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Rhino Times - 2017-09-21
Magazines / Newspapers | Government 2017-09-21 00:00:00
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    Vol. V No. 38 Greensboro, North Carolina www.rhinotimes.com Thursday, September 21, 2017 Animal Shelter Lets Personal Vendetta Overrule Good Sense, Rejects Donation John Hammer Just Because You Have a Deed Doesn’t Mean You Own the Land plus Under The Hammer, Uncle Orson Reviews Everything AND MORE

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    2 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, September 21, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com RHINOSHORTS by John Hammer The first Schmoozefest of fall is Thursday, Sept. 28 from 6 to 8 at Lee’s Sports Bar at 2618 Lawndale Dr. in the shopping center across from Target. Free beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres will be available while supplies last for those who sign in and wear a name tag. I watched the video online of the confrontation between the bike cops downtown and some young black men in 2016 that has caused a new controversy. My first reaction was, I don’t want to live in a city where a man can punch or slap a police officer in uniform doing his job and not be arrested. What I saw in the video was police officers being extremely patient with a bunch of unruly guys on the sidewalk in front of a bar where at least one of them had been thrown out. It appears that if one of the group had not decided to hit a police officer, the cops would have moved the group down the street and the whole thing would have been forgotten. In fact, even though the men were arrested, it appears to have been forgotten for a year. My guess is that the guys who were arrested saw people like the Scales brothers and Dejuan Yourse getting paid by the Greensboro City Council and decided to get in that line. At-large City Councilmember Yvonne Johnson has been called a liar on a website for saying that the nonprofit she runs, One Step Further, doesn’t get any money from the city. I talked to Johnson, who is upset about being called a liar, as most of us would be. It turns out One Step Further got $100 from the city in February 2012 because someone from the city attended one of its training sessions. It doesn’t seem right or fair for One Step Further to refuse to train someone in mediation because they work for city. In 2012, One Step Further received $4,313 from the city for a program to counsel the parents of gang members. Johnson said that the money was part of a grant the city received and she thought it was a federal grant that came through the state, but that no city tax dollars were involved. Johnson said it was a pass through of federal or state money. Technically, Johnson should have said One Step Further is not funded by the city. But to call Johnson a liar is going way too far even in an election season. She could have been more precise in her language, but I heard the statement at the time and understood her point without any explanation. The city does fund a number of nonprofits and One Step Further isn’t one of them. I certainly hope that One Step Further doesn’t start denying city employees access to their programs because Johnson is a city councilmember. That would be downright silly. Good news at both the Greensboro Zoning Commission and the City Council meetings this week. The Zoning Commission rezoned a piece of property on Old Battleground Road for multi-family residential. This was a project that was started in 2007 and has been sitting there about one-third finished ever since. The City Council agreed to fund water and sewer for a heavy industrial site in east Greensboro that had originally been zoned in 2007 and had been sitting waiting for the past 10 years and now has a business that is going to locate there. It appears the 2008 recession might finally be ending. The baby boomers are the first generation to grow up in a country with 50 states. It seems to me that first there were 13 colonies and then, voila, there were 50 states, but I know that isn’t true. From 1912 until 1959, the country had 48 states. Greensboro, or the triad – whatever that means – is going to go after Amazon’s 50,000 jobs. If you read the minimum requirements that Amazon listed, this area barely qualifies. One of the requirements is a mass transit system. It’s hard to believe that the Greensboro bus system, or PART, is what they are talking about. But Greensboro is going to spend a lot of time and money going after Amazon for the same reason that when the lottery gets up around $1 billion, people who never play the lottery go out and buy a ticket. The chance of winning is tiny, but the payoff is just too hard to pass up. A better plan would be to take the time and energy going into the Amazon bid and use it on trying to attract companies that might have 100, 200 or 500 jobs. The time and money spent on Amazon will be gone and we’ll have nothing to show for it, except maybe some “Greensboro Amazon” T-shirts that they had made to go with the “Greensboro Boeing” T-shirts they probably already have. Sometimes I wonder about the efficiency of the City of Greensboro. Lindsay Street has been closed off for two years, but at the Lindsay Street and Battleground Avenue intersection, the drivers on Battleground have stop signs while the drivers on Lindsay can drive right through – although there is no place for them to go or to come from except a construction site. With all the construction going on at the Smith Street, Battleground Avenue, Eugene Street confluence of streets, making life miserable for everyone who has to come through that area for months, the city could at the very least eliminate the traffic light where Battleground Avenue now ends at Smith Street. It isn’t a real intersection anymore; you can only turn right off Battleground Avenue on to Smith or turn right off Smith on to Battleground. There is no need for a light. But then again, the city insists on keeping a traffic light at the intersection of February 1 Place and Greene Street, even though there the only choice is to turn left from Greene, a one-way street, onto February 1, also a one-way street. If I were cynical, I would think that the city simply likes to tell people what to do.

