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The Rhinoceros Times


Vol. XXIII No. 9

© Copyright 2013 The Rhinoceros Times

Greensboro, North Carolina

Thursday, February 28, 2013

School Staffers Suggest Felons by paul C. clark Staff Writer

Photo by Sandy Groover

The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department hosted the 12th annual Polar Plunge at Wet ’n Wild Emerald Pointe on Saturday. These women were obviously on their way to a beauty pageant and decided to stop in for a swim and to help raise money for Special Olympics. More photos pages 14 and 28

Council Shows DGI Who’s Boss by john hammer editor

It looks like it is only a matter of time before Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) President Ed Wolverton is gone. No doubt he will resign “to spend more time with his family,” but make no mistake about it, the pressure for him to resign is

coming from the Greensboro City Council. The DGI Executive Board was reportedly told last week that Wolverton had to go if DGI was to continue to receive the same level of funding from the city. Mayor Robbie Perkins, City Councilmember Nancy Vaughan, City Manager Denise Roth and

Moochers Lose Prime Parking by Scott D. Yost county editor

The new Guilford County Board of Commissioners has been in charge for about three months now and, at a recent work session, the board had what was easily its most heated and intense discussion so far. That discussion wasn’t about how to deal with the county’s massive debt, the amount of school funding to provide, or whether to hand out controversial

economic incentives packages to rich businesses – instead, the topic that created the impressive amount of energy was a proposal to take the signs with the commissioners’ names off of their parking spaces in the county-owned lot under the Old Guilford County Court House. It’s important to note that the proposal, which passed 6 to 3 after much debate, was not a motion to take the commissioners’ parking (Continued on page 29)

Assistant City Manager David Parrish attended the closed-door meeting of the DGI board on Thursday, Feb. 21. Shortly after

Perkins and company arrived, Wolverton and his staff were (Continued on page 33)

Guilford County Schools staff this week recommended that the school board hire a construction company, Lend Lease Project Management and Construction, which, according to federal prosecutors, last year admitted to committing felony fraud in New York. The committee rejected the staff suggestion that it include Lend Lease in its list of recommendations to the school board at its Thursday, Feb. 28 meeting. On Feb. 28, the Architect Selection Committee will recommend that the school board select one of four companies to manage the construction of the $25 million George Simkins (Continued on page 27)

Rhino Rumors From staff and wire reports

On Friday, March 1, the Natural Science Center of Greensboro will be no more, because on Friday the Natural Science Center will announce its new name, and reveal its new logo, (Continued on page 26)

Inside this issue

High Point News............ 8 Entertainment Guide.....11 Uncle Orson Reviews... 12 Yost Column................ 13 Rhino Real Estate........ 15 Letters to the Editor..... 23 Puzzles............ 10, 24, 26 Editorial Cartoon.......... 34 under the hammer....... 35

Photo by Sandy Groover

The Atlantic Coast Conference Swimming and Diving Championships are being held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center and will finish up Saturday, March 2. This is a participant in the men’s diving preliminary round on Saturday.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Walt Cockerham Kept County In Line by john hammer editor

Walt Cockerham. Just typing those words causes a host of stories to come rushing into my head. Unfortunately the reason I’m typing them is that after a short illness Walt Cockerham died on Feb. 22. Walt had always been involved in politics and was a Greensboro City councilmember from 1967 to 1969 a North Carolina state senator from 1978-1982 and a Guilford County commissioner from 1996 to 2000. Since November I have found myself talking about Walt a lot, because in November the Republicans won a majority on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners for the first time since Cockerham was part of the group that took charge in 1996. People ask me about how things should be done, and invariably I find myself saying, “The last time the Republicans had control, what Walt Cockerham did was …” The last time the Republicans took over – although not many people seemed to know it – Cockerham ran the county. Joe Bostic, who was a commissioner from 1992 to 1998, was the chairman in 1997 and 1998, but Bostic had a construction company that was growing by leaps and bounds and didn’t have time to be down at the Old Guilford County Court House every day. Cockerham was mostly retired from Cockerham Construction Co., and he did have the time to be there every day and he was. Cockerham was Bostic’s vice chairman, and he and Bostic worked it all out together, which meant Cockerham took care of the day-to-day grunt work and Bostic presided at meetings. The two were good friends or it never would have worked, and not many men would have put in the work that Cockerham did without the title. But Cockerham never seemed to mind. He was living the saying that you can get a lot of work done if you don’t worry about who gets credit. So for those two years, county government was to a large degree run out of Danny’s soda shop, which was then on the first floor of the Old Guilford County Court House. Cockerham would be in there at lunch – with his insulated lunch bag and whatever his wife, Rita, had packed him – holding court. Several days a week he would have lunch with then newly elected Commissioners Mary Rakestraw and Phyllis Gibbs. It was no accident that the Republicans got as much done in two years as they did because Cockerham put in the time, not only to run the county but also to keep his fellow Republicans on the same page. Roger Cotten, who the Republicans had promoted to county manager despite the fact that he was a lifelong Democrat, was frequently at the table. So it wasn’t uncommon to walk in this little lunch counter and have the vice chairman, two commissioners and the county manager sitting around telling stories but also getting some work done. I used to tell people that if they had a problem with Guilford County government they just needed to go hang out at Danny’s and, whatever it was, they could get it settled in no time, because one thing Cockerham had no trouble doing was making up his mind and then taking action. Everybody that knew Walt has stories about him. I often tell one about when he came to my office to tell me that he had decided to run for Guilford County commissioner. At that point Walt had been out of elective office for over 10 years, so I asked him why he would want to get back in. And as so often with Walt I received an answer that was startling in its honesty. Walt said, “It’s ego. It’s all about ego.” I remind myself of (Continued on page 10)

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Three Manager Candidates Look Good by Scott D. Yost county editor

On the surface it might not look like there’s much going on in the search for a Guilford County manager; however, behind the scenes there’s a whirlwind of activity. The nine commissioners are in talks to try and arrive at a unanimous choice for county manager out of the three remaining contenders. Some commissioners say two front-runners have emerged in their minds – but they add no decision has been made by the board to narrow the search to those two. Two hundred miles northeast of Guilford County, at the Richmond office of Springsted Inc. – the search firm hired by Guilford County to help find a new manager – search consultants are digging deep into the background of one candidate at the request of the commissioners. Sources say the commissioners find that candidate attractive. However, there’s an incident in his past that the commissioners want to make certain they understand entirely, and are completely comfortable with, before moving ahead in the selection process. Four finalists for the position came to Greensboro for in-person interviews at the Sheraton at Four Seasons on Monday, Feb. 18. All four were males who looked middle-aged. Three of the candidates were

white and one was black. Three of the four candidates who came in for interviews are from North Carolina, while one is from a neighboring state. The Rhinoceros Times has reason to believe that one of the four is currently working as a consultant – though his experience is in local government administration and he clearly is seeking to get back into it. The other candidates are currently working for local governments. By all accounts, those in-person interviews on Feb. 18 took one finalist completely out of the running. According to a source familiar with the search, of the two candidates that seem to be the favorites, one works for a local government that’s “comparable to Guilford County, if not larger,” while the other works for a smaller local government. Guilford County is North Carolinas third largest county – only Mecklenburg and Wake Counties are bigger in this state. Several commissioners said that, after the in-person interviews, the board had requested more information from Springsted. One source said that one of the finalists, liked by several commissioners, had “an incident in his past” that was something the candidate went over thoroughly in the interviews. That incident is something that the board requested more information about last week. The source said that

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some commissioners felt the board was so focused on examining that incident that they were beating the issue to death. If that candidate is selected as the next Guilford County manager, the source said, it is something that “is going to come out” and will definitely be discussed by the media and county citizens. However, that candidate has reportedly been very upfront with the board regarding the matter and has answered questions about it. Also, he was vetted by a background and ethics check conducted by the search firm before his name was offered to the commissioners as a possibility. When John Anzivino, a senior vice president of Springsted, presented the commissioners with a booklet that contained the resumes of 16 applicants in early January, he told the board that those 16 had been vetted. He told the commissioners at that time that his firm had weeded out candidates who didn’t meet the qualifications or had committed

questionable ethics violations. One commissioner said that more thorough checks of the top contenders were necessary as the commissioners got closer to a final selection. Some commissioners said the search was also now at the point where the board will begin narrowing down the salary expectations of the candidates. That may be something else Springsted is bringing back to the commissioners. One commissioner said a candidate might take himself out of the running by asking for much more than the commissioners were willing to pay. However, the candidates know roughly what Guilford County pays its managers and presumably they would not have applied for the job if they weren’t willing to work within that range. There’s no indication when the search firm will bring the requested information back to the board. However, Commissioner Hank Henning said this week that the (Continued on page 28)

Honoring Perdue by Scott D. Yost county editor

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, Feb. 21 was very short – barely over an hour – but the commissioners managed to cram a lot of love into that time for retiring Emergency Services Director Alan Perdue. Perdue became a volunteer junior firefighter at 16 while a student at Southern Guilford High School and began working for Guilford County full-time when he was 18 in March of 1979. Now in his early 50s, he’s stepping down as Emergency Services director on Thursday, Feb. 28 – which meant that the Feb. 21 county commissioners meeting was Perdue’s last. Perdue said after the meeting that one interesting thing about his retirement is that his best friend since seventh grade, Kendall McCarter, became a junior firefighter with him at the Pinecroft-Sedgefield Fire Department and went to work there fulltime at the same time Perdue did. Like Perdue, McCarter rose through the ranks and is now the fire chief at that station and he is also retiring on Feb. 28, also with 34 years of experience. Perdue was at the meeting to discuss a proposed fire protection contract for Guilford County, but much of the discussion consisted of commissioners saying how much they’ll miss having Perdue oversee the county’s safety. At the meeting, Perdue had some kind words for the commissioners in return. “I’d like to thank each of you,” Perdue said. He thanked his staff and others in Guilford County government as well. “Most importantly, I’d like to thank the

public for allowing me to serve as their Emergency Services director,” Perdue said. He also said there are a lot of people “who bust their tail” in his department to keep county residents safe. After Perdue gave his parting words, Board of Commissioners Chairman Linda Shaw said she had personal knowledge of how well Perdue and his staff perform. Shaw said that her husband, Bob Shaw, died last year, and she said there were several occasions when she picked up the phone to call 911 on her husband’s behalf. Shaw said her husband instructed her not to call 911 but to call Perdue personally. “I just can’t brag enough about our EMS employees,” Shaw said. She also said Perdue was an excellent role model for others in the county. “We all love you,” Shaw said. Other commissioners also praised Perdue and his service to the county. Commissioner Bruce Davis said Guilford County has the best emergency department in the world, and Commissioner Bill Bencini told Perdue, “You don’t look old enough to retire.” The new commissioners who have only been on the board for a few months, said that, even though they haven’t worked with Perdue for very long, they also think very highly of him. Perdue wasn’t just at the meeting to accept and hand out compliments though. For over a year, Guilford County and the fire stations the county contracts with have been in talks to create a standard contract that applies to the more than 20 independent (Continued on page 24)

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, February 28, 2013

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

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The Guilford County Board of Education is expected to consider, in closed session on Thursday, Feb. 28, buying one of two properties as a new home for The Academy at Central. One of the buildings is the old Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Catholic School on the southwest corner of the intersection of Montlieu Avenue and North Centennial Street; the other is a building owned by High Point Regional Hospital – most likely Building A of the High Point Medical Center at 624 Quaker Lane. The school board has been looking for a new home for The Academy at Central at least since Nov. 28, 2012, when High Point Central supporters packing a large community forum forcefully called on Guilford County Schools to cancel its plan to build a $72 high school in western Guilford County. The High Point Central supporters asked the school board to use some of that money for badly needed repairs at Central. They also asked the school board to return the Tomlinson building, which now houses

the academy, to High Point Central for classroom space. The Rhino Times reported in December that the old IHM Catholic School building, which is on the market for $2.1 million, was being considered as a new site for The Academy at Central. But a Guilford County Schools administrator this week said the school board would, on Thursday, also consider buying a building from High Point Regional Hospital. High Point Regional Hospital uses the buildings on its main property. That makes it likely that the building under consideration is in the block west of the hospital. The hospital bought most of that block from High Point Bank and Trust Co. in September 2010. The block, bordered by Quaker Lane, North Lindsay Street, Boulevard Street and Council Street, contains numerous buildings that were, for decades, the go-to place for people needing medical specialists in High Point. High Point Bank took over most of the buildings from High Point Medical Center Inc. in recent years, because of unpaid (Continued on page 8)

Schools offer options Every now and then you run into something in education that draws your attention from the public school universe. In Greensboro, one example is Noble Academy, a 25-year-old private school for students with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. Greensboro is already a mecca for families of students with learning disabilities. Guilford County Schools has two well-regarded schools for students with severe disabilities – Gateway Education Center in Greensboro and the Meredith Leigh Haynes-Bennie Lee Inman Education Center in Jamestown. Families move from long distances to get their children into those two public schools. But Gateway and Haynes-Inman accept a very specialized category of students. Haynes-Inman, for example, accepts 100 students from preschool to age 22 with what the school describes as “severe to profound cognitive and/or physical disabilities.” Noble Academy serves a different and wider range of students, and has more traditional academic goals. “A place like Gateway serves students with pretty severe and profound disabilities,” said Jennifer Aceves, the head of the Upper Division at Noble Academy. “Our students have average to above average intelligence. Another environment might not be tailored to how they learn, so they might not do well there.” Schools like Noble Academy, Gateway

or Haynes-Inman provide accommodations and modifications to allow students to succeed. Intersetingly enough, public schools are increasingly learning from private schools and charter schools, which are public schools that are taxpayer supported but out from under local school board control. One of Guilford County School Superintendent Mo Green’s signature programs in public schools is character education – teaching appropriate behavior as well as academics. At many private and charter schools, character education isn’t novel. “All students, parents, faculty, and staff are responsible for supporting and encouraging respect for self, others, and property,” Noble Academy states on its website. Schools such as Gateway, Haynes-Inman and Noble Academy provide something that the average school can’t – an environment in which a student with a learning disability doesn’t feel different. “A student who comes here, who, in another environment, might feel that they are learning differently or might have difficulty paying attention, when they come here they don’t feel different any more,” Aceves said. “They might each be here for a different reason, but they are very accepting of each other, and they learn that it’s OK not to learn the same way as the kid sitting next to you.”

