Community Notices Archive

COMMUNITY NOTICES ARCHIVE


March 31, 2022

New Music Venue Coming to Carrboro

Carrboro United Methodist Church is launching a free, family-friendly night of music, food and friendship Friday, May 6, in the church fellowship hall. Doors will open at 6:30, and music will start at 7:00. The aim is to provide a space where friends and family can meet and hear music from some of the many superlative musicians in our area.

Kicking it off at 7 p.m. will be Carol Parker Shafer and SheSings, an acoustic trio featuring some original songs by Carol on acoustic guitar and vocals, joined by Susan Colwell on vocals and Tracy Parker on bass guitar and vocals. The rich blend of their voices creates a vibrant, compelling sound that will surprise and delight the audience.

At 8 p.m. Michael Parks will take the stage. Michael is a singer/songwriter/musician from Durham. His original musical style is Americana/folk, and his songs cover many topics, including themes from his Appalachia roots. He is a multi-instrumentalist, including dobro and Irish bouzouki. 

Coming up Friday, May 20, at 7 p.m. will be the String Beings, a trio performing original and non-original tunes centered around tight harmonies in the Americana style, followed by Larry Hicks from Chatham County at 8 p.m., bringing his original songs played in an eclectic Americana style. 

And Friday, June 3, the entire evening will feature the Twang Bandits. They will be playing classic country and honky-tonk plus newer Americana.


Expect Schedule Delays in Chapel Hill Transit Service April 2

Chapel Hill Transit will operate regular services Saturday, April 2, but customers should expect delays throughout the afternoon and evening due to pedestrian and vehicular traffic in downtown Chapel Hill. Additional delays may occur with the NCAA men’s basketball Watch Party at the Smith Center, starting at 5:30 p.m. One-way traffic will begin on Skipper Bowles Drive at 4 p.m. The U route will serve the bus stops along Skipper Bowles Drive.

Pending a victory celebration on Franklin Street following the basketball game, Safe Rides will attempt to operate on a regular schedule, but may be delayed until Franklin Street reopens.

Chapel Hill Transit will make every attempt to maintain schedules but is advising customers to expect delays and to allow extra travel time.

For specific schedule information, please visit www.chtransit.org, email chtransit@townofchapelhill.org, or call a customer service representative at 919-485-7433.


Chapel Hill Bonfire Burn Survivor Warns Tar Heel Fans

Andrew Madlon did not know he was dangerously close to a bonfire in April 2009. He was in a tightly packed crowd of fans on Franklin Street celebrating UNC’s victory in the Final Four of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

 “With so many people, you can’t always see where there is a bonfire,” Madlon said, as he cautioned that he and his friends had no interest in setting or jumping over bonfires when they ran to Franklin Street in the heat of the moment. “The group of us that lived together were out on Franklin Street, on the curb, kind of away from a bonfire,” Madlon said. “Someone in the crowd picked me up and sent me crowd surfing for about 10 seconds. The crowd ran out because the bonfire was there, and I got dropped on top of it.”

Madlon received second- and third-degree burns on his right arm. He said it was more than a year before he did not have to worry about the pain or inconvenience of the severe injury.

Madlon said his injuries could have been even worse. If he knew then what he knows now, he said he would have celebrated somewhere away from a fire. Madlon is urging current students and fans to make sure their celebratory traditions are safe.


Earth Day in Chapel Hill

The Town of Chapel Hill is celebrating Earth Day the entire month of April. The Town’s Climate Action and Response Plan has 97 actions that are designed to lower the emissions that cause climate change, help us adapt to our changing climate, protect our local environment and strengthen our community’s resilience. This work includes actions like:

  • Developing energy efficiency and resiliency programs to support residents who are most impacted by climate change
  • Converting more outdoor lighting to high-efficient LED fixtures
  • Adding more electric vehicles to the Town’s fleet and building more public charging stations for the community
  • Updating land development regulations to make them more climate friendly and responsive
  • Building a town-wide network of biking and walking paths
  • Expanding rainwater sensor technology to enhance flood alert systems
  • Developing community programs that support individual and neighborhood-level action

The monthlong celebration will include these events:

  • Family concert with Latin GRAMMY Award-winning artist Mister G, Friday, April 15, 4-5 p.m. at Chapel Hill Public Library
  • Chapel Hill Public Library volunteer workday, Saturday, April 23, 9:30 a.m.- noon at Pritchard Park
  • Nature walk and cyanotype prints workshop, Sunday, April 24, at Bolin Creek; times vary by attendee age

Chapel Hill Transit Service Changes Due to Estes Drive Improvements

Beginning Monday, April 4, Estes Drive will be converted to one-way traffic as construction begins on the Estes Drive Connectivity Project. Chapel Hill Transit will be updating the G route and the Senior Shuttle to best accommodate customers during this time.

For specific schedule information, email chtransit@townofchapelhill.org, or call a customer service representative at 919-485-7433.

For more information on the project see https://bit.ly/3DtJ11r.


Summer Camp Registration Begins April 5

Summer camp registration for residents residing in Orange County begins Tuesday, April 5, at 8:30 a.m. Non-residents may begin registering Thursday, April 7, at 8:30 a.m.

Campers ages 5-17 years will enjoy 10 action-packed weeks of summer day-camp this year, filled with swimming, arts and crafts, gym games, team building and more. Camp counselors help campers develop new skills and friendships while they play and interact together.

Other partial-day specialty camps include arts and clay camps, youth explorer adventure camps, video game design and animation, sports-theme camps and a social cafe for teens and adults with specialized needs.

Online and walk-in are two ways you can register. See  https://bit.ly/3qTsmPP for details on this and answers to many other frequently asked questions. You can also download the Summer Camp Guide at https://bit.ly/3uEFuta.

Full-day camps fill up the fastest, so it’s important that you plan ahead. This year all camps will be run at reduced capacity.

Chapel Hill is hiring camp counselors, lifeguards and swim instructors. Apply online at townofchapelhil.org/jobs. Earn $10-$17 per hour in a fun environment where we care and provide great training.

For more information about Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation, see chapelhillparks.org.


NAACP Scholarship Deadline Approaching

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People awards annual scholarships to high school seniors selected from among the four high schools in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System. The recipient must be entering a four‐year college/university or a two-year community college. The scholarships recognize academic achievement, civic engagement, leadership qualities and strong character. Each initial scholarship is in the amount of $1,000, of which $500 is renewable, subject to criteria. 

New scholarship applications are due at 5 p.m, Friday, April 22. Finalists’ interviews will be scheduled the week of May 9-13.

Apply for a scholarship at https://bit.ly/3qTggpM.


U.S. DOJ Investigating 1970 Campus Murder

THE U.S. Dept. of Justice has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the murder of James Lewis Cates, Jr., who was stabbed on UNC’s campus in 1970 and bled to death when he was not transported to the hospital in a timely manner.

The family of James Cates, represented by his cousins Nate Davis and Valerie P. Foushee, are announcing this investigation with the following statement provided to Stone Walls:

“Fifty-two years ago when we lost our beloved cousin James Lewis Cates Jr., community members asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death. They never heard back from the DOJ in 1970. But this January, in 2022, we did. The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice contacted us about the possibility of opening an investigation with the authority granted under the Emmett Till Act. Now we can announce that the federal government has officially opened a case to investigate the death of James Cates on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We do not know where this process will lead, but we are glad that it is taking place, even if all these decades later. We would like to express our deep gratitude to our community, especially those who loved him and have kept his memory alive, and extend our heartfelt thanks to so many who have refused to let the name James Cates fade again. Thank you to so many students on campus, both in the 1970s and in recent years, who have advocated to remember James Cates, and to the members of the James Cates Remembrance Coalition, whose work to preserve the history surrounding our tragic loss continues. ‘Baby Boy,’ as we call him, can never be brought back, but perhaps there might finally be some accountability. And we know he will not be forgotten again.”

More information about the DOJ’s Cold Case Initiative under the Till Act and its reauthorization can be found at https://www.justice.gov/crt/cold-case-initiative. It includes a list of cases (https://www.justice.gov/crt/file/1470121/download) that have been opened under the Till Act that now includes James Cates.


CHCCS SIT Members to Lead Conversation on SITs

On April 6, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., two Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools School Improvement Team (SIT) members, a student, and a parent will lead a conversation on “How Can School Improvement Teams (SITs) Advance Racial Equity?” The event is sponsored by the Campaign for Racial Equity in Our Schools.

Register at https://bit.ly/3LzRUcM.


Journey of Reconciliation Community Walk

The month of April marks the 75th anniversary of a little-known piece of local history. In 1947, an interracial group sought to challenge whether busing companies would continue to enforce Jim Crow segregation laws in spite of the 1946 Supreme Court decision that ruled it illegal for interstate travel. Their bus journey began in Washington, D.C., continued through Richmond, and then passed into North Carolina, where the riders encountered their first violent reaction, in Chapel Hill. In addition to the brave individuals who put their bodies on the line, another figure at the heart of this story is Charlie Jones, former pastor at University Presbyterian Church (UPC) (then called The Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill). Rev. Jones welcomed the riders to the church for Sunday morning worship and, when things turned violent at the bus station, he welcomed them into his home for protection and secured them safe passage on to Greensboro, where they continued their journey unharmed.

In partnership with the Orange County Community Remembrance Coalition and a number of other local organizations, there will be a community walk Sunday, April 10, from 2 to 3 p.m. This will be an opportunity to visit the sites where this seldom-told story unfolded and to reflect on the twin legacies of deep prejudice and an even deeper faithfulness that animate this incredible tale of courageous witness.

To participate in the walking tour, meet in the UPC parking lot at 1:45 p.m. Those meeting there will then walk to the starting point to join the full group and remember together.


ARP Increases Tax Benefits for Low-, Moderate-Income Families

Under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, more money is available to families and/or individuals with low to moderate incomes. Filing your taxes is how you can claim benefits like the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Families can now receive an increased Child Tax Credit ($3,000 or $3,600, depending on child/dependents age), and more people with low incomes are eligible for a larger EITC.

“The Earned Income Tax Credit benefits families and communities by providing economic support and security for eligible workers with children,” said Orange County Vice Chair Jamezetta Bedford, who is a certified public accountant and works at a local firm doing tax work for small businesses, trusts and estates, nonprofits and individuals. “These EITC dollars are returned to the local economy as residents use their tax credit to pay for necessities like food, rent, utilities, medical expenses, etc. The EITC especially benefits children and is aligned with higher educational and better health outcomes. Many of those eligible do not know to claim this benefit. This tax credit along with the child tax credit are important anti-poverty tools for families.”

Claiming the credit can reduce the tax you owe or give you a larger refund, and the amount of your credit may change if you have children or other dependents, are disabled or meet other criteria.

Receiving these benefits will not impact eligibility for other federal benefits (unemployment insurance, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP], Social Security, state disability insurance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children [WIC], Section 8 or public housing). Even if you did not earn enough to file taxes, you are eligible for the Child Tax Credit and potentially thousands of additional dollars in benefits.

Orange County Dept. of Social Services can offer access to computers and help taxpayers with navigating to the sites to file taxes online, but staff are prohibited from helping residents file taxes or providing tax advice. The Orange County Skills Development/Career Center (100 Europa Drive, Suite 101, Chapel Hill) and the Orange Works Employment and Training Center (113 Mayo St., Hillsborough) have public computers available Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The deadline to file 2021 income taxes is Monday, April 18.  For more information and to learn how to get free assistance with filing your taxes, visit www.ChildTaxCredit.gov.

See https://bit.ly/3K78ccQ for a flyer on the EITC in English and https://bit.ly/3DtL5GP for Spanish.


Carrboro Mayor Seils Signs Monarch Pledge

On March 29, Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils joined mayors and leaders from across the United States, Canada and Mexico in signing the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge (https://www.nwf.org/mayorsmonarchpledge), a step aimed at protecting the iconic butterfly, which has experienced a 90-percent decrease in eastern population in recent years. 

Through the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, U.S. cities, municipalities and other communities commit to creating a habitat for the monarch butterfly and pollinators and to educating community members about how they can make a difference at home and in their community.  

In 2021, the Town Code was updated to allow residents to maintain native prairie and plant habitats, called managed natural landscapes. 

The town’s actions to increase pollinator habitat throughout Carrboro in the next year include:  

  • Engaging with community garden groups and encouraging them to plant native milkweeds and nectar-producing plants  
  • Working with Town departmental staff to plant and maintain monarch and pollinator-friendly species, including milkweed, throughout the Town in prominent community locations
  • Continuing to expand the volunteer-led invasive species removal program in local parks that supports the re-establishment of native habitats for monarch butterflies and other pollinators  

Information on how to plant a pesticide-free monarch habitat garden can be found on the National Wildlife Foundations’ Monarch Butterfly webpage.

Laura Janway, the Town of Carrboro Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, is leading the initiative. For more information or to get involved, contact her at ljanway@carrboronc.gov or (919) 918-7342.


New Speed Table on James Street Installed

Carrboro Public Works has installed a temporary speed table on the 100 block of James Street. The speed table, installed Wednesday, March 30, is the remaining element of the interim traffic calming measures for the Barred Owl Creek Neighborhood, discussed at a November 2021 town information meeting with the neighborhood. 

Town staff plans to conduct traffic counts this spring to evaluate the effectiveness of the four measures: curb extensions at the intersection of Lorraine and Carol streets, two sets of neckdowns on Carol Street (100 and 300 blocks), and the speed table on the 100 block of James Street. 

For questions or more information, please contact Tina Moon at cmoon@carrboronc.gov or 919-918-7325.


March 28, 2022

Pride Bus Wrap Deadline Extended

The deadline for applying to design a bus wrap that celebrates Pride Month in June is now 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 31. Local artists who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer [or sometimes questioning] and others) community are strongly encouraged to apply.   

Apply with a concept proposal and artistic resume following the instructions found on the website https://www.chapelhillarts.org/applications/pride-bus-wrap-artist-call/. The final design will be based on the selected artist/team proposal and stakeholder input.

The final design file must be delivered as an .ai or .eps file. The winning design will be printed on vinyl and then wrapped around a Chapel Hill Transit bus. The bus wrap will be on display for 1-2 years. 

Artists must live within 40 miles of Chapel Hill and submit application materials using the directions below. A stipend of $2,000 will be paid to the winning artist.


Chapel Hill Transit Restores Trips on CW and CM Routes

Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) restored several trips to the CW and CM routes on Monday, March 28.

Staff at CHT reduced service on several routes January 10 amidst the unprecedented numbers of daily call-outs due to safety protocols related to COVID-19 and other illnesses. “The number of call-outs has decreased, though they haven’t returned to normal levels. We feel comfortable adding back some of the services we had to stop,” according to Nick Pittman, transit planning manager. Customers can view the updated schedules at. https://bit.ly/3uECm0i.


Atuya Cornwell Selected as Parks and Recreation Assistant Director

Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Director Phil Fleischmann has selected Atuya Cornwell to fill the assistant director role beginning April 4. Cornwell was selected following a national recruitment effort and a competitive selection process.

As assistant director, Cornwell will oversee the day-to-day operations of Parks and Recreation, including service provision, facility operations, programming and staff within the Business Operations, Park and Landscape Maintenance, and Recreation divisions. He will also manage special projects on behalf of the department, including strategic planning and evaluation.

 “Throughout the selection process, he demonstrated strong competencies, the right balance of prior leadership and operational experience, and an interest in serving our community and organization in this position, making him the ideal selection for this crucially important role,” said Fleischmann.

Cornwell’s career spans nearly 20 years within public sector recreation and athletic operations, programming and management roles within Mecklenburg County (NC) Park and Recreation and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission – Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. He currently serves as assistant division chief for the Youth & Countywide Sports Division of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County. Cornwell is a nationally certified park and recreation professional and has been recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association with several awards and scholarships. A native of Charlotte, he holds a bachelor of science degree in exercise and sports science from UNC-Greensboro and a master of business administration degree with a concentration in government services from Pfeiffer University. 


Two Chapel Hill Greenway and Sidepath Projects Receive Funding from MPO

The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization Board has approved $1.43 million to support the Fordham Boulevard Sidepath and Morgan Creek Greenway – West section extension projects in Chapel Hill. These funds will allow the Town to continue to move forward with these long-anticipated projects.

The Fordham Boulevard Sidepath project (https://bit.ly/3tNxuXy) will provide a multi-modal path along Fordham Boulevard between Cleland Drive and Willow Drive.

The Town received $160,000 for this project, which will supplement the approximately $1.2 million in funding the Town and the Federal Highway Administration have provided through its Transportation Alternative Program. 

The Sidepath project is divided into two segments. The southern portion, between Cleland Drive and Ridgefield Road, involves upgrading the existing asphalt section to concrete. The northern portion will construct a new path between Ridgefield Road and Willow Drive along the eastern side of Fordham Boulevard. Design for the project is underway, and construction should begin this fall. The Town’s Parks and Recreation Department is managing this project with support from the Planning Department’s Transportation Planning Division.

The Morgan Creek Greenway – West Section project (https://bit.ly/3qKR4BH) will extend the existing greenway west to the Carrboro town line at Smith Level Road, connecting directly with the Town of Carrboro segment of the Morgan Creek Greenway. In addition to large Carrboro neighborhoods, the greenway will link directly to Kingswood Apartments and Frank Porter Graham School.

The Town set aside $1.1 million from the 2015 Greenways Bond, and the $1.27 million award allows the Town to finish the design and construct the West Section.

This project will require a large bridge, a small bridge, a large retaining wall, a new parking area, and flood-resistant construction. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2023. The Parks and Recreation Department is managing this project. 

For more information, contact Senior Planner for Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Marcia Purvis at mpurvis@townofchapelhill.org.


2022-2023 CDBG Program Plan Public Forum 

The Chapel Hill Town Council held an initial public forum on November 10, 2021, and will hold a second virtual public forum on Wednesday, April 6, at 7 p.m. to receive resident input on the Town’s 2022-2032 federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The CDBG program, operated by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, provides communities with resources to address a wide range of community needs to serve low- to moderate-income residents. The Town of Chapel Hill has received CDBG funds since 1975 and has used these funds to support a variety of affordable housing initiatives and community service programs. 

The public is invited to review and comment on the draft 2022-2023 CDBG Annual Plan, which will be made available online for a period of no fewer than 30 days from Wednesday, March 23, at https://www.townofchapelhill.org/cdbg.

Please submit all written comments by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4, to Megan Culp, Community Development Program Manager, Office for Housing and Community, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514 or via email to CDBG@TownofChapelHill.org.


Police Headquarters sign in Spring

Police Seek Information in Hit-and-Run Crash

The Chapel Hill Police Department is seeking the community’s assistance following a crash that injured a bicyclist the morning of March 23. The bicyclist has been treated and released from UNC Hospitals.

At around 5:52 a.m., a driver struck the bicyclist, who was traveling south on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near Municipal Drive. The driver left the scene of the crash.

Anyone with information should call 911 or contact the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-968-2760 (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday). Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crimestoppers at 919-942-7515.


Local Fundraiser to Help People of Ukraine

A local fundraiser to help the people of Ukraine will be held Saturday, April 2, 12-5 p.m. at the Church of Reconciliation, 110 Elliot Road. All of the monies donated will go to three non-governmental organizations involved in assisting Ukrainians suffering from the invasion of their country—United Help Ukraine (https://unitedhelpukraine.org/), Nova Ukraine (https://novaukraine.org/), and World Central Kitchen (https://wck.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjwloCSBhAeEiwA3hVo_UauQ1eqZTgK9lmL_bHJ5XYzKMegFtrfsRyYJsA6rP2tNsfOSU2RNxoCiwAQAvD_BwE).

Stop by, make a donation, and pick up some homemade borscht made by members of the church. The borscht-makers found incredible generosity as they set about putting the fundraiser together, such as:

  • A woman who makes and sells bread at the farmers’ market refused payment for her loaves saying, “I want to participate. This is a wonderful thing.” 
  • An organic farmer donated the vegetables for the borscht.
  • A third person donated 100 food-grade containers to take the borscht home, saying, “If you need more, let me know.  I’ll give them to you.”

Please be part of this wonderful outpouring and stop by the Church of Reconciliation on Saturday with your donation. If you can’t come on Saturday, please make a donation directly to the charities listed above (although, that won’t get you any borscht).


CHALT Webinar on the Housing Crisis

Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (CHALT) will present their first Speaker Series event of 2022, a two-part webinar exploring local and national perspectives on the affordable housing crisis, on April 3 and April 10, 4-5:30 p.m., via Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4800794120).

Part 1, on April 3, will be, “Origins of the Housing Crisis: How We Got Here.” Part 2, on April 10, will be, “The Housing We Need & Finding Solutions That Work.” Each session will feature a panel of experts followed by open discussion.


Take a Walk—for Your Health

A 30-minute walk can have huge health benefits, so celebrate National Take A Walk In The Park Day on Wednesday, March 30, 12-1 p.m. Explore Carrboro’s Hank Anderson Park, breathe in some fresh air, and re-energize before heading back to the real world. This free event is for all ages and will take place at Hank Anderson Park Pond Trail, 302 Hwy. 54 West, Carrboro.


