Saturday, June 19th, 2021

Author: John Hammer

About John Hammer

Here are my most recent posts

After Stabbings, Vaughan Renews Call For Nightclub Ordinance

Four people were stabbed Sunday, April 11 at Tranquilo Bar and Restaurant at 221 S. Elm St. in downtown Greensboro. None of the four had life threatening injuries, according to the police report. In response to that incident Sunday, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan posted the following on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nancy.vaughan

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Guilford County GOP Has Unexpected Guest At April Meeting

The 70 or so Republicans who attended the monthly meeting of the Guilford County GOP on Monday, April 12 got a pleasant surprise. The top Republican in North Carolina state government was in attendance. North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who lives in Greensboro and before getting involved in state politics attended Guilford County Republican Party meetings regularly, was there sitting in the crowd with his wife, Yolanda, just like old times.

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Cooper Signs Bill To Change How Reading Is Taught In Public Schools

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed the “Excellent Public Schools Act” into law on Friday, April 9. This was purported to be one of those controversial laws proposed by the Republicans in the legislature that might squeak through on a straight party-line vote. Although some in the education bureaucracy saw this as highly controversial, the North Caroline Legislature did not.  The Excellent Public Schools Act passed the state Senate on a 48-0 vote and passed the state House on a 113-5 vote.  Democrats and Republicans in Raleigh disagree on a huge number of issues, including education issues, but not on the teaching reading based on the Science of Reading.

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JAG Money Comes Home To Roost, But Not In Greensboro

This week the Greensboro City Council should be getting thank you notes from Guilford County and High Point. The Guilford County Board of Commissioners is expected to accept a Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) of $250,000, which is $136,900 for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department and $113,000 for the High Point Police Department. Originally, $138,000 of that grant was awarded to the Greensboro Police Department, $61,000 to the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department and $51,000 to the High Point Police Department.

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IRC Rare Nonprofit To Receive Surplus Vehicles From City

At the Tuesday, April 6 meeting, the City Council is expected to approve giving a surplus vehicle to the Interactive Resource Center (IRC). The executive director of the IRC is At-large City Councilmember Michelle Kennedy. In the past 10 years, the City of Greensboro has not donated a surplus vehicle to any nonprofit organization other than the IRC.  If the City Council approves this gift to the IRC, it will be the sixth vehicle the City Council has approved for donation to the IRC in the past two years.

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City Council Slated To Give Surplus Van To IRC At April 6 Meeting

On Tuesday, April 6, the Greensboro City Council plans to give a surplus van to the Interactive Resource Center (IRC). The donation is item 14 on the April 6 meeting agenda, which lists NC General Statute 160A-280 as giving the city the authority to make this gift. The IRC provides services for the homeless population during the day, and the executive director of the IRC is City Councilmember Michelle Kennedy.

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Proof Of Vaccination Gets You A Free Burger

For those hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine or who just haven’t gotten around to it yet, here is an extra incentive – a free hamburger. The World of Beer Bar & Kitchen at 1310 Westover Terrace is offering a free hamburger on Wednesday, April 7 to anyone who shows proof they have received their COVID-19 vaccination.

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Police Staffing Report Recommends 16 Additional Police Officers

Greensboro has 683 authorized sworn police officers and currently has 611 fully trained sworn police officers out on the streets. The recent staffing study completed by Police Department in conjunction with the Greensboro Budget and Evaluation Department recommends that Greensboro have 16 additional authorized police officers, which would raise the full staffing level to 699.

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DGI Reinvents The Easter Egg Hunt With Eggstravaganza

Last December, Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) reinvented the Christmas Parade in the time of COVID-19 and is now doing the same for the traditional Easter egg hunt in 2021. DGI’s Eggstravaganza, being held from Thursday, April 1 through Saturday, April 3, is not the typical Easter egg hunt for toddlers with baskets.  In fact, it would be difficult for a toddler with a basket to participate unless that toddler had a smart phone in the other hand.

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Homicide Rate Is Up But Overall Crime Rate Is Down In 2021

Police Chief Brian James said, “Overall crime right now compared to last year is down by 8 percent.” James added, “We’ve done a lot of things to try and work on the root cause.” In the crimes against persons category compared to 2020, forcible rape is down 43 percent, sex offenses are down 69 percent, aggravated assault is down 2 percent and simple assault is down 10 percent.

