by YES! Weekly staff

Vegas or Old Greensborough?

Despite its status as part of the preeminent enter tainment destination of Greensboro’s South Elm Street, club owner Rocco Scarfone’s N Club hasn’t exactly endeared him to the downtown establishment. Start with Milton Kern, the developer known as “mayor of Elm Street” who tried unsuccessfully who failed in his bid for actual mayor of Greensboro. “John Lomax and I are opposed to the sign at the N Club because it is out of place in an area that we have worked so hard to make it look like it did 100 years ago,” Kern wrote to city leaders and members of Downtown Greensboro Inc.’s executive committee on Jan. 11. Lomax, a property manager, concurred: “This sign is a danger to the public as it demands the attention of drivers which takes their eyes off the road…. It is advertising other businesses like Gold’s Gym, the Rhino and YES! Weekly. In no way can you link those businesses to the business at that address. Not to mention, it has ruined the historic feel of our Elm Street…. We need to be leaders on this issue and demand the removal of the sign and get an ordinance that prohibits additional signs in the [Central Business District] or Elm Street at the minimum.” The matter was tabled on Jan. 16 when the Greensboro City Council decided to put off making any changes to ordinances. “Mayor [Yvonne] Johnson took a leader ship role and recommended that the issue be addressed in design guidelines and an overlay district,” Downtown Greensboro Inc. President Ed Wolverton. “Council members concurred and I did not need to address the group. As an aside, Councilmember [Mike] Barber said that he believes the signs create a Las Vegas-type image that enlivens downtown.” — JG

Racial gap widens on infant mortality

From Day 1, it’s more dangerous to be black, Hispanic, Asian or American Indian than white in Guilford County. That’s the finding of the NC State Center for Health Statistics, which released numbers last week showing that the infant mortality rate for whites dropped from 8.8 per 1,000 to 5.9 from 2006 to 2007, while the rate for non-whites crept up from 13.0 to 14.2. “Women who deliver babies without the benefit of prenatal care are three times more likely to deliver a low birth weight baby, the leading cause of infant mortality in Guilford County,” said Charmaine Purdum, coordinator of the Guilford County Coalition on Infant Mortality. It’s unclear what causes non-white women to be more likely to lose their newborns. “We do an incredible job of ensuring that all women in our county have access to care, and comprehensive equi table prenatal care needs to continue to be available for all women,” Purdum said. “Nonetheless, we need to look more closely at what is causing racial disparities in infant mortality.” Numbers released for Forsyth County also reflected wide racial disparities, but little change from the previous year. The infant mortality rate for non-whites is 19.2 out of every 1,000 births, compared to 8.0 for whites. — JG

GPD formalizes command staff promotions

The Greensboro Police Department instituted a new promotional system on Sept. 1 for command staff that combines written testing and “interactive exercises” with “police experience and supervisory experience,” that will be used for promotions in early 2009, according to a police management and staffing study released last week. Consultant Carroll Buracker called for a “weighted promotional process for corporal, sergeant and lieutenant where rank orders or categories are created through the weighting of at least three components (i.e., written, oral and track record)” in recommendations made in July. The department also implemented a formal promotional process to subject candidates for captain to interactive exercises to measure their strengths and weaknesses. The Buracker report had concluded that “the current promotional processes are considered to be seriously flawed by being far too ambiguous and subjective.” — JG

First day of school

Guilford County Schools Superintendent Mo Green was scheduled to be sworn in by board Chairman Alan Duncan at 6:45 a.m. on his first day on the job Monday. His schedule included visits to Ferndale Middle School, Reedy Fork Elementary and Eastern High School; then meetings with employees at the Franklin Boulevard Administrative Office and the Maintenance Office on Naco Road. The day was to end in the evening with a reception to greet “a cross section of the community” at Grandover Resort. — JG

One-stop voter ed.

Thebipartisan Guilford County Unity Effort holds a comprehensivecandidate’s forum at New Light Baptist Church in Greensboro on Sept.16. Confirmed so far are Democratic incumbent Elaine Marshall and Republican challenger Jack Sawyerfor secretary of state; Republican auditor Les Merritt and Democratic challenger Beth Wood for auditor; Democrat Don Vaughan and Republican Joe Wilson, whoare vying for the open NC Senate District 27 seat vacated by DemocratKay Hagan in her quest for a US Senate seat; Democratic incumbent Alma Adams and Republican challenger Olga Morgan Wright for House District 58; Democratic incumbent Maggie Jeffus and Re publican challenger Jim Rumley for House District 59; Democratic incumbents Paul Gibson and John Parks, alongside Republican challengers Larry Proctor and Libertarian challenger Paul Elledge in the at-large county commission contest; Democratic incumbent Kirk Perkins and Republican Eddie Souther inthe District 4 county commission race, according to the Uni ty Effort’sSharon Hightower. As of Monday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory had confirmed, but his Democratic opponent Bev Perdue said she would not make it. Likewise, the Republican candidate for attorney general, Bob Crumley, has pledged to at tend, but Democratic incumbent Roy Cooper declined the invite. TheUnity Effort plans to distribute about 4,000 voter education guides inan effort to match this year’s record voter registration increase withknowledge about candidates running for office. A second forum will beheld on Sept. 23 at the High Point Theatre. — JG

Fake ESC letters said to be identity theft scheme

The NC Justice Department warns that some North Carolinaresidents have received letters that appear to be from the stateEmployment Security Commission offering $20 if they agree to complete asurvey over the telephone. The department warns that people whoparticipate in the survey may become victims of identity theft. “Nevergive out personal information to someone you don’t know who calls youon the phone,” the department cautions in a Sept. 2 notice. “If someone calls you and asks for your personal information, ask for thecaller’s name and department and then hang up. Look up the phone numberfor the organiza tion or business yourself and call back to verify thatthey are who they say they are.” — JG