The Good: Cheetie Kumar

This is a long-deserved and frankly long-overdue honor. After thrice being a semifinalist in the James Beard Awards’ Best Chef: Southeast category, this year, Garland’s Cheetie Kumar became a finalist. Which is great, of course, though we wish it had come under better circumstances. Garland, like many of the restaurants recognized by the Beard Awards, has been closed since March. “Anything like this is always unexpected,” Kumar told the INDY last week. “Right now, it’s extra surreal because we can’t celebrate with our team.”

The Bad: The General Assembly

The state House’s version of the COVID-19 relief legislation had a smallish step toward expanded Medicaid, albeit only to cover costs for those with COVID-19. The Senate’s version had a smallish step toward a marginally improved unemployment system with slightly better benefits. The “compromise” we ended up with had neither of those things—and for good measure, it also didn’t have a provision allowing bars to sell to-go cocktails because Republicans were apparently terrified of pissing off the powerful prohibitionists in the [checks notes] Christian Action League? No, North Carolina, we can’t have nice things. 

The Awful: Richard Burr and Jordan Kita

We couldn’t settle on one. First up, throw another log on the dumpster fire that was Richard Burr’s reputation. Turns out that not just he but also his brother-in-law had the good sense to abandon the stock market just before it crashed. A spokesperson swears this is all a coincidence. 

Then there’s Jordan Kita, a (now former) detention officer with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office who led a group of armed white vigilantes to the house of a black teenager earlier this month looking for a teenage girl the DA’s office thinks is a “familial relation” to Kita. Only, Kita had the wrong black teenager. While this was happening, a neighbor called the Pender County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies came out but—so weird!—didn’t arrest any of the armed white dudes or bother taking their names. But at least Kita was fired and he and one of his pals were charged. Everything’s fine, nothing to see here, etc.

Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at

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