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Rhino Times - 2017-08-31
Magazines / Newspapers | Government 2017-08-31 00:00:00
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    Vol. V No. 35 Greensboro, North Carolina www.rhinotimes.com Thursday, August 31, 2017 City Hits Snag In Parking Deck- Hotel Project Scott D. Yost High Point Mayor Tries to Strong Arm County Chair into Supporting Stadium plus Under The Hammer, Uncle Orson Reviews Everything AND MORE

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    2 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, August 31, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com RHINOSHORTS by John Hammer It’s entertaining when the editorial department of the News & Record chooses to write a column about an event that the news department didn’t see as significant enough to cover. This week, editorial writer Doug Clark chose to write his column about a dust up at the meeting of the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance last week over the proposed High Point baseball stadium. The Rhino Times did cover the meeting, so if you want to read more than a snippet about what happened, along with accurate reporting of what happened, check out Scott’s article on page 4. If the commissioners agree to give High Point the money it is requesting, you can bet Greensboro will be at the next meeting asking for its share. Sunday I needed to come to work for a couple of hours. I thought I’d try Eugene Street, which the city has been working on for what seems like years. It was closed. So I tried coming into the downtown on Market Street, planning to park in front of the building, but Market Street was closed for a food truck rally. I eventually got to the parking lot behind the building off Friendly Avenue. It was annoying to try two different ways to get into the downtown and to finally have to use a third. But it did bring to mind something the city is going to have to consider soon. Just because someone works or lives downtown doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have the same access to their property as everyone else. Downtown Greensboro constantly has streets blocked off for walks and runs to raise money for mostly good causes, but then when you add in food truck rallies, the Folk Festival, Fun Fourth, etc., you have a lot of days where downtown traffic is detoured, diverted and sometimes just plain old blocked. I have no evidence to support this but it seems to me that it is more common to have streets blocked off on the weekend for something downtown than not. Think about how often the street you live on – if it isn’t downtown – is blocked off so that you can’t drive home. Former Rockingham County District Attorney Craig Blitzer has admitted he did it and made sworn statements that he conspired with former Person and Caswell County District Attorney Wallace Bradsher to steal a total of about $48,000 from the state in salaries for their wives. It’s a lot of money by men who had been entrusted to enforce the law and put people who break the law in jail. Yet the two were only charged with misdemeanors. What kind of legal system do we have that protects men who completely abuse the system from serious punishment? Photo by Sandy Groover City Councilmember Sharon Hightower, Assistant City Manager David Parrish, Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter, Mayor Nancy Vaughan, Councilmember Yvonne Johnson, Councilmember Goldie Wells and state Rep. Amos Quick (from left) at the grand opening of the Cone-Nealtown Connector and the dedication of Ralph C. Johnson Lane on Wednesday, August 30. RHINO TIMES BUSINESS AND SERVICE DIRECTORY For information to advertise in our Directory call (336) 763-4170 Have Medicare questions? I have answers. Bruce Bailer Licensed Sales Representative 425 Spring Garden Street Greensboro, NC 27401 336-275-2651, TTY 711 www.MyUHCagent.com/ bruce.bailer

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, August 31, 2017 | RHINO TIMES 3 table of CONTENTS 4 HIGH POINT MAYOR TRIES TO STRONG ARM COUNTY CHAIR INTO SUPPORTING BASEBALL STADIUM BY SCOTT D. YOST 6 CITY DISCOVERS EASEMENTS AFTER BUYING DOWNTOWN PARKING DECK LAND BY JOHN HAMMER 7 HARDISTER SAYS HE WON’T STAY DOUBLE BUNKED WITH FAIRCLOTH IN NEW DISTRICT BY JOHN HAMMER 8 HIGH POINT AND COUNTY IN PICKLE OVER STADIUM BY SCOTT D. YOST 12 EARLY VOTING SAME-DAY REGISTRATION PROVIDES LOOPHOLE FOR PROCRASTINATORS BY SCOTT D. YOST 15 UNCLE ORSON BY ORSON SCOTT CARD 23 YOST COLUMN BY SCOTT D. YOST 25 ASK CAROLYN ... BY CAROLYN WOODRUFF 35 UNDER THE HAMMER BY JOHN HAMMER 2 RHINO SHORTS 17 REAL ESTATE 18 NYT CROSSWORD 19 SUDOKU 19 PUZZLE ANSWERS 19 CHILDREN’S SCHEDULE 21 SOUND OF THE BEEP 26 NEWS OF THE WEIRD 28 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Cover: Part of the site purchased by the City of Greensboro for a new downtown parking garage currently under design. For more on this story, see page 6. Photo by John Hammer EDITOR-IN-CHIEF John Hammer managing editor ELAINE HAMMER county editor SCOTT D. YOST contributing editor ORSON SCOTT CARD PUBLISHER Roy Carroll GENERAL MANAGER Joann Zollo creative director ANTHONY COUNCIL advertising consultant DONNA GOODWIN 216 West Market Street, Greensboro NC 27401 P.O. Box 9023, Greensboro NC 27429 | (336) 763-4170 (336) 763-2585 fax | sales@rhinotimes.com | www.rhinotimes.com Peripheral Neuropathy WARNING! Greensboro, NC – The most common method your doctor will recommend to treat your neuropathy is with prescription drugs that may temporarily reduce your symptoms. These drugs have names such as Gabapentin, Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Neurontin, and are primarily antidepressant or anti-seizure drugs. These drugs may cause you to feel uncomfortable and have a variety of harmful side effects. Figure 1: Notice the very small blood vessels surrounding each nerve. Peripheral neuropathy is a result of damage to the nerves often causing weakness, pain, numbness, tingling, and the most debilitating balance problems. This damage is commonly caused by a lack of blood flow to the nerves in the hands and feet which causes the nerves to begin to degenerate due to lack of nutrient flow. As you can see in Figure 2, as the blood vessels that surround the nerves become diseased they shrivel up which causes the nerves to not get the nutrients to continue to survive. When these nerves begin to “die” they cause you to have balance problems, pain, numbness, tingling, burning, and many additional symptoms. Figure 2: When these very small blood vessels become diseased they begin to shrivel up and the nerves begin to degenerate. The main problem is that your doctor has told you to just live with the problem or try the drugs which you don’t like taking because they make you feel uncomfortable. There is now a facility right here that offers you hope without taking those endless drugs with serious side effects. In order to effectively treat your neuropathy three factors must be determined. 