March 25, 2022

Take to the Streets on Sunday, April 3

On Sunday, April 3, from noon to 4 p.m., East and West Weaver streets will be closed to vehicles for Open Streets 2022, when the streets reopen to the public for recreation.

The Carrboro Bicycle Coalition started Carrboro Open Streets in 2013, the main purpose of which was to recreate the street and encourage community building through a variety of activities.

The event is held annually in April on Weaver Street. The community is invited to dance, do yoga, ride bikes, climb a rock wall, make smoothies on a bike blender and participate in many other activities in a public space that not many ever thought of as a place to partake in recreation.

Given the success of this inaugural event in 2013, the Carrboro Town Council approved the continuation of future Open Streets events in Carrboro, and it is now an annual event put on by the Carrboro Recreation, Parks & Cultural Resources Department.

For more information, contact Galen Poythress at 919-918-7392 or jpoythress@carrboronc.gov


Orange County Egg Hunt

Orange County will host its annual egg hunt on Saturday, April 9, at Central Recreation Center, 302 W. Tryon St., Hillsborough, in the sports field behind the building. Activities will include egg hunts, crafts, photos with the bunny, inflatables and more. Register all household members who plan to attend for just $5 per household (must reside at the same residence). Bring an egg basket and come ready to have fun!

The event is open to all ages. Register by Monday, April 4.


Arts Commission, Housing Department present “HOME?”

The Orange County Arts Commission, in partnership with the Orange County Department of Housing and Community Development, present “HOME? An Artistic Exploration of Housing in the Triangle,” which seeks to showcase “home” through the eyes and words of working artists.

The exhibit features 100 works of art by 54 Triangle-based artists and will be on view through April at the Eno Mill Gallery (https://artsorange.org/enomill/how-to-find-us/) in Hillsborough. 

The public is invited to a free opening party on Friday, April 1, from 6 to 9 p.m., featuring:

See https://artsorange.org/home/ for more information, including a list of featured artists.


March 23, 2022

Miller-Foushee Receives 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has named Paris Miller-Foushee as the recipient of the branch’s 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award.

The award exemplifies Dr. King’s legacy of service and recognizes an individual who has:

  • Made a significant impact on the community through advocacy efforts
  • Raised awareness of social justice issues
  • Demonstrated a track record of service to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community
  • Inspired others to act in service to making our community a better place to live

Miller-Foushee is serving in her first term as a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council. She is also secretary of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP branch, as well as a board member of EmPOWERment, Inc., and the Marian Cheek Jackson Center.

These roles allow her to advocate for housing education and justice, affordable housing management and community engagement.

She uses service as a vehicle for conversation and fellowship with people across generations, varied backgrounds, and socio-economic statuses. We thank Paris for her commitment to service and embodiment of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“It is an absolute honor to continue on the 75-year legacy of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP,” Miller-Foushee said. “I hope that we continue to build a community that is inclusive, promotes equity, fair housing, fair labor laws, environmental justice and economic sustainability.”


Carrboro Town Council Passes Resolution in Support of Earth Hour

The Carrboro Town Council has passed a resolution to recognize Saturday, March 26, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. as Earth Hour in Carrboro. 

Every year, at 8:30 p.m. local time on the last Saturday of March, Earth Hour asks people to turn off any non-essential lights—not lights that affect public safety—for one hour. To date, millions of supporters in over 190 countries and territories have taken this unified action, making Earth Hour the world’s largest environmental action. 

Earth Hour is a reminder that although humans are the cause of climate change, we are also the solution. By participating in Earth Hour, individuals can make a positive impact in the fight against climate change.

Read the full resolution of the Carrboro Town Council at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/10926/Resolution—Earth-Hour-2022.


Spring Shred-a-Thons in Orange County

Two spring shred-a-thons are scheduled in Orange County, one on Saturday, March 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until capacity is met) at the Eubanks Road Park & Ride Lot, 1768 Eubanks Road, Chapel Hill; and the other on Saturday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until capacity is met) at the recycling drop-off site behind Home Depot, Hampton Pointe, Hillsborough.

They are open to residents of Chapel Hill and Orange County, small businesses, and local government employees. Bring your confidential documents for free, safe and contact-free destruction and recycling.

Wearing a mask is required, and you must handle your own paper. No on-site help will be available. Paper must be in clear plastic bags (up to 13-gallon) or boxes (no larger than a banker box). There is a limit of four bags or boxes and one trip per household or organization. Remove any plastic or metal binders or electronic media. Please bring confidential papers only—no newspaper, magazines or catalogs. Recycle non-confidential paper in blue carts or at recycling drop-off sites.

For more information on recycling in Chapel Hill, see https://www.orangecountync.gov/795/Solid-Waste-Management.


One-Way Eastbound Traffic on Estes Begins Week of April 4

The week of April 4, contractors will begin constructing a bike lane and sidewalk on the north side of Estes Drive as part of the Estes Drive Connectivity Project. This phase of the work requires one-way eastbound traffic between Somerset Drive and the Caswell Road traffic light. During this time, motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians should follow any detours and posted road signs. 

The official detour directs vehicles to use Weaver Dairy Road or Franklin Street. For the most up-to-date traffic conditions, check Waze or Google Maps. Both applications recognize lane closures and traffic automatically.  

For project and construction updates, join the project listserv at https://chplan.us/30y4kjd

Many of the improvements in the Estes Drive Connectivity Project will enhance the Town of Chapel Hill’s efforts to increase safety on local roads for those who walk, ride or roll. This project includes raised bike lanes, a sidewalk on the south side of Estes Drive and a 10-foot multiuse path on the north side. The intersection at Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Estes Drive will see improvements for turning traffic, crosswalks on all four legs, and bike lanes that will extend onto Estes Drive Extension.  The Town recently installed a rectangular rapid flashing beacon (RRFB) at Estes Drive and Caswell Road.  Another RRFB will be installed at Estes Drive and Somerset Drive. 

For more information about this project, see www.townofchapelhill.org/estes


Orange County Offers Free Help with 2021 Income Tax Returns

Orange County Department on Aging’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) is continuing to assist low- and moderate-income taxpayers with tax-preparation services. VITA services are free to those with incomes below $70,000 for a single person or $100,000 for a household. The deadline for filing 2021 income taxes is now through April 18, 2022.

We are offering a Valet Tax Preparation Service that will provide service for the remainder of March, ending the first week in April. Taxpayers with scheduled appointments can bring in their tax documents and complete the intake paperwork at the Seymour Center (2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill). Walk-in services are not available.

The VITA tax team members will scan and upload your documents, and IRS-certified preparers will contact you by phone to prepare and electronically file your return. Appointments will be scheduled to sign and pick up the completed returns. 

Valet days and times:     

  • Thursdays, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (March 24 and 31 and April 7)
  • Fridays, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (March 25 and April 1 and 8)

Alternatively, if you have internet access, an active email account, and either a computer and scanner or a cell phone with a camera, you can participate in the Virtual VITA program. Check the website www.orangecountync.gov/ocncvita, or send an email to ocncvita@gmail.com for more information.

To schedule an appointment, call 919-245-4242, or schedule online using AppointmentPlus at www.orangecountync.gov/ocncvita


March 19, 2022

River Park Arch Installation Underway

The Hillsborough Arts Council and the Orange County Arts Commission, along with representatives from the Town of Hillsborough and Orange County, announce the installation of River Park Arch, underway in River Park in downtown Hillsborough. The public is invited to River Park over the next several weeks to watch the installation and meet the artist, including during Last Fridays ArtWalk on Friday, March 25.
 
The project was initiated when an approximately 250-year-old, venerable Southern Red Oak on Calvin Street in West Hillsborough fell during Hurricane Florence in September, 2018. Identified as one of Hillsborough’s “Treasure Trees,” the project partners responded to a call from the community to repurpose the wood.
 
For more information, see https://www.hillsboroughartscouncil.org/tree.


Animal Services Needs Home for Available Dogs

Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) needs to find homes for available dogs at the shelter. Recently, the number of dog adoptions at OCAS has decreased. The staff at OCAS report an increase in the length of stay for dogs at the shelter and the number of dogs is increasing. The Animal Services facility has many wonderful dogs available for adoption and some available as part of their medical foster program (http://www.orangecountync.gov/1873/Foster-Opportunities). 

“It is a little unusual for us to see a reduction in dog adoptions for an extended period of time,” said Orange County Animal Services Director Dr. Sandra Strong. “The longer animals stay in our shelter, the more likely that they experience stress and anxiety. We do everything we can to provide enrichment and keep them comfortable, but dogs really need to be with families that can help them establish routines in a loving home environment. The home environment is where dogs can be social, thrive and settle into happy lives.”

You do not need to be an Orange County resident to adopt a pet from OCAS. Adoption fees for dogs (http://www.orangecountync.gov/288/Adoption-Fees) include health screening, standard vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, heartworm testing (for dogs seven months and older) and heartworm preventative, spay or neuter surgery, microchip and broad-spectrum deworming.

If anyone is interested in viewing available pets or adopting a dog, see www.orangecountync.gov/287/Available-Pets, or visit the shelter to select your new best friend. You may also call the OCAS adoption desk at 919-942-7387, menu option 3, for more information.


Upcoming Events at the Orange County Senior Centers

Upcoming events to be held at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill and the Passmore Center in Hillsborough include the following:

CBD – What it is, should you consider it?

Join Elliot Galdy for a brief history of cannabis and focus on the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids for age-related issues, i.e., arthritis, pain, insomnia and anxiety.

Seymour Center, 2551 Homestead Rd., Chapel Hill (hybrid: in-person & virtual options); Wednesday, March 30, 1 pm-2 pm; free. Register by Monday, March 28, by calling 919-968-2070.

Bluestem Conservation Burial Ground: An Introduction?

Why conservation burial, and why Bluestem in particular? Bluestem, a conservation cemetery designed as a nature preserve and place of reverence, with a trail network, quiet areas for reflection, open space for contemplation, and designated areas within its restored landscape for natural burial.

Virtual event, Tuesday, April 12, 4-5:30 p.m.; free. Register at www.orangecountync.gov/Bluestem. For frequently asked questions, see www.orangecountync.gov/BluestemFAQ.

Conversation Project Workshop PART I
In small conversation groups, patterned after the Conversation Project, Project EngAGE End of Life Choices Senior Resource Team members will coach participants how to engage their loved ones in end-of-life-care conversations. Attendees will receive the Conversation Starter Kit from The Conversation Project and a free copy of The Five Wishes Booklet.

Passmore Center, 103 Meadowlands Dr, Hillsborough; Tuesday, April 26, 4-6 p.m.; free. Register by Friday, April 22, by calling 919-968-2070. Maximum in-person attendance: 12.


Register of Deeds Office to Resume Fulltime Passport Services

The Orange County Register of Deeds office will resume offering passport services fulltime beginning Monday, March 21. Hours of service will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The office will also host a passport fair on Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., walk-ins only, at the office located at 228 S. Churton St., Hillsborough.

For more information about what is required to obtain a passport, see https://www.orangecountync.gov/771/Passports, or call 919-245-2681.

The Register of Deeds office also now offers fraud alert protection service to provide email notifications whenever a document is recorded in the Register of Deeds office that matches your name. You can enter up to five names per email address. If a document is recorded in any of the names you submit, you will receive an email notifying you.

To sign up for the service, see https://fraudalertme.com/ORANGENCNW/FRAUDDETECTION.ASP.


Local Superintendents Discuss School Budgets and Resources 

The Public Education Action Team of the League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham and Chatham Counties is hosting a virtual panel discussion with superintendents representing local district PK-12 public schools, Wednesday April 27, 7:00-8:00 p.m. The superintendents of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City, Chatham County, Durham Public and Orange County school systems are joining us.

As taxpayers and good consumers, many people want to know where resources come from, how school budgets are created and approved, and how spending is connected to educational quality and equity. Questions about how state and federal funding interact with local funding and how this impacts districts are common.

The goal is that attendees come away more informed about the process of funding public schools and confident in the investment they are making in our public schools, be it as a parent, employee, taxpayer or interested member of the public.

This virtual event is free and open to the public. Register at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSehh7JDRgUx_70rOh9j7J5iek4jRf02HoGbzLb7XzWdoBxwVA/viewform, or via the online calendar at https://my.lwv.org/north-carolina/orange-durham-and-chatham-counties-inc/calendar.


New Certifications & Recertifications by OCLW

Several local businesses and employers have joined the Orange County Living Wage roster, including:

The Beehive 
Bowbarr
ClearWind Farm
Franklin Motors Hospitality
New Vista Development 
Pure Tree Care 
Roquette Restaurants 
Spotted Dog Restaurant & Bar 
Ten Mothers Farm

In addition to these new certifications, many employers have recertified. For a directory of all Orange County living-wage employers, see https://orangecountylivingwage.org/directory/.

As of this month, living-wage employers have collectively raised wages for workers by more than $2 million since OCLW’s founding in 2015.


March 17, 2022

Public Information Meeting: Police Property MOU for Redevelopment

A public information meeting to share information with the public about the proposed redevelopment of the police station property located at 828 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. will be held virtually on March 21 at 5:30 p.m. The Town Council is considering entering into a non-binding memorandum of understanding with development team Belmont-Sayre to further explore opportunities to safely redevelop the site. The project is proposed to include a municipal services center and a private development component. This meeting will provide an overview of the N.C. brownfields program and the proposed public/private partnership for redevelopment.

The Town has conducted multiple studies on site conditions since coal ash was discovered on the site in 2013. Visit the project webpage for past meetings, reports and site documentation: https://www.townofchapelhill.org/residents/community-sustainability/coal-ash-disposal-site-remediation-project.

Please register in advance for this meeting at
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMocuqgpzooHdfU3dm-5K6_5lXO-Pvtgtv4. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Homestead Gardens Affordable Housing Project Receives Federal Funding Award

The Town of Chapel Hill is excited to announce that the Homestead Gardens (https://www.townofchapelhill.org/?splash=https%3a%2f%2fwww.chapelhillaffordablehousing.org%2f2200-homestead&____isexternal=true) mixed-income affordable housing development (2200 Homestead Road) has received a $2 million Community Development Fund grant from the Community Project Funding (CPF) program. The Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) omnibus spending bill, which the president signed into law on March 11, includes $1.5 billion in CPF funds, also described as congressional earmarks for local community development projects.

Homestead Gardens was one of ten requests submitted by Congressman David Price (NC-04) in April 2021. The FY22 omnibus bill includes all ten of the CPF requests Congressman Price submitted.

The Homestead Gardens project is one of the Town’s first efforts to develop affordable housing on town land as a strategic way of addressing the critical need for affordable housing in Chapel Hill. The project represents a unique partnership between the Town and four local affordable housing partners—Self-Help Ventures Fund, CASA, Community Home Trust, and Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. These partners formed the Homestead Housing Collaborative to achieve the project’s vision of an inclusive, mixed-income community offering a variety of housing types that serve a variety of housing needs. 

Since 2018, the Town has been working closely with the Collaborative and its design team to design and plan the project. Chapel Hill Town Council approved the Homestead Gardens development plan, which includes about 120 units of affordable apartments, townhomes and duplexes surrounded by community amenities, such as a multi-use greenway, a basketball court and a community garden, in May 2021. The project is scheduled to break ground in 2022.


New Art Banners on Display at Peace & Justice Plaza

New art banners are now on display at Peace & Justice Plaza in downtown Chapel Hill. Created by Carrboro artist Charlie Dupee, the banners display a series of raised fists in a colorful marbled texture. This is the second set of banners to be hung between the columns of the historic Post Office building, energizing the space with mural-style art. Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture coordinated the project and encourages the community to come downtown to see the art.

The project was envisioned in 2020, in the weeks after the death of George Floyd. UNC student Emile Charles approached Community Arts & Culture with an interest in raising awareness of the struggles for racial and social justice. “I thought a community art piece was a fantastic way to engage with the cultural side of the Black Lives Matter movement,” says Charles. After considering what was possible at the historic building, staff landed on the idea of mural art banners. The inaugural set of banners, New Voices, by Victoria Primicias, went up in the spring of 2021 and featured a montage of local elements and widely recognized icons that represent the struggle for social justice.

Earlier this year, Community Arts & Culture issued a call to local artists for the second iteration of the banners. Charlie Dupee’s concept proposal was selected for several reasons, including the vibrant aesthetics and the powerful symbolism that accompanies the raised fist. “The raised fist has a rich, global history as an icon for resistance, revolution, and solidarity which extends beyond the Black Lives Matter movement,” says Dupee in his artist statement. “My piece, Radical Futures, is an attempt to visualize a future for this symbol and continue its lineage as an emblem of abolition.”

Nearly two decades ago, Peace & Justice Plaza was dedicated by the Chapel Hill Town Council to honor individuals, no longer living, who committed their lives to peace and justice in Chapel Hill. There are currently seventeen names inscribed on the plaza, including Charlotte Adams, founder of the local branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 1935; Hank Anderson, the first black parks and recreation director in North Carolina in 1969; and Rebecca Clark, the first licensed practical nurse to work in the UNC campus infirmary in 1953. The Plaza has also been the space of many historic protests for peace and justice. Knowing this place has played such a critical role in the local struggle for civil rights, the site was the top pick for art on the theme of racial and social justice.


Big Book Sale Returns to CHPL  

The Friends of Chapel Hill Public Library (CHPL) invites bargain hunters and book lovers to their first Big Book Sale since the pandemic began. Shoppers will find an extensive inventory of gently used fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults, as well as puzzles and games. Prices start at 50 cents. The sale will be held at the CHPL these dates/times:

  • Friday, March 25, from 3 to 6 p.m. (members only—join at the door or online
  • Saturday, March 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  
  • Sunday, March 27, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($10 bag sale) 

The Friends are also raffling off gift baskets (themes include cat lovers, dog lovers and Downtown Abbey). Purchase tickets at friendschpl.org or at the library during the book sale. Winners will be drawn on Monday, March 28. If you simply can’t wait until the sale, you can shop the Friends Online Book Store any time. 

Questions regarding the sale or Friends membership can be sent to info@friendschpl.org


Request for Proposals from Local LGBTQ+ Artists

A Triangle-based artist or artist team is sought to design a bus wrap that celebrates Pride Month this June. Local artists who identify as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning plus (LGBTQ+) community are strongly encouraged to apply.   

Artists must live within 40 miles of Chapel Hill and submit application materials, following the directions at https://www.chapelhillarts.org/applications/pride-bus-wrap-artist-call/, by 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 24. The final design will be based on the selected artist/team proposal and stakeholder input. It will be printed on vinyl and then wrapped around a Chapel Hill Transit bus. The bus wrap will be on display for 1-2 years. A stipend of $2,000 will be paid to the selected artist/artist team.
 
Community Arts & Culture aims to inspire creativity and celebrate community for a better Chapel Hill, valuing inclusion, experience and understanding, and encourages proposals that reflect these values.


Drainage Project to Improve Ephesus Park Tennis and Pickleball Complex

Repairs and upgrades to pickleball and tennis courts, including improvements to the playing surfaces, have now been completed at the Ephesus Park racquet sports complex. Once the repairs were completed, Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation’s contractor, Stewart engineering, recommended drainage work be performed around the exterior of the racquet sports complex to deter any chance of water getting beneath the new surface improvements. 

The drainage project is scheduled to begin March 21, with an estimated two weeks to complete the project. Parks and Recreation will avoid closing the courts while this drainage project is completed and recommends that Chapel Hill Pickleball, as well as others who enjoy the courts, use alternative entrances to the complex while the drainage project is underway.


District Attorney Teach-In to be Conducted by Orange County Justice United

In preparation for the District Attorney Candidates’ Assembly on April 26 (https://www.ocjusticeunited.org/district_attorney_candidates_assembly_april_26), Orange County Justice United will host a Zoom teach-in so that people have a chance to learn:

The meeting Zoom link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88313543452?pwd=VHlheWFxMENLOHBTYW4rS3o3WkxhQT09.


Affordable Housing and Advocacy Event

The Women’s Voices series of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will present a virtual event focused on affordable housing and advocacy on March 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event’s keynote speaker will be Demetria McCain, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

The program will focus on issues related to affordable housing and advocacy and what is necessary to meet the challenges faced now and in the future. Local affordable housing professionals from public, private and nonprofit entities will hold a panel discussion and share their points of view on current and ongoing challenges and opportunities.

Register for the event at https://forms.gle/fuQCtVQpfZvC21SRA.


Moral Monday March in Raleigh on March 28

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is bringing a Moral Monday March on Raleigh to the steps of the state legislature at 16 W. Jones St. in Raleigh on March 28, beginning at 5 p.m. The Moral Monday March on Raleigh is part of a 10-stop mobilization tour toward the Mass Poor People’s and Low Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls on June 18 (https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/june18/).

Bishop William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis have said that “in North Carolina we know the power of bringing together a fusion coalition of people around a common set of demands. The state legislature continues to drive its extremist agenda using voter suppression and gerrymandered maps. Their policies are disproportionately hurting the 4.6 million poor and low-income people of our state. And the U.S. Congress has failed thus far to pass real support that would fill the gap. We are coming to Raleigh to put our state and federal elected officials that this system is killing ALL of us and we can’t…we won’t…we refuse to be silent anymore!