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, September 21, 2017 | RHINO TIMES 3 table of CONTENTS 4 COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER LETS PERSONAL VENDETTA OVERRULE GOOD SENSE, REJECTS BAPTIST DONATION BY SCOTT D. YOST 6 PLEASANT GARDEN QUARRY GETS FAVORABLE BUT CONFUSING VOTE, NOW IT’S UP TO COMMISSIONERS BY SCOTT D. YOST 8 CITY COUNCIL SAYS: JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A DEED, DOESN’T MEAN YOU OWN THE LAND BY JOHN HAMMER 9 EVEN BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, ATTORNEYS CAN’T EXPLAIN CITY’S CASE AGAINST DAVID WRAY BY JOHN HAMMER 10 HIGH POINT PITCHING HARD ON BASEBALL ISSUE BUT COUNTY SAYS THEY’RE ALL CURVEBALLS BY SCOTT D. YOST 14 UNCLE ORSON BY ORSON SCOTT CARD 23 YOST COLUMN BY SCOTT D. YOST 35 UNDER THE HAMMER BY JOHN HAMMER 2 RHINO SHORTS 7, 9 PUZZLE ANSWERS 17 REAL ESTATE 18 NYT CROSSWORD 19 CHILDREN’S SCHEDULE 21 SOUND OF THE BEEP 26 NEWS OF THE WEIRD 28 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 34 SUDOKU Cover: Guilford Native American Association Pow Wow Saturday at Greensboro Country Park. Photo by Sandy Groover. More photos page 12 PUBLISHER Roy Carroll EDITOR-IN-CHIEF John Hammer managing editor ELAINE HAMMER county editor SCOTT D. YOST GENERAL MANAGER Joann Zollo creative director ANTHONY COUNCIL advertising consultant DONNA GOODWIN contributing editor ORSON SCOTT CARD 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

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    4 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, September 21, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com County Animal Shelter Lets Personal Vendetta Overrule Good Sense, Rejects Baptists’ Donation by Scott D. Yost You might think that, if one of the largest and oldest churches in High Point had collected a great deal of pet food, animal toys, electric fans and other needed items for the Guilford County Animal Shelter, the shelter would take those items. But when First Baptist Church of High Point told the Animal Shelter the good news, the shelter rudely told the church that it did not want the items and it would not participate in a connected church-sponsored bless the animals celebration and adoption event meant to help shelter animals find homes. Church member Art Cole, who was handling the effort for First Baptist Church, said the church had collected donations and was planning to do more to help the shelter in a big way. And he said he was absolutely stunned at the reception he got when he called the Animal Shelter on Friday, Sept. 8 to let them know the church had gone to major retail outlets and gotten donations of pet food, toys and other items to give to the shelter as part of a Sunday, Oct. 1 Blessing of the Animals celebration to honor St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. In addition to rejecting the donations, the shelter told the church that it would not send any shelter animals to the event for adoption by church members. Cole said that, in preparation for the Oct. 1 Blessing of the Animals event, he had gone to PetSmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart, in Greensboro and High Point, and collected a large number of items for the shelter. He said he and others at the church thought the shelter would be thrilled by the news of the donations and the event that was to help get the animals adopted. “We had 60 to 65 large bags of dog food, chew toys and other toys, a Wal- Mart gift certificate and about a dozen 12-by-20 box fans for the breezeways, since it can get up to 110 to 115 degrees in the shelter,” Cole said. He said the church also had members interested in adopting animals and making other donations at the Oct. 1 Blessing of the Animals celebration, and event organizers wanted to bring nine or 10 shelter animals to it. Cole said he spoke with Volunteer Outreach Coordinator Nancy Fauser, who handles events coordination for the shelter. He said that, when he told Fauser of the church’s donations and of the event, she was insolent. “She said, ‘We don’t know you – we don’t know anything about you and we don’t want it,’” Cole said. He also said she stated that the shelter would not provide animals for the event. Cole said Fauser told him, “We don’t do that; Sunday is a family day.” He said he told her that this was “a family event” and that he pointed out that the Animal Shelter had two other recent events scheduled on Sundays. “I said, ‘So, you don’t want the donations?’” Cole said. Cole said he was told in no uncertain terms that the shelter did not. He said that, after the conversation, he consulted with a minister and pastor at the church. “They said, ‘Art, you have to inform them that we were founded in 1850 and that we are the oldest church in High Point,’” he said. Cole said a church pastor then phoned the shelter and was also treated very rudely. Cole said the minister told him that the response was, “I don’t know you – you could be anyone.” He said the shelter worker asked the pastor if she was ordained and she said, “Yes, I am.” “Well, anyone could get ordained online for $5,” the shelter representative said, according to Cole. When asked about her conversation with Cole and the shelter’s rejection of the donations, Fauser, said, “I am going to refer you to Clarence Grier.” Cole, a dog owner who has adopted dogs from the shelter before, is retired from sales and marketing for Rice Toyota and now works as a marketing consultant in the automobile industry. He said he and others at the church were absolutely flabbergasted by the response they