Author: Scott D. Yost

About Scott D. Yost

Here are my most recent posts

High Point Trying to Get to Second Base with County

High Point officials and business leaders who back a proposed baseball stadium and economic revitalization project in downtown High Point didn’t like it one bit last month when the Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted 8 to 1 to delay a decision on whether Guilford County would help finance the $35-million stadium – and those same leaders have been getting even more frustrated in the three weeks following that vote as they now play the waiting game. Project proponents have been pleading with the Guilford County commissioners for nearly three months for the county to contribute about $11.1 million...

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Like Dangerfield, DHHS Board Gets No Respect

Most people know about “the man without a country,” but few people know about the board without a county. Technically, the Guilford County Health and Human Services Advisory Board is a part of Guilford County government; however, three years into the existence of the board, it’s getting zero respect. The board is packed with prominent medical professionals as well as those with a great deal of social service experience – such as former Guilford County Commissioner Mary Rakestraw, who was on the Guilford County Board of Social Services for nine years – are all eager to contribute their expertise...

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Solving The Mystery Of The Guilford Cup

October is here and that can only mean one thing: Guilford County and the City of Greensboro facing off in football in the third annual Guilford Cup Challenge, the charity competition that pits the two local governments against each other in three sports – football, basketball and softball. Or rather, October used to mean that sports battle got underway. There will be no Guilford Cup games this year because the city and county staff either didn’t have any desire to continue the new tradition or simply forgot about it. This season would have been a rubber match: In the...

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Guilford Animal Shelter Fails Inspection Again

The Guilford County Animal Shelter has failed inspection and been hit with civil penalties. On Wednesday, Oct. 4, the Veterinary Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services sent a “Notice of Civil Penalties and Notice of Warning” to Guilford County along with failing inspection results that listed numerous problems found at the shelter. The inspection report cited, among other infractions, a failure to address the spread of communicable disease at the shelter, a lack of required rabies vaccinations and a failure to provide water continuously to dogs while outside. The Oct. 4 inspection results –...

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High Point Stadium Leads to Talk of Secession

If anyone wants to know how seriously the City of High Point takes its proposed baseball project and downtown renovation plan, one need look no further than to the fact that some High Point officials are considering forming a separate county – one freed from the oppressive chains of Guilford County government. In recent weeks, that idea has grown in popularity and, while logistics make the move an improbability, the expanding Free High Point political movement shows just how angry and upset that city’s business leaders and elected officials are with what they see as the commissioners’ continued foot-dragging...

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It’s Raining Awards at County Health Services

Guilford County Health Director Merle Green has won the prestigious Carl Durham Award for Leadership in Public Health from the Association of North Carolina Boards of Health (ANCBH); and the county’s JustTEENS program – which runs clinics targeted at those under 19 years of age – has been named as GlaxoSmithKline’s model program of the year, one that the company believes should be emulated by other public health departments. Jean Douglas, the chair of the Guilford County Health and Human Service Advisory Committee, said she couldn’t be more proud of Green given the big honor she just pulled down....

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Yost Lays Down the Movie Law

Well, I’ve had movies on the brain this week because any day now my new fantastic MoviePass is going to arrive in the mail and I’m going to start seeing a new movie every day at no cost – so it’s absolutely no wonder that movies are on my mind. In all my thinking about movies this week, it hit me that people teach you how to drive before they let you take a car out on the road, and they teach you how to operate heavy machinery before they let you do that – yet no one ever...

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Yost Will See You At The Movies, Maybe

Sliced bread was invented in 1928 when Otto Rohwedder, of Davenport, Iowa, introduced the first official bread-slicing machine to the world, and, with it, the best thing ever was born: the wonderful world-changing industry of prepackaged sliced bread. Now, as you are no doubt well aware, nothing has ever surpassed sliced bread, which is why we always use that 1928 landmark as a reference point and it’s why great new things are always the best thing “since sliced bread” but are never better than it. Some great innovations and new products have drawn comparisons to sliced bread over the...

