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by Eric Ginsburg

Ten best things I learned this week

Vibrancy study for Winston-Salem

The Arts Council of Winston-Salem announced the results of a “vibrancy index,” stating that community activity has picked up significantly downtown over the past few years. Citing more businesses, events and other positive downtown rankings, the study says that efforts to revitalize the center city are working.

Ohio voters reject an anti-union law

While we were voting on who the next Greensboro city council would be, Ohio voters went to the polls and voted down a law limiting collective bargaining rights for public sector workers. Sixty-two percent of the ballots were in favor of repealing the law.

How to make chickpea curry

It is a rare and proud moment when I add a new dish to my cooking repertoire. After my girlfriend sent me a link to veganstoner.com (which is ironic because neither term describes us) we tried the chickpea curry. It was delicious, though next time we’ll put in more curry powder and less coconut milk, which we had substituted for the more expensive vegan coconut yogurt.

Big Freedia and sissy bounce

New Orleans-based rapper Big Freedia performed in Durham Nov. 11, and my friends couldn’t have been more hyped up about it: after all, they’d been practicing their bouncing all summer. I can’t get Big Freedia’s music out of my head, and I’ve just started reading more about sissy bounce’s implicit connection to gender queering.

People turning to credit unions

Credit unions across the country gained 650,000 new members in October, which is more than the number of people who joined in all of 2010. That’s not including people who switched on the Nov. 5 Bank Transfer Day. The success of the backlash against big banks is also exemplified by Bank of America’s recent decision to cancel debit card fees.

Feminist Theory Workshop

Every year, the Duke Women’s Studies program hosts a two-day Feminist Theory Workshop in March, but this is the first I’ve heard of it. The event is free and includes food, and registration is now open. The workshop will include lectures as well as seminars.

Sanitation workers strike in Greenville

Over 70 sanitation workers in the eastern NC city of Greenville walked off their jobs Nov. 8, saying they’re tired of being treated “like trash” and will continue the work stoppage until their demands are at least considered. Local news outlets reported they had been ignored thus far, and so decided to stand up with a strike, a bold and uncommon move in a right to work state.

Don Ames on the Story

The producer of “The Story,” which airs on WUNC, interviewed Don Ames, a homeless man living in Greensboro. Ames makes money as a woodworker and uses solar power, and is hopefully moving into a home soon. The piece notes that he was helped by the Interactive Resource Center. You can listen at thestory.org/ archive/

Palestinian freedom riders

Palestinian activists are planning to board “settler buses” in an attempt to challenge segregation based off the freedom rides against Jim Crow laws in the United States. According to the International Solidarity Movement: “The Freedom Riders seek to highlight Israel’s attempts to illegally sever occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, and the apartheid system that Israel has imposed on Palestinians in the occupied territories.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters Benefit Gala

The annual benefit gala for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Greensboro will be held Dec. 1 at the Regency Room on Elm Street, beginning at 6 p.m. I heard about the event through a friend who works at the organization, and as the Facebook page says, “There will be a live and silent auction, hors d’oeuvres, music and a bar area for guests to enjoy!” Tickets are $20.

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