by YES! Staff

Developments across the Triad and beyond, compiled by Y!W staff Greensboro council split The Greensboro City Council voted 5 to 4 to annex theWhitehurst Village, Hartwood Village and Laurel Parksubdivisions near McLeansville. Casting the dissenting voteswere Mayor Yvonne Johnson, at-large Councilwoman MaryRakestraw, District 4 Councilman Mike Barber and District5 Councilwoman Trudy Wade. City Attorney Terry Woodexplained that because the motion did not garner six votes,approval would require a second vote at the next meeting onApril 21. Assuming the current 5-4 majority holds, the landwill be annexed. “Currently we’re seven miles away from theedge of the real city… the rest of the contiguous part of thecity,” argued Walter James Penrod, a Whitehurst Villageresident. “We have no community center within twelve miles.There’s no bus route within seven miles, no libraries definitelywithin walking distance. There’s no city parks for our children.There’s no bike trails or walking trails or public golf courses.There’s a fire station that was put out there, but when youthink about Replacements Limited and the city buildings andthe commercial buildings out there, one truck for all of thoseareas is somewhat questionable…. It’s just not fair. The Cardinalhad city water and sewer for thirty years. Plus Sedgefieldstill isn’t part of the city, and they have city water and a lotof services. Look at the Cardinal. You grew out to the Cardinaland that was probably the right time to annex them, andlook at all the bus routes and services that are provided them.Sedgefield with a shopping center to the north of it, and oneproposed to the south of it. So how is it fair that Sedgefieldis not a part of the city and they have million-dollar homes,and our homes are not nearly [worth] that? So I believe theright thing for you to do, not just for your city residents but foreveryone, is to delay the annexation.” Trudy Wade, who madea motion to delay the annexation for an additional year, said,“I think the city is having its own, shall we say, financial challengein order to meet the budget this year, and I just don’tthink at this time we can put parks up, and put streetlights upand take on another financial burden at this time.” At-largeCouncilman Robbie Perkins argued that granting the delaywould set a bad precedent. “I just am looking for a way todifferentiate this from any of the other annexations that havebeen petitioned for water and sewer service with the sametype of language in the record,” he said. “And I understandthe hardship aspect of the economy and the increased citytaxes, but I also am struggling to make this different from themany different annexations that we’ve done over a period oftime, and also looking toward future annexations where otherneighborhoods will come in and make this same argument. Ithink what we’re doing if we vote to delay this again is doing agross disservice to the 250,000 people that already live in thecity limits of the city of Greensboro.”— JG Conservatives activated The anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity holds a “teaparty” rally at Center City Park in Greensboro at noon onWednesday to protest tax increases proposed by Gov. BeverlyPerdue. “The taxpayer well is running dry, Americans forProsperity state director Dallas Woodhouse said in aprepared statement. “North Carolina is tired of serving as thegovernor’s relief fund anytime the state cries ‘bankrupt.’” TheUNCG Republicans will also take part in the anti-tax protestsas part of the group’s Joe the Plumber Day. Declaring “UNCG indire need of traditional moral values, the campus Republicansare hosting their 6th annual “Morals Week.” Beginningwith Pro-Life Day on Monday, Alamance Pregnancy Servicesprovides a fetal development display. Tuesday is Support OurTroops Day, with Flagg Youngblood speaking at the NewScience Building on the topic of “Hey Hey, Ho Ho… Anti-Militarism Has Got to Go.” Thursday, being Fine UpstandingDemocrats Day, pokes fun at figures such as Edward Kennedy,Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi. The Republicans will servehamburgers and hot dogs on Friday for PETA BBQ Day, whosepurpose is “to remind people that eating meat is not immoral.”According to a press release issued by the group, “The CollegeRepublicans endorse and promote the message that moralityand values are absolute, and that Americans need to return tothose traditional principles.”— JG Keep military academy open Academic faculty and staff agreed to forego five weeks ofsalary to Oak Ridge Military Academy, the school announcedon April 10. The Guilford County preparatory school, whichwas founded in 1852, has fallen victim to budget shortfallsand lower than projected enrollment. “I’m extremely honoredto work with a group of professionals so willing to put everythingon the line for the academy,” said Col. Roy W. Berwickin a prepared statement. “Many people have stepped up andhelped with contributions but we are still well short of meetingour financial needs. We are viable and continue to winnew students.” Oak Ridge Military Academy announced thatunless additional funding can be obtained, the school may beforced to close. The board of trustees is evaluating numerousoptions to keep the school open.— JG Harris Teeter pulls pistachios Harris Teeter announced on April 11 that it is recalling HarrisTeeter Natural Roasted & Salted Pistachios from shelves. Apress release issued announced that the grocery chain waspulling products supplied by Setton Pistachio of Terra Bellain California and, in compliance with the US Food and DrugAdministration, products supplied by Bremner Food Group,because of potential contamination with the salmonellaorganism.