got. “I was broadsided by this,” he said. He said his only experience with the shelter in the past is that he has adopted dogs from there and said he didn’t have any axe to grind with the shelter. Cole said that, after the shelter informed the church official that the shelter wanted nothing to do with the event, he, Cole, called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of the Triad (SPCA). He said the people at that organization were very nice and were thrilled with the donations and the chance to find homes for animals in their care. Cole said an SPCA representative he spoke with told him that the organization had another event scheduled the day before the church’s celebration, so the SPCA staff would be tired, but they would still be delighted to participate. Cole said he notified the corporate donors that the donations were going to the SPCA rather than to the Animal Shelter as they had originally been told, to make sure that they didn’t mind. Grier is the deputy county manager and the county administrator who oversees the shelter and who runs it when, as now, the position of Animal Services director is unoccupied. The last director, Drew Brinkley, resigned in August after the shelter was fined for violations in animal care. (Grier told the Rhino Times this week that Brinkley’s resignation was in no way related to the fines or to the violations.) Cole said he had tried to call Grier to express his disbelief and ask how church members and church staff could be treated so rudely when trying to help the shelter. “I left a message for Grier, told him it was urgent and told him who I was,” Cole said. He said Grier returned his phone call while he was at an honors dinner and couldn’t answer the call, but Cole says he called Grier as soon as the dinner ended and asked Grier to call him back and said he included in the message that he was free the rest of the night and the following day. “I’ve not heard from him,” Cole said on Friday, Sept. 15. When the Rhino Times spoke with Grier, he said he was going to call Cole back and discuss the matter. When asked about why the (continued on page 25)

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, September 21, 2017 | RHINO TIMES 5 Coffee With Nancy Hoffmann Q: I recently caught up with Council member Nancy Hoffmann over coffee at Scuppernong Books. The following is an edited text of our chat. -Terry Wessling (Small Business Owner, Greensboro) Everyone worries about taxes yet in the six years you have been on City Council there has been no increase in the effective tax rate. How did you manage that? It’s true. It is a balance between City Council priorities and A: meeting needs throughout the City. The 2017-2018 budget was particularly challenging as I wanted to make sure that we could begin to fund the 2016 bond projects that the citizens approved last year. Q: I understand you were an early supporter of PB (Participatory Budgeting) and led the Council to adopt. Yes, I was, along with Councilwoman Abuzuaiter and Mayor A: Pro Tem Johnson. It’s a terrific model for involving citizens in the decision process for projects they want in their neighborhoods. Q: You are known as the "green" Council member. What is that about? Expanding recycling is a top priority. In 2013, Council A: broadened the list of recyclables to include plastics #1-7 (only #1-2 before), milk and juice cartons, even pizza boxes. City nets $400,000 annually. Next: how to recycle bulk items like mattresses and investigate composting. Q: And what about the Cascade Saloon? You were a leading advocate for the City to save it. Yes, I led our effort along with Preservation Greensboro to A: save this important, historic building. The Christman Co. is restoring it to use as their regional headquarters. Q: As far as I know, you are the only Council member with public office hours and you have them all over the City. Do people actually come? How do they find out? (Laughs) Yes, they do – usually 15 to 20; sometimes as many A: as 50. Information posted on Facebook. Actually over six years I have held 37 such meetings and attracted nearly 900 people. Being accessible to discuss concerns or just chat. It’s informative and fun. Many good suggestions have emerged. Q: Are you the "mother" of the food truck initiative? Hadn’t heard that term used for me. (Chuckles) However, A: yes, I did lead the Council charge for allowing food trucks Downtown, like in so many other cities. They’re a hit! Q: What turns you on? Good ideas, wherever they come from! A: Nancy Hoffmann City Council • D4 Paid for by the Committee to Re-Elect Nancy Hoffmann

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    6 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, September 21, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com Pleasant Garden Quarry Gets Favorable But Confusing Vote, Now It’s Up To Commissioners by Scott D. Yost The hundreds of opponents of a proposed move to allow blasting at a rock quarry near Pleasant Garden stood and applauded gleefully on Wednesday, Sept. 13 in the packed Old Guilford County Court House after there was confusion over the ruling of the Guilford County Planning Board that actually moved the project forward with a “favorable” recommendation. Texas-based construction material supply company Lehigh Hanson has proposed rock mining using blasting at the large quarry just south of Pleasant Garden, and the celebrants who congratulated each other in the hallways and outside of the Old Court House right after the meeting that night had gotten a little of what they wanted – but they hadn’t gotten