GPD OFFICER FIRED
November 18-26, 2020 YES! WEEKLY
OFTEN IMITATED NEVER DUPLICATED
November 18-26, 2020
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NOVEMBER 18-24, 2020 VOLUME 16, NUMBER 47
10 5500 Adams Farm Lane Suite 204 Greensboro, NC 27407 Office 336-316-1231 Fax 336-316-1930 Publisher CHARLES A. WOMACK III firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL Editor KATIE MURAWSKI email@example.com Contributors IAN MCDOWELL MARK BURGER
Despite everything that has happened in 2020, FEMFEST VII refuses to submit... The annual event will shift online, with a day of streaming from 15 femme and female artists, starting on Nov. 21. In lieu of a cover, donations are being collected through a GoFundMe campaign. As always, 100% of donations go directly to Family Services of Forsyth County, which is a women’s shelter located in WinstonSalem.
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DISTRIBUTION JANICE GANTT KYLE MUNRO SHANE MERRIMAN ANDREW WOMACK We at YES! Weekly realize that the interest of our readers goes well beyond the boundaries of the Piedmont Triad. Therefore we are dedicated to informing and entertaining with thought-provoking, debate-spurring, in-depth investigative news stories and features of local, national and international scope, and opinion grounded in reason, as well as providing the most comprehensive entertainment and arts coverage in the Triad. YES! Weekly welcomes submissions of all kinds. Efforts will be made to return those with a self-addressed stamped envelope; however YES! Weekly assumes no responsibility for unsolicited submissions. YES! Weekly is published every Wednesday by Womack Newspapers, Inc. No portion may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. First copy is free, all additional copies are $1.00. Copyright 2020 Womack Newspapers, Inc.
GUILFORD COLLEGE faculty have no confidence in interim president Carol Moore and the 183-year-old private liberal arts college’s Board of Trustees. That was the declaration of a Zoom meeting held on Friday, Nov. 11, in which 94% of the 70 attending faculty members voted “no confidence” in Moore, and 93% voted they have none in trustee leadership (Zoom’s onscreen statistics only show percentages, not the number of votes). 5 Jan said due to the financial barriers she faces of getting her name and gender marker on her paperwork changed to reflect her AUTHENTIC SELF, she has experienced difficulties with finding a stable, “legitimate” career. “I believe that the stigmas around sex work, in general, are slowly but surely beginning to fade,” she said. 6 In the spirit of giving thanks, the RiverRun International Film Festival and Marketplace Cinemas in Winston-Salem’s ongoing “RiverRun at Marketplace” DRIVEIN SCREENINGS pays homage to the Great White Way with a special screening this Sunday at the Marketplace Cinemas Drive-In, 2095 Peters Creek Pkwy, in Winston-Salem.
Not too many years ago, North Carolina was considered to be a politically inconsequential state. That’s because OUR VOTING PATTERNS were predictable, and our presidential primaries were held so late that we hardly ever figured into the nominating process. 12 Two weeks ago, it was announced that the Guilford County COURTHOUSES would resume jury trials for the first time since March has caused concern among attorneys and courthouse staff. On Monday, Nov. 9, YES! Weekly received an anonymous tip alleging a positive COVID-19 case on the third floor of the courthouse in Greensboro. The source also alleged that the office was only being deep-cleaned and not shut down. 14 GREENSBORO POLICE OFFICER Douglas A. Strader was fired from the Greensboro Police Department on Sept. 22, for firing his weapon at a vehicle fleeing a crime scene at the intersection of S. Elm and E. Washington Streets on Oct. 27, 2019— 379 days after he took part in the 2018 hogtying of Marcus Deon Smith.
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Professors protest ‘gutting’ of Guilford College
uilford College faculty has no confidence in interim president Carol Moore and the 183-year-old private liberal arts college’s Board of Trustees. Ian McDowell That was the declaration of a Zoom meeting held Contributor on Friday, Nov. 11, in which 94% of the 70 attending faculty members voted “no confidence” in Moore, and 93% voted they have none in trustee leadership (Zoom’s onscreen statistics only show percentages, not the number of votes). Following Quaker tradition, Guilford’s faculty uses a decision-making model to conduct its business. The American Friends Historic Committee defines Quaker decision-making as a process in which, “Friends do not simply vote to determine the majority view, but rather they seek unity about the wisest course of action.” This was the first time in the institution’s nearly 200-year history that faculty have taken such a vote on its leadership. According to a Friday media release from the faculty members who organized the meeting: The vote of ‘No confidence’ reflects a deep dissatisfaction with the interim president, who was hired in August by the Board of Trustees without a traditional national higher education search process…It also reflects a deep distrust of the Board’s leadership, and their ability to govern the college. The meeting at which the votes were records was held in response to letters of intent sent out by administration on Nov. 6, which announced that 20 full-time faculty members would be terminated and half of the current majors offered on campus would be eliminated. The list of positions to be terminated included those of 15 tenured faculty (including some who held endowed professorships and others who had won teaching awards), one tenure-track faculty member currently in the middle of a tenure review, and four long-term Visiting Assistant Professors who had each been teaching full-time on campus for over a decade. The majors, which would be eliminated after Spring 2021, are Chemistry, Community & Justice Studies, Creative Writing, Economics, Forensic Biology, Geology, History, Philosophy, Math, Peace & Conflict YES! WEEKLY
NOVEMBER 18-26, 2020
Studies, Physics, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology/Anthropology, and all Modern Languages. The only remaining Humanities department would be English, and the only remaining science department would be Biology. Eight staff members were also notified their positions would end in the coming weeks—including the director of the Center for Principled Problem Solving. Among the “questions that deserve answers” listed on the press kit from the Nov. 11 meeting is, How can you uphold executive contracts for administrators making over $100,000 each and simultaneously fire 20% of your tenured faculty—at a campus that prides itself on social justice and integrity? As of noon on Tuesday, Interim President Moore had not responded to either YES! Weekly’s request for comment, or our inquiry about her current salary. The only public record of what Guilford College administrators earn is the institution’s Form 990 for 2017. It lists then-president Jane Fernandez, who resigned in July of this year, as earning a salary of $284,983 with an additional $39,404 “in compensation from the organization and other organizations.” The highest-paid administrator on the 2017 form who is still employed by the college is Vice President for Administration and Finance Len Sippel, with a salary of $191,53 and additional compensation of $11,458. President Moore is the head of the President’s Cabinet, which the college’s website states is responsible “for the strategic oversight and management of the College and its respective divisional units.” These are Barbara Lawrence, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Title IX Coordinator; Roger Degerman, Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment; and Ara Serjoie, Vice President of Advancement. According to the 990 form, in 2017, Lawrence earned, $142,563, with additional compensation of $15,187; Degerman earned $119,451, with additional compensation of $12,121; and Serjoie earned $101,946, with additional compensation of $10,849. Also on the 990 form was Past President Kent Chabotor, who retired in 2013, but in 2017 earned $99,314, with additional compensation of $16,026. “I expect [past President] Fernandes’ parachute is similar,” said a faculty member who asked not to be named but whose job at Guilford ends with the Spring 2021 semester. “I don’t want to give them cause to fire me before then. I realize that these salaries aren’t unusual for academic administrators, and some might even call them low, although that word sticks in the
throats of those of us who were making far less before we were fired. ‘Gutted’ describes both how I feel and my colleagues feel, and what the Trustees and interim president will have done to the college this time next year.” The press kit also includes the following questions: How did a 183-year-old institution, built by Quakers on land that was a part of the underground railroad, get betrayed by its own Board of Trustees? How did a 183-year-old institution, built by Quakers on land that was a part of the underground railroad, betray its own community and core values? How can you be a liberal arts college if you eliminate the Math, Religious Studies, Philosophy, Economics, Chemistry, History, Geology, Political Science, Sociology & Anthropology, Peace & Conflict Studies, Physics, Community & Justice Studies, and the entire Modern Languages programs? Why is the interim president hired by the Board of Trustees saying we can’t “afford to be a liberal arts or Quaker college” after only being on campus for 60 days? Why does a Quaker-founded school with “integrity” in its core values pressure terminated employees, even alumni ones, to sign non-disclosure and non-association agreements in order to get any severance? During Program Prioritization Town Hall sessions held Oct. 12 for alumni and Oct. 14 for parents, Interim President Carol Moore and Interim Provost Rob Whitnell spoke of what they called the “prioritization process.” More said that “the prioritization of academic and administrative programs is a process that a College should undergo about every five years,” adding that “Guilford last completed a prioritization process in 2011.” The Nov. 6 “Update Message from President Carol Moore” post on the on Guilford College’s website includes the following paragraph: Change can cause anxious moments, but it is also a time of opportunity. Over the next weeks and months, we will be turning our attention to developing the College’s future path. Indeed, the Futures Task Force has already begun that work, and we look forward to sharing information with you as it develops. It also stated: While much of this change is exciting, the discontinuation of some majors will result in the loss of some of the College’s faculty members at the end of this academic year. Several faculty members who spoke to YES! Weekly on condition of anonymity said that they understand the college is facing
