unlikely that anyone will be fired, demoted or even reprimanded because government jobs are jobs for life. It is all being blamed on “the system.” There is no doubt that a system where regular city employees have access to confidential police files is messed up. But the people who work with these records should know that there is confidential information in the same database and should not hand out confidential information to just anyone that makes a public records request. One of the points court cases time and time again make about prior restraint of the press is that if it is done it can only be done in cases where there is no other alternative. In this case, both the City of Greensboro and Yes have telephones. Instead of going to a judge and asking for extremely unlikely legal action, someone at city hall – Shah-Khan, Clark, Roth or Miller – could have picked up the telephone and called Yes. The number is actually in the telephone book. And if none of those folks have the telephone numbers of anyone at Yes, councilmembers do. A simple telephone call could have prevented the city from taking embarrassing and essentially worthless legal action. The folks at Yes reportedly did not even find out about the attempt to stop it from printing and distributing their papers until the next day. The article by Ginsberg that caused all of this uproar is not that groundbreaking to anyone who is familiar with some basic police procedures. Evidently some people are shocked to find that the Police Department has groups, such as Occupy Greensboro, under surveillance. It is standard for police to keep an eye on individuals or groups that they suspect may
be involved in breaking the law or who may need police protection from others because of their political beliefs. At every City Council meeting there is a plainclothes police officer from the unit that keeps groups under surveillance. The implication of the Yes article is that behavior like this by the police is somehow threatening. Police keep an eye on groups that they think might cause problems all over the country, but in Greensboro they are probably a little more vigilant than in other places because Greensboro had a famous shootout in 1979 between two such groups – the communists and a Klan-Nazi group. Despite what you may read elsewhere, historical evidence proves that it was a shootout. Both sides were armed and shots were fired by both sides. But if the police had been there on site, instead of several blocks away where the march was supposed to take place, the bloodshed would likely have been prevented. The shootout was a lot of things, and one of those was a major failure of the Police Department. That was over 30 years ago, but it would be surprising if Greensboro did not pay more attention to surveillance of dissident groups than other cities. When asked what she thought about being outed as a confidential police informant, Abuzuaiter said, “I’m flabbergasted.”
She said she had never considered herself a confidential informant, but added, “Have I ever called the police confidentially, yes.” She gave the example of being at a candlelight peace vigil when a van pulled up and people in the van started throwing bottles at the group, so she called the police. She said that anytime she was in a group that had a peaceful right to gather and it appeared they might have problems, “Darn tootin’ I called somebody.” She said she often provided information to the police about groups that demonstrated, which she was involved with. Abuzuaiter said sometimes she called the police because she thought it was her civic duty to let the police know what was happening. The article also mentions that I provided the city with a press release about a Spirit of the Sit-in Movement event. I forwarded the press release to someone at city hall. As I remember it, I called the city to find out what they were going to do about this rally and discovered they didn’t know about it, so I sent them the press release. The article does make is sound like I was working with the city, but if I was going to be a police informant I would insist on being paid. I’ve seen in the movies what happens to informants if they get caught.
Better (Continued from page 10) In 2012, 62 percent of schools were passing and 38 percent were failing, and some of the still-failing schools had improved their performance composites by double-digit percentages. On Thursday, Green said, “Guilford County Schools is excellent” – an exaggeration, but a majority of Guilford County schools are now passing The Rhino Performance Test for the first time since state testing began. Green’s 2016 strategic plan rolled out a new series of academic and non-academic goals. Green broke down his goals into four areas: personalized learning; character, service and safety; parents, family and community; and educator and organizational excellence. He said, “I will tell you that this plan is ambitious” – the same words he used in 2009. Under personalized learning, Green listed a large-scale rollout of tablet computing and other instructional technology, accelerating reform of lower-performing schools, more online classes and a summer arts institute. Guilford County Schools plans to use part of a federal Race to the Top grant to provide tablet computers for 17,000 Guilford County middle school students, and Green said the school system plans to eventually issue them to all students.