most of it: a denial of the project by the Planning Board. The board’s five “yes” votes and three “no” votes in the rezoning request to allow mining at the site could have been worse for the group; one more yes vote would have meant “final approval” and that a hearing for a special-use permit for blasting at the site would have taken place that night to decide that issue as well. The Planning Board had already scheduled a special-use permit hearing to immediately follow the 6 p.m. rezoning hearing; however, since the rezoning didn’t get “final approval,” the special-use permit hearing was called off and everyone got to go home much earlier than anticipated. Before the meeting, some audience members said they expected the two scheduled back-to-back meetings to go past midnight. Though about 300 people packed into the Old Court House to show their opposition to mining operations at the rock quarry, another 200 or so were turned away by fire marshals. They weren’t even allowed in the building. Some opponents of the rezoning said the county had promised to provide an room where the overflow crowd could watch the proceedings on closed-circuit TV; however, if that was promised, it was not delivered. There was a very heavy security presence for the meeting – more officers in fact than the Rhino Times has seen at any Guilford County government meeting held in this On Sept. 13, hundreds of people turned out for the Guilford County Planning Board hearing on the rezoning for a rock quarry near Pleasant Garden held in the Board of Commissioners Chambers. century. Lehigh Hanson is a supplier of cement, concrete, asphalt and other building materials for construction projects in the US, Canada and Mexico – and Hanson Aggregates Southeast, a subsidiary of Lehigh Hanson, had submitted the rezoning request heard that night, as well as a request for the special-use permit. The approval of both would allow granite mining and rock blasting on 65 acres of a 350-acre area in southeast Guilford County near the corner of McClellan and Racine roads. In 2000, the land was rezoned to be used as a clay mine for Boren Brick. That rezoning, which is still in effect, designated the land “heavy industrial;” however, it didn’t allow blasting – an Photos by Scott D. Yost added permission Lehigh Hanson must get in order to extract rock from that site. Though the Planning Board meeting was intense and at times contentious, there was no question that, regardless of how the Planning Board voted, the rezoning decision would end up in the hands of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, since both sides planned to appeal the decision if they lost. The rare and interesting Sept. 13 outcome gives the rezoning effort the board’s stamp of approval without putting the request into effect. Instead, the matter automatically goes to the Board of Commissioners with a ”favorable” recommendation, which means no one had to appeal the decision to the commissioners. At the Sept. 13 hearing, each side got 20 minutes, with five minutes of rebuttal. Attorney Tom Terrell, of Smith Moore Leatherwood, did most of the talking for his client Lehigh Hanson in favor of the rezoning request, while Chuck Winfree, of Adams & Winfree, led the citizen-based opposition. Each attorney brought expert witnesses, illustrations and computer presentations. At the hearing, Guilford County Deputy Planning Director Les Eger explained the proposal and said that the county planning staff had recommended approval of the rezoning since the land was already zoned heavy industrial, the rezoning was consistent with area plans and much of the property around the site is either vacant or thinly populated. Terrell presented his case first. He said “blasting” was a “horrible word” for the type of controlled precision detonations that free up the rock. He said most people associated the term “blasting” with large explosions like those people see in Hollywood movies and he added that the explosions needed for mining would be infrequent, rarely heard and only last about one second each. He said many people who now live next to a blast sites or pass by one each day have no idea blasting is going on near them. Terrell showed pictures of very nice custom homes built next to a quarry near Wake Forest, North Carolina. In one case a home was built very close to the quarry even though the quarry was there first. “They knew that quarry was there and they chose to go there,” he said, adding that those homeowners had the means to live elsewhere. He showed slides of how the quarry border would appear to those driving by and said of the exterior, “It would look almost like a country club.” That comment brought a lot of laughter and a few jeers from the crowd. Terrell also presented studies that showed the added truck traffic wouldn’t be onerous or dangerous for the community. While the blasting issue has gotten most of the media attention lately, one of the main concerns of the area residents isn’t the noise or the blast dust but instead what they claim would be problems caused on the (continued on next page)

