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Rhino Times - 2016-08-18
Magazines / Newspapers | Government 2016-08-18 00:00:00
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    Vol. IV No. 33 Greensboro, North Carolina www.rhinotimes.com Thursday, August 18, 2016 TIME IS MONEY FOR SIT-IN LOAN Scott D. Yost When a Meeting Falls into Chaos ... plus Under The Hammer, Uncle Orson Reviews Everything AND MORE

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    2 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, August 18, 2016 | www.rhinotimes.com R HINOSHORTS would provide them with a photo ID. It seems to First responders can get free tickets to the Wyndham Championship golf tournament at Sedgefield Country Club for themselves and a guest now through Sunday by going to will-call or to the course and showing valid identification that they are a first responder. The tickets are courtesy of Bee Safe Storage & Wine Cellar, owned Roy Carroll, who is also the publisher of the Rhino Times. The dog days of summer Rhino Times Schmoozefest is Thursday, August 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. at elm st. grill at 3606 N. Elm St. just north of Pisgah Church Road. Business professionals who sign in and wear a name tag are invited to enjoy free beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres I was surprised that I didn’t see a raft of letters to the editor from the LGBT community about this cutline in the News & Record on Friday: “Simone Biles soared to the all-around gymnastics title on Thursday, becoming the fourth straight American woman to win Olympics gold in the all around competition.” We congratulate Biles on her achievement but can’t imagine what her sexual preference has to do with her gold medal win. me that they can manage to do things they want to do, like vote, but can’t manage to do the things they don’t want to do, like get a photo ID. Massachusetts is seriously considering doing away with daylight saving time. North Carolina should follow suit. Daylight saving time, even the name is ridiculous. You can’t save daylight by moving the hands on a clock. When I was a kid and North Carolina finally went to daylight saving time it didn’t make any sense to me, and as an adult I still can’t find any good reason to move the hands of a clock back an hour or up an hour. It may have made some sense when so many jobs were in factories, but in today’s world, with people working flexible hours or working from home, what is the benefit in moving the hands of the clock? If people want to enjoy more daylight in the summer they can get up an hour earlier. The way it is now, twice a year everyone’s schedule is thrown off kilter. To what end? Considering the whole HB2 mess made me think about the first trip I made on a bus in Haiti. After (continued on page 11) I really can’t understand why it is discriminatory to require someone to have an ID to vote. In North Carolina, even if you didn’t have a valid ID you were still allowed to vote, but your identity would be checked out before your sealed ballot was counted. It seems odd that someone is able to get to the polls to vote but is unable to get to any facility that Photo by Scott D. Yost Greensboro City Councilmember and First Tee of the Triad President Mike Barber having his picture taken with Jimmy Buffett in Margaritaville at the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club on Monday. The rumors circulating around town that Buffett would make a surprise appearance at the Wyndham turned out to be true.