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High Point Wanted Yes or No on Baseball Stadium Money, County Gave Strong Maybe

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners did an impersonation of the Magic 8 Ball when, to the question of whether the county would help fund High Point’s downtown baseball stadium project, the commissioners answered, “Reply Hazy – Try Again Later.” While that’s not a “no,” that answer still greatly frustrated High Point officials who didn’t want to see any delay regarding the $135 million downtown revitalization effort that is on a very strict timeline. High Point leaders hope that the centerpiece of the project – a $30 million baseball stadium – will be open by spring 2019 so the...

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Sheriff, Dogs and Cats Seeing Signs of New Digs

Guilford County just took a big step forward on two major and long-awaited projects – building a new county animal shelter and conducting a massive renovation of the old county jail in downtown Greensboro to create an office for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department. On Thursday, Sept. 21, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners named the architects and revealed details for both projects, which the commissioners have been discussing for years. Guilford County has selected PNP Design Group to design the new animal shelter. That Greensboro-based firm, which has worked with the county on many projects before, will begin...

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Former County Tax Director Remembered Fondly by Friends, Family and Coworkers

Jenks Crayton, who served as Guilford County tax director for nearly a decade, and who passed away at 55 on Friday, Sept. 15, is being remembered fondly by family, friends and the Guilford County employees he worked with for so many years. Guilford County Benefits Manager Carol Campbell, who works in the county’s Human Resources Department, said she has wonderful memories of Crayton, and she added that he was a very considerate person who was a delight to be around. “He was a very, very nice man,” Campbell said. “I really think of Jenks as the quintessential Southern gentlemen.”...

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County Animal Shelter Lets Personal Vendetta Overrule Good Sense, Rejects Baptists’ Donation

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...

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Pleasant Garden Quarry Gets Favorable But Confusing Vote, Now It’s Up To Commissioners

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...

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High Point Pitching Hard on Baseball Issue But County Says They’re All Curveballs

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...

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Yost Matches Wits with Small-Minded Creature

The other Sunday night, I was working hard to get some stories in so I could get to a bunch of other very pressing matters and my phone rang. It was my mother calling from Chapel Hill. When I picked up, I knew right away that she was petrified. “A squirrel is in the house!” she exclaimed. Two days earlier, a squirrel had come down her chimney and her friends had chased it right back up the chimney – or so they thought, at least, since the squirrel had been nowhere to be found since then. And, after two days of no sign of it in the house, my mother had been certain the squirrel was gone. However, Sunday night right before she called me, she’d returned from dinner at a friend’s house and found wood shavings, urine stains and other telltale destruction in the house. Now, this isn’t the first time she’s had a squirrel in the house. Last year one got in somehow and lived there for nearly a week while she was on vacation in New Jersey. That squirrel had completely demolished the place – gnawing off window panes, breaking glasses, furiously ripping down curtains and blinds, shredding furniture, pooping and urinating all over the place – you name it. Now, there are a couple of things to mention here … (A) The fact that my...

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High Point Tries to Drive Baseball Issue Across Home Plate But County Says Numbers Batty

By Scott D. Yost Tempers have been flaring in the heated back and forth between Guilford County commissioners and High Point officials over a proposed baseball stadium for downtown High Point. But this week there was a new wrinkle: The project had some county commissioners fuming at their own staff. The fireworks started early at the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Thursday, Sept. 7 meeting when the commissioners were debating whether to set a public hearing to get input on the project that would use $45 million in public money to fund a stadium and land purchases in the effort to revitalize High Point’s downtown. The commissioners voted 7 to 2 to hold the public hearing at the board’s next meeting, Thursday, Sept. 21, but it’s still anyone’s guess whether the board will approve county financing for the project in the form of tax revenue sharing over the next 20 years. High Point officials argue that the project will bring a great deal of economic development to downtown High Point and therefore increase property values in the area, and they say the county should use almost all of Guilford County’s increased tax revenue for about two decades to help repay the cost of building the stadium. However, the commissioners have been asking a lot of questions and some commissioners have been dissatisfied with the answers. At the Sept. 7...