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    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, September 21, 2017 | RHINO TIMES 7 quarry (continued from previous page) small roads that, in places, have little to no shoulder. One traffic study found that, if the project is approved and completed, there will be an average of 287 truck trips added each day. At the hearing, Terrell said that number of trucks isn’t expected to significantly delay area traffic, nor, he argued, would it be a danger to those on the roads. Terrell quoted stats that meant to show that those roads are currently underused and those numbers drew laughter from some who travel the roads daily and who say some are heavily used no matter what the stats indicate. Winfree, of course, had his witnesses as well. Pleasant Garden Mayor Carla Strickland, for one, spoke on the many concerns and the intense opposition of the community to the rezoning. “The experts brought before you do not live in Pleasant Garden; the people in this chamber do,” Strickland said. Plain-speaking former Guilford County Commissioner Billy Yow, who has over 30 years experience drilling wells as the owner-operator of D&Y Well Drilling, spoke of the dangers of blasting at the site to nearby wells. He said the operations would affect wells throughout the area both in terms of the quantity and quality of the water those wells produce. “Once you break these fractures you can’t stop the bacteria from getting in,” Yow said. “It’s going to have a dramatic effect,” Yow said. “Right down the road from this, there’s a nursing home; right beside it is a school, and right beside it is three churches.” He added that this was “creating risk” for all the wells in the area. As part of his case in opposition to the rezoning, Winfree showed a sped up video taken from a car driving the roads around the site. It showed the narrowness of the roads, and Winfree’s video also contained cyclists, children playing near the roads and school buses entering traffic. At one point the video showed a big truck passing by and Winfree pointed out how that truck barely fit inside the lane. Planning Board members asked a few questions and then voted, after which there was tremendous confusion. After the Planning Board members verbally announced their votes one at a time, the count was 5 to 3 in favor of the proposed rezoning, so the crowd started booing. However, Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne stepped up and attempted to announce that a 5-to-3 vote failed to get final approval. Payne said later he was attempting to explain that no special-use permit hearing would be held that night and that everyone could go home. However, when he said the word “failed,” people began cheering and offered a standing ovation to the Planning Board. Some media accounts also got it wrong or partly wrong. The question of what the Planning Board had done was so confusing that Payne spent much of the next day explaining the situation to reporters. In an email to the Rhino Times, Payne wrote that there are three possible results following a vote of the Planning Board on a rezoning matter: “(1) A favorable 5/7’s vote from the Planning Board shall constitute final action unless appealed … (2) Applications receiving less than a 5/7’s favorable vote, but a majority favorable vote from the Planning Board members present and voting shall constitute a favorable recommendation of the application and shall be forwarded to the Governing Body … (3) Applications receiving less than a majority favorable vote or unfavorable [vote] from the Planning Board shall constitute denial of the application unless appealed …” One board member with a conflict of interest didn’t take part in the hearing, which meant that only eight members of the nine-member board were present and voting. Given that, it would take at least six favorable votes to surpass the five-seventh threshold and get final action approval of the rezoning, but there were only five yes votes. That meant the vote failed to receive final action approval but it does automatically go forward to the Board of Commissioners as a favorable recommendation from the Planning Board. Payne said he isn’t sure when the commissioners will hear the appeal but he said that if past cases are any indication, October or November would be the likely time. While the Planning Board’s recommendation is that the commissioners approve the rezoning, there have been unanimous Planning Board approvals that have been unanimously overturned by the Board of Commissioners in the past. After the Sept. 13 meeting, outside the Old Court House, many people were thanking Yow for his statements. One Planning Board member who voted no on the rezoning request sought out Yow, shook his hand and told Yow that his testimony was key in his decision to vote no. Crossword Solution From last week’s issue D I S O R D E R A R R O W S P A R E U L T R A C O O L L E I L A W A L E S B O A R D I N G O F F I C E R A R E N T G E O S U R E R M A R Q U E E S T E R N O I N T E R N E T R O U T E R T O N Y A T S E A A R C H I V E A R A S H A H S A O S T R A W I M M A N U E L K A N T O K S U R E D E E R E Y A L E A L U M N I L I E G A O L H E W E M I T S E E D G O O D W I L L A M B A S S A D O R S B E N T N O B U O R R S P U D L E E N I N J A L O A N S M O I S T I N A P E T I N S T A G R A M M E R P A L A U T N T U T E S P G A W R E C K E R B A T O N A R O D C O R P O R A T E E L I T E O S M O S E O V E R P A R E L O P E C A V M A R I A A N I M A L M A G N E T I S M B R U N T T O P U P S N O T N O S E D S Y N T H S H A M S S T H E L E N S Affordable quality you can trust...for over 35 years Looking at Buying a Pre-Owned Car? Ask about our pre-purchase inspections! 