This was the first Fun Fourth run by Downtown Greensboro Inc. and, particularly considering the limited time DGI had to plan for the event, it was a big success. Estimates are that somewhere around 75,000 people made their way downtown Monday afternoon for the event, which included bands, food trucks, crafts and lots of activities for kids.
Over 4,000 attended the kickoff party on Sunday evening and nobody knows how many people watched the fireworks from various places around town, but the downtown viewing areas were packed.
Although tens of thousands came downtown for Fun Fourth and the fireworks, had a good time and left without incident, hundreds did not.
According to an email from Police Chief Wayne Scott to City Manager Jim Westmoreland and sent to city councilmembers, about 400 to 500 people from their early teens to mid 20s remained in Center City Park after the fireworks and became disruptive.
Scott in the email states, “These individuals began to break into smaller groups of 20-30 and became disruptive. We had multiple physical altercations and several large groups began to run and block sidewalks and streets, pushing people out of their way.”
According to Scott, increased police presence ended most of the problems but several fights had to be broken up by officers physically, and pepper spray was used in a few instances to break up large fights. Ten to 12 arrests were made, at least two of those were juveniles.
Scott said he understood the incident lasted less than an hour.
And here is my question to the City Council. When one person gets robbed with at knifepoint in east Greensboro the news media receives a police report, in Center City Park there were fights so large that police used pepper spray to break them up, 10 to 12 people were arrested, evidently a number of bystanders were assaulted and the media receives not one word about it.
Does the current contract with Center City Park include a clause that says arrests in the park will not be reported to the media? This is not the first or second time this has happened, it cannot be written off as a coincidence.
The only way I know to find out about an incident in Center City Park involving hundreds of people and pepper spray is to talk to someone who saw it. That’s not the way crime is supposed to be reported and not the way it is reported in the rest of the city.
Sunday, the News & Record ran a question and answer with its new publisher and editor, Daniel Finnegan, and it wouldn’t be the Rhino if we didn’t comment.
First, the good news: Finnegan didn’t mention grits once in any of his comments. The former P&E Jeff “Grits” Gauger mentioned grits nearly every time he wrote about Greensboro, which is how he won his nickname.
Being from Richmond, Virginia, Finnegan evidently doesn’t find Southern food exotic or consider eating the food served in Greensboro restaurants to be a daring culinary experiment.
But Finnegan wasn’t asked the one question everyone was hoping he would be, which is will the total and complete coverage of every little thing that happens in Rockingham County continue under his leadership. Gauger appeared to be absolutely fascinated with the people and history of Rockingham County. A double homicide in Rockingham County four years ago graced the front pages of the N&R for a week. There was little that could be considered news in the story, it was simply a history of a couple who were murdered in their home, but who wouldn’t be interested in the history of Rockingham County?
Everybody in Greensboro knows that a Rockingham County commissioner had a drinking problem. It seems news from Rockingham County was regularly on the front page under the reign of Gauger.
We will just have to wait and see if 4-year-old murders in Rockingham County continue to push events in Greensboro off the front page of Greensboro’s only daily newspaper. Who knows, Finnegan may find Alamance County, Randolph County or even Guilford County more to his liking and we’ll have to go elsewhere for everything, all the time about Rockingham County.
And by the way, Daniel, welcome to Greensboro.
In the center of this paper you will find 16 pages of the July edition of the Carolina Journal, with articles on state government, investigative reporting and political analysis you won’t find anywhere else. If you like what you see, you can subscribe to the Carolina Journal and have the full 24-page edition mailed to you each month at no charge. Information on how to subscribe is on the front page of the Carolina Journal.
Laws that are reactions to particular events often have unintended consequences.
When an emergency vehicle is pulled off on the shoulder it is the law that you have to pull over to left lane if it can be done safely. Several times lately I have been in heavy traffic when there was an emergency vehicle on the shoulder and all the drivers somehow managed to squeeze their cars over to the left lane. There was nothing safe about it, but nobody wanted to take a chance on getting a ticket.
And then there is the question of what is safe. Since all of these high-speed maneuvers were done with no accidents, does that make them safe? Is it safe to be traveling at 70 mph with a car 10 feet in front and five feet behind? I didn’t feel safe.
This is a case where it makes much more sense to leave the decision to the discretion of the driver. Certainly drivers should be encouraged to get in the left lane, but they should not be required to get in the left lane.
Every Olympic year about this time there are reports that the host city won’t be ready. The stadiums aren’t finished, the pools don’t have any water in them, the tracks aren’t paved and the apartments for the athletes have no plumbing, and every year the host city pulls it out. When the athletes arrive everything is ship shape and looks great, the paint may not be dry and the whole facade may fall off the week after everyone leaves, but for the Olympics it looks fabulous.