They are calling for impacted people from across North Carolina as well as Virginia and South Carolina, joined by faith leaders, moral allies and artists, to demand that North Carolina and this whole nation do more to live up its possibilities:

“MORE to fully address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the denial of health care, militarism and the war economy and the false moral narrative of religious nationalism.

“MORE to change the narrative and build the power of those most impacted by these injustices.

“MORE to realize a Third Reconstruction agenda that can build this country from the bottom up and realize the nation we have yet to be.

“And we must do MORE – Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering and Educating people for a movement that votes – as we drive toward The Mass Poor People’s & Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly & Moral March on Washington and to the Polls on June 18, 2022, which will be a generationally transformative declaration of the power of poor and low-wealth people and our moral allies.

“It is NOT just a day of action. It is a declaration of an ongoing, committed moral movement to 1) Shift the moral narrative; 2) Build power; and 3) Make real policies to fully address poverty and low wealth from the bottom up.”


Behind the Creation of the African American Trailblazers Mural

The Chapel Hill Historical Society and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., will host a session on the stories behind the creation of the African American Trailblazers Memorial and the individuals featured on it Sunday, April 10, at 3 p.m. via Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9091129297).

The moderator of the session will be Danita Mason-Hogans, and the session will feature muralist Kiara Sanders. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to https://chcaa-dst.org or https://chapelhillhistoricalsociety.org.


New Library and Cultural Center for Carrboro

The Carrboro Town Council and the Orange County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, March 15, gave final approval to a new Orange County Southern Branch Library and Cultural Center for Carrboro. 

The $41.1 million joint project will be located at 203 S. Greensboro St., an existing Carrboro municipal parking lot near the center of the town. The groundbreaking ceremony will be scheduled in May 2022. 

The library will serve residents in or near southern Orange County. The facility will also provide a permanent home for the Orange County Skills Development Center; Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources Department; WCOM radio; the Virtual Justice Center; and performance/multipurpose uses. 

Proceeding with the 203 Project will allow the county to provide much-needed amenities for the surrounding Orange County and Carrboro community. The library and skills-development center will enhance the opportunity to uplift and improve the lives of all who embrace and utilize these resources.

Approval followed discussions that came about when a construction estimate showed that the project was significantly over budget. Project managers attributed the escalation of construction costs to the unprecedented supply-chain disruptions and labor shortages associated with the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.

The agreement between the town and county calls for Carrboro to contribute $18.9 million and Orange County to contribute $22.2 million. 

For more information, see www.the203project.org.


March 14, 2022

Registration Now Open for Entrepreneur Class

The Town of Carrboro is partnering with the Business Accelerator Group (BAG) and the Durham Tech Small Business Center to host some business accelerator programs starting in April. Get practical, actionable business training from experienced advisors and support from peers in the same boat.

There are two groups (or cohorts) that will meet once a week for five weeks:  

Cohort 1 is for aspiring entrepreneurs, folks looking to launch their idea.

Cohort 2 is for small business owners who have been in business from one to five years. 

Ten to 15 members will be accepted into each cohort. Each BAG cohort meets weekly for five weeks, from mid-April through late May. Sessions are 1.5 hours in length and are in-person in Carrboro. Masking guidelines and social distancing will be followed during sessions.

What to expect:

  • Education on essential small business topics
  • Coaching on how to implement the work for your business
  • Support from a cohort of entrepreneur peers

The BAG is $195 per business, with scholarships up to $170 available (a cost of $25 to the business). A second business owner may attend for no additional cost. 

The application is due by 11:59 p.m. on March 27. Selected applicants will be notified by April 1. Direct all questions to Kate Wiggins at wigginsk@durhamtech.edu. Black, indigenous, and people-of-color business owners are encouraged to apply. Register at bit.ly/sbcbag.  

You can listen to a brief radio piece about the sessions at https://www.carrboronc.gov/2678/Business-Accelerator-Group-BAG.


Federal Mask Mandate for Public Transportation Extended Through April 18

The federal mask mandate for public transportation has been extended through April 18. Orange County Transportation Services will continue to require masks on transportation conveyances and at transportation facilities, including administrative offices and maintenance facilities.


Spring Events at Historic Moorefields in Hillsborough

Historic Moorefields, built in 1785 as a summer home by Alfred Moore, a military, educational and judicial leader who ultimately served as the second and last North Carolinian on the U.S. Supreme Court, is hosting several spring events this year. Moorefields sits at 2201 Moorefields Road, Hillsborough, on 70 beautiful acres just 20 minutes from downtown Chapel Hill and Durham and a short drive from downtown Hillsborough. The property adjoins the trail and other amenities of Orange County’s 300-acre Seven Mile Creek Nature Preserve. For more information, visit https://moorefields.org/.

The annual spring wildflower hike is scheduled for Sunday, April 10. The hike explores the ridges and bottomlands proximate to Seven Mile Creek, one of Orange County’s most significant and undisturbed natural areas. The hike leader is Milo Pyne, a N.C. State-trained botanist and an expert on Piedmont wildflowers. The hike leaves Moorefields at 10 a.m. 

The annual Introduction to Identifying Birds, or “Birding 101,” will be conducted on Saturday, May 7. The hike, from 8 am to 10 am, will leave from Moorefields and be guided by Helen Kalevas, an expert on avian ecology who has taught ornithology lab and bird identification at Northern Arizona University. Please bring binoculars and prepare for insects and uneven terrain. (Rain date is May 8.)

Last Sunday open houses take place from 1 to 5 p.m. beginning on April 24. On the last Sunday of the month from April through September, Moorefields will have open-house tours to see the historic home and grounds. Volunteers will be present to answer questions and direct visitors to points of interest—artistic, historic and horticultural. View artwork, sculpture and antiques. Visit two cemeteries, the old family burial ground and one near the house memorializing cats and former owner Edward Draper-Savage. Walk the trail on the adjoining Seven Mile Creek Nature Preserve. Stroll among hedges and hemlocks in the shaded back yard. Or just sit in a rocker on the front porch and enjoy the quiet.

All spring hikes and the open-house tours are free. A suggested donation goes to the Friends of Moorefields to help coordinate events such as these. 


“Freight Train Blues” Concert Series Returns In-person May 13

The Town of Carrboro will present the Music Maker Foundation’s Freight Train Blues series of live concerts every Friday evening between May 13 and June 10 at the Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St. The series is a collaboration among the Town of Carrboro Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources, the Music Maker Foundation, and WUNC 91.5FM. The concert series was held virtually the past two years in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic safety measures.

An annual event, the concert series highlights GRAMMY-winning folk and blues artist and N.C. Music Hall of Famer Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten, born in Carrboro in 1893. Cotten’s soulful voice and unique guitar style have rendered her a legend in the world of blues, leading her to receive National Heritage Fellowship in 1984 and a GRAMMY award in 1985. She lived to be 104 years old and died in 1987. Her songs, like the iconic “Freight Train,” have been reimagined by artists like The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan.

Music Maker Foundation honors Cotten’s legacy in the world of roots music by emphasizing the cultural diversity, complexity and vitality of her music and the music of many other artists local to her community and all over the country. 

The concert lineup includes:

  • May 13- Hermon Hitson, Harvey Dalton Arnold
  • May 20- Sacred Soul of North Carolina Revue; Weaver Gospel Singers Tribute
  • May 27- Hard Drive, The Branchettes
  • June 3- La Banda de los Guanajuatenses, Joe Troop w/Larry Bellorín
  • June 10- Music Maker Blues Revue featuring Gail Ceasar, Tad Walters & Lil’ Jimmy Reed

For more information, see www.freighttrainblues.com.


March 10, 2022

Carrboro Town Council Passes Resolution in Solidarity with Ukraine

The Carrboro Town Council passed a resolution on Tuesday, March 8, in solidarity with Ukraine and in opposition to the Russian invasion, assault and atrocities against the Ukrainian peoples. 

The resolution states: “The Town of Carrboro stands in solidarity with Ukrainian sovereignty and her territorial integrity as an independent and democratic Ukraine, and with the Ukrainian peoples as they resist Russian aggression, military invasion and the threat to their existence. The Town of Carrboro calls for an immediate ceasefire, sincere negotiations, a humanitarian corridor for Ukrainians seeking safe passage, and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in peril and to war refugees.” 

Further, the resolution states that Carrboro is a peace-loving community that advocates human rights and the wellbeing of all peoples. The people of Carrboro oppose tyranny, unprovoked aggression and war, and “we hold that war is never an acceptable response to human conflict.” 

The Carrboro Town Council encourages residents to: advocate for humanitarian aid, ensure safe passage and haven for refugees, and provide support for the Ukrainian people and organizations, such as these: 

Read the full resolution of the Carrboro Town Council at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/10815/Carrboro-Council-Solidarity-with-Ukraine-Resolution-3_8_2022.


Presentation on Invasive Plants in Carrboro

Chapelboro Tree Rescue (https://www.meetup.com/chapelboro-tree-rescuers/) and Carrboro staff will host an online informative presentation and Q&A on Sunday, March 13, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. They will discuss what the most common invasive plant species in Carrboro and resources for controlling them. The presentation and resource materials will be available online Monday, March 14.

Email Heather Holley at HHolley@CarrboroNC.gov for the presentation link and more information.


Apply Now to Have an Impact on Chapel Hill

The Town of Chapel Hill wants people with diverse perspectives to serve on advisory boards and commissions. Members of the Chapel Hill community volunteer for nearly two dozen boards and commissions that advise the Town Council on a wide range of issues, from building development to public art to parks and greenways. These boards and commissions need new members.

The town has a focus on increasing the diversity of residents engaged in town processes and opportunities, with an emphasis on engaging populations that have been most impacted and historically disconnected. This priority helps the town achieve outcomes that reflect our community’s concerns, aspirations, and values.

The current demographic breakdown for Chapel Hill’s boards and commissions is:

  • 78% Caucasian (non-Hispanic), 10% African American/Black, 4% Asian or Pacific Islander, 2% Hispanic/Latino
  • 54% male, 45% female
  • 43% age 35-54, 41% age 55+, 10% age 25-34, 6% age 18-24

They want all community members to have access to engagement and participation opportunities. In the past, communities of color and other marginalized groups have been excluded from decision-making processes. As a result, deep inequities persist in income, housing, education and health. More diversity on boards and commissions provides a deeper understanding of the issues and needs of all, helps to repair or establish public trust, and leads to better outcomes for everyone in the community.

Boards typically meet for two to five hours per month. Boards are currently meeting virtually but may meet in person when COVID-19 infection rates decrease.

Having no experience is not a problem. Board members who want additional support will have access to assistance, including childcare, language services, technology and transportation.

Apply by April 1 to be considered in this round of recruitment. Apply online at  chapelhill.granicus.com/boards/forms/146/apply.

For questions contact the Communications and Public Affairs Department at 919-968-2844 or advisoryboards@townofchapelhill.org.


March 9, 2022

Wesley Barker Selected as Carrboro’s New Town Clerk

Following a comprehensive recruitment effort, the Carrboro Town Council has selected Wesley Barker as Carrboro’s new town clerk. Mr. Barker was sworn into service on March 1.

“I am excited to join the Carrboro team and begin work with the mayor, Town Council, town leadership and employees – and all our residents,” Mr. Barker said. “I am happy to be part of the team and look forward to making a difference in this community.”

A native of Ashe County, Mr. Barker said he was drawn to Carrboro by its reputation as a welcoming, accepting and creative community. He is the former planning director for Ashe County, where he was born and raised. His duties included land-use ordinance work and interpretation. While employed by the town of West Jefferson from 2010 to 2017, he wore several hats, including town clerk, human resources officer and zoning administrator.

Mr. Barker obtained the designation of certified municipal clerk from the N.C. Association of Municipal Clerks. He holds a bachelor’s degree in city/urban, community and regional planning from Appalachian State University and an associate’s degree from Wilkes Community College. He has served as a board member on the Ashe County Arts Council and the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce. He also served a 10-year stint as marketing manager for the Christmas in July Festival in West Jefferson. 


Severe Weather Preparedness Week

The week of March 6-12 is North Carolina’s Severe Weather Preparedness Week. During the week, the National Weather Service (https://www.weather.gov/rah/) and its partners will focus on topics to ensure you are ready for the upcoming severe weather season. Topics include flash floods, thunderstorm safety and tornado safety.

A statewide tornado drill is scheduled for Wednesday, March 9, at 9:30 a.m. Businesses, schools and families across the state are encouraged to participate. The drill will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio and the Emergency Alert System through the required monthly test. There won’t be an actual tornado warning issued.

On average, North Carolina sees about 30 tornadoes each year, according to the State Climate Office. The month of May averages the most tornadoes at five, followed by April and September tied for second with four each. March averages three tornadoes per year.

To prepare for tornadoes and other weather events, come up with a plan. It’s also wise to have an emergency kit in the event of a natural disaster. Your kit needs to include essential items, such as medicine, food and water.

Find severe weather preparedness tips at https://www.ready.gov/tornadoes and general emergency preparedness tips at https://www.readync.gov/


Contractors: Get Listed for Stormwater-Related Work

The Carrboro Stormwater Division is requesting applications from qualified contractors who are available to perform stormwater-related work on a residential scale and wish to be listed in a directory on the town’s website. 

Types of residential stormwater work that are of interest include erosion control, rain gardens and backyard wetlands, French drains, flood mitigation such as dry or wet floodproofing, stormwater control measure maintenance and inspection, sewage spill cleanup, and more. 

For more information, see: www.carrboronc.gov/Stormwater-Services-Contractors.


Carrboro Annual Kite Fly

Celebrate National Kite Flying Month (a couple of weeks early) by flying a kite! This welcome-to-spring event of the Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources Department provides plenty of fun. Bring a kite and help fill the skies with color! A few kites will be available for those who need one. This event will be canceled if it is raining. 

This free event is happening from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 13, in the open field of Hank Anderson Community Park, 302 N.C. Hwy. 54 W, Chapel Hill.


Applicants Needed for Alliance Health Board of Directors

  The Alliance Health Board of Directors is currently seeking to fill one vacancy for an Orange County resident who would like to make a difference in public behavioral healthcare as both the federal government and our state legislature consider how to design and fund critically important services for individuals in our communities.
 
Individuals with technical expertise in the following areas will be sought for vacancies:

  • Physicians with experience in the fields of behavioral health, substance abuse services and/or integrated care
  • Human resources/talent management
  • Insurance/managed-care background
  • Leadership/management experience
  • Physical health background/expertise
  • Political/community connections
  • Technology/data analytics experience

Please note that employees or family members of employees, volunteers of provider agencies or vendors contracted with Alliance, or persons with a financial interest or ownership in any such agency or vendor, are not eligible to serve.
 
Any appointment to this vacant position will be approved by the Orange County Board of Commissioners.
 
The Alliance Board meets on the first Thursday of every month at 4:00 p.m. Unless otherwise indicated, meetings occur at the Alliance Home office (5200 Paramount Pkwy Suite 200, Morrisville, NC 27560).

Board members also participate in two to three subcommittees, based on their expertise and interests. Most Board members dedicate between 6 and 10 hours per month to Board activities.

If interested, please download an application at https://www.alliancehealthplan.org/about/governance/board-of-directors/

For additional information, contact Tara May at 919-245-2125 or tmay@orangecountync.gov.


Visiting Artist sTo Len

sTo Len (https://www.stoishere.com/) will be artist-in-residence at Chapel Hill’s LEVEL retreat (https://www.levelretreat.com/) from Thursday, March 24, through Sunday, April 10.

sTo is a printmaker, installation, sound and performance artist based in Queens, N.Y., and operating at the intersections of art, environmentalism, and activism. The cross-disciplinary nature of sTo’s work includes transforming public spaces – such as a river into an art studio, recycling waste into art materials, creating a community pirate radio station, and hosting water ritual performances at Superfund sites.

During his LEVEL residency, sTo will collaborate with the Haw River Assembly to convert trash collected from local watersheds into a series of prints and mixed media artworks. The results of this collaboration will be on view at Peel Gallery. Leading up to his exhibition, sTo will be conducting an artist talk and discussion at Attic 506.

Key events during sTo’s residency include the following:

sTo has exhibited his artwork internationally, including exhibitions in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Texas, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, Australia, Denmark and Canada. sTo co-founded the alternative arts space Cinders Gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y., which has exhibited hundreds of artists since its inception in 2004 and continues to curate exhibitions as a project-based non-profit arts organization. As a performance/sound artist, sTo has performed at diverse venues such as MOMA PS1, New Museum, St. Marks Church, Ramiken Crucible, Silent Barn, and Roulette in New York, as well as Atelier Kunst Spiel Raum and the English Theater in Berlin, Theater de Chameleon in Amsterdam, La Société de Curiosités in Paris, Manzi Gallery and Heritage Space in Vietnam.

sTo was the first artist in residence at AlexRenew wastewater treatment facility in Alexandria, Va., and took part in the Field R/D program at FreshKills Park, a transformed landfill in Staten island, N.Y. He is a member of Works on Water, a group of artists and activists working with and about water in the face of climate change and environmental justice concerns. sTo is currently the new artist in residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation as part of the PAIR program with the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Email inquiries and interview requests to levelretreat@gmail.com.


Work to Begin on Estes Drive Connectivity Project

On Monday, March 14, contractors will begin clearing and grading the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Estes Drive as part of the Estes Drive Connectivity Project. This initial work will require around two weeks of intermittent lane closures. Flaggers will be present at the site to control traffic and assist pedestrians. 

Many of the improvements in the Estes Drive Connectivity Project will enhance the town of Chapel Hill’s efforts to increase safety on local roads for those who walk, ride or roll. This project includes raised bike lanes, a sidewalk on the south side of Estes Drive and a 10-foot multiuse path on the north side. The intersection at Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Estes Drive will see improvements for turning traffic, crosswalks on all four legs and bike lanes that will extend onto Estes Drive Extension. The town recently installed a rectangular rapid flashing beacon (RRFB) at Estes Drive and Caswell Road.  Another RRFB will be installed at Estes Drive and Somerset Drive. 

For more information about this project, see www.townofchapelhill.org/estes


March 7, 2022

Orange County to Host 2022 Orange County Senior Games

The Orange County Department on Aging, Carrboro Recreation and Parks and Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation invite adults age 50+ to participate in the 2022 Orange County Senior Games.

Senior Games is a year-round health-promotion program for adults age 50 and over. Activities include sports and games competitions/tournaments, social activities, and the SilverArts – including visual and heritage arts such as wood working, basket weaving, ceramic glass and more. 

The 2022 Orange County Senior Games’ athletic events will be held April 1–May 18. The kick-off event for artists, athletes and SilverArts opening will be on Thursday, March 31, at 4:30 p.m. at the Seymour Center, at 2551 Homestead Rd., Chapel Hill.

Pick up or call one of the sponsoring locations for a registration application and a schedule of events: 

The deadline to register is Friday, March 18.

For more information, contact Dana Hughes (dhughes@townofcarrboro.org, 919-918-7372) or Lee Schimmelfing (leeshim@email.unc.edu, 919-606-2598).

Learn more at www.orangecountync.gov/SeniorGames.


Literary Peep Show Contest

The Orange County Public Library invites you to make and bring in a literary-themed marshmallow peep diorama for their contest. The 3 entry categories are youth, teen and adult. Entries will be judged by the public while they are on display and are eligible to win a number of awards from most creative to funniest entry.

  • Submit your (family-friendly) entries Monday, March 7-Saturday, March 19.
  • View the entries & vote for your favorites Monday, March 21-Saturday, April 2.   
  • Winners will be announced Wednesday, April 6.
  • Pick up your diorama Thursday, April 7- Saturday, April 9.

Big Night In for the Arts on March 10

The Orange County Arts Commission, in partnership with the Durham, Wake and Chatham arts councils and WRAL, present Big Night In for the Arts on Thursday, March 10, from 7 to 8 p.m.

This Triangle-wide televised fundraiser will feature performances from Ben Folds, Hiss Golden Messenger, Jaki Shelton Green, Nnenna Freelon and Jabu Graybeal, plus a behind-the-scenes tour of Mark Hewitt’s Chatham County pottery studio.

Enjoy a featured segment about the arts commission’s new Eno Arts Mill and hear from familiar Orange County artists. 


Traffic Update from OWASA

Construction for Orange Water and Sewer Authority’s (OWASA) East Main Street Sewer Rehabilitation Project is progressing, and most work has now been completed on East Main Street from Greensboro Street through the intersection with Roberson Street.

Work continues on East Main Street from Roberson Street through Lloyd Street and will cause additional lane closures as shown in the diagram. One lane will remain open, and flaggers will be on site to direct traffic from each direction through the open lane. This general traffic configuration will be in place through March 20, moving with the work area toward the intersection with Rosemary Street.

Weekly updates are being posted to the project page on OWASA’s website, https://bit.ly/3sOUsND

The project work will include replacing approximately 2,000 feet of sewer line, replacing and installing new manholes and several smaller repairs (shown as point repairs in the diagram) within the project area, but outside of Main Street.

