DA (again) states that no charges will be filed in Huerta case

After the last protest a few months ago, this story really disappeared quickly; no new developments, no new public demonstrations. WRAL is now reporting on what amounts to a non-development:

After further review of the case, Durham’s top prosecutor said Friday that no charges will be filed in the death of Jesus Huerta, a teenager who police say shot himself in the head while he was handcuffed in the back of a patrol car last year.

The DA had agreed to review evidence from a new source, but has apparently found that evidence lacking.

This isn’t necessarily the end of the story, though. The officer involved has been suspended (with pay!) while an internal investigation has been conducted. That investigation should be completed “soon” – so stay tuned.

Wow, there sure is a lot of construction happening downtown

As I often do, I went for a bike ride during my lunch break today. I figured I’d tour some of the construction sites I’ve mentioned and see what they actually look like.

First up is the iconic Hill Building (AKA the Sun Trust Building), which is busy becoming a boutique hotel and is on track for a 2015 completion date.

In the second shot you can see the edge of the Jack Tar, and the new (residential) skyscraper will be directly to the left of the Hill Building in that shot. No work has begun on either of those projects yet (estimated start date is in June).

Here’s the Kent Corner mixed use development, at the intersection of West Chapel Hill and Kent. I think this will be DCM‘s building, but I’m not positive. They’re hopeful for completion in early 2015.

Here’s the site of Capital Broadcasting Corporation’s new hotel going in next to the DPAC.

This is Phase III of West Village; new construction of apartments over formerly a surface parking lot. The structure includes a parking deck which will replace (and expand upon) the number of spaces which had been there previously. The rest of West Village is comprised mostly of renovated historic structures, so this is a bit of a departure; I’ll be interested to see how it integrates with the existing project.

Here’s the development at 501 Willard, which is owned by the same firm that owns North Point Center (home of Costco, Kroger, Home Depot, et al). They’re calling it “Whetstone Apartments“:

This is “605 West,” an apartment complex which is aimed at students. These apartments have replaced Ronnie Sturdivant’s dilapidated Urban Merchant Center on West Chapel Hill St. next to the DPDHQ and are on track for completion this year (in fact, their reps were out advertising at Brightleaf Square when we ate there a few days ago):

Visited, but not pictured: the future hotel on Holland Street which seems to be named the virtually ungoogleable “Hotel Durham.”

You may notice a theme here: lots and lots of condos and apartments. Like, a borderline troubling number of condos and apartments. The three hotels are probably good news (people have historically decried the lack of hotels near downtown, well now they can surely shut up about *that*) but I’m less convinced that all this building up is going to work out for everybody. Consider that construction is going to begin soon on the Liberty Warehouse condos as well, and you’re going to have a flood of units entering the market in 2014-2015.

As a homeowner, I’m watching with more than a little concern here. The markets for single family dwellings and condos are usually distinct, but if the pendulum swings too far and tons of condos are sitting vacant at bargain prices downtown, you can believe the single family market is going to feel the pinch too.

Can we support this growth? I’m not sure. Maybe. But in a best-case scenario where all these rooms are utilized, we’re going to be facing a ton of new challenges related to their success, especially with respect to parking and traffic.

DCM names general manager

Durham Central Market has named its general manager. They’ve tapped Leila Wolfrum, who was operations manager at Burlington’s Company Shops Market co-op prior to taking the gig.

Also: their future home at WCH/Kent is really progressing, and the site is looking dramatically different as the walls are starting to come up. I’ll try to grab some snaps for you guys soon.

That storm last night? Pretty bad.

If you haven’t been paying attention, the H-S is reporting that a tornado touched down in Hope Valley last night. WRAL also has some coverage of the storm cleanup.

I sometimes get annoyed at Duke’s blaring warning sirens and my Android phone going crazy whenever there’s severe weather in the area, but this is a reminder to take that stuff seriously. Nobody was apparently hurt due to this storm, but it was legitimately dangerous out there last night.

Durham News Odds and Ends WHY IS IT SO HOT ALREADY edition

Hey guys! The calendar says spring, but my thermometer says WTF. All I can really say is thanks, Willis Carrier, for making living in the south somewhat bearable.

Enjoy these O&Es while they’re hot, OK? I’m going to go find a sprayground or something.


People voted! Here’s who we voted for!

I know you’ve been waiting for my insights on the election, sorry about the delay! I think the big story here is that the Committee on the Affairs of Black People doesn’t seem to be as big a factor as it once was in Durham politics. They went against the People’s Alliance in several cases, and they didn’t win a single one of them.

Turnout was pretty good for a midterm election at around 15%, despite the changes to early voting procedures.

