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Placebook: What I Learned when the Piedmont Came Together

I like to think that I’m the only one in the room or at least the local blogosphere writing the way I write and caring the way I do about what makes a city great. I wrestle all the time with how to name the industry I work in, how to portray how I live my life and to tell my city and its various civic and government organizations how they can help make things better. Yet, days like yesterday reminded me that I am nowhere near along in my pursuit. Between having some of my out-of-town urbanist friends here (and sharing the stage with one), to seeing the end of an innovative grant, to observing all three major city mayors and a few key planning officials making serious statements about changes, I felt really good after yesterday’s Piedmont Together summit. Also, if you want more recaps, information and to view presentations from yesterday, go here.

Yet, it also helps me see what I can continue to do. I hope that these weekday emails, as well as social media postings, articles and my speaking and longform writing can help maintain momentum around here to keep making things better, for transit, for housing, for food and especially for jobs and our economy. I will continue to do what I can, but realize all I have is my story and the ability to share stories and assist with implementation efforts. I can create visions and plans too, but someone has to listen and all hands have to be on deck to implement.

And now the news to start your weekend:

NCSU and NCCU join the many colleges and universities that have started food banks for students on campus.

According to the Census numbers from 2012-2013, all 12 metro areas are growing faster than the country as a whole, and it’s almost all from migration from our rural towns.

Jude Ned Mangum will serve as Wake County’s interim DA.

Charlotte’s mayor could pin all his troubles on commercial real estate developers.

The website Movoto now has its “need-to-know” list for those moving to Winston-Salem and it’s also very positive.

The Guilford School Board voted to waive make-up days, reboot the Amplify tablet program and to purchase the former Catholic school in High Point for its The Academy at High Point Central.

The Guilford County commissioners also voted last night to change how they will fund the school system, tying the base budget to property taxes and numbers of students in the system. They will adopt next year’s school budget in the coming months.

The ACC Tournament will be in Greensboro in 2015 and 2020 and Charlotte in 2019.

It is unknown when the new downtown Greensboro hotels will start construction.

The PTI Airport bridge project is on schedule, but won’t begin until 2016. The state interviewed potential builders this week.

Greensboro City Council met in closed session to discuss what’s next for the tree-trimming law, part of which was struck down by the State Utilities Commission.

Guilford County has until Monday to fix its food stamp application backlog or else it will lose $88 million in federal money for administrative support for the program.

The Greensboro City Attorney, at the request of a resident, has found that it is in fact legal for the city to ban saggy pants on buses, and at bus stops, including the Depot.

State agencies have been asked by the governor to cut budgets again.

Eighteen North Carolina rural municipalities have won infrastructure grants from the NC Rural Infrastructure Authority.

Wake County Schools shifts how it does school assignments.

Raleigh businesses want the city to rewrite its new sign rules.

Fayetteville and Cumberland County leaders want to expand public transit throughout the whole county.

Half of Cumberland County’s teachers have rejected the new state teaching contract.

The NC Port Authority has a new executive director.

New Hanover County leaders are set to review a report on the economy and jobs in their region.

A Wilmington fire station gets a new rain garden.

Greenville’s homeless shelter is expanding.

Greenville is also considering a Human Relations Commission.

Morrisville Town Council has voted to fund improvements to its Northwest Park. Morrisville’s transportation commission is asking for more road funding. Apex will open its nature park on Saturday.

Cary’s Creative Reuse Center is outgrowing its space.

Some of the voter registration challenges brought forward by Buncombe County citizens groups are moving forward.

UNC-Asheville and Shaw University are named as  least valuable colleges by The Atlantic.

And finally, the Charlotte city manager and executive staff wants the public to know that no other officials engage in “pay-to-play” tactics.

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