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, August 18, 2016 | RHINO TIMES 3 table of CONTENTS 5 TIME IS MONEY WHEN IT COMES TO SIT-IN MUSEUM LOAN BY JOHN HAMMER 6 WHEN A MEETING FALLS INTO CHAOS, DOES IT MAKE A SOUND LEGAL FOOTING? BY SCOTT D. YOST 7 BODY-CAM CONTRACT EXCUSE FOR POSTURING BY JOHN HAMMER 8 AFTER FIVE FEISTY VOTES, COUNCIL GOES BACK TO DRAWING BOARD BY JOHN HAMMER 10 ALL NOT FORGIVEN FOR UAC, BUT $300K FINE IS BY SCOTT D. YOST 12 SKEET CLUB POWER TOWERS GET A-OK FROM DOT BY SCOTT D. YOST 13 UNCLE ORSON BY ORSON SCOTT CARD 23 YOST COLUMN BY SCOTT D. YOST 25 ASK CAROLYN BY CAROLYN WOODRUFF 28 GUEST COLUMN BY JEFF PHILLIPS 35 UNDER THE HAMMER BY JOHN HAMMER 2 RHINO SHORTS 14 SUDOKU 14 PUZZLE ANSWERS 17 REAL ESTATE 18 NYT CROSSWORD 19 CHILDREN’S SCHEDULE 21 THE SOUND OF THE BEEP 26 NEWS OF THE WEIRD 29 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 34 EDITORIAL CARTOON 4 Photo by Sandy Groover The celebration of the opening of LeBauer Park on Davie Street in downtown Greensboro continued with a lot of different performances last weekend, including the James D. Dudley High School Marching Band on Saturday. Cover: Soccer superstar and two-time Olympic gold medalist Mia Hamm playing in the Louis DeJoy and Aldona Z. Wos Family Foundation Pro-Am at the Wyndham Championship on Wednesday. Photo by Sandy Groover EDITOR-IN-CHIEF John Hammer managing editor ELAINE HAMMER county editor SCOTT D. YOST contributing editor ORSON SCOTT CARD cartoonist GEOF BROOKS PUBLISHER Roy Carroll GENERAL MANAGER Joann Zollo creative director ANTHONY COUNCIL advertising consultants MICK HAYWOOD TYE SINGLETON 216 West Market Street, Greensboro NC 27401 P.O. Box 9023, Greensboro NC 27429 | (336) 763-4170 (continued on page 11) (336) 763-2585 fax | sales@rhinotimes.com (continued | www.rhinotimes.com on page 12)

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    4 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, August 18, 2016 | www.rhinotimes.com Monday & Wednesday Wyndham Pro-Ams Photos by Sandy Groover More photos at rhinotimes.com

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, August 18, 2016 | RHINO TIMES 5 Time Is Money When It Comes To City’s Sit-In Museum Loan by John Hammer The Greensboro City Council effectively forgave its $1.5 million loan to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum (ICRCM) on Tuesday, August 16. Effectively, because what the City Council actually did was extend the time period for which the museum could raise matching funds. The city had agreed to forgive $1 of the $1.5 million loan for each $1 the civil rights museum raised between September 2013 and July 1, 2015. There was some dispute about how much the museum had actually raised, but it appears the museum still owes about $800,000, and the fi rst installment on paying the money back was due July 1, 2016. What the City Council did on Tuesday was extend the time that the museum had to raise matching funds to February 2018. If, in February 2018, the museum still has not raised the $1.5 million in matching funds, it’s a safe bet that the remainder of the loan will be forgiven or the time will be extended to 2020 or 2050. The bottom line is that, despite the fact that the museum violated the terms of the loan contract during the process, and then failed to by any stretch of the imagination raise the $1.5 million in matching funds, the City Council is never going to collect one dime of the so-called loan from the museum. Voting in favor of forgiving the loan were Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Councilmembers Jamal Fox, Sharon Hightower, Nancy Hoffmann and Yvonne Johnson. Voting against forgiving the loan were Councilmembers Marikay Abuzuaiter, Mike Barber, Justin Outling and Tony Wilkins. As Abuzuaiter said repeatedly when the contract Photo by John Hammer Sit-In Movement Inc. board member Doug Harris standing behind International Civil Rights Center & Museum CEO John Swaine while he speaks to the City Council at its meeting on Tuesday night. for the loan was being discussed, the council was told that the museum would have no problem in raising the $1.5 million in the allotted time. She said, “This council has bent over backwards to try and support this museum.” Abuzuaiter noted that part of the discussion in making the loan was to create a better fl ow of information from the museum, but that the museum had not kept the council informed of its progress and had not informed the council that it was having diffi culty raising the $1.5 million in matching funds. Abuzuaiter also noted that the 990 forms that nonprofi ts are required to fi le with the Internal Revenue Services every year were incorrect. She said the reports stated that the museum had no conservation easement when it does, and that the museum spent less than $15,000 on fundraising a year. Eventually, during questioning by councilmembers, museum board member and legal counsel Doug Harris admitted that those were mistakes and attributed them to “sloppiness.” He said he would make sure the next set of 990s was accurate. Barber said, “The