by YES! Weekly staff

Community colleges continued ban on undocumented students Enrollment in North Carolina community colleges will remain off limits to undocumented students, at least for the time being. The State Board of Com munity Colleges voted on Aug. 15 to maintain the system’s May 13 directive, which bans the admission of undocumented immigrants, who had previously been allowed to attend classes if they could pay full tuition. The motion to ban the students had been made by Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue, the Democratic candidate for governor. The US Department of Homeland Security has informed the NC Justice Department that federal law does not prohibit state universities and colleges from educating undocumented immigrants. The board also voted on Aug. 15 to approve a study of the matter. “The discussion was that they want to move with deliberate speed,” said spokeswoman Audrey Bailey, “and they do not want to lag behind other states.” — JG

Tough love = Greensboro anti gang strategy The city of Greensboro is receiving a $250,000 grant from the state of North Carolina to combat gang activ ity. Funding comes from a $4.76 million pot of money allocated to the Governor’s Crime Commission by the General Assembly last month. Darryl Kosciak with the city’s parks and recreation department said he part nered with two members of the police department’s gang unit to write the grant, which adds a 25 percent match from state drug excise tax funds to make a total of $333,333. Kosciak said less than 20 percent of the funds will pay for computers and training to be used by the police to identify criminal gang members. The remaining funds are designated for “opportunities and access for all youth to parks and recreation programs, employment during the summer months through JobLink, and community-based programming.” — JG

Up in smoke detectors The Winston-Salem City Council approved amend ments to the housing code Monday that will bring the city’s standards closer to the levels required by the state. Among the changes are requirements that property owners install smoke detectors in every bedroom and provide at least 100 amps of power to dwellings. The state code now requires an intercon nected network of hard-wired smoke detectors in every bedroom that sound together whenever one of them is triggered. Winston-Salem’s ordinance doesn’t go that far and only requires landlords to install individual bat tery-operated detectors in every bedroom. West Ward Councilman Robert Clark cast the lone dissenting vote. — AK

GPD: Officers used appropriate force in Smith Homes The Greensboro Police Department has absolved it self of wrongdoing in a June 19 arrest in Smith Homes, concluding at the end of an administrative investigation that officers acted appropriately. Videotape by activist Timothy X shows two police officers struggling with Charles A. Montgomery as an angry crowd gathers to witness the confrontation. The video circulated widely after Timothy X posted it on YouTube on Aug. 9. Police said officers patrolling Smith Homes responded to a 911 call of shots fired, and Montgomery attempted to flee before allegedly producing a handgun. An Aug. 13 press release by the city describes how after Montgomery refused to comply with officers’ commands to drop to the ground, “officers employ techniques, such as stra tegically placed kicks, to immobilize the major muscle groups in the suspect’s legs. Another officer who assists near the end of the video uses his knee to accomplish the same goal when the suspect continues to struggle as officers are handcuffing him.” Chief Tim Bellamy said in a prepared statement: “This was a deadly force situation, and our officers are trained to use any reason able maneuver to bring such a situation under control and prevent the loss of life.” — JG

Cover yourself During the public hearing portion of Monday night’s Winston-Salem City Council meeting, the resident council president from Cleveland Avenue Homes, Mattie Young, presented a petition signed by her fellow councilors asking the city to draft a law against sagging. Young argued that the widespread practice of sagging — wearing your pants so low your underwear hangs out — has blemished the Camel City’s character. “The citizens of Winston-Salem have the right to be free of this repulsive and unattractive display of character by juveniles in Winston-Salem,” Young said. Mayor Pro Tem Vivian Burke acknowledged Young’s comments and promised to pass her petition to the public safety committee. No representatives of the pro-sagging com munity were present to answer Young’s remarks. — AK

Coble calls for domestic drilling Rep. Howard Coble, who represents North Caroli na’s 6 th Congressional District, joined fellow Republicans on Aug. 12 in calling for domestic oil drilling in a press conference during the House recess. “In speaking on the House floor today, I told those gathered there that the House and Senate should suspend our August district work period, officially return to Washington, and pass serious and comprehensive energy reform legislation now,” Coble said. “This is not a political stunt. By taking the House floor every day, we Republicans are stating that we are serious about making America energy independent. We must expand our domestic oil and natural gas production, increase the use of nuclear en ergy, while at the same time expand alternative energy sources and promote conservation.” — JG

Beloved Community Center honored The Beloved Community Center, a Greensboro organization headed by the Rev. Nelson Johnson, was named as one of five 2008 Defenders of Justice by the left-leaning NC Justice Center in an Aug. 12 announcement. Ajamu Dillahunt, community outreach coordinator for the Justice Center credited the Beloved Community Center for leading “the effort to secure a living wage law in Greensboro” and noted that Johnson’s organization “is also the anchor organization of the Greensboro Truth and Community Reconciliation Project, which looked into the ‘Greensboro Massacre’ of 1979 in order to seek healing in the community.” Other re cipients include Davidson College President Tom Ross, NC Rep. Jennifer Weiss (D-Wake), Juvencio Rocha Peralta Jr. of Amexcan of Greenville for advocacy of immigrants’ rights, Jane Perkins of the National Health Law Program in Chapel Hill, and Charlotte Observer staff members for their investigative series earlier this year on worker injuries in poultry plants. — JG

Mack Trucks to relocate HQ to Greensboro Mack Trucks will relocate its headquarters to Greens boro, state and local officials announced on Aug. 14. Currently located in Allentown, Pa., the company will bring 493 new jobs to the Triad and invest $17.7 million over the next three years, the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance noted. The restructuring plan is designed to put Mack Trucks closer to Greensboro-based Volvo Trucks North America; both companies are units of Swedish Volvo Group, the world’s second-largest pro ducer of heavy trucks. The company has pledged to cre ate jobs with average salaries of $73,800. Mack Trucks received a state Job Development Investment Grant that could yield the company up to $8.5 million should it meet its commitment to create the pledged number of jobs and sustain them over the next nine years. — JG

The birds and the bees The Greensboro City Council was scheduled to vote on Tuesday on a recommendation from the planning de partment to hold a public hearing and consider amendments to the city’s poultry and bee ordinance. Most significantly for residents interested in raising chickens and bees, one amendment would reduce the required setback for chicken coops and bee colonies from 50 to 25 feet in cases where the typical 50-foot setback left less than 10 feet to raise the animals. The amendment would also establish a 50-foot setback from any houses on abutting lots. The revised ordinance would also tighten regulations on urban farmers by prohibiting the keeping of roosters (disliked for their loud crowing), requiring “minimal” fencing to prevent chickens from roaming, and requiring that chickens and bees be kept behind houses instead of in front and side yards. — JG

When the law doesn’t suit you, get it changed Following an intervention by District 4 Councilman Mike Barber on behalf of downtown club owner Rocco Scarfone, the Greensboro Legal Department was scheduled on Tuesday to present two alternate options for amending the city’s sidewalk café ordinance. One option would allow restaurants to operate sidewalk cafés 24 hours a day. Another would extend operating hours to 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. The current ordinance restricts operating hours from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday, and to 11 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and on state holidays. Scarfone decided to seek an ordinance amendment after running into trouble with the police for leaving chairs and tables on the sidewalk after allowable operating hours. Scarfone’s general manager, Lee Meekins, was arrested on July 31 and charged with obstructing vehicular and pedestrian traffic. A memo written by police Cpl. KB Johnson stated that Scarfone and Meekins were repeatedly warned that they would face arrest if they continued to violate the ordinance. Scarfone’s lawyer, Derek Allen, said his client disputed “the multiple warnings scenario.” — JG