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xx N&O - Deja vu in Pittsboro as Chatham Park returns for public debate
November 21, 2014, 10:05:49 AM by Gene Galin
Deja vu in Pittsboro as Chatham Park returns for public debate

 PITTSBORO This town argued for a year about a developers plan to build a city here, with hundreds of people attending meeting after meeting, until a tense 4-1 vote in June set the Chatham Park project rolling.

It will be dj vu all over again Monday as the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners takes up the 7,000-plus acre plan again.

It is a new rezoning case and a new master plan, said Philip Culpepper, a consultant for Preston Development Co., though it looks a lot like the project the town approved five months ago.

The difference: about 48 acres and a handful of sentences. In order to add land and revise parts of the master plan, Preston Development and Chatham Park Investors are taking the entire project through Town Hall again.

The town board will accept comments on the proposal during a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Monday at Pittsboro's historic courthouse.

The new proposal adds six properties, patching holes in the development map. It also alters the formatting or content of a few sentences in the previously approved documents.

One addition is a paragraph that spells out the process by which developer and government would hash out details such as the timing of build-out and street lighting.

With the new submission comes two full-page ads in the local newspaper, new signs around the project site and notifications to its neighbors, all announcing the new hearing.

The new plan and rezoning should go from the Board of Commissioners to the Planning Board, before returning for a vote by commissioners in coming months.

The projects earlier approval will still apply even if the new vote fails.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/11/19/4336459/deja-vu-in-pittsboro-as-chatham.html#storylink=cpy
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xx Starkweather's wife 'retires'?
November 18, 2014, 07:10:42 PM by beinginferior
"If you approach your colleagues and faculty as if everybody is a potential scoundrel, how could you possibly run a university? Levine asks. How could you run a business if you thought all of your employees were potential scoundrels?
Last week, UNC learning specialist Bradley Bethel said the deans of the College of Arts and Science should have been more involved in the review of Nyangoros teaching and should have seen the signs. Levine served as interim dean during the 2006-07 school year when Nyangoro was reappointed as chair of the African and Afro-American Studies Department."

Who was a Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and recently 'retired'?

Dee Reid. Jeffy Starkweather's wife.

Isn't it ironic, doncha think?

Retired. Right AFTER the Wanstein Report was published.

Remember, Jeffy and Voller are the only ones looking out for minorities. #makingmoneyoffnewageslavelabor.
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xx Why are NC officials so intent on luring an automaker?
November 18, 2014, 11:05:57 AM by Gene Galin
BMW's success story spurs North Carolina officials to lure an automaker
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/11/14/5315726/why-are-nc-officials-so-intent.html

North Carolina officials are revving up their efforts to attract an automaker, with massive tracts of land assembled and teams of marketers sent to Asia and Europe. And if you want to understand why theyre pushing so hard, take a 90-mile drive south on Interstate 85, where BMW is churning out 1,100 luxury cars a day.

The German automaker opened its first U.S. factory 20 years ago in an ambitious bet on making cars in the Southeast. Now the plant is embarking on a $1 billion expansion that will make it the largest BMW factory in the world.

Getting an automaker to build in North Carolina could bring thousands of jobs to the state. And though the prospective sites are more than 90 miles from Charlotte, the city could see plenty of ripple effects. Think suppliers bringing jobs to town, new autos passing through Norfolk Southerns airport rail yard on their way to Charleston for export, and Central Piedmont Community College training workers.

But North Carolina faces tough competition from other states, which have typically offered hundreds of millions of dollars in public incentives. Low-cost Mexico has also emerged as a formidable competitor, landing five auto plants in just the last two years.

North Carolinas not going to be handed an auto plant without competing for it, said Mark Sweeney, a Greenville, S.C.-based senior principal with site selection specialists McCallum Sweeney. This is the major leagues of economic development.

Officials have been racking up the miles in their quest to lure a factory. In September, N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker led a delegation to Japan to drum up interest in pre-selected sites identified for automakers. The Charlotte Regional Partnership sent a delegation to Germany last week to talk to prospects, including automakers, about locating their businesses in the Charlotte region. And Charlotte-based Duke Energy is supporting the effort, helping identify and market sites to potential companies.