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Accusations on Unauthorized Animal Shelter Facebook Page Getting County’s Goat

Just as many celebrities don’t appreciate what’s reported in unauthorized biographies about them, Guilford County officials are getting highly aggravated about the posts that have been going up on a popular Facebook page – Guilford County Animal Services WATCH. The page isn’t affiliated with Guilford County government in any way and it is clearly labeled as “unofficial” on Facebook. It’s run by Shawn Henegar, an animal welfare advocate who’s been very vocal – and very critical – in recent years about shelter operations and animal care in Guilford County. Henegar, along with several WATCH page administrators, runs the site...

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After Court Ruling, Elections Board Still Up In The Air As Election Approaches

The wheels of justice may turn slowly but, when it comes to elections, time marches on. A recent ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court makes that fact about time ominous because that ruling means there will be further delay before a now vacant state board of elections is named. The Supreme Court decision sends the high-profile politically charged case back to Wake County Superior Court and gives that court 60 days to make a determination on the merits of the case. The same ruling also allows some counties with only two board of elections members, such as Guilford...

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The Shame of Newscasters Phoning It In

Wow, this year is really speeding by. It’s already getting cold outside. Already. And it was just spring like two days ago. There is clearly no time whatsoever to waste, so let’s get straight to it.… ***** I was at Atlantic Beach recently, sitting by the pool with my nephew Parker Yost, and I caught a glimpse of his iPhone, which was just in tatters. And I said, “Oh my goodness? How in the world is that iPhone even working – and how did your phone get in that condition??” He said he had no idea; he said it was just “normal wear and tear.” I had a bottle of Coke I was holding and I’d forgotten to bring a bottle opener and Parker noticed and said, “Oh, I can get that for you.” Thinking he must have a bottle opener on his keychain or something, I handed the bottle to him. He took his iPhone and, I’m not making this up, somehow shoved the edge of the phone under the cap, using the phone as a bottle opener, and popped the cap off. I’m still not quite sure how he did that, but I do think I have a better understanding of how his $800 smartphone got to be in the condition it’s in. ***** Speaking of phones, I understand that some people like to look at their...

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High Point and Guilford Take Swings At One Another Over Funding Baseball Stadium

High Point officials call Guilford County’s coming decision whether or not to participate in a new downtown baseball stadium project a “no brainer,” but, in the days leading up to the Board of Commissioners Thursday, Sept. 7 meeting, the commissioners have been wrangling over whether they should even hold a public hearing on the matter. The contentious $45 million project calls for a $30 million stadium with additional land acquisition and other costs totaling $15 million, financed by the city through a bank loan. One criticism leveled against the project has been that the High Point leaders didn’t seek...

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State of Community Better Than People Think

Clearly the Greensboro community has some image problems right now – and, for once, the 2017 State of Our Community Luncheon acknowledged those issues, and the presenters and audience members alike were able to laugh about the city’s somewhat blah reputation. Thanks to that tack, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of Our Community Luncheon, held on Wednesday, August 30 in the Koury Convention Center at the Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Seasons, was a lot more upbeat, enjoyable and at times even downright funny, than many of the stuffy and stodgy affairs of past years. The Greensboro...

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Deeds Office Has Your Passport To Fast Service

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Guilford County Register of Deeds office opened the only no-appointment “walk-in” passport application office in the county, which means citizens can show up unannounced and get instant passport service. Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen said he’s very excited about the new service, which he said should dramatically cut down wait times for passport seekers, make things easier on customers and generate new revenue for Guilford County government. “We want to make this process as convenient as possible and become the premier location for passports in Guilford County,” Thigpen said. The service, available...