vast majority of people who go through that museum are students. They are not cash paying customers.” He noted that once the tax credits are paid off on Friday, August 19, the museum will be owned by a single entity, Sit-In Movement Inc. He said that at that time the museum building could be sold, with the proceeds from the sale would have to go to another nonprofi t, such as the newly formed International Civil Rights Center & Museum Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc. Barber said that nonprofi t could then use the proceeds of the sale he estimated at between $2 million and $3 million to hire a director, pay consultants or do anything a nonprofi t can legally do. During the meeting, Barber asked for restrictive covenants on the museum building to ensure that it would always remain a museum. Harris responded that the restrictions were already in place. Barber said that none of the legal documents Harris had provided restricted the use of the Woolworth building to a museum. City Attorney Tom Carruthers concurred with Barber. Harris said he did not agree, but he did not provide any documents that would restrict the (continued on page 14) UPHOLD UPHOLD THE THE LAW. LAW. ‘‘ ‘‘ RESPECT RESPECT THE THE PEOPLE. PEOPLE. TL008_8.5x5.5_ad.indd 1 TL008_8.5x5.5_ad.indd 1 6/28/16 1:31 PM 6/28/16 1:31 PM

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    6 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, August 18, 2016 | www.rhinotimes.com When a Meeting Falls into Chaos, Does It Make a Sound Legal Footing? by Scott D. Yost The members of the Guilford County Board of Elections may have all broken the law last week. On Monday, August 8, the Board of Elections held a meeting to discuss early voting times and locations in Guilford County, and, due to the tremendous noise and disruptive behavior from the crowd in the commissioners meeting room of the Old Guilford County Court House, the three Board of Elections members and elections staff conducted their meeting privately at the dais. One county offi cial called it “mob Photo by Scott D. Yost The Guilford County Board of Elections huddled together to hold its meeting on Monday, August 8. rule rather than democracy in action” after the crowd caused the board to huddle together and conduct its business, craft a motion and take a vote without anyone hearing the discussion – calling into question whether it qualifi ed as a public meeting, something required by law. Amanda Martin, co-editor of the North Carolina Media Law Handbook and general counsel to the NC Press Association, when asked about the implications of the meeting and the way it was conducted, said that, in her legal opinion, it would not pass muster as an open meeting called for by state statutes. “I would say, no, that’s not compliant with the open meetings law,” Martin said. “Obviously, the intention and the end result of the law is for the public to see and hear what’s in the meeting. I can understand the frustration of the board members in this case, but they would need to fi gure out a way that the meeting could be conducted in accordance with the open meetings law.” Martin said there are some strategies for conducting an open meeting in a hectic situation. For instance, she said, one option would be to adjourn and reconvene under better conditions. She said another option might have been to move the meeting to a smaller room, which would allow more control, and the board could also use random ticketing for admittance if necessary. According to Martin, state court has determined that there’s no requirement that a public meeting be held in a room large enough to accommodate everyone who wants to attend. She said a school redistricting case in Wake County was very heated and resulted in a lawsuit, and, in a 2011 ruling on that case, Garlock vs. Wake County Board of Education, the NC Court of Appeals found in favor of the school board after citizens brought action against the board of education alleging violations of the state’s open meetings law. Some of the citizens were excluded from meetings when the school board adopted a ticketing policy for “meetings involving matters of intense public interest.” The appellate court found it was within the law to move to a smaller room and issue tickets. “The court said that ticketing was acceptable,” she said. Martin said that, if a court determines a meeting that should have been open was not, the court has the option of negating actions taken at that meeting. “The court can set aside what was done,” Martin said. The North Carolina General Statutes covering the open meetings law, states, “Whereas the public bodies that administer the legislative, policymaking, quasi-judicial, administrative, and advisory functions of North Carolina and its political subdivisions exist solely to conduct the people’s business, it is the public policy of North Carolina that the hearings, deliberations, and actions of these bodies be conducted openly.” There are some exceptions for holding closed meetings and keeping discussions private, such as meetings to discuss a personnel