1) What is the underlying cause? 2) How Much Nerve Damage Has Been Sustained. NOTE: Once you have sustained 85% nerve loss, there is likely nothing that we can do for you. 3) How much treatment will your condition require? The treatment that is provided at Advance Wellness has three main goals: 1) Increase blood flow 2) Stimulate small fiber nerves 3) Decrease brain-based pain The treatment to increase blood flow utilizes a specialized low level light therapy using light emitting diode technology. This technology was originally developed by NASA to assist in increasing blood flow. The low level light therapy is like watering a plant. The light therapy will allow the blood vessels to grow back around the peripheral nerves and provide them with the proper nutrients to heal and repair. It’s like adding water to a plant and seeing the roots grow deeper and deeper. Figure 3: The blood vessels will grow back around the nerves much like a plant’s roots grow when watered. To learn more, attend the Peripheral Neuropathy Workshop. Details below. Have You Been Told You Have To “LIVE WITH THE PAIN?” Neuropathy Workshops Call now for September dates and times 515 College Road #11 Greensboro, NC 27410 FREE!! Call: (336) 316-0827 Call NOW! Seating is limited. Dr. Joe Draper, III, DC Advance Wellness is located near Guilford College.

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    4 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, August 31, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com High Point Mayor Tries to Strong Arm County Chair into Supporting Baseball Stadium Rendering of the proposed High Point baseball stadium being used for illustrative purposes by Scott D. Yost At the Thursday morning, August 24 meeting of the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance (GCEDA), a confrontation between High Point Mayor Bill Bencini and Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips left many alliance members in stunned silence after it became clear that the disagreement between the two could mean an end to GCEDA – a group that was formed with great effort two years ago to promote countywide cooperation in economic development. At the meeting, the two men went head to head in a disagreement that stems from a proposal by High Point to build a downtown baseball stadium as part of a downtown revitalization effort. Bencini argued that Guilford County was dragging its feet and was unlikely to support the project, while Phillips told the mayor that the county had not made a decision one way or the other and was simply being a responsible elected body; Phillips also said the High Point mayor was very misguided about some things he was telling the group. Since that public airing of differences, local government leaders on both sides said the new rift forming in Guilford County/High Point relations could lead to a massive chill between the two local government and could have ramifications for all sorts of existing agreements and contracts. After the meeting, Phillips said that Bencini’s “strong arm tactics” weren’t the right approach, and he said he didn’t appreciate the fact that the High Point mayor made his comments at a meeting of economic development officials – which Phillips said was not the proper venue for the exchange. At the GCEDA meeting, Bencini expressed his dismay, and that of other High Point officials, over the fact that the Guilford County Board of Commissioners didn’t appear willing to cooperate with High Point on a major downtown redevelopment project that calls for a publicly financed $30 million baseball stadium to be built as a catalyst for what city leaders predict will be $100 million economic development effort. The project is meant to address the blight-filled ghost town that now makes up much of High Point’s downtown for 50 weeks out of each year. For two weeks each year, some of that area does come to life when the international furniture market comes to town. The showdown at the August 24 GCEDA meeting, at the Cameron Campus of Guilford Technical Community College in Colfax, was largely the result of a work session one week earlier when some Guilford County commissioners – including Phillips – expressed concern over the process that led to High Point’s baseball stadium project, as well as concerns over the financing method of the proposed stadium. Bencini, other High Point city councilmembers and business and civic leaders requested that the Board of Commissioners approve a 20-year tax-sharing plan that would mean Guilford County would use about $12 million in county property tax revenues to help pay off the stadium debt. High Point officials are asking for county revenue that comes from the added property value expected to be created by the stadium and related private development. They argue that the project’s financial cost to the county will be “zero” even if the effort is a big flop – since the county isn’t responsible for any of the stadium debt if no development occurs around it. High Point and the county are discussing the details of that proposed financing agreement. High Point officials have asked for Phillips to put the item on the commissioners’ agenda for the board’s Thursday, Sept. 7 meeting; however Phillips had expressed several concerns about the project and he’d also said he hadn’t decided if the Board of Commissioners would put the item on the agenda for that meeting. That, and subsequent discussions that took place behind the scenes, led up to the events at the GCEDA meeting where Bencini dropped his bombshell on the unsuspecting group. Since it was a joint meeting of the GCEDA Leadership Group and the GCEDA Advisory Council, there were about two dozen local business leaders, government managers and elected officials on hand to witness what occurred on the day Bencini decided to use the nuclear option. At the meeting, Bencini read from