Friday, December 30, 2016

The 2016 Triad 100 happenings by Triad City Beat's Brian Clarey and Jordan Green

"6. Guilford County School Board

A partisan election plan went into effect in 2016, giving Republican candidates more opportunity to compete in the general election, but Democrats managed to retain a narrow majority. About half of the members are new, thanks to the retirement of former members Amos Quick (he’s moving up to the General Assembly) and Ed Price. Former Greensboro City Council member Dianne Bellamy-Small ousted Keith McCullough during the Democratic primary for District 1 and Republican Pat Tillman snagged an open seat in District 3. Republican Anita Sharpe defeated incumbent Democrat Jeff Belton, but she’s served on the board before.

10. Aycock Middle School

The Guilford County School Board voted in August to rename Aycock Middle School, stripping the name of Gov. Charles B. Aycock, a white supremacist who played a significant role in bringing the state into the era of Jim Crow, lasting from 1898 to 1965...

18. Jeff Gauger resignation

Jeff Gauger took on the editor-in-chief position at the News & Record in 2012, coming in from Canton, Ohio to helm Warren Buffet’s new property...

20. Greensboro skatepark

It only took 10 years, but the $575,000 bond for a skatepark approved by Greensboro voters in 2006 finally yielded a location — in Latham Park off of Hill Street, just north of Green Hill Cemetery — and the city collected feedback from skaters at several public meetings this year.

26. Bardolph building sale

The Dorothy Bardolph Human Services Center has housed Senior Resources of Guilford and a methadone clinic operated by Alcohol & Drug Services, but the city of Greensboro sold the downtown property near the depot to developer Marty Kotis, who plans to use it for a mix of offices, retail and restaurants. Kotis acquired the property for less than a third of its assessed valued.

35. Say Yes

Undocumented students protest their exclusion from the Say Yes scholarship program. Say Yes, a “last dollar” scholarship program, opened with much fanfare in Guilford County in 2016, but administrators acknowledged that they had over-promised to undocumented students, who are not eligible for the financial aid. Some donors and members of the program’s scholarship board said they are interested in finding a way to include undocumented students, but Skip Moore, the volunteer executive director of the scholarship board, threw cold water on the notion, telling Triad City Beat in November: “At the current time I don’t see any action we can take.”

42. Redistricting congressional and state legislative lines

A federal court panel ruled that the congressional district maps drawn by the Republican-controlled General Assembly were unlawfully racially gerrymandered. The court ordered the legislature to draw new maps, resulting in a special election in June. Despite the new maps, the Republicans maintained their 10-3 advantage, including the new 13th District, which will be represented by Republican Ted Budd (see item No. 66). Surprise, surprise — the courts also found that the state legislative districts drawn by the same lawmakers were also unlawfully racially gerrymandered. The courts ordered the General Assembly to draw new maps by March 15, and a special election will be held in 2017.

54. Wilbur Ross

Rust Belt voters who are counting on Donald Trump to bring back manufacturing jobs might be interested to know that his pick for secretary of commerce is a billionaire investor who bought Greensboro’s two largest textile companies out of bankruptcy and shifted some of their production from North Carolina to Mexico and China. Sometimes you’ve got to cut off an arm to save a life. Or something like that.

56. Lewis Street Music Foundry

A new music venue is always an iffy proposition, but Greensboro may be ready. The Blind Tiger remains a go-to for jam-band music and Cone Denim Entertainment Center has a lock on the nostalgia market, while bookings at the charming Crown are relatively sporadic. Entrepreneur Dustin Keene aims to open Lewis Street Music Foundry behind the forthcoming Boxcar Bar & Arcade in April with an eclectic booking philosophy and the intention to program as many nights of the week as possible.

81. The DGI RFP

Legislation from state Sen. Trudy Wade required a request for proposals for tax monies collected from business improvement districts like downtown Greensboro. As a result, DGI was but one of the entities that competed for the purse, which totaled $600,000, for economic development, marketing and other functions. Only one other entity make a play for the BID — Eris Robert’s QUB Studios, which went after the marketing portion of the budget. But city council awarded the contract to DGI in May.

82. Piedmont Triad Partnership embezzlement

David Powell, CEO of the Piedmont Triad Partnership, was indicted by a grand jury in March after being accused of embezzling $250,000 from the group’s coffers for personal use.

87. Glitters Building

The two-story brick building owned by Sidney and Ricki Gray at the corner of Elm and Washington streets — known as the Glitters Building, after its sole tenant — has become a poster child for downtown real-estate speculation. Amid the windows blocked out with Hardieplank, a sign on the outside wall explains why the building isn’t fully renovated and fully occupied: “Available for development by lease, joint venture or offer to purchase…. The right place — the right time.” The contrast between the Grays’ building with the property next door, where Greensboro City Councilwoman Nancy Hoffmann has invested money to create a space for Scuppernong Books, has occasioned tension and a lawsuit between the neighbors.

91. The Traveled Farmer/Marty Kotis

Marty Kotis abruptly shuttered his British gastropub the Marshall Free House in September, after almost two years of hype and almost as long in operation. His new concept, the Traveled Farmer, brings a farm-to-fork mentality to his so-called Midtown district."