A Few Jail Facts for Beth

• Jails are not fun or funny.

• Reality Shows on TV are NOT REAL.

• You would not like to be locked inside the Guilford County Jail.

• Most Guilford County Commissioners have not visited local jails in the past few years.

• Over 80 percent of inmates in Guilford County Jails are awaiting trial. (This means that they have not been convicted of the crime with which they are currently charged.)

• Conditions in the Guilford County Jail in Greensboro are disgusting. Inmates hardly have room to stand in the "day rooms" provided.

• Overcrowded jails in Guilford County are dangerous to inmates, employees and county commissioners.

• About half those held in Guilford County Jails have been in jail before or have been treated in alternative programs.

• Any fairly-intelligent person cannot believe that the general population can increase without an increase in criminal activity.

• Lack of speedy trials (a right the US Constitution guarantees) is one of the reasons for over-crowded conditions in local jails.

• Anyone accused of a crime, guilty or not, could spend some time in jail, and even an hour there is no picnic.

Reference: greensboring

ANSWER to Reader's Question

Hey Laura,

You didn't leave an e-mail address when you commented on an old post on this blog; so, I will answer here.

There are several places to learn more and do more to promote energy conservation and alternative sources of energy right here in our area.

I think that Sustainable Triad and the Guilford Solar Communities Program are good places to start. Just click on these links.Sustainable Triad and Guilford Solar

Guilford Solar Communities Program is an outreach program of the Guilford County Center, N.C. Cooperative Extension. Its mission is to participate in creating a sustainable energy future in Guilford County. You can contact Brenda Morris at: brenda_morris@ncsu.edu.

Another is Kilowattours.

Also, The Kathleen Clay Edwards Branch Library has an environmental focus. Melanie Buckingham is an environmental resources librarian there.The library is on Price Park Drive, just off New Garden Rd. Telephone: 336-373-2923.

I hope this information will help you get started.

(Aug. 30 addition) Sorry the links didn't work well. I think I have them fixed.


Originally uploaded by greensboropeerpressure.
I think Sue has given me the secret to posting photos. This is my first.

World's Best Ant Killer

This particular use for the artificial sweetener Aspartame could possibly be another urban legend; but, my own experiences with this product sold under several brand names including Nutrasweet are not. Aspartame is dangerous and scary.

Aspartame is added into many products to enhance and prolong taste. Check the labels of your chewing gum, soft drinks, vitamins, baking mixes, etc. and notice that the amount of this product is not listed on the label, only that it is there. A warning appears about aspartame, but it is inadequate.

I will post some information next week. Today has been quite busy for me. I attended the Greensboro women's Equality Day this morning. I will post some of my observations about it next week.

From the June 2006 Idaho Observer: http://www.idaho-observer.com

Also see:



Aspartame - The World's Best Ant Poison

by Jan Jensen of WELLthy Choices.

We live in the woods and carpenter ants are a huge problem. We have spent thousands of dollars with Orkin and on ant poisons trying to keep them under control but nothing has helped. So when I read somewhere that aspartame (Nutrasweet) was actually developed as an ant poison and only changed to being considered non-poisonous after it was realized that a lot more money could be made on it as a sweetener than as an ant poison, I decided to give it a try. I opened two packets of aspartame sweetener, and dumped one in a corner of each of our bathrooms. That was 2 yrs ago and I have not seen any carpenter ants for about 9 - 12 months.

It works better than the most deadly poisons I have tried. Any time they show up again, I simply dump another package of Nutrasweet in a corner, and they will be gone for a year or so again. Since posting this information I have had many people tell me of their success solving ant problems with this substance, when nothing else worked.

Beautiful Downtown Greensboro

If you haven't been to City Hall (MMOB) recently, you have missed a real treat. Not what goes on inside, but the beautiful landscaping on the Greene Street side of the building. The area is so full of colorful blooming plants that the view made me want to just sit and take in the beauty of it all.

I wish I had taken my camera yesterday when I attended the Greensboro City Council Briefing. After observing the meeting, I felt a little down because of some of the stuff I heard. But the scene outside revived my spirit and made me proud to live in Greensboro.

Get Downtown and See the Beauty!

Quality of Life Issues/What are we thinking?

Help save the beautiful Wachovia tower downtown and award the buyer over 2 million (city/county) dollars to build himself a penthouse apartment there.

Buy and demolish the beautiful old Ice House on East Market Street and park buses on the lot.(city)

Do nothing to help save the beautiful old Arbor House.

Revoke the charter of a school (state) operating on Friendly and Church streets thus allowing the owner to sell the property for a huge profit to be converted into offices.

Spend $750,000 for street scape improvements around a privately owned park downtown and commit city money to maintain and promote it.(city)

Allow college students to ride city buses free while charging the working poor for transportation to their jobs on the same buses.(federal, state,city)

Let city-owned property deteriorate from lack of routine maintenance.

Ask citizens to borrow money (approve bonds) to build Fire Stations because there is not enough money left over after too much wasteful spending to provide adequate police and fire protection for the city.