matter, to consult with an attorney or to talk about incentives for a business considering relocation to the area. However, there is no exception for boisterous crowds. Guilford County Board of Elections Member Don Wendelken said he was immensely taken aback by the actions of the audience members on August 8, and he added that the kind of conduct displayed has no place in a public meeting where a board is attempting to deliberate in the open in good faith. “Instead of being good listeners, they reacted in a way that was totally unacceptable for a committee meeting,” Wendelken said of the crowd, which was unlike any that Guilford County offi cials can remember. “To me it showed a real lack of respect for those who are actually trying to do what is right,” he added. “There’s a time and place for certain things to occur.” He also said the verbal outrage from the crowd was unjustifi ed given that, at the time the audience members began shouting, the board had barely begun to talk about a decision. In the end, the board’s ruling was largely in favor of what the crowd was asking for: There was no reduction in the number of early voting sites or days. “I was very disappointed in how the citizens reacted to our meeting – even before they knew how we were going to vote or what type of discussion we were going to have,” Wendelken said. “They had it in their minds that we were going to do one thing and one thing only. For some reason, certain groups come together and create an atmosphere of chaos that prevents the board from doing their business.” Wendelken said he got his fi rst few words out and the crowd began to boo and jeer and make it impossible to hear the board members. He also said the audience members walked into the room with a predetermined misconception about what the board would do. “It didn’t allow them to hear the Paul Harvey moment – the rest of the story,” he said. Wendelken said that, speaking for himself, at least, the board’s decision wasn’t infl uenced by intimidation. “I have a pretty thick skin,” he said, adding that the hostile attitude of the crowd had “no impact” on his decision. He said his only goal is to try to do what’s right so he can sleep with a clear conscience each night. He also said he didn’t think those tactics were a very good way to attempt to sway a board. (continued on page 9)

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, August 18, 2016 | RHINO TIMES 7 Body-Cam Contract Excuse For Political Posturing by John Hammer After a loud, lengthy discussion at its Tuesday, August 16 meeting, the Greensboro City Council voted to continue the police bodyworn camera video program by signing a five-year contract with TASER International Inc. for data storage at a cost of about $2 million. The vote was 7 to 2, with Councilmembers Jamal Fox and Sharon Hightower voting against the motion. Most of the cost will be paid with federal forfeiture funds – money that comes from cash and property confi scated from drug dealers. It is turned over to the federal government and about 80 percent comes back to the local law enforcement agencies. The money can be used for most police expenses other than paying employees. As a condition of the contract, TASER International will provide the body-worn cameras to the city and provide the city with two equipment upgrades during the five-year period. A number of speakers led by Rev. Nelson Johnson of the Beloved Community Center objected to the city entering into a new contract with TASER International to provide enough body-worn cameras for each police offi cer under the rank of captain to have his or her own camera. Deputy Chief James Hinson said that having each offi cer with a camera assigned to would allow police offi cers to use the body-worn cameras not only while they were on duty but when they were working offduty jobs in uniform, which would be required. The objections by Johnson and company were to the restrictions placed on the release of body-worn camera videos by House Bill 972, which was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law in June. The law becomes effective Oct. 1. The objections proved that this is not about body-worn camera videos but simply a political issue providing liberals another opportunity to object to the actions of the state government, which is now controlled by Republicans. HB972 is restrictive on what videos can be released, but it is more open than the policy that it replaced. The Greensboro police have had body worn cameras since 2013, and in that time exactly one video has been released to the public. Before HB972, the City Legal Department had determined that the body-worn camera videos were a part of an offi cer’s personnel fi le and could not be viewed by the public unless the police offi cer involved agreed to allow it to be released or the City Council ruled that it had to be released to maintain public confidence. Even the Greensboro City Council didn’t have the right to see the video without permission from the city manager, and could only release it if it was determined to be necessary to maintain public