— JG School position cuts rise to 163  Guilford County Schools Superintendant Mo Greenproposed a $651.8 million budget for school year 2009-’10on April 7. In response to a request from the Guilford CountyCommission to keep local funding flat and an anticipated$10.3 million cut in Gov. Beverly Perdue’s proposed statebudget, the school budget includes $21.8 million in cuts. Withthe unveiled budget comes an escalation in the number of positionsthe school system plans to eliminate to 153 positions— up from 90 previously. The school system plans to cut 90positions from school sites, primarily media assistants, whilean additional 63 positions would be trimmed from centraloffice, primarily from the Academic Services division.— JG Blue Cross Blue Shield audit Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) reports that legislationappropriating money for the State Health Plan for teachersand state employees to make up for a $250 million shortfallappears to be headed to the full chamber for consideration.“I offered an amendment to the bill which removed the troublingwellness provisions and required that future contractorsreceive the scrutiny of an independent audit,” Harrison wrotein an April 9 update. “The current $100 million contract withBlue Cross Blue Shield cannot be audited due to the terms ofthe contract.”— JG Anti-peddler ordinance The Greensboro City Council will consider an anti-peddlerordinance requested by District 3 Councilman Zack Mathenythat would restrict the hours when solicitors and beggars mayoperate to the period between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. when it nextmeets on April 21. The council officially tabled the agendaitem at its last meeting, but Matheny asked City AttorneyTerry Wood to bring back some language for a new ordinancefor the council to consider. “We’ve talked about safetyand parking decks downtown, and that has been of greatconcern,” Matheny said about the impetus for the proposedordinance. “District 5 Councilwoman Trudy Wade added,“A couple of the community meetings I’ve attended, they’rehaving problems with solicitors, but not so much when theycome as the fact that they come and then they come backand then they rob the house.” Mayor Yvonne Johnson saidshe would support the proposal as long as groups that solicithouseholds for charitable purposes received adequate notice.At-large Councilman Robbie Perkins heaped scorn on theidea: “This is going to affect the bell ringers in the departmentstores, won’t it? Because they’re going to be ringing the bellsat nine o’clock at night. They’re soliciting. That’s a solicitor.So you’re going to shut them down at six o’clock. So the guysat the Rotary Club can’t go stand in front of Belk’s at seveno’clock. So you’ve got a lot of unintended consequences. Youknow, if a citizen doesn’t like what he or she sees going onin front of her house on Halloween and calls the police, thepolice have got an ordinance they’ve got to enforce. This hasall kinds of holes in it.”— JG Still no word on Dell job cuts The Dell computer-assembly plant in Forsyth County stillrefuses to share information about how many people it currentlyemploys after three rounds of layoffs in recent months.Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines called upon companyofficials to provide detailed information about its workforcein a statement released April 3. Still, Dell has not shared theinformation with city officials. In a statement, Joines said thathe and the city council are “increasingly concerned by thecompany’s withholding of employment information relatedto incentive requirements.” The city’s financial incentives toDell are based on the company meeting specific benchmarks,including a requirement the plant employ a least 1,700people at an average yearly pay of $28,000 by October 2010.Winston-Salem City Councilman Dan Besse said Forsythresidents should remember that the Dell incentive packagewas carefully crafted to give the public more than the city andcounty are putting into the plant. The city and the county havepaid Dell $22.2 million in incentives so far, including $14.5million in site-preparation work for the plant. In exchange forthe incentives, Dell had to invest $100 million in the plant.“If they don’t meet their benchmarks this year, they don’t gettheir payment next year, or the payment is reduced based onactual performance,” Besse said. If Dell shuts down its Forsythplant, the company would have to pay back the incentivepackage money, “but we don’t anticipate that happening,”Besse added.— KTB Tasers approved for WSPD The Winston-Salem Public Safety Committee unanimouslyapproved the use of Tasers by the Winston-Salem Police Departmentduring the committee’s regular meeting on Monday.However, the funding source for the Tasers, which use electricalcurrent to stun and incapacitate criminal suspects, remainsuncertain. Police Chief Scott Cunningham told committeemembers that the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is seeking a50-50 split of the city’s Justice Assistance Grant funds the cityapplied for through the American Recovery and ReinvestmentAct. North Carolina municipalities will receive more than $50million in law enforcement grants as part of the economicstimulus package. “I don’t believe I should give up $350,000 tothe county,” Cunningham said. The city of Winston-Salem generatesthe bulk of the revenue and the crime in Forsyth Countyso it’s only fair it gets the majority of the funds, he added.Mayor Pro Tem and committee chair Vivian Burke instructedCunningham to remain steadfast. Cunningham informed thecommittee that the application deadline is May 18 and if anagreement is not reached by that time, the funds go back tothe federal government. City councilwoman and committeemember Molly Leight said the city might have to make anend run around Forsyth County Sheriff Bill Schatzman. “Ithink the city manager and the police chief are going to try totalk to the county manager to try to sort this out,” Leight said.“It’s totally unacceptable.”— KTB