Heels' pain is town's gain

April 17, 2010 

UNC-Chapel Hill's men's basketball season wasn't a complete disappointment.

At least, not for Chapel Hill taxpayers.

While talking about the coming town budget this week, Chapel Hill Town Manager Roger Stancil pointed out that there were some savings that came out of this year's season.

"No national championship to celebrate actually saves money," Stancil explained to the Town Council.

When the Tar Heels won the national championship last year, the town had 320 law enforcement officers on Franklin Street after the big game, along with 76 firefighters and emergency service workers, and 75 traffic monitors.

For the 2005 victory, a total of 550 personnel were on hand. Crowd control and cleanup cost the town and university about $165,000 after Tar Heel fans partied until 3:45 a.m.

Former Durham DA joins Wake

Lawyers who work in both the Durham and Wake county courthouses might have a moment of confusion about where they are when they see one of Wake's newest prosecutors.

David Saacks, who served as interim district attorney in Durham County for 16 months in 2007 and 2008, and as an assistant district attorney for nearly 15 years before that, has joined the Wake County District Attorney's Office.

Saacks was appointed to take the helm of the Durham office after Mike Nifong, his predecessor, was stripped of his law license for misconduct in the Dukelacrosse case. Saacks did not go on to seek the elected office, because his Wake County residency excluded him, and he said he would rather leave the administrative duties to someone else.

What comes around ...

Philip Isley, a lawyer who stepped down from Raleigh's City Council last year, was never a fan of the city's plan to put in roundabouts as part of the $9.9 million makeover of Hillsborough Street.

Well, as these things tend to go, Isley now has a front-row seat to watch how Raleigh motorists tackle the circular traffic pattern. Isley recently switched law firms. His new firm - Blanchard, Miller, Lewis & Isley - is on Hillsborough Street, directly in front of one of the roundabouts.

Isley reports that he's less than thrilled with the new view. But things really do have a way of coming around full circle, don't they?

Durham debates

During a session on next year's budget, Durham County commissioners' Chairman Michael Page remarked that school funding had dominated the talk at the "Conversations With Commissioners" public budget meetings.

Parents, teachers and school administrators packed the meetings, calling for the county to make no cuts in what it appropriates for Durham Public Schools. Page acknowledged missing the final meeting, and Vice Chairwoman Ellen Reckhow spoke up.

"Mr. Chairman, you owe me for chairing that. There were some fussy people there."

Political trail

The Orange County Democratic Women will meet from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Durham Technical Community College-Orange County Campus, 525 College Park Drive in Hillsborough. Meg Gray from the N.C. Justice Center will discuss North Carolina's tax system. Call 942-0045 or send e-mail to l_foxworth_2000@yahoo.com for more information.

The Wake County Democratic Women will host the Jefferson-Jackson Breakfast at 9 a.m. April 24 at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, 421 S. Salisbury St. Speaking will be U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, D.C. The cost is $35 for members, $40 for nonmembers and $45 at the door. Go to dwwc.net for reservations.

Compiled by staff writers Mark Schultz, Anne Blythe, Sarah Ovaska and Jim Wise

Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529, or send e-mail to sarah.ovaska@newsobserver.com or metroeds@newsobserver.com.

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