major financial issues, but that they don’t understand why it won’t follow its own stated policies for dealing with such a crisis, which include declaring financial exigency and following that procedure for making cuts. They also accused the Trustees of breaking tenure contracts while “protecting the Vice Presidents who got us into this mess.” Every single one interviewed expressed anger at Moore’s use of the word “exciting.” One professor who gave a statement for the record is Geology professor Dr. Dave Dobson. Dobson is also a game designer and author, who invented Snood and is the author of three fantasy novels. Last week, Dobson emailed YES! Weekly the following statement: Guilford has been a really special place for me for going on 24 years. I have loved the students, my colleagues, the community, and the commitment to values, both Quaker and human. I know that running a small liberal arts college with a big heart, particularly one that doesn’t cater to wealthy students, is a challenge. That said, we are where we are because of poor leadership and really bad financial decisions in recent years, not because of anything the faculty or staff or students did wrong. The cutting process they’re going through now makes a mockery of our contracts, shows a disregard for standards in higher education, and is constantly accompanied by false statements, the invocation of counterfactual data that is never cited or provided, and endless posturing and cruelty. If I need to leave this place that I’ve loved and supported, I wish it were happening with the integrity and community that I have so valued. Instead, I and others are being discarded through a shamefully fake process by a hired gun who showed up a few months ago. Guilford won’t find new hope and new life this way. It should be trying to rally its friends and family and work with them to build a future, not lying to them and alienating them and then callously tossing aside those who’ve given the best of their labor, their time, and their love, and who had to meet strict standards over multiple reviews to earn their tenure. I know that the faculty who remain are great educators, hard workers, and care deeply about students. I hope they are able to do the work at which they have excelled for many years to come. It seems that will have to happen despite the current leadership, not because of it. ! IAN MCDOWELL is the author of two published novels, numerous anthologized short stories, and a whole lot of nonfiction and journalism, some of which he’s proud of and none of which he’s ashamed of.
Trans sex worker lives matter, and it’s time we start treating them like they do *Editor’s note: The sex worker profiled in this article was given anonymity for her own safety. For the purpose of identification in this article, she was given the pseudonym “Jan.”
lack and Brown transEditor women are dying at an alarming rate in this “great” country. In 2020 alone, 36 trans people— 27 of which were identified as Black and Latinx— have been violently killed, marking an all-time high in fatal violence against trans folks since HRC began tracking this information in 2013. Charlotte’s own Monika Diamond, a 34-year-old Black transwoman, was, unfortunately, one of these fatalities back in March. In observance of “Transgender Awareness Week” and “Trans Day of Remembrance” on Friday, don’t just light a candle and make empty, virtue-signaling social media posts— it’s time we finally act on dismantling the culture of violence against trans people by addressing and solving its root causes exacerbated by systemic racism and sexism. According to the 2018 HRC AntiTrans Violence Report, the dehumanization of trans people begins with anti-trans stigma brought on by lack of family acceptance, hostile political environments, and cultural invisibility/marginalization. This causes a denial of opportunity that prevents trans folk from participating in society through educational setbacks, employment discrimination, exclusion from health care and other social services, unequal policing and the criminal justice system, barriers to legal identification, as well as the overall barriers immigrants, asylum-seekers and refugees face, in addition to being transgender. This ultimately leads to increased riskfactors such as intimate partner violence, sexual assault, poverty/homelessness, physical and mental health disparities, and engagement in survival sex work. These higher rates of risk factors then reinforce the stigma and false narratives about trans people, thus, creating a vicious cycle. “I have no shame, qualms, or quarrels with what I do,” said “Jan,” a 34-year-old WWW.YESWEEKLY.COM
local transgender sex worker I spoke to earlier this year before the COVID-19 pandemic claimed the lives of almost 300,000 people in the country and devastated the economy. Jan is a white transwoman who engages in survival sex work and treats it like she would a regular 9 to 5— she provides a service to her clients, is paid for her work, and then goes home to her husband and pets. Jan noted that sex work isn’t her only source of income, as she is also a drag performer and bartender. Jan is also fiercely dedicated to her community in the Triad through her work with local nonprofit and advocacy agencies, such as the Guilford Green Foundation and Guilford County’s Family Factor Program. Jan said she came out as a transwoman when she was 18 years old and started doing sex work shortly after graduating high school while living with her mentor, or in her words, “trans mother.” “It was even harder then, and that was just not even 20 years ago, for trans people to get legitimate employment,” Jan said. “[My trans mother] kind of taught it to me as more or less, a set of survival skills. That’s a real common misconception among a lot of people— that [sex workers] are out here doing it to fulfill some kind of sexual need or that, I am just out here buying makeup and pocketbooks, and dumb stuff like that. No, I am just trying to pay my rent and keep my lights on.” Jan said due to the financial barriers she faces of getting her name and gender marker on her legal documents changed to reflect her authentic self, she has experienced difficulties with finding a stable, “legitimate” career. “I believe that the stigmas around sex work, in general, are slowly but surely beginning to fade,” she said. “It is more openly talked about; people aren’t shamed or belittled because of it as much as they used to be.” Jan attributes this acceptance in part to increased visibility for violence against trans people, particularly in the media, as well as advocacy groups. It could be argued that the COVID-19 pandemic’s affect on the economy has also done its part to make sex work more visible and accepted, as many folks who have lost employment in industries severely affected by the pandemic had turned to sex work on platforms such as OnlyFans.com. “Another trend I have noticed is that these days, everyone and their mamas
want to do it, and it is not an industry for everybody,” Jan noted. “You shouldn’t want to go down that path if you don’t have to. If you are fortunate enough to be able to have a form of legitimate standard 9 to 5 employment, be grateful for that. This doesn’t come with a retirement plan; it doesn’t come with insurance or benefits.” Although there can be negative connotations to sex work, Jan said she does not feel negative about doing it. “It’s literally documented as far back as biblical times, and beyond probably,” she said. “It is just society’s perception of it, for whatever reason, is so negative. I have never quite understood why— just because there is a price tag on something everybody is doing anyway, that automatically seems to make it bad or immoral or against the law. Why? It doesn’t make any sense; as long as it is between two consenting adults, things are safe, and no one is harming each other, I don’t see the issues with it.” Jan said she feels safe doing sex work in the Triad; however, that is because she prefers not to take on new clients. “These days, they are more geared toward pimps, or human traffickers than they are of the providers themselves,” Jan said of sex work from a legal standpoint. “There are definitely still risks. A lot of the actual face-to-face meetings between people are still considered illegal, but thanks to the progressions of social media and the internet, there are a lot of things you can do without even leaving your home or meeting anyone in person. ” During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jan said she’s had to go online more often to offer her services virtually. “Honestly, COVID has forced me to go a lot more digital than before,” she wrote in a recent message. “Doing webcam work, filming content for subscription-based sites, etc. The only in-person encounters I’ve had has been with well-established regulars, most of whom I’ve seen for over a decade.” Jan is grateful that she has been able to work online during this unprecedented health crisis, to not only protect herself from the virus but to protect herself from potential violence— especially during one of the most volatile political climates in U.S. history. “Honestly, you never know what could happen when you are meeting somebody for the first time,” Jan said, noting that meeting someone unknown is one of the
biggest safety hazards for trans sex workers. “The conversation that is not being had is, why are these women, specifically these trans women of color, having to put themselves in these situations in the first place?” To make lasting, meaningful change, Jan believes that it’s time to start having these unspoken conversations— about sex work, about poverty, about equal opportunity, about Civil Rights for trans people. All of these contributing factors need to be discussed to create a better, safer, and accepting environment for all people. “Trans people don’t want special treatment,” she said. “We just want equity, not equality, just to be treated like anyone else, any cisgender person. That is all I have ever wanted. I don’t want there to be rules, regulations and laws made that [prevent me from existing] or benefit me more than they do someone else; I just want it to be uniform across the board— employment, health care, dating, getting a driver’s license— I just want to be treated like everyone else would— like a human being, not an oddity.” On Friday, Nov. 20, I’ll observe Trans Day of Remembrance by lighting a candle to remember my trans siblings who have been senselessly murdered for being authentically themselves. Then, I’ll blow out my candle and honor their memory by contacting my representatives to ask what they plan to do to better conditions for trans people in North Carolina. What are they going to do to finally repair the harm that H.B. 2 wrought on trans North Carolinians? How do they plan to repair our state’s bigoted reputation? ! KATIE MURAWSKI is the editor-in-chief of YES! Weekly. Her alter egos include The Grimberlyn Reaper, skater/public relations board chair for Greensboro Roller Derby, and Roy Fahrenheit, drag entertainer and self-proclaimed King of Glamp.
