by YES! Staff

Developments across the Triad and beyond, compiled by Y!W staff

Dell: 260 jobs cut at Winston-Salem plant since January

Dell executives announced the computer manufacturer has cut 260 jobs at its Winston-Salem facility during a meeting of the city’s finance committee on Monday. Dell vice president Frank Miller told committee members that the current global recession has led to the job cuts. In January, Dell employed 1,400 workers at its Forsyth County plant. Today, the total number of people employed by the facility has shrunk to 1,140. In 2005, Dell shipments of computers had increased 23 percent, but the consumer market changed. “Consumers were buying mostly desktop computers. Today, consumers are buying mostly laptops,” Miller said. The Winston-Salem plant was designed to produce desktop computer systems. Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines asked if Dell could convert the plant’s assembly line to produce laptops. “That is currently under review,” Miller said. “We built that plant specifically to have flexibility and agility to build all lines of business.” If economic conditions improve, Dell could rehire many of the workers that have been laid off, Miller said. Also, Dell plans on holding up its end of the bargain in meeting the conditions of the $22.2 million in economic incentives the city and the county have paid the company so far. “We will comply completely with our agreement,” Miller said. The company is currently in compliance with the agreement. The city’s financial incentives to Dell are based on the company meeting specific benchmarks, including a requirement the plant employ a least 1,700 people at an average yearly pay of $28,000 by October 2010. — KTB

Jordan Lake compromise bill advances

A “disapproval” bill euphemistically titled “Restore Water Quality in Jordan Reservoir” cleared the NC House Judiciary 1 Committee on Monday and was scheduled for a floor vote on Tuesday. The compromise bill addresses two controversial rules in the NC Department of Natural Resources’ plan to clean up Jordan Lake, which is considered impaired. Local governments and developers in the Haw River Watershed, which feeds into Jordan Lake, have vigorously fought the rules. The bill would push back the deadline for municipal governments to limit nitrogen discharges from their wastewater plants from 2014 to 2016. It would also disapprove the Existing Development Rule, which municipal governments worry would force them to condemn and purchase private property to build detention ponds for the purpose of reducing nutrient runoff. Instead, the bill requires local governments to submit nutrient management plans by the end of the year, and take steps to reduce emissions only if water quality standards are not met by 2017. Greensboro Assistant City Manager Denise Turner said a coalition of municipal governments that includes Greensboro, Burlington and Durham supports the bill, but will continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources to weaken the rules. Keith Price, the self-described “minister of culture” and “creative and strategic thinker,” for Greensboro developer Samet Corp. urged members of the Judiciary I Committee to pass the legislation. “The bill is not perfect at this time, but must make crossover deadline so that all of our interests for economy and environment can be addressed,” he wrote. “Great progress has already been made to address the original onerous and unworkable Jordan Lake Rules — I appreciate you providing the opportunity to allow this good work to continue, as we both craft sustainable precedents for water quality protection and protect the vital economic interest of our state for the future of our children and grandchildren.” — JG

ACC museum and aquatic center to be built near coliseum

The Greensboro City Council has greenlighted plans to put to build an ACC Hall of Champions and a competitive aquatic complex at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. The ACC Hall of Champions will be built in the front section of the old Canada Dry bottling plant that the city

purchased last year, and funded by $2 million appropriated by the NC General Assembly in 2005. Coliseum Director Matt Brown said the funds would pay for the installation of exhibit area in the front hall that would accommodate displays by the 12 schools represented by the Atlantic Coast Conference. Brown said he expects NC Sen. Don Vaughan and other state lawmakers to pursue additional funding to complete the project, whose 35,000 square feet would eventually include a 200-seat theater, board rooms and additional exhibit space. Brown said he expects Phase 1 of the hall to be open in time for the 2011 men’s tournament. The council also decided to locate a regional competitive aquatic complex on the coliseum property, disappointing Councilwoman Goldie Wells, who had hoped to have the aquatic center built near the Greensboro Sportsplex in District 2. The plan approved is estimated to cost $17.1 million, but only $12 million in parks and recreation bond funds approved by voters last year are available for the project. Council members hope the economic downturn will allow the city to negotiate bidding at a lower cost than the estimate. — JG

Elon University praised by Hindu leader

Universal Society of Hinduism President Rajan Zed has applauded Elon University’s plans to construct a multifaith center for use by Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu students. Zed called the university’s plans “a step in the right direction” in a statement on May 9, adding, “We are all looking for the truth and in our shared exploration for truth, we can learn from one another and thus come closer to the truth.” — JG