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    8 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, September 21, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com City Council Says: Just Because You Have a Deed, Doesn’t Mean You Own the Land by John Hammer I hereby grant said property to me The best part of the Greensboro City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 19, came at the end. It may not have been the most signifi cant action taken, but it was certainly the most interesting, proving that even the most routine real estate transaction can be made interesting by people. The item on the agenda was the formal transfer of some open space and fl ood plain from the Starmount Company to the City of Greensboro. The 7.8 acres at 605 Way Cross Dr. in Starmount Forest was dedicated to the city in 1979 and has both storm sewer and sanitary sewer running through it, but the city had never formally accepted the dedicated land. This is about as mundane as a real estate transaction can get – formally accepting some land that was dedicated to the city over 30 years ago, but it was challenged by an attorney, Donavan Hylarides of Wyatt Early Harris Wheeler, on behalf of CTC Land Company LLC, which is claiming ownership of the parcel. From the correspondence, it appears that CTC Land Company had a retired offi cer of Starmount Company, Frank Minton, sign a document deeding the land to CTC for no consideration, which means CTC didn’t pay a dime for 7.8 acres in Starmount Forest. City Councilmember Mike Barber was clearly amused by the assertions of Hylarides, who never mentioned the name of his law fi rm, and was claiming that because a retired secretary of BASEMENT WATERPROOFING CRAWL SPACE REPAIR CONTACT US FOR A FREE ESTIMATE FOUNDATION REPAIR 877-222-6502 BasementNeighbors.com WE LIFT CONCRETE! - DON’T REPLACE IT RAISE IT! Starmount Corporation signed a deed giving 7.8 acres to his client it was legally binding. Barber asked if it wasn’t the case that Minton was living in a retirement location and fi shed three days a week. Hylarides said he didn’t know where Minton lived or what his fi shing schedule was but that he was listed with the North Carolina secretary of state’s offi ce as an offi cer of Starmount and had the “apparent authority” to sign a deed on behalf of that company. City Attorney Tom Carruthers noted that there were in fact two deeds. In one, CTC deeded the land to CTC and, in the second deed, signed by Minton, Starmount deeded the land to CTC, but that deed noted that the land was dedicated to the City of Greensboro for fl oodplain and open space purposes. Carruthers said that although the land had not been formally dedicated to the city, the city had placed storm sewers and sanitary sewers in the dedicated land without acquiring any additional rights-of-way and had been regularly mowing and maintaining the land for over 30 years. Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann said that this had been an ongoing dispute dating back several months. Hylarides said the intention of CTC was to build a single-family home on the property in question and claimed the property was given to Ms. Teri MacDonald-Cadieux by Minton. Barber asked how or why she deeded the property to herself, and Hylarides agreed that she didn’t own the property. Hoffmann said that Starmount didn’t recognize the deed signed by Minton as valid. Marc Isaacson, of Isaacson Isaacson Sheridan Fountain & Leftwich, representing homeowners adjacent to the 7.8 acres, asked that the city formerly accept the property as open space and said that the 11 property owners adjacent to the land bought their homes in part because they were next to dedicated open space that would never be developed. The City Council evidently decided that a person cannot deed property they don’t own to themselves and that retired offi cers of a corporation probably don’t have the legal authority to give away the corporation’s land and voted 8 to 0 to formerly accept the land as open space. City Councilmember Justin Outling, who was recently made a partner in the Brooks Pierce law fi rm, asked that he be recused from the agenda item because he had a confl ict of interest. Outling was also recused from three consent agenda items for the same reason. During the speakers from the fl oor, a number of people spoke about a recent column in the editorial section of the News & Record by Amy Murphy suggesting that the city consider placing all of its homeless services in one location outside the central business district. The column has resulted in quite a bit of controversy among those who provide services for the homeless. Murphy, also known as the “Chicken Lady” because she serves chicken and biscuits to the homeless every Monday morning in Center City Park, spoke at the meeting saying that since the column had been published she had spoken with several of the people she served and that there was support for the idea among the homeless population, as long as the location chosen for the services was safe and convenient. One speaker spoke against banning the homeless from the downtown, which is not under consideration. The idea suggested was to group the homeless services in one area so that the people using those services could go to one location to receive those services. Lewis Brandon asked the City Council to consider renaming a portion of Westover Terrace and Aycock Street near Grimsley High School in honor of Josephine Boyd, who in 1957 was the fi rst black student to attend what was then Greensboro High School. Although Boyd suffered from intimidation from her white classmates, some spitting on her, throwing rocks, taunting her and calling her disgusting names, she persevered. Boyd was the fi rst black student to attend a white high school in North Carolina and in most of the South. Greensboro can be proud of the fact that it didn’t take the National Guard to integrate its high school. For what was a historic event, the integreation of Greensboro High School was done relatively quietly and without a lot of controversy. All it took was one extremely brave young woman who was willing to accept the abuse from her fellow students to assert her right to attend the school of her choice. It is certainly an event and a person that Greensboro should recognize. Councilmember Yvonne Johnson said she would make the motion to rename the street when it was appropriate. Councilmember Sharon Hightower, who was participating in the meeting by phone, said she would second the motion, and Mayor Nancy Vaughan said she would support it. (continued on page 22)