confidence. That is what the City Council did in the case of the video of the police shooting of Chieu Di Thi Vo. But it was a long, complicated process, and in the Vo case former offi cer Tim Bloch agreed to allow the City Council to see the video. Then the City Council voted to release the video to the public. Under HB972 there will be a process by which anyone can petition the court to see a video, the people who are in the video are presumed to have the right to see the video they are in, and the police chief can grant them access to the video at his or her own discretion. If the police chief denies a person in a video the opportunity to see it, that person can then appeal to the court. But anyone has the right to ask the Superior Court for release of a video – a right that was not available under the old city policy or even the new policy that the City Council passed this summer. HB972, sponsored by High Point Rep. John Faircloth, a former High Point city councilmember and High Point police chief, is not the ideal process – something Faircloth will freely admit. But the new law provides an openness that has not been available for the past three years. These protestors have not been coming to meetings to protest the fact that until May no one other than criminals had been allowed to see any of the videos. The previous policy of the city was that if a person was in a police bodycam video and was charged with a crime they had the right to see the video. If they were charged with a misdemeanor then they could view the video but couldn’t get a copy. If they were charged with a felony they could view the video and get a copy. It made no sense that those charged with crimes had more rights than those who were not charged with a crime, but that is how the law was being interpreted. The City Council in June passed an ordinance that opened the door slightly for those in a police body-cam video to see it, which is currently in effect in Greensboro and will be until Oct. 1, when the state law as defi ned by HB972 goes into effect. So far neither Johnson nor any of his minions have tested the current city policy to see if they can get access to a body-worn camera video under the current city policy other than in the Vo case. Those who Johnson lined up to speak against buying more body- (continued on page 34)

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    8 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, August 18, 2016 | www.rhinotimes.com After Five Feisty Votes, Council Goes Back To Drawing Board by John Hammer The Greensboro City Council discussed the health insurance plan for city employees for over two hours on Tuesday, August 16, and after numerous votes finally voted to go back to start from scratch with a whole new request for proposal (RFP) process. The issue was pretty straightforward, but you never would have known it from the discussion. The city hired the consulting fi rm AON at a cost of $97,000 to make a recommendation on awarding the contract. AON considered two respondents, United Health Care (UHC), which currently has the contract, and Cigna, and recommended the contract be awarded to Cigna. Greensboro City Manager Jim Westmoreland went over the AON report, didn’t think that they had properly considered all the costs of switching from UHC, which has handled the city’s health insurance for years, and made the recommendation that the city stay with UHC. This is not the kind of discussion that the City Council usually gets involved in or should get involved in. In fact, decisions like this are the reason the city councilmembers, who are supposed to be part-time employees, have a highly paid fulltime manager and staff to run the city. It appears that at least two city councilmembers, Jamal Fox and Sharon Hightower, neither of whom have full-time jobs, would prefer to be city staff members rather than city councilmembers. The motion was immediately made to accept Westmoreland’s recommendation and award the contract to UHC. Fox came right back with a substitute motion to award the contract to Cigna. He said that the city hadn’t followed the policy. In fact, the city had followed the policy. The policy was for the consultant to make a recommendation to the city manager and for the manager to review that recommendation and make a recommendation to the City Council. It is what a city manager is supposed to do. Fox spoke as if not agreeing with the consultant involved some great conspiracy. If Fox had more experience with consultants he would know that it is not uncommon to disagree with the fi nal recommendation of a consultant. Westmoreland, in his report to the council, said that he didn’t believe AON had properly considered all the costs of transition. My experience is that it always takes more time, is more complicated and costs more than you were led to believe to switch your health insurance company. The new company always claims it will be seamless and it never is. So Westmoreland did his job, reviewed the information, decided that all the costs of switching from a company the city has had a long relationship