A December Night in Chapel HillThe gathering took place on a bristly cold December night for Chapel Hill. The evening started with a group of carolers, including James and his girlfriend of the moment—yes, it was Joni Mitchell—lighting out from the Taylors’ and rambling through the neighborhood from house to house. Ike went along, too, his voice resonant and booming. It would have been just like my parents to join in such a sing-along. My mother had a beautiful voice, and as my father used to say about singers like himself: If you can’t sing, at least sing loud. I can imagine the smell of that night, woodsmoke flirting with the December air, the scent of pine and fallen leaves. David was seventeen. His older brother Louis was there, too. So was his friend Isabelle Patterson, whom he had picked up on his motorcycle, much to her dad’s distress. The other Taylor siblings were away, probably up north. As the carolers circled around Morgan Creek, David lip-synched his way through “Silent Night,” in part so that he could listen to James and Joni sing. Why listen to himself when such beautiful voices were ringing out behind his ears? Plus he was Jewish and didn’t know the lyrics. David had treasured James’s friendship from childhood. When David was seven or eight, he’d been helping a group of older boys build a tree house in the woods near Morgan Creek. When they finished, the boys shooed him away. “This is our clubhouse,” they said. He slunk home, head down. James, then thirteen, walking up the road, saw him. “What’s wrong?” he asked. David told him. “Come with me,” James said. They went to the Taylor house, picked up hammers and nails, and proceeded to build David a tree house of his own. The carolers stopped by the UNC basketball coach Dean Smith’s midcentury modern. He wasn’t quite as exalted in 1970 as he would become, but he was still local royalty. They sang to Dean and his then-wife, Ann. In the years after that, Smith would sometimes drive players he was recruiting through the neighborhood in one of his Carolina-blue Cadillacs. “That’s James Taylor’s house,” he’d tell them. Late in Smith’s career (and well along in Taylor’s), he said that to a recruit, who responded, “Who’s James Taylor?” “He’s a local musician,” Smith said. When everyone finished caroling, they went back to the Taylors’, gathering upstairs around the fire in the open living room. Nearby stood a Christmas tree that Ike and James had gone into the woods and cut down. Decades later, Isabelle Patterson would tell David that whenever she hears Joni Mitchell’s song “River” (“It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees”), she’s convinced that the song was inspired by that visit. That evening, David plopped down on the floor next to Joni. She struck him as shy but very kind and very beautiful. “Is this your dulcimer?” he asked. “Yes, would you like to see it?” she said. She took the dulcimer out of the case and talked a little about it. When she did that, James pulled his guitar out and they began to play together, as they had in London at the Paris Theatre earlier that fall in a concert broadcast by the BBC. They performed “A Case of You,” “California,” and “Carey,” from Joni Mitchell’s forthcoming album, the epochal Blue, which would be released in the summer of 1971. James and Joni also played “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Fire and Rain,” and a song-in-progress called “Long Ago and Far Away.” David had already been privileged to hear perhaps the first finished version of “Fire and Rain,” which Taylor completed in Chapel Hill after returning from London. He and James’s youngest brother, Hugh, had been hanging out at the Taylors’ when James asked if they wanted to hear a new song. They listened. “Yeah, I think that’ll be a hit,” David told him. That night, when the gathering finally came to a close and the guests got up to leave, James stood up and sang them off with his version of “Happy Trails,” originally performed by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. The guests sang along, my parents included, as they disappeared into the night and the rest of their lives.
The world eats cheap bacon at the expense of North Carolina’s rural poor — QuartzThe state’s General Assembly has proposed rules that would bar new residents in a neighborhood from filing nuisance lawsuits. Another proposed amendment would require residents who lose their nuisance cases to pay for the legal expenses of the farms sued. The state is getting a little less transparent—as of last year, the state government will no longer disclose how many total complaints have been made against hog farms. Instead, North Carolina only reports those that resulted in notices of violation. (Between the start of 2012 and the end of March this year, there were only 15 notices.)
The world eats cheap bacon at the expense of North Carolina’s rural poor — QuartzThere is little denying that whatever the impact of the hog lagoons, it is poorer rural communities of color that bear the effects the most. Almost all of the plaintiffs in the nuisance lawsuits are black Americans. A study released last year by UNCCH found that black North Carolinians were one and a half times as likely to live within three miles of an industrial hog operation as white residents. American Indians were twice as likely and Hispanic residents were 1.39 times as likely to live near these facilities in North Carolina. “This spatial pattern is generally recognized as environmental racism,” the study’s authors concluded.
Silent Sam at UNC | more arrests after protests | News & ObserverThe Alamance County group discouraged trouble among its members, according to a post on its Facebook page. “We hope and pray for a peaceful and honorable service tomorrow,” the post said. “That being said, there will be a large amount of devilish and ungodly opposition.”