Under character, service and safety, Green’s plans includes increasing character development opportunities for students during non-school hours, more recognition of students and staff members who demonstrate excellence in character development, improving the social and emotional well-being of students and improved disaster response. Under parents, family and community, Green includes increasing opportunities for students to serve in the community, something that has already been a focus of his administration; expanding digital and broadcast material for parents; and expanding the Parent Academy, a unit that provides classes to parents. Green defined educator and organizational excellence as applying business practices to increase efficiency, improve performance and strengthen accountability in the school system. Green used the State of Our Schools event to announce a $1 million donation from The Ellison Foundation to support the Advantage Model Middle School, which will open in August at Welborn Academy of Science and Technology because of a delay in construction at Allen Jay Middle School. He also announced that the school system had met its $1 million fundraising goal for the STEM Early College at NC A&T State University.
Rumors (Continued from page 46) Greensboro Coliseum this week, and it used to be in the days before everyone got so concerned about being sued, Ringling Brothers would get local celebrities to ride the elephants. Both Jerry Bledsoe and Dusty Dunn rode elephants to the Coliseum, and both agree that it was one of the more uncomfortable rides of their lives. Jerry said it was like riding on a steel brush because their hair is so course. Dusty, a former Special Forces paratrooper, has a fear of heights, so he had his own set of worries. Monday night it would have been really cold up on top of an elephant. --The Rhino Times is holding a drawing for tickets and free VIP parking for the Rascal Flatts concert at the Greensboro Coliseum on Friday, Feb. 15. To enter, go to our website rhinotimes. com and click on “Enter to Win Free Tickets” and follow the instructions. --The News & Record, which was bought by Warren Buffett last week, set some kind of industry record for the worst misspelling mistake possible. Misspelling any word is embarrassing – we’ve done it enough to
Thursday, February 7, 2013
know. Misspelling a word on the front page is worse, and misspelling a word in a front page headline above the fold is usually the worst. But what raises the bar to a new level of embarrassment is that last week, when the News & Record announced that Warren Buffett had bought the paper, they misspelled Buffett in the headline on the front page above the fold. The News & Record proclaimed that someone named “Buffet” had bought the paper. To misspell the name of the new owner in a headline on the front page raises that mistake to legendary status. ---
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
Letters (Continued from page 45) or if they could tell who assaulted him. He was told to wait until the man is able to tell them anything on his own. He is in ICU with tubes out his head and fractures to his face. I don’t think he will be talking to anyone any time soon. Maybe that is what they want. Maybe he could identify them and the police would not like the outcome. Maybe it might just be a white man beaten by other white men or just maybe it could have been blacks and that would cause an issue, so let’s hide that so as not to cause any uproar. If it were the mayor or someone
prominent in the community, the police would be all over this. But because he was just a common person they don’t want to bother. He was not a transient, he was a friend. He had people that loved him and cared about him. He was in town to do what he had to do and would have been going back to Randolph County if this didn’t happen. Now he just doesn’t matter enough to find out who did this. Maybe it will be someone you know next time. They are still out there. The man was Wayne Ruden. He was from Randolph County. He was our friend. Debra McCusker
Under (Continued from next page) his shoulder, all make the photo look less than 100 percent untouched.
,,, I agree with much of what Congresswoman Michele Bachmann stands for, but some of her statements have kept me from becoming a true believer. However, I did get on her email list as “Yon,” something that I find moderately amusing or annoying depending on my mood. But she recently sent out an email that implied Reps. Howard Coble and Virginia Foxx and Sen. Richard Burr were not strong conservatives. I disagree with that characterization and attempted to send her an email telling her that she had it wrong.
Of course, you can’t respond to Bachmann’s email address because then she would hear back from people like me, and she doesn’t want to do that. She just wants our money. I tried the “contact us” menu and all I got was a snail mail address. So I unsubscribed from her email list. I hope Bachmann has “Google alert” and someone in her office reads this, because she has lost one possible supporter. Not just because of what was in her email but because she obviously doesn’t care what anyone she contacts has to say. We will continue to support the same causes, but Bachmann, who no doubt is plotting her next run for the White House, will have to work really hard to get my support.