I wonder if this year will be the year the host city doesn’t pull it off. Rio de Janeiro has huge problems that don’t have anything to do with paint drying on time. Water, both the kind that events take place in and water for plumbing, is a problem. Crime is always a problem, but if the government doesn’t crack down it could turn really ugly. And then there is the Zika virus.
This year could be like every other year – the country will write a check for whatever it takes and people will work around the clock to get everything done moments before the torch is lit. The authorities will take control of the streets during the games and after the Olympics all anybody will say about Rio is what an incredibly beautiful city it is, how hospitable all the people were and what a great event it was. But then again this is a strange year, so maybe not.
Liberals in North Carolina are really pushing wind and solar electrical production and are opposed to coal, nuclear and natural gas. I will support them 100 percent, as long as they stick to their guns and when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing they agree to restrict their electricity usage to flashlights and other battery powered devices.
I’ll even agree to let them use the internet as long as they don’t plug their computers in to an electrical outlet, which is cheating since without electricity there wouldn’t be any internet, but that’s as far as I’ll go.
The transgender movement is going much faster than a lot of people anticipated. A transgender high school girl who was born a male qualified for and competed in the state championships in track.
You can bet that a lot of young men are going to decide they feel like young women. Imagine a young person born as a male who isn’t quite good enough for the boys basketball team, but would be a star on the girls team, so he makes the decision to “identify as a woman.” The downside is that he would have to take showers every day with a bunch of naked women.
For those who have been living under a rock someplace, men have been paying good money to see naked women for a long time, probably as long as there has been money. Fortunes have been made by those who provided naked women for other men to look at. There are bars and clubs all over the world that are set up expressly for that purpose.
So some high school boy just has to say that he “identifies” as a woman and for free he gets to spend his afternoons surrounded by naked women. I don’t know if there will be a boy who won’t try out for some women’s sport, in fact they may have to discontinue the boys’ sports teams for lack of interest.
12th District Congresswoman Alma Adams is part of an effort to expand the area’s US Postal Service. Once they get the Postal Service expanded, the word is the next effort will be to expand telegraph services.
It used to be you could send a telegraph anywhere in the world and a fellow would pedal a bicycle up to your door and hand you the telegraph. You’d give him a nickel and he’d be on his way. But telegraph services have fallen by the wayside for some unknown reason. Certainly the federal government needs to put a few billion dollars into expanded telegraph services. What if one day email was down. Facebook crashed. Text messages were jumbled. FaceTime didn’t work and, heaven forbid, cellular phone service went out. In that case then someone might actually need to send a telegraph. The big hold up is that it seems to be impossible at present to send a telegraph of kittens playing with puppies or young women smiling into their own phone, so why would anyone need to send a telegraph.
The world of communication has become complicated, but at least we know that Congresswoman Adams is going to do her best to make sure that all those pieces of mail addressed to “Occupant” are delivered in a timely manner, and once she gets that straightened out, will no doubt move on to telegraph service for all.
We’ve received several calls and letters about the increasing number of drivers running red lights and now I know what they mean.
I cross West Wendover Avenue at Cridland Road at least once a day, usually on my way into town. I’ve learned to wait after the light turns green for cars trying to get through on the yellow light.
Tuesday morning, while I waited, one car came speeding through the intersection after my light was green, followed by another a few seconds later. I looked left and didn’t see anything coming and slowly entered the intersection. Halfway through, a car that must have been going more than 60 mph flashed past my front bumper. Fortunately, I had caught the car out of the corner of my eye and had slammed on the brakes. The car passed within inches of mine.
The driver could not have possibly thought he was going to make the yellow light. It had been green in my direction long enough for two cars to pass through the intersection and for me to slowly make my way into the intersection.
I don’t know if the driver saw me and swerved or just decided to barrel through the red light and was lucky. If he or she had hit me, it would have totaled both cars and we’d both be fortunate if we weren’t seriously injured.
When I lived in Washington, DC, I learned not to enter an intersection until all the cars running the red light were through. The joke was that drivers behaved as if seeing that the light was at one time green was enough to go through the intersection. It appears we are approaching that in Greensboro.
If I had hit the gas when the light turned green there is no way I would have made it through the intersection without being hit, maybe more than once. And it wouldn’t have mattered at all that I had the green light, my car would have been destroyed and, if I was lucky, I would have only had to spend the morning in the emergency room. If I hadn’t been lucky I might be rueing the fact that I didn’t take the advice Scott Yost gives in his column this week and had not already written my own obituary.
It was unfortunate that with the biggest crowd of the year downtown for the Fun Fourth Festival, the fountains at Center City Park were not operating.
Greensboro is buying the park from the foundations that own it, and the fountains are being repaired so it can be sold.
If the City Council had known that if they agreed to buy the park the fountains would be turned off for Fun Fourth, the council might have delayed the vote.