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City Needs to Put the ‘Sas’ Back in Sasquatch

I saw in the news that downtown Marion, North Carolina, is having a Bigfoot Festival in 2018 and I can promise you that, by doing so, they are going to draw in people from all over the place. It’s really going to be something. Now, this got me thinking – with my mind that always goes a million miles an hour – and I realized that this is just absolutely brilliant. This is just an absolutely fantastic idea. Get a few people to say that they saw Bigfoot in the area and then your place is an instant tourist attraction with festivals and all. I mean, think about it: Why in the world would anybody go to Marion? Right, they wouldn’t. Ever. Ordinarily, no one in their right mind would go to Marion on a trip. Look up Marion on the internet if you don’t believe me and check it out. I think you’ll see what I mean. I Googled attractions in Marion, NC, and TripAdvisor.com came back with a list of the top 10 attractions and it includes “English Farmstead cheese” and “the McDowell Arts Council Association Gallery Gift Shop.” Now, keep in mind that those things are on the top 10 list of things to do in Marion, so I think you get what I’m saying. However, now, because of the creativity of the Marion tourism officials...

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Yost Offers Eclipse Humor While He Can

Before you get inundated with clever snarky tunes, may I remind you: There WILL come a time that you lose your phone somewhere in the house. You WILL ask your wife to call it to help you find it. Good luck explaining that ringtone.   – Reddit post   Well, the good news is that the eclipse is now more than a week behind us and we can all go back to staring directly into the sun. I swear, I like a good solar eclipse as much as the next person, but I think that, as a society, we all...

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Early Voting Same-Day Registration Provides Loophole for Procrastinators

They say knowledge is power and, in some cases, a lack of knowledge about election procedures may cost people their power to vote. That’s because some information provided to voters leads them believe that, if they register 24 days before the election, they can’t vote in that election, when in fact they can. Same-day registration during early voting allows them to register and then vote – however, people have to know about the option in order to use it. Anyone who goes go Guilford County’s election website or many other election websites across the state will be told they...

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High Point and County in Pickle over Stadium

There has been a whirlwind of frantic activity behind the scenes this week as the Guilford County commissioners try to decide if they want to play ball with High Point by using county property tax revenue for the next two decades to help fund a proposed new stadium meant to spur downtown development in that city. The tension over the project has become so heated in recent days that it’s almost not an exaggeration to say that a “no” vote by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners could lead High Point to contemplate an attempt to break away from...

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High Point Mayor Tries to Strong Arm County Chair into Supporting Baseball Stadium

At the Thursday morning, August 24 meeting of the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance (GCEDA), a confrontation between High Point Mayor Bill Bencini and Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips left many alliance members in stunned silence after it became clear that the disagreement between the two could mean an end to GCEDA – a group that was formed with great effort two years ago to promote countywide cooperation in economic development. At the meeting, the two men went head to head in a disagreement that stems from a proposal by High Point to build...

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Yost Enjoys the View at the Wyndham

Last weekend, I decided on a whim that it might be fun to play a round of golf, so I grabbed my clubs and headed out to Sedgefield Country Club. I know I should have called ahead to get a tee time but I didn’t bother, and I have to say, I wish I had, because for some reason the place was absolutely slammed. I mean, not only were all the tee times taken, but there were rows and rows of gawkers lining the course and, at that point I didn’t care to play anyway; because who wants to play golf in...

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High Point Pitches Baseball Project, County Wants to Know if There’s a Catch

If the proposed High Point baseball stadium and downtown rejuvenation project is as well backed and well planned as that city’s pitch to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, it will be a raging success. However, some county commissioners question if the huge undertaking has been as well thought out as it needs to be. They question, for instance, whether developers will jump in and build restaurants, bars, apartments and other facilities around the proposed stadium. That’s a key component of the plan meant to bring High Point’s downtown back from the dead. A Thursday, August 17, afternoon work...