Remember Dec. 1— this is the expiration date of Section 3 of H.B. 142 (the so-called H.B. 2 “replacement”), which states: No local government in this State may enact or amend an ordinance regulating private employment practices or regulating public accommodations. Call and write your city council representatives, county commissioners, governor, state senators, state representatives, etc., and ask them what they plan to do to make things safer for all of their constituents— especially their trans constituents. NOVEMBER 18-26, 2020
RiverRun, Marketplace Drive-In reunite for On Broadway
n the spirit of giving thanks, the RiverRun International Film Festival and Marketplace Cinemas in Winston-Salem’s ongoing “RiverRun at Marketplace” Mark Burger drive-in screenings pays homage to the “Great White Contributor Way” with a special screening of the acclaimed documentary feature On Broadway, directed by Oren Jacoby this Sunday at the Marketplace Cinemas Drive-In, located at 2095 Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem. “We are so happy to be offering another brand new, not-yet-released RiverRun film at our drive-in,” said Marketplace Cinemas manager and projectionist Zack Fox. “On Broadway was one of the first
movies ever mentioned as a possibility for a RiverRun Drive-In showing, and as a lover of New York Broadway, I was personally very excited to see this film in the original 2020 festival line-up. I think it’s a great film for fans of not just Broadway, but anyone who loves the stage, music, or even just the movie screen – especially since Hugh Jackman, Mandy Patinkin, Helen Mirren, Lin Manuel Miranda, and so many other talents appear in this film.” “Every year millions of people travel thousands of miles and spend billions of dollars to come to one tiny neighborhood of New York City along a street called Broadway and sit in the dark to watch a show,” said Jacoby, who was an Oscarnominee for the documentary short subject Sister Rose’s Passion (2004). “Back in the 1970s, when I was growing up in Manhattan, this whole thing almost came to an end. Broadway was on the verge of bankruptcy, and there was talk of tearing down the theaters to make room for parking lots. As a life-long
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Helen Mirren in On Broadway New Yorker, I was drawn to the surprising story of how an industry and art form on the verge of extinction not only avoided collapse but managed to reinvent itself in astonishing ways.” Certainly On Broadway isn’t lacking for star power, as it boasts a powerhouse line-up of stage and screen veterans including Hugh Jackman, Mandy Patinkin, Helen Mirren, Lin Manuel Miranda, John Lithgow, James Earl Jones, Ian McKellen, Alec Baldwin, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Viola Davis, Christine Baranski, James Corden, and Tommy Tune – as well as vintage footage from such legendary Broadway productions as, A Chorus Line, Hamilton, and more. “We’re delighted to be bringing On Broadway to the big screen at the Marketplace Drive-In,” said Rob Davis, RiverRun executive director. “This is one of the documentaries we had planned to feature in our 2020 festival, and it’s a great film which looks at how the Broadway theaters came back from the brink of disaster thanks to innovative work, the spirit of inclusivity, and a balance – sometimes uneasy – between art and commerce. Anyone who loves (live) theater will love this film!” “While making On Broadway, I was given an extraordinary chance to interview actors, directors, producers, and playwrights who are the heart and soul of the American theater,” Jacoby said. “They told us the inside story of the remarkable changes they’ve witnessed over the past
50 years, which have turned everything around.” “We’ve really enjoyed working with Marketplace on our drive-in screenings,” Davis said. “Zack Fox and his team run an incredibly professional operation and place top priority on projection and sound quality. We had done a few yearround programs at Marketplace, and it was going to be a 2020 RiverRun venue … and in actuality, that’s exactly what it’s become as we’ve shown several festival films there; it’s just that neither Marketplace nor RiverRun imagined they would be drive-in screenings!” Needless to say, “2020 has been a challenging year for RiverRun, but we have weathered the storm so far,” Davis added. “We’ve been encouraged by the response from our audiences, donors, and sponsors and are looking forward to more screenings in the coming months. We are currently receiving film submissions for 2021, and we are encouraged at the number of submissions and the quality of the films.” Gates open at 5 p.m., with the screening scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available online at, www.mpcwsdrivein.simpletix. com/e/61245?aff=HomePageLink. The official RiverRun website is https://riverrunfilm.com/. ! See MARK BURGER’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2020, Mark Burger.
Late counts, sex, and a middle finger
ot too many years ago, North Carolina was considered to be a politically inconsequential state. That’s because our voting patterns were Jim Longworth predictable, and our presidential primaries were held so Longworth late that we hardly at Large ever figured into the nominating process. But as our population grew in both numbers and diversity, we became known as a “purple state,” and when we moved our primary from May to March, suddenly our 15 electoral votes became a valued prize for anyone seeking to occupy the White House. It is no surprise, then, that as 2020 began, North Carolina was deemed by many pundits to be the battleground state to watch. In fact, both Biden and Trump made so many trips here in the closing days of the campaign, that they could have qualified for in-state tuition. In addition to our importance to the presidential contest, North Carolina was also home to America’s most highly touted United States Senate race, in which our votes could decide the balance of power in Washington. But a funny thing (or two) happened on the way to Nov. 3. First, the courts allowed us to accept military and overseas ballots up until Nov. 12, and that delayed our being able to certify final outcomes until after the presidential election had already been decided. Second, the polls were wrong about everything, including that Biden would win North Carolina. But when the dust settled, we had changed colors again, this time from purple back to red. Finally, our aforementioned Senate contest lost steam over some steamy infidelities. Cal Cunningham, who had presented himself as a straight-arrow patriot and family man, managed to cheat on his wife with not one but two different women, one of who was married to a disabled veteran. Cal’s double digit lead over incumbent Republican Senator Thom Tillis dissipated amidst the sex scandals, he ended up losing the race, and Democrats ended up losing a legitimate chance to control the Senate. Our Gubernatorial contest also lacked suspense as Roy Cooper predictably beat WWW.YESWEEKLY.COM
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, but the race was closer than had been expected. Democrat Cooper had been up by as many as 12 points in one poll, and ended up beating Forest by only 4. Still, I wonder if Forest might not have closed the gap had the news media focused more on Mrs. Cooper’s middle finger and less on Cal’s indiscretions. It seems that just days before the election, Kristin Cooper shot the bird to a group of Christians assembled for a get-out-the-vote rally because one of the families was holding a Trump flag. Later, she arrogantly tweeted: “Was flipping off a brainwashed kid my finest hour? Probably not, but I can live with it.” Clearly, the state’s First Lady had a dislike for Donald Trump supporters, but there was plenty of disdain to go around in this year’s elections. Forest, after all, had sued Gov. Cooper for overstepping his authority in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Forsyth District Attorney Jim O’Neill is suing Democrat incumbent Attorney General Josh Stein for airing T.V. ads in which O’Neill was accused of mishandling rape kits. And just about every other North Carolina candidate accused their opponent of being corrupt. One thing’s for sure— these candidates spent a ton of money to spew their accusations, and I don’t just mean on T.V. I went to my mailbox on the afternoon of Nov. 3, and there, awaiting me, were no less than 10 brochures advocating for Joyce Krawiec, and four more opposing her. My mailbox was so full of political ads that I could hardly get to my junk mail. The only bright spot in this vitriolic campaign year is that we North Carolinians turned out in record numbers to exercise our right to vote. According to the State Board of Elections, over 5 million people voted, and that means nearly 75% of us made our voices heard. In addition, most of us split our ballot to vote for the person rather than the party, a not so surprising fact, considering that “Unaffiliated” folks like myself now rank second among all registered voters. Perhaps North Carolina wasn’t the swing state that everyone had predicted for 2020, but that might change in four years, at which time we’ll probably all be voting by drones, and I will have collected over 15,000 Krawiec flyers. !