a prepared statement and the gravity of what he was saying was soon evident to GCEDA members at the meeting. “High Point is in the process of undertaking the largest economic development project in decades, maybe ever,” the mayor stated. “If our partners in Guilford County government choose not to participate with the City of High Point in this catalyst project – a project in which Guilford County makes no upfront commitment, a project with no county financial risk – we will be forced to ask uncomfortable questions: Why are we here? Why are we involved in the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance? Should the City of High Point and our EDC [Economic Development Corp.] instead partner only with the City of Greensboro and the Greensboro Chamber, revamping the GCEDA instead to the Greensboro- High Point Economic Development Alliance – four partners working together for our collective good? These are questions that should not linger.” Bencini criticized the commissioners for using “straw man” arguments against the stadium project. While reading from his statement prepared with some input from other High Point leaders, he said it was inconsistent of the Board of Commissioners to criticize High Point for not putting the stadium project to a vote in the form of a bond referendum when the commissioners themselves raised $28 million earlier this year for a new animal shelter and other projects through bonds that required no voter approval. Bencini also criticized comments Phillips had made at a Board of Commissioners August 17 work session, one week earlier. Phillips had said the commissioners did in fact have something on the line – their reputations. At that work session, Phillips had said, “There’s reputational, and there’s arguably political capital of all of us here, and many of you there, that we have worked for many, many years to accrue.” Bencini read that quote at the GCEDA meeting, but didn’t use Phillips’ name. Instead, he said “One commissioner” had said it – but many in the room knew exactly who had said it and they were glancing at Phillips, who was sitting just across the table from Bencini, to see Phillips’ reaction. At that uncomfortable point, Phillips spoke up. “That was me, by the way,” Phillips said. (continued on page 14)

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, August 31, 2017 | RHINO TIMES 5

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    6 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, August 31, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com City Discovers Easements After Buying Downtown Parking Deck Land by John Hammer The city has hit not a roadblock but a sizable bump in its effort to build a $30 million public parking deck downtown with a Westin Hotel on top of it. The problem is that an adjacent property owner, Rocky Scarfone, owns two easements through the current parking lot that is slated to be the ground floor of the proposed parking deck. Apparently the city was unaware that these easements existed when it purchased the land for the parking lot that stretches from East Market Street along Davie Street to February 1 Place. Scarfone owns the Cone Denim Entertainment Center at 117 South Elm St., and his deed gives him “perpetual right of ingress and egress and regress” to the back of his building. One easement goes from the back of his building east to Davie Street and a second easement goes from the back of his building north toward East Market Street. The easements evidently do not appear on the deeds for the property purchased by the city, but they are on Scarfone’s deed and have been in place since at least horse and buggy days. One part of the deed for 117 South Elm St. states, “East 128 feet to a point in the annex to the old Vanstory Stables.” Not only does Scarfone have an easement to the back of his building, he uses it so that bands playing at Cone Denim can park behind the building to load and unload their equipment. With South Elm Street being only two lanes wide, it also makes a huge difference to be able to bring in deliveries through the back. Scarfone said that he had hired attorney Amiel Rossabi to represent him in the case, so that any comment would have to come from Rossabi. But Scarfone did say, “Everybody is trying to work through it.” The city has already allocated over $4 million to purchase the land for the parking deck, $2 million to design the deck and $26 million to build it. Building the Westin Hotel, which will front on South Elm Street at the site of the current Elm Street Center, will cost and estimated $35 million. So this is a $65 million public-private development being held up by two easements the city should have discovered before they purchased the land. What nobody would admit to knowing is how the city could buy a properties downtown for over $2 million and not have the deeds searched to make certain there were no easements, rights of way, encroachments, liens or other legal entanglements. Nobody with the city would admit that they didn’t know about the easements before purchasing the property, but the fact that the design for the parking deck has been underway without allowing for Scarfone’s legally recorded easements through the property is an indication that the city was surprised to find that they would have to make some accommodation for Scarfone’s legal rights of ingress, egress and regress. It’s early in the process, so those design adjustments can be made, but how much it will cost remains to be seen. But this is the kind of news that no new property owner wants to receive. It raises the question for taxpayers: Is the land worth what the city paid, considering that it has two easements across it? The other question is: Just how much is it going to cost the city to settle the issue with Scarfone? By creating an alley, the city will have to give up some parking spaces, which will result in the parking deck producing less revenue for the city. There was a meeting on Monday, August 28 that involved Scarfone, Rossabi, City Councilmember Mike Barber and City Attorney Tom Carruthers to see if an agreement could be reached. Downtown Greensboro Inc. President Zack Matheny said he was aware of the problem and had tried to Photo by John Hammer Since buying this parking lot for a downtown parking garagehotel project, the City of Greensboro has discovered easements that begin at the red brick building near the center of the photo – the back