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, February 28, 2013

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Club Ordinance Allows For Two Crimes By Alex Jakubsen Staff Writer

Two strikes and you’re out according to the Entertainment Ordinance Committee of the Greensboro City Council, which met Monday, Feb. 25 at city hall. The Entertainment Ordinance Committee of the Greensboro City Council recommended new regulations for nightclubs and other late night entertainment venues. But the proposed ordinance would only apply to facilities that have two or more “serious violent crimes” within a year. According to Greensboro Police Chief Ken Miller, serious violent crimes include murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault. The Entertainment Facility Use Ordinance would require venues that serve alcohol and provide live entertainment after 9 p.m. with an occupancy of 150 or more to staff a minimum number of trained security officers for events based on crowd size and have a written security plan. Facilities that have live entertainment after 9 p.m. for people under 21 are included regardless of whether or not alcohol is served. Strip clubs could fall under the ordinance regardless of occupancy. The ordinance the committee was considering last year would have applied to all entertainment facilities that met the alcohol and occupancy requirements, regardless of how many crimes they

have. Club owners and patrons criticized the ordinance for unfairly targeting all nightclubs in response to the problems of a few. At Monday’s meeting Miller presented the option of an incident threshold as a compromise. Under that version of the ordinance, when the Police Department reports that a facility has had two or more serious violent crimes in a year, its privilege license would

spending money, thus everybody’s happy,” Matheny said. Miller also said the council could enact no new legislation and continue to address problem facilities through nuisance abatement and Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) laws. However, Miller said that proving an establishment is a public nuisance is a high burden for the city and so nuisance (Continued on page 10)

Music Hall Pledges Questioned By Alex Jakubsen Staff Writer

The funding gap for the proposed $60.5 million Greensboro Performing Arts Center (GPAC) may be larger than the GPAC Task Force and Greensboro city staff have indicated. The proposed funding model for the center is $20 million from private sector donations and $20 million from the city. The city’s portion would consist of a $10 million bond to be paid for with user fees associated with GPAC parking and ticket sales and a $10 million bond to be paid for with the city’s portion of Guilford County’s hotel-motel tax, which has to be approved by the Guilford County Board of


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be revoked by the city until the facility complies with the requirements of the ordinance. The requirements would be lifted after two years of compliance. Councilmember Zack Matheny, chair of the committee, called the twocrime threshold proposal a “tremendous compromise” and said he thought it would benefit the city as well as club owners. “The safer people feel, the more inclined they are to come visit locations, thus

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Commissioners. The Greensboro City Council approved its portion of the funding at its Feb. 19 meeting, contingent upon the task force also contributing $20 million. Even with $20 million from the private sector that would still leave $20.5 million with no identified funding sources. Although Louise Brady, co-chair of the GPAC Task Force, has suggested seeking state and federal grant funds to fill the gap, there were no concrete plans of any kind at the Feb. 19 meeting, where city staff gave an overview of the GPAC financing options and operating model. According to Councilmember Zack

Matheny, who sat on the task force Finance Options Committee, the task force claimed to have $20 million in verbal commitments from the private sector. During the task force presentation to the City Council at its Dec. 4 meeting, Brady said “$20 million will come from private sources, for which we will provide satisfactory guarantees,” which the task force has yet to do. Despite the fact that the city has now committed $20 million to the project, the task force has yet to solidify the private donations or reveal who has pledged the money. However, last week task force (Continued on page 34)

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Thursday, February 28, 2013






The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro HIGH POINT



High Point Looks To Difficult Budget Year by paul C. clark Staff Writer

High Point’s 2013-2014 budget season has the potential to be one of the most difficult and contentious the City Council and City Manager Strib Boynton have had in years. For years, former High Point Mayor Becky Smothers held together a majority that generally supported Boynton. City councilmembers may have kicked at new fees or taxes, or questioned certain expenditures, but they basically trusted Boynton to run the shop. This year, Boynton faces a largely new City Council. Four brand new councilmembers were elected in November 2012, and a fifth, former Mayor and Ward 3 Councilmember Judy Mendenhall, had been off the City Council since before Boynton was hired. And some of those new faces campaigned on cutting city spending. Early in the City Council’s first budget meeting of the season on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, Smothers, now an atlarge councilmember, turned to Boynton and asked whether any of the revenue projections being presented to the councilmembers were “soft” – that is, were money that might turn out not to exist. Boynton said many of the state and county funding figures were – and that, in a worst-case scenario, High Point could wind up with $12 million less in its general fund in 2013-2014 because of cuts in state funding and reduced funding from the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. Boynton and High Point Budget Officer Eric Olmedo listed as possible funding reductions if the state legislature gets in a mood for municipal funding cuts: $5 million less from the utility franchise tax; $2.9 million less in “Powell bill” street funding; $800,000 from business privilege licenses; $600,000 less from cuts to shared ABC revenue; and $485,000 less from a reduction in the beer and wine tax. Both state Sen. Trudy Wade and state Rep. John Blust said they had heard nothing about such cuts. Boynton said High Point had gotten the information from state Rep. John Faircloth and Boynton said that, if the Guilford County commissioners start looking for places to cut the county budget, High Point could lose $530,000 to pay for High Point police officers serving as school resource officers to be stationed in schools; $385,000 in library funding; and $75,000 in economic development aid. “You need to translate those numbers into what’s really going to happen,” Boynton said. “Now, I don’t think all of these things are going to happen. But as the General Assembly tries to balance the budget, they have a gap to fill. And if they go after the revenue they share with cities, we have $12 million at risk.” Boynton said he was just letting the new

members of the council know that they don’t control much of their funding. The budget presentation was made by Olmedo, with kibitzing from Boynton. Olmedo said that he, too, expects revenue reductions from the state. He said, “As we heard from Rep. Faircloth, anything is on the table.” “Basically, everything, in my opinion is, on the table,” he said. “It sounds like Strib is taking the worst-case scenario. I think he’s right about that, if everything went that way, but I doubt it will go that far.” Boynton did not present his proposed budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The briefing was primarily to update the new councilmembers on High Point’s recent financial history, and the old ones on upcoming funding changes. For the 2012-2013 budget year, the City Council approved a $328 million budget – a million dollars more than Boynton proposed. That budget included a property tax rate increase of 1.3 cents to 67.5 cents per $100 in valuation. Boynton had proposed an increase of 2.36 cents to 68.56 cents. That tax rate increase came after a 2011 Guilford County property tax revaluation,

Hospital (Continued from page 6) mortgage debt, and High Point Regional Hospital bought most of the buildings in the block, many of whose units were empty. A source familiar with the property said that Guilford County Schools expressed an interest in buying Building A several years ago, but no deal was made. That was before the current drive by High Point Central supporters to find a new home for The Academy at Central. If the school board is considering the Quaker Lane building as a new home for The Academy at Central, it is probably because the academy has programs in health sciences and medical computing. A graduate of the academy can be certified as a nursing assistant, or earn Microsoft computing certifications. A new home next door to High Point Regional Hospital and the remaining medical practices in the High Point Medical Center complex makes sense as a location for those programs. High Point Regional Hospital reportedly bought the High Point Medical Center complex as much to prevent empty units, caused by the center’s shrinking base of medical practices, from turning the block into an eyesore as for a real estate investment. One advantage to Guilford County Schools would be that the hospital might be willing to sell the school system one of the buildings cheap. From a property perspective, Building A, or any of the High Point Medical Center

which reduced the total value of properties in High Point from $9.2 billion to $8.9 billion, so the property tax rate increase did not bring in more money for the High Point city government. High Point took in $61 million in property taxes in the 2011-2012 fiscal year after the tax increase and is projected to take in $59.7 million in property taxes in the 2012-2013 fiscal year. In fiscal terms, the rate increase was revenue neutral. High Point officials estimate that the city will take in $60 million in property taxes during the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Boynton said, “Despite what anyone said, the last council cut 1 cent off the tax rate.” To reconcile the rate increase with Boynton’s statement, you have to understand that the state of North Carolina allows municipalities to increase their tax rates and still call them revenue neutral. It does so by allowing them to include a percentage increase for growth, which in 2012 was 1.57 percent. The 1.57 percent is on top of whatever percentage the city increases taxes to make up for lower property valuations. Boynton and the City Council could

have increased the property tax rate by 2.3 cents plus 1.57 percent and still claimed to have a revenue neutral budget, at least as defined by the state. Instead, Boynton recommended increasing the tax rate by 2.3 cents to 68.5 cents per $100 in valuation (a revenueneutral rate increase that wouldn’t have included the growth factor) and the City Council reduced that increase to the final 67.5 cents, raising $882,226 less in property-tax revenue. The City Council has apparently signaled to Boynton that, even if last year’s rate increase did not generate more money, another rate increase is not politically tenable for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. “The 2013-2014 budget process is underway, and your direction has been to avoid a tax rate increase,” Olmedo’s written presentation ended. “The budget review process may include a review of fees and charges.” Olmedo’s presentation plans for water, sewer and electric rate increases of between 4 and 5 percent. In High Point, when “fees and charges” come up during budget negotiations, they (Continued on page 26)

buildings, makes less sense. The IHM School is already a school, complete with a library, cafeteria, gym and, in the form of the old chapel, an auditorium. A High Point Medical Center building would require substantial renovations to be used as a school. It’s possible that the school board is interested in buying a building in the complex for some purpose other than a home for the academy, but a Guilford County Schools source said the school board isn’t expected to consider land for any other purpose in its Thursday closed session. The IHM Catholic School building is available because IHM Catholic Church is building a new, 400-student school on the same property as its current church building. The new IHM Parish Life and Education Center will be on the church campus at the intersection of Johnson Street and Skeet Club Road. The old IHM Catholic School is across the street from an entrance to High Point University, which has been purchasing properties adjacent to its campus at a record clip. But High Point University President and CEO Nido Qubein has said the university will not bid against Guilford County Schools if it tries to buy the old Catholic school. High Point Central supporters have been pressuring the school board to move the academy, and supporters of the academy have also supported the idea. The academy and High Point Central now have to share

facilities, and the academy doesn’t even have its own building, as Central uses some of the classrooms in the Tomlinson building. The Tomlinson building was originally Tomlinson Elementary School before being merged with Central, first as a ninth grade academy, then as The Academy at Central, a separate school that is not part of High Point Central. At the Guilford County Schools winter retreat on Feb. 2, the Guilford County Schools Facilities Department released a list of 11 proposed school renovations and replacements that would use up $132 million the school board has left over from its $457 million building program. That included $71.5 million left over from the doomed $72 million airport area high school that the school board has voted not to build. The school board had already, in October 2012, voted to spend $21.5 million on maintenance projects with leftover bond money, and has spent most or all of the $12 million that was left over from rebuilding Eastern Guilford High School, which was destroyed by arson in 2006. The Academy at Central was not on the retreat list, but the list did include $23 million for High Point Central, the most proposed to be spent on any of the 11 schools. It is not yet clear whether money to buy a new home for the academy would come out of that $23 million, or from elsewhere in the school’s labyrinthine budget.

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, February 28, 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. I was just reading in The Rhino where county employees thought that The Rhinoceros Times was hurting the county image. I think that the ex-county manager, Brenda Fox, did that pretty well by herself. I don’t think The Rhino needs to take the blame for that. Thank you. %%% Actually I left a couple of messages for you guys, and you’ve never printed them. All I want to say is about the person who is complaining about what Mr. Hammer calls our president, his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, and people still get off on complaining about him calling Hussein. Nobody complained when they called George Walker Bush, W, even though W made him sound like some redneck at the general store. Even though I don’t like either of our presidents, it’s their names. Get over it. People are going to say what they want to say. Thank you. Bye. %%% Any person from the mayor’s office up who looks at those two pictures on the front of the Feb. 14 issue of The Rhino and picks Hardee’s over the Masonic Temple really has a warped mind. The comparison is simply stupid. %%% Editor’s Note: Not only do the folks at city hall pick Hardee’s, Downtown Greensboro Inc. – which is supposed to promote downtown Greensboro – chooses Hardee’s. %%% If Mr. Obama and the State Department truly believe that the security at the Benghazi embassy was adequate, then perhaps the next time he travels to a foreign country he should take one or maybe two Secret Service agents, leave his convoy of bullet-proof cars behind and travel in a Chevy Volt. That should certainly be sufficient to protect any of our important dignitaries in a foreign land. Thank you. %%% Yes, I saw in one of your editions that Ramon Bell wanted to know where Obama was on 9/11/12. Well, I was about to ask him where Bush and his cohorts were when 9/11/01 happened. 2012 happened with the killing of four people. 2001 happened with way over 2,000 people dying. Now, what’s the difference in that? He doesn’t take that into consideration, does he? And I hope he will answer that and tell me just what he thinks about that. Bye. %%% Editor’s Note: President George Walker Bush was reading to schoolchildren in Florida on the morning of 9/11/2001. %%% Just had a brilliant idea that will not only provide a huge benefit to Greensboro, but will also provide The Rhino with the opportunity to possess some class in ethics, morality and intelligence for the first time in its history. Since the News & Record has stopped running outstanding columnists from The New York Times such as Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks and Jona Sera because of financial reasons, The Rhino has the opportunity to show that it’s not just some amateurish, backwards, small-time, unsophisticated right-wing yellow journalism propaganda rag, by running columns by these exceptional thinkers and writers. What a breath of progressive fresh air and intelligent, thoughtful, logical and sensible journalism that would be compared with the inarticulate, poorly researched, poorly written and poorly edited gibberish, unprofessionally dispensed by John Hammer. If there was ever a chance for The Rhino to gain even a shred of legitimacy, this is it. %%% This is the Feb. 14 newspaper I’m referring to. There’s an article in there asking, does anybody know how to stop these confounded constant calls from solicitors. Well, here’s a suggestion. I have stopped a few of them, not all, but I’m working at it. I listened to the entire spiel that they got, and at the end some of them will tell you to press a particular number if you wish to have these calls stopped. I have done it, and they have stopped calling me. Those that I have had with voices that these people try and pronounce your name and (Continued on page 14)

Page 9


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Page 10

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

The New York Times Crossword Puzzle

No. 0224

I SURRENDER By Joe DiPietro / Edited by Will Shortz







6 19


Across 1 D r u m m e r ’s


6 Best-selling author who served as a

nurse in the Civil Wa r

12 Made up 18 Hardens 20 Fever cause 21 Most bass 22 Back down 24 Back down 25 Sinuous swimmer 26 Grub 27 Card game


2 8 S h o w o ff o n e ’s “guns”

29 Some seen in mirrors?

30 Foul mood 31 Floor vote 32 Leaning 33 Humdinger

48 Quarters used in Greenland

1 0 8 S t a ff s

51 Honeyed drink

1 0 9 Wi n g e d

53 Back down

11 0 “ I ’ m _ _ _ y o u ! ”

54 Detour signalers

111 B i g n a m e i n ’ 6 0 s

56 The left, informally 58 Parts of galaxies 60 Siberian city 61 Jacket decoration 64 Handles receptions, say

65 Back down 68 Gather in bundles 72 Joint committee? 73 [How dare you?!] 7 7 Ta l k s w i t h o u t sincerity

7 9 E n v e l o p e a b b r. 80 Like some firs 82 Back down 8 3 Va r i e t y 8 6 P a s c a l ’s l a w 87 Ball partner 88 Downgrade, perhaps

3 8 M r s . M i n i v e r ’s

94 Father of Phobos

husband in “Mrs. Miniver”

40 Scope 42 Sprinkler conduit 43 Back down 46 Run out

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.