OWASA will provide updates on any changes to the construction timeline.

How the work may affect customers in the area:

  • Normal work hours will occur each weekend from Friday night at 8 p.m. through Monday morning at 6 a.m.; once work begins Friday night, it will continue throughout the weekend in order to minimize the impact on the community.
  • Some smaller tasks will occur during weekday nights from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Traffic impacts are expected during construction times; signs will be provided for detours, changes in traffic patterns and accessibility around construction.
  • Businesses in the area will be open during construction.
  • All travel lanes will be open at the end of each weekend, with no impacts to vehicle traffic.
  • It is possible that customers will have short sanitary sewer service interruptions (typically a few hours) while their service is reconnected to the new sewer line; property owners will be notified 48 hours before any planned service disruptions. No drinking water service interruptions are anticipated as part of the project.

For more information: 


2022 Jacquelyn Gist Summer Apprenticeship in the Arts

The Carrboro Arts Committee is offering an award of up to $1,000 to assist emerging young artists in developing their talent through the Jacquelyn Gist Summer Apprenticeship in the Arts program.  Up to three apprenticeships are available.

The program’s purpose is to encourage and support emerging young artists who are residents of Orange County, by facilitating a summer apprenticeship with an Orange County artist or arts organization. 

Apprenticeships are available to rising high school juniors and seniors, graduating seniors, as well as college students and those who have graduated from college within the past year.

Applicants must live in Orange County. Carrboro residents will be given priority consideration. Applicants must have an interest in the arts (visual arts, performing arts, arts administration, etc.) and have secured an apprenticeship with an Orange County artist or arts organization. The apprenticeship must be for at least 15 hours a week for at least 5 weeks. Students who may need assistance finding a local artist or arts organization may contact arts@townofcarrboro.org.

An online application is available at https://bit.ly/3pJZHfr. PDF/Word copies of the application are available upon request. Applications will also be accepted via email, mail, or by dropping off at the Carrboro Century Center.

Please include two letters of reference with your application to: 

Carrboro Arts Committee
c/o Charles Harrington
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro NC 2751
Email: arts@townofcarrboro.org

The deadline is April 29 at 5 p.m.


March 5, 2022

Masks No Longer Required in Public Spaces in Orange County as of March 7

Effective Monday, March 7, Orange County will no longer require masks in public, indoor spaces if key COVID-19 metrics continue to reach medium and low community levels.

The following metrics ― determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ― will serve as the indicators. They currently show Orange County is no longer in the high-risk category.

  • New cases ― New COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days is less than 200; Orange County is at 177.8.
  • New hospital admissions ― New COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people in the last seven days is less than 20; Orange County is at 16.84.
  • Inpatient beds ― Percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients (seven-day average) is less than 15; Orange County is at 12.5%.

Orange County leaders will rely on the most up-to-date information. Please note that the CDC dashboard COVID-19 community levels are not updated daily. If the numbers trend up to the high community-transmission level, Orange County will reserve the right to amend the mask mandate to again require masks in public, indoor spaces. 

Once the mandate is amended, businesses and other organizations can continue to require customers or visitors to wear a mask in their establishments. The CDC also recommends that individuals who are unvaccinated should continue to wear a mask or face covering when indoors or in crowded areas to minimize the potential spread of the virus. 

The planned change aligns with Gov. Cooper’s statement Feb. 17, which encouraged schools and local governments to end their mask mandates. Federal regulations still require masks in some places, such as long-term-care facilities and public transportation, including Chapel Hill Transit. 

According to data from the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 76% of Orange County community members are fully vaccinated, with more than 68,000 in receipt of their booster once eligible.

Read more about CDC COVID-19 community levels at https://bit.ly/3HKe8qb.


Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Branch to Hold Second Part of Community Town Hall

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will hold Part 2 of its Community Town Hall March 5, via Zoom (tinyurl.com/22townhall). The speakers and topics are as follows:

  • Bonnie Hammersley, county manager – County Government Overview
  • Travis Myren, deputy county manager – County Budget Overview and Current Initiatives
  • Quintana Stewart, health director – State of COVID Response
  • Nancy Coston, social services director – Supportive Services and Workforce Development
  • Corey Root, housing director – Housing Supports and Homelessness Reduction Programs
  • Cait Fenhagen, director of criminal justice resources – Initiatives in the Criminal Justice System
  • Ashley Heger, food council coordinator – Food System Assessment

Amos C. Brown Student Fellowship to Ghana

The fully funded 10-day Amos C. Brown Student Fellowship to Ghana, from July 31 to Aug. 10, will take a selected number of multicultural college students, young adults and seminarians between the ages of 18 and 25 from the U.S. to Ghana for an experiential learning opportunity, at no cost to the students. While there, they will be immersed in Ghanaian culture, learn about the Atlantic slave trade and gain deep insight into their ancestral lineage. At the end of this journey, participants will be able to work together to be agents of change across the U.S. This student fellowship to Ghana is the first program of its kind to be powered by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, in collaboration with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

During this fellowship, participants will:  

  • Build bridges with Ghanaian counterparts, as well as understand and respect the history of Ghana as the oldest independent African state.
  • Learn about the Atlantic slave trade.
  • Be ambassadors for social and racial justice.
  • Learn about civil rights leaders who engaged in the pan-African movement and how this movement relates to current racial and social issues within the U.S.
  • Leave the program with an understanding of the Latter-Day Saints members who supported and participated in the abolitionist movement.

To apply and to see the requirements, process and timeline, go to https://naacp.org/amos-c-brown-student-fellowship-ghana. The application deadline is 5 p.m. EST on March 25.


Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Branch Event March 12

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is co-sponsoring a powerful event, Of Liberation and Love: Songs and Stories from the Families of Death Row, on Saturday, March 12, from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Carrboro Century Center. See the accompanying flyer for details. To register for the event, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/3833411430117395/.


Carrboro Street Resurfacing Project Underway

The town of Carrboro’s biennial street resurfacing project has started and will be underway through April. 

Carrboro residents will be notified at least 48 hours before the resurfacing on their road begins, with notices placed on the windshields of vehicles parked on the street. Residents are encouraged to move their vehicles from the affected streets and should be prepared to move their vehicles upon request by resurfacing workers.

The town requests that motorists please observe all signage and flaggers related to the resurfacing project and be aware of all workers and equipment in the streets.

2022 Carrboro street resurfacing project includes the following roads:  

  • Hogan Hills Road  
  • Bayview Drive
  • North Fields Circle 
  • Lake Manor Road            
  • Lake Ridge Place 
  • Tramore Drive 
  • Colfax Drive 
  • West Poplar Avenue 
  • Palomar Point 
  • N. Hawick Court 
  • Burnes Place 
  • Barrington Hill Road 
  • Autumn Drive 
  • Canton Court
  • Downing Court   

For more information, email PWorks@townofcarrboro.org or call 919-918-7425.


Chapel Hill Summer Youth Employment Program

This summer the Town of Chapel Hill will be hiring Chapel Hill youth ages 14-18 for about 20 hours/week for 6 to 8 weeks, offering flexible scheduling and job skills workshops. Families must live in Chapel Hill and meet income guidelines (earn less than 80% of median income for Chapel Hill). 

Apply by April 15 at https://bit.ly/3sIcVv5


March 2, 2022

 

Carrboro Installs Two New EV Charging Stations

The town of Carrboro has installed two new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, one at the parking lot of Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 1120 Hillsborough Road, and one at the 604 Rosemary St. gravel public parking lot with entrance from Sunset Drive. 

Both of these stations offer two charging ports each with SAE J1772-style plugs, so two cars may be charged at once. These stations are in addition to an existing EV station located in the side parking lot of Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St.

All three EV Stations are currently free to use. They use the ChargePoint system (https://www.chargepoint.com/) for access.


Carrboro Named One of America’s Top Five Small Arts Towns 

In a recent special report, 24/7 Tempo named Carrboro one of the country’s top five small arts towns. The town shares the honor with such creative outposts as Santa Fe, N.M., and Marfa, Texas. 

To determine the best small arts towns in America, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on arts establishments and employment from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 County Business Patterns dataset. 

Sometimes referred to as The Paris of the Piedmont, the town of Carrboro has carved out a niche for itself as a thriving arts community. Many exceptionally creative artists and craftspeople call Carrboro home. It is a thriving, inviting place for artists and artisans. Learn more at https://visitcarrboro.com/carrboro-creates/.  


Chapel Hill Police Plan Enhanced Traffic-Safety Initiatives in March

The Chapel Hill Police Department is planning an increased number of pedestrian-safety enforcement operations this month, in addition to normal patrols. In February, the Department conducted 60 operations in an intensified effort to keep pedestrians safe ( https://bit.ly/3vy9SHz). Officers cited a dozen drivers for various offenses.

Scheduled special operations in March include – but are not limited to – the following dates:

  • Friday, March 4, 7 to 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, March 5, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 10, 7 to 11 a.m.
  • Sunday, March 13, 12 to 4 p.m.
  • Friday, March 18, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 23, 2 to 6 p.m.
  • Friday, March 25, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 31, 7 to 11 a.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change.

Each effort will focus on areas with heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including downtown and mid-block crosswalks (e.g., along the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Estes Drive corridors).

The Chapel Hill Police Department is also planning three speed-enforcement operations in March – in addition to normal patrols – with the main goal of improving safety for everyone who shares roads.

  • Tuesday, March 8, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 15, 8 to 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, March 22, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change.


Women’s History Month: Spotlight on Verla Insko

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women for their contributions and accomplishments. The Honorable Verla Insko is a woman who has given much of her life to the people of Orange County, and she has achieved many milestones along her stellar career in public service.

Verla Insko has announced her retirement, effective March 31, after serving in the N.C. House of Representatives for almost 26 years. Previously, she had been a county commissioner and before that, a member of the school board. While in the N.C. House, Representative Insko has been a champion on issues of mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities and substance use. She also has worked diligently on early childhood education and will continue to advocate for Medicaid expansion.

Renee Price, chair of the Orange County Board of County Commissioners, stated, “The late Maya Angelou wrote: ‘I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.’ Those words describe Rep. Verla Insko.”


44th Legislative Breakfast on Mental Health

This year, 2022, marked the 44th year of the Legislative Breakfast on Mental Health. The theme was, “Building Mental Health Policy for Comprehensive, Integrated, Whole Person Care: Accessible Effective, Lifelong Supports.” Over 200 people participated in this virtual event Saturday, Feb. 26, with three hours of guest speakers.

Kody H. Kinsley, secretary of the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services, was the special guest speaker, and he emphasized the need for improved mental health care for people of all ages, backgrounds and income levels. The program included healthcare and social work professionals, legislators and people with lived experience. Perhaps one of the most alarming issues was the high rate of mental illness, including suicide, among our children.

A highlight of the event was the bestowal of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Rep. Verla Insko. As stated in the program about the award recipients: She is noted for her progressive policy positions, believing in “an activist government that provides for the common good and protects the vulnerable.”


Summer Careers Academy

The Summer Careers Academy is a new Registered Youth Apprenticeship (https://bit.ly/3sBgD9T) that connects local learners (ages 16-24) with new skills, paid work experiences and compelling career pathways to in-demand fields. It is designed as an eight-week career training program that will take place this summer in Orange County.

In this initial phase, the Academy focuses on the skilled trades. Subsequent years will expand to other industries, such as healthcare and information technology. It is designed by a diverse coalition including representatives from educational institutions, employer groups and governmental agencies as well as community volunteers and experts. 

Young people of Orange County are encouraged to apply; a special focus is on youth from refugee and migrant families, as well as low-income students and students of color.

For more information, visit: https://www.carolinachamber.org/summercareersacademy/.


Gatsby Gala

The Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce will host its fabulous Gatsby Gala 2022 Awards and Annual Meeting on Saturday, March 26, at the recently renovated Colonial Inn in historic Hillsborough. They will be celebrating their member businesses and giving special recognition to those who gave extra time and energy to the Chamber and the community. 

The Gatsby Gala has become an annual and beloved tradition, so register today, as seating is limited. Flapper-period attire is encouraged. Fun begins at 7 p.m.

Register at https://bit.ly/3pyXSSm. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3vyXKGw.


Undergraduate Student Internship Opportunities with Rep. David Price

Rep. David Price, N.C. Fourth Congressional District, is offering summer and semester-long internship opportunities for undergraduate students in his Washington and District offices, with applications due March 4. Interns will have the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the legislative process, constituent services, policy research and the workings of a Congressional office. 

Internships are open to undergraduate students regardless of major; there is a Summer Internship Program and an Academic Year Internship Program.  

The Summer Internship Program consists of one ten-week session (June-August). Participants will work 40 hours per week and receive a $6,000 stipend. The Summer Internship Program can accommodate three students in the Washington office and one student in the Durham District office. Preference for the Summer Internship Program will be given to rising seniors with ties to the Fourth Congressional District.

The Academic Year Internship Program consists of two semester-long sessions. This unpaid program is open to undergraduate students who are attending a DC-area college or who are participating in a semester in Washington, DC, in a program sponsored by a college or university. The fall internship session runs from September through December, and participants must receive academic credit to be considered. The schedule of semester interns may be flexible depending on the program. 

Those applying to either internship program are required to complete an application to be considered for a position. Interested individuals can find the Internship Program description, eligibility requirements and an application form at. https://bit.ly/3MkpKDN. For questions regarding internships in the Office of Congressman David Price, email NC04.Intern@mail.house.gov or call his office at 202-225-1784. 


February 28, 2022

Annual Maintenance Scheduled for Homestead Aquatic Center Extended

Due to delays in the delivery of supplies, routine maintenance and time for completion of some needed repairs at the Homestead Aquatic Center have been extended through March 4.

During this closure, pass holders and residents may use the indoor pool at the Chapel Hill Community Center, with a variety of drop-in times available for lap swim, recreation swim and independent water fitness opportunities for the public.

Continuing to serve during the COVID-19 pandemic, capacity is limited to no more than 25 swimmers inside the pool facility at any one time. For example, lap swim is limited to up to six swim lanes, with a maximum of three swimmers per lane, during available times.

For more information on available times and the drop-in schedule, see the Community Center pool schedule ( https://bit.ly/3McXse4). Feel free to call ahead at 919-968-2790 to check on availability.  


Chapel Hill Transit Restores Trips on the A, HS & N Routes

Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) restored several trips to the A, HS and N routes beginning Monday, February 28. Updated schedules can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3Hude0A.

Please continue to be patient with CHT operators and follow COVID-19 safety protocols on the buses, including wearing a mask over your nose and mouth while on the bus.


NCDOT Seeking Input on Bicycle Route System Update

The N.C. Dept. of Transportation (NCDOT) is now initiating another update to the North Carolina bicycle route system (https://bit.ly/3tjVQ9Q), based on a more current review of existing and planned bicycle facilities throughout the state. The public is invited to help identify additional potential changes to the system, based on recent roadway projects, local planning and local knowledge and understanding of the routes. To provide input, visit the NCDOT State Bike Route System Public Input Map at https://ncdot.altaplanning.cloud/#/. Input will be accepted until March 14.


Chapel Hill Public Library to Conduct Prescribed Burn, Fire Education Events

As part of its Explore More at Pritchard Park initiative (https://chapelhillpubliclibrary.org/explore-more/), Chapel Hill Public Library (CHPL) will offer a series of fire ecology programs this spring, culminating in a prescribed burn.

These all-ages programs will emphasize the beneficial role fire plays in the healthy function and biodiversity of habitats, as well as in the natural processes of adaptation and ecologic succession.

  • “Before the Burn” fire ecology walk will be held Saturday, March 5, at 11 a.m.

People of all ages are invited to a walking tour of the flora and fauna on the hillside above the traffic circle. N.C. Forest Ranger for Orange County, Justin Bennett, will talk about the role of the Forest Service, the burn plan and safety measures for the hillside and the value of prescribed burns.

  • The controlled burn will happen sometime between March 7 and March 23, on a weekday, depending on optimal weather conditions. Notice will be given the day before.

The prescribed burn, which will cover the grassy hillside above the main entrance traffic circle at the library, will benefit the Pritchard Park ecosystem by reducing the number of invasive species on the slope, rejuvenating native grasses, improving wildlife habitat and controlling insects.

  • An “After the Burn” exploratory walk will be held Saturday, April 2, at 11 a.m.

An exploratory walk post-fire will look at what happened after the burn, what’s changed and what to expect in the weeks and months to come.

Through the series of fire ecology education events, the library will provide a forum for the public to learn more about fire’s important ecological role in the environment.

Representatives from area wildlife and environmental organizations will also speak about the animal species and habitats in Pritchard Park, the role of fire in habitat vitality and renewal, and what changes we can expect over time.

Fire department, library and town social media channels will provide safety updates leading up to the fire. For more information, contact CHPL Marketing and Communications Coordinator Hannah Olson at holson@townofchapelhill.org


Carrboro Mayor Seils Proclaims National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Mayor Damon Seils has declared Feb. 28 to March 4 as National Invasive Species Awareness Week in Carrboro.

National Invasive Species Awareness Week is an international event created to raise awareness of invasive species, the threat that they pose, and what can be done to prevent their spread.

Access the full proclamation at https://bit.ly/35aHDnP.


OWASA 2021 Wastewater Report Card Now Available

Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) met or surpassed all state and federal wastewater regulations in 2021, as shown in the annual wastewater report card (https://bit.ly/3hmFojL) released Feb. 25.

Highlights from this year’s report card include all regulatory data, as well profiles of some of the OWASA team members critical to successfully treating the community’s wastewater, an update on the wastewater monitoring program for COVID-19 in the community and what you can do as a community member to help maintain the community’s infrastructure.

The treatment process combines biology and technology with OWASA team members’ skills to treat the community’s wastewater to meet all regulatory standards and return the water to the environment through Morgan Creek, where the water eventually makes its way to Jordan Lake. Meanwhile, OWASA is also capturing biogas that helps heat boilers used as part of the wastewater treatment process and creates biosolids that are applied to local farm land.

Maintaining the community’s wastewater infrastructure is a major priority for OWASA. Roughly half of every dollar OWASA receives through rates and fees is put back into the system. These investments help maintain the system’s reliability and resiliency, while also improving how efficiently they can operate.

The community can help keep the system functioning well by disposing of waste items properly. Only the three Ps: pee, poo and toilet paper (https://www.owasa.org/down-the-drain-yes-to-the-3-ps/), should be flushed down the drain. Rags and sanitary wipes should be thrown away. Fats, oils and grease from cooking should be placed in a container and allowed to cool before being thrown away or reused in future cooking.

You can find more information about the community’s wastewater infrastructure and treatment process at https://www.owasa.org/wastewater/. For more information, contact Blake Hodge, communications specialist, 919-537-4236, bhodge@owasa.org.


Survey on Long-term Economic Recovery

Orange County local government, in collaboration with the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, the towns and related economic allies, are committed to the community’s long-term economic recovery from COVID’s financial and other challenges. Please complete an important, brief survey (https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/sv/nxLWuZn) about local business conditions and business needs here in Orange County.

Your survey response will help shape how local governments, economic development professionals and chambers of commerce support local businesses and the local economy.

The survey takes about six minutes to complete, and each respondent is asked to complete the surveys only once, even if you receive the invitation from multiple partners. All responses are anonymous.


February 22, 2022

Call for Visual Artists and Writers

The Orange County Arts Commission, in partnership with the Orange County Department of Housing and Community Development, seeks to showcase “home” through the eyes and words of working artists by inviting visual and literary artists living in Orange, Durham, Wake and Chatham counties to answer these questions through works of original art: 

  • What does the idea or experience of “home” mean to you?
  • What has your experience of “home” been as an artist and person living in the Triangle?
  • Is “home” a place of comfort, safety and warmth, or something else?
  • Is “home” positive, negative or something in between?

Artists are invited to submit works for the exhibit, HOME? An Artistic Exploration of Housing in the Triangle, opening Friday, April 1. Works will be on view and for sale through the end of April. Visual artists will receive 60% of sales from work sold; selected literary artists will receive a $200 honorarium to read their work aloud at the show opening.


Temporary Change in OWASA’s Water Disinfection Process in March

Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) will temporarily alter its drinking water treatment process beginning 12 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, and continuing through the month of March. Water will remain safe to drink during this time, but customers might notice a change in taste or odor of drinking water.

OWASA uses chloramines, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, to disinfect drinking water throughout the majority of the year. Each March, however, they use only chlorine for the disinfection process. This change is only for the month of March and has no impact on the safety of the drinking water. The change in treatment process is recommended by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and is standard practice among water providers, including neighboring utilities.

To ensure chlorine reaches all 400 miles of water pipes across Chapel Hill and Carrboro, OWASA will “flush” the system. This involves releasing water from fire hydrants in the service area. Flushing may cause some discoloration in water. If discoloration occurs, run the water for a few minutes until it becomes clear. If the discoloration does not clear after a few minutes, call OWASA at 919-968-4421.

If customers wish to neutralize the chlorine taste, they can consider storing water in an open container in the refrigerator; chlorine taste and odor will dissipate over time. Customers can also add a few lemon slices to the tap water; the lemon has ascorbic acid, which neutralizes chlorine. Some home filters use activated carbon to reduce the taste and odor. Lastly, customers can also boil water for one minute, and the chlorine will evaporate.

