March 14, 2012 11:08

scuttlebutt

Items from across the Triad and beyond

Last minute candidates file for Guilford County Commission

As the clock ran out on filing for a few open County Commissioner seats March 9 — a deadline extended due to court proceedings that temporarily suspended the filing process as the NAACP challenged the legality of the commissioner redistricting — veteran conservative Tony Wilkins filed for District 6.

Wilkins is running against fellow Republicans Hank Henning and Jeremy Williams, but he wasn’t the only candidate to file before the final deadline at 5 p.m. Democrats Dan Miller of Greensboro and Linda Kellerman of High Point also filed the same day for District 6, bringing the number of candidates from two on Thursday up to five.

In a press release, Wilkins emphasized his service as executive director of the Guilford County Republican Party for two years, along with his lifelong residency in the county and experience running a furniture business. “He pledges to work tirelessly for jobs, economic growth, and public safety,” the release said.

There is no incumbent running for the District 6 seat. The same day, Republican Noah Messick of Gibsonville filed for District 4 Commissioner, running against Republicans Jerry Branson of Julian and Douglas Williams of Greensboro, who filed two days prior. Incumbent Kirk Perkins is the only Democrat running for the seat.

As filing closed for the County Commissioner races, Democrat Ray Trapp was ensured victory in District 8, as no other candidates are running for the seat. — EG

Convicted staffing executive ordered to pay for legal counsel

Court documents filed last week indicate that a federal magistrate has appointed Winston-Salem lawyer Benjamin David Porter to represent Greg Harrison, the Greensboro staffing executive awaiting sentencing for 63 counts of willful failure to pay over payroll taxes. A federal judge recently allowed the public defender appointed to represent Harrison to withdraw from the case because of an unspecified conflict of interest. The magistrate is ordering Harrison to pay Porter $1,000 in partial compensation for his services by March 23. Harrison’s sentencing is scheduled for April 6.

The magistrate writes that, based on a financial affidavit filed under seal by Harrison, the defendant appears to be no longer employed and without income of any kind, but has $5,000 in cash on hand.

Meanwhile, a hearing to determine whether the assets of Global Labor and a group of licensee staffing companies should be placed in receivership is scheduled for March 29 in NC Business Court in Greensboro.

Harrison has been, at least until recently, the president of Global Labor. The New York investment firm BHC Interim Funding is seeking to collect a $7.5 million debt from Global Labor and its licensees. — JG

City and county prioritize new greenways

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County City-County Planning Board will consider a plan prioritizing greenway construction at its next meeting on April 12. If the board recommends the plan, it will go to the Winston-Salem City Council and Forsyth County Commission for final approval.

The Bicycle-Greenway Planning Subcommittee of the Winston- Salem Urban Area considered 18 greenways for consideration and then ranked them by connectivity, construction feasibility and public support to determine their priority. Three first-priority projects are expected to be built in the next five to seven years, although funding has not been established.

Following a public-input process last year, which involved eight meetings, other projects were deemed second priority, meaning that design work and construction might begin in the next seven to 15 years. Further down the ranking were projects that were deemed to need further assessment. And beyond that were greenways considered “long-term projects” and ones that were deemed unfeasible by the city engineering department.

Some members of the nine-member planning board expressed surprise at the percentage of surveyed residents that said they opposed construction of greenways through their neighborhoods.

“Most people are generally supportive of greenways until they find out it’s coming through their neighborhood, and then the whole thing changes,” said Amy Crum, a project planner on the planning board staff.

Crum added that some residents who live along a recently completed section of the Muddy Creek Greenway have changed their tune.

“They were against it,” she said. “And then it was built and are absolutely for it, think it’s wonderful.”

Board member Clarence Lambe, a county appointee from Kernersville, said, “The half a dozen people that I know that use it, to a person they love it. They really do. And they want to see increased connectivity. That was why I was so shocked at the results of your survey.

But that needs to be part of your story — is converts.”

Three projects are at the top of the city and county’s list assuming they receive approval: the Waughtown Connector, the Salem Creek Greenway Extension and Phase 2 of the Muddy Creek Greenway. — JG

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