Greensboro

There are marginal signs of economic improvement in Greensboro in an annual State of the City Report. A UNC-Greensboro professor did the study and looked at median income, teen pregnancy rates, and the kinds of jobs the city is adding, among other topics. Keith Debbage told the Triad Business Journal the city is showing signs of a fledgling recovery. The poverty rate actually dropped, but is still high compared to other peer cities, at 19.6 percent.

Triad Update

Jan 23, 2013

Duke Energy angered residents after cutting down trees in Greensboro, and Winston Salem is causing an uproar over its ban on concealed guns in certain parks. Frank Stasio discusses the triad updates with WUNC's Greensboro Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii.

On Tuesday night in Greensboro the temperature is expected to drop into the teens and shelters are expecting to be at or near capacity. Four years ago there was a significant rise in the number of people seeking shelter during the winter months. Greensboro didn’t have enough beds and on many cold nights dozens of people had to sleep on floors. The city responded by opening a half dozen winter emergency shelters for frigid nights like tonight. Reverend Mike Aiken says those facilities opened December 1st and will be packed this week.

Credit Jeff Tiberii

Many residents in Greensboro are upset with Duke Energy over the company's practice of pruning, and in some cases cutting, neighborhood trees. Frustrated citizens started two Facebook groups, collected 15-hundred signatures for a petition and demanded that local leaders step in and help.

Ten Years ago sub contractors for Duke Energy made the rounds in several Greensboro neighborhoods, trimming and cutting trees that were too close to power lines. It sent residents who felt the pruning was too aggressive into an uproar. They complained to elected officials and Duke eventually heard about it, but nothing really changed. In fact nothing really happened at all. Last month crews returned to some neighborhoods for the first time in a decade.

Residents across North Carolina observe the Martin Luther King Junior holiday with calls to service and celebrations.  In Greensboro, city officials host a breakfast today ahead of other holiday events.  Greensboro human relations spokesman Robert Nunn says the breakfast helps residents remember the city was in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s:

Lawmakers in Greensboro will create a new ordinance following public outcry over trees being cut down by Duke Energy.

Dozens of residents turned out to a City Council meeting this week to share their frustration over what they describe as unnecessary and aggressive tree cutting measures by Duke Energy. The utility company completely cut down about 150 trees in the last few months, prompting public response.  City Council woman Marikay Abuzuaiter:

One hundred and thirty eight people have been exonerated of capital crimes and released from death row since 1973. These tragic stories don't always get told, but two professors wanted to make sure that the voices of some exonerees were heard. Saundra Westervelt and Kimberly Cook explore the post-incarceration struggle of 18 of them in their new book “Life After Death Row: Exonerees’ Search for Community and Identity” (Rutgers University Press/2012).

In Greensboro, a day-long conference today will look at developing and improving new kinds of fuel. The Biofuels Center is bringing together a collection of small business owners, educators and environmentalists. A series of panel discussions will share ideas about forms of sustainable energy, bio fuels and the advantages to local economies. Leif Forer is manager of the Civic and Small-Scale Biofuels Center.

Leif Forer:  "The big picture goal is to get a lot of new biofuels produced in North Carolina and enrich our communities and or environment while doing so."

In Greensboro, voters could decide the fate of a proposed downtown performing arts center.

It's not clear yet if residents will in fact get to vote on a proposed $60 million downtown performing arts center. The City Council voted seven to two on Tuesday to pursue a voter bond referendum, and deny the request from a citizen task force for local government to allocate the money. Ross Harris is the project manager of GPAC, the organization working to get the venue built.

A new program in Greensboro aims to keep old mattresses from being sent to the dump.

In what is believed to be the first initiative of its kind in the country the City is partnering with Mattress Go Round. The Greensboro company recycles old mattresses and box springs by repairing, sanitizing and rebuilding them for resale. President and Founder of the company Robert Savino says keeping the bulky mattresses out of landfills will save space and money.

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