Close and donate streets to the private (non-profit? ? ) developers of a downtown ball park.

Invite College students to Get Downtown and Get Drunk.

Raise the tax rate to cover shipping household trash to a dump in another county.

WOW. I don't understand.

Monthly Water Bill Woes

Just a comment about some of the things discussed between Roch Smith and Sandy Carmany and others on Hoggsblog about the change from quarterly water bills to monthly bills.

I have heard the city council discuss this topic on several occasions. It is my understanding that one of the main reasons for the monthly billing is to benefit landlords who get stuck with unpaid water bills when tenants vacate both commercial and residential rental units.

If the bill is unpaid for a certain length of time, the city cuts off water to the property. If there is no water, a condemned sign is posted on the building.

The building cannot be leased as long as it is condemned. This leaves the property owner (landlord) to pay the overdue water bill in order to re-rent the property.

I also heard something about not being able to sell the property until outstanding water bills and taxes are paid; because apparently, the city puts a lien on property with over-due bills. I am not clear about just how that works. I just remember some talk about it by the City Council and City Staff.

There was also talk of not allowing a person to get water in another house until the old bill was taken care of by the person who moved while owing it. This could be a nightmare for the city because many people get water service in another person's name to avoid paying old bills at another address.

Monthly billing allows the city to know when a bill is overdue before it becomes a bill for 4 months or more of service. I don't know how much money the city loses on uncollected bills. I suspect it is not much, because property owners must pay up for irresponsible tenants before property can be re-rented.

I would think that a security deposit by tenants in addition to a deposit at the water department could cover the loss to landlords and the city, thus eliminating one of the reasons for monthly water bills. This could be an expensive proposition for renters who make up almost 40 percent of Greensboro residents.

Who's Advocating Racism Now ?

I was disappointed to read on the front page of the News & Record that a High Point City Council member and a local minister have suggested that African American shoppers buy exclusively from Black-owned businesses on Labor Day.

It is hard for me to believe that people who have been victims of the horrible social disease of racism would vent their retribution on innocent business owners in the area simply because they are of a different race.

This is truly Intolerable Racism. And it does not help mend the tear in the social fabric of our area. To quote a Guilford County Commissioner "Racism IS alive and well" , but I think that it is not thought or practiced by the majority of our citizens of all races.

Kitchen Reflections

Our dishwasher hasn't been on it's best behavior for several days. Lowell and I have discussed it, cleaned it, talked to it, taken it apart and inspected everything we could see. We can't seem to find out exactly why the darn thing is leaking water. The leak seems to be coming from below the door on the front of the machine.

Oh well, we will figure it out one of these days or call in an expert. I like having a dishwasher.

When we moved into our house in 1971, it was equipped with an original 1920's style kitchen. I refused to move into the house until there was a new dishwasher in that old kitchen. We got a convertible (portable) dishwasher but the kitchen remains much as it was then. (We did have the whole house re-wired and we took up the linoleum and had the wood floor finished). The original old iron sink is weary and worn, but I love the wide well with a drain board on each side. A double sink would be nice, but I'd have to give up the drain boards and the wonderful ambience of an old fashioned kitchen.

One of the walls still has a vent to a chimney (covered with a flat plug-in) for a wood stove. An old rusty cook-stove is hidden in the back of our garage and another one makes a fine flower pot on the back porch.

Our kitchen is equipped with an old oak Dutch-style cabinet with a enamel finished pull-out shelf and a cutting board. It came from my Great Aunt Nina's house. There are no under-counter cabinets, because there are no build-in counter tops.

I have worn out several electric ranges over the years, including one of the first Liton combination smooth-surface cooktop, conventional oven, microwave combinations that we got in 1975 and several dishwashers (all convertible types) that have never been built in.

But, back to the dishwashing. I don't really mind washing dishes. Now that our five children are grown and have their own houses, cooking and washing up for 2 is not much of a chore.

We will get the dishwasher fixed or replaced; because, for one thing, if I didn't have it I would MISS THE VERY BEST THING ABOUT A DISHWASHER. It is a marvelous place to hide unwashed dishes and cookware.

Economic impact of death penalty vs. life sentence

Yesterday I wrote:

"Another reason given for the death penalty is the cost of housing a prisoner for life. Executing a criminal is more costly to society than imprisonment. Sounds crazy doesn't it. But my research shows that it is true.

To back up this claim I offer some published information:

• The California death penalty system costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life.
Taxpayers have paid more than $250 million for each of the state’s executions. (L.A. Times, March 6, 2005)
• In Kansas, the costs of capital cases are 70% more expensive than comparable non-capital cases, including the costs of incarceration.
(Kansas Performance Audit Report, December 2003).
• In Indiana, the total costs of the death penalty exceed the complete costs of life without parole sentences by about 38%, assuming
that 20% of death sentences are overturned and reduced to life. (Indiana Criminal Law Study Commission, January 10, 2002).
• The most comprehensive study in the country found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over the
costs of sentencing murderers to life imprisonment. The majority of those costs occur at the trial level. (Duke University, May 1993).
• Enforcing the death penalty costs Florida $51 million a year above what it would cost to punish all first-degree murderers with life in
prison without parole. Based on the 44 executions Florida had carried out since 1976, that amounts to a cost of $24 million for each
execution. (Palm Beach Post, January 4, 2000).
• In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million, about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at
the highest security level for 40 years. (Dallas Morning News, March 8, 1992).