5 0 K e g l e r ’s o rg .

36 Bakers’ measures: A b b r.

107 When repeated,

90 Back down 9 5 “ We l c o m e B a c k , Kotter” guy

9 7 L a _ _ _ Ta r P i t s 9 8 Tr e a s u r e s

peace activism

11 2 B a c k d o w n 11 5 B a c k d o w n 11 8 S h e e n , i n S h e ff i e l d 11 9 A d v e n t 120 Like some oil refineries

121 Clearly marks 122 Mark, e.g. 123 Boxer nicknamed “Hands of Stone” Down 1 Tr y t o s h o o t 2 Lays to rest 3 Slick ones? 4 Go wrong 5 F o u r- t i m e b a s e b a l l All-Star Jose

6 I t c h s c r a t c h e r ’s utterance

7 “ I s Yo u r M a m a a

_ _ _ ? ” ( c h i l d r e n ’s book)

8 Capable of seeing in the dark

101 Made one

9 Certain grilling

1 0 2 To u g h s i t u a t i o n

10 One to one, for

103 Company making

arrangements, for short

105 PBS has a big one

Cockerham (Continued from page 2) that every year when I’m interviewing candidates for office. It may have been about ego, but Cockerham was dedicated to doing what he thought was best for Guilford County, and that cost him the 2000 election. Cockerham was convinced that the FedEx hub – which then had a large, wellorganized, vocal opposition – would be good for Guilford County and said so at every opportunity. In the campaign he had lots of opportunities. Cockerham could have hedged and not been so outspoken in favor of a FedEx hub, but that wasn’t Walt. He went ahead full bore telling people exactly what he thought about FedEx and lost the election. However, he did serve for 12 years on the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority Board, and for Cockerham, who was a pilot, that was definitely a labor of love. Cockerham and I got to be good friends, but as in all friendships there were some rough patches. In over 20 years I can’t remember any politician that has ever been as mad at me as Cockerham was after we


1 3 D o s b u t n o t d o n ’t s 14 Mars candy 15 Good name, informally

a comma

1 9 C u t o ff 2 0 W h a t ’s t h e b i g i d e a ? 23 Circus support


27 31


37 43


34 Publishes 35 Slightest complaint 37 Lost, as a tail 39 ___ strip 41 Rounds begin on the


55 61



41 46


58 63


89 95









53 59

67 73

79 84



80 86

81 87








108 114


64 66



















45 Apologues



98 105


44 Ages






117 120 123

4 7 Ya h o o 4 8 Ya h o o ! h a d o n e i n 1 9 9 6 : A b b r.

49 Kind of rat 52 Inside look? 55 Dish out 5 7 A c t r e s s B e rg e r 59 Model material, often

67 Postseason football game played in Mobile, Ala. 6 8 Wo r l d 69 Extreme aversion 70 Author Canetti 7 1 S i l v e r ’s i s 1 0 7 . 8 7 : A b b r.

62 Pressure group?

73 Garnish, possibly


63 Play a flute

74 Keep at awhile

12 Loudly lament

66 Lay to rest

75 Got ___ on (nailed)

11 I t ’s l e f t o n a







65 68









first one

42 Berry of “Perfect




playwright, 1958




32 “The Hostage”




2 8 Ve r t i c a l s t a b i l i z e r

33 Blooming tree







16 Miss ___ 1 7 C o m m o n a b b r. a f t e r


published a political cartoon that poked fun at his comb-over. He towered over me and told me in no uncertain terms that making fun of a man’s hair should be off limits. Now, being considerably less hirsute then I was back then, I can see what he meant. Fortunately, Cockerham forgave me, but he also quietly did away with the comb-over and looked 10 years younger. When I ran a write-in campaign for mayor in 1997, I didn’t have a more enthusiastic campaign worker than Cockerham. It’s one reason he was so popular among Republican candidates: If Cockerham was behind you, he was behind you 100 percent. Everybody has stories about Cockerham and one of the best storytellers I know, Jerry Bledsoe, can tell Cockerham stories that are so funny they will bring tears to your eyes. One of those tales involves a trip Down East that they went on together – when Bledsoe was a reporter covering the Greensboro City Council and Cockerham was a councilmember – in a city owned car. gThe idea of getting in a city-owned vehicle with a councilmember to drive down to eastern North Carolina is so foreign to the

76 Candy since 1927

93 Coarse

108 Paul Bunyan, e.g.

78 Healthy

96 Entrances

109 Do with a pick,

81 Where you gotta go? 8 2 Ta k e a c a r d 84 Actor Silver 85 Frivolous types 89 Demonstrates 91 Be rewarded for good service

92 Quai d’Orsay setting

way things are done today, it boggles my mind and is a good indication of how long Cockerham’s political career was. He was a good man and will be missed,

9 9 P r o c r a s t i n a t o r ’s response 1 0 0 We l c o m e t h r o u g h the door 1 0 2 B a l l e t d a n c e r ’s support 104 A disk can be slipped in one 1 0 6 Wa s a l i t t l e t o o fond


11 2 F r e n c h k e y 11 3 C r a c k p o t 11 4 N . C . A . A . ’s Gamecocks

11 5 N o t k e e p u p 11 6 P r i n c e o f


11 7 N a t i v e o f A u s t r a l i a

not just by his many loved ones, but by Greensboro and Guilford County, where he made a difference.

Two Crimes (Continued from page 7) abatement is not pursued very often. He also said that ABC laws do not include security requirements. Neither does the privilege license law. According to Miller the city currently has no way to make club owners share responsibility for safety at their clubs. “That doesn’t mean that some don’t try and it’s not an indictment of all individuals,” he said. Amiel Rossabi, an attorney representing several nightclubs, said the ordinance was unnecessary and that the city should focus on existing due process like nuisance abatement to address problem clubs. Rossabi questioned whether the city should risk the complications of a new law if there is already due process in place.

“Truly, this doesn’t change anything,” Rossabi said. “Stick with what you have.” Councilmember Jim Kee, also a member of the Entertainment Ordinance Committee, spoke in support of incorporating the twocrime threshold into the ordinance. “It does not target or penalize any particular business,” he said. “It serves to promote business in my opinion.” Matheny and Kee both voted to recommend the ordinance to the City Council for adoption. Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter is also a member of the committee but was absent due to a family emergency. The Greensboro City Council is scheduled to consider the recommended ordinance at its March 19 meeting.

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wine Wednesday

All bottles half price all day.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Uncle Orson Reviews Everything Oscars, Shorts, Frames, Goat and Pig by orson scott card

Oscars, Shorts, Frames, Goat and Pig Seth MacFarlane was, in my opinion, the best Oscar host since Billy Crystal first did the gig. Good-natured and clever, MacFarlane had none of the meanness and ugly stupidity that Ricky Gervais brought to the Golden Globes for three deadly years. Nor did he show the smug condescension of David Letterman, or the doesn’t-heget-this-business missteps of Chris Rock (remember him taunting Jude Law because it happened that three of his movies were released in the same year? Rock seemed not to realize that actors don’t control release dates, and that you don’t make fun of an actor for working.) MacFarlane never took himself seriously – or, for that matter, the film business. His musical number about boob shots was hilarious and dead on – especially when it climaxed with a list of all the movies in which Kate Winslet has flashed us – contrasted with the fact that Jennifer Lawrence has never bared her breasts on camera. MacFarlane reveled in the fact that the show was live; he really was hosting a gettogether, rather than reciting lines. And when he sang and danced, he was good at it. Bring him back! (Heck, I liked him so much that now I’m even going to see his movie Ted, even though it’s probably as bad as the promos made it look.) There were some incomprehensible awards – how does Life of Pi get best cinematography, when it was mostly created inside computers? Why does anybody give Quentin Tarantino an award, knowing it will force us to watch the ugliest conceited fool (or the most conceited foolish ug) in the history of show business as he congratulates the Academy for being smart enough to realize he was best? Jennifer Lawrence – who earned her Best Actress Oscar twice this year – was refreshingly real. She tripped over her hideous dress (everybody always wears

hideous dresses – it’s the designers’ vengeance for actresses’ being so much more famous and beloved than they are) on the way to the mike, and then told the audience to stop their standing ovation. “You’re only standing up because I tripped,” she said – which was true, but how many actors are grounded enough to understand that, and say so? Though I’ve seen enough of Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance to know that he completely missed Lincoln’s voice (even when he orated, Lincoln never sounded like an orator; Day-Lewis’s every word sounded engraved on stone), Day-Lewis gave the best acceptance speech I’ve ever heard. Charmingly, he pretended that he only got the part in a straight-across swap with Meryl Streep, who was originally slated to play the part. But even after the joke (which he brought off superbly; who knew, given the roles he plays, that he had a sense of humor?), his speech was an exemplar of modesty and charm. Bravo, Mr. DayLewis! Note to award recipients: Never, never, never list the other nominees in your category. Yes, during all the pre-Oscar publicity you kept bumping into them and you want to show how modest and generous you are by saying how honored you were just to be nominated along with them. But you just won, so listing their names not only sounds like gloating, it is gloating. Let them modestly retire and leave the focus on you. Thank the people who helped you and the people you love. Don’t mention the other nominees in any way, because nothing you can say to or about them changes the fact that you just beat them. Argo was a perfectly appropriate winner of the Best Picture award; Ben Affleck is emerging as one of the classiest directors in Hollywood, as well as being a good actor in the kind of role he now takes. Affleck’s film was honest about history;

it was also generous to the actors who shared the screen with him. When Affleck directs, everybody shines. That’s rare in Hollywood, especially when star directors work so hard to draw attention to their own work, at the expense of their actors.


I didn’t get a chance to see the liveaction and animated short films until it was too late to comment on them before the Oscars. My wife and I, along with our friend, director Andy Lindsay of Barking Shark Productions, happened to be the only people sitting in those way-too-low chairs at the Carousel Theater, so we treated it like our living room and commented to each other throughout – especially during the silent films. Sometimes, pretentious twaddle outnumbers good films in this category, but this year was exceptionally good. And because you can go online and see all the nominees for free – http://theoscarshorts. – I’m happy to tell you which are especially worth seeing. In the animated category, Fresh Guacamole takes only two minutes – now that’s a short. The joy of it is in the visual surprises as the ingredients of a guacamole are chopped up and mixed together on camera. No, there’s no deep meaning; it’s just plain fun. We saw Paperman in the theaters; it’s still a wonderfully charming love story about an office worker who turns his piles of paper into airplanes as he tries to get the attention of the woman he fell in love with during his morning commute. I’m not a fan of The Simpsons, but Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” was funny and sweet. Adam and Dog was long, long, long, with one lame “sweet” moment at the end. Mostly it showed the filmmakers’ utter inability to imagine what Adam’s and Eve’s life might have been like in the Garden of Eden; in their movie, it was dull enough that getting expelled must have come as a

relief. The brilliant jewel of the animated shorts was Head Over Heels, in which a married couple share a house. But the husband’s floor is the wife’s ceiling, and vice versa, so they never seem able to agree on anything. Not a word is spoken, but we hardly need words to show us the pain of their loneliness and loss, and then the joy of their rediscovery of each other. It was funny and then it was moving; it does in only twenty minutes what The War of the Roses failed to do in two tedious hours: Show us a marriage in cardiac arrest, and then give it CPR. (In the theatrical release of the shorts, they also tacked on the non-nominated sequel to the unbearably bad Gruffalo sequel; we walked out and had a snack at Red Mango, then returned for the showing of the live-action shorts.) The live action shorts are actually harder to bring off, if only because compressing a story with real actors is hard. The Buzkashi Boys was an interesting look at the lives of children in Afghanistan, but the story felt pointless. Equally pointless, but also interesting, was Asad – a look at the lives of children in Somalia. As cultural artifacts the films are worth seeing, but don’t expect to feel like their endings accomplish anything. Death of a Shadow is one of those scifi steampunkish stories where you don’t really understand what’s going on till the big reveal at the end. No, kids, that’s not how it’s done – in good sci-fi, you must let us know the rules up front, so we understand enough to care what happens! (Good example: Looper. Hideously bad example: Cloud Atlas.) But two live-action shorts make up for all. The Oscar winner, Curfew, was a wonderful choice; it begins with a young man in mid-suicide, bleeding in a bathtub, when his sister calls, needing him to take care of her daughter for a few hours. (Continued on page 26)

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Yost Speaks Out Against World Peace by Scott D. Yost county editor

On September 16, 2011, [Ron] Artest’s name was officially changed to Metta World Peace. “Metta” is his first name, and “World Peace” is his surname. “Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world,” World Peace said in a statement released after the name change court hearing. His publicist, Courtney Barnes, said that World Peace chose Metta as his first name because it is a traditional Buddhist word that means loving kindness and friendliness towards all.