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Courts Scramble to Handle Judge Shortage

The Guilford County court system has a desperate need for more judges, is struggling hard to keep up in light of the current judge shortage and just lost some valuable help that it had been getting from the state in the form of temporary judges. That’s according to Guilford County Chief District Court Judge Tom Jarrell and other county court officials who are feeling the pinch in a big way after state lawmakers sliced the number of “emergency judges” serving North Carolina. Those are temporary, traveling judges – often retired judges – who are sent to court systems where...

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County Commissioners Sniff Around For Animal Shelter Director  Who Will ‘Stay’

Now that the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has selected a site for the county’s new animal shelter, the county still has to find a major piece of the puzzle – a new Animal Services director – in order to complete the picture. County officials are searching hard but it now looks like Guilford County will hire an animal services management firm to help run the shelter until at least the end of 2017. In addition to providing a temporary director, that firm is also expected to review the shelter’s programs, practices and procedures. Last week, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to purchase land to build a new $9 million shelter at 979 Guilford College Road. That 12-acre tract of heavily wooded property in unincorporated Guilford County is on the west side of Guilford College Road between Greensboro and High Point. The commissioners didn’t discuss the land purchase for long at the board’s Thursday, August 17 meeting before taking a vote. However, in the two years leading up to that decision – especially behind closed doors – they’ve talked with each other until they were blue in the face about where the county’s new animal shelter should go. With that decision now out of the way, Guilford County officials have turned to helping staff find a director who doesn’t quit or get fired soon after taking...

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Yost Says Lady Justice Is Blind, Not Deaf

Last century, there were two trials of the century – the 1925 Scopes Trial and the 1995 O.J. Simpson Trial – and it’s still a toss up which one of those was bigger. And, now, in this century – which is either the 20th or 21st century depending on who you ask – we are in 2017 and we already have the clear winner for what will no doubt be the uncontested trial of the new century – a trial that will certainly never be rivaled in terms of scope, notoriety and importance before the year 2,100 rolls around,...

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Council Apologizes For Klan-Communist Shootout

The Greensboro City Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 15 was largely about the events in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, August 12 and Nov. 3, 1979 in Greensboro At the meeting, the City Council voted to apologize on behalf of Greensboro for the city’s role in the shootout that took place nearly 40 years ago between the members of the Communist Workers’ Party and members of the Klu Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party. That shooting left five dead and others injured. The motion to apologize, made by Councilmember Sharon Hightower, passed on a 7-to-1 vote, with Councilmember Tony Wilkins voting...

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Council Revives Police Review Board

The Greensboro City Council is working hard to find the best way to provide citizen oversight of the Greensboro Police Department; however, at a Tuesday, August 15 work session in the Plaza Level Conference Room of city hall, it became clear that there are still a lot more questions than answers when it comes to doing that. Earlier this summer, the City Council voted to halt handing over any new cases to the Police Community Review Board (PCRB) – the oversight body that’s been addressing complaints about police actions. Several city councilmembers said at the work session that the...

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County Hires School Chair For Legal Defense

Guilford County has hired a big gun – one of the area’s most recognized attorneys – to help defend the Guilford County Board of Elections in a lawsuit filed against that board by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ). Guilford County Board of Education Chairman Alan Duncan – an attorney with Turning Point Litigation (Mullins Duncan) – has been hired to represent Guilford County in the court battle in which the Guilford County Board of Elections is being sued for over $600,000 in attorneys’ fees and other costs related to a case that Guilford County lost regarding the state’s redistricting of the Greensboro City Council districts. Guilford County officials know Duncan very well because each year the Guilford County Board of Commissioners works with Duncan and other school board members to determine the size of the county’s contribution to the school system budget – this year over $200 million. The schools always ask for more money from the county each year and in most years the amount given to the schools is a point of serious contention. The Guilford County Board of Elections met with Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne in two closed sessions in June and July and the board evidently gave Payne the go-ahead to hire outside help on the case. Several elections officials said that was a wise move since this will be a highly...