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    Page 9

    www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, September 21, 2017 | RHINO TIMES 9 Even Behind Closed Doors, Attorneys Can’t Explain The City’s Case Against David Wray by John Hammer Tuesday, Sept. 19, the Greensboro City Council met in closed session to discuss the lawsuit former Police Chief David Wray filed against the city for legal fees he incurred in defending himself in other lawsuits. Greensboro has a policy dating back to 1980 to pay the legal fees for employees who are sued for actions taken while employees, even if they were at fault. Wray and the city were sued by a number of police officers for racial discrimination. The city has refused to pay Wray’s legal fees because the city claimed he was acting outside the scope of his employment. The city, however, paid the legal fees of other city employees named in the same lawsuits. Wray recently won a North Carolina Supreme Court decision, which sent the case back to Superior Court for trial. The city had argued that it had government immunity and could not be sued. Wray argued that he had an employment contract with the city, which gave him the right to sue. The Supreme Court agreed with Wray, which means the City of Greensboro spent over $500,000 to appeal the case to the North Carolina Supreme Court only to lose and now essentially has to start over. City Councilmember Tony Wilkins said he requested the closed session because he wanted to see where the city stood, now that it had lost the appeal. Wilkins said that in closed session, when the city’s outside attorneys said they were disappointed they lost at the state Supreme Court, he replied, “You didn’t just lose; you got your butts kicked. The decision was 5-2.” Wilkins said in closed session he said to the attorneys, “I have asked continuously for any evidence of wrongdoing or that Wray acted outside the scope of his office and you have provided me nothing. If you can’t provide me evidence against David Wray how are you going to provide evidence to the jury? I’ve asked for everything and got nothing.” Wilkins said that he added that he had gone through Wray’s personnel file, “and I found nothing except evidence of an exemplary career. The city cannot provide me with one document from any city manager stating that Wray acted outside the scope of his employment.” Wilkins said that one councilmember, who he won’t name because they were in closed session, said that they had heard a tape recording of Wray where he “lied and lied.” Wilkins said he asked City Attorney Tom Carruthers if he could hear that recording and Carruthers said that he knew of no tapes where Wray lied. According to Wilkins, another councilmember said that they wouldn’t vote to settle with Wray because of the discrimination in the “black book.” Wilkins said he replied, “We have a former city manager testifying under oath that the line up book, or what you called the black book, was not discriminatory.” Wilkins said the councilmember questioned him but that Carruthers agreed that there was such testimony. Wilkins said that he asked the attorneys a question that they didn’t answer. He said he asked, “If you have such a good case against Wray, why did we spend $500,000 going to the Supreme Court with this immunity issue? Why not just go to trial and win the case?” Wilkins said, “If I’m fortunate enough to be reelected, I plan to continue to try and finalize the David Wray matter by paying his legal fees and having the city issue a formal apology.” Wilkins said that before the closed session he had agreed not to make a motion about the Wray case, but he wanted to know what the city’s position was in this upcoming lawsuit. He said that before the City Council made a decision on whether to go forward with the lawsuit, he thought the City Council should meet in closed session and have the attorneys go over the case they plan to present in court. He said that the city has spent hours going over old minutes of closed sessions looking for some written documentation of why Wray’s legal fees weren’t paid and haven’t found anything, and he said before the city signs on to spend hundreds of thousands more dollars on this case, the City Council should know how they plan to present a case with no evidence. Wray is suing for $220,000 in legal fees and the city has already spent over $500,000 in an attempt not to pay those fees. Estimates of the total cost of the case if the trial should go to court range as high as $1 million. The city was hit with a flurry of lawsuits after Wray was locked out of his office in January 2006 and then resigned. The city has settled most of those lawsuits, some with the reasoning that it was less expensive to settle them than go to court. In this case the city could have already saved over a quarter of a million dollars by settling the case, and the clock is ticking on just how much it will cost the city. Of course, if Wilkins is correct and the city has virtually no evidence about why the decision was made not to pay Wray, and the city loses the court case, then the city will have to pay the legal fees after spending somewhere between $500,000 and $1 million to get out of it. Sudoku Solution From last week’s issue