Wikipedia entry for Los Angeles Lakers star Metta World Peace

Well, the Academy Awards were Sunday night and I liked a lot of the movies that won. I thought it was a good year for movies. But one of my favorite movies of last year – one I just thought was terrific – got completely snubbed by the Academy. It didn’t even get a nomination for anything. I can see why the films that they chose won the awards that they did, but I want someone to please explain to me how the Academy left Magic Mike out of the picture for Best Picture. I mean, I loved that movie. When it came out, I went and watched it three times in the theater the first week and then I can’t tell you how many times after that. It really had a strange and profound effect on me. I can’t put my finger on it, but it just moved me in a special way. I just felt powerfully drawn to that movie and, the day it came out on DVD, I bought a copy and now I watch it all the time. Like I said, I don’t want to take anything away from the Academy, but, I mean, how can you watch a movie like that and not get really excited about it? It’s a mystery to me. A couple of years ago, NBA basketball star Ron Artest went through a spiritual awakening. He donated much of his salary to mental health charities and other worthy causes that year, and he changed his name to Metta World Peace to honor the Buddhist tradition of love and kindness towards all. It’s really refreshing to see a pro athlete be such a positive role mod – What’s that? Metta World Peace just got suspended for punching another player in the face? Right: The Los Angeles Lakers star who changed his name to World Peace got a one-game suspension for hitting Detroit Pistons’ guard Brandon Knight in the face. I went on YouTube to watch it, and I saw another incident from last season of World Peace clocking Oklahoma City Thunder’s James Harden in the face as well. I think it’s great to change your name to promote world peace, but, you know, charity isn’t the only thing that begins at home; and I just think that, if you’re going to change your name to promote universal love and happiness, a good starting point toward that goal would be to stop pummeling people in the face. I don’t know if they still give out an “Optimist of the Year” award like they used to, but, if they do, I’ve found the perfect candidate. He came and spoke during the speakers from the floor portion of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting last week. A young man who addressed the board told the commissioners that they need to have the school system switch school lunches entirely to organic food. When I heard him say that, I was shocked – I had always just assumed that the schools already exclusively used organic food. I thought that’s why you had to shell out $1.85 per meal for your kid to eat at school. I mean, who knew school lunches weren’t organic? I thought that whenever they served mystery meat on Mystery Meat Wednesdays, that that mystery animal had been raised antibiotic-free, grass-fed and had spent all its days roaming happily on the bucolic hillsides of the same farm for its entire life. I’d always just assumed that. It had been speculation on my part. But you know what they say about speculating. Whenever you speculate, the saying goes, you make a spec out of you and, uh, lating – well, I’m not exactly sure what that means but, anyway, they say not to speculate. The young speaker at the commissioners meeting also, no kidding, requested that the board remove fluoride from the water supply, and he also asked the commissioners to put “more Whole Foods stores in the black parts of town.” Commissioner Linda Shaw politely pointed out that, in order to get the fluoride out of the water, he would need to address the Greensboro City Council rather than the commissioners. Shaw didn’t say it, but that guy would also probably be better off addressing the organic lunch issue to the school board. And I’m still researching which government body is responsible for putting Whole Foods in the black areas of town. (Continued on page 14)

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Beep (Continued from page 9) mess it up, or they continually talk, I yell at them. If they don’t stop calling, I will get them for harassment. Believe it or not, some of them have stopped. I’m working at the rest of them. %%% Continuing. If there is any other way that this can be stopped, I will be sure and let everybody in the newspaper know. In the meantime, thank you, Rhinoceros. I enjoy reading your paper. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy it. Y’all have a great day, and God bless. %%% Good morning. Here’s a helpful tip for all Rhino readers. I hope it will benefit you. If you, like me, get disgusted at the very mention of Obama’s name, just start referring to the anointed one in the Oval Office like the morning crew of Carmen and KC on Rush Radio 94.5 as PBO. That’s right, you got it. You’re sharp, or you wouldn’t be reading The Rhino Times in the first place. Remember that now: PBO. %%% The marijuana bill that is being looked at in Congress right now will be passed. And the reason why is because medicinal marijuana


(Continued from page 13)

Speaking of Whole Foods, I can understand why someone would want more Whole Foods built, no matter the color of the community. I really do love the stores; they’re beautiful, the meats are great, the service terrific and the fruits and vegetables are a rich, deep color. I shop there all the time. I was telling that to someone and she said she likes those stores too, but she added that she doesn’t shop there. I asked why not. “I call them Whole Paycheck,” she said. There’s been a lot of raging controversy in the media lately about whether or not whales can breathe underwater. The argument has been heated on both sides, but, perhaps, as Aristotle said, “The truth lies in the middle.” Now, on the one hand, there’s no question that many whales simply cannot breathe underwater. However, recently, John Hammer, the editor and publisher of The Rhinoceros Times, sent me an interesting tidbit. He emailed me the Wikipedia entry for the “whalefish” – a deep-sea fish that lives at very great depths off the coast of New Zealand and some other places. The whalefish can breathe underwater and there’s absolutely no question that it has “whale” in its name. Also, another interesting fact I learned recently is that “Killer whales are actually dolphins.” So, while unquestionably

Thursday, February 28, 2013

would benefit the residents of this state to no extent further than any other state. And they would be healthier for it. You’ve got to understand medicinal marijuana is not a drug. It is medicinal. So, therefore, it shall be passed. And we will all be getting high, high, high just because the doctor heard us cry, cry, cry, cry, cry. %%% Apparently, Linda Shaw is showing her actual allegiance to the Democratic Party. She is right up there with Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. When they all open their mouths, only foolish comes out. %%% It seems all the cities want to name a street after Martin Luther King. I wonder if they’ve ever considered Booker T. Washington or George Washington Carver. Look what they contributed to our lives. Maybe they could use a little honor. %%% Why are principals and assistant principals in the Guilford County school system so grossly overpaid? They have a salary that’s mandated by the State of North Carolina. But for some reason Guilford County decides to pay called a supplement pay, which ranges between $10,000 and $40,000 a year extra paid by the citizens of Guilford County. Now, why are these

some whales apparently do breathe air and certainly cannot breathe water, it’s also important to realize that some whales are actually dolphins and therefore, being dolphins, are in fact able to breathe underwater. For over a year, I’ve been searching for the instructions for my washing machine, and I have looked everywhere for literally over a year. A few days ago, I wasn’t even thinking about finding the instructions – I’d basically given up – but I finally came across them. When I found them, I thought to myself: “Oh, OK, no wonder I couldn’t find the instructions – that explains it.” They were in my filing cabinet, filed under “W,” in a folder labeled, “Washing Machine Instructions.” Right after the first of the year, they held the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where a lot of new cutting edge devices were on display. You know how I’m always worried about the Rise of the Machines taking over? Well, here’s a perfect example: It used to be that you told your fork what to do, but, at the electronics show, there was a new “smart fork” on display that tells you what to do. It used to be that you would tell your silverware what to do: You would say, to your fork, through your actions, “Here, take this piece of food and put it in my mouth.” And, unlike chopsticks, the fork would

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Photo by Sandy Groover

Polar Plunge 2013. principals paid bonuses for failure? Test scores are in the tank, discipline is terrible and the schools are havens for drug dealers. So, why do we pay our principals an extra pay for failure? I just don’t understand it. %%% This is for anyone that thinks Obama has got any common sense at all. The very idea that he wants to put all 4-year-olds in a preschool. Reminded, 4 years old, barely out of diapers. That’s the first thing. And the next thing he says is it’s not going to

cost us one dime. I don’t know who’s supposed to pay for it. And he goes on and on about other things he wants to do, and it’s not going to cost us one dime. And up to this point, and I am a news watcher, up to this point he’s not come with anything to try to curb spending, not one dime. %%% This is for all the Democratic voters that refuse to think that they’ve done something wrong. Every time Obama speaks and his (Continued on page 25)

actually listen and do what you told it to. Well, the new “smart fork” turns all that on your head. Now, in the name of technology, there’s a fork that orders you around rather than the other way around. An article on titled, “Smart fork says stop eating so fast,” explained the new computerized culinary controller. “Most people shovel their meals into their mouths too quickly for their bodies to process, which means the stomach still feels hunger even though it’s full,” it said. “HAPIlabs’ electronic HAPIfork vibrates when you eat too fast, reminding you to slow down. The HAPIfork measures the length of time between bites, and how long it takes you to polish off your meal. The fork contains a USB drive that stores the information on your eating patterns so you can download it to the HAPIlabs app. The program also offers food coaching so you can change your eating behaviors.” The article also says the smart fork was “one of the breakout stars at this year’s International CES, mainly due to its novelty” and says that the fork is “the first smart utensil on the market.” Popularity among the CES geeks aside, I’m certainly not buying it. Listen, if I need something cold, calculating and rigid monitoring my every move while I eat and telling me I’m doing it wrong, well, then I’ll just get married again.

edition and I got a great idea from it. This year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sports Illustrated, they sent models and photographers to each of the seven continents and they just put out all the pictures in a special edition. For instance, they sent world famous supermodel Kate Upton and other supermodels to Antarctica and they got some great pictures of her on the ice with the penguins. My only complaint is that in some of the shots the bikini-clad models are obscuring the view of the penguins in the background, but other than that, it was a terrific pictorial. While I was watching that show, my great idea hit me: I should use world-class supermodels for an upcoming Scott’s Night Out, and take them all for photo shoots on each of the seven continents. We could go to Antarctica and Brazil and Fiji and so on … I’ve been checking the rates for hiring world-class models. I’ve also been making the travel arrangements through some of the travel agencies that specialize in exotic locales. In addition, I’ve been checking the internet for the world’s most striking destinations and I have been pricing some new high-end camera gear for the trip. I’m very excited about it because it should be a lot of fun, and, really, the only remaining thing I need to do is check to make sure that The Rhinoceros Times is willing to bankroll the expedition. Once that final formality is out of the way, get out your bikinis Kate Upton – Fiji here we come!

The other night I was watching, on the Travel Channel, the special about the making of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Page 23

Letters to the Editor Someone pleased with Yost Dear Editor, Please tell Scott Yost that I have thoroughly enjoyed his article regarding the holy Bible. I believe in God but do not think that I should follow the Bible literally to be considered godly or true Christian. Joseph Adegboyega

Why not get rid of DGI Dear Editor, I have to admit that I was stunned by the City Council’s sudden realization of the worthlessness of Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI). Many of us, property owners and merchants, have been saying that for years. But until now no one seemed to be listening. I’ll begin by saying that I was never in favor of the Business Improvement District (BID) tax, but then I wasn’t asked. The tax was imposed by council fiat, with the encouragement of politicians and businessmen who assumed they could personally benefit from the tax, while the district property owners were never formally surveyed by the city. Since the very beginning DGI has been a joke – a cruel joke on those who are required to pay the tax. More of an old boys club than a viable organization, large portions of those tax dollars are devoted to salaries and administrative costs, hiring overpriced consultants from Minot, North Dakota, and printing slick brochures taking credit for what is being accomplished by the private sector in the district. Their only visible accomplishments are flowers along the streets, something I could easily live without, and a contract company that picks up trash on the streets, a function formerly handled by the city. I have nothing against nonprofits per se, but I resent being forced to pay for their activities. I, along with many others, am opposed to private groups with government power, a right to our tax dollars, but without governmental responsibilities. It has to cease. Sadly, there is a sinister aspect to this criticism of DGI and its activities. My

impression is that that the council has expressed little concern about the well being of district property owners and merchants. The main concern seems to be who controls the money. One councilmember expressed the notion that the $700,000 could be better utilized by some other group or entity. So, essentially, what we have is a “turf war” over who gets the bucks. The mayor has his hackles up over a new plan, to be imposed by the city, to upgrade the appearance of the district. I’m sure he’d like to have that money pumped into his grand scheme of turning the business district into his fantasy of Main Street USA Disney World. To make his point, he has chosen one of the worst properties in the district, the old Cascade Saloon, to imply that this represents a general condition of the downtown. This is a lie and a fraud. The bulk of the downtown is in better than average condition, and this is with no credit to either the city or DGI. In all of the discussions I’ve followed, one issue has never been mentioned and that is the elimination of the BID tax. This should be the core issue of these discussions. As a property owner, it’s bad enough to pay the usury property taxes imposed by the county and city, but to pay an additional 8 cents per $100 valuation on top of that, to support a worthless nonprofit or some planning department scheme, is obscene. If the members of the council had any class or consciousness, which I’m beginning to wonder about, they would understand that the main issue in this discussion is eliminating this onerous tax. Return this money to those who are actually doing the development and upgrades in the district. They are the ones who are making it happen. J.E. Forster

Music hall money has better uses Dear Editor, Nothing against the Performing Arts, but couldn’t the Greensboro City Council find something else to spend $20 million of the taxpayers money on, with the hope of getting $40 million more from “who

knows where?” Aren’t these bonds going to be paid for, at least in part, by taxpayers’ money? No wonder our government, at all levels, is going broke and can’t take care of basic services and commitments they have to our own tax-paying citizens. Glad I don’t live in the City of Greensboro any more. Ramon Bell

Federal cuts easy to find Dear Editor, For the record, my data source for this letter is the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a federal agency answerable to the executive branch of the federal government, as published on their website budget/Historicals. Federal outlays exceeded $3 trillion for the first time in 2009. In FY 2008, we spent “only” $2.98 million. In 2011, (the last year for which data is listed as fact, not estimate) the outlay was $3.6 million. We are currently being told that if sequestration occurs dire consequences will result; degraded defense and security, health care, research, thousands of jobs lost, etc. The federal budget, it seems, can never be cut; only grow. In January 2013, the 2 percent payroll tax cut was allowed to expire. For a taxpayer making $500 per week, this constitutes a budget cut of $520 per year out of $26,000. We taxpayers “suck it up” and make do. Meanwhile, the US Agency for International Development’s (AID) 2012 budget calls for foreign aid spending of $36.39 billion (data source: USAID website). A 50 percent reduction in this nonmilitary foreign aid would yield a savings of $18.19 billion per year, or $181.94 billion over 10 years in Washingtonspeak. Reducing federal outlays other than USAID by 1 percent from the 2013 estimated outlays would constitute a oneyear cut of $38 million from the US OMB estimated spending of $3.8 million. (In Washington-speak, this would be another $380-plus billion in cuts.) Doubling this drastic cut to 2 percent, the same cut an American worker is absorbing would yield over $760 billion in savings.

Total: I have just identified $941.94 million in cuts of the $1.2 trillion called for over the next 10 years, without asking the federal government to do any more than its citizens are doing. To date, I have been unable to discover the exact amount of military foreign aid, but I strongly suspect that a 50 percent reduction there would yield the difference of slightly over $298 billion. Get real people. Contact your congressman and/ or senator. Tell them to do their job or resign in disgrace. The same goes for the executive branch. Sid Cheek

Geographically confused Dear Editor, The person who transcribes The Sound of the Beep tapes needs a lesson in geography and spelling. I am referring to the message in the Feb. 14 issue on page 14. The caller made comments about all the Chevrolet vehicles made in countries other than the USA. Twice, reference is made to “Columbia.” For your information, the South American country to which the caller was referring is spelled “Colombia,” the capital of which is Bogota. Sandy Wall Editor’s Note: We assumed they meant Columbia, South Carolina, which is definitely south of the border.