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JIM LONGWORTH is the host of Triad Today, airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15). NOVEMBER 18-26, 2020
[NEWS OF THE WEIRD] NEWS YOU CAN USE
Engineers at Japan’s Gifu University have developed a robotic device that re-creates the experience of holding another person’s hand — without the Chuck Shepherd other person. “My Girlfriend in Walk” attaches to the user’s forearm, and the metal hand is covered with a soft, gel material that simulates human skin, even allowing custom fragrances to be added to the artificial sweat. A heater provides warmth and a pressure sensor duplicates the strength of the wearer’s grip, according to Oddity Central. An accompanying smartphone app can emit sounds including footsteps, breathing and the sound of clothes rubbing against skin.
— Kimberly Ragsdale’s apparent plan to get free food at a Chick-Fil-A in Rockmart, Georgia, ended in her arrest on charges of impersonating a public officer on Nov. 5. According to police, Ragsdale,
47, of Dallas, had repeatedly visited the restaurant, telling workers she was an FBI agent and threatening to arrest them if they didn’t serve her a complimentary meal. Ragsdale continued her charade, the Associated Press reported, telling arresting officers her credentials were electronic and talking “into her shirt like she was talking into a radio,” the arrest report noted. Rockmart Police Chief Randy Turner said in a statement to news outlets, “You will not hear a real officer demand a meal anywhere.” — Two men have been arrested on suspicion of conning an unnamed doctor in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh into paying $41,600 for an “Aladdin’s lamp” that the sellers promised would bring him “wealth, health and good fortune.” The two con artists even conspired to conjure a genie from the lamp, which turned out to be one of the men, to convince the doctor of its authenticity, the BBC reported. According to local police, the con men had duped other families in the same way.
— Mayor Yutaka Umeda of the Japanese town of Yamato was puzzled when
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WEDNESDAY Tarot Card Reading Russell Crowley Acoustic 1/2 off Wines & Whiskeys 1/2 off apps 5-7pm THURSDAY 7pm Comedy Show $10 $10 Caribbean Nachos $5 Old Fashioneds $1off Craft Beers FRIDAY Megan Doss Band $5 $10 Tuna Sushi Stack $7 Titos $6 Jameson Shots SATURDAY DJ Mike Lawson $5 Fireball Shots NFL SUNDAYS $1 Wings $5 Wells $1off Drafts $10 Domestic Buckets
his name started trending on social media after the U.S. presidential election, but he is now hoping his newfound fame will help him “promote the town,” United Press International reported. The extra attention online came because the Chinese kanji characters used to spell Umeda’s name can also be pronounced “Jo Baiden” — strikingly similar to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden. “Although there are differences in the positions of a U.S. presidential candidate and the mayor of Yamato ... our passion is the same,” Umeda said. — A couple hiking in Ingersheim in northeastern France in September came across a tiny aluminum capsule that turned out to contain a message in German dropped by a carrier pigeon 110 years ago, CNN reported. Curator Dominique Jardy at the nearby Linge Memorial museum, dedicated to a battle between French and German forces in 1915, determined the message was sent from one German officer to another, detailing military exercises taking place in the area. The find, Jardy said, “is really very, very, very rare,” and the message will go on display at the museum.
In September, police in Ceske Budejovice in the Czech Republic, where a 9 p.m. curfew has been imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, came upon a man pulling a toy plush dog behind him late at night in the town’s center, Idnes. cz reported. “I’m walking a dog here. I’m not doing anything illegal here,” the man told officers. Walking a dog is permitted after curfew, but the police gave him a warning and sent him and his “pet” on their way.
PEOPLE WITH ISSUES
Police in Fruitland Park, Florida, arrested Ronni Leigh Kimberlin of Leesburg on Oct. 31 on charges of theft and disturbing a grave after she allegedly repeatedly removed items left at her ex-husband’s grave by his fiancee. The grieving fiancee first complained to police in late September, records show, saying items missing from the grave included a pair of $250 sunglasses, hanging LED lights, hanging planters, artificial flowers, a ring and assorted other items, all valued at more than $400. Kimberlin denied involvement, WKMG reported, but the arrest affidavit noted an ex-roommate came forward saying she was with Kimberlin when she stole the items, and police found some of the missing planters at Kimberlin’s brother’s home.
RECENT ALARMING HEADLINES
Police in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, continue to investigate two explosive incidents in area port-a-potties, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. No one was injured in either explosion, the first of which occurred Nov. 5 in Lawrenceville and was strong enough to blow apart the toilet and damage a nearby home, police said. The second came on Nov. 10 in East Allegheny. Pittsburgh’s Bomb Squad and Crime Unit is working to determine what types of explosives were used and whether the events are related.
GOVERNMENT IN ACTION
Indonesia has the highest death toll from COVID-19 in Southeast Asia, and officials there are getting creative with punishments in addition to fines for not complying with mask laws. Metro News reported on Nov. 11 that regional governments are forcing scofflaws to do pushups, pull weeds, clean riverbeds and dig graves for coronavirus victims. Coffeeshop owner Evani Jesselyn of Jakarta said she was given a choice of paying a fine or cleaning public toilets after she was caught not wearing a mask in her car.
WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME
Motorists in Woodbury County, Iowa, started alerting State Conservation Officer Steve Griebel on Nov. 9 that hundreds of ducks had been killed after mistaking wet roads for wetlands, KCRG reported. The ducks, including bluebills, mallards, buffleheads and teal, were migrating south and landed on the wet pavement in parking lots and on highways, where the next day Griebel said he counted more than 200 that had been hit by unwitting drivers.
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
In China’s Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, 27-year-old Luo Qingjun has found his calling as a “bad uncle” for hire by parents wanting him to scare their children into obedience, Oddity Central reported. Luo creates a short custom video, using the child’s name and making scary faces while threatening them to behave. “If you don’t do your homework, don’t eat and don’t go to sleep, I will take you away!” Luo warns on one video. One happy customer posted, “My 3-year-old son was scared at first sight, and he was immediately obedient.” !
© 2020 Chuck Shepherd. Universal Press Syndicate. Send your weird news items with subject line WEIRD NEWS to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com.
POMES FOR BEGINNERS
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No-frills Very cloying things “Li’l Abner” drawer Fast Amtrak choice Industry of a merchant marine Not as fatty 1987 Steven Spielberg war film Rubble on “The Flintstones” Hangs on to Start to doze Herb that tastes like anise Pixel, e.g. 1930s coalition between Italy and Germany Suffix with Method — Major (Great Bear) Called off the relationship Cacklers with clutches Neophyte, in modern slang — Harbor (Guam port) Longtime name in restaurant guides Mooch Racecar track near a Japanese mountain Has begun, as a TV show Suffix with method Ontario tribe Put on one’s big-boy pants Rock’s Reed — Spumante (Italian wine) “— lizards!” Specialists in stone
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What you do when you read the first words of 23-, 30-, 48-, 85-, 102- and 114-Across? Like gluttons “That so?” Bruins’ sch. I, to Kant Metric “thousand” Lie dormant Rub clean Venue Festive affair Japanese noodles Half of a 45 — avis Whirlpool Had a debt Mosque turret Fire: Prefix Drivers’ org. Gratifying wry twist Brand of TVs Pago Pago islander Aussie jumper Things worth saving Dearies Composer of the musical “Rent” “Encore” rapper Invitation for radio call-ins Mafioso Frank Longtime Nissan It helps pay for roads and schools Lie dormant
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Boxer Max Vertex 30-day mo.
