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SCUTTLEBUTT

by YES! Weekly staff

Drug treatment center cited

The Guilford County Substance Abuse Treatment Center in High Point was been ordered by the NC Department of Health and Human Services to stop admitting new clients until multiple violations are shown to be corrected. The drug treatment center is run by Bridgeway Behavioral Center, which is under contract with the county’s mental health agency. A press release by the county mental health agency, known as the Guilford Center, detailed the violations: “The facility was out of compliance in medication management areas such as improper security of client medications, failure to assure that medications were administered by qualified personnel and no physician orders for client self-medication,” the county mental health department disclosed in a prepared statement. The violations were uncovered during an annual onsite survey completed by Department of Health and Human Services on June 19. The Guilford Center and Bridgeway Behavioral Health are required to submit a plan of correction by Aug. 25. Billie Martin Pierce, director of the Guilford Center, characterized the violations as “serious” and said that the violations had already been corrected. — JG

Birds and bees amended

The Greensboro City Council voted unanimously on Aug. 19 to loosen restrictions on residents who want to raise chickens and bees in their backyards. Council approved an amendment to its poultry and bee ordinance by reducing setbacks from property lines to coops or hives in some cases. In compromise, the amendment also bans the keeping of roosters, adds a fencing requirement and limits homeowners to keeping chickens and bees in backyards. — JG

Dole, Hagan best Libertarian upstart An Aug. 20 opinion poll by InsiderAdvantage/Major ity Opinion Research finds North Carolina Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole and Democratic challenger Kay Hagan in a dead heat, with about 40 percent of likely voters saying they would cast their support to each candidate in the US Senate race. A poll by Survey USA eight days earlier put the margin between Dole and Hagan at 5 percent, but credited Libertarian candidate Christopher Cole with making the race “fascinating to watch and difficult to handicap.” Though the pollsters averred that Cole created more of a liability for Dole than for Hagan, they saw reason to worry for both candidates. “Hagan is flat, Dole is down,” a summary noted. “Cole gets 11 percent of male votes today, siphoning key votes Dole needs to win. Cole gets 12 percent of young votes today, siphoning key votes Hagan needs to win.” — JG

Sidewalk café hours extended

The Greensboro Council voted 7-2 to allow restaurants to operate sidewalk cafés from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. The dissenting votes came from District 1 Councilwoman Dianne Bellamy- Small and District 2 Councilwoman Goldie Wells. In the past, restaurateurs were not allowed to begin serving on the public right-of-way before 11 a.m., prohibiting al fresco coffee drinking, and were forced to wind down dinner service at 10 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday (on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays, sidewalk cafés could operate until midnight). The extended hours represent a compromise, following a request by South Elm Street club owner Rocco Scarfone to amend the ordinance to allow sidewalk cafés to operate around the clock. One of Scarfone’s employees was arrested in July and charged with obstructing vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Police and Downtown Greensboro Inc. contend that allowing sidewalk cafés to operate around the time bars stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m. creates a hazard with sidewalk crowds jostling against diners. — JG

Accountability for public records

The Greensboro Neighborhood Congress is proposing that the city adopt a formal public records procedure to make city government more accountable to residents seek ing information. The congress proposes that the city create a public records ombudsman position and issue a letter of acknowledgement to the requester within five days, followed by a substantive response letter to the requester within 15 days providing documents, stating that documents are non existent or giving notice that the documents will take additional time to assemble. A follow-up “substantive response letter” would include remaining documents. The proposed policy would also establish a public hearing for any requests not completed in 45 days, and require that the procedures be posted on the city’s website. “I like it,” Mayor Yvonne Johnson said. “I think there was only one exception in my years on this council that we may have to put some language in… this was an enormous amount of information. Generally, that’s not the case. If it is or it gets to that, again I think council should have the privilege of saying this is going to be an extended period. Other than that, this is fine with me.” — JG

More bond action

The Forsyth County Commission moved a step closer to put ting $62.15 million in educational facilities bonds on the ballot in November when it voted on Monday to schedule a public hearing for Sept. 8. Two commissioners — Republicans Richard Linville and Debra Conrad — voted against the measure, which could add three cents to the tax rate. State law mandates that the public be allowed to comment on any and all bond items approved for the ballot. So if you’ve got something to say about educational facilities or taxes, mark your calendar for Sept. 8. — AK

Dirty work

The City/County Utilities Commission has been on the civic brain recently, what with the appointment by the Winston-Sa lem City Council of a blue-ribbon panel to evaluate its operations. The Forsyth County Commission opted to support the utilities commission in its efforts to wring more money out of the city for the curbside recycling program. On Monday the commission adopted a resolution in support of a utilities commission funding scheme that would require that the city pay half the cost of curbside recycling. The county commissioners who supported the resolution (all except Democrat Walter Marshall) said county residents who don’t receive curbside recycling service shouldn’t be forced to subsidize their counterparts in Winston-Salem. — AK

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