Decker said the state is prepared to compete, and is talking with car manufacturers.

Were in conversations with a number of manufacturers that are based in Europe, she told the Observer. Were looking worldwide.

Driving the automakers expansion is pent-up demand: People are buying more cars as the recessions effects fade. Even now, the average age of Americans vehicles is almost 11 1/2 years a record. Some experts predict automakers will announce as many as half a dozen new North American factories in the coming years to meet stronger demand.

Automakers have built plants across the Southeast in recent decades, attracted in part by nonunion workforces. Besides South Carolina, factories have sprung up in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky. Mike Randle, publisher of trade magazine Southern Business & Development, in a recent article called North Carolina the longest running bridesmaid of them all in the automaker race.

Economic developers still bristle at North Carolinas near-miss in 1993: The state almost landed a Mercedes-Benz plant for a site in Mebane, but the German automaker instead chose Alabama.

We were close. Got to the altar, couldnt seal the deal, said John Geib, Dukes director of economic development for North Carolina.

Decker said such a factory would be transformative for North Carolina, because of the supplier and logistics jobs that come with such a facility. BMWs South Carolina plant employs more than 8,000 workers almost as many as teachers working for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

BMWs presence indirectly created 23,000 jobs at more than 40 suppliers around the state, a 2012 University of South Carolina study found. That includes nearby shops that stamp out metal pieces for the car bodies, and a factory that makes seats.

The sites North Carolina is pitching to automakers include an 1,800-acre parcel in Chatham County and a nearly 1,400-acre site in Randolph County. At the Chatham County site, about 105 miles northeast of Charlotte, the private owners have agreed to keep the property available for two years. The Piedmont Triad Partnership has assembled the Randolph County site, roughly 90 miles northeast of Charlotte. Such megasites are vetted and approved with plans detailing roads, utilities and other infrastructure, so buyers can move fast without surprises.

Moving fast may be key: Geib said now is the critical moment, with automakers poised to expand and ready to choose sites.

My personal belief is it will be over in three years. Its going to happen pretty quickly, he said. Once that capacity is built, then the need for new capacity wont happen again for well, you pick the number of years.
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xx Friends of Rocky River are at it Again
November 18, 2014, 08:53:25 AM by Silk_Hope
I heard on WNCA this morning that Diana Hales' husband was at the Siler City Town Board meeting with his Friends of the Rocky River trying to stop the megasite. Is this what we have to look forward to in the new County regime?
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xx Duke Power Coal Ash to be moved to Chatham and Lee County
November 16, 2014, 10:12:17 PM by UNC70
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Duke Energy is submitting plans to North Carolina regulators to move millions of tons of coal ash from four high-risk plants to other locations, including open-pit clay mines.

The company said Thursday its proposal has to be approved by the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

A coal ash cleanup bill passed by lawmakers this summer requires Duke to remove all of the waste stored in Asheville, Dan River, Riverbend and Sutton plants by 2019.

The legislation was passed after a massive coal ash spill at Duke's Dan River plant coated 70 miles of the river in gray muck.

Along with recycling the waste, Duke will move some of the ash to clay mines used in the brick industry in Chatham and Lee counties.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/11/13/4318840_duke-announces-plans-to-move-coal.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy
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xx Classless Randy Voller admits he is a BIG #FAIL as NC Democrat Party Chairman
November 15, 2014, 09:16:05 PM by zorro
Classless Randy Voller admits he is a BIG #FAIL as NC Democrat Party Chairman
By Mark Binker
http://www.wral.com/voller-not-seeking-another-term-as-nc-dems-mend-fences/14184916/



Pittsboro, N.C. North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller said Saturday that he will not seek another term when the party's next leader is chosen on Feb. 7. Contrasting the wins in state appellate court races and for county commissioner seats against the stinging loss in U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan's re-election campaign, Voller said the party needs a fresh start.