Dialysis patients and aquarium owners should continue to take special precautions to remove traces of ammonia and chlorine from the water before use. To learn more about the community’s water supply and treatment, visit www.owasa.org/water-health.

For more information, contact Blake Hodge, communications specialist, at 919-537-4236 or bhodge@owasa.org.


Transit Real-time Information on Nextbus, Transloc Impacted

Starting Tuesday, Feb. 22, AT&T was to begin dismantling its 3G service network, impacting real-time predictions provided by Nextbus and Transloc.

Nextbus provides real-time information to signage throughout town and mobile apps through technology installed in every Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) vehicle. When AT&T discontinues its 3G network, the 3G modems installed in the Nextbus systems will stop sending data updating customers about the buses’ locations. Transloc also depends on this information from Nextbus to provide real-time information about CHT service.

Chapel Hill Transit is working to replace all the modems, but the new modems will not arrive from Nextbus for several more months. Staff are looking at other alternatives, but due to the way the Nextbus system was built, other solutions will not work. It may be four or more months before the old Nextbus technology can be replaced.

Customers can continue to use schedules online at https://bit.ly/3M4fhfA to find their bus departure times. The Transit App (https://transitapp.com/), which uses crowd-sourced data to determine bus predictions, should be unaffected by the network change and may be a good alternative for CHT customers.

Chapel Hill Transit will continue to communicate important service information through TwitterNextbus and its website (chtransit.org). The website is being updated to ensure the most accurate schedules are posted, and, as route schedules change, CHT will do its best to post new schedules to major affected stops ahead of time. Chapel Hill Transit will provide updates as the staff learn more.


February 20, 2022 

Chapel Hill Historical Society Launches Exhibit at Orange County Historical Museum

The Chapel Hill Historical Society has launched its new designated exhibit space in the Orange County Historical Museum, located in Hillsborough, at the invitation of the museum’s board of directors. The first exhibit, “A History of Hope,” debuted Saturday, Feb. 19.

“For this first exhibit, we decided to start at the beginning — the University and the Town, 1793-1930,” said Chapel Hill Historical Society president, Richard Ellington. “We tell a more complete story. We hope this exhibit engages you, perhaps surprises you, and prompts you to want to learn more.”

Exhibit co-chair Marsha Jepsen says they have many ideas for future exhibits, including music, civil rights, town treasures and sports. They anticipate 2-3 exhibits a year. If anyone has artifacts or special items to loan for the exhibit, the Historical Society would like to connect with them.

Chair of the exhibit, Missy Julian-Fox, said, “We envisioned this exhibit as a backdrop to share stories and spark conversations. There are so many stories to tell — many of which have been untold for generations. Our hope is to bring us together in our shared past to better understand our present and to inform our future. There is more of Chapel Hill to love and so much more to learn. Come see our exhibit!”


Public Hearing on Carrboro Connects Comprehensive Plan

On Tuesday, Feb. 22, the Carrboro Town Council will hold a remote public hearing to continue to receive public comment and discuss the Draft Carrboro Connects Comprehensive Plan. The meeting will be held virtually at 7 p.m. 

View the latest Carrboro Connects Draft Plan at https://www.carrboroconnects.org/public-hearing-draft. 

Since posting the latest draft plan Nov. 12, 2021, more than 300 people have viewed the document. Read a summary of what has changed since the preliminary draft at Summary-of-Changes-Preliminary-Draft-to-PH-Draft-Plan.pdf (teskaassociates.com). The plan has also been reviewed by the Town’s advisory boards, commissions, organizations and residents. These comments will be summarized and presented to the Town Council.

Following feedback and direction from Town Council, the project team will prepare the next version of the draft plan for further review by the Council. At this time, the Comprehensive Plan is on track to be adopted in the spring of this year.

To submit a public comment or sign-up to speak at the hearing, email publiccomment@carrboronc.gov. You can also view the livestreamed meeting via YouTube.com/CarrboroNC and Cable TV 18.


OCAS to Host Low-Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinic

Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) will host a low-cost rabies vaccination clinic Saturday, Feb. 26. This is a drive-through clinic that will be held in Chapel Hill.

These low-cost clinics help to ensure that cats and dogs are current on their vaccinations while providing pet owners with substantial savings on this service. The clinic will offer one-year and three-year vaccinations for $10. Pet owners will need to have a previous rabies certificate in hand to receive the three-year vaccine; a tag alone is not sufficient. The date, time and location of the clinic are as follows:

  • Saturday, Feb. 26, from 9 a.m. to noon;
  • Park & Ride lot on Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill, NC (see map here).

This is a drive-through clinic, and OCAS is asking that everyone stay in their car and wear a mask when interacting with staff or volunteers.

Microchips will also be offered at this clinic for $35 each. Owners can choose to have a pet receive only a microchip, only a rabies vaccine or both. If you are bringing a cat to this clinic, please make sure the cat is in a secure carrier.

OCAS would like to thank everyone in advance for their patience as many participants are expected. Cash payments are encouraged to help the line of cars move more quickly.
For more details, visit www.orangecountync.gov/308/Low-Cost-Clinics, or call 919-942-PETS (7387).


Orange County Officials Leave Indoor Mask Mandate in Place

Orange County local elected leaders, after meeting with Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart, have opted to leave the county’s indoor mask mandate in place and to continue to meet and reassess the situation on an ongoing basis.

Key metrics in Orange County are dropping, including number of cases and percent positivity for test results. Local leaders feel that extending the mandate for another few weeks will ensure those numbers continue to fall.

Hillsborough Mayor Jenn Weaver, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils joined in the decision. The elected leaders and health officials will meet with other community partners, including representatives from local school systems, UNC Hospitals, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and first responders, in early March.


February 19, 2022

NAACP Presents Session on Promoting Racial Justice

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will present a Zoom interactive session, “Promoting Racial Justice: What Everyone Needs to Know,” featuring award-winning educator Dr. Charles Barrett, Monday, Feb. 21, at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Barrett will discuss the importance of understanding race as a social construct and racism as the foundation of marginalization in American society. He will also discuss strategies families can use to facilitate conversations about race, and the significance of Black Lives Matter will be explained, as well as the differences between diversity, inclusion and equity.

For more information and to register, go to https://bit.ly/3oW7yGw.


Leaf Collection on McCauley Street 1.31.19

Last Call for Leaf Collection for Chapel Hill

The Town of Chapel Hill’s final collection of loose leaves for this season will begin Monday, Feb. 21.

Place loose leaves, free of limbs and debris, behind the curb or drainage ditch for collection no later than 7 a.m. Feb. 21 to ensure leaves are collected. Go to townofchapelhill.org/leaves for the weekly collection schedule.

Once your route has been completed, the Town will only collect leaves that are left in year-round yard-waste containers. You can place leaves in a yard-waste cart or other rigid container for curbside collection as well as 30-gallon, 50-pound-weight-limit brown paper bags. Leaves in plastic bags will not be collected.

You can also consider other natural ways of disposing of the leaves, including the voluntary Leave the Leaves program — in partnership with the New Hope Audubon Society — and composting your leaves. For information about these and other disposal options, see the website above, or call 919-969-5100.


Community Invited to Carrboro Conversations

Carrboro Conversations kicks off this month with opportunities to meet virtually or in person to chat with Town of Carrboro staff about current issues. These are drop-in community sharing sessions with the Town of Carrboro. 

Carrboro Conversations topics coming up include the 203 Project, American Rescue Plan Act funding priorities and opportunities to get involved in stream clean-up efforts this spring. 

The drop-in sessions are scheduled as follows: 


First Year with BLM Murals

In 2020, the Carrboro Town Council directed that Black Lives Matter (BLM) murals be installed in the community to raise consciousness in all who view them. A year ago this week, a video about the project (youtu.be/T6MkHBxPkbY) was played at a Carrboro Town Council meeting to dedicate the new BLM murals. 

The public artwork recognizes BLM, a movement that has been called the largest civil rights movement in U.S. history. It also visibly highlights and advocates for values that are important to Carrboro. Then-Mayor Lydia Lavelle explained that the murals express the community’s acknowledgment of and opposition to systemic and institutional racism. 

The stars of the Town Council meeting-dedication event were the primary muralists Tyrone Smalls and Ebriyon Barrett, alongside student-artists Cyani Jacobs, Theo Preston, Ash Granda-Bondurant and Carina Rockart. They painted murals at Communityworx, 125 W. Main St. (completed Dec. 18, 2020) and at the Century Center, 100 N. Greensboro St. (completed Jan. 15, 2021). 


February 16, 2022

Orange County Creek Week March 12-19

Orange County’s first-ever Orange County Creek Week is set for March 12-19. The inaugural event is part of the Clean Water and Education Partnership’s (CWEP) second annual Regional Creek Week. This year’s theme is “Water Connects Us.” The initiative will engage the public on the importance of clean and healthy waterways.

There will be a variety of virtual and in-person events spanning the weeks before and after Creek Week to help people learn about, take care of and enjoy Orange County’s waterways. Throughout the week, residents will have a chance to join trash clean-ups, community science activities, a virtual 5k, and more spanning across the county. Check out https://www.orangecountync.gov/2887/Creek-Week, which will outline resources and events to get involved in this Creek Week. 

You can learn more about CWEP’s Creek Week at https://nc-cleanwater.com/regional-creek-week/.   

Questions? Contact Sammy Bauer at 919-968-2715 or sbauer@townofchapelhill.org


BIPOC Elected Officials of Orange County Present “Let America Be America Again” for Black History Month 

For Black History Month 2022, the Black, Indigenous and People of Color elected officials of Orange County have released their video presentation of the Langston Hughes poem “Let America Be America Again” (https://youtu.be/iFscQ_oyMtA).

The poem highlights the discrepancy between the ideals of the American dream and the realities of American life. Has the United States fulfilled its promised vision of freedom and equality for all people? Read the poem at https://bit.ly/34N7QbK.   


El Centro Hispano Opens New ToolBank Program

El Centro Hispano has unveiled its new ToolBank program, which allows registered Center for Employment and Leadership (CEL) workers to take better-paying jobs that require them to bring their own tools. Currently, the ToolBank rents, at a minimal cost, 40 tools, including leaf blowers, lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws, weed whackers, pressure washers and more.

El Centro Hispano connects small businesses and town residents with skilled workers in the fields of construction, plumbing, landscaping, domestic work, moving, yard work and painting.

In 2015, El Centro Hispano became the first day-laborer employment center created in the South. Day laborers are hard-working men and women in our community who find work to support their families. El Centro Hispano protects and defends the rights of these vulnerable workers and connects them with reliable employers who will pay a fair wage.

The shed that will house the tools was ushered into reality by tireless local volunteer Marilyn Alexander. Volunteer workers donated their time and talent to construct the shed.  

 For more information on CEL, call 919-945-0136.


February 13, 2022

Chapel Hill Transit Restores Trips on CL, D, & J Routes

Chapel Hill Transit will restore several trips to the CL, D and J routes beginning Monday, Feb. 14. Staff at Chapel Hill Transit reduced service on several routes Jan. 10 amidst the unprecedented numbers of daily call outs due to safety protocols related to COVID-19 and other illnesses.

Customers can view the updated schedules at https://bit.ly/34PMFFB.


New Infrastructure to Local Roads to Increase Safety

The Town of Chapel Hill added new infrastructure to local roads to increase safety for people who walk, roll, and ride bikes, and to make it easier for people driving to see those people. Recent additions include rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs) and new bike lanes.

Additions include:

  • RRFBs on Estes Drive at Caswell Road (in front of Phillips Middle School)
  • RRFBs on Homestead Road at Aquatic Center Drive
  • Climbing bike lane on Country Club Road
  • Bike lanes on Europa Drive
  • High-visibility crosswalks at the intersection of Mitchell Lane and Roberson Street

The Town also added flexible bollards and a solid white line between the travel lanes along northbound and southbound Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at the mid-block crosswalk in front of Town Hall. The bollards and lines should discourage drivers from changing lanes and encourage them to slow down as they approach the crosswalk. This is a pilot test and, if successful, the bollards will stay in place at this location, and staff will consider implementing it in other locations.

The Town is scheduled to begin construction this spring on the Estes Drive Connectivity Project. The project includes raised bike lanes from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Caswell Road, a sidewalk on the south side of Estes Drive, and a 10-foot multi-use path on the north side. The project also includes intersection improvements at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and bike lanes extending onto Estes Drive Extension. There will be enhanced crossing opportunities, including RRFBs, along the length of the project.

Other projects coming later this year include:

  • RRFBs on Estes Drive at Somerset Drive
  • Homestead Road multi-use path and bike lanes
  • Seawell School Road sidewalk
  • Ephesus Church Road bike lanes
  • West Franklin Street bike lanes

The Chapel Hill Police Department recently announced increased enforcement operations around crosswalks throughout town. Read more at https://bit.ly/34wOCXV.


Orange County Seeks Public Feedback on Proposed Transit Plan Projects

Orange County Public Transportation (https://bit.ly/3GLEgQI) and county transit service providers Chapel Hill Transit (https://bit.ly/3sAMnuC) and GoTriangle (https://gotriangle.org/) are seeking public input on proposed transit plan projects to be included in Orange County’s updated transit plan. This second phase of public engagement is focused on evaluating projects that can be funded with transit tax revenues and prioritizing regional connections for future transit investments.

Residents, transit system users and other interested stakeholders are asked to provide their thoughts on the proposed projects and the conceptual transit investment vision by participating in the online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7K2X8F5. If interested members of the public are not able to access the online survey, a paper survey can be requested by email to cdwyer@citiesthatwork.com or by calling 919-636-5032 x 401 no later than Tuesday, March 1.


Free N95 Masks

N95 masks will be available at two Orange County locations while supplies last: 

  • Orange County Public Library, 137 W. Margaret Lane, Hillsborough

Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Friday-Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

  • Interfaith Council for Social Services, 110 W. Main St., Carrboro

Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

You may also request free masks from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services at: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/RequestMasks.


Town Proposing Bike Lanes on Ephesus Church Road

The town of Chapel Hill is proposing to add bike lanes to Ephesus Church Road, as part of a scheduled resurfacing and repaving project by the N.C. Department of Transportation this summer.

The Ephesus Church repaving project will be completed this summer to avoid conflicts with school pick-up and drop-off, and changes are only being proposed for the roadway (no added sidewalks or curb/gutter). As part of this resurfacing, the Town is proposing to add bike lanes on Ephesus Church between Churchill Drive and the roundabout, as included in the Mobility & Connectivity Plan (https://bit.ly/363wYLz). This would be accomplished by narrowing vehicle lanes and prohibiting on-street parking along Ephesus Church Road. For full details on the analysis and the proposed lane changes, visit https://bit.ly/3LFJHVg.

The Town would like feedback on the proposed changes to Ephesus Church Road. Feedback is being collected through:

If you have questions, contact Josh Mayo, transportation planner, at jmayo@townofchapelhill.org.


February 10, 2022

Carrboro East Main Street Sewer Rehabilitation Project to Begin

Construction for the Carrboro East Main Street Sewer Rehabilitation Project is anticipated to begin on the night of Feb. 11 and be completed by June. That timeline could be extended by weather or other factors. Orange Water and Sewer Authority will provide updates on any changes to the construction timeline.

The project work will include replacing approximately 2,000 feet of sewer line, replacing and installing new manholes and several smaller repairs (shown as point repairs in the map) within the project area but outside of Main Street.

Customers in the area may be affected, as follows:

  • Normal work hours will occur each weekend from Friday at 8 p.m. through Monday at 6 a.m.
  • Some smaller tasks will occur during weekday nights from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Traffic impacts are expected during construction times; signs will be provided for detours, changes in traffic patterns and accessibility around construction.
  • Businesses in the area will be open during construction.
  • All travel lanes will be open at the end of each weekend with no impacts to vehicle traffic.

 It is possible that customers will have short sanitary sewer service interruptions (typically a few hours) while their service is reconnected to the new sewer line. Property owners will be notified 48 hours before any planned service disruptions. No drinking-water service interruptions are anticipated as part of the project.

For more information, sign up for e-mail updates at https://bit.ly/3bimlEf; visit https://bit.ly/3uHc2o4; or contact Simon Lobdell, P.E., project manager, at (919) 537-4247 or smlobdell@owasa.org


Input Sought on How ARPA Funds Should Be Used

In the spring of 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law, providing a $1.9 trillion stimulus to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Locally, our towns and county have to decide how to use the tens of millions of dollars that have been allocated to our communities.

Through the links below, you can find guidelines about and examples of what the funding can and can’t be used for, as well as direct links to the surveys that allow you to tell your elected officials where you think the funds would be best spent.

While Orange County does not currently have a survey open, you can visit https://bit.ly/3BeR7d7 to see how they allocated the first two rounds of funding.


Upcoming NAACP Events

The local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has a full month of events planned, as follows:

  • Health and Wellness Committee’s Black to the Future Blood Drive – Blood donations are needed desperately right now. To help out, sign up at https://rcblood.org/3JpnEQN
  • Virtual remembrance of Dr. Charles Drew (a pioneer in blood transfusions) – Feb. 23. Register at https://bit.ly/3oEOKvk.
  • Mental Health Access Program – Compass Center for Women and Families (https://www.compassctr.org/), to make sure everyone has a safe space to heal. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3BkKpSX.
  • HBO miniseries, Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union – Discussion with the Political Action Committee; Feb. 15. Learn more about how to watch the program and join the discussion at https://bit.ly/3svNnjA.
  • Black History Month virtual trivia event – Co-hosted by the NAACP and Carolina Black Caucus; Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Register at https://bit.ly/3gzAwr4.
  • Book read and discussionThe Sum of Us by Heather McGee; Feb. 24. Read the book, and register for the discussion at https://bit.ly/3GGSEtE.
  • Celebrating Black People in America: Heritage and Impact – Join the town of Carrboro and Orange County Community Remembrance Coalition (OCCRC) Feb. 10, 6 p.m., in person or via livestream. To learn more, visit https://bit.ly/3GAM6Na.
  • Public information meeting about the Trinity Court development – Feb. 10, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Register at https://bit.ly/TC3Register. For more information, go to. https://bit.ly/3Loqjfg.
  • Film screening and panel discussion of Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America; Feb. 27. For more information, visit https://humanities.unc.edu/whoweare/.
  • Scholarship opportunity: Peacemaking Scholarship – Open to anyone who lives in, goes to school in or is active in a faith community in Chapel Hill or Carrboro. Apply by Feb. 28 at https://unitedchurch.org/peacemaking/.
  • Scholarship opportunity: Monsignor Thomas P. Hadden African American Reparative Scholarship – Awards $5,000 to a high school senior whose ancestors were either enslaved or worked at UNC-Chapel Hill from its creation to 1950. Apply by March 1 at https://stmchapelhill.org/hadden-scholarship.  

 

Orange County Transit Survey

If you use public transit in Orange County, take the Orange County transit survey at https://bit.ly/34vkUSZ. Paper surveys are also available; contact Caroline Dwyer at cdwyer@citiesthatwork.com or by phone at (919) 636-5032 x 401 by Tuesday, March 1. For more information about the transit plan update, go to www.octransit2020.com.


February 6, 2022

Broadband Task Force Designing Strategy to Bring Broadband to Underserved Areas

The Orange County Broadband Task Force began meeting in March 2021 to design a strategy for expanding reliable high-speed internet services throughout the underserved areas of the county.

In September, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) committed $5 million in federal COVID-19 recovery funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to help implement the first phase of that strategy.

In November, the county published a request for proposals from interested internet service providers to lay a fiber network and connect roughly 5,200 Orange County homes to that network with guaranteed upload speeds of 100 mps and 100 mps download speeds. These speeds are sufficient to support two children taking online classes from home while one or more parent works from home. Four companies submitted bids, which are being reviewed by the task force.

The task force intends to hold in-person sessions with the community to provide more details on these projects as soon as conditions allow for those meetings to be held safely. The BOCC recently announced it will continue meeting virtually through the end of February. When the BOCC resumes in-person meetings, the task force will schedule community information sessions as well.

See https://bit.ly/3GxdOuf for more information.


Orange County to Host Presentation on Funeral Consumer Rights

The Orange County Department on Aging and the Project EngAGE End of Life Choices Senior Resource Team invite the public to attend a virtual presentation, 12 Funeral Myths,  Feb. 9 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The room will accept entry beginning at 3:50 p.m. to assist with any questions or platform issues before the start of the program. 

Sara Williams, founder of Shrouding Sisters (www.shroudingsisters.com), will discuss funeral consumer rights and options that can save families thousands of dollars at life’s end. Sara’s presentation will explore some common misconceptions about funeral practices and provide valuable information on how to navigate the process of creating the funeral of your choice.   

To register, go to www.orangecountync.gov/FuneralMyths

If technology assistance is needed, please contact Shenae McPherson at 919-245-4243 by Monday, Feb. 7.


Update on Wolf Dogs at OCAS

Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) has found appropriate sanctuary placement for two of the eight wolf dogs housed at the shelter. 