School board (nonpartisan):

  • Mike Lee defeated long time incumbent Omega Curtis Parker in District 1. Lee was endorsed by every political group. I guess Parker didn’t make many friends.
  • Sendolo Diaminah won in District 2. Diaminah was endorsed by the Indy and the Alliance, and he was outspent by his competitors, but he did a lot of community outreach personally.
  • Matt Sears won District 3. Like Sendolo, he was endorsed by the Indy and the Alliance.
  • Natalie Beyer ran unopposed in District 4 and defeated “Other”

DA (Democrat, running with no other party in opposition):

Sheriff (Democrat, running with no other party in opposition):

  • Mike Andrews, the incumbant (who was appointed after Worth Hill retired in 2011), won handily. Andrews was endorsed by everybody but the Committee.

District Judges (nonpartisan):

  • Doretta Walker will face Henry Pruette in the general election. Walker had a large lead in the primary.
  • Nancy Gordon will face Fred Battaglia in the general election. The primary was very close, so this will be one to keep an eye on (also, they have split endorsements from the Alliance and Committee)

NC House (Republican):

  • Rod Chaney easily defeated his challenger and will face incumbent Graig Meyer in the fall for District 50.

NC Senate (Republican):

  • Milton Holmes narrowly won his primary in district 22 and moves on to face incumbent (and former City Councilman) Mike Woodard.

US House (Democrat):

  • Incumbent Butterfield easily defeated his sole Democratic challenger in District 1.
  • Laura Fjeld (endorsed by the Alliance) defeated Bruce Davis in District 6. Davis was endorsed by both the Indy and the Committee.
  • Brenda Cleary readily defeated her sole challenger in the 13th district. Cleary will face incumbent George Holding in the general election.

US House (Republican):

  • Arthur Rich narrowly won in District 1.
  • Mark Walker and Phil Berger Jr. were the top two candidates in a large District 6 field, and they’ll face off in a runoff in July.

US Senate:

  • Unsurprisingly, this will be Tillis vs Hagan.

If you forgot to early vote, you can still regular vote

Just a brief reminder that today is the last day to vote in the primary election. You can find your polling place at the Durham county web site. Polls close at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

The turnout in early voting was low, as is typical for midterm elections, but it doesn’t seem to have been substantially impacted by the shortened early voting schedule.

Below is the list of endorsements, in case you need them. For some reason you are not allowed to use a telephone in the polling place, so you might want to print it out ahead of time if you’d like to refer to it when you vote.

Protip: in NC, Independents can select which party ballot they receive when they arrive at the polls. I won’t tell you Independents how to cast your own votes, but I’ll mention that if you choose the Republican ballot you get the chance to vote in a hotly contested primary race which will determine who runs against Hagan for US Senate this fall.


Indy Week Durham People’s Alliance Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People Friends of Durham
US Senate (D)
Kay Hagan Kay Hagan Kay Hagan
US Senate (R)
Ted Alexander
US Senate (L)
Sean Haugh
US House 1 (D) GK Butterfield GK Butterfield GK Butterfield
US House 1 (R) Arthur Rich
US House 6 (D) Bruce Davis Laura Fjeld Bruce Davis
US House 6 (R) Zack Matheny
US House 13 (D) Brenda Cleary Virginia Conlon
State Supreme Court (NP) Robin Hudson Robin Hudson Robin Hudson
NC Senate 22 (R) Herman Joubert
NC House 50 (R) W Lewis Hannah Jr.
Durham DA (D) Brian Aus Roger Echols Roger Echols Brian Aus
District Court 14 – Gordon seat (NP) Nancy Gordon Nancy Gordon Fred Battaglia Jr. (???)
District Court 14 – Walker seat (NP) Henry Pruette Doretta Walker Doretta Walker
Board of Education – District 1 (NP) Mike Lee Mike Lee Mike Lee Mike Lee
Board of Education – District 2 (NP) Sendolo Diaminah Sendolo Diaminah Donald A Hughes Terrence Ray Scarborough
Board of Education – District 3 (NP) Matt Sears Matt Sears Deborah L Bryson (???) Lisa Gordon Stella
Board of Education – District 4 (NP) Natalie Beyer Natalie Beyer Natalie Beyer
Sheriff (D) Mike Andrews Mike Andrews Clarence Birkhead Mike Andrews

Bull City Sculpture Show starts today

The show, which you may remember from its successful kickstarter project, is bringing sculptures and performing arts to downtown. The kickoff event is today with live music and food trucks at Central Park, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The 12 exhibits will be dispersed around downtown. Although 10 of them will only be around for 6 months, one sculpture (yet unnamed, as far as I can tell) will be purchased and permanently installed, while another will stay until next year.