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24-book epic Actor Len General — chicken Arena arbiter “Jack Sprat could — fat” In the house Legless sideboard — Vegas Univ. URL ender VIP in D.C. Even though “Big Deal” singer Rimes “The A-Team” director Joe Appended Stripping off Nose about Snare Enter like a butterfly Less usual Time to wear a conical party hat, for short Brain wave test: Abbr. Nutrition std. Vancouver-to-Seattle dir. Facts, briefly Inner self Magic charm Coin money Galoot Long Island university Do some dickering in court Net message board operator Tearful Rash-causing plant Perceive in error aurally Kitchen pest IM chuckle Two halved Navy vessel inits.
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“Give this a shot” Bristol beer Oyster find Not crowded Hi-tech special FX Tolkien menace “Ho-hum” Yahoo! rival Big public protest Tissue injury Lathered up Verdi’s slave Bar mixer “River” New Age artist Delta deposit Halliwell of pop music Not normal Library stall Reel partner Fantastic Skin colorer Shiba — (spitz breed) “— Boot” Foul vapor Play on a fife Briny bodies More bashful Pitch-perfect? 30-day month Construction toy brand Villa d’— Learning by memorizing Short cut “— So Fine” “— Boys” (Louisa May Alcott novel) Decide (to) Tchr.’s union Santa — winds
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FemFest won’t submit! This year’s virtual festival features 15 femme acts to raise money for survivors
espite everything that has happened in 2020, FemFest VII refuses to submit in their mission to advocate against domestic violence and sexual Katei Cranford assault while raising funds for Family Services of Forsyth Contributor County. “[This year] will look a little different to encourage staying home and staying safe,” said organizers, “as much as we’d love to see everyone shoulder-to-shoulder, soaking in all the incredible music and support, the most important thing to us is everyone’s health and safety.” The annual event will shift online, with a day of streaming from 15 femme and female artists, starting on Nov. 21. In lieu of a cover, donations are being collected through a GoFundMe campaign. As always, 100% of donations go directly to Family Services of Forsyth County, which is a women’s shelter located in WinstonSalem. An online art auction and raffle runs through Nov. 28. “If we gave ‘luck’ any credit this year, it’d be misleading,” said FemFest founder Bryn Fox on her seventh year organizing the festival, “full credit has to go to every person and business that donates to FemFest. In a year that has blindsided all of us, the extension of generosity has been so appreciated and noticed.” “It was never an option to skip this year,” Fox said. “During the shutdown, domestic violence cases have been shown to increase, so it’s more important than ever to help keep the women’s shelter safe and dependable.” The mission has been bolstered by the response from bands. “More artists than ever reached out to us first this year,” Fox explained. “It was really humbling to be able to offer a platform for these musicians to help spread awareness on something that has been a pandemic long before coronavirus.” As a result, FemFest VII features Winston bands and Triangle artists, sprinkled with a heavier dose of acts from around the country. On the Winston-Salem hometeam, Spirit System is excited to finally participate, YES! WEEKLY
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PHOTO BY JAWAN SCOTT
PHOTO BY ANGEL ALBERTO
JESS AND ERIKA FROM BANGZZ
though bassist Laurie Ruroden has helped organize and host the festival in previous years. Spirit System’s tracks include a new single and a live favorite, and guitarist Eric Gilstrap has donated art to the auction. For Damiyana, the Winston-based interactive artist who weaves natural elements into atmospheric musical performances, FemFest has become an annual activity. “My heart has been invested in this event each year, as both an artist and audience member,” she said. “It’s been a safe zone to not only try out new material that expresses my journey of recovery from past trauma but also share intimate stories about the process of finding upliftment.” Proxevita, the latest project from Laura Gardea, likewise sees FemFest as a haven for experimentation and empowerment. Performing at each year since the incarnation, FemFest VII will mark Gardea’s second time debuting a music video for the occasion. “It’s a dream come true,” Gardea said about the festival. “A time for women to be supported in showing how amazing we are for our strength, creativity, beauty, resilience. So often, we’re undervalued, cast to the side, and in the worst cases, endangered— made to feel unsafe to exist and unworthy. At FemFest, women are celebrated, honored— there is a culture of safety and of trust that extends to everyone.” Billie Feather, who’s also built a relationship with the festival since its early days at
The Garage, echoed the culture of safety and trust. “FemFest is a yearly form of therapy,” Feather said, recalling her years performing either solo or with the P-90s. “Every performance has been so uplifting.” “As a domestic violence survivor myself, it’s an amazing feeling to look out from the stage and see a sea of allies,” she continued. “It’s a gift I wish I could give every person who has ever been affected by violence in a relationship— to look out and remember you’re never, ever alone, and you are a strong, beautiful, and wonderful person. You don’t deserve violence, you can find happiness, and there is a whole festival of people ready to support you.” For triangle-rocker Reese McHenry, the space and support provide a great reason to play a rock show. “Not only to raise money for domestic violence survivors but to normalize talking about things that are often allowed to fester and grow in dark silence.” One of McHenry’s tracks, “White Bear Incident,” comes as a request from Fox, harkening a memory from FemFest V when McHenry and drummer Thomas McNeely first harmonized the bridge without practicing. “The line ’and if you can’t be encouraging, shut your fucking mouth, you’re not helping’ wasn’t written with the F-word in it, but harmonizing that line was powerful.” FemFest also holds fond memories for
the triangle-bangers in Bangzz, who’ll boost tracks about ditching partners and resilience against depression. “We were standing so close to each other just boppin’ to the music,” said Bangzz guitarist Erika Libero. “I think about that big, crowded room of smiles and positive energy at Monstercade nostalgically in the time of COVID.” While digital shows have their drawbacks, the format has afforded FemFest VII with larger, national acts. Returning regional bands include Virginia’s L.A. Dies (who played FemFests IV and VI;) and the Georgian fuzz-pyschers of CHEW (who played Femfest V). Fellow Atlantans, GuitarGabby, and the TxLips are among the fresh faces new to FemFest VII. “I’m so excited to participate to further express that females of color are needed in this industry; and that representation matters,” said the powerhouse frontwoman Guitar Gabby (who’s also Board Chair of Girls Rock Asheville, Deputy Editor at Guitar Girl Magazine, and a contributing writer for SheShreds Magazine). Her group, the TxLips, an international touring collective of Black women, embrace music as a mission to challenge the boundaries and “push the status quo of what the world says women can do.” Other new south risers at FemFest VII include Sarah Shook, Birmingham’s Hollywood Horses, and the Tennessee wildcats in Thelma and the Sleaze. “I’m always happy to support any
THICK grassroots cause to spread the message of empowering womxn,” noted T.A.T.S. bandleader Lauren “LG” Gilbert. “I’ve done several of these live stream shows, and it’s not the same, but I appreciate people doing the work to make things happen.” Big city bands round the bill with Kairos Creature Club (Los Angeles), Waltzer (Chicago), and Thick (Brooklyn). “When we saw it was going to be a virtual event this year, we were excited for a chance to be a part,“ said the punk-trio in Thick, who decided on fun, shout-along tracks for their videos. Content comes from personal experiences they hope are relatable: societal expectations placed on women and unsolicited “advice” given by men. “There’s so much male dominance in the music industry,” Thick added, “and it’s important to know that we don’t need these mansplainers to tell us how to plug in our instruments.” Beyond the bands, the raffles and art auction will return with an online format running through Nov. 28. “One major benefit to hosting the raffle and art auction online is the ability to include more items and offer the events for an extended period instead of just for one day,” said co-organizer Sarah Burns. FemFest has also gotten into the merch game with stickers, buttons, and a T-shirt with the tagline, “Do Not Submit to Intimidation.” “The design is from a drawing I doodled a few years ago, which I immediately got tattooed on my arm as a constant reminder,” Fox explained of the shirt. “The idea behind it came from frustration about all the situations in which women have become expected to adapt to dangerous situations. We’re programmed to have our keys between our fingers when walking to our cars in a parking lot and have one WWW.YESWEEKLY.COM