"I believe that our Democrats had a successful election," Voller told his party's State Executive Committee. "However, I personally judge myself on the loss of this U.S. Senate seat, and I will take responsibility as party leader for that loss. I didn't run the campaign, but ultimately, the buck stops with me. We didn't win it. So consequently, I'm not going to run for re-election because I believe I need to take responsibility for that loss."

The meeting, held in a high school auditorium, was a sometimes contradictory mix of organizational meeting, pep rally and damage assessment. Democrats lost the most important and highest-profile races that were on the ballot this year. In addition to Hagan's defeat by state House Speaker Thom Tillis, 10 of 13 congressional districts are now held by the GOP as Republicans picked up a seat once held by 7th District Congressman Mike McIntyre, who chose not to run for re-election.

Voller and other party leaders eager to put a positive spin on the elections pointed out that the four Democrats who ran for state Supreme Court all won their races and that Democratic candidates picked up wins in five state House seats currently held by Republicans. However, Democrats lost two House seats their party had held and lost a seat in the state Senate, leaving Republicans with veto-proof super-majorities in both legislative chambers.

As well, the party has struggled to recover financially from the loss of tax checkoff funding that had been a source of steady operational income.

So, despite the attempt at an upbeat tone for the meeting, Voller and others said the party needs to change, starting with the executive committee itself. The 700-plus member State Executive Committee is supposed to set policy for the party, but the group is unwieldy, and meetings can get bogged down in the minutia of party platform positions and points of order rather than organizing for elections.

With the exception of Cheri Beasely, a state Supreme Court justice facing a potential recount in her narrow victory, and Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, no federal or statewide elected officials attended the meeting, and only a handful of state legislators did.

"We are fighting today's war with a mindset and a strategy that is decades old," Voller said, proposing that the party streamline its decision making and tying affiliated groups, such as the state House and Senate caucus operations that support lawmakers, more closely to the party's central organization.

It's unclear how readily those recommendations will be accepted.

"I don't think that is necessarily the best way to do that," said House Minority Leader Larry Hall, who heads the Democrats' House caucus operations. Citing what he described as a "great success" on Election Day, Hall, D-Durham, said donors may be less likely to give if they knew their money went toward general Democratic efforts rather than explicitly to help state House candidates.

That said, Hall added, "There's a lot of coordination that happen that's not written down officially."
Burying the hatchet

Voller said that one reason he would not seek re-election is to give the sometimes fractious party's grassroots volunteers a chance to unite behind a new leader.

For the past several years, Democratic Party politics has been marked by turmoil in its top leadership. In February, Voller abruptly fired executive director Robert Dempsey and apparently pushed a plan to hire controversial civil rights leader Ben Chavis as the party's new day-to-day leader.

The episode touched off a public feud within the party. Questions about Voller's handling of party finances and operations soaked up public attention at a time when candidates were beginning their 2014 runs for office. State Auditor Beth Wood publicly demanded a refund of a $500 contribution to the party, and the Hagan campaign distanced itself from the state organization.

Hagan eventually forged a formal agreement with the Wake County Democratic Party to handle certain bookkeeping and get-out-the-vote operations, shutting the state party off from one of the highest-profile races in the state and creating a fault line withing Democratic politics.

Dan Blue III, the son of state senator and the head of the Wake County Democratic Party, was critical of Voller during that turmoil but told those gathered on Saturday that the past year of bad blood needs to be forgotten.

"This is civil war within our party, and I think most of you recognize and agree it has to stop," Blue said, adding that he would not run for the party's top organizational leadership position.

Currently, the only announced candidate for the top job is Patsy Keever, a vice chairman and former county commissioner, state lawmaker and congressional candidate. Keever offered only a short greeting to members Saturday and did not address her plans with the committee.

Voller took over as the party's top leader after a sexual harassment scandal led to the resignation of a high-profile executive director and embroiled former chairman, David Parker, in a seemingly endless conflict over his tenure.

Democrats had hoped Voller would help settle the party, but personal financial troubles and occasionally errant comments sometimes drew unwanted attention. For example, in May 2013, he likened state Republican policies to rape, although quickly apologized for the remark.

[As usual, Randy Voller continues to be a classless jerk.]