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Council Appears To Be Pushing Expensive Technology On Police

The Greensboro Police Department needs some assistance from the City Council. However, according to comments made by Police Chief Brian James, one thing they aren’t asking for is a “shots fired system.” City Councilmember Sharon Hightower and Mayor Nancy Vaughan appear to be pushing this technology, which is a computerized system that will inform the police of the exact location of shots fired in a certain area.

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Outling’s Question Draws Negative Response From Council

One takeaway from the Greensboro City Council work session on Tuesday, March 23, is that the eight women on the City Council really don’t like lone male City Councilmember Justin Outling’s attempting to take action. At the work session, Outling made what was a reasonable request.  He asked City Manager David Parrish to let him know, by Friday, how many additional police officers the Greensboro Police Department needed.

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Greensboro Police Have Fewer Officers Than Previously Reported

As far as the number of fully trained Greensboro police officers on the street, according to Greensboro Police Chief Brian James, it’s worse than what has previously been reported. James gave a report on the new Greensboro Police Department Strategic Plan at the Greensboro City Council work session on Tuesday, March 23.

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Bill To Protect Women’s Sports Introduced In State House

Republicans in the North Carolina state House have filed a bill titled, “Save Women’s Sports Act.” House Bill 358, the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” would prohibit biological males from participating in “interscholastic or intramural athletic activities” for “females, women or girls.”

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NCAE Asks CDC For Science And Data Behind New 3-Foot Rule

The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) is asking for some answers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On Friday, March 19, the CDC issued a new edict that, in school, students only needed to be three feet apart, not the six feet that the CDC has been recommending and states have been enforcing for more than a year.

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Housing Supply In Greensboro Hitting New Lows

If you were thinking about selling your house, there may never be a better time, and if you’re thinking about buying you may want to move fast. According to the Greensboro Regional Realtors Association (GRRA), housing inventory is hitting new lows, which means houses are selling fast. In February 2021, there was only a 0.8 month’s supply of housing inventory according to the Triad Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

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Number Of Homicides In 2021 Almost Double 2020 Numbers

As of Friday, March 19, 2021, Greensboro had 11 homicides reported this year.  At the same date in 2020, six homicides had been reported in Greensboro. That sounds like bad news, but it is much worse when you consider that in 2020, Greensboro set an all-time record for homicides with a total of 61 for the year.

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Senate Bill Mandates In Emergencies Patients Be Allowed Visitors

One consequence of the plethora of restrictions invoked as a result of COVID-19 was that people in the hospital and in adult care facilities were not allowed to have any visitors. “The No Patient Left Alone Act” has been filed in the North Carolina state Senate to put a stop to that practice regardless of the emergency situation.

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Charter Schools Get Left Behind On Reopening Act

Charter schools in North Carolina got quite a shock this week in a letter from Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt. Truitt notes that while traditional public schools can operate grades 6-12 under either Plan A or Plan B and must offer Plan C, charter schools are not permitted to offer Plan A for students in grades 6-12 but must provide Plan C and can operate under Plan B.

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Greensboro And Durham: A Tale of Two Cities

Both Greensboro and Durham had major economic development announcements this week. Tuesday, March 16, Greensboro announced that Syngenta was not leaving, and Thursday, March 18, Durham announced that it had been chosen as the site of a new Google engineering hub.

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Council Vote On Union Square Project Delayed Until April 6

The expectation was that the next step in the development of the Union Square Campus – which was continued from the Feb. 16 meeting – would be approved at the Tuesday, March 16 City Council meeting, but it wasn’t. The proposed project is for a mixed-use development with approximately 250 apartments built over ground floor retail and a seven-level parking deck. Instead, by a 5-to-4 vote, the City Council continued the item until the Tuesday, April 6 meeting.

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Syngenta Will Continue To Call Greensboro Home

Syngenta isn’t going anywhere, which is good news for Greensboro. Instead of moving to a new location, Syngenta announced on Tuesday, March 16 that it would be staying right where it is on Swing Road and invest an estimated $68 million in building new facilities on its current campus.

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