finger on our mace when walking our dogs around the neighborhood. I wanted to express that even though we have to take these extra measures, our lives shouldn’t be limited because of fear.” For artists on the FemFest bill, the idea of not submitting resonates with power. “It means do not concede your space— do not make yourself smaller for other people,” Libero said. “It’s the opposite of what we women have been taught and conditioned to do by society, and a big reminder that you don’t owe your space to anybody.” For Spirit System, the notion knocks against complacency. For Damiyana, “it’s about taking back your personal power, remaining true to the inner wisdom you can access through dedication to your own spiritual practice, in whatever form it may take.” For Feather, it’s part of toolset endeavors like FemFest help to sharpen. “Intimidation comes in so many forms,” Feather explained. “Some people may not have the tools yet to see intimidation when it comes at them. FemFest is a place to learn about your inner strength and find a support system so you can see it for what it is, and learn that you don’t have to be influenced or shaped by it. There’s a space for you in the world, and your sisters and allies at FemFest are here to help you craft a strong foundation.” Proxevita sees the line as a call for “our better selves.” “The violence we experience with each other, in ourselves, and the world at large heavily results from the economic, cultural output of the values driven in our society,” she explained, “which has created conditions that challenge and alienate us from ourselves and each other while destroying the environment. It’s not cute, it’s not sustainable, and we must find ways to
SARAH SHOOK stand back up again— to genuinely, and effectively support each other to heal from the traumas seen and unseen. It begins with compassion and it ends with love.” The rockers from Thick take the stance against submission as a life lesson. “It’s a work in progress; we felt it pretty acutely this year when we released our video for ‘Mansplain,’ and [neo-nazi men] on the internet decided to go buck in the comments,” they explained. “It takes a lot to ignore the bashing and to realize that we’re probably doing something right if we’re pissing those people off. We’ll keep making music and shouting about our experiences, no matter how many insults and slurs they throw our way.” Bands and artists aside, the quiet star of the show is Family Services. “They’ve been an absolute dream to work with,” Fox said. “Everyone at the facility responds eagerly and thoughtfully, just as they do for anyone calling in for help.” The feeling is mutual. “We couldn’t do what we do without more people like Bryn and her work with FemFest,” said Johnny Johnson, a representative for Family Services of Forsyth County. “For nearly 40 years, Family Services has helped individuals who have experienced domestic abuse and family violence, sexual assault and child maltreatment obtain immediate and long-term safety, empowerment, dignity and hope. Our experienced, caring professionals offer comprehensive support and advocacy services and intervention programs for victims, survivors and their families to build a new, safe and healthier life.” When the shelter opened in 1985, it was the first of its kind in North Carolina. These days, it’s poised to help victims of the more than 10,000 incidents of domestic
violence reported in Forsyth County in 2019 alone. For 2020, things have gotten more complicated. As the pandemic has shifted the festival, so has it affected operations at Family Services. “With a statewide shelter-at-home order, we anticipated a substantial spike in referrals to our Domestic Violence Shelter,” Johnson explained. ”Strangely enough, however, that’s not what happened. Whether it was fear of coronavirus or simply the fact that more victims were trapped at home with their abuser and unable to make a call to our crisis line, our numbers at the shelter initially dropped.“ Fewer residents don’t indicate a lessened need, as “even in a worldwide pandemic, being at home is still the most dangerous health crisis faced by many women and children,” said Family Services Chief Development and Public Relations Officer Michelle Speas. However, the shelter has allowed for proper social distancing and the development of COVID protocols; and calls are increasing, as are costs related to pandemic protocols. “That’s why community partners like FemFest are so important to the work we do,” Johnson explained. “They’ve been big supporters of our efforts, and last year, they were able to make a $4,000 contribution, which pushed us past our deficit and helped us to keep the doors open during a pandemic.” While FemFest celebrates music and art to serve as means of empowerment and fun while fundraising, organizers reinforce its mission most of all: while they invite folks to “attend” the online series and share donations, they— above everything— implore survivors to seek help. “For anyone reading that’s experiencing domestic violence, or the aftermath of sexual assault, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Family Services’ crisis line at (336) 723-8125.” FemFest VII goes online on Nov. 21, with the raffle and auction running through Nov. 28. ! KATEI CRANFORD is a Triad music nerd who hosts “Katei’s Thursday Triad Report,” a radio show spotlighting artists and events, 5:30-7 p.m. on WUAG 103.1 FM
For more information about FemFest and to donate to its GoFundMe campaign, visit https:// www.gofundme.com/f/96bdnk-femfestnc-2020. To enter in the FemFest raffle, visit https://femfestnc.betterworld. org/?fbclid=IwAR1ufXj64jlCL9Li-4gHHwEO8SYItCiqf-MtFCREgZkLHGYxAf9NfAIpFuo. To bid in the FemFest art auction, visit https://femfestnc. betterworld.org/auctions/FemFestNC2020. NOVEMBER 18-26, 2020
Jury trials resume in Guilford County despite nation’s largest spike in COVID-19 cases, recent confirmed positive case at the courthouse
*Editor’s note: This story originally appeared online on Nov. 13. Two weeks ago, it was announced that the Guilford County courthouses would resume jury trials for the first time since March has caused concern among attorneys and courthouse staff. On Monday, Nov. 9, YES! Weekly received an anonymous tip alleging a positive COVID-19 case on the third floor of the courthouse in Greensboro. The source also alleged that the office was only being deep-cleaned and not shut down. “What about the people who work in that office that have been exposed?” the source asked. “Just because the office has been cleaned doesn’t mean the employees there are safe. If they are infected, they are just reinfecting the office, and anywhere else they go in the courthouse.” In an email on Tuesday, Nov. 10, Amanda Leazer, Guilford County Trial Court Administrator, and Courthouse COVID-19 Coordinator, confirmed a positive case on the third floor, but wrote: It is up to the department heads if their employees come in after the positive case is identified. The first Guilford County Courthouse jury trial of the pandemic began on the morning of Nov. 10 in room 4C. Brennan Aberle, the defendant’s attorney, said his client was 17-years-old at the time of his arrest on what Aberle called “a nonviolent drug charge.” In a phone call on Nov. 9, Aberle criticized the courthouse for resuming jury trials while COVID-19 numbers climb, a decision Aberle called “a fresh and raw concern right now for Guilford County.” According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website, there are 13,170 COVID-19 cases in Guilford County and 215 deaths— one of which was YES! WEEKLY
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26-year-old Guilford County bailiff LaKiya Rouse, who left her shift at the courthouse on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and died within 24 hours. “In Guilford County, we have a group that has been making most of the decisions in consultation with the health department,” Aberle told YES! Weekly. “That [group] is our Chief Superior Court Judge John O. Craig, Chief District Court Judge Teresa Vincent, our District Attorney Avery Crump, our Chief Public Defender John Nieman, and our Chief Clerk Lisa Johnson-Tonkins.” Aberle said that he believes the judges and D.A. “are doing the best that they can” and are taking the situation seriously, “I am just concerned that we may not be ready to do this as safely as it needs to be done at this point. I do have some concerns about the prioritization of which cases we are willing to try when we are putting people’s lives at risk.” Also on Nov. 10, Leazer emailed the following statement, with the note that it was “Per Senior Resident Superior Court Judge John O. Craig, III”: The Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court and the Administrative Office of the Courts, which is the administrative branch of our judicial system, authorized the North Carolina Courts to recommence jury trials after Oct. 15. It is up to the Chief Justice to decide if the upward trend in Covid-19 cases would warrant any further suspensions or closures. No aspect of our society can be 100% safe from the pandemic, and our local court system is no exception. But the judicial leadership, in conjunction with Guilford County facilities administrators and the Guilford County Health Department, has worked very hard to ensure that access to the courts remains open; that citizens’ constitutional rights are protected, and that safety measures are in place to minimize the risk to the health of potential jurors who have been called upon to fulfill their civic duties. The guidelines promulgated by the Administrative Office of the Courts, as well as our local jury trial resumption plan, should provide sufficient measures to mitigate the risks associated with entering the courthouse. It is no easy task to balance safety concerns with the need to fulfill the obligations our judicial branch owes to the citizens of our state in order to uphold our democratic way of life. But we would not remain open and accessible if we felt there was a significant danger to the people of