of Cone Denim Entertainment Center, which fronts on South Elm Street. convince Scarfone that bands could load and unload equipment through the front door. Matheny said that what had to be considered was what was “for the greater good of the community.” He said that the hotel and the parking deck continue to be designed and that they would benefit the entire downtown area, including Scarfone’s businesses. Carruthers said after Monday’s meeting, “We have identified a rear access for Mr. Scarfone’s property that will run perpendicular to and connect to Market Street that will be 14 feet wide, which is wider than any alleyway he has in his original deed.” Carruthers added, “I’m not sure that Mr. Scarfone believes this is the best solution. We thought we had solved the problem by this minimum 14 foot wide access, but we’re looking at alternates to see if we can reach a mutually agreeable solution.” Carruthers said that one of Scarfone’s concerns was that the proposed alley would require buses and trucks to back out on to East Market Street. Under the current conditions, with a large parking lot at the back door, those buses and trucks can turn around. Barber said, “I think we can get the whole thing sorted out.” Barber said one solution to the turnaround issue would be to continue the alley all the way through the block to February 1 Place, so that vehicles wouldn’t have to turn around and wouldn’t be stuck if someone pulled a vehicle in behind them. Barber said he had heard talk of the city using “eminent domain” but added, “Nobody is going to use eminent domain in this case.” Barber said that the assumption was that the new parking deck and hotel complex would be a huge benefit to all surrounding businesses but that not all downtown businesses see it that way. Barber said, “We need to accommodate the existing downtown businesses. We want these businesses to be able to function. There can be compatibility issues.” When asked how the city could miss two easements on a $2 million plus purchase, Barber said, “Maybe the easements weren’t fully evaluated.” He suggested that while the property itself was properly searched, the surrounding properties were not. Both Carruthers and Barber seemed convinced that the issue could be worked out, as did Scarfone. Rossabi was unavailable for comment.

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, August 31, 2017 | RHINO TIMES 7 Hardister Says He Won’t Stay Double Bunked with Faircloth in New District by John Hammer The new state legislative districts have now passed the state House and Senate. The governor doesn’t get to weigh in on redistricting, so the new districts became law when they passed. Or they became law at least until three federal judges decide whether to accept them or not. The three-judge panel had ruled 18 state House and nine state Senate districts illegal because, in the opinion of the judges, they were drawn with too much consideration given to race and diluted the votes of some black voters in those districts because the judges believed the districts contained too many black voters. What the judges refused to do is tell the state legislators how many black voters in a district is too many. The state legislators responded by drawing new districts without looking at data on the race of the voters. Redistricting committee members have said that they looked at no racial data in drawing the new districts. Since there is as yet no racial data on the districts, the judges presumably will have to come up with that information themselves and then determine – by the secret formula that evidently is only available to federal judges – whether any of the districts have too many black voters or not. Since only federal judges have the formula that determines whether or not a district is acceptable, it is also possible that some new districts might not have enough black voters, which is just as bad as too many according to the federal courts. In Guilford County, people have asked what the Republicans were doing when they placed two prominent Republican state representatives in the same district. District 61 state Rep. John Faircloth and District 59 state Rep. Jon Hardister, who is the majority whip, are double bunked in the new District 57. Double bunking is when two incumbents are placed in the same district, meaning one of them will lose their seat, and is something the majority party usually does to the minority party, not something it does to its own members. Hardister, after the House passed the new districts, said that if the districts were upheld by the courts, he would move into the new District 59, which has no incumbent. Hardister noted that the new District 59 includes a large part of the old District 59, which he currently represents. Hardister said, “I plan to move to the new District 59 and run there.” He said, “I’m young. I’m single. I invest in real estate. So moving is not that big a deal for me.” He said he was planning to move to the Stony Creek area in Whitsett and that it had a lot of advantages for him. One was that it is about 30 minutes closer to Raleigh than his current home in the Green Valley area. He added, “Not paying Greensboro city taxes would be a plus. Our city taxes are relatively high and we just had a de facto tax increase. I love this city. I was born and raised here, but the city needs a new direction.” Hardister said, “John Faircloth wants to run again and he is a good friend and a great legislator. The simple thing is for me to relocate.” Hardister said that since he currently represents most of the people in the new District 59, it made sense to move so he could continue to represent them, if they choose to reelect him. Hardister also said that moving to Stony Creek might help his golf game. One Greensboro official who currently works with the legislature said he was concerned when he saw Faircloth and Hardister double bunked because Greensboro was gaining more influence in the legislature and he hated to see either Faircloth or Hardister lose their seat because of redistricting. But as it turns out, if the federal court upholds the districts, both will be running for reelection, except Hardister will have moved into the district he now represents. If nothing else this election stuff can be utterly confusing. Guilford County will theoretically lose some of its influence in the senate with the redistricting. In the current districts, President Pro Tem of the Senate Phil