Two wolf dogs (Taalai and Taa, 11-month-old littermates) left for their new home in Colorado Sunday, Jan. 30. OCAS worked directly with WolfWood Refuge for several months, which culminated in this successful transfer. 

OCAS continues to work on placement for the remaining six wolfdogs and is networking with licensed sanctuaries. 


Carrboro ArtsCenter News

The Carrboro ArtsCenter is losing its leader and gaining a new home.

After over six years leading the organization, Dan Mayer will be moving on in the next month. He has accepted the position of president/CEO of the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, S.C. All that The ArtsCenter has accomplished under Mayer’s tenure will set the organization up for success in ushering in the next 50 years. Mayer built a great staff at The ArtsCenter ably co-led by interim Executive Director, programming, Mark Bettger and interim Executive Director, the capital campaign & development, Wendy Smith. A search committee has been formed to secure the next executive director for The ArtsCenter.

The ArtsCenter is also moving, to 400 Roberson St. Renovation of the newly acquired property could begin as soon as this summer. Visit https://artscenterlive.org/ to stay informed. 

Meanwhile, The ArtsCenter continues to provide entertainment, exhibits and instruction:

Kaki King: live onstage, March 3, 8 p.m.; tickets $25. Kaki King continues to refine her now signature instrument-centered projection mapping performance, using audiovisual technical wizardry, carefully choreographed guitar and drum playing, as well as colorful visual curation. For more information and tickets, visit https://artscenterlive.org/performance/kaki-king/.

The Foreign Landers: live onstage, March 27, 8 p.m.; tickets $15. The Foreign Landers is a duo hailing from opposite sides of the Atlantic united by their love of bluegrass and traditional folk music and their love for each other. For more information and tickets, visit https://artscenterlive.org/performance/the-foreign-landers/.

Exhibit: “When Paint Speaks,” Nicholson Gallery, grand opening Feb. 11, 6 p.m.; local painters Allison Coleman and Steven Silverleaf have developed artworks that speak from their inner voices and respond to their experiences and interactions with social and political contexts. Being creators living in this North Carolina region, this exhibition is also part of the conversation about today’s American painting and its cultural relevance.

ArtSchool: through March 31. Visit ArtsCenterLive.org/performances/category/classes for a menu of classes in writing, painting, photography, ceramics, dyeing, improv and more.

Upcoming events and performances: for more upcoming events and performances, visit https://artscenterlive.org/performances/category/performances/.


February 4, 2022

Black History Month Events in Carrboro

The town of Carrboro is celebrating Black History Month throughout February. Since its beginnings as a weeklong recognition by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926, Black History Month has grown to include opportunities for education, reflection and celebration. Celebrations of Black history will be held all month long. See the schedule below, organized and planned by the Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources Department, including: 

Black History Month Proclamation

During the Town Council meeting on Feb. 1, Mayor Damon Seils issued a proclamation recognizing Black History Month in the Town of Carrboro. Read the proclamation, which recognizes many Black people who have played significant roles in the life of the community, including Robert “Bob” Drakeford, Braxton Foushee, Hilliard Caldwell, Henry “Hank” Anderson, Joal Hall Broun, Michelle Johnson, Barbara Foushee, Fred Joiner and Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten, at https://bit.ly/333MING.

Virtual Youth Art Exhibit

Local student artists submit original artwork that expresses what Black History Month means to them. Select artwork will be displayed on the Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources website during the month of February. If you are a local student interested in submitting your work, please contact Dana Hughes at dhughes@townofcarrboro.org or 919.918.7372 for instructions on submission. 

28 Days of Black History Trivia

February is dedicated as Black History Month, honoring the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout U.S. history, including civil rights movements and cultural and political achievements. Test your knowledge or learn something new each day. There will be one trivia question and answer posted each day on the Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources Department’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/carrbororec

Inspiring Black History Month Quotes to Remember

Need a little inspiration to start your day? Check out these wonderful, inspirational quotes from civil rights icons. One quote will be posted each day on the Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources Department’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/carrbororec.

February 6 – Black experiences with storyteller Donna Washington, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Carrboro Century Center; $3/person
Donna Washington is an internationally known, multiple award-winning story-teller, spoken-word recording artist and author. A highly-animated performer, she has been entertaining, educating and inspiring audiences with her vocal pyrotechnics, elastic face and deep characterizations that bring folklore, literary tales and personal narratives to life for over thirty years. This show is suited for middle schoolers to adults. For more information on registration, contact Robbin Justice-Jones at rjones@townofcarrboro.org or 919-918-7368. 

February 9 – Family Fun Sunday Series with JeGhetto, Carrboro Century Center, 10:30-11:30 a.m.;
$3/person
Tarish Pipkins, a.k.a. Jeghetto, has fine-tuned his skills by doing street performances with his puppets. He has worked with Paperhand Puppet Intervention, building puppets and performing in several Paperhand productions. Most recently, Jeghetto had the pleasure to work with national recording artist Missy Elliott on her music video, WTF (Where They From), controlling the Pharell puppet and doing some puppet building. He also worked on the Amazon Echo commercial featuring Missy Elliott and Alec Baldwin as puppets. Children and adults alike will be amazed. For more information, contact Robbin Justice-Jones at rjones@townofcarrboro.org or 919-918-7368. If you have any questions, please contact the Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources Department via email at programsdivision@townofcarrboro.org or by phone at 919-918-7364.

February 10 – Celebrating Black America—Frederick Douglass’ The Lessons of the Hour, 6-8 p.m., Carrboro Century Center; free/all ages
The Town of Carrboro will host local history scholars and community leaders to view Fred Morsell’s 1994 re-enactment of one of the last great speeches by Frederick Douglass, entitled, “The Lessons of the Hour.” Delivered Jan. 9, 1894, at Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Douglass’ speech addresses topics ranging from racial terror and lynching to colonization and voting rights. Followed by panel discussion with community leaders and scholars. Learn more at https://bit.ly/32ZjgIt.  

Celebrating Black America on Carrboro YouTube 
Available videos include “Seven Generations in Carrboro – Conversations with Dolores Clark and her daughter Lorie Clark,” as well as a panel discussion of George Henry White, a U.S. Congressman from North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district between 1897 and 1901; the Frederick Douglass Community Readings; and Carrboro’s Black Lives Matter Mural Artists Recognition. Find them all at https://bit.ly/3Le0Bd6.


N.C. Homeowner Assistance Fund Opens Statewide

The N.C. Homeowner Assistance Fund is now accepting applications from North Carolina homeowners whose finances were impacted by the pandemic and who need assistance with housing-related expenses. Established through the 2021 American Rescue Plan to prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, displacements and foreclosures for homeowners experiencing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic, the fund offers assistance of up to $40,000 for qualified homeowners as long as funding is available. In addition to COVID-19 financial impact, applicants must be seeking assistance for a primary residence in North Carolina and meet income and other requirements. 

For qualified homeowners, the fund offers:

  • Housing payment assistance for primary residence in North Carolina (for example, single-family home, townhome, condo or mobile home);
  • Assistance for mortgage reinstatement to catch up on late payments (first or second mortgages) or other housing-related costs due to a period of forbearance, delinquency or default;
  • Assistance covering other housing-related costs, such as homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, mortgage insurance, homeowner’s association dues/fees or delinquent property taxes to prevent foreclosure.

Homeowners can learn more and apply for help by calling 1-855-MY-NCHAF (1-855-696-2423) or by visiting https://nchaf.gov/.


Carrboro Town Council Honors Catherine Dorando

The Carrboro Town Council expressed its gratitude to outgoing Town Clerk Catherine “Cathy” Dorando for more than a decade of service. The honoring resolution was presented on Tuesday, Feb. 1 (https://bit.ly/3Gxs9Xs). 

Mayor Damon Seils stated, “Cathy brought a level of professional knowledge and skill to her work that helped modernize and raise the profile of the clerk’s office in ways that will serve her successors well for many years to come — all while contributing to a sense of community in Town Hall and building countless lasting friendships.”

Among her accomplishments was a comprehensive revision of the Town code to gender-neutral language. Also, she was invited by the University of North Carolina’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute to share lessons from that process at a summit examining the use of language in inclusive, just workplaces. 

Dorando holds the master municipal clerk designation from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. She served as staff liaison to the Truth Plaque Task Force; the Pride Subcommittee; the Citizens Academy, which she helped launch in 2018; and as staff representative to the N.C. League of Municipalities and the N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition. 

The Council expressed its thanks for her professionalism and friendship and offered best wishes for Cathy, her wife, Melissa, and their growing family.


New Pilot Process for Affordable-Housing Projects in Chapel Hill

The Chapel Hill Planning Department is pleased to announce a pilot for a process that expedites review of affordable-housing projects. The Chapel Hill Town Council requested this process in response to the community’s strong interest in and support of affordable housing initiatives. The projects will still meet the same requirements and regulations as any project brought before the Town, and the expedited process still provides multiple opportunities for public input.   

Applicants for the Trinity Court and Jay Street affordable-housing projects will pilot the process. They will present to the Environmental Stewardship Advisory Board, the Community Design Commission, the Housing Advisory Board, and the Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board Feb. 17. The pilot allows all advisory boards to hear the same information at the same time. This joint advisory board meeting will be open to the public. Advisory board members can ask questions, and the public may make comments.   

The advisory boards will then meet separately the following week to discuss the projects. They will make their recommendations in time for the March 1 Planning Commission meeting. Each of these meetings will include time for public comment.   

Town staff will evaluate the pilot process and outcomes after it is completed and adjust it as necessary for future consideration of expedited review of affordable-housing projects. 

Formal notifications of all these meetings will be forthcoming on the Town’s website and other outlets. If you have questions or ideas about anything regarding this pilot process, contact the Planning Department, at 919-968-2743; the town manager’s office, at 919-968-2743; or Anita Badrock, in the ombuds office, at 919-260-3153 or abadrock@townofchapelhill.org.


Chapel Hill Police Increase Pedestrian Safety Enforcement

The Chapel Hill Police Department will continue to increase pedestrian safety enforcement operations throughout town, with an enhanced focus on crosswalks. In a little more than a year, 16 pedestrians have been struck by drivers while in crosswalks in Chapel Hill, according to department data. 

“The numerous incidents in our community, including several very serious ones in recent weeks, are simply unacceptable and entirely preventable,” Chief Chris Blue said. “Drivers have a responsibility to be mindful of their fellow community members and we want to be clear to all…. if you fail to yield for pedestrians and cyclists, you will be charged.”

The Chapel Hill Police Department is committed to daily enforcement of pedestrian safety at crosswalks. A review of crash data helps determine the locations for enforcement operations, which will include, but are not limited to, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Fordham Boulevard, Franklin Street, Raleigh Road, and Estes Drive.

On-duty officers will conduct operations daily; off-duty officers will conduct three additional operations per day, five days each week; and the town’s grant partnership with the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) will fund two widespread operations each week. Each GHSP operation is four hours long and assigned four off-duty officers covering several areas. The increased weekly GHSP operations are in addition to operations already scheduled for the month of February (https://bit.ly/35JH9op). 

Failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk could carry the following penalties: 

  • $100 fine
  • $201 court costs
  • Driver’s license points
  • Insurance rate impacts
  • Civil litigation

The Town Council will receive an update on bicycle and pedestrian safety efforts from Town staff at its business meeting Feb. 9. For information about that meeting, including how to watch online, visit https://bit.ly/3HwtmQ3


The Flying Biscuit Café Opens in Chapel Hill

The Flying Biscuit Café (https://flyingbiscuit.com/) has opened its fourth North Carolina restaurant, in Chapel Hill, at 201 S Estes Dr., Suite E2.  

Since first opening its doors in Atlanta in 1993, the Flying Biscuit Café has become well known for its expansive menu featuring Southern comfort food and breakfast all day, including favorites like Shrimp and Grits, Oven Fried Green Tomatoes with Jalapeno Cashew Relish and Goat Cheese, Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes, “Not Your Mama’s” Pimiento Cheese and the Chicken Chorizo Hash.

Operating hours are Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Saturday through Sunday 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. During their first week of dine-in opening, the location will offer special giveaways and deals for customers:

  • Monday, Feb 7 – Free Flying Biscuit t-shirts to the first 100 guests
  • Tuesday, Feb 8 – Free Flying Biscuit travel mugs to the first 100 guests

Annual Maintenance Scheduled for Homestead Aquatic Center Feb. 14-28

The Homestead Aquatic Center is scheduled to close Monday, Feb. 14, through Monday, Feb. 28, for routine maintenance and to complete some needed repairs.

During this closure, pass holders and residents may use the indoor pool at the Chapel Hill Community Center, with a variety of drop-in times available for lap swim, recreation swim and independent water fitness opportunities for the public.

For more info on available times and the drop-in schedule, see the Community Center pool schedule (https://bit.ly/3B1ttAY). Call ahead at 919-968-2790 to check on availability.  


Calling Triangle Area Artists

Triangle-based artists or artist teams are wanted to create original 2-D designs to adorn the glass in bus shelters in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, as part of the Art + Transit project (https://bit.ly/3graoyC).

Final designs will be printed on adhesive vinyl and installed on bus shelter glass by the Town. The artwork will be on display for at least 12 months.

A stipend of $500-$600 will be given to create a final design based on the submitted concept sketches and stakeholder input. Artists and designers must reside within a 40-mile radius of Chapel Hill and submit application materials following the instructions on the website above. Selected artists must have the ability to deliver final designs as .AI or .EPS files per required specifications. Deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 8.


February 2, 2022

Chapel Hill February Traffic-Safety Initiatives

The Chapel Hill Police Department is planning three speed-enforcement operations in February, in addition to normal patrols, with the main goal of improving safety for everyone who shares roads:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 8, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 15, 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 22, 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change

The Chapel Hill Police Department is also planning three pedestrian-safety enforcement operations this month:

  • Thursday, Feb. 10, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 24, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change

Each effort will focus on areas with heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including downtown, and mid-block crosswalks (e.g., along the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Estes Drive corridors).


League of Women Voters Local Government Educational Series

The League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham and Chatham counties has launched an educational series for citizens who want to learn more about how local governments work. The series, Let’s Talk Civics, offers an exploration of the workings of government institutions and the roles of elected officials. The program is designed to help citizens understand and become engaged with the government entities that affect their day-to-day lives.

The first session (virtual) will be Tuesday, Feb. 22, 5:30-7 p.m., featuring a discussion with Mayor Elaine O’Neal of Durham, Mayor Jenn Weaver of Hillsborough and Mayor Cindy Perry of Pittsboro.

The mayors will discuss the structure of their governments, how programs and services are funded, how decisions are made, and ways citizens can become involved. The virtual program is free and open to the public, but registration is required by completing the form at https://bit.ly/3HlQm49.


Black History and Jeopardy!

During the month of February, visit the Orange County Main Library in Hillsborough on the second floor to test your knowledge against an interactive Black history-themed Jeopardy! game. You can pick up a scorecard and work your way through five categories with 25 prompts before making your wager in Final Jeopardy! For more information, visit. https://bit.ly/3Gm7iXd, or call 919-245-2525.


Orange County Ag Summit

The 24th annual Orange County Ag Summit will be held Feb. 15-17 in a combined in-person and virtual format. Orange County Cooperative Extension has put together an event with speakers and sessions on a variety of topics important to today’s farming community. You can read more about the event and register on the Orange County Cooperative Extension website (https://bit.ly/3L5Ys36). A limited number of in-person seats are available for each day, but must be requested in advance. Attendees must adhere to COVID protocols for facemasks and social distancing for the in-person events.


January 29, 2022

Let’s Talk Town: ADA Transition Survey

Let’s Talk Town is highlighting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Survey, part of the town’s ADA Transition Plan.

Take the survey online in English, Chinese, or Spanish, at https://bit.ly/3o9C27y, email at talktown@townofchapelhill.org, or call 919-969-5009 to complete the survey in English.

Let’s Talk Town staff will be all over town and host Zoom sessions to talk more about Let’s Talk Town, including completing the ADA Improvement Survey. Hours are as follows:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 1: Town Hall, 11 a.m.–noon; virtual office hours, 4–5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 2: Virtual office hours noon–1 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 4: Chapel Hill Public Library 9:45–10:45 a.m.

Chapel Hill Releases Affordable Housing Mid-Year Report

Chapel Hill Town staff presented the latest progress report on the town’s housing needs and progress towards reaching the Council’s affordable housing goals to the Council Wednesday night. Highlights from the report include:

  • Five new affordable homes were added to the permanently affordable inventory.
  • The Town allocated all available Affordable Housing Development Reserve funding ($688,395) in the first application cycle for the second year in a row.
  • Trinity Court and Jay Street Affordable Housing Development projects completed concept plan review and submitted conditional zoning applications to provide over 100 affordable housing units.
  • Council authorized a site-development agreement with Self-Help Ventures to begin affordable housing development at 2200 Homestead Road.

To help the town make progress towards addressing the community’s housing needs, the Council has set five-year targets for affordable housing preservation and development. The Affordable Housing Quarterly Report is a tool to monitor the Town’s progress towards meeting our targets, share the status of projects funded with town resources and summarize key community indicators related to housing in Chapel Hill.


Free N95 Masks Available to the Community Beginning January 31

Starting Monday, Jan. 31, members of the public interested in receiving a free N95 mask provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) can pick them up at two locations in Orange County, while supplies last:

  • Orange County Public Library
    137 E. Margaret Lane, Hillsborough 
    Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
    Friday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
  • Inter-Faith Council for Social Service
    110 W. Main Street, Carrboro 
    Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

You may also get free masks from the NCDHHS at: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/RequestMasks.

Also, over the past two weeks, Carrboro Housing & Community Services and the Carrboro Fire-Rescue Department have coordinated with various entities to deliver 7,000 KN95 masks to Carrboro residents, prioritizing low-income households and communities of color. 

If community members have questions, they may reach the call center at 919-913-8088 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Spanish and other languages are available.

Use the best-quality and best-fitting mask you can get, especially in higher-risk situations and if you are at increased risk for severe illness. Scenarios that call for better protection can include being in close and prolonged contact with people whose vaccination status is unknown, being in crowded indoor settings, riding on public transportation (especially when you can’t keep distance), and working at a job where you interact with large numbers of people.

The highest-quality masks, in order, are:

  • N95, KN95 and KF94. These disposable masks are better at filtering the virus and are more widely available now for the public. Replacement depends on amount of wear. These masks can be more expensive. Beware of counterfeits. 
  • Surgical masks. These disposable masks should be tested to meet a national standard (ASTM 2/3). 
  • Cloth masks with at least two layers. A disposable mask also can be worn underneath a cloth mask. (Note: N95/KN95 masks should not be layered with other masks.)

Masks that are loose, with gaps around your face or nose, are not as helpful in protecting you or others. For visuals of these tips, visit the guidance for improved mask use from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html). 

If you see someone without a face covering, assume they have a valid reason for not wearing one and increase your distance from that person.


Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a temporary emergency program that will help eligible households and families afford water and wastewater services, providing a one-time payment for eligible low-income households paid directly to the utility company. LIHWAP runs through September 2023 or until the funds are exhausted. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3obJXRu.

People can apply online at https://epass.nc.gov/; by phone at 919-245-2800; or in person at the Orange County Department of Social Services (Hillsborough: 113 Mayo Street; Chapel Hill: 2501 Homestead Road).


University Place Recycling Location to Stay Open Through May 31

The closing of the University Place drop-off recycling site has been delayed from Jan. 31 until May 31.

The property management group has agreed to extend the availability of the site, to allow the solid waste department extra time to attempt to find another location for a replacement recycling drop-off site.

Residents can use one of the other staffed recycling sites, including the Eubanks Road Waste and Recycling Center in Chapel Hill, for their recycling disposal needs now and after May 31. To find other 24-hr drop-off sites in the county, see https://bit.ly/3ANyhJK; and for full-service waste and recycling centers, see https://www.orangecountync.gov/1149/Waste-Recycling-Centers.


“Chapel Hill Works” Documentary Photography Exhibit Opens Feb. 1

Hundreds of dedicated employees work behind the scenes and on the front lines each day to keep Chapel Hill running smoothly. Many of the community members who benefit from these efforts may never see the workers responsible for them. 

Michael Schwalbe (https://chass.ncsu.edu/people/duckpond/), a documentary photographer and sociology professor at North Carolina State University, set out to change this through his photography project, “Chapel Hill Works.” Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 1, 15 large-scale photographs of Town employees at work will be on display in the lobby and lower level of Chapel Hill Public Library, along with a slideshow of all 118 portraits, text panels, and a video documentary about the project (https://bit.ly/3ublT55). Visitors can browse the exhibition through the end of the month.

Since the fall of 2015, Schwalbe photographed 118 town of Chapel Hill employees across every department  —from the fire department and public works, to the library, police, and transit — doing what they do every day to make Chapel Hill a better place to live.  

Schwalbe had two goals with this project: to create a visual record of public service workers and their work, and to increase appreciation for the maintenance and service work required for Chapel Hill to function well. In each black-and-white photograph, Schwalbe aims to convey something about both the individual and their work environment as a whole. 