The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro
President Barack Hussein Obama has evidently fired a shotgun, but we all know that he doesn’t “shoot skeet all the time.” At least Obama didn’t say that after he shot the skeet he cleaned it and Michelle cooked it for a healthy family dinner. But he did say, “We do skeet shooting all the time.” Can you imagine if he had said, “We do basketball shooting all the time.” Or “We do golf ball hitting all the time.” People shoot skeet, they don’t “do skeet shooting.” But the mainstream media just accepts whatever comes out of Obama’s mouth as the gospel. Obama keeps talking about country people who grew up hunting and says they have a right to be able to continue that tradition, as if the US Constitution said, “Because people like to hunt, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That is not what the Constitution says. The Second Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Second Amendment is not about hunting or target shooting, it is about individuals having the right to bear arms to protect themselves from people who don’t want them to live in a “free State.” It is so that “the people” can protect themselves from the government. The idea that this right has not been infringed is pretty silly, but the Second Amendment should not be infringed anymore. If Obama and the liberals think that the Second Amendment is outdated, there is a process to change it. When it turned out prohibition didn’t work the president didn’t issue executive orders allowing certain people to drink alcohol at certain times, nor did he issue an executive order making martinis legal but keeping beer illegal. Instead Congress acted responsibly and the 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment. Let Obama start the process to repeal the Second Amendment if he thinks it needs to be done. And we’ll see how that works for him.
,,, Insane people are going into places where they can be relatively certain that no one else has guns and shooting people. In the case of Newtown, Adam Lanza went into an elementary school and killed children, which tears at everyone’s heart. But if the problem is that some insane or evil people are shooting others in places where guns are outlawed, is the solution to outlaw more guns? Lanza stole those guns from his mother, whom he killed. Is it possible to stop insane people from killing responsible gun owners and stealing their guns? The Obama response to the shooting at Newtown is despicable, because it is
Thursday, February 7, 2013
simply political. The kids were killed with a rifle that looks like, but is not, an assault rifle. So the response from our president, who is supposed to be smart, is to ban rifles that look like assault rifles. Does Obama really believe that if the gun Lanza had stolen from his mother had had a wooden stock instead of a plastic one that he would not have shot anyone? Would it have really saved lives if the gun had not had a flash suppressor? Are we supposed to believe that if he had had to put in a new magazine more often he would have just given up and gone home without killing anyone? He reloaded several times as it was, so slipping in a few more magazines would not appear to have been a problem for him. He could have killed just as many people with a rifle that looked more like a traditional hunting rifle. Obama is not asking Congress to outlaw guns that operate like the one used in Newtown, but just guns that look like the one used at Newtown. Are the American people going to fall for that level of absurdity? A better way to keep insane people from killing others is to have a place for insane people to go where they can be kept safe and others can be protected from them. According to the reports on his behavior, Lanza needed to be somewhere he could be treated. But in the US we have decided that it is wrong to provide care and treatment for the severely mentally ill. If you spend any time length of time with the homeless you know that many of them could benefit from someone taking care of them. They are homeless because they can’t deal with society, and society won’t help them except to give them blankets so they won’t freeze to death while they sleep on our streets. It is ever so interesting to me that when I was a child dogs roamed free and the mentally ill were locked up for their own good. Today dogs are locked up for their own good and the mentally ill are allowed to roam free. One of the big reasons given for locking up dogs was to protect them. It is a strange society that cares more about the welfare of dogs than people.
,,, It is incredible the amount of power that the liberals give to the Republicans in the House of Representatives. A recent editorial in The New York Times blames the Republicans for the “sequester.” I agree that the sequester is a stupid idea, but the Republicans control the House. The Democrats control the Senate and the White House. According to the august editors at The New York Times, “the sequester, instigated by the 2011 Republicans rampage against government,” is going to cost the country one million jobs. In 2011 the Senate was controlled by the Democrats and Obama was president, so how in the world did the Republican majority in the House run over both of
those institutions with their rampage? The sequester, despite what The New York Times is preaching, was an incredibly stupid bipartisan deal. It was an idea that only the Stupid Party could devise, but even the Stupid Party couldn’t put it in place without the support of the Democrats and the president. The Republicans in the House can’t do much of anything except adjourn without the support of the Democrats in the Senate and the president, because the Republicans certainly don’t have a veto-proof majority in the House. And it wouldn’t matter if they did because the Democrats have a majority in the Senate.