High gas prices not good sign Dear Editor, I recently heard a comment, either on television or on the radio, by an economist, that the “rising gas prices indicate a growing economy.” A growing economy for whom? It appears that the politicians in DC, the people who are involved in the oil business, and the lobbyists who favor the oil barons, are the ones whose economy is improving. It is certainly not mine. What an oxy-moron statement, an asinine comment. Just about every day gas prices increase, from one part of the day to the next, from one hour to another, when is it going to stop? Will the economy (Continued on page 24)

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Thursday, February 28, 2013


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fire departments that handle fire service for the county. That includes most of Guilford County except for Greensboro, High Point and Gibsonville, which have their own fire departments. After much back and forth over the last 14 months, at the Feb. 21 meeting the commissioners voted unanimously to approve the contract in substance. The final draft will be tweaked and is expected to be signed by all parties soon. Perdue said the terms of the contract were arrived at after an extensive study of the county’s fire services. The study was followed by committee meetings in which all parties engaged in very fruitful dialogue, Perdue said. He told the board that talks had begun in December 2011 and, in April of last year, the first draft was drawn up. As the person in charge of county safety, Perdue has the job of seeing that the counties citizens have adequate fire protection and he is therefore the county’s point man for those issues. Summerfield Fire Department Chief Chris Johnson, who’s been a liaison between the county and the fire departments, thanked Pleasant Garden Fire Department Chief Ray Smith for his help in leading a committee of fire department representatives. “They looked at all aspects,” Johnson said of the group, adding that plenty of input had come from both urban and rural fire districts. For years, the county has contracted with the various fire districts under a loose set of agreements that failed to clearly spell out performance standards and benchmarks for the nonprofits that provide fire protection for the county. The new contract is much more explicit than past agreements in

laying out what’s expected by all parties. There is no Guilford County fire department, as there is for Greensboro and High Point, and instead fire protection in unincorporated Guilford County is provided by a network of nonprofit departments that attempt to work together. As part of the reevaluation of the county’s fire services over the last year and a half, the county considered creating a county fire department as one possible option but there was a lot of opposition to that idea from the fire departments. A few affected fire departments still have concerns about the contract approved by the commissioners. However, for the most part the departments have agreed to the conditions in the new contract. Johnson told the board, “There was no department that voted no towards the contract.” He said the attorney for the fire departments had met with Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne and hashed out the final details. Commissioner Ray Trapp said a lot of time and energy had gone into the new agreement. Commissioner Alan Branson asked what parts of the contract some fire officials still had concerns about. David Teague, fire chief of the Northeast Fire Department, said he was concerned about the fact that, under the new contract, the county could audit a fire department more than once a year. Teague said it cost his station $3,000 for every audit and that station only has revenues of about $147,000 annually. Teague also had concerns about the ability of the county to take over a fire department if there are major performance failures or other serious problems.

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Perdue said it was important for the county to have that right. “If a department loses its rating,” Perdue said, “insurance rates go up.” “We’re not looking to put anyone out of business,” he added. Payne said the few lingering concerns among some departments struck him as “clarification issues” that could be ironed out with relative ease. Payne also said the audit provision was a common one. “This is typical language in virtually every county contract,” Payne said. Payne recommended the board approve the contract in substantial form and the board voted unanimously to approve it. That was the major accomplishment of the night but there was some other business to attend to as well. For instance, Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes sent the board a couple of requests – and, as has been the case for virtually every request the sheriff has made in the past year, Davis had questions for Sheriff’s Department officials. Davis and Barnes have been at odds over several issues in recent years and Davis is one of several commissioners who began raising questions about the sheriff’s use of federal forfeiture funds after Barnes requested using the money to buy seven Segways for his department. In January, the Board of Commissioners – which in the past has almost always gone along with Barnes’ requests to use the federal forfeiture dollars – voted down the request to buy the Segways on a 5-to-4 split-party vote, and then the board began closely scrutinizing the use of those funds. Commissioners Branson, Davis, Bencini, Carolyn Coleman and Hank Henning, voted against it. At the Feb. 21 meeting, Davis had a few questions about a seemingly noncontroversial request by the sheriff. Barnes was asking the board to approve the purchase of 41 laptop computers at a cost




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of $142,788 for use in squad cars. Davis said he wanted to discuss the item, which was on the consent agenda – a list that usually consists of routine housekeepingtype matters that are generally approved without discussion. Davis asked, “Exactly where do these funds come from? Is it the federal forfeiture funds?” Interim Guilford County Manager/ Assistant County Manager/Human Resources Director Sharisse Fuller told Davis the money was not from the fund. She said it was instead from a technology fund that the county maintains for purchases of this type. Davis asked Sheriff’s Department Capt. Ken Whitesell how often the department buys laptops and how many it buys when it does. Whitsell said the department usually bought about 35 laptops a year, and he said they bought them on a staggered basis. Davis, along with all other commissioners, voted to approve the purchase of the computers for squad car use. Interestingly, Davis didn’t have any questions about another item that was on the agenda and was being paid for out of federal forfeiture funds. That was a request to buy 33 gas masks at a cost of about $34,000. The attached memo to the commissioners states, “Current gas masks are eight (8) years old and the filters are out of date and must be replaced. Forty percent (40%) of the current gas masks have either yellowing or broken shields, broken seals or straps that are cracking. The remaining masks are showing signs of age.” That request passed unanimously with no discussion. Barnes said this week that the old gas masks will either be used for training purposes or disposed of. He said the old masks aren’t safe for use by officers in the field.

Letters (Continued from page 23) continue improving when it gets to $4, $4.50, $5 a gallon? When the price of gas climbs, prices on practically everything else climbs. The economy is not improving for this lower middle class family. But let’s all make sure the DC politicians, the oil gurus and the lobbyists are satisfied, well taken care of and above reproach. If you didn’t notice, that is satirical statement. Larry L. Thomas

Discouraged by state of US


The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Dear Editor, The moral decay of this country sends chills down my spine. Gay marriage and legalization of marijuana has sent these countries morality into the doldrums. There can be no way for this country to survive if it continues to head into the dire

direction it is heading now. Back in the day, there was no such thing as people of the same sex getting married. Although many people use marijuana, nobody ever thought it would become legal, yet here it is on our doorsteps. Most people did not know what homosexuality was, nor did they believe it was possible for two men or to women to get married. There are as many negative drawbacks form gay marriage as there are from heterosexual marriage. You have gay divorce, gay custody battles and gay domestic abuse. The children of these homes will have to endure the same consequences as those heterosexual couples. If this country is to turn around, and I personally think it will, the people need to come to terms with those who wish to make this country unrecognizable and fight tooth and nail to save this country for future generations. Steven M. Shelton

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Beep (Continued from page 14) mouth flies open, he talks about the middle class. If he cared anything about the middle class, he would do something about trying to get gasoline lower. He would try to drill more in the Gulf, open up federal lands. He does not care about you, and you people put him in. %%% I’m calling again in reference to the

Thursday, February 28, 2013

annoying calls – harassing calls. Another solution for people who are having problems, go to www.donotcall, and see if they can’t help you by submitting your information. Thank you. %%% I have a question that maybe you guys at The Rhino can answer. Why should people who have entered our country illegally be issued federal papers to work and obtain driver’s licenses? Thank you.



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%%% We need more nutcase criminal control laws, not more gun control laws. %%% I was calling in reference to the school article “No To Free Lunch.” We already know seven out of 10 children in certain communities have no male parent in their family and that the illegal aliens are coming in and forcing us to feed their



children in schools. But to know that over 50 percent of the children in schools are on some kind of a national program to be fed is ridiculous to start with. When we’ve got other people in here that can’t afford to pay for their children’s meals, they should be sent a bill and then turn it over to a bill collection agency and let them deal with them. If they can afford tattoos, cell phones and cable TV, they can certainly afford to (Continued on page 28)





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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Uncle Orson (Continued from page 12)

He says, “OK,” and then we proceed to learn something about his life and his sister’s. The niece is the stock “smartbratty” movie child, but she’s used well, and the ending is both funny and redemptive. But the true work of genius is Henry, which gives us the experience of Alzheimer’s in a compelling way. It’s at once frightening and fulfilling, as we see who this old man was and, in his confused memory, still is. Unlike Amour (which I was going to see until Daniel Tosh’s Oscar spoilers told me that it has a euthanasia ending), it has a brilliant, positive finish that moved me to tears. Maybe because I’m an old man, the question he asks at the end seems to me to be the Meaning of Life. Simple, unpretentious, utterly earned. Note to filmmakers: Euthanasia endings, like suicide endings, are what you do when you give up on yourself as a writer. It’s what you do instead of an ending. You feel like you’re doing something surprising and bold, but nobody is surprised, and it saves you the trouble of finding some kind of fruition for your characters. Yeah, you can get Best Picture (MillionDollar Baby) for a euthanasia ending, or Best Foreign-Language Film (Amour), but it doesn’t change the fact that you copped out. Good writers finish their work.


For years we had all our art framed by Sumner and Ruth Fineberg at The Framing Place in Quaker Village. Even after they retired, we stayed with the next two owners, because they kept up the quality. But when rising rents made it impossible for The Framing Place to stay open, we had to go in search of another framer. No, we weren’t even tempted to do the work ourselves. We auditioned several shops (including one whose owner, told that the Finebergs were our friends, still could not stop himself from bad-mouthing them in ways that I could only interpret as anti-semitic; needless to say, that’s not where we took our business). What we settled on was Irving Park Art and Frame on Lawndale. Their workspace

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I first got to know the work of Japanese 4 Miyazaki 7 animator because5 of Kiki’s Delivery Service. I didn’t so much watch 7 it as listen to it, working on something else while 3 my young daughter really paid attention to it. I was 5constantly amazed1at the surprising turns the story took, without every losing 5 film dominated 6 7 coherence. 8This was not a by cliche and formula. 2 This was the opposite of what I saw when I worked 6 on 1 animated videos myself. I worked for a time as writer of a series of

Sudoku Solution



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From last week’s issue S H I R E

was a long dark tunnel of a shop, but the work Renee Franklin and her co-framers did was superb. After years of having them frame the art in our home and for gifts, we entrusted them this fall with a very large project – fifty pieces of art for display in a church building. They came through with consistent high quality in a timely manner. Now they have escaped that tunnel and have moved to what used to be the RolyPoly restaurant space in the Irving Park Shops at 2105-A West Cornwallis Dr. (You have to pull into their parking lot through the first driveway on the south side of Cornwallis, just west of Battleground. Sometimes this means waiting for a break in the traffic backed up for the light on Battleground. The second driveway also lets you park close enough to walk, but you can’t drive through.) The new location gives them an amazing amount of light and space, and they are using the front of the shop as a gallery featuring the work of local artists and craftspeople. The grand opening is tomorrow night, March 2, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. New Orleans artist Tony Forrest will be there, along with some of his work; there’ll also be wine and hors d’oeuvres. If you’ve been looking for a framer – or simply want to see the art and artists they’re featuring at Art & Frame – I heartily recommend that you stop by. And if the open house time doesn’t work for you, come by during their normal hours. Renee and all her co-framers have sudoku_352B an eye for presenting your art to the best effect. We value their advice and admire Created by Peter Ritmeester/Presented by Will Shortz their work.

From last week’s issue





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scriptural videos that were being directed by a former Disney animator. I was stunned at the rigid formulaic thinking that was treated as if it were natural law. Where’s the cute sidekick animal? Well, um, I don’t know where we’d get one out of Jewish culture during the Roman occupation. Maybe John the Baptist had a pet locust, instead of just eating them? I just didn’t see giving Jesus a furry animal companion. I thought we could simply tell the story of scripture – and, for a short time, I got my way. I’m proud of the videos that resulted. But then I stopped getting my way, the formula triumphed, and I was gone. Ever since then, I’ve watched the formulas act themselves out in movie after movie. Even the films that try to be innovative still include most of the formulaic elements. Not Miyazaki. He brings non-western ideas of story and he has no patience with the Hollywood formulas. At the same time, he isn’t flouting the conventions just to be “different.” Instead, he’s telling stories that feel important and true to him, in a way that is powerful and clear to the audience. The whole audience – Japanese, of course, but American as well. The next two Thursdays, thanks to Joe Scott and the Carolina Theatre (310 South Greene St.), two of Miyazaki’s great films will be shown on the big screen. My Neighbor Totoro, at 7:30 p.m. on March 7, is not about the guy who lives next door; it’s more like the monster who lives next door. Fans still argue about what the film “means” – is someone really “dead”? – but I think the film means exactly and only what Miyazaki shows us: Children dealing with their mother’s dangerous illness find comfort and help from an equally dangerous and powerful neighbor, a mostly-sleepy and uncommunicative giant troll. There are some unforgettable images that are seemingly thrown in because they appealed to Miyazaki. I especially love the small resident house-monsters that seem like very fast-moving mildew. On March 14, the Oscar-winning Spirited Away will be shown. This was only the second Miyazaki that I ever saw, and it was thrilling and moving. It will resonate with anyone who suddenly discovers that their parents have been turned into pigs. My children can tell you all about what it meant to them. Tickets are $6 each; you can buy them online at or show up and pay at the door. Showing old movies like this is a financial risk. If you want a chance to see more, you have to make the effort to show up and pay. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to assemble in a theater to see a film you can watch at home. But I think it makes all the difference in the world to see the film with strangers, on a large screen, in a space devoted to the art.


I was all set to tell you about the pig-

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

saves-goat video that somebody sent me a link to. Baby goat at a petting zoo is stuck in the water; pig dives in, pushes the goat out. Hero of the animal world! Then I saw the making-of video, by a guy on Comedy Central who talks about how it was all done using divers because, after all, pigs don’t save goats. Here’s the problem: How was I to know which was the hoax: the pig-saves-goat video or the making-of exposé video? I mean, wouldn’t it be even more funny if something real happened – pig saves goat – and then you go on Comedy Central with a faked-up making-of video that seems to show the “real” story behind the seeming act of animal heroism? It’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t in this crazy mixed-up world.