Berger – who many consider the most powerful elected official in the state – represents a good bit of northern Guilford County. District 30, which will be Berger’s new district, includes Rockingham, Caswell and Stokes counties and a portion of Surry County but none of Guilford County. Republican District 27 state Sen. Trudy Wade, who continues to gain power in the Senate, saw her district change so that it will include the northwest quadrant of Guilford County, but Wade said that the new district will still be a good district for her. Part of eastern Guilford County will be in the new District 24, currently represented by Republican Sen. Rick Gunn from Burlington. And part of High Point will be in the new District 26, currently represented by Republican District 29 Sen. Jerry Tillman from Archdale. So some might see it as losing one Republican senator and gaining two. Democratic District 28 state Sen. Gladys Robinson said last week she didn’t like the way the redistricting process was done and she hated to lose Pleasant Garden, where she used to live, from her new district, but from what she could see her new district would be a pretty good district for her. Other than double bunking Hardister and Faircloth in the new House district 61, the rest of the House districts in Guilford County moved, but the moves don’t appear to be significant except perhaps to the voters who have been moved from one district to another and will be surprised on Election Day next year to see new names on the ballot.

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    8 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, August 31, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com High Point and County in Pickle over Stadium by Scott D. Yost There has been a whirlwind of frantic activity behind the scenes this week as the Guilford County commissioners try to decide if they want to play ball with High Point by using county property tax revenue for the next two decades to help fund a proposed new stadium meant to spur downtown development in that city. The tension over the project has become so heated in recent days that it’s almost not an exaggeration to say that a “no” vote by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners could lead High Point to contemplate an attempt to break away from Guilford County and form a county of its own. Just over a century ago, a group of High Point leaders tried to do just that and, this week, some High Point officials are saying that, if the county can’t offer its support on a “no-brainer,” “riskfree,” “extremely well thought out” proposition like the stadium proposal, then it’s not clear what purpose that city-county relationship serves. Guilford County commissioners, on the other hand, say High Point has been pushing too hard, too fast for an answer from the board, and then say there are still a lot of unanswered questions and that High Point is now changing the financing proposal on the fly. High Point Mayor Bill Bencini and other High Point officials have been insisting that the Guilford County Board of Commissioners make a decision at the board’s Thursday, Sept. 7 meeting in order to accommodate a proposed financial approval schedule the city already has in place. City leaders say they have to strike while the iron is hot – that is, while all the private, public and philanthropic parties are willing to move forward together – and they have already submitted a preliminary financing plan to the Local Government Commission (LGC). The LGC is a state financial oversight body that must sign off on deals when local governments assume large amounts of debt as High Point is doing in this case. High Point officials are already scheduled to meet with the LGC to get approval on this project and they want Guilford County on board by Sept. 7 so that High Point can include that revenue stream as part of the financing proposal the LGC will consider. Guilford County Commissioner Carlvena Foster, a strong backer of the stadium proposal, did a rare endaround move on Chairman Jeff Phillips last week and placed the item on the agenda for the Sept. 7 meeting without consulting him first. For years, the practice in Guilford County government has been for all agenda item requests to go to through the chairman. In this case, it’s extremely difficult to predict what the nine-member board will do because many of them say they have yet to make up their minds. Commissioner Kay Cashion seems to be leaning toward approval. Cashion has said she plans on attending a Wednesday, Sept. 6 announcement event in High Point where High Point University President Nido Qubein will provide an update on the stadium’s naming rights. That will almost certainly include revealing what company has chosen to enter into what’s expected to be a 15-year option on naming rights for the proposed ballpark. Some comments made by Commissioner Justin Conrad suggest he’s leaning in the other direction. Commissioner Skip Alston said this week, when asked about his decision, “I don’t know – I’m still thinking about it.” Commissioner Alan Perdue, likewise, said he was still listening to the arguments on both sides. High Point leaders want Guilford County to use tax revenue from the anticipated increase in property values to help cover some of the stadium’s cost. Though some of the cost would be covered by other revenue sources – like the team’s lease payment, a facility fee charge on game tickets, parking surcharges and the stadium naming rights – part of the city’s financial plan has, at least until recently, called for the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to create a Tax Increment Funding (TIF) zone covering about 650 acres near the proposed stadium, which would allow Guilford County’s portion of the increase in tax revenues to go toward stadium repayment for up to a 20-year period. The agreement is expected to mean that Guilford County will provide roughly $12 million in stadium debt repayment over two decades or so. If Guilford County saw the appreciation of the property values but did not use the revenues for stadium repayment, the added tax value would go into the counties budget and be used to pay for countywide services such a health and human services, schools, emergency services, etc. TIFs are public financing methods through which local governments divert new property tax revenue from increases in property values in a certain district, for a set period of time, and use those funds to pay for an economic development project. In this case, as it has been discussed, Guilford County would take tax revenue from the anticipated property value increase and use those funds to help pay off the debt on the baseball stadium. County officials said this week that, though all previous discussion had been about the TIF, now High Point is actually requesting “an interlocal revenue sharing agreement” that has important differences from a TIF. For one thing, it may require a public hearing with prior public notice – something that would prevent the Board of Commissioners from legally approving the matter next week even if it wanted to. That new wrinkle created a fury of research activity by the tax, finance and legal departments of Guilford County government. Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne has been checking the implications of this type of financing. One high-ranking High Point official said the proposal is for a “synthetic TIF,” and he stated that using the shorthand language of calling it a TIF this entire time was “unfortunate,” but he added that this was essentially the same financing arrangement the city has been talking about all along. Mark Payne, who has been reviewing the written request from High Point, said that the proposal is not a TIF but shares some characteristics of a TIF. Payne said that some of the differences are “semantic” and the agreement on his desk is sometimes viewed as a “synthetic TIF,” but he added that there are logistical, statutory and practical differences between the “interlocal revenue sharing agreement” now being proposed to the county and a TIF, which has been discussed previously. Payne said one difference is that the revenue sharing agreement now on the table, in his opinion, requires a public hearing because it falls into the category of an “economic development expenditure,” and state law requires a public hearing for those. The plan calls for High Point to take out a loan to pay for the stadium and the loan plus interest will be paid back by the various revenue streams, (continued on next page)

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    pickle (continued from previous page) and High Point officials hope Guilford County will be one of those. In the case of the TIF, the actual money raised in the tax collection process would be put toward stadium loan repayment; however, this new revenue sharing agreement would mean that Guilford County would advance the money to the stadium project on a periodic basis and then recoup that money from the added tax revenue. Though it should be pointed out that, under either agreement, Guilford County wouldn’t be responsible for paying out any money if there are no property value increases in the designated area. One of the points High Point officials have harped on over and over again is that Guilford County will only pay the revenue toward stadium debt if downtown economic development follows the stadium construction and property tax values increase, so there’s no financial risk to the county. However, this week some county commissioners said they question High Point’s assumption that no development will take place if the stadium project isn’t initiated – so Guilford County, therefore, may in effect be giving up real future revenues if the board does agree to the proposal. Bencini said the Downtown Catalyst Project is the city’s largest single economic development initiative since the city’s infrastructure investment in Piedmont Centre, which he said worked out very well. The Centre is a large business park the city helped establish at 4000 Piedmont Parkway that now is home to 170 companies. “We built that infrastructure and the private investment did materialize in north High Point in a big way,” Bencini said. “Piedmont Centre has been very successful, tax base-wise, for both the city and county.” The mayor said that project had stimulated a great deal of private investment along the NC 68 corridor. The mayor said the new Downtown Catalyst Project is meant to improve “the prosperity and livability” in southwest Guilford County, and he said a great deal of planning has gone into it. “It is well-conceived, well-planned and enthusiastically supported by our elected board, our civic leaders and our business community,“ Bencini said, adding that both High Point and Guilford County both will benefit from the project’s success. High Point plans to use added city revenue from the expected increase in city tax revenues to go toward stadium repayment and High Point officials are asking the county to do the same. That would mean that, for a period of up to 20 years, the county would not benefit from the property value increases and the related rise in tax revenue from the area; however, once the stadium is paid for, the county will then have the new annual revenue for its own use, if the promised economic development in fact materializes around the stadium. One High Point officials said this week that, “While High Point is trying to play baseball, while Guilford County is playing dodge ball.” Phillips said that he was taken aback by a widespread assumption on the part of High Point officials that the Guilford County commissioners had already decided to vote no on the project. He said that’s not the case, but he added that a public berating Bencini gave him at meeting of local economic development officials and elected officials hadn’t advanced High Point’s cause. Phillips also said he’s concerned about changes in the financing asked for and said more questions had arisen. Some county officials said it isn’t clear to them why they weren’t made more explicitly aware of the financing details before now and why, what has been called a TIF, is now something else. Several county commissioners said Guilford County staff was surprised to find, when they saw the proposal in writing, that the financing agreement wasn’t a TIF as they had been told all along. Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson also said this week that he’s just not sure local governments should be attempting to choose where development goes. “I’m not against the stadium,” Branson said, “but I’ve never have been a fan of government getting in the development business. I said that with Project Haystack.” Project Haystack was a major initiative, now notorious, that was supposed to transform 2,000 acres in eastern Guilford County into a giant data center park and bring over $5 billion in investment to the county. That initiative never even got off the ground despite all the hoopla and despite Guilford County spending about $30,000 to explore real estate acquisition for the project. High Point officials argue that the current baseball plan, unlike pie in the sky schemes, has been meticulously thought out and vetted six ways to Sunday; however, some county commissioners still have their doubts. Branson also said he had concerns about the county forgoing up to 20 years of property tax revenue in a large www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, August 31, 2017 | RHINO TIMES 9 area of the county on a financing plan that seems to be shifting in recent days. Branson also said it’s not at all unreasonable for the Board of Commissioners to want time to assess such a major endeavor. “I don’t think 30 days is going to kill the project,” Branson said. At a county commissioner work session on Thursday, August 17, Branson said he was a little perturbed High Point officials hadn’t spoken to him about the project in any detail beforehand. High Point leaders fixed that this week: On Friday, August 25, they gave Branson a tour of the blighted downtown area and answered questions he had about the project. Commissioner Hank Henning, who represents much of High Point, also said there was much more he wanted to know about the proposal. “They said, ‘What are your questions?’ and I said, ‘Everything,’” Henning said. “I see a lot of risk to it, but I also see a lot of benefits,” he added. Henning said it was mistake of High Point officials to assume he was going to vote against it. “I can be taken at face value when I say I need more information,” he said. Henning said that this project is supposed to be a “cash cow and they want the county to pony up,” but said that means dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s. “The last time I was rushed like this was with Say Yes,” Henning said. Say Yes to Education Guilford is a countywide college scholarship program that promised big things but left many families in the lurch due to poor financial planning. Henning has really been hearing it from both sides. Many High Point leaders desperately want Guilford County to participate while some citizens are angry the city didn’t put the project on the ballot in the form of a bond referendum before attempting to move forward with it. Henning said that, of the people he represents, “More people are skeptical than those who are willing to jump in.” On Friday, August 25, High Point sent a hand delivered letter to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners that provided some more details of the plan. One commissioner pointed out that, even though Foster has requested for the matter be on the board’s Sept. 7 agenda, a vote by a majority of commissioners can pull that item as fast as she had put it on.

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    10 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, August 31, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com GREENSBORO POLICE Officer C.J. Bryant Officer C.L. Kibler In April, Offi cers Bryant and Kibler responded to a shooting into an unoccupied dwelling. It was determined the shots could have only been fi red from the apartment next door. The offi cers made contact with the resident. When the door, was opened, the offi cers noticed the smell of marijuana. The subject allowed the offi cers inside and immediately pointed to a fi rearm in the living room. He stated that he came home the night before and heard someone moving around upstairs. Once upstairs, he said he encountered a suspect who produced a fi rearm and they struggled over the gun and it went off. He said the suspect ran down the stairs and fl ed on foot. The resident stated he did not call the police because he is a felon and was afraid of being charged for the gun. The offi cers completed a search warrant and recovered 750 grams of marijuana, 15 packs of edible THC, other drugs, $21,000 in cash and a large amount of paraphernalia. The resident was charged with multiple felonies and placed in jail. He made bail while the offi cers obtained two additional warrants. When serving them, he answered the door and again the offi cers encountered a smell of marijuana. Again he was arrested and the offi cers completed a search warrant, locating a 9 mm pistol, a 9 mm Uzi with an extended magazine, 25 grams of marijuana, three tubes of THC, 131 dosage units of MDMA (also known as ecstasy or Molly) and a bag of powdered MDMA. The resident was charged with multiple felonies and given a $5 million bond. Officer E.W. Hughes In March, Offi cer Hughes assisted in a major fi nancial fraud case involving suspects who were committing ATM skimming crimes across the Midwest and along the Eastern Seaboard. A bulletin from the Secret Service said to be on the lookout along the I-85 and I-40 corridor for a suspect’s vehicle. The driver was wanted for installing an ATM skimming device. Offi cer Hughes began searching the hotels along the corridor and located the van. He contacted investigators and got into position to watch the vehicle. It was found that the suspects were scheduled to check out in a few hours. Police detectives and the Secret Service responded, resulting in arrests and seizures of the illegal equipment used to commit frauds. The main suspect received a $500,000 bond. Jackie Bethea A young man came to the Offi ce of Community Engagement saying he had witnessed a crime. Bethea and her manager decided to connect him with Crime Stoppers. Bethea offered to walk him over and, during small talk, realized the young man’s statements didn’t correspond with being a witness and that there was more to the story. She walked him back to OCE where she contacted Crime Stoppers to fi nd out that he was a suspect in an ongoing murder investigation. She calmly asked the man to wait for someone to help him and emailed her manager while Crime Stoppers contacted Internal Affairs to have an offi cer come and get him. She calmly continued the small talk and worked at her desk until the man was removed by offi cers. She credits her time with the department for her insight and said she couldn’t believe she helped apprehend a murder suspect. Officer W.M. Sopko On April 8, Offi cer Sopko observed a vehicle backed into a parking space with a suspicious subject. He initiated a conversation, discovered