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    Page 10

    10 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, September 21, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com High Point Pitching Hard on Baseball Issue But County Says They’re All Curveballs by Scott D. Yost Guilford County’s most watched soap opera, drama, comedy and tragedy all rolled up into one is coming up on its season finale and people on both sides of the issue are waiting with bated breath to see how it turns out. There have been a lot of twists and turns in the plot so far, but the heart of the storyline is simple enough: High Point officials want Guilford County to give that city $11.1 million in predicted increased county tax revenues over the next 20 years to help pay back the cost of the $45 million baseball stadium project meant to rejuvenate High Point’s downtown. In the most recent episodes, the story line has consisted of Guilford County asking for various things and High Point jumping to respond. Many High Point offi cials said they feel like their city is doing so in a losing cause – however, right now they seem intent on trying to give the county commissioners everything they want. It’s a lot like a desperate lover in the “panicnegotiation” stage of a relationship trying to win back someone’s affection, while deep down they worry that the cause is lost forever. • The commissioners asked why High Point had never held a public hearing on the project, so the High Point City Council quickly scheduled a public hearing and held it at the council’s Monday, Sept. 18 meeting – three days before a public hearing scheduled for the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Thursday, Sept. 21 meeting. • The commissioners said they couldn’t read the street names on the project maps so High Point Mayor Bill Bencini showed up at the Board of Commissioners’ first meeting in September with an armful of giant maps with easily readable street names in a very large font. • Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson told High Point leaders he hadn’t been filled in on the project, so they invited Branson to High Point, gave him the red carpet treatment, showed him around the property and explained the project to him piece by piece. • A group of commissioners said they were concerned that predicted economic development might not come, so High Point University President Nido Qubein, a major project backer, held a giant “progress report” meeting on the university’s campus, where he revealed developer plans for a new hotel and apartment complex near the site. • Several commissioners said eight questions they had sent earlier to High Point staff were not all answered in the city’s response, so High Point City Manager Greg Demko sent the county a list of the questions asked with bullet point answers in dark blue listed below each numbered question. So, if High Point doesn’t get the county money for the project, it won’t be for a lack of trying. But it could already be a lost cause. In an effort to get backing for the stadium, project supporters have been doing their research into Guilford County government’s economic development policies as well. One they point to that the county drew up nearly a decade ago is the “Guilford County Economic Development Investment Guidelines,” which expresses the county’s commitment to strong downtown areas in Greensboro and High Point. In that document, the section on “Central Business Districts in Greensboro and High Point” states: “A healthy, vibrant downtown is a sign of economic vitality and is one measure of the strength of a community. Two cities in Guilford County, Greensboro and High Point, have significant downtown footprints, the health of each having a large impact on the business activity and prosperity of Guilford County. Guilford County will support high impact projects that can redefine, reinvigorate or redevelop these downtown areas.” The guidelines also state that Guilford County supports the idea of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts to promote growth. High Point officials have requested that the county use a “synthetic TIF” for funding. TIF’s typically designate an affected property district and takes money from increased tax revenues from that district to pay for the infrastructure enhancements that were meant to help bring about economic development there. The county’s 2008 guidelines state: “Guilford County supports the concept of Tax Increment Financing (Project Development Financing). Project Development Financing is specifically authorized in Article 6 of Chapter 159 of the North Carolina General Statutes … In the event the County chooses to pledge funding for the Project, the County will only pledge property tax revenue as described in this section. The County will not pledge sales tax revenues or any other revenue sources. The County’s funding pledge will not exceed 20 years and will not (continued on next page) RHINO TIMES BUSINESS AND SERVICE DIRECTORY For information to advertise in our Directory call (336) 763-4170 Reach over 50,000 in our Service Directory. Reserve your space by calling (336) 763-4170 or emailing sales@rhinotimes.com

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