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and website. To celebrate, on Saturday, March 2, the newly named science center will have a New Name Launch Party from 9 a.m. to noon. We’re looking forward to the new name but hope that it is not named after the director. The Glenn Dobrogosz Natural Science Center just doesn’t roll off the tongue, and it would make writing a jingle for the center devilishly hard. --Parking downtown is a huge mess, and the actions taken by the Greensboro City Council to monetize parking and parking enforcement – which is a fancy word for trying to make money on it – has made things worse. Here is a simple solution, which is free. The members of the City Council all have assigned parking spaces in the parking garage under city hall – in other words a bunch of part-time employees who are rarely in the building tie up nine premium parking spaces every day. The solution: take away free parking for the city councilmembers and make them hunt for spaces like everyone else. Parking enforcement would have a different attitude, overnight. Back when Mayor Robbie Perkins’ office was downtown, before he moved to State Street for better parking, Perkins got a ticket in the parking garage, and at the next meeting the fine for that infraction was reduced. Imagine how quickly things would change if councilmembers were parking on the street. --There is a big push to rename High Point Road, I suppose because streets shouldn’t be named for places, but explain that to President Barack Hussein Obama who lives on Pennsylvania Avenue. Market Street no longer has a market on it but it has two newspapers, so maybe it should be named for one of them. We flipped a coin and guess who won? Market Street should be renamed Rhino Street. It has a better ring to it than TECAN&R Street (Continued on next page)

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro


(Continued from page 1)

Elementary School – formerly the controversial southeast area elementary school. Simkins Elementary is scheduled to be the last new school to be built with the $457 million approved by Guilford County voters in May 2008, now that the school board has voted not to build the proposed $72 million airport area high school in western Guilford County. The Architect Selection Committee’s meeting was the usual mix of horse trading, racial spoils and favorite playing that goes into any of the committee’s selection of an architect, construction manager or contractor to build or renovate a Guilford County School. The Facilities Department went into the meeting asking the committee to recommend one of three construction management company teams to the school board on Thursday. The school board could have picked one of the three teams, picked some of them or picked different companies entirely. The Facilities Department recommended three sets of two companies, in order of preference: Samet Corp./SRS Inc., Lend Lease Project Management and Construction/Miles McClellan Construction and H.J. Russell & Co./ Metcon Inc. Buildings Infrastructure. The oddity that jumps out is that federal prosecutors in April 2012 filed fraud charges against Lend Lease (formerly Bovis Lend Lease), accusing the company of padding its workers’ hours to the tune of millions of dollars for over a decade, as well as claiming that that work on New York and New Jersey projects was done by minority contractors, when it was secretly done by Lend Lease. According to the US District Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Lend Lease, formerly Bovis Lend Lease, in April 2012, admitted, based on “felony information,” to a large fraud scheme in which Bovis overbilled clients for years. The company settled with the government in exchange for deferred prosecution. “Bovis also admitted defrauding two of its public clients by falsely misrepresenting the work performed by its minority business enterprise partners, thus fraudulently obtaining payments on lucrative contracts,” the District Attorney’s Office said in a press release. “The deferred prosecution agreement requires Bovis to pay up to $56 million in penalties to the federal government and restitution to victims, and to institute far-reaching corporate reforms designed to eliminate future problems and enforce best industry practices.” Guilford County Schools Director of Construction Julius Monk said the administrators made Lend Lease their second-highest recommendation partly because it promised to deliver a high degree of minority participation in the Simkins Elementary project. Monk said another reason administrators recommended Lend Lease was because it handled two large additions at Southwest

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Guilford High School well while students were in school. Each construction manager is a pair of companies because Guilford County Schools, like other government institutions in North Carolina, picks construction managers based on the percentage of work it can generate for black- and womanowned companies. In most cases, the main company is white-owned, so is forced to pair with a black-owned company. After extensive deliberation, the committee, in a series of votes, left Samet/ SRS and H.J. Russell/Metcon on the list to be recommended to the school board, and added teams led by Barnhill Contracting Company and Rentenbach Constructors Inc., giving the school board four teams to choose from. For the school board’s purposes, whichever company is hired to manage the construction of Simkins Elementary had better get it right. The school board spent years trying to buy land due east of Greensboro for the school, only to generate a revolt from residents of southeast Guilford County, who said the two locations proposed by the school board wouldn’t be the community school they felt they had been promised. Finally, in March 2012, the school board voted unanimously to buy a 32-acre tract at 3511 East Lee St., in more of a direct line from Greensboro to Pleasant Garden and Forest Oaks, which residents of southeast Guilford County said satisfied them. But residents are still likely to be a mite touchy if the building schedule falls behind. In November 2012, the school board voted to use the construction manager at risk method to build Simkins Elementary. In 2001, the General Assembly approved the use of construction manager at risk for the southeast area elementary school. Under construction manager at risk, the construction manager guarantees a maximum price for the project, then bids out the work. The method is considered to be more expensive than traditional bidding, but is considered to be good for creating more jobs for minority subcontractors. Its supporters argue that it also reduces the likelihood of change orders and lawsuits at the end of a project. Guilford County Schools has had mixed results with construction manager at risk. The new Eastern Guilford High School, completed in April 2009 to replace the school that was destroyed by fire in November 2006, came in $12 million under budget, at $40 million, and the school board has been milking the $12 million to pay for other projects. But in June 2010, the $33 million project to rebuild Ragsdale High School in Jamestown went at least $5 million over budget in a time when construction projects are coming in at record low prices. That forced Guilford County Schools to scrap the design for Ragsdale, then relent after pressure from Jamestown residents and vote to spend at least $4 million more to build the school mostly as designed. With construction manager at risk, the construction manager is obviously critical

Page 27

to getting the job done on time and under budget. After all the delays on the southeast elementary school, time is of the essence. Simkins Elementary, once scheduled to open in August 2012, is now scheduled to open in November 2014. The recommendations for Simkins Elementary were also unusual because they included the H.J. Russell/Metcon team. Both companies are black owned, which is rare. Committee Chairman Amos Quick asked the Facilities Department administrators to explain their three choices. Monk responded that the companies were chosen primarily because of the school system has had good experience


(Continued from previous page)

anyway. Elm Street doesn’t have any elms, so maybe it should be renamed Old Dead Shrub Street. Greene Street isn’t green and has an extra e, which Greensboro dropped years ago. Maybe it should be renamed Two Way-One Way-Two Way Street to give people a hint about the bizarre traffic pattern. We don’t know who Eugene is, but our mayor is named Robbie and Robbie Street sounds a whole lot cooler than Eugene Street. The church on Church Street is now a museum, so I suppose we should rename Church Street to Museum

with them, and because of the percentage of minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBE) the construction managers said they could hire. Guilford County Schools interim Chief Operations Officer Terrence Young, who is usually the head of the school system’s IT department and has no construction experience, said he attended the staff meeting at which the three recommendations were picked but didn’t vote. Monk said that the Samet/SRS team was chosen because it brought in a renovationand-addition project at Summerfield Elementary in on time and under budget in spite of getting a late start and numerous problems that arose with the project.

Street. Battleground Avenue, do we really want people to think we are so warlike? Besides, the battleground is now a national park. Doesn’t National Park Avenue sound a lot sweeter? Davie Street may have been named for Davie Crockett, but whoever it was named for isn’t around and it is a silly little short street that doesn’t really go anywhere, but it does have three parking decks on it, so how about Parking Deck Street instead of Davie? The list goes on and on. ---

Servicing what we sell since 1953

(Continued on page 34)

905 Battleground Ave., Greensboro ph: 379-8640 • fax: 379-7837

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Beep (Continued from page 25) feed their own children. It’s a disgrace and a shame that everybody has taken it upon themselves to embarrass their children and send them to school with no money to buy their lunch. I would be ashamed of myself to do that to my child. It’s absolutely disgraceful. %%% This is in response to the last caller printed in the Feb. 14 issue about Brenda Jones Fox, our county manager, things being illegal or criminal. I think that the people that did not fire her or punish her for some of the things that she did while she was in office should also be brought up on criminal charges, because she should have been gotten rid of a long time ago. %%% Well, I really do believe that Greensboro, as well as all other forms of government, should establish limitations on their limit of term of office. That way we get fresh ideas, new people in there. We would get rid of the corrupt politicians that live and suck off of us taxpayers and might not spend our taxpayers’ money so carelessly, because they’re sold to lobbyists at every level including the local. I mean all you got to do is look at their quality that Greensboro has, Skip Alston. I mean let’s face it. He couldn’t run the St. James Homes. They had to be torn down. And thousands of dollars went into his pocket. But he’s still

Manager (Continued from page 10) commissioners made it clear to Springsted representatives that they wanted the information as soon as possible. “We told them to put the move on,” Henning said. Commissioner Jeff Phillips said it’s been no secret from the beginning that he would like to see the board hire a manager as quickly as possible while still making a well-researched and wise decision. Interim Guilford County Manager/ Assistant County Manager/Human Resources Director Sharisse Fuller is heading up the search on the county’s side, given her responsibilities as the human resources director. Fuller said she has no indication when the firm will get back to the board with the requested information. “At this point, there is no specific date as to when the ‘Search Firm/Consultant’ will follow up regarding the County Manager applicants,” Fuller wrote in an email, giving no indication why she put Search Firm/Consultant in quotes – or why she capitalized it for that matter. Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Linda Shaw said there was no reason for the board to rush. She said it would take some time before a new manager could be in place, and the next budget would largely be decided by then. “By April or May the budget will be over,” Shaw said, “so there’s no need to

Thursday, February 28, 2013

there, all because, you know, why? He’s not qualified to be anything. So, here you are. Good luck. %%% Editor’s Note: Actually, Skip Alston didn’t run for reelection and is gone. %%% Yes, I’m listening to the doctors tonight from the Cone healthcare system saying that, well, we, as Americans need to pay more on our premiums to help the people that don’t have insurance and because we have to help them. Baloney. I’ve been paying long enough for these people. Long enough. Most of them don’t want to work. Why should I keep paying for them? It’s ridiculous. If they don’t have it, too bad, man. I hate it for them there. But life goes on. When is enough, enough? Stop already. You know, charge it. You’ll charge me double the amount when I go to the hospital. Thank you, have a great day. %%% Well, all I can tell you is I’ve lived here since 1990. I have had enough of it. I don’t want to live here anymore. The air stinks. The fuel depot out on I-40 stinks. And I’m tired of the political baloney that this community puts out, the likes of Skip Alston, Steve Arnold, Fox, you name them. So, I’m leaving. I’m taking my ball and I’m leaving, because I can’t take it in here anymore. Goodbye Greensboro. %%%

break our necks to hire someone.” The commissioners typically adopt a budget in June. Shaw also said Fuller is around to help run the county until a new manager is hired. Last week, after the face-to-face interviews, Shaw was still saying the commissioners should be open to additional applicants beyond those final three who did well in the interviews, but this week Shaw said the three were all the county needed to consider. The fact that Shaw is no longer saying there’s a need to continue looking at additional candidates suggests that the search is narrowing and things are coming to a head. “I think we’ve got three good ones,” Shaw said this week. Phillips concurred. He said any of the three finalists was very well suited to run Guilford County. Commissioner Carolyn Coleman said that she, like other commissioners, is waiting on the information from the consultants. Coleman said she hopes race doesn’t dominate the selection process, and that, in her case at least, it certainly won’t. “I wouldn’t vote for a black person just because he or she is black,” Coleman said. She said that, in the interviews, she was interested in qualifications not skin color. “I tried to be as fair as possible,” Coleman said.

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Photo by Sandy Groover

And more 2013 Polar Plunge When will Osama Perkins stop? %%% Obama ain’t no president. He can’t lead this country. Look at the shape we’re in. Look at oil prices. Two refineries are closing down. What’s he’s going to do about? Duh. I don’t know. Wow. Jimmy Carter was brighter, and that ain’t saying a lot. What’s he going to do there? He don’t care. We’re not going to get no more oil. We’re going to pay more and more. Recession here we come again. More and more people out of jobs. Thanks, Obama.

%%% Good morning, Beep. I’m just sitting here watching the TV again, and I’m just so tired of seeing this president get all the Americans against one another and spreading fear that all he has done besides spend money we really don’t have. I’m just sick to death of him. I hope everybody gets a belly full of him. Thank you. %%% North Korea is playing psychological games with President Obama, and they are going to win.

Coleman is not colorblind in a lot of county matters. In many areas of county government she is well knows for promoting minority causes. Just about every time a business comes before the Board of Commissioners requesting economic incentives, Coleman asks about the number of blacks the company employs, as well as how many of them are in management. She was also instrumental, about seven years ago, in the county creating a position in the Purchasing Department that was meant to increase minority- and women-owned business participation in county contracts, though that position was later eliminated. Coleman said this week that the political parties of the manager candidates hadn’t come up in the interviews, and she pointed to former Guilford County Manager Brenda Jones Fox as an example of how little the political affiliation of the manager matters. Coleman said that Fox, who stepped down as county manager at the end of January, was a well-known Republican, active in that party, but you never detected partisanship in Fox’s case, Coleman said. In fact, for years, Democratic Commissioner Skip Alston, who was chairman four years in a row before he and Fox left county government, worked very closely with Fox, though that relationship was certainly not as copacetic years ago when Alston first became a commissioner. At one point in the mid-’90s, Alston voted to fire Fox during her first stint as county

manager. Speaking of Fox, given the fact that Fox’s reign was so scandal rich, it’s entirely understandable why the current commissioners are bending over backwards to make sure they don’t hire another ethically challenged manager. In addition to that caution is the fact that the commissioners want the incoming manager to have as much unified support from the board as possible. Commissioner Bruce Davis said there’s a desire for the board to get solidly behind one candidate after all the discussion and wrangling is done. “What we’re trying to do is get unanimous consent and we’re not at that point yet,” Davis said. The commissioners are hoping to reach a unanimous decision, but Davis and other commissioners admitted that might be too much to ask. Last week Commissioner Ray Trapp told The Rhinoceros Times that the selection of a new manager might come down to “a 5-to-4 vote.” Phillips, Henning and Commissioner Alan Branson rode down to Chapel Hill and back for new commissioners training seminars last week. Trapp was also at the same event for the day – but he didn’t ride with the others. Perhaps the Chapel Hill gathering gave those four new commissioners some quality time to discuss the county manager candidates.