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Complex Conundrum in County Elections Board Lawsuit

In a textbook example of a catch-22, the Guilford County Board of Elections has until Monday, Sept. 4 to respond to a lawsuit filed by the Durham-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) – however, the elections board isn’t legally able to meet in order to vote on how to proceed or to give any direction to the attorneys representing the board. The SCSJ filed the lawsuit against the Guilford County Board of Elections on Friday, July 14 to recover more than $600,000 in legal fees and other costs that the SCSJ incurred in a 2015 case brought by...

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New Animal Shelter Site on Guilford College Road is Purr-fect

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners has made its decision: The land at 979 Guilford College Road, just southwest of Greensboro, is going to the dogs. And to the cats and to the gerbils and birds and other animals that are often held at the Guilford County Animal Shelter. The 12-acre tract of vacant land in unincorporated Guilford County on the west side of Guilford College Road between Greensboro and High Point will be the site of the new $9 million Guilford County Animal Shelter. The location, expected to be officially announced and approved by the Board of Commissioners...

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Life’s a Beach, At Least Once a Year

Like you, I just got back from the beach and, for that reason, I have, of course, been thinking a lot about exactly how wildly important beaches are to all of us North Carolinians. In my case, I was down at Atlantic Beach – Indian Beach to be exact – with my extended family. While there, I got to enjoy some sun and sand and surf and turf, and I even had dinner at the Crab Shack with Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson and his fine family, who were at the beach at the same time I was. Usually...

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Rock Quarry Blasting Debate Ignites Emotions in Pleasant Garden

The Guilford County Planning Board hearing concerning a proposed new rock quarry mining project near Pleasant Garden is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 13 – over a month away. But that case is already one of the most high profile county Planning Board cases in recent history and it’s energizing people on both sides. It also has Guilford County staff and others reviewing zoning appeal rules to assure that the county handles the controversial granite mining case in the right way. Texas-based Lehigh Hanson is a supplier of cement, concrete, asphalt and other building materials for construction projects in the US, Canada...

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Yost Calls Out Most Evil Inventor of All

County Editor Scott Yost is taking a well deserved break from column writing and will return next week. In the meantime, here is a classic Yost Column from 2007.    The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. When you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters, the very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand most of these people are not ready to be unplugged, and many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.         – Morpheus in The Matrix   I was at the pool the other day and I was thinking about what a great invention pools were, and about how the guy who came up with pools had really outdone himself and had made a big contribution to society. I tried to find out who was responsible so I could give him – OK, or her– credit, but the first pool they can find was about 3,000 years ago, so we don’t know who to thank for it. Anyway, that got me thinking about other great inventions, and that got me thinking about what were the greatest and worst inventions of all time. I...

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County Tax Department Should Get An A+

When the Guilford County Tax Department got the property tax collection rate up over 99 percent in fiscal 2015-2016 – for the first time in 15 years – some county officials questioned if the department could realistically get that rate even higher in fiscal 2016-2017. Well, on June 30, the books closed out for that year and those just released collection numbers show the answer is a resounding yes: The Tax Department could go higher. The collection rate climbed to 99.14 percent of the property taxes levied in the fiscal year that just ended, which was up from 99.09...

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City Council’s $95K Payment to Dejuan Yourse – The Rest of the Story

It turns out there is more to Greensboro’s $95,000 settlement with Dejuan Yourse than was previously released. The Greensboro City Council agreed to pay Dejuan Yourse a $95,000 settlement after he filed a complaint about being arrested on his mother’s front porch, which resulted in the two arresting officers resigning and the city apologizing to Yourse. The City Council viewed the police body-worn camera video of Yourse being arrested, and the scuffle where one police officer struck Yourse in the face, before offering the apology. The video of the arrest was also released to the public and there were...