Guilford County. Over the last 14 days, deaths in North Carolina have decreased by 3%, and hospitalizations are down 1%. We are fortunate that NC has not experienced the drastic spikes in new cases, hospitalizations, or deaths that many states have. In addition to the larger public health issue, Aberle said he is concerned about specific dangers to clients and their attorneys. “There are a lot of Constitutional concerns that get raised when you do a jury trial this way,” Aberle said. “I have to sit six feet away from my client, so you know, my client has a right to have his attorney talk to him, and we haven’t been provided with any kind of radio equipment. I put myself at risk just being an effective attorney who leans over and talks to his client as the evidence comes out. We don’t know what is going to be like having people testify either with masks on or if they are ordered to take the masks off when they get in that jury box even though it has glass around it, obviously if we believe the scientists that COVID-19 is aerosolized over a period of time if everybody gets in the same box and takes their mask off there could be some serious concerns there for safety.” Aberle asked that YES! Weekly observe the courtroom during jury selection and pay particular attention to the area where chosen jurors would be seated. “They’ve got a jury box where they have pulled the juror seats out— because they are bolted to the floor— and tried to space the chairs out,” Aberle said. “Jurors have to be six feet in all directions from each other, and nobody really knows if this is going to be accomplished. Of course, these aren’t short periods of time people are sitting next to each other; these are jury trials.” Observing courtroom conditions on Nov. 10, reporter Ian McDowell confirmed that Aberle’s description of the jury box was accurate. In an earlier phone conversation, Aberle told Katie Murawski that his concerns go beyond just the close proximity of jurors over an extended period of time. “Before coronavirus, you get your jury summons— you come to court, there would be a point where we call a jury venir, which is everybody who could potentially be on the jury. There are like 40 or 50 people they bring into the courtroom, and then they call 12 up in the box at a time, and the attorneys get to question them to see if they can be fair and unbiased. If
someone has a hardship where they can’t be there, they can raise their hand and go in front of the judge.” Aberle acknowledged that the courthouse was attempting to be more accommodating to people concerned about doing that. “There is a way to say that you have a health issue, and you are requesting a deferral. I think they are going to give people deferrals without asking too many questions.” But this, Aberle alleged, raised “another interesting concern.” “If you can get a deferral without any questions, then down the road, your jury pool is going to look like what a jury pool would normally look like. But right now, we have no idea what people are going to be showing up for jury service— is it going to just be people who are not afraid of coronavirus? Is that going to look like a certain demographic? Is there a way you can get a fair cross-section of a jury pool at the moment because you are allowing people to very easily opt-out?” Aberle called this “a good thing, because we don’t want people to put themselves at risk,” but said that it could also have a negative impact on the jury pool in a manner that might not bode well for defendants. “You also have a right to a fair crosssection of a jury, so there is not really any way to police what we are going to see. And even worse, in times past, you could turn around and look at the jury venire and say, ‘hey that looks like what North Carolina looks like, or that looks like what Guilford looks like, it’s racially diverse. But we aren’t even going to know that now because they are not bringing everybody into the courtroom.” Instead, Aberle said, “they are trying to limit the numbers, so we are getting small batches of people in the courtroom during jury selection. It’s going to be a very interesting process. I am not trying to cast aspersions or disparage anybody who is earnestly trying to make this system work. But that doesn’t change the fact that there could potentially be real consequences on the fairness of the process. We are just treading into the unknown.” Aberle said his client, Leon Brimley (who is now 19 years old), was arrested two years ago for “possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine.” “I am of the opinion that the smaller the charges, the less reason there is to put human lives at risk here in Guilford County, and it is very concerning that they would
call a case like this for trial right now when we are in Day 4 of the largest coronavirus spike we’ve had in the country,” Aberle said. “North Carolina, in particular, has set a record for the last several days. There are people charged with robbery, rape, violent assaults— if we are going to take the opportunity to try some cases before we have a vaccine widely available, then perhaps we should be focusing on ones where victims of crimes want justice, and not ones where we are going to be playing around with jurors lives over nonviolent drug offenses.” Aberle repeated that he deeply respects those “who are trying to put this together and make it happen,” but emphasized that “I do think the public has the right to see what is going on and to question whether this is the smartest move right now. Because the numbers are worse now than they were when we shut down in March and April, so it seems to me to not be the safest move right now.” That phone conversation with Aberle occurred on Monday, the day before his case was due to start. That Tuesday, the case was dismissed for lack of probable cause before the jury selection began. Aberle gave YES! Weekly the following statement: “While I understand that jury trials must at some point proceed, particularly in the cases of incarcerated persons hoping to prove their innocence and earn their freedom, this particular one sends the wrong message to the community. If we’re trying to determine which cases are worth risking the lives of jurors, one in which a defendant who was 17 at the time of his arrest and was charged with a nonviolent drug offense should never have been on the list, especially after North Carolina raised the age at which teenagers can tried as adults. If I had gone to trial and lost, I would have immediately been able to get it expunged due to the defendant’s age.” Assistant District Attorney William H. Hill originally asked Judge John O. Craig to commence jury selection prior to litigating Aberle’s request for dismissal, but Judge Craig declined, saying there was no reason to be “parading” the jury back and forth from sequestration every time the defense moved to suppress. The next jury selection scheduled for that courtroom on Tuesday was at 2 p.m. It was a nonviolent drug case with a defendant who’d been released from custody until trial. Aberle told YES! Weekly he thought this was another example of the court not having the right priorities. “We are going to call another nonviolent drug offense now when we could just wait until we handle the more serious cases and see what happens after that?” That case ended up being continued WWW.YESWEEKLY.COM
before jury selection began, which meant jurors sat all day in the improvised jury room in the old courthouse (the regular jury room is still being repaired from being set afire during the spontaneous latenight downtown protests that broke out in May after peaceful marchers went home). On Nov. 10, Chief Public Defender John Nieman emailed YES! Weekly that the “first case set for the trial was dismissed and the second was continued” and that there were no more jury trials scheduled for this week. Nieman also responded to the following question from reporters McDowell and Murawski, who had asked it of Leazer: Was there also a positive case in the Public Defender’s office back in October (approximately around Oct. 7-9)? And if so, was that office closed or deep-cleaned? In early October, an anonymous source told YES! Weekly of an alleged “outbreak” in the public defender’s office. Nieman sent the following response: Yes, there was a positive test result in our office last month. A close contact with an employee of our office received a positive test result, and so we advised the employee to stay home and be tested. Several days after the employee’s last contact with the office, the employee received a positive test result. All persons having contact with the employee were advised to be tested, in addition to any mandate from the County Health Department. All of those tests were negative. All protocols were followed regarding notice to the County. Our office remains closed to the public as a result of my decision to limit possible exposure to our attorneys and staff and to the general public. Our attorneys and staff are still representing clients on a daily basis in the courtrooms in Greensboro and High Point. The staff are advised to come into the office only as needed. Most are in the office every day. Clients are advised to call 336412-7777 and follow the prompts to contact their attorney. They may also access our website or search Guilford County Public Defender. YES! Weekly’s investigation of conditions at the Guilford County Courthouse and the concerns courthouse staff have expressed about those conditions will be continued in a subsequent article. ! KATIE MURAWSKI is the editor-in-chief of YES! Weekly. Her alter egos include The Grimberlyn Reaper, skater/ public relations board chair for Greensboro Roller Derby, and Roy Fahrenheit, drag entertainer and self-proclaimed King of Glamp. IAN MCDOWELL is the author of two published novels, numerous anthologized short stories, and a whole lot of nonfiction and journalism, some of which he’s proud of and none of which he’s ashamed of.