On his way out of office, he had at least one more flame-throwing quote to offer. He told those gathered at the committee meeting that he had started to pass a kidney stone.

"I told some people that I've nicknamed this kidney stone Speaker Tillis, Thom Tillis," he said. "It's painful. It's obstructionistic. I don't know why it's there. It needs to go, but it's still with me.'"
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xx CHN - Japanese visitors tour local senior housing in Chatham & Orange counties
November 14, 2014, 10:08:42 AM by Gene Galin
Japanese visitors tour local senior housing in Chatham & Orange counties
http://www.chapelhillnews.com/2014/11/10/4311277_japanese-visitors-tour-local-senior.html?sp=/99/586/885/887/&rh=1

In its first U.S. tour in more than 14 years, a Japanese senior citizens group visited Orange and Chatham senior housing communities last week before heading north to see more options in Washington, D.C. 

The Japanese Foundation for Senior Citizens delegates visited a a house in Carrboro designed by architect Jason Hart of CUBE Design + Research that helps homeowners age in place, as well as a nursing home, Signature of Chapel Hill, and several wellness centers at local continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). 

They also toured Carolina House, an assisted living center in Chapel Hill, and Charles House-Winmore, a private-pay eldercare home in Carrboro. 

The group held discussions at senior centers in Chatham and Orange counties and the Pittsboro branch of Piedmont Health SeniorCare (PACE), whose five county centers serve seniors living at home in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Lee and Orange counties. 

The Chatham County Senior Center presented a talk by attorney Mark Shelburne of the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, who explained how the federal Low-Income Tax Housing Credit is the largest and most successful affordable housing program in America having provided 2.4 million senior housing units to date and adding an additional 100,000 units annually. 

The foundations president, Hiroshi Takahashi, and his assistant, Reiko Ogawa, led the group of 17 participants, which included housing industry leaders, professors of Toyo University, the International University of Health and Welfare, and Kintetsu International, a world leader in travel, freight and business technology.

The visit was facilitated by Chapel Hill residents and stateside Foundation members Richard Crume and his wife, Yoko Sakuma Crume, an expert in aging research and policy. 

The group held working lunches with local leaders in senior housing at Galloway Ridge, Carol Woods and The Cedars at Meadowmont. 

At last Wednesdays lunch, Bob Woodruff, president and CEO of The Cedars, and Krista Lemery, administrator of Home Care and Clinic at The Cedars, sat with Takahashi and Mika Yamamoto, a professor of social work at Toyo University.

They agreed that food was one of the most important aspects of senior care because aging decreases a persons sense of smell and taste, which are integral to the enjoyment of food.

We have the best food, but also get the most complaints about it because no one likes to eat at the same restaurant every meal, even if it is the best restaurant in town, Woodruff said. Our chef, who came to us from an exclusive country club, is always working to bring new food experiences to the table to keep the dining experience fresh.

They noted that population demographics and industrialization/modernization are driving forces in both societies, with the historical American system of families taking care of elders collapsing earlier than Japans. That's why, Woodruff said, the United States has so many CCRCs now.

Takahashi said there are no places like The Cedars membership program in Japan, but the Japanese are starting to implement a program that identifies where older people are living and then tries to provide elder care services there as it provides services for other generations, too.

He described one Japanese village where small houses are clustered around a community house that provides day care for people of all ages children, adults with disabilities and mental/cognitive health issues run by volunteers but supported by nurses, psychologists and other health-care professionals. The community house includes a traditional shrine to spark the sharing of memories and to reminisce about the past. 

The challenge to having places like The Cedars, Carol Woods and Galloway Ridge in Japan is affordability, because the cost of land is so high, Takahashi said. The Cedars at Meadowmont is spread over 47 acres.

People have really just started to want these, Takahashi said, but when some go to better places than others it sends a message.

The Japanese government is worried about escalating costs of long-term care insurance and other social programs because the number of older adults continues to increase, just as it does in the United States, but without the immigration of young workers the United States enjoys.

On the upside, providing senior care benefits allows different sections of the economy for-profit and non-profit to grow, Takahashi said.