marijuana inside the vehicle and found that the suspect was also in possession of a stolen fi rearm. On April 14, Offi cer Sopko was in a convenience store on break, when he discovered a male subject in line in front of him with several small, fresh lacerations on his face. Offi cer Sopko inquired about his injury and the subject lied to Offi cer Sopko and was very evasive. However, Offi cer Sopko, through his interviewing skills and determination, discovered that the subject had in fact recently beaten and strangled his girlfriend at their nearby residence. Offi cer Sopko was able to ensure her safety and charge the suspect. Officer M.P. Kees On March 28, after school was dismissed, Offi cer Kees was notifi ed of allegations against a school staff member having an inappropriate relationship with a student. The next day, the suspect contacted Offi cer Kees and said he had made a mistake and was not going to be able to recover professionally from the situation. The suspect said he was suicidal and had weapons in his house to end his life. While speaking with the subject, Offi cer Kees contacted his supervisor and police deputies responded. Offi cer Kees spoke to the subject for 30 minutes, gathering information about the location, weapons and his plans until deputies could intervene. He then convinced him to exit the home to get help. The suspect was charged with indecent liberties with a student. Officer D.J. Benotti Offi cer Benotti responded to the hospital to be with a critical patient in May. The patient, a 31-year-old single mother of three, died while at the hospital. Family members arrived and became distraught, but Offi cer Benotti was able to calm them down. The patient’s 35-yearold brother admitted that he was out of control at the hospital when he heard the news of his sister’s death, and that, during his outburst, Offi cer Benotti approached him and did what he thought was the unimaginable – Offi cer Benotti hugged him. He said that Offi cer Benotti gave him comfort he didn’t believe was possible and that his gesture caused him to refl ect on his behavior and that his perception of the police had changed in a positive way. Detective T.B. Caldwell Detective T.B. Caldwell was investigating gang activity when he observed a partially concealed Mac-10 style fi rearm inside an unoccupied vehicle. The vehicle owner was a known gang member with alerts for carrying concealed weapons. When the occupants returned, probable cause was established to conduct a vehicle stop which yielded the Mac-10 9 mm fi rearm with a 60-round magazine, along with marijuana. The two vehicle occupants were charged with carrying a concealed weapon and possession of marijuana. In March, Detective Caldwell tracked a subject wanted in recent violent crimes at a local motel. The subject, who was in possession of two handguns, one with an altered serial number, ecstasy, codeine and marijuana. was located and taken into custody without incident. Officer J.P. Lurz Following several thefts, Offi cer Lurz followed up and recovered a backpack leaf blower. He viewed surveillance footage that captured the theft and obtained a detailed description of the suspect, vehicle and a license plate number which he determined had been stolen. A larceny all points bulletin regarding a grocery store the night before was examined and Offi cer Lurz noticed the stolen tag listed in the alert. He responded to the store, examined surveillance footage and identifi ed one of the suspects as a frequent offender at the business. Offi cer Lurz determined the individual was the same person who took the leaf blower and was able to positively identify the individual and take out the appropriate warrants. Numerous other cases were solved across the city as a result. Officer R. Talbert Offi cer Talbert exemplifi es the role of a model offi cer and her work ethic is unwavering. She speaks to children about safety and volunteers to provide safety tips to new or expectant mothers. In addition, she has taken on the task of maintaining the entire division’s radar inventory. She is affectionately called the “mom of the district” as she ensures all supplies are adequately stocked, the building is tidy and everything is in working order. On the day Offi cer Talbert was diagnosed with breast cancer, a signifi cant event occurred in downtown that required a large police response. She insisted on remaining at work. She has undergone several surgeries and chemo. While on light duty, she worked with citizens and continued to support her colleagues. would like to recognize the Greensboro Police Department’s Employees of the Months of March, April and May 2017. Detective W.A. Shackleford Patrol offi cers responded to an aggravated domestic assault. A female had been severely beaten with a hammer and stabbed by her ex-husband while their 10-yearold child was in school. Warrants were issued on the suspect who had been previously convicted and sentenced for murdering a former girlfriend. Detective Shackleford in conjunction with the Violent Criminal Apprehension Team secured extradition orders in case the suspect fl ed the state. The detective alerted school resource offi cers in case he tried to remove his child from school. When the suspect was located, Detective Shackleford conducted an interview and obtained a confession. He worked to provide follow-up resources, including a 50B, and therapy for the mother and child. Officer A.L. Eder In March, offi cers responded to a string of fi ve robberies with seven victims in District 2. The offenders began their spree on Freeman Mill Road where two separate victims were robbed at gunpoint, then continued to Logan with one victim, then three victims on Decatur Street, and ended at the intersection of Holts Chapel Road and Pine Street with one victim. During the investigation Offi cer Eder initiated electronic surveillance from information received from one of the victims iPhones that led assisting offi cers to where the suspects were hiding. At that location, one of the suspects who was identifi ed and it was determined that there were other subjects barricaded inside of the apartment. Offi cers established a perimeter to secure the scene. After a brief time the police were able to convince the rest of the occupants of the apartment surrender. As a result, the second suspect involved in the robberies was identifi ed, arrested and charged.

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