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New Law May Allow County To Turn Delinquents Into Cold Hard Cash

The State of North Carolina has now joined the rest of the country in treating 16- and 17-year-olds in the criminal justice system as juveniles rather than adults – and that could mean big changes for Guilford County government in everything from the jails to court services to the school system. The most obvious change – once the law takes effect in 2019 – is that many 16- and 17-year-olds kept in Guilford County’s two jails would instead be held in the Juvenile Detention Center at 15 Lockheed Ct. near Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA). Guilford County already has the largest center in the state for youth offenders and it’s possible that that 44-bed facility could nearly double in size and become a big revenue generator for the county if county leaders decide that’s the right course of action. Currently, the state pays Guilford County $122 a day to hold juveniles from other counties, and Guilford County gets another $122 a day from the local governments that send the juveniles here for safekeeping. That totals $244 a day for the county. Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing said the new law change certainly means Guilford County should take a serious look at expanding its facility – especially if the state is going to help pay for that expansion to meet the new demand. Even before the law passed, Guilford County...

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Surprise Resignation Closes County Board of Elections on the Spot

Guilford County Board of Elections Member Don Wendelken has resigned from that board and, by doing so, effectively put the county’s board completely out of business. Wendelken’s resignation – combined with a new state law that just went into effect – means that Guilford County’s election board no longer has enough members to meet and conduct business legally, and the board will not get any new members until North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, the state legislature and the North Carolina Supreme Court work out their state election board issues. Members of the Guilford County Board of Elections are appointed...

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Yost Shares Ancient Chinese Secret

Every now and then, when my friends and I want a treat, we will grab something from China’s Best at Lawndale Shopping Center. Over here in my section of town, the place is legendary for its Chinese food, and I would put China’s Best up against any Chinese restaurant in town that isn’t currently advertising in the Rhino. But the real treat that I always enjoy the most, when it comes to China’s Best or any other Chinese restaurant for that matter, isn’t the succulent sesame sweet and sour Szechuan shrimp or the crispy Cantonese crabmeat creations. Instead, it’s what comes after the food … The Chinese fortune cookie. The other day, I picked up a China’s Best order and when I got back to the house there were no fortune cookies in the bag and everyone was like, “Oh no – no fortune cookies?? What the hay?” We were so disappointed that I drove back to China’s Best and said, “Hey, what’s the deal?” The China’s Best lady said that fortune cookies do still come with the meals but now you have to ask for them, and then she took handfuls of fortune cookies and gave them to me, and, then, when I got home, everyone had a grand old time opening up the cookies and seeing what their futures held. In addition, I think the greatest free...

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It May Take a Village to Untangle Animal Shelter Land Deal Jumble

The most complicated thing about building a new Guilford County Animal Shelter might be selling the old shelter property. Ever since the Guilford County Board of Commissioners decided to relocate the county’s animal shelter and sell off the existing shelter property, county legal staff and facilities staff have been trying to untangle the complex string of deals, deeds and contracts that have been strung together in the 60-year period since the county bought the three connected lots on West Wendover Avenue as a home for a county animal shelter. Some of that property is owned jointly with two other local governments; part is on loan to the Humane Society of the Piedmont, and there’s been a great deal of confusion over who gets the shelter’s large parking lot when the county leaves. Some Guilford County commissioners said it was their understanding that the Humane Society would get a large slice of that parking lot, but old county records suggest otherwise. The three lots became a center of attention for staff when the Guilford County Board of Commissioners decided to move the Animal Shelter to a nearby undisclosed 12-acre site that’s closer to High Point than the current shelter. The commissioners, who are likely to take a formal vote on that move in August, plan on selling the old property once the new shelter is built; however, that could be...