The group behind Confederate monuments also built a memorial to the Klan | Facing SouthDeclarations of white supremacy at UDC events were not an exception but regular occurrences. Monument dedications drew massive white crowds; for example, 15,000 to 20,000 people attended a 1907 dedication in Newton, North Carolina. Dedication pageantry was highly scripted. Banners of red and white, the colors of the Confederacy, and the Confederacy's four flags would festoon the town. An elaborate processional would parade into the square, complete with white children dressed all in white in neat lines following the UDC members and Confederate veterans. Little girls in white dresses and red ribbons lined the streets. Often, 13 young women in white and red, representing the 13 states of the Confederacy, surrounded the monument itself as the dedication speaker addressed the gathering. Monument dedications were milestone events for communities that would be remembered for decades. There would be no better venue to send a racially charged message to the populace. And politicians and business leaders often obliged.
Black moms die in childbirth 3 times as often as white moms. Except in North Carolina. - VoxWhen a woman on Medicaid in North Carolina becomes pregnant, her doctor is incentivized (through Medicaid financial reimbursements) to screen for issues that might make her pregnancy high-risk, looking out for potential obstetric or psychosocial risks as early as possible, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or depression. If the patient is deemed to be high risk, she’s connected with a “pregnancy care manager,” who helps the mom understand and adhere to steps needed to reduce her health risks.
Officials to vote on new bike riding trail near RDU :: WRAL.comCounty commission chair Sig Hutchinson said he envisions that the area will be known as the "Boulder, Colorado of the East Coast." Apart from the trail's recreational use for hikers, joggers and bikers, Hutchinson and other commissioners believes the project could be a crucial economic driver to the area. Hutchinson suggests that the new project represents $19 billion dollars for the state and that it will support over 190,000 jobs.
BCBSNC amps up security due to 'frustrated customers'A so-called "system failure" at BCBSNC enrolled thousands of customers in the wrong health insurance. Customers across the state complained of long wait times with customer service representatives and problems with their bills.
Allen and Son BBQKeith Allen chops his own wood and tends his own pit, positioning the coals so that their contact with drippings from the meat will produce precisely the smoky flavor he’s looking for. “I’m trying to get the taste,” he told us. “Everybody else is just trying to get done.”
KKK leader still marked at UNCThe Board of Trustees decreed that the new “Carolina” Hall must feature a historical marker that “explains Mr. Saunders’ contributions to UNC and the State of North Carolina,” the circumstances that led an earlier Board of Trustees to name the building for him and the reason why the current board has chosen to remove his name.
North Carolina's racist rootsIf you were driving through North Carolina in the mid-1960s, chances are you’d see this billboard:“You are in the heart of Klan country. Welcome to North Carolina. Join the United Klans of America, Inc. Help fight integration and communism!”
The Thomas Wolfe Memorial of Historic Asheville, NCConsidered by many to be one of the giants of 20th-century American literature, Thomas Wolfe immortalized his childhood home in his epic autobiographical novel, Look Homeward, Angel. Wolfe’s colorful portrayal of his family, his hometown of “Altamont” Asheville, North Carolina, and “Dixieland” the Old Kentucky Home boardinghouse, earned the Victorian period house a place as one of American literature’s most famous landmarks.
Caring for others, Dean Smith catalyzed a caring communityFor as long as anyone can remember, Smith devoted several hours every Monday morning to corresponding with former players, coaches, team managers, almost everyone associated with the Carolina basketball family. His memory for even the smallest events in others’ lives was legendary. […] “I never really thought about a legacy, except the nice thing I’m probably most pleased with, the real high graduation rate: 96 percent. But the fact they all stick together. They call themselves the Carolina Family. I didn’t plan that. They’re really good people. I think they all like me now. They might not have liked me when I played. I don’t know whether that’s a legacy, but I’m very proud of all of ‘em.”
GOP Senator: Don't Force Employees To Wash Their Hands After Using Toilet“I was having a discussion with someone, and we were at a Starbucks in my district, and we were talking about certain regulations where I felt like ‘maybe you should allow businesses to opt out,'" the senator said. Tillis said his interlocutor was in disbelief, and asked whether he thought businesses should be allowed to "opt out" of requiring employees to wash their hands after using the restroom. The senator said he'd be fine with it, so long as businesses made this clear in "advertising" and "employment literature." “I said: ‘I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says “We don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom,” Tillis said.
What's a Center for Civil Rights for?But UNC board member Steven Long took issue with what he said was a lack of diverse points of view at the center. […]“I’ve read your materials,” said Long, who was on the board of the conservative Civitas Institute, according to a 2013 news release. “There is no diversity of opinion in that center.”Shaw responded: “We are unapologetically representing clients in cases ... We’re civil rights advocates. We have a point of view.”Boger pointed out that the law school’s Banking Institute was created to support the banking industry in North Carolina. “We don’t ask that center to consider socialism as an alternative or to talk about the dissolution of large banks,” he said. Boger also pointed out that public health professors advocate against sugary drinks in the fight against obesity.