with to a new one had not been taken into account and made his recommendation. Unfortunately, (continued on page 30) CLEAN, SECURE, SAFE, INDOOR Check out our newest location on Jessup Grove Road Now Taking Reservations at www.Beesafe.com • Loading dock available at the Battleground location • All interior storage units are fully climate controlled • Sizes from 5’ x 5’ to 10’ x 30’ • Wine storage with temperature and humidity control • Wine storage units from 2’ x 2’ to 3’ x 6’ • Postal service available onsite at the Battleground location Coming Soon Another great Bee Safe Storage location off Highway 68 near I-40 Tom Foolery 2 GREAT LOCATIONS 1016 Battleground Avenue Greensboro, NC (336) 332-0123 4435 Jessup Grove Road Greensboro, NC (across from Proehlifi c Park) (336) 605-3202

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    Page 9

    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, August 18, 2016 | RHINO TIMES 9 sound (continued from page 6) “You can get more done with cooperation rather than making it impossible for the board to conduct its business,” he said. There is always the option of throwing citizens out of a meeting, but that generally happens after the board’s chair has warned an audience member and, in this case, there were several pleas from board members and security for the crowd to contain itself, but never any warnings. North Carolina law regarding “Disruptions of official meetings,” states, “A person who willfully interrupts, disturbs, or disrupts an official meeting and who, upon being directed to leave the meeting by the presiding officer, willfully refuses to leave the meeting is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.” As it was, the disruptions didn’t even allow the person recording the meeting to hear what was going on – and state law requires that every public body “keep full and accurate minutes of all official meetings.” According to Guilford County Board of Elections Director Charlie Collicutt, the minutes for the Monday, August 8 meeting were being taken by Guilford County Elections Administrator Sherrie Brewer. However, at times during the meeting, the only people who could hear anything were the board members themselves. Martin said that accurate minutes of the deliberations are a requirement of the law and added that this was another “troubling” aspect from the standpoint of the open meetings law. Some have said that the strange lack of composure of the crowd may have been due to some of them being visitors from outside of Guilford County, since there has been a concerted effort by some advocacy groups to make early voting rules a high value target in this election. As an example of that effort, a few days after Guilford County’s chaotic August 8 meeting, Doug Wilson, the deputy executive director of the NC Democratic Party, sent out a call for action based on the US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent ruling that struck down North Carolina’s voter ID law. The email cites the decision and states, “Striking down the law, however, allowed all 100 Republicancontrolled county boards of elections to reopen decisions on when and where to offer early voting. Some may try to offer the bare minimum required by law, which could be as little as only a single location at the elections office, during business hours. Some Republican elections board members are already talking about severely cutting access to early voting. And we only have until August 19th before these boards have to adopt a plan. We need your help to make sure these boards know that we want full access to early voting in every county!” The email instructs people to attend county board of elections meetings and to ask for expanded early voting opportunities, including weekends, and the email includes links to elections boards across the state as well as their meeting schedules. It instructs readers to encourage boards to offer “convenient locations for your county, like college campuses.” It also states, “Forward this email to your family, friends, and neighbors – ask them to attend their county board meetings in order to protect early voting.” Wendelken said the tactics of disruption seem to be more and more common these days, and he said examples of recent protests in Raleigh where people “holler and blow horns” and are “loud and unruly” were examples of the trend. He said he wasn’t sure what forces were at play to create the situation on August 8. “I don’t know how many of the people were from Guilford County,” he said. Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne said this week that though he wasn’t at the August 8 meeting, he had been informed of what went on. He said it was his understanding that there was an attempt to read the motion into an open microphone, and he said that, when it comes to public meetings law, it isn’t a problem if not everyone is able to hear all of the meeting. “There’s nothing that says everybody there that wants to hear has to be able to hear,” he said. He said it’s hard not to consider it a public meeting “if the mic’s on and the motions were read out loud and the vote was taken in public.” “Once you say it out loud with the public watching, I think the bar is low as for what would make a public meeting,” Payne said. “I don’t disagree that it was apparently chaotic.” He also pointed out that, once the vote was taken and the board could quiet the crowd, the board informed the public what had been voted on. Payne said there were practical concerns with any legal judgment that said a public board could not take action in those unusual circumstances. “As a policy concern, I have an issue with the idea that people can shut down the county’s business at any time just by making enough noise,” Payne said. He also said it was something of a paradox to argue that one might make a meeting more public by moving it to a smaller room and requiring tickets for admission. Payne said there were other options a board could take in this situation. He said a board could, for instance, clear the room and announce that the meeting isn’t going to take place until order is restored. He also said that, in cases where county officials know ahead of time that a meeting will be loud and contentious, they could make preparations such as putting motions in written form and projecting them onto a big screen so people could at least read what was being debated. Payne said that, in the case of the August 8 meeting, the size and intensity of the crowd was not anticipated. “This kind of took people by surprise,” he said. Guilford County Security Director Jeff Fowler, who began working in Guilford County security in 1999, said it was the most intense public meeting in the county he and his staff have had to handle. “It was the loudest,” Fowler said of the meeting, adding that at one point in the pandemonium a reporter tried to interview him. He said he remembers a meeting about eight years ago that was the largest in terms of crowd – budget meeting in which the backlog meeting room, but it was not nearly as heated. When asked if staff considered throwing some of the audience out, he said, “When it’s two or three people, that’s an option, but when it’s 250 …” He also said that the directive to throw someone out usually comes from the dais. “The meeting is generally controlled by the chairperson and we go by their direction,” Fowler said. “But if it gets physical then we take action.” He was asked about the times people have been thrown out of meetings in the past in Guilford County. “It doesn’t happen,” he said. “I don’t remember ever having to throw someone out.” In 1998, a year before Fowler took a job with the county, the late E.H. Hennis, a major critic of the county commissioners, was arrested when he held up a fake bomb and made threatening remarks to the commissioners at a meeting. Hennis was later barred from attending commissioner meetings but he returned regularly once the time of the ban was up. Fowler said that on August 8, there was a gradual influx of people. But when staff opened up the balcony before the meeting he knew something unusual was going on. “We don’t open up the balcony until the room is full,” he said, “and we haven’t had to open the balcony all year.”

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    Page 10

    10 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, August 18, 2016 | www.rhinotimes.com All Is Not Forgiven For UAC, But $300K Animal Cruelty Fine Is by Scott D. Yost The State of North Carolina has dropped a $300,000 fine that it levied against the United Animal Coalition (UAC), the much-maligned organization that ran the Guilford County Animal Shelter until mid- August 2015. Last November, the Veterinary Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture (DOA) & Consumer Services slammed the UAC with the historic fine of $300,000 in civil penalties for animal abuse and neglect. That happened about four months after the UAC had its license revoked for actions at the animal shelters in Guilford County and Davidson County. Jennifer Kendrick, public information officer for the DOA, said the department has chosen to rescind the fine. “The UAC has disbanded and reallocated its funds to the appropriate organizations, so we have dropped the penalties,” Kendrick said. Given the opaque nature of the UAC’s fi nancial situation, it’s unclear if the organization could have paid the money if the state hadn’t dropped the fi nes. Until a few months ago, the UAC was trying to collect money that it said Guilford County owed it for services provided in the two weeks before the scandal broke. They claimed they needed that money in order to help meet the UAC’s financial obligations. The $300,000 fine – by far the largest penalty issued for animal neglect and cruelty in the history of the State of North Carolina – was levied against the nonprofi t coalition after investigators with the department’s Veterinary Division’s Animal Welfare Section found a total of more than 100 counts of animal neglect and cruelty at the shelters in Guilford County and Davidson County while the UAC operated them. The penalties for the UAC’s activities at the Guilford County shelter