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Officer involved in Marcus Smith death fired for later incident of excessive force
Greensboro Police Officer Douglas A. Strader was fired from the Greensboro Police Department on Sept. 22, for firing his weapon at a vehicle fleeing a crime scene at the intersection of S. Elm and E. Washington Streets on Oct. 27, 2019— 379 days after he took part in the 2018 fatal hogtying of Marcus Deon
Smith. “The greatest responsibility that a police officer has is the obligation to use deadly force appropriately,” wrote City Manager David Parrish in his Oct. 7 dismissal of Strader’s appeal. “I believe that, given the circumstances of the night in question, your use of deadly force against the driver and occupants of a fleeing vehicle was unnecessary and in violation of GPD Directive 1.5.13(A).” On page 29 of the Greensboro Police Department Directives Manual, Section 1.5.13, Use of Force states “Officers will use no more force than necessary in the performance of their duties and will then do so only in accordance with GPD procedures and the law.” The News & Record’s Oct. 27 2019 article about the incident in which Strader discharged his weapon stated: “Police officers responded to South Elm and East Washington streets in reference to a disturbance involving shots fired. Officers immediately located and took into custody a suspect who discarded a firearm.” At this time, “a vehicle believed to be associated with the disturbance tried to flee the scene and four officers fired their weapons at the vehicle at Washington and Davie Streets.” The article cites the GPD’s preliminary report as stating that no one was hit by police gunfire. “A single mistake, error or lapse in judgment while using deadly force can have tragic and long-lasting consequences for our community,” Parrish wrote to Strader. “As a result, we have no tolerance for the misuse of deadly force. For these reasons, I am upholding your dismissal from employment with the Greensboro Police Department.” Strader is one of eight GPD officers YES! WEEKLY
NOVEMBER 18-26, 2020
named in the ongoing Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit over Marcus Smith’s death. He is the third to leave the GPD since that lawsuit was filed, but the first to be fired. Former officer Lee Andrews resigned Dec. 19, 2019, and former Officer Michael Montalvo retired May 2. Along with Strader, Andrews and Montalvo, the other five GPD officers named in the lawsuit resulting from that homicide are Jordan Bailey, Christopher Bradshaw, Robert Duncan, Alfred Lewis, and Justin Payne. The term “homicide” is used in the previous sentence because that’s what the State Medical ruled Smith’s death. In this context, “homicide” contains no presumption of criminality or negligence, but does indicate that Marcus Smith’s death was due to the actions of the officers, rather than illness, accident or Smith’s own actions. On Sept. 8, 2018, the eight officers applied a hogtie restraint device to Smith
after forcing him face-down onto the pavement of Church Street, less than two blocks from where Strader would later fire his weapon at a fleeing car a year later. After screaming “I ain’t resisting!” Smith stopped breathing and became unresponsive. Rather than performing CPR on the spot, EMTs Ashley Abbott and Dylan Alling took several minutes to load Smith into their ambulance, and only then unsuccessfully performed resuscitative measures, which is why they are also named as defendants in the suit. Smith was taken to Cone Hospital and pronounced dead. Shortly before leaving office, former Guilford County District Attorney Douglas Henderson ruled that the officers were not criminally negligent in Smith’s death. Before his retirement in January, former GPD Chief Wayne Scott made several false statements about what occurred on the night of Smith’s death, including
claims that Smith— who was in the midst of a mental health crisis— was “combative” (he was erratic and agitated, but not aggressive) and that he “collapsed.” At the Nov. 2 2020 meeting of the Greensboro City Council, At-Large Representative Michelle Kennedy stated that the former chief had “lied” to the public about these details, and to the council about whether or not hogtying had been banned by the GPD. YES! Weekly’s initial report on the firing of Strader did not include any mention of deadly force. The City’s response to YES! Weekly’s public information request did not include Parrish’s letter, or any other indication of why Strader was terminated. On Nov. 11, one day after YES! Weekly’s previous article on Strader’s firing was posted online; Amanda Skiscim filed public information request #13699. In it, Skiscim stated: “Under the North Carolina Public Records Law, N.C.G.S. 132-1 and N.C.G.S. 160A-168, I am requesting the following public records: Date, type of dismissal, and a ‘copy of the written notice of the final decision of the municipality setting forth the specific acts or omissions that are the basis of the dismissal.’ for Corporal Douglas A. Strader.” In response, City of Greensboro Public Records Request Administrator Kurt Brenneman sent Skiscim the email from City Manager Parrish denying Strader’s appeal. When queried as to why YES! Weekly was not also sent this letter, Brenneman responded: “I am so sorry that we did not provide the termination letter in response to your public records request #13672. You requested records concerning Corporal Strader’s positions until he left the Greensboro Police Department in September, his final salary, and information as to whether he retired, resigned, or was terminated, as well as his eligibility for a pension, and if so, what amount. I interpreted this as a request for our standard personnel report that lists all public information pursuant to NCGS 160A168(b). I did not check for the presence of a dismissal letter, which is public record pursuant to NCGS 160A-168(b)(11).” ! IAN MCDOWELL is the author of two published novels, numerous anthologized short stories, and a whole lot of nonfiction and journalism, some of which he’s proud of and none of which he’s ashamed of.
[THE ADVICE GODDESS] love • sex • dating • marriage • questions
I’m a 29-year-old straight woman. I recently came to the odd conclusion that I have no idea what I want in a man. Over the past few years, I’ve been datAmy Alkon ing a variety of guys and hoping they’ll Advice be right for me, and Goddess it’s not working. Some turn out to be nice guys, but some turn out to be jerks. One turned out to be a truly terrible person, but in hindsight, all were obviously wrong for me. In each case, the underlying problems were always there, but I didn’t identify them until things blew up months into the relationship or even a year in. How can I get clear on what I want? —Lost Looking for a boyfriend without knowing what you want in a man is like trying to order a meal without knowing what you like to eat: whether you live to put bacon on your bacon or you’re a vegan who stifles a sob whenever your mom cracks an egg for your dad’s omelet. Standards are our tool for narrowing down what we want, from lunch to love. In love, it’s important to shrink down your potential partner pool, but
without setting such high standards (per your own mate value and the current mate “market”) that the only boyfriend or girlfriend you’ll ever have is the imaginary kind. Though we tend to view having more options — “Sky’s the limit!” “The more, the merrier!” — as better than having just two or a handful to choose from, research actually finds that having numerous options is often the stuff human misery is made of. Perhaps because the psychology currently driving us evolved in environments where situations rarely offered more than a few choices — “Bison breast or drumstick?” “Eat this bug or starve?” — research on decision-making has found we are unprepared for huge sets of options. We tend to suffer “choice overload”: We get overwhelmed, choose poorly, and regret our choice afterward. However, there’s a caveat. More choice can be better, explains psychologist Benjamin Scheibehenne and his colleagues, when, prior to making a choice, a person has “well-defined preferences.” That’s where standards come in. Our standards for what we want in another person come in large part out of our values, though personality and genetics also play a role. Values are the principles we care most about: the standards we use to guide our behavior. Though most of us probably think of ourselves as good people with good values, the truth is, if asked to quickly name our
values, we’d struggle to do it. Being unable to immediately call up our guiding principles means when we need to act quickly, we’re often clueless about what we should do, and we’re prone to act in ways we end up regretting. Spelling out your top eight or 10 values will give you a behavioral map: guiding principles for how you’ll act and, ultimately, who you are. To write your list, you might look up “lists of values” online. Here are a few of mine (not in any order): 1. Courage. 2. Wisdom. 3. Kindness. 4. Integrity. ... 10. Seizing life (instead of blinking like a cow while it rushes by). The person you want to be shapes the sort of person you should be with. For example, per my list of values, integrity is vitally important to me. So, when I came up with my standards for romantic partners — my “must-haves” for any man in my life — integrity was baked in: “Tall, evolved man of character who thinks for a living and cares about making a difference in the world.” Likewise spelling out your standards for a romantic partner and vowing to stick to them should help you extract
yourself when you’re magnetized by a Mr. Tall, Dark, and Manipulative: some hunky charismatic creep whose hotitude acts as a sort of sexual eclipse, blocking out what a terrible person he is. Assuming you include integrity in some form on your list, turning to your “must-haves” on a date forces you to look for evidence of good character, and when that’s missing, you’ll nix the guy and move on. Of course, being clear on your values and narrowing down what you want in a man won’t always be enough. There are some clever sociopaths out there who are pros at hiding who they really are. Coming up with standards for character might not allow you to identify all dignity-crushing exploiters immediately. However, you should be able to do it much faster than with a more “openminded,” hope-driven approach: “Sorry, but I really have to draw the line at dating a man with a tail!” ! GOT A problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol. com (www.advicegoddess.com) © 2020 Amy Alkon Distributed by Creators.Com.
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