Big improvement in Durham's image over last 20 yearsGreen was showing the City Council results of the bureau's latest "State of Durham's Image" survey last week. Among its findings is that, of about 500 Wake County respondents in a telephone poll early this year, more than 65 percent said Durham had a positive image in their minds. Only 8.1 percent had a negative image.That's almost a 180-degree flip from 1993, when the bureau commissioned its first survey of how its neighbors viewed the Bull City. Then, 65 percent of Wake respondents reported negative vibes where Durham was concerned, and only 12 percent saw the city in a favorable light.
UNC-Chapel Hill Should Lose Accreditation?Any accrediting agency that would overlook a violation of this magnitude would both delegitimize itself and appear hopelessly hypocritical if it attempted, now or in the future, to threaten or sanction institutions—generally those with much less wealth and influence—for violations much smaller in scale. […]If falsified grades and transcripts for more than 3,000 students over more than a decade are viewed as anything other than an egregious violation of those standards, my response to the whole accreditation process is simple: Why bother?
Great weather, a vibrant collegiate atmosphere, music, arts, and tons of food festivals make Chapel Hill a great college town. Beautiful Georgian architecture and the basketball powerhouse Tar Heels are infectious. There’s no way life in Chapel Hill can’t center around the University. With over 700 acres of parks and natural areas, the town could double as a nature sanctuary, yet it’s connected worldwide. As a part of the “Research Triangle” there are tons of opportunities to work in science, tech, or healthcare. The town also boasts one of the highest rates of residents with graduate degrees, and a local, world-class research university. If that’s not enough for you, Chapel Hill was also recently hailed as “America’s Foodiest Small Town” by Bon Appetit magazine.
The Senate passed a massive fracking bill Thursday which would lift North Carolina's fracking moratorium and allow drilling to begin as early as July, 2015. S786, or the Energy Modernization Act, could be heard in the House next week. One of the most egregious provisions in the bill which made disclosing fracking trade secrets a Class 1 felony was reduced, in an amendment by Sen. Chad Barefoot, R- Wake, to being punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor, the difference between months and days of community punishment. Senate Democrats had proposed no punishment for disclosure of trade secrets yesterday but were voted down, though they did manage to get in a provision that would require more frequent water testing. An amendment from Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake that would measure air pollution from fracking, was shut down today as well.
Also, the state would spend $500,000 as part of an “industry consortium to drill three vertical core holes” in the Sanford sub-basin. The drilling would provide information about the state’s energy potential and “serve as a mechanism to attract qualifiedcompanies interested in safely and responsibly exploring for natural gas in North Carolina’s Triassicbasins,” according to the budget.
Under the federal Clean Water Act, citizens can sue a polluter to enforce environmental law. Yet, before they do so, they must give 60 days' notice to the polluter to ostensibly give that polluter the opportunity clean up its act, explained Torrey. However, a state agency can file its own lawsuit, and if it does so on the exact same claims raised in the 60 day notice letter, then those groups cannot file own suit in federal court. "Each time we sent 60 day notice letters, on approximately the 59th day, the DENR would file its own enforcement action," said Torrey, explaining this effectively blocked the environmental suits. Emails between Duke Energy and state regulators — obtained through a public records request by the SELC — show that, behind the scenes, the DENR engaged in closed-door negotiations with Duke Energy and communicated with them before intervening in the legal actions of environmental groups. For example, when the DENR filed a suit to block the SELC suit over the Asheville site, an email from the DENR dated March 22 states, "All is well" and indicates that Duke's lawyer was present at DENR's office. Less than a week after they received a 60 day notice from SELC regarding the Riverbend plant, DENR began negotiating with Duke Energy on a settlement, an April 1 email shows.
What we do know is that private schools that participate in the program do not require students to take state proficiency exams, teachers to be licensed, or schools to issue report cards. We know that the private schools that will receive our tax dollars, unlike our public schools, are permitted to discriminate against students on the basis of race, gender, family income or wealth, disability, and religion. We also know the historical links between racism and private schools. In 1964, 83 private schools enrolled approximately 9,500 students in N.C. But from 1968 to 1972 – when advocates and the federal government began to enforce meaningful school desegregation – the state jumped from 174 private schools and 18,000 students, to 263 schools and over 50,000 students. Surging enrollment in non-public schools was often concentrated in areas with high concentrations of African-American students , and the segregative legacy of these private schools and academies continues to this day:
"The mutual mantra (the Inverse Golden Rule of Academia) is: I won't question how you teach and grade your courses, if you won't question mine."
Most of McCrory’s troubles stem, in his mind, not from his support of policies that a majority of North Carolinians disagree with but from a media that, through bias or incompetency, just can’t understand his greatness.