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by Eric Ginsburg & Jordan Green

Items from across the Triad and beyond

Alston, Matheny to run for higher office

Former Guilford County Commission chair Skip Alston announced last week that he will run for NC Senate in District 28. Fellow Democrat Gladys Robinson, who serves as deputy minority leader and who is in her second term, currently holds the seat.

Alston, who co-founded the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in downtown Greensboro, recently appeared before the Greensboro City Council twice asking for money for the venture and as a representative for investors who sought to renovate the Renaissance Shopping Center in northeast Greensboro. The shopping center deal fell through after initial approval over opposition from Renaissance Community Cooperative grocery store supporters. Council approved a $1.5 million loan to the museum.

Greensboro City Councilman Zack Matheny, who represents District 3, announced on Monday that he is running for the 6 th Congressional District seat currently occupied by Republican Howard Coble.

Coble, who has served continuously since 1984, said recently he will not run again in 2014, and Matheny is seen by many as a more moderate Republican than the other candidates in the race.

Matheny earned a reputation for tackling public safety issues especially in relation to downtown Greensboro, which is partially in his district. Matheny shepherded an entertainment security ordinance and repeatedly pushed for a teen curfew. He currently heads the council’s economic development committee, which he says is his primary focus on council.

The longest continually serving current council member, Matheny was reelected overwhelmingly last month, defeating conservative challenger Wendell Roth. If he wins the congressional race, council will appoint a replacement as it did when Trudy Wade won her race for NC Senate last year.

Speaking of elected officials and races in Guilford County, the News & Record reported Monday that Rep. Marcus Brandon, Democrat who represents parts of Greensboro and High Point, will not seek reelection to the General Assembly if his bid for Mel Watt’s congressional seat fails. — EG

Historic Winston-Salem plant could be eligible for tax credits

A recommendation for local historic landmark designation for the Chatham Manufacturing Co./Western Electric Co. complex received approval from the finance committee on Monday, allowing it to advance for consideration by the full Winston-Salem City Council.

The US government leased and then purchased the former textile mill in Winston-Salem during World War II, according to a nomination submitted for the National Register on behalf of the property in 2001. The Clevelandbased National Carbon Co. used the facility from 1943 to 1945 to manufacture submarine batteries and underwater detonators. Western Electric took over the plant in 1946 and initially produced military communication equipment before converting its operation to produce switches and circuits for national telephone networks.

A company owned by Durham developer Kenneth Reiter purchased the Chatham/Western Electric complex, which covers six acres, in 2012 for $645,000. The total replacement cost of the building, erected in 1920, is $2.1 million, according to Forsyth County tax record.

Approval of the landmark designation allows the owner to apply for deferral of 50 percent of the property taxes as long as the historic features are retained, and is often used as a tool for redeveloping historic properties.

In a separate action, the finance committee green-lighted $42,000 in funding to pay Novation Broadband to continue to provide wireless internet service to several rental communities, including the Kimberly Park Terrace and Happy Hill Garden, LaDeara Crest Estates and Millbrook Apartments. The city authorized grants to provide wireless service in parts of the communities in 2009 and 2010.

A survey found that 77.0 percent of residents used the internet service several times a day. More than 37.0 percent said they used it for education, 8.0 percent for work, 9.0 percent for entertainment and 39.4 percent for some or all of the above. Kimberly Park Terrace and Happy Hill Garden are served by Diggs-Latham Elementary, Kimberly Park Elementary, Paisley IB Magnet, Philo-Hil Magnet Academy, Parkland High School and Reynolds High School.

Deputy City Manager Derwick Paige told council members that representatives of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools told city officials that “the students are doing much better and have attributed the internet service as one of the factors that contributed to that.”

Mayor Pro Tem Vivian Burke questioned how the schools could attribute student progress to internet access at specific housing communities. Paige responded that the schools do not track progress to that degree of specificity. Burke and Councilwoman Denise D. Adams, who represents Kimberly Park Terrace, said they were not impressed by the results.

Councilman Derwin Montgomery, who represents Happy Hill Garden, and Councilwoman Molly Leight argued that there is no question that internet access provides children with an educational benefit. — JG

KEITH HOLLIDAY SUMMONED TO RALEIGH BY GOV. MCCRORY

Keith Holliday will leave his position as president and CEO of the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro at the end of December to accept an appointment by Gov. Pat Mc- Crory. Holliday will serve a four-year term on the NC Department of Employment Security’s Board of Review in Raleigh.

Holliday left a position as vice president of First Citizens Bank to lead Carolina Theatre in 2008, after serving eight years as mayor of Greensboro. Holliday’s mayoral tenure overlapped with McCrory’s service as mayor of Charlotte, and the two lobbied the NC General Assembly to pass anti-gang legislation in 2007.

Holliday said in a press release on Monday that he has achieved a number of goals for the Carolina Theatre, including opening a third-floor performance space, replacing the roof and establishing an annual fundraiser to ensure the facility’s continuing financial viability. — JG !

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