Midtown Raleigh News

News Briefs

City manager says farewell

City Manager Russell Allen’s last day on the job is Friday.

After 12 years on the job, Allen was fired in April by the city council, but he agreed to stay on through this month to oversee next year’s budget process. His final budget proposal was adopted last week at what will likely be his last council meeting.

So after the budget vote, Allen asked the council if he could make a brief parting speech. He made no mention of the circumstances of his departure, instead taking the opportunity to thank the city employees and elected officials he’s worked with here.

“We have some of the most dedicated, caring employees,” he said.

Allen also noted that his legacy will likely be discussed after he leaves. “I hope they’ll say three things: that he worked hard, he cared about the people, and he left the place a little bit better,” he said.

The council and an audience filled with city employees, journalists and other city government watchers gave him a lengthy standing ovation. Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin, who voted to keep Allen, even shed a few tears.

Staff writer Colin Campbell

New Bern Ave. McDonald’s OK’d

Despite objections from neighbors concerned about traffic and a lack of healthy foods, the Raleigh City Council voted last week to approve permits for a new McDonald’s restaurant on New Bern Avenue.

The fast-food eatery will be built next door to the Walgreen’s across from WakeMed hospital. Planning commission members had expressed concerns that drive-through traffic could pose a challenge for pedestrians, but they ultimately voted to approve the project.

Sue Brenzel, who lives nearby, had told the planning commission that Enloe High students and others heading to the McDonald’s will back up traffic and cause safety hazards on New Bern Avenue. She also point to the area’s status as food desert.

“East Raleigh has got strictly fast food restaurants,” Brenzel said. “We’ve lost our grocery stores. We have no problem with eateries; we would just like to have healthier options there.”

Staff writer Colin Campbell

Detention officer charged

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office has charged one of its detention officers with assaulting an inmate.

Jamaal Rali Covington, 30, of Gwynn Oaks Road in Raleigh was fired on May 29, one day after the alleged assault, for conduct unbecoming an officer, according to Capt. James Stevens, a sheriff’s spokesman. On June 6, Covington was charged with one misdemeanor count of simple assault, according to a criminal summons filed at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office.

Sheriff’s investigators have accused Covington of striking inmate Joshua Frazier, 25, of Raleigh in the head with his fist, according to the summons.

Frazier had been brought to the jail on May 25 on charges of assault on a female and assault with a deadly weapon. He remained in custody Thursday under $4,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on July 10.

The charges against Covington were filed one day after another inmate, Shon Demetrius McClain, was severely injured during an altercation with detention officer Markeith Council. McClain had been on life support at WakeMed since the June 5 incident and was pronounced dead on June 17. From staff reports

Dance instructor sentenced

A Franklin County dance instructor was sentenced to more than 20 years in federal prison on Thursday for viewing and sharing child pornography.

Bruce Arthur Howard, 55, worked as a dance instructor at several studios, including ones in Zebulon, Wilson, and Knightdale, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. During an investigation that began in August 2011, authorities found child pornography in Howard’s home, including images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of prepubescent children and the sadistic abuse of children, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Additionally, the investigation uncovered that Howard had also solicited a child for pornographic images and discussed engaging in sex acts with the child.

Howard was previously convicted of taking indecent liberties with a child in Forsyth County in 1987 but was not required to register as a convicted sex offender. From staff reports