Japan has a universal medical health insurance program which covers all but 2 percent of the population. That 2 percent is covered by a welfare program, much like Medicaid in the United States.

The universal long-term care insurance program is unique in the world with only five or six other countries providing such care, but it does require everyone who is able to pay into the system, just as they pay into Japans universal health insurance program.

A care manager works with the client, their family and health-care providers to choose one of five levels of care. The upper level of care provided by long-term care insurance is capped at $3,500 per month. Long-term care insurance pays 90 percent and the individual has pays 10 percent.

Japans health-care provisions the Welfare Act of the mid-1960s and the 2000 Long-term Care Insurance Act has helped Japanese women live the longest of any country; and Japanese men live to average age of 85, Takahashi said.

During a presentation at the Seymour Center, Takahashi said important questions the group is trying to answer are: Are our seniors having a successful aging experience? How should care be provided? How do we deal with people living alone? How should we help people maintain a high motivation to live? 

When asked what the best thing he learned here was, Takahashi answered, the wide variety of what each of the retirement services has to offer.
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xx Pedestrian struck by minivan driven by 42-year-old Courtney Ritter of Pittsboro
November 14, 2014, 10:06:05 AM by Gene Galin
Chapel Hill pedestrian struck by a Honda minivan driven by 42-year-old Courtney Ritter of Pittsboro.
http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/pedestrian-struck-vehicle-franklin-street/

Chapel Hill police responded on Thursday morning to another report of a pedestrian being struck by a car.

The incident occurred at 11:47 am on East Franklin Street between Elliott Road and Estes Drive. Police say 21-year-old Scott Imura of Chapel Hill was in a crosswalk when he was struck by a Honda minivan driven by 42-year-old Courtney Ritter of Pittsboro.

Imura was transported to UNC Hospitals with minor injuries; Ritter was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and failing to reduce speed to avoid a crash.

The Chapel Hill Police Department is actively engaged in an ongoing program to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in town. This is already the second reported incident of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle on Franklin Street this month.

The full statement from Chapel Hill Police is below:

At 11:47 today, November 13th, 2014. The Chapel Hill Police Department responded to a report of a pedestrian that had been struck by a vehicle at 1520 East Franklin Street. Preliminary investigation revealed that Scott Imura, 21, of Chapel Hill was crossing East Franklin Street within a marked crosswalk when he was struck by a 2007 Honda Odyssey Minivan driven by Courtney Ritter, 42, of Pittsboro. Ms. Ritter was issued citations for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash. Mr. Imura was transported to UNC Hospital for minor injuries by Orange County EMS.

The Chapel Hill Police Department participates in the statewide Watch for Me NC program. The program aims to reduce pedestrian and bicycle injuries and deaths through a comprehensive, targeted approach of public education and police enforcement.
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xx TBJ - Demand pushes Pittsboro's Farm Boy Farms to double in size
November 14, 2014, 10:03:40 AM by Gene Galin
Demand pushes Pittsboro's Farm Boy Farms to double in size
http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2014/11/11/farm-boy-farms-pittsboro-nc-expansion.html

by Dawn Wallace



Farm Boy Farms of Pittsboro a local provider of barley, wheat and malt for craft beer is doubling in size, which means more local ingredients could work their way into local craft beer.

In 2012, the state had 85 breweries, it had 123 breweries by 2013 and currently has 146 breweries most of which are craft breweries. Plenty of craft brewers believe part of creating a quality product means sourcing ingredients locally, driving the need for farm owner Dan Gridley to expand.

"We are doubling our American Malting Barley Association-recommended two-row barley acreage from 25 acres to 50 acres," says Gridley. "We are also adding five acres of rye and networking with other area growers to provide us wheat."

According to Gridley, more than half of next year's hops crop has been contracted with existing and soon-to-be established Triangle breweries, but he isn't disclosing which ones.

The farm's malting capacity is also increasing from 250 pounds per day to 1,000 pounds per day, with the conversion of current kilns to a specialty kiln early next year "to provide roasted and toasted malts to breweries and home brew shops," says Gridley.
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