,,, Hillary Clinton will be known for traveling nearly a million miles while serving as secretary of state. Is that really an accomplishment? According to The New York Times, which worships Clinton, her claim to fame will be the million miles and the fact that she opened relations with Burma, an incredibly repressive state. But Clinton not only went there herself, she got Obama to travel to Burma, or Myanmar as it prefers to be called. The ruling junta, according to the United Nations, is a consistent and systematic human rights violator that is responsible for genocide, the use of child soldiers, systematic rape, child labor and human trafficking, and there is no freedom of speech. So Clinton raised the standing of this outlaw country in the eyes of the world by having the president of the United States visit. But even after Obama’s visit it’s the same rulers doing the same things. Some people think that Obama, just by walking through a country, can make it better, but it just hasn’t worked out that way. Obama will visit Burma but not Israel, which is certainly interesting. Clinton sent a message to brutal dictators all over the world that they don’t have to reform their ways to get on the good side of the Unites States, they just have to do what? What did Burma do to get this special treatment from the US? It seems that Clinton realized that she could not endlessly fly all over the world and pretend that Washington didn’t exist, so she found a country to take on as a project, and it just happened to be a country just about as far away from Washington, DC, as you can get. It would appear that one reason Clinton logged all those miles is that she simply didn’t want to be in Washington. The secretary of state is a member of the Cabinet, and in most administrations is expected to spend some time in Washington to attend Cabinet meetings and testify before Congress about ambassadors being killed, advise the president about foreign affairs and all of that mundane stuff. Clinton found a great way around all of that. She just got on her government plane
By John Hammer and flew somewhere, anywhere. One of her aids said that on all those flights she took as secretary of state, Clinton spent a lot of time sleeping. So Clinton likes to sleep on planes. It reminds me of when I was traveling around Europe with a Eurail pass. At night, if I didn’t have anywhere to sleep, I’d just get on a train that wasn’t crowded, take a compartment, fold the seats down and sleep for three or four hours. Get off the train and catch the next one going back and do the same thing. You can get great sleep on a train. It sounds like Clinton did a similar thing. When Washington was too hot to handle she just got on her government-provided plane and, while the pilots flew her somewhere, she slept. I wonder how often she woke up and asked where they were and what she was supposed to do. Northern Africa and the Middle East are certainly in more turmoil, and there are more factions fighting then when she arrived in office. She didn’t solve any of the Congo’s problems. In fact, other than opening the door to Burma, even The New York Times had trouble finding any accomplishments, other than logging a million miles, much of it sound asleep. One other accomplishment, and I’m going out on a limb here but I feel certain the research will back me up: Clinton had more different hair styles while in office than any previous secretary of state going back to Thomas Jefferson, the country’s first. Having written that I’ll probably find that some secretary of state had 30 wigs he used to wear interchangeably.
,,, The amazing thing about the photo of Obama shooting a shotgun is not that the White House managed to find a photo of Obama shooting a gun, but that this country elected a man who many thought had never in his life shot a gun. One of the jobs of the president is commander in chief of the armed forces. The US armed forces has guns you can crawl inside. It is all about guns and how to get a bunch of men and guns to the right place at the right time. The idea that their commander would have never shot a gun is incredible. It would be like finding out that a NASCAR crew chief had never driven a car. Or that a Super Bowl football coach had never once in his life actually thrown a football. It would be unheard of. But in this country it appeared that we might have elected a commander in chief who had never fired a gun. It turns out he may not have fired a gun before he was elected, but we know that he has fired one now, or at the very least held one in his arms while they took his picture. The smoke, the angle of the gun, they way he is holding it against (Continued on previous page)
Thursday, February 7, 2013
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