The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Parting S28,Hot Thursday, February 2013

(Continued from page 1) By seymour Green spaces away. All nine commissioners’ Political Correspondent spaces will remain in the exact same prime, RALEIGH covered, secure location right next to the tate Democratic Party Chairman underground entrance of the Old Court David Parker, a Statesville attorHouse, just as before. ney, said he sees no need to seek a Instead, thetaking motion putforforth by second term, credit what he Chairman of the Board of Commissioners calls a “substantial rebound” for key Linda Shaw merely calledthefor members of the party near endthe of commissioners’ individual names to be his tenure. taken In off an of exclusive the parkinginterview spaces. Those with spaces will now beParker pooled.discounted There will be Carolina Journal, thea row of nine spaces, eachlosses with signs say significant electoral histhat party simply “Commissioner” front the of them. suffered in November,in and bad Commissioners can from now take whatever publicity resulting a sexual haspace is available, rathera than parkmale in a rassment charge that former space designated their name. employee madewith against the party’s Shaw made the motion because the male executive director. arrangement beensaid, in place for the Instead,that’s Parker his behindlast eight months a logistical the-scenes efforts has havebeen helped rebuild nightmare that’s consumed a great demodeal of the reputations of six disgraced staff time, county and court staff alike. The crats. arrangement has also gotten some Guilford “These individuals have been County commissioners, throughjudges someangry toughwith times, but thanks and some commissioners angrythey at court to my influence and advice, will workers. The previous parking arrangement once again be influential and respected had, in short, created a lot of chaos. their North Carolinians. Rebuilding But the fix that passed at the board’s reputations is key to rebuilding the Tuesday, Feb. 19 work session Democratic Party,” he said. is something of a mess itself. The board passed an unprecedented motion that applies to eight The six commissioners but excludes Commissioner • Former Carolyn Coleman.Gov. Mike Easley, who took a felony plea on campaign finance The commissioners have always had violations involving improperly retheir parking spaces convenient to the porting campaign flights: “I helped him underground entrance of the Old Court

House but, about nine months ago, former court workers – mostly employees of the Guilford County Manager Brenda Jones Fox clerk of courts office – began calling the decided to terminate a parking agreement commissioners, whom they didn’t know, with the City of Greensboro and the State and asking if they could use their spaces of North Carolina that had been in place since otherwise the spaces would go for decades. That longstanding agreement unused. At that time, all or nearly all of the allowed some court and city employees gave permission to the to rent spaces in the underground deck, commissioners Mike Mary Ruffin worker Poole who called which is highly convenient to the Guilford first random Easley court Easley County Courthouse, city hall and the Old them, which meant that the Board of Court House used by commissioners and Commissioners had created a de facto Adopt a Court Worker Parking Program. county staff. After that, the 11 commissioners’ spaces When Fox terminated the agreement, were consistently occupied by court she gave the commissioners a row of prime workers. parking spaces right next to the door, and McQueen Lanny Beverly However, that Wilson highly juried-rigged facilities staff put up placards in front Campbell Perdue of each space that said “Commissioner arrangement resulted in major confusion Bencini” or “Commissioner Shaw” and so and problems. County and court staff on. The commissioners had always had often had to call each other to see who was parking in the underground lot, however, in which space and see if a commissioner after that move, they had a solid row of the actually gave permission. County security didn’t know whether to tow a car or not. most Democratic prime parking with their names State Party Chairman DavidonParker feels the engineering of the “substanCourt workers with no access card to the signs in front of the spaces. tial rebound” of the financial prospects and reputations of in-trouble Democrats is gated parking lot photos) would drive up and say, hisInlasting legacy the once-dominant party. (CJ file the past, theto commissioners onlystate used their parking spaces once in a blue “I’m here to park in commissioner so and get his law license restored in Decem- ing a reworked retirement scheme. moon, if that. Usually, the only time the so’s spot,” and parking attendants were ber, even though he still has not paid Her new annual government pension commissioners would park in the spaces unclear what to do. Court staff at times $95,000 of a $100,000 fine his campaign jumped from $37,171 to $80,597. She was at 5:30 p.m. on two Thursdays a month had to call the county on behalf of judges owes the State Board of Elections. Mike was very thankful.” – when Board of Commissioner meetings whose spots were taken by commissioners told me people have already forgotten who had • Ruffin a topspace aide to Mike givenPoole, their own away to are held. about that fine.” Easley, who took a felony plea on corcourt workers. Many city, state and county workers • Former lady Mary Easley, charges: “After Ruffin out One part of the problem is that got the new got irritated on afirst daily basis when they ruption fired from a $170,000-a-year job at N.C. of federal prison in April, I helped him commissioners are down at the Old Court walked past the row of constantly empty State University that she as a House buy a anew Raleigh home down the lot more than the commissioners prime parking while they hadobtained to walk great result of her husband’s intervention: “I street from his old boss, Mike they replaced. Also, Shaw is at herEasley. second distances each morning, sometimes in the guided her though a successful settleI’m still working on getting his law lifloor corner office at the Old Court House cold and rain. ment with N.C. State officials involvcense restored, and I hear he’s becomquite a bit. It wasn’t long before quick-thinking

Page 29

Moochers Chairman Parker Hails Return to ‘Normalcy’ for Dems (a CJ Parody)


One county employee said, “She’s here all the time.” ing a lobbyist.” Many of the commissioners who didn’t • McQueen Campbell, the forrun again or were voted off the board never mer chairman of the N.C. State Board used to be down at the Old Court House, of Trustees, who stepped down after but the four new commissioners – Jeff his role was revealed in both Mary Phillips, Ray Trapp, Alan Branson and Easley’s hiring and in providing Mike Hank Henning – have had a lot of training Easley with illegal campaign flights: sessions, tours of county facilities and “He won’t be flying politicians around conferences with department heads and for awhile, but I hooked him up with other county officials. theDespite football and basketball coaching all the problems with the staff at State. They like freeatflights, previous parking “system,” the Feb.too, 19 and these appear to be legal. McQueen commissioners work session, Shaw clearly say’s he’s when happy asproposed long as he is flying hit a nerve she to have staff someone important. ” take down the individual signs and simply • Lanny major Demodesignate all theWilson, spaces asa commissioners’ cratic fundraiser who was involved spaces. but not charged in the scheme that sent Shaw explained that the commissioners Poole to prison and helped the Easleys would still have parking spaces and could get a sweetheart deal on coastal just take any of the nine spaces thatpropwere erty: “I called someday. favors andShaw got available on anyingiven Also, the [state Department of Transportasaid, that way commissioners wouldn’t tion] to court name a Wilmington have toboard deal with workers or have the bridge after Wilson. Lanny toldworkers me he unpleasant task of telling the court is beginning feel important again.” they could notolonger use commissioners’ • Gov. Bev Perdue: “Even though parking spaces. The commissioners would people might sheparking doesn’tspaces like simply have no think personal me because step would down be as to offer sinceI refused all the to spaces party chairman when she asked me to, collective. weShaw are actually goodtobuddies. I helped explained the board the her come up somethat excuses for not confusion andwith problems had resulted sending her unspent campaign funds from the system that’s been in place for the to the Democratic Party. She is sitting last eight months. on“Commissioners about $1.2 million she can use havethatbeen parking for a variety of things. She said she in judges’ spaces and that got the judges owes me(Continued big time.”on page 31) CJ

An Investment Plan For N.C.’s Economic Recovery The ongoing debate in Washington and the upcoming national campaigns for president and Congress will offer plenty of opportunities for pro-growth politicians to craft, explain, and sell reforms of the federal budget, federal taxation, federal regulation, and federal agencies and programs. In the new book Our Best Foot Forward: An Investment Plan for North Carolina’s Economic Recovery, John Locke Foundation President John Hood tells North Carolina’s policymakers and citizens that economic policy is not the exclusive domain of presidents, federal lawmakers, or the Federal Reserve. John Hood States and localities can play critical roles in economic policy — for good or for ill. We invite you to read and share this plan for our state’s recovery with your family, friends, and co-workers. Go to for more information.

The John Locke Foundation, 200 W. Morgan St. Suite 200, Raleigh, NC, 27601 919-828-3876 • • •

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

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The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Page 31


(Continued from page 29) upset,” Shaw said. Shaw said she had given her space to a court worker but, since being elected chairman in December, she now frequently needs her space. “I never knew when I was going to be in and out,” Shaw said. Shaw said at the meeting that the majority of the board felt like the best way to solve the problem was to take the names off the individual spaces. An irritated Coleman said, “Oh, I didn’t know you had voted.” Commissioners had been informed of the proposed change before the meeting – but that clearly didn’t mean they had all agreed

to go along with it. Commissioner Bruce Davis said he was torn. “I can go either way, but we’ve always had assigned spaces,” Davis said. He said he’d tried to help a court worker by agreeing to loan her his space when he wasn’t using it, but that had led to nothing but problems. Davis said one day he came down to the Old Guilford County Court House to conduct business and he called the court worker to come move her car. “She said, ‘So and so’s spot is open – why didn’t you just park there?’” he said. Davis said that remark irritated him greatly.

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several times that she wanted to keep her place with her name on it. The others could do what they wanted, she said. Shaw told Coleman, “I think it has to be all or nothing.” Several commissioners began getting into it in a lively discussion that had many commissioners talking over one another. Commissioner Kay Cashion said, “We can agree on a budget, but we can’t agree on a parking place.” In the end, the motion was amended to exclude Coleman’s parking space, and the new motion passed 6 to 3. Commissioners Bill Bencini, Branson, Phillips, Henning, Cashion and Shaw (Continued on page 32)

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“Here I am trying to be nice,” Davis said. Davis said that was the last straw for him. “After that, I stopped,” Davis said. Coleman, on the other hand, said she hadn’t had any issues with her adopted court worker. Coleman said the other commissioners were free to have their names taken down off the parking spaces if they chose, but she wanted to keep hers. When other commissioners objected, she was taken aback. “Why are you making it look like I am the problem?” Coleman said. At that work session, Coleman reiterated

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Page 32

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

Parking (Continued from page 31) voted in favor of the motion, while Commissioners Trapp, Davis and Coleman voted no. After the work session, Coleman, who now has the distinction of being the only commissioner with her own parking space, said the board’s solution was overkill. Coleman said that, if the commissioners wanted to tell the court workers not to park in their spaces, they should have just said that rather than come up with some convoluted solution such as taking the commissioners’ individual signs down. “I have not had a problem with the lady using my parking space,” Coleman said. “If

I have to use it then I call and she doesn’t use it. We work together on that.” One county employee said county staff was happy that they no longer have to deal with the issue. “That is commissioners’ parking and it had become clerk of courts parking,” the county employee said. One current commissioner who asked not to be identified said there’s a remaining problem with the spaces: Former commissioners have been using their old entry cards to get in the lot and then park in current commissioners’ spaces. In the private sector, when an employee leaves a company, the company takes

to county employees. Trapp joked that he had just become a commissioner and, all of a sudden, they’re taking the perks away. He said that soon nuts and crackers at commissioners meetings might be gone too. Trapp doesn’t even use his space when commissioners hold their meetings. Since the meetings are after business hours, Trapp just parks in the lot next to the BB&T building. “It’s less trouble,” Trapp said. Phillips said he wanted to know if he would at least be able to keep the sign with his name on it that once stood in front of his parking space.

parking passes away, but apparently when a commissioner leaves office, no one collects his or her parking entry card. The Guilford County clerk to the board said that will now be done. “We are checking on which former folks have cards and plan to deactivate them as they come to our attention,” the clerk said. When Guilford County was redistricted last year, the board went from 11 commissioners to nine, and the two freed-up commissioners’ parking spaces were designated as visitors’ spaces. The Guilford County Facilities Department is studying the use of those spaces, and at some point the spaces may be reassigned

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The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro


(Continued from page 1)

asked to leave, and they then joined the reporters in the hallway. Wolverton said they were asked to leave the meeting so a legal matter could be discussed. When it was pointed out that neither the city attorney nor the attorney for DGI was in the room, Wolverton said that was what they were told. On Tuesday, Feb. 26, a committee of the Greensboro City Council made up of Perkins and Councilmembers Vaughan, Yvonne Johnson and Zack Matheny met with the DGI Executive Committee and agreed to have further meetings about where DGI would go from here. Vaughan said they would be deciding how to “reconstitute” DGI. When asked about the word, Vaughan said she thought it was the right one. Reconstitute is defined as “To build up again from parts; reconstruct.” Vaughan said the joint committee would “come up with a game plan to try and move this forward and take some of the emotion out of it.” The council is adamant that for almost $1 million a year DGI should do more than put hanging baskets in front of a chosen few businesses, mainly on Elm Street, and pick up trash. Last Tuesday, Feb. 19, the Greensboro City Council at its weekly meeting, took the unusual move of voting unanimously to explore avenues for downtown improvement other than DGI. The reason for the motion was that the City Council asked to see Wolverton’s employment contract and was told to “Go fish.” In other words, if Wolverton is looking for someone to blame for the loss of his job he need only look in the mirror. Wolverton, of course, is correct. He works for DGI, a private nonprofit organization, and does not have to show his employment contract to the Greensboro City Council. However, the City Council provides about 90 percent of the DGI budget, which would translate into about $90,000 of Wolverton’s $103,000 salary. And according to the unanimous belief of the City Council, that should have bought them a peak at Wolverton’s contract. Eventually the council did get a copy. The unmitigated arrogance of Wolverton might have cost him his job immediately except Wolverton, as he said, doesn’t work for the City Council. He works for the DGI board, which is, if possible, even more arrogant than its president. The DGI board is the ultimate old boys club, even though some of the primary members are women. They have a really nice club house and a big sign that says “members only.” The sign is imaginary, but if you should try to attend a meeting of this club that spends about a million in tax dollars every year, you will be shown the door, as I discovered last Thursday, Feb. 21. The DGI board had a meeting on Feb. 21, and I thought that since I was a downtown property owner who is forced, through my taxes, to pay DGI hundreds a

Thursday, February 28, 2013

dollars a year that I was a member of DGI. As Wolverton not so politely told me, DGI has no members and I could not attend the meeting. What does this board do that is so secretive they don’t want downtown property owners who are paying for it to find out what it is doing? So the $1 million a year from the city didn’t buy the city the right to see Wolverton’s contract and my paltry few hundred dollars a year didn’t buy me the right to sit in the same room as the vaunted DGI board and listen to them deliberate on how they would spend our tax money. Vaughan is right; reconstitution is definitely called for. But from reading a letter written by Carolina Bank President and DGI Board member Bob Braswell, Wolverton, in refusing to give a copy of his employment contract to the city and refusing to allow even downtown property owners into the meeting, was just echoing the views of at least one member of his board. Braswell states in his letter, “As I mentioned from my years of serving on the Board and earlier Executive Committee membership, I have seen that the City is the one who is primarily at fault, not DGI, in moving the downtown vision forward.” Later on in the three page letter, he states, “I furthermore find this entire process to be totally disingenuous, unbecoming and laughable in retrospect based on the City’s lack of performance, lack of visionary drive by the City Councilmembers who are supposed to have this vision themselves per their political speeches and the lack of action that the City has taken over the last ten plus years in trying to develop plans and guidance for groups like DGI to use as a basis for their efforts.” Perhaps just to make sure that he doesn’t get reappointed to any city boards or commissions any time soon, Braswell continues his harangue of the City Council with this final sentence, “I am deeply disappointed in all three of you. I had personal admiration and respect for you which has quickly dissolved in the manner in which this has been dealt.” The three are Perkins, Vaughan and Roth. Needless to say councilmembers were none too impressed with Braswell’s letter, which does solve one problem – it does

get Braswell off the board of DGI. So perhaps someone will get appointed who understands that if 90 percent of your budget comes from one source you can’t spit in the eye of that source without expecting consequences. Councilmember Zack Matheny said people have to remember, “we didn’t throw the first punch.” Matheny said the council’s vote last Tuesday was the result of being told to take a hike when the City Council tried to get some basic information about a nonprofit it funds, run by a board made up of members who were all supposed to have been approved by the City Council. When the council is considering how to reconstitute DGI, it definitely needs to make one major change – the board needs to be appointed by the City Council. The current board is self-perpetuating. According to the bylaws of Downtown Greensboro Investment Corporation (DGIC), which is evidently a subsidiary of DGI, a board member can only serve two three-year terms. There is no allowance for serving any longer. Yet some board members have reportedly been on the board much longer, hence the good old boys club. I was allowed to attend the meeting of the DGIC, which has exactly the same board members as DGI. I was told that because it gives away city money, it’s meetings are open to the public. According to the tax records, DGI gave DGIC $135,000 in 2010. The bylaws of DGIC are public records according to Wolverton, but the bylaws of DGI are not. The sole member of DGIC is DGI. If that is not confusing enough there is yet another entity, Downtown Greensboro Foundation, with the sole member being DGI. Why an organization that is supposed to take tax dollars and promote downtown growth and activity needs shell corporations to hide behind is unknown. It would appear that if DGIC were not a separate corporation then DGI might have to open its meetings to the public, and that is something that DGI is evidently absolutely opposed to doing. Which once again raises the question, what does DGI do with its million in tax dollars that it doesn’t want the public to know about? One thing that Matheny said about DGI