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Guilford County Commissioners To Say Bottoms Up To Sunday Brunch Bill

After the Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, July 13, adult residents of unincorporated Guilford County who enjoy throwing back beers or Bloody Marys at public establishments on Sunday mornings will be able to do just that. In a June change of state law, state legislators gave local governments across North Carolina the right, if they so chose, to move up the start time of Sunday alcohol sales at bars, restaurants and other ABC-licensed venues, from noon to 10 a.m., and Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips said this week that he expects the Guilford County commissioners to vote overwhelmingly to approve the change. State Rep. Jon Hardister was one of the primary sponsors of the bill. Guilford County Commissioner Justin Conrad, who ran Libby Hill Seafood Restaurants for years and who now owns and operates a seafood supply business, said the Sunday morning alcohol sales will help area restaurants and other county businesses where alcohol is sold. “I am a supporter of it,” Conrad said of the change coming to unincorporated Guilford County. “It’s good for my industry; it’s good for people in the hospitality business and it’s also good for the county because of the added sales tax revenue.” Conrad said moving up the start time of Sunday drink sales will also benefit Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA). He said that,...

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Yost Throws Animal Party In Back Yard

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:26-27, New International Version     The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  – Often attributed to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux     Ah, summertime and the living is easy. In summer, I often sit on my patio in the backyard and commune with the birds and the bees and observe God’s creation around me and I try to guess what all the animals, insects – and even the trees – are thinking. I fancy myself as something of a “nature whisperer” who relates wonderfully well with all the creatures large and small. I wonder to myself about all sorts of things like, “Do birds and squirrels have weekends, or is every day the same to them?” I see some busy ants walk by and I wonder if, in their world, they have ant news each day like people have evening news. They probably all gather around and hear news of the day and the stories are probably like, “Today, in the east part of the yard, a giant foot came down on an anthill tragically killing thousands....

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Search for MWBE Architect Locks Up County Jail Renovation Project

A kingdom was once lost for want of a nail, and now a big move planned by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department may be lost – well, at least delayed – for want of a black architect. In fact, if you’re a black architect who always wanted to do some county government work, now would be the time to apply. Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes said the major planned project to level the dilapidated Otto Zenke building at 400 W. Washington St., his current headquarters, build a parking lot there and move the Sheriff’s Department’s administrative offices into the old county jail at 401 W. Sycamore St. in downtown Greensboro, is now on hold due to a spat over the county’s use – or, rather, non-use – of minority architects. “Basically, it’s been put off due to the whole rigmarole,” Barnes said this week. “The architect they had was fine – they’d used him a hundred times before – but the whole thing is that they are trying to find a black architect.” There’s money in the new 2017-2018 county budget for the large project, however, Democratic Guilford County Commissioners Carolyn Coleman and Skip Alston have been on a major quest lately to bring more diversity to major county construction contracts and they want to make absolutely sure facilities officials haven’t – as they say they suspect – overlooked...

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Rhino School Salary List Leads to Jewell of a Debate over Conflict of Interest

The highest paid teacher on the Guilford County Schools (GCS) payroll, Mark Jewell, hasn’t worked for the school system since 2012, lives in Raleigh and currently heads up the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) – a political action group that lobbies state legislators on statewide school concerns. In a list of school employees provided by GCS to the Rhino Times, published last month, Jewell was listed as “Tchr – NCAE VP” with a salary of $74,088. That brief notation in a long list of names and salaries raised some eyebrows among Guilford County officials and some school system officials who were unaware the agreement existed and who find it strange and concerning. The NCAE is a union that represents teachers and other educators statewide and advocates for goals such as higher teacher pay and more school funding from state and local governments. Days after the salary list appeared, Guilford County – which recently provided the school system north of $200 million in total school funding for fiscal 2017-2018 when school debt repayments are included – sent a request for clarification about the arrangement the school system has with the NCAE. Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing – apparently in response to commissioner concerns – sent the question to Guilford County Schools Chief Financial Officer Angie Henry. In a written response to the question, Henry first summarized the request for...

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