“The Chapel Hill Works Project calls us to recognize that what was true before the pandemic will remain true afterward: the quality of life in Chapel Hill depends to a great extent on the dedication, skill, and effort of Town employees,” Michael said of the upcoming exhibit. “I hope viewers of the exhibit will appreciate this more fully by getting a look at those employees and the environments in which they work. My hope is that if people appreciate the workers, they’ll have a stronger sense of obligation to the people who devote their lives to providing the services that make Chapel Hill work as well as it does.” 

The public is welcome to browse the exhibit as they visit the library at their leisure. Due to COVID-19 protocols, no formal reception or event will be held. Further information about the project can be found on the Town of Chapel Hill website (https://bit.ly/3o9aGhG).  

For questions regarding the project, contact Sarah Wagner, project liaison, at swagner@townofchapelhill.org, or get in touch with Schwalbe at MLSchwalbe@nc.rr.com. 


January 27, 2022

HRC to Hold Community Book Reads for Youth and Adults

The Orange County Human Relations Commission (HRC) will sponsor two community book reads this month, one for adults and one for youth, via a webinar (https://bit.ly/3g2AcRm) Jan. 30 at 3 p.m.

The HRC has chosen “Caste: The Origins of our Discontents” by novelist Isabel Wilkerson, for the adult community book read. Wilkerson is the Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of “The Warmth of Other Suns.” “Caste” examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. It was named the no. 1 nonfiction book of the year by Time and one of the top 10 books of the year by People. Check availability of the book at the Orange County Public Library (https://www.orangecountync.gov/156/Library), or purchase a copy and join the discussion Jan. 30.

The HRC has chosen “The Black Panther Party, a Graphic Novel History” for the youth community book read. Written by David F. Walker, an award-winning comic-book writer, filmmaker, journalist, and educator, the book uses dramatic comic-book-style retellings and illustrated profiles of key figures to capture the major events, people, and actions of the Black Panther Party, as well as their cultural and political influence and enduring legacy.

After reading either book, join the HRC for the free webinar Jan. 30 to discuss the books.


Orange County Government Academy Returns in 2022

The Orange County Government Academy will return in 2022 after a two-year COVID hiatus. The academy educates citizens about the many services and programs Orange County government provides its residents. The course is open to all county residents aged 16 and older and meets every other Tuesday in the winter/spring, beginning with a virtual presentation Feb. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Visit the schedule page (https://www.orangecountync.gov/497/Curriculum-Schedule) for the complete schedule of presentations. Register at https://bit.ly/3KQQivI.

Faculty from the School of Government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill will teach an overview class on the role of counties in the intergovernmental system. Orange County staff will discuss the services provided by their departments. Students also receive behind-the-scenes tours of county facilities, if circumstances allow.


New Comprehensive Orange County Bail Policy Adopted

On Jan. 24, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour and Chief District Court Judge Samantha Cabe issued a new comprehensive bail policy for Orange County. This new policy is the culmination of an inclusive process started in 2019 by Judge Baddour with the formation of a pretrial reform work group tasked with reviewing existing pretrial policies and determining what additional steps the county could take to further pretrial justice.
 
The pretrial work group and senior court stakeholders met to identify priority reforms, review policies, and recommend new practices, with the goal of promoting a fair and effective pretrial justice system in Orange County. The pretrial work group’s focus was eliminating the negative consequences that arise from the unnecessary pretrial detention of individuals who do not present any significant risk to the community but who are unable to afford monetary bonds set in their cases. State law requires imposing a written promise to appear unless specific conditions exist. This mandate has long been incorporated into Judicial District 15B’s pretrial policies, but local data indicated that conditions for release were not being consistently set in accordance with this statutory requirement.
  
The new bail policy issued by Judge Baddour and Judge Cabe incorporates two major reforms recommended by the working group: (1) a structured decision-making tool for use by magistrates at the initial appearance immediately after an arrest; and (2) new policy considerations for addressing first-time failures to appear in court for individuals charged with misdemeanor offenses. Both reforms are designed to reduce unnecessary wealth-based detentions. In addition, the magistrate’s tool includes significantly revised maximum bond guidelines for all offenses, including probation-violation cases.
 
While the new bail policy formalizes these new practices and incorporates statutory requirements as well as local and model policies, Orange County began implementing these reforms in 2020. The first two quarterly evaluation reports have shown high stakeholder fidelity to the reforms and corresponding reductions in the imposition of secured bonds by magistrates and judicial issuance of orders for arrest for a first unexcused missed misdemeanor court date. Notably, the reports show that the number of failures to appear in court decreased post-implementation and there was no significant increase in new pretrial charges for court-involved individuals.
  
Read the new policy at https://bit.ly/3GhZFRD.


Orange County Human Relations Commission Special Meeting Notice

The Orange County Human Relations Commission will hold a special meeting Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 6:00 p.m. to consider a vote on a request for co-sponsorship of Black History Month activities and to discuss and vote on matters pertaining to the 2022 Pauli Murray Awards.

The special meeting will be conducted virtually via Zoom.  For information on accessing the meeting, please contact the civil rights specialist at 919-245-2497. 


Applicants Needed for Orange County Volunteer Boards and Commissions

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is currently recruiting applicants for the following boards and commissions:

  • Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee (five at-large vacancies) — works to maintain the intent of the Adult Care Home Residents’ Bill of Rights for those residing in licensed adult-care homes; promotes community involvement and cooperation with these homes to ensure quality care for the elderly and disabled adults. Typically meets the first Tuesday of each month at 4:00 p.m.
  • Affordable Housing Advisory Board (three at-large vacancies) — prioritizes affordable housing needs and assesses project proposals; publicizes the county’s housing objectives, monitors the progress of local housing programs, explores new funding opportunities, and works to increase the community’s awareness of, understanding of, commitment to, and involvement in producing attractive affordable housing. Meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m.
  • Agricultural Preservation Board (one position open for a representative of the Cedar Grove Voluntary Agricultural District) — promotes the economic and cultural importance of agriculture in the county and encourages voluntary preservation and protection of farmland for future production. Typically meets the third Wednesday of every other month at 7:30 p.m.
  • Animal Services Advisory Board (one position open for an individual who resides within the town limits of Chapel Hill, one position open for an individual who resides within the town limits of Carrboro, and one position open for an individual representing a for-profit business located in Orange County focused on companion or recreational animal welfare (e.g., pet-supply stores, kennels, grooming salons, dog walking businesses) — charged with advising the BOCC on matters of concern regarding animal issues and animal services in Orange County; works with the animal services director to ensure best-in-class quality animal services, and maintains contact with the stakeholder groups from which its members are appointed; provides a venue in which stakeholder concerns about animals, animal policies and issues, and animal services programming may be voiced, considered, and referred as appropriate. Typically meets the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.
  • Board of Equalization and Review (five alternate positions open) — hears appeals from residents concerning various property tax issues, including valuation and exemption appeals; charged with ensuring that all taxable property is appraised and assessed according to the standards required by the North Carolina General Statutes. Meets up to three days per week, for approximately three to four hours per meeting, for up to three consecutive months (typically April-June); additional meetings may occur as needed during the year. Members will be paid for all meetings attended. Orange County residents with knowledge of real estate are specifically encouraged to apply; however, others will also be given consideration. 
  • Human Relations Commission (one at-large vacancy and one vacancy for a person residing in the town of Chapel Hill) — advises the BOCC on solutions to problems in the field of human relationships; makes recommendations designed to promote goodwill and harmony among groups in the county irrespective of their race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, affectional preference, disability, age, marital status, or status with regard to public assistance. Typically meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m.
  • Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee (five at-large vacancies) — helps maintain the intent of the residents’ bill of rights, promotes community involvement, and provides public education on long-term-care issues. Typically meets the first Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m.
  • Orange Unified Transportation Board (one vacancy for a resident of Little River Township, and one vacancy for a resident of Cedar Grove Township) — advises the BOCC and provides information and comments on major transportation issues; gives the BOCC recommendations regarding the overall planning and programming of transportation improvements in the county, including identification and prioritization of the county’s roadway and transit needs, along with associated costs and specific sources of funding, provision of recommendations to the board regarding federal and state legislation affecting transportation in Orange County, and exploration and suggestion of recommendations on innovative techniques and methods to improve the efficiency and capacity of existing and future transportation systems. Typically meets the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

If interested in any of the above positions, apply at www.orangecountync.gov/Apply.

Orange County strives for authentically diverse representation on volunteer boards and commissions. Residents of all demographic backgrounds, identities, and perspectives are encouraged to apply. Applicants must reside in Orange County. For additional information, contact Tara May at 919-245-2125 or write to tmay@orangecountync.gov.


Celebrating Black America: The Lessons of the Hour

The Town of Carrboro welcomes the community to join them for Celebrating Black America for Black History Month.

On Thursday, Feb. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m., the town will host local history scholars and community leaders to view Fred Morsell’s 1994 re-enactment of one of the last great speeches by Frederick Douglass, “The Lessons of the Hour.” Delivered Jan. 9, 1894, at Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Douglass’ speech addresses topics ranging from racial terror and lynching to colonization and voting rights.

“There are many things in this speech that are extremely relevant today,” said James Williams Jr., an organizer of Celebrating Black America. “For example, Douglass wanted to see the vote expanded, much as we want today. Voting, and the ability to participate in democracy, is a racial justice issue as much as it is a civil rights issue. He makes this point nearly 130 years ago.” 

Following the video re-enactment, a panel discussion will be conducted by the following community members:

The program is co-sponsored by the Town of Carrboro, the Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources Department, and the Orange County Community Remembrance Coalition.

The Orange County Community Remembrance Coalition was formed in the fall of 2018. It partners with the Equal Justice Initiative to document and memorialize the victims of racial terror violence in Orange County. To learn more, visit https://occrcoalition.org/.

This program will also be available via the Town of Carrboro YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/CarrboroNC. For updates on the program, please continue to check the town of Carrboro’s website at http://townofcarrboro.org/ and via town social media channels.


2022 Living Wage

Orange County’s newly updated 2022 living wage for hourly workers is $15.85 an hour, or $14.35 for employers who pay at least half of employees’ health insurance costs. The living wage is adjusted annually using the widely accepted Universal Living Wage Formula, which stipulates that no more than 30% of a person’s gross income should be devoted to housing.

“A $15.85 hourly wage reflects the minimum wage necessary for workers to live close enough to our county to provide essential services like staffing our hospitals, schools, police and fire departments, grocery stores, pharmacies, and more,” said Susan Romaine, chair of Orange County Living Wage.


January 21, 2022

Town of Chapel Hill Launches New Publication

The Town of Chapel Hill will launch a new publication, TOWNweek, next week, highlighting important upcoming events.

Staff will deliver TOWNweek via email and social media every Monday morning. It will include items on the town’s calendars for that week. To subscribe, visit townofchapelhill.org/signup and select TOWNweek.


 

CHT Restores Trips to Several Routes Jan. 24

Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) will restore several trips to the A and N routes beginning Monday, Jan. 24.

Staff at CHT reduced service on several routes Jan. 10 amidst the unprecedented numbers of daily callouts due to safety protocols related to COVID-19 and other illnesses. “The number of callouts has decreased, though they haven’t returned to normal levels. We feel comfortable adding back some of the services we had to stop,” according to Nick Pittman, transit planning manager. 

Customers can view the updated schedules at https://bit.ly/34h9Dp2.


January 20, 2022

Carrboro Indoor Recreation Programs and Reservations Suspended Through Jan. 30

In response to the increased number of COVID cases related to the Omicron variant, all Town of Carrboro Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources indoor programs and reservations are being suspended through Jan. 30.

Participants currently signed up for programs and events will be contacted directly by department staff with an update on possible rescheduling of affected activities. For activities that are not able to be rescheduled, prorated account credits will be made available and administrative fees for impacted programs will be waived.

The Town will continue to work with local officials to monitor the current public health situation, and additional schedule updates will be provided as needed.

If you have any questions, please contact the Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources Department at 919-918-7364.


Carrboro to Switch to .gov

Starting Feb. 1, the Town of Carrboro website and emails will change their domain from .org to .gov. The new domain will be CarrboroNC.gov. The .org website and emails are still operational and will remain so until further notice. 


Recent Graduates of Basic Law Enforcement Academy

Four cadets recently graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Academy conducted by Durham Technical Community College and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Congratulations to:

  • Robert Jobe, who joins the Orange County Sheriff’s Office;
  • Darryl Kinch, who joins Duke Public Safety;
  • Marwan Mohammed, who joins Duke Public Safety;
  • NaQuandra Wallace, who joins the Carrboro Police Department;

Upcoming NAACP Presentation

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will present its next program in its “Ending School Racism: What Can White Parents Do?” series, “Taking Action Against the Black Inferiority Campaign: A History of Hysteria,” Wednesday, Jan. 26, 6:30-8:00 p.m., by James Ford, executive director of the Center for Racial Equity in Education, principal consultant for Filling the Gap Educational Consultants, and N.C. Board of Education 2014-2015 N.C. Teacher of the Year.

This session will explore structural racism through the construct of black inferiority. Schools have been the front line of white resistance to black educational advancement throughout history. Participants will hear about the history of racial equity obstruction and will be challenged to take their antiracism out of the realm of abstract liberalism and into concrete practices and policies.

This is a free, public program, presented by the Campaign for Racial Equity in Our Schools. Registration is required: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIod-iqrzouGdfxQ9EPCehBj4zuuQgJHQsj. After you register you will be sent a link for the program.


Chapel Hill Black Film Festival

UNC Black Pioneers will host the Chapel Hill Black Film Festival, featuring Christopher Everett’s “Wilmington on Fire”; Mile Wiley’s “Dar He: The Lynching of Emmett Till”; and Michael Washington’s “Save the Dad Bod,” Feb. 12 at the Varsity Theater in Chapel Hill; the doors will open at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are available at www.chbff.com.


January 16, 2022

Triangle Area Artists Sought to Paint Sidewalk Murals

Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture is looking for a Triangle-based artist or artist teams to paint murals on sidewalks around storm drains in Chapel Hill. The storm drain murals will be about 6’ in diameter and are intended to last a few years. Designs should be fun, eye-catching, and themed around the environment and protecting our local waterways. 

Community Arts & Culture aims to inspire creativity and celebrate community for a better Chapel Hill. They value inclusion, experience and understanding and encourage submissions of work to reflect these values.

A stipend of $1,300 will be paid to develop a design with stakeholder input and paint the mural around the storm drain. Artists and artist teams must reside within a 40-mile radius of Chapel Hill and submit application materials following the specifications found at https://bit.ly/3KeLgZr. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24.


Let’s Talk Town Highlight: Peoples Academy in Chapel Hill

This week Let’s Talk Town (https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/let-s-talk-town) is highlighting the Peoples Academy — join to learn, connect and lead with town leadership and community members.

To register for Peoples Academy in English (https://bit.ly/3IrvXuX), Chinese (https://bit.ly/3GvAGLk), or Spanish (https://bit.ly/3fspaEE), go to https://bit.ly/3rno3vA, email peoplesacademy@townofchapelhill.org, or call 919-969-5009 to complete the registration in English. 

Register by Feb. 11 to:

  • Meet town leaders.
  • Receive up-to-date information on town services and operations.
  • Get tips on obtaining a job at the town and other local governments.
  • Gain community leadership and communication skills.

Peoples Academy staff will be all over town and will host Zoom sessions to talk more about Let’s Talk Town, including registering for Peoples Academy. This week’s locations are:

Tuesday, Jan. 18—

  • Seymour Center (Homestead Rd), 11 a.m.-noon food pickup
  • Virtual office hours, 4-5 p.m. (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83248226803)

Wednesday, Jan. 19—

  • Southern Community Park, 10-11 a.m.
  • Virtual office hours, noon-1 p.m. (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85438669997)

Thursday, Jan. 20—

  • Hargraves Community Center, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 21—

  • Library (100 Library Dr.), 9:45-10:45 a.m.

Saturday, Jan. 22—

  • Community Center Playground (120 S Estes Dr), 10-11 a.m.

Let’s Talk Town will be updating events throughout the week; check their website for more information.

If you want Let’s Talk Town staff to speak to your group or organization, talk to them one-on-one, or have a location to suggest, email talktown@townofchapelhill.org or call 919-969-5009.


Duke Energy Warns Customers of Scammers During Winter Storms

Duke Energy is warning customers in North Carolina and South Carolina of scammers who might call them impersonating Duke Energy representatives and threatening to cut off customers’ power before or during a winter storm unless customers make a payment for late bills or other charges.

Duke Energy never makes such calls to customers, never threatens to cut off customers’ power immediately, never seeks immediate payment, and never calls customers to request personal information. 

“[Scammers] prey on customers who might be more vulnerable to such scams during stressful situations, like a major storm,” said Jason Hollifield, Duke Energy Carolinas storm director. “Our goal is to protect our customers from such devious schemes.”

Below are tips for customers to avoid scams:

  • If it’s a recorded voice, often referred to as a “robocall,” be extra cautious.
  • Do not provide any personal information.
  • Duke Energy’s actual recorded calls to customers are informative only. The company’s calls never threaten to cut off power and never request personal information. 
  • If a caller – recorded or live – specifically asks you to pay using a prepaid debit card, that’s a red flag. Prepaid debit cards are like cash, and the transactions cannot be reversed.
  • If the caller pressures you to make an immediate payment of any type – or provide personal information of any kind, such as a bank account number or Social Security number – hang up the phone. 

January 14, 2022

 

Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture Seeks Artists of All Kinds

If you’re a local musical artist, graphic designer, muralist or painter, there are several opportunities to get involved with Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture this winter and spring. Two calls are open now, and three more will be opening over the coming weeks.

Currently, local musicians and bands can submit music for consideration into Tracks Music Library (https://tracksmusiclibrary.org/), a free digital streaming service from Chapel Hill Public Library and Community Arts & Culture.

Local painters can apply to paint environmentally-themed art on the sidewalks around storm drains in Chapel Hill.

Apply and learn more about these calls at chapelhillarts.org/applications. Sign up at https://www.chapelhillarts.org/signup/ to receive alerts for when future calls open. 


Town of Carrboro Issues Reminders of Public Health Guidance to Reduce Spread of Omicron

As a reminder to the community, the Town of Carrboro requires all employees and visitors accessing town facilities indoors to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. Social distancing (maintaining a six-foot distance between individuals) is also required in all facilities.

Health officials urge the community to take the following steps to protect against COVID-19, including variants like Omicron:

  • Get vaccinated and if eligible get a booster. Boosters for all residents ages 16 and up are currently available throughout Orange County. To find a convenient location visit vaccines.gov.
  • Wear well-fitting masks in indoor public settings and crowded outdoor settings. Orange County continues to have an indoor mask mandate (https://www.orangecountync.gov/2435/Face-Coverings). The mandate applies to anyone 2 years and older, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Get tested (https://www.orangecountync.gov/2451/Testing) if you have symptoms, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, have traveled per Centers for Disease Control guidelines (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html) or have been in a setting where you may have been exposed.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Stay away from crowds.
  • Improve ventilation in your home and workplace.
  • Take extra care to avoid exposure to the virus if you have medical conditions or live with someone with medical conditions.

Town of Carrboro leadership will continue to monitor public health recommendations, evaluate procedures and make changes accordingly.


National Mentoring Month in Carrboro

The Carrboro Town Council passed a resolution Tuesday, Jan. 11, recognizing National Mentoring Month in Carrboro and encouraging the recruitment of caring adult mentors throughout the community.

January 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of National Mentoring Month, an annual campaign to focus attention on the need for mentors and on how each of us can work to increase the number of mentors to help ensure positive outcomes for young people.

Mentoring programs like MENTOR North Carolina and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program make our communities stronger by driving impactful relationships that increase social capital for young people and provide invaluable support networks.

More info about Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program is available at https://www.chccs.org/brma.

More info about MENTOR North Carolina is available at https://mentornc.org/.


Carrboro Mayor Proclaims Jan. 18 “National Day of Racial Healing”

Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils has proclaimed Jan. 18, the Tuesday following Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as “National Day of Racial Healing” in Carrboro and encourages all residents to share ideas, knowledge and points of view related to truth, racial healing, transformation and racial equity.

“National Day of Racial Healing” is an annual observance initiated as part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation program and promoted by the program’s many community partners across the United States. It is a way to promote relationship-building, truth-telling, and racial equity; healing and solidarity; and transformative action. 

The Carrboro proclamation in part states: “We understand and recognize that we all must work earnestly and intentionally to heal the wounds created by racial, ethnic, and religious bias and build an equitable and just society in which all people can thrive and in which children have the opportunity to learn and grow in nurturing environments that safeguard their safety, dignity and humanity.” 

To read the entire proclamation, visit https://bit.ly/34TtJpx.


January 12, 2022

Recent OCLW Certifications

Orange County Living Wage has added two more businesses to its roster of living-wage employers.

The Meantime Coffee, which partners with Carrboro Coffee Roasters, has opted for a living wage model because “everyone at Meantime is a student, so it’s even more important to ensure a living wage because we have tuition costs to worry about,” says CEO Alaina Plauche. Find out more at MeantimeCoffee.com or on their social media pages.