A review of the literature about the death penalty shows that no state has saved money by using it. For example, A Dallas Morning News study of costs in Texas, the state which has executed the most prisoners in the U.S., showed the cost of executing a prisoner, including all expenses from trial through appeals, and assuming the case concluded in 7.5 years, to be $2,316,655. Imprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security for 40 years in Texas costs about $750,000.

It is estimated that it costs $383,980 for 40 years of imprisonment in Missouri.

The higher cost is due to the fact that the legal process in death penalty cases is very complicated, reflecting the stakes involved. Death penalty trials are often longer and more complicated than non-death murder trials. The jury selection process is more involved. Many more motions are often filed by both the State and the defense. There may be more intensive use of experts and investigators. If a conviction is obtained, extensive appeals in state and federal courts inevitably follow.

Anyone on trial for his or her life should be expected to mount an energetic defense. The detailed trial and appellate process in death penalty cases has grown out of concern for justice and the permanent consequences of a mistaken conviction. Such protection will never be cheap. Even life in prison, in comparison, is more economical and does not pose significantly increased danger to the public. Maximum security prisons in Missouri know how to control and maintain even the most violent and dangerous people in their charge.

Source of Texas Information: Christy Hoppe, "Executions Cost Texas Millions," The Dallas Morning News, March 8, 1992 p. 12A.


Dr. Philip Cook and Donna Swenson of Duke University released a report in April of 1993 called "The Costs of Processing Murder Cases in North Carolina." It compared the costs of prosecuting murder cases capitally and noncapitally in North Carolina. The state of North Carolina spends approximately $2.16 million per actual execution. The overall costs to the state for having the death sentence are $4 million a year higher than if it only sought life sentences in first degree murder cases.
According to the Duke study, the costs to the tax payers for first degree murder prosecution and conviction that results in execution is $165,000 higher than if the same person had been sentenced to life in prison. Speeding up the appeals process was found to have no significant effect on the number of dollars spent.

Source of Duke Report at: http://pfadp.org/news/sevenmyths.html


In CT, in 2000, there were 98 murders, 678 forcible rapes, 3832 robberies and 6450 aggravated assaults. In CT, as of 2002, it cost the PD's office an average of $380,000 per case for the 7 men on death row, totalling $2,659,921. By comparision, those sentenced to life after being charged with the death penalty cost an average of $202,365, totalling $2,630,745. Those who weren't charged with the death penalty, but were sentenced to life after a trial cost an average of $79,777.
The 2003-2004 cost of providing capital defense in CT was $1,959,523.

Full report of the CT Commission on the Death Penalty here: http://www.opm.state.ct.us/pdpd1/CDP/CDP-FinalReport.htm

Death, Sentencing, Danger in Jail

Thank you Doug Clark for taking a stand against the death penalty. From the column in today's N&R

. . ."If we can't explain or justify these disparities, then the death penalty is arbitrary and should be abolished.
Not out of sympathy, but fairness. Because unfairness is inexcusable in matters of life and death."

An account in the N&R yesterday said that a man in Charlotte was arrested and charged with killing the child of his girlfriend. This man had recently been released after serving 25 years for killing his own 19-month-old child in another state.

This is a horrible thing and probably a child's life was lost because this man lived. One justification for the death penalty is that "this particular person will never do the crime again." This is true.

On the other hand, is the awareness that innocent people have been killed by the government for crimes they did not commit. and the reality that the death penalty is not applied fairly or swiftly. The more money or notoriety a convicted death row inmate has, the less likely he/she will be executed by the state in a timely manner.

Another reason given for the death penalty is the cost of housing a prisoner for life. Executing a criminal is more costly to society than imprisonment. Sounds crazy doesn't it. But my research shows that it is true.

Proper sentencing of dangerous people is not an exact science. Keeping dangerous people out of society is adequate to protect us from other crimes they might commit. This is a hard thing to do.

I have read, and I believe, that there are people serving long prison terms and much money spent in catching, trying and incarcerating people for long periods who should not be in prison at all. Reforming our laws, our sentencing system and our prison system should be a priority for law makers, judges and citizens. The US has a higher percentage of people in prison than it should.

Right here in Guilford County, we have much overcrowding in our jails. Around 90 percent of those in local jails are waiting trial or sentencing. Many are violent criminals and repeat criminals. Many are there for non-violent crimes and for missing arraignment or trial dates.

I'm not sure what should be done, but I do know that the current Guilford County Jail is inadequate for keeping these people. There is danger in the jails. Guilford County jails are dangerous for inmates, employees and for Guilford County Commissioners who can be sued because of the conditions in our jail.