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Page 33

that certainly rings true for this property owner on West Market Street is, “if you aren’t on Elm Street you haven’t seen any benefit.” DGI makes no bones about its primary area of concern being on Elm Street. It’s where DGI spends most of its time picking up trash. It’s where almost all the hanging baskets are. It’s where DGI put new recycling and trash cans. It seems to be the only part of downtown Greensboro that DGI cares about. One thing that the folks at DGI might want to take a look at is where Don Vaughan’s law office is – 612 W. Friendly Ave. Don is Councilmember Nancy Vaughan’s husband and his office is in the Business Improvement District (BID) by half a block, so he has to pay the additional 8 cents in property tax. But Nancy Vaughan will tell you that they get nothing out of DGI. DGI is the entity responsible for marketing downtown Greensboro. As such it hired some consultants to come up with a slogan for the downtown. There is no telling how much the consultants were paid because the DGI books are not open to the public. But if you are a downtown property owner your tax dollars paid for this all new and improved slogan. Do you know what it is? I am on the DGI mailing and email lists and I had no idea what the slogan was (Continued on page 34)

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Rumors (Continued from page 27) In this business if you can ever claim to have made any difference at all you celebrate. So I probably don’t deserve any credit for this but I’m going to claim some. A few years ago I got fascinated with the fact that US senators sign their desks and I called the Senate historical office to see what I could find out about it. Other than information about the desks of a couple of really famous senators they couldn’t tell me much. I looked on the Senate website the other day and now there is an entire section devoted to the desks, and you can see photos of the signatures in each

Thursday, February 28, 2013

drawer and who had each desk. I’m sure it wasn’t my call that prompted the excellent research that went into the website, but I’m going to claim credit all the same. --OK, what is it with rain this year? I looked out on Tuesday and for a few minutes it looked like it was monsoon season. One thing about North Carolina is we do get varied weather. I walked out of the office in an overcoat this week and it was so warm I almost turned around to leave my coat at the office, but by the time I got to the corner, I was glad I had it on. On the way back, I was really glad I had it on.

Budget (Continued from page 8) inevitably start with garbage fees. Of the top 15 North Carolina cities by population, High Point has the secondhighest property tax rate, behind only bigspending Chapel Hill, which also has the highest median home value ($356,000) of the 15 cities. High Point is toward the bottom of the median home value list, at $143,500. That high property tax ranking was a campaign issue last year too. Boynton always counters the charges of High Point nearly leading the state in property tax rates by arguing that most of the other cities on the list hide much of their taxation in water and sewer fees and, especially in garbage-collection fees. Boynton and Olmedo’s presentation

Music Hall (Continued from page 7) representatives said that so far only about $15 million in pledges have been gathered from private donors. Over $15 million is the same amount of tentative pledges that task force member Kathy Manning said the task force had at a June 19 council meeting last year. Another obstacle to funding the GPAC is the use of the hotel/motel tax fund. That money would require the approval of the Republican-controlled Guilford County

Board of Commissioners, who may be reluctant to be a part of borrowing $10 million since several commissioners made excessive government debt a campaign issue. If the county does not approve using the hotel-motel tax to fund a $10 million loan, and the task force does not reach its fundraising goal, then that would leave the GPAC with only $10 million from the city and $15 from the private sector for a total of $25 million, and a funding gap of $35.5 million.


(Continued from page 33)

ranked the 15 cities by median 2012-2013 residential municipal charges, including property taxes, garbage fees and waterand-sewer rates. By that measurement, High Point comes in fifth with total annual taxes and fees of $1,773, behind Chapel Hill ($3,702), Asheville ($2,035), Cary ($1,920) and Wilmington ($1,875). That still leaves High Point ahead of 10 of the largest 15 cities. Greensboro came in 12th, with median 2012-2013 residential property taxes and fees of $1,399. High Point charges $12 a year in garbage pickup fees for a median-value house. Most cities charge much more, up to $299 in Wilmington. Four of the cities, WinstonSalem, Greensboro, Concord and Chapel Hill, have no garbage-pickup charges.

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

until last week. I haven’t found one single individual who knows what it is. The answer is, “It’s Right Here.” In 2012, the DGI slogan evidently was “Leading the Way.” It’s what is on the Strategic Plan Summary, but the organization is so secretive, who knows if it is an expensive slogan or just some words they put on the bottom of the plan. The meeting of the DGIC last week which was open to the public lasted less than five minutes. The DGI meeting lasted about 90 minutes. One of the issues that brought all this to a head was the downtown repair ordinance, which is DGI’s solution to problems they see with several buildings, and in particular the building on the corner of South Elm and West Washington streets, which is owned by Sidney Gray and has boarded

up windows. The DGI solution to a couple of buildings with boarded up windows is not to call the owners and ask them if something can be worked out – DGIC does have facade grants – but rather to try to get the City Council to pass a law for all the buildings in the BID so they can be fined if they have a torn awning or a cracked window. DGI wanted peeling paint and barred windows on the ordinance also, but they were removed by the City Council. Gray said that not once has DGI ever brought a prospective tenant to him. If his building and several others are such a problem that the entire downtown has to be regulated, then why hasn’t DGI been out looking for some tenants who would fix up the buildings? The council says that DGI needs to be more visionary. That doesn’t seem to take a tremendous amount of vision.

The Rhinoceros Times Greensboro

I can’t believe the level to which President Barack Hussein Obama has sunk with this whole sequester mess. First of all it was his idea. He can blame it on the Republicans all he wants but this was his idea. Even noted liberal writer Bob Woodward has written that it was Obama’s idea. But now that his idea is going into effect, Obama is making the same argument that the Guilford County school system makes when they think they won’t get every dime they requested. They claim there are simply no cuts in the schools that won’t put children out in the cold trying to teach themselves because there will be no teachers left. There is never a single administrator that can be cut. The only things that can be cut deal directly with children and are extremely popular. Or when the city manager thinks the City Council is not going to raise taxes and fully fund the budget. Then the only thing in the entire bloated city budget that can be cut are police officers, and after that they have to close down recreation centers. The all time best – and if Obama were a better politician he would be using this one – was when the county was going to give the Department of Public Health less than 100 percent of the budget it requested. They actually claimed the only thing in the entire department that could be cut was burying the indigent. So without full funding the bodies of people who died without the means to have themselves buried would just pile up until the next budget year. It was simply brilliant and, of course, the politicians couldn’t stand that heat and handed over the money. The federal government is on line to spend $3.8 trillion this year. The sequester will limit the federal government to spending $3.715 trillion, so apparently the only thing in that entire budget that can be cut are air traffic controllers, Transportation Security Administration agents at airports, Border Patrol agents, education funding and other services that directly affect people. The truth is that nobody is really talking about cutting anything. For one thing the federal government doesn’t have a budget. It has not had one since the first year Obama took over as president. There is no budget, so federal agencies just keep growing. All the sequester does is cut back on the rate of growth a little bit. Why should the federal government grow every year? If all the federal services that were provided in 2012 were provided at exactly the same level by employees being paid exactly the same amount of money would that cause massive problems for the people of the country? The sequester doesn’t even come close to doing that. It just calls for across-the-board cuts that reach a level of $85 billion. Last year the federal government spent over $2 billion providing cell phones to people who could not afford them. I didn’t know that owning a cell phone was an inalienable right like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but evidently it is important enough for the federal government to spend $2 billion on Obama-phones. Of course,

Thursday, February 28, 2013

that was an election year. The federal government might not have to spend quite as much on Obama-phones since all those votes have been cast. Imagine for just a moment if the sequester meant that the Air Force One pilot would be furloughed and the Obamas could not fly anywhere they wanted at any moment. Imagine if just one week a month the Obamas couldn’t fly anywhere because they didn’t have a pilot. Or what if the sequester caused Obama’s favorite golf course to be closed on Sundays. Or isn’t it possible that with the sequester the White House chef would be laid off? In fact, it is somewhat amazing that the American people are going to be so inconvenienced by the reduction in anticipated spending that this sequester brings, but the president will not be inconvenienced at all. Imagine – according to Obama the federal government can’t survive on a mere $3.715 trillion without making drastic cuts to services that many Americans use. In 2008, the last budget of the George Walker Bush administration total federal spending was $2.9 trillion. Obama has increased spending during his four years by nearly $1 trillion. If the federal government went back to the 2008 budget that would cut almost $1 trillion from the current spending pattern (as noted, there is no budget). But were things really so bad in 2008? I remember flying in 2008 and there were no long delays because of a lack of air traffic controllers. The national parks were open, and children were being educated. So four years ago Bush was able to run the country on $1 trillion less, but in 2013 Obama can’t run the country on $85 billion less? If Obama wanted to he could cut $85 billion from projected federal spending and no one would notice except for the overpaid, underworked administrators who would be laid off. The federal workforce is a huge pork barrel. You have employees who work really hard and do an outstanding job, and you have entire departments who do nothing useful. Obama doesn’t want to eliminate the entire departments who do nothing useful because that would be evidence that the federal government doesn’t need to raise taxes. He is going to do everything in his power to make the reductions in projected spending as painful as possible. One report said that although Air Force One will not be touched by the reduction in the rate of growth that the Air Force might stop providing planes for congressional junkets. It is extremely hard to write about the sequester without writing about cuts, but in reality there are no cuts. Imagine a child who really wants a pony for Christmas and begs and pleads for a pony for months. Christmas morning comes and there is no pony. Now can that child say that she lost a pony? Can she say that she had a pony and it was taken away from her? Not according to most people. But if a federal department is expecting an increase and that increase is reduced that is considered a cut.

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Only in government can someone get 10 percent more than the previous year and call it a cut in spending.

,,, It should surprise no one that ABC edited out part of an interview with First Lady Michelle Obama, where she makes a fool of herself talking about “automatic weapons,” which are extremely regulated and were not used in the murder she said they were. It is the kind of protection the Obamas and Vice President Joe Biden have received from the press, since the beginning of the 2008 campaign. Biden suggested that his wife commit a felony if she thought there was a prowler in the house and suggested that other people do the same thing. Biden said that he told his wife to go out on the balcony and fire both barrels of a double barreled shot gun in the air. This is not a felony in all locales, but in most cities firing a gun in the air is a crime, and it is not something that law enforcement recommends. Imagine if Sen. Marco Rubio had suggested committing a felony as a way to deal with noises in the night. Rubio was ridiculed for getting a drink of water. But it appears the rank-and-file reporters may finally be getting tired of the Obamas’ tricks. President Obama won’t talk to the press and he won’t even allow his press secretary to give them useful information. When he went to play golf on his bachelor’s weekend, the press was not even allowed on the property. The tradition is that a small pool of reporters gets to accompany the president to the first tee and often at the 18th green. Obama usually doesn’t allow that on his Sunday golf outings, but in this case the press was kept outside the gates of the exclusive members-only golf resort. The New York Times reported that for a $500,000 donation to Organizing for Action, access to the president was guaranteed. That’s a lot of money, but access to the most powerful man in the world is something that usually cannot be bought. The White House reporters actually ganged up and asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about it and Carney read some weak prepared statement that said nothing. But one thing Carney did not do was deny the allegations. He said quite a bit, but he didn’t say that it is not true. Why wouldn’t he simply deny the accusation, if it is not true? Instead Carney walked off the podium while reporters were trying to ask follow-up questions. It is a small issue, but if the White House reporters who have been abused by this administration suddenly turn on the president and start reporting the news, it will make a huge difference in the way Obama is perceived by the nation. Most people in the country don’t read Under the Hammer, and far too many simply take what is presented in the mainstream media as fact. It is a sad day for journalism but, just like ABC editing Michelle Obama’s comments, the reporting on the Obama administration is as much fantasy as fact.

By John Hammer Even Bob Woodward felt the need to step up and remind primarily reporters that Obama was the one who came up with sequester idea and supported it.

,,, Another big supporter of Obama’s is on his way to jail. Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is apparently going to spend some time in federal prison for stealing $750,000 in campaign funds. His wife is also pleading guilty, but may not go to prison. Jackson said he had been using his campaign fund for living expenses for years, but the investigation showed that he spent large sums on collectibles and expensive jewelry, items that most people don’t consider necessary living expenses. Jackson was co-chairman of the Obama presidential campaign in 2008, but if you are reading articles about Jackson going to prison you don’t often see that job mentioned or any reference to what a close relationship Jackson and Obama had at one time. Jackson’s sister and Michelle Obama were good friends when they were growing up. Jesse Jackson Sr. has said Michelle was over at his house all the time as a teenager. Does Barack Obama have any friends left in Chicago who aren’t in prison? Obama’s close friend Tony Rezko, who was kind enough to help Obama buy his house in Chicago, is in jail for fraud. Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is also in prison. Obama claimed credit for getting Blagojevich elected governor. He used to say that he ran the campaign. However, now Blagojevich is just some guy from Chicago that Obama may have bumped into a few times. Really, you look at Obama’s friends and you have to wonder what kind of man we have elected as president. One of his best buddies is Bill Ayers, who is an unrepentant domestic terrorist. Ayers participated in bombings in that killed people and got off on a technicality. Back when Ayers was running from the law, I’m sure he had no idea that one day he’d be a good friend with the president of the United States. Consider also that Obama’s brother, George Obama, lives in abject poverty in Kenya. George Obama lives in a hovel made of old pieces of metal and cardboard. In an interview he said he lived on $1 a month. His brother is the most powerful man in the world and privately worth millions of dollars, yet Barack Obama won’t send his brother George $10 a year to double his income. It’s frightening to think of what kind of man is running the country.

,,, Obama talks a lot about how the rich need to be taxed more and works hard at creating class warfare. But when Obama himself has a chance to take a few days off where does he go? He goes off and plays golf in a club that is so exclusive most millionaires can’t afford it.


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Thursday, February 28, 2013

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School staffers suggest felons, Council shows DGI who's boss, Moochers lose prime parking