amounted to $290,000, while the group’s actions at the Davidson County Animal Shelter accounted for $10,000. The $300,000 fi ne was nearly 50 times higher than the previous largest fine for shelter misconduct. Kendrick said the sky-high nature of the penalties levied against the UAC was a refl ection of the widespread and wholesale problems that state investigators discovered. “The fines were so high because the violations were so bad,” Kendrick said. She added that the DOA’s goal in fining such a large amount was never for the state to get money but instead was to insure a corrective course of action was followed by the UAC including a proper dispensation of the nonprofit’s assets. “We do not fi ne animal shelters very often because we want the money to go to the animals,” she said. When asked if one purpose of the huge fine was to assure that the UAC closed its doors for good, Kendrick said that wasn’t the goal but she added that the state has no qualms whatsoever with UAC going away. “I don’t think our goal was to drive them out of business, but we were very satisfi ed with the decision of the UAC to disband,” Kendrick said. Kendrick said her department has been attempting to aid Guilford County in its transition to a county-run shelter. “We’re still working in Guilford County,” she said. “We’re still in constant contact.” Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne said this week that the county is now through with its deliberations with the UAC and that, as it relates to the state’s fi nes against the UAC, Guilford County never really played a role. “I have not had any discussions about the penalties,” Payne said, adding that that was a matter between the state’s Agriculture Department and the UAC. The county’s dealings with the UAC, Payne said, have involved getting money that the UAC initially handed over to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of the Triad. That money, about $264,000, was in Susie’s Fund – a fund meant to help pay for medical care for animals at the Guilford County Animal Shelter – as well in a fund donated to help Guilford County construct a new animal shelter. Between the two shelters under UAC management, the state found ADVERTISING SALES REPRESENTATIVE Looking for a rare opportunity to join a new media company with its roots in Greensboro? If you are an energetic, goal-driven sales professional whose passion is helping local businesses, you may be a good fi t for our team. We are seeking a Media Sales Account Executive to join the Rhino Times, a division of The Carroll Companies. This position works under the leadership of our General Manager and will be responsible for both selling and servicing advertising solutions to local businesses for print, digital and out-of-home marketing. Experience in media sales is preferred. Competitive compensation package and benefi ts. Submit your resume and cover letter explaining why you are the best choice for this position to apply@thecarrollcompanies.com. Qualifi ed candidates will receive notice of an interview within one week. cruelty and neglect that included animals with broken backs, protruding eyeballs and other conditions that were left untreated for days while the animals weren’t tended to and were not given pain medication. In the wake of the scandal, former Guilford County Animal Shelter Director Marsha Williams, who also ran the shelter in Davidson County, has been charged with felony animal cruelty in Davidson County. Two other women who worked at both shelters were also charged with animal cruelty in Davidson County. However, Guilford County District Attorney Doug Henderson elected not to prosecute for activities at the Guilford County Animal Shelter. Williams’ trial in Davidson County is not expected to take place until 2017. Last fall when the state fi nes against the UAC were levied, Brian Long, the public affairs director for the DOA, said that the department wanted the fi nes to refl ect the nature of the cases that were found at the two shelters. At the time the fi nes were issued, the UAC had 60 days to either pay or fi le a written petition contesting the fi nes. However, as the talks drew out until now, that group has gotten monthly extensions. Long said at the time the fi nes were issued that the state wasn’t interested in going after funds that were held by the UAC for various nonprofi ts, such as Susie’s Fund, the Guilford County Animal Shelter Building Fund and an Unchained Guilford Fund – money for a group that helps low-income households fence their yard for their pets, allowing them to be off a chain. Before the $300,000 fi ne was levied against the UAC, the single largest fi ne the Animal Welfare Section had assessed was for $6,500, issued in November 2013 to the Columbus County Animal Shelter. That penalty was for euthanizing 13 dogs before waiting the mandatory 72-hours after the animal is brought in. In that case, the Columbus County shelter reached a consent agreement in which it agreed to take corrective action and pay a civil penalty of $4,000.

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