Afton Nature School, a Carrboro-based preschool, has decided to pay their teachers a living wage because they “appreciate their hard work [and] want them to … keep doing what they love—teaching children!” Learn more about the Afton Nature School by visiting AftonLittleSchool.com.


Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday in Chapel Hill

Monday, Jan. 17, is a Town holiday. Some services will be affected, as follows:

Residential trash: Not collected Monday, Jan. 17 (make-up day Wednesday, Jan. 19). Yard waste collection not affected.

Curbside recycling: Not affected.

Commercial trash: Not collected Monday, Jan. 17; Monday routes collected by the end of the week.

Orange County Landfill and Waste & Recycling Centers: Closed.

Chapel Hill Public Library: Closed.

Chapel Hill Transit: Operating on a Sunday schedule (no U route).

Housing: Office and maintenance division closed; for emergency maintenance services, call (919) 968-2855.

Parks and Recreation: Parks, greenways, trails, dog parks, playgrounds, picnic shelters and outdoor park amenities open. Administrative offices, Hargraves Community Center, Teen Center and Community Center Pool closed Monday, Jan. 17; Chapel Hill Community Center, Homestead Aquatic Center and Northside Gymnasium open 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

For more information and to make pool and open gym reservations online, see www.chapelhillparks.org.


BOCC to Conduct Virtual Meetings in January

Due to current public health concerns, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will conduct virtual board meetings during the month of January. Members of the BOCC will be participating in the meetings remotely. The BOCC retreat planned for Jan. 21 at the Bonnie B. Davis Environment and Agriculture Center is canceled and will be rescheduled for a later date.
 
As in prior meetings, members of the public will be able to view and listen to the meetings via real-time video streaming on the county’s website and on Spectrum cable TV. The meetings will also be video-recorded for future television broadcast and reference on the county’s website.
   
The updated meeting schedule for January 2022 meetings is:

  • 18      BOCC Virtual Business Meeting – 7:00 p.m.
  • 25      Virtual Assembly of Governments – 7:00 p.m.  

Orange County Board of County Commissioners’ meetings and work sessions are available via livestreaming video at http://www.orangecountync.gov/967/Meeting-Videos and Orange County Gov-TV on channels 1301 or 97.6 (Spectrum cable).


Orange County Closings, Changes for MLK Day Observance 

Orange County administrative offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 17, in observance of MLK Day. The following changes or exceptions will be in effect:

  • Both county-sponsored COVID testing sites (https://www.orangecountync.gov/2451/Testing) will be open normal hours that day. Please note the testing sites are run by different vendors; please attend the clinic for which you registered. Tests are by appointment only. The vaccination clinics will be closed that day.
  • Solid waste administrative offices and facilities will be closed, but curbside recycling scheduled for Monday will be collected that day. Please have carts out by 7 a.m.
  • Orange County Transportation Services will offer limited service, operating the in-county dialysis route only (Carolina Dialysis).

Orange County will resume normal operations Tuesday, Jan. 18.


Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Jan. 17

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will present a video to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 11 a.m. Jan. 22, followed by a virtual branch meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. (accessible at 12:30 p.m.).

The meeting’s guest speaker will be Theodore M. (Ted) Shaw, Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and director of the Center for Civil Rights at UNC-Chapel Hill.

To join the Zoom meeting or register in advance, go to https://bit.ly/33zS1o0.


Carrboro Observes Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

The Town of Carrboro will conduct a virtual webinar in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. Register for this event at https://bit.ly/3zSaPuH.

Town of Carrboro offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 17, for the MLK Holiday. 

Monday’s yard waste collection will be picked up Tuesday, Jan. 18. 

For a listing of events celebrating Dr. King throughout the Triangle, visit https://triangleonthecheap.com/mlk-day-events-triangle/.


January 7, 2022

Public Health Officials Urge Vaccination and Boosters Against COVID-19 Omicron Variant

Due to COVID-19 cases having risen 587% since the end of November in Orange County, with 1,010 new cases reported last week, Orange County health officials urge the public to take steps now to protect themselves and others and to avoid overwhelming hospital capacity and healthcare workers.

Most new cases are due to the extremely contagious Omicron variant, which is spreading rapidly and is expected to cause the pandemic’s highest rates of COVID-19 infections in the coming weeks. Vaccinating against COVID-19, including obtaining booster shots, remains the most effective way for people to protect themselves from serious illness, hospitalization and death. Early evidence shows booster shots provide a significant level of protection against Omicron.
 
Everyone should:

  • Get vaccinated now, including obtaining a COVID-19 booster (https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines/boosters?mc_cid=4dc003adeb&mc_eid=f82c081624) as soon as you are eligible. This is critical for those over age 65, those with underlying medical conditions and healthcare workers. The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are the best choice for most people. Layer protection with a flu shot.
  • Get tested if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Wear a face covering indoors in public, even if you are vaccinated. Use the best-quality and best-fitting mask you can get, especially in higher-risk situations and if you are at increased risk for severe illness. The highest-quality masks, in order, are:
  1. N95, KN95 and KF94
  2. Surgical masks
  3. Cloth masks with at least two layers; a disposable mask also can be worn underneath a cloth mask (Note: N95/KN95 masks should not be layered with other masks.)

*Masks that are loose, with gaps around your face or nose, are not as helpful in protecting you or others. For visuals of these tips, see the guidance for improved mask use from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://bit.ly/34qu6aN). 

  • Avoid large gatherings.

HOME Program Funding Application Now Available

The Orange County HOME Consortium (Orange County and the Towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough) is now accepting applications for the FY 2022-2023 HOME Program, at https://orangecountync.gov/2336/HOME-Program. The consortium anticipates that approximately $470,000 will be available for award to organizations seeking funding for eligible affordable housing activities. Applications are available through an online application portal at https://bit.ly/32RDbJz. Applications will be accepted through 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME Investment Partnerships Program provides formula grants to communities to fund a wide range of affordable housing activities, including building, buying and/or rehabilitating affordable housing for rent or ownership; providing down-payment assistance to home buyers; and providing tenant-based rental assistance.


 

Local Musical Artists Wanted for Online Streaming Platform

Tracks Music Library invites Triangle-area bands and musicians to submit work for consideration in the collection. A project by Chapel Hill Public Library and Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, Tracks Music Library is a free streaming service featuring a diverse library of music entirely from the Triangle region. Interested artists are encouraged to submit songs by Feb. 14 via the link tracksmusiclibrary.org/submit.

Started in 2020, Tracks Music Library was created to represent the diverse sounds of the area and to introduce artists to new listeners. The platform includes more than 100 albums from local artists spanning a range of genres.

Musicians and bands interested in submitting should note the following:

  • Musicians should be based in the Triangle area.
  • Musicians must hold the rights to the music they submit.
  • Music must have been produced in the last 2 years.
  • Musicians can submit up to three songs for consideration and will need a minimum of five songs or 30 minutes of music if selected.
  • Selected musicians will sign a non-exclusive license and will receive a $200 honorarium for sharing their music.

After the open-call period, submissions will be reviewed by a team of staff, artist and community curators. Thirty new albums will be selected for the collection, based on quality, diversity and general connection to the Triangle music scene.


 

CHPD January Traffic-Safety Initiatives

The Chapel Hill Police Department (CHPD) is planning the following three speed-enforcement operations in January, in addition to normal patrols, with the main goal of improving safety for everyone who shares roads.

  • Monday, Jan. 10, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 18, 7 to 9 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change

The CHPD is also planning the following four pedestrian-safety enforcement operations this month:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 11, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 13, 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Friday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 27, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change

Each effort will focus on areas with heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including downtown and mid-block crosswalks (e.g., along the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Estes Drive corridors).

Please use the following tips to improve safety for everyone on and near the roads:

  • Limit distractions.
  • Phones down, eyes up (this is true for people driving, walking, riding a bike and rolling).
  • Keep music at an appropriate level to hear what’s happening outside your car or around you.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks; state law says all vehicles must yield to pedestrians once they have safely entered a crosswalk.
  • Use designated crosswalks to cross roads.
  • Walk against traffic; ride with traffic. 
  • Bicycles are permitted to ride on the sidewalk except downtown (Franklin and Rosemary streets). Bicycles are permitted on sidewalks along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard outside the CHPD as long as they are going in the same direction as traffic.

The 2019 Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is a key component in realizing the town’s Road to Zero commitment. This plan lays out strategies to address pedestrian safety concerns through policy, infrastructure and programming. The Road to Zero Task Force advises implementation of the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan with a focus on equity, public engagement, safe routes to school and data analysis. For more information, see https://bit.ly/34qwxKt.


DCHC MPO Seeks Public Comment on Air-Quality Plan

The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC MPO) (https://www.dchcmpo.org/) is seeking public input on a technical report, called the Air Quality Conformity Determination Report (https://bit.ly/3t4mxkx), which demonstrates that the pollutant emission from the future transportation system will not exceed specified thresholds. Although the Triangle area is in attainment for all of the controlled emissions, the area is in a maintenance program for ozone and therefore must demonstrate conformity for nitrous oxides, which are precursors to ground-level ozone. 

Residents and other stakeholders are asked to review the report and provide comments by email (andrew.henry@durhamnc.gov) or by calling (919) 560-4366, ext. 36419, no later than Tuesday, Jan. 11. Residents who wish to provide their comments directly to the DCHC MPO Board at their virtual public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 12, at 9 a.m. are asked to send their request to speak by email or by calling, as above. The board meeting livestream will also be available for viewing on the DCHC MPO’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MPOforDCHC/).

The DCHC MPO is responsible for planning and programming state and federal transportation projects in all of Durham County and the urbanized areas of Orange County and Chatham County. To learn more, follow the DCHC MPO Facebook and Twitter (https://twitter.com/DCHCMPO) pages to stay up-to-date on news about their transportation planning efforts.


Let’s Talk Town Highlight: ARPA in Chapel Hill

This week Let’s Talk Town (www.townofchapelhill.org/letstalktown) is highlighting the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and how to spend ARPA funds. The Town received more than $10 million from ARPA and wants to know how you think we should use it to help our community recover from the pandemic.

To tell the Town your ideas, you can fill out the online survey at www.townofchapelhill.org/arpa in English, Spanish or Chinese, email arpa@townofchapelhill.org, call 919-969-5009 or come to a Let’s Talk Town event at the following upcoming meetings:

  • Monday, Jan. 10, Town Hall (405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.), 11 a.m.–12 noon; and Epilogue Books Chocolate and Brews (109 E. Franklin St.), 12 noon–1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 11, virtual office hours, 4–5 p.m. (Zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83248226803)
  • Wednesday, Jan. 12, virtual office hours, 12 noon–1 p.m. (Zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83248226803)
  • Thursday, Jan. 13, Homestead Aquatics Center (300 Aquatics Dr.), 4–5 p.m.; and virtual office hours, 7:30–8:30 p.m. (Zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83248226803)
  • Friday, Jan. 14, Al’s Burger Shack/Tin Cup Joe (104 N. Graham St.), 11 a.m.–12 noon

Events are updated throughout the week; check www.townofchapelhill.org/letstalktown for more information.

If you want Let’s Talk Town staff to speak with your group or organization, want to talk with them one-on-one, or have a location to suggest, email talktown@townofchapelhill.org or call 919-969-5009.


University Place Drop-off Recycling Site to Close Jan. 31

The University Place drop-off recycling site used by Orange County Solid Waste will no longer be available to residents after Jan. 31. The property owner is redeveloping the area and has decided not to continue with the month-to-month agreement.

Residents can use one of the town’s other staffed recycling sites (https://bit.ly/3F1cFud), including the Eubanks Road Waste and Recycling Center in Chapel Hill, for their recycling disposal needs now and after Jan. 31.

All dumpsters will be removed from University Place. Anyone caught dumping recycling after the deadline may be fined for illegal dumping.


Orange County to Host Presentation on Hospice Care

The Orange County Department on Aging and the Project EngAGE End of Life Choices Senior Resource Team invite the public to attend a virtual presentation, Let’s Talk About Hospice Care,  Jan. 26.

The end-of-life care journey encompasses all care options along its spectrum, one of which is hospice care. Join Heartland Hospice for an in-depth conversation on what hospice looks like now, when you might need care, who makes up the hospice team and what support programs are available.

The free virtual event will take place Wednesday, Jan. 26, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Participants can enter beginning at 3:50 p.m. to receive assistance with any questions or platform issues before the start of the program.

To register, visit www.orangecountync.gov/HospiceCare. If technology assistance is needed, contact Shenae McPherson at 919-245-4243 by Monday, Jan. 24.


Chapel Hill Transit Reduces Service Starting Jan. 10

Starting Monday, Jan. 10, Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) will reduce transit service on seven routes amidst operator shortage and COVID-19 protocols for employees, to minimize missed trips throughout the system and provide a reliable commuting experience for customers.

Chapel Hill Transit has been suffering from a staffing shortage that led to service reductions throughout the fall semester. As COVID-19 cases have increased in the community, the agency is experiencing further staffing challenges as transit operators and other staff stay home to combat COVID-19 infections and other illnesses.

Below are descriptions of the changes and links to the new schedules.

  • A Route:
    • Remove midday service: 8:40 a.m.–5:20 p.m.
    • Remove evening service: 7:30–9:37 p.m.
  • CL Route: remove 19/32 trips offered throughout the day
  • CM Route: remove 6/30 trips offered in the morning and afternoon
  • CW Route: remove 8/21 trips offered in the morning and afternoon
  • D Route: remove 6/33 trips offered in the morning and afternoon
  • J Route: remove 16/57 trips offered in the morning, afternoon and evening
  • N Route
    • Remove midday service: 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
    • Remove evening service: 7:30–8:29 p.m.

“Please be patient with our operators and team members during this time,” requests Jeffrey Sullivan, community outreach manager for Chapel Hill Transit. “Nobody on our team wants to see these service changes, but we’re doing everything possible to ensure safety and reliability of transit. Our team is working hard to recruit new operators, and our team members are observing COVID protocols in our facility to keep our team safe and avoid infections.”

To find the most up-to-date information about whether a route is running, CHT staff are updating Twitter (https://twitter.com/chtransit) and Nextbus (https://retro.umoiq.com/#!/chapel-hill/NS/N/coluheal/colucarr) daily with service information. Sullivan advises everyone to check one of those sources in the morning before leaving to catch their bus. New transit brochures can be found online at https://bit.ly/3F6bNV4.

If you encounter issues, use the Chapel Hill Transit Feedback Form (https://bit.ly/3G7tDbJ) to alert CHT, and staff will work quickly to address issues.


Chapel Hill Police Investigate Bank Robbery

On Jan. 7, at 10:01 a.m., the Chapel Hill Police Department responded to a robbery at the State Employees Credit Union at 310 Pittsboro Street. Officers located a suspect, and a charge is pending. No weapon was displayed, and there were no reported injuries.


Chapel Hill Historical Society 2022 Winter/Spring Program Schedule

Due to COVID-19, Chapel Hill Historical Society programs for the 2022 schedule will continue to be interactive Zoom sessions until the library fully reopens. Check https://chapelhillhistoricalsociety.org/ for updates. Links for Zoom programs will be provided to members through emails and listed on the website. All programs will begin at 3pm.

Programs include the following:

Sunday, Jan. 23—”The Carolina Union Proudly Presents…: Memories of the Tech Crew of Memorial Hall.” Scott Madry will discuss his book covering the stories of the events, performers and concerts from his years working on the tech crew at the Carolina Union from 1969 to 1979.

Sunday, Feb. 20—”Collective Histories: Stories of the Colonial Inn.” Amanda Boyd will talk about her recently published book that recounts 200 years of history and stories from staff, guests and proprietors of the Colonial Inn in Hillsborough.

Sunday, March 13—”Pandemic at the Meadows.” Discussion by Carolina Meadows residents of their project to preserve through oral histories, photo essays and documentary, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sunday, April 10—”Stories of our Heritage: African American Women Trailblazers: The Making of a Mural.” This joint program with Chapel Hill-Carrboro Area Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated Education Committee will discuss the recently completed mural by Kiara Sanders on 111 S. Merritt Mill Rd.


37th Annual MLK Memorial Banquet

On Sunday, Jan. 16, the MLK University/Community Planning Corporation returns for the 37th year to celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy by awarding scholarships that help high school seniors afford to attend college. This year’s event returns virtually for a second time, reflecting Dr. King’s determination to carry on the work of education and empowerment in spite of all obstacles, including the pandemic. Beginning at 6 p.m., the evening will highlight the work of the organization and showcase a college scholarship award winner for 2021.

The evening’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Elmira Mangum, CEO of EM Plus 3, LLC. A North Carolina native, Dr. Mangum is a former president of Florida A&M University, the first woman ever to serve in that office. Attendees will enjoy music from a talented area entertainer, followed by the presentation of this year’s Bridge Builders’ and the 2022 MLK Citizenship awards’ winners.

Master of ceremonies will be Bishop L. Gene Hatley, chairman of the board of directors of the MLK University/Community Planning Corporation.

The MLK Memorial Banquet is a crucial source of funding for the organization’s MLK/Edith Wiggins Scholarship Fund. Each scholarship gives $1,000-$1,500 to the recipient, with the goal of funding 15 to 20 renewable scholarships each year, awarded to Orange County high school seniors on the basis of financial need.

These ambitious and life-changing goals are achievable only through strong community support. Sponsorships for this year’s event are still available, from corporate sponsorships at varying levels through suggested individual donations, with options available for support suitable to any budget.

“Since 1995, we have given over $320,000 in scholarships to deserving high school seniors. These scholarships have opened up the world of possibilities that a higher education affords. The ongoing value of this work, which continues to expand over the lifetime of each young person who is chosen to participate, is a worthy reflection of the goals of Dr. King,” said Bishop Hatley.

Ticket sales for the virtual event will go directly to help fund the MLK/Edith Wiggins scholarships for 2023. Since 1995, the MLK University/Community Planning Corporation, a non-profit corporation with federal tax-exempt status under section 501©(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and corresponding provisions, has embarked on a fundraising campaign to endow the MLK Scholarship Fund at $250,000. To date the organization has raised approximately one-half of that goal. To learn more, explore sponsorship opportunities and purchase tickets for the 2022 MLK Memorial Banquet, see https://mlkpc-ch.org.


January 4, 2022

Candlelight Vigil at Franklin/Columbia Intersection Jan. 6

Jan. 6, 2022, marks one year since armed right-wing militants attacked the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undo our presidential election.

On Jan. 6, Orange County voters will stand up to join Americans standing together across race, party and background to hold a candlelight vigil across America to demand concrete action to prevent this kind of attack from happening again, calling on our elected leaders to pass urgent legislation, including the Freedom to Vote Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and DC statehood.

A candlelight vigil will be held along Franklin and Columbia streets in downtown Chapel Hill from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m., followed by a speaker program from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. on the lawn at University United Methodist Church to hear presentations by Rep. Verla Insko and local democracy activists.

The event in Chapel Hill is one of more than 220 events that will take place across the country, including a lead event at the U.S. Capitol and more than a dozen events in North Carolina.

Contact Jennifer Bremer, 301-955-6333, bremer.jennifer@gmail.com, for more information.


Orange County Living Wage Rises to $15.85 an Hour in 2022

Orange County’s newly updated 2022 living wage for hourly workers is $15.85 an hour, or $14.35 for employers who pay at least half of employees’ health insurance costs. Orange County Living Wage (OCLW) adjusts the living wage annually to keep pace with rising rents. OCLW determines its living wage by using the widely accepted Universal Living Wage Formula based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standard that no more than 30% of a person’s gross income should be devoted to housing. To calculate the wage, OCLW uses the average cost of a one-bed apartment in a four-county area including Alamance, Chatham, Durham and Orange counties.

After the longest period in history without a federal wage increase, North Carolina’s minimum wage is the same as the national minimum wage of $7.25. This wage is worth 21% less than in 2009, when the wage was last increased. The District of Columbia and 29 states have higher minimum wages than the $7.25 required for non-tipped workers. With the new year, 21 states have announced additional wage increases that will take effect in 2022.

Since OCLW’s voluntary employer certification program began in 2015, nearly 300 employers have been certified as paying all full- and part-time employees the living wage. The 218 employers on OCLW’s current roster employ more than 9500 employees in Orange County. In this past year of unprecedented health and financial challenges, 34 new employers were recognized for their commitment to pay a living wage. When a business or organization is certified as a living wage employer, OCLW calculates the total amount the employer raised wages to meet the living wage threshold. Since 2015, that total is $1.85 million, with over $900,000 from 2021 wage increases alone, money that is often spent in Orange County.

Learn more about OCLW, view postings on the living wage jobs board or apply to become a certified living wage employer at orangecountylivingwage.org.


OWASA Responds to Wastewater Overflow

Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) crews responded around 9:45 a.m. Monday, Jan. 3, to an overflow of untreated wastewater from a manhole on Old Larkspur Way near Weaver Dairy Extension. OWASA was alerted of the overflow by a nearby resident. An estimated 3,000 gallons of untreated wastewater entered a nearby storm drain, which eventually led to a small tributary of Booker Creek.

The overflow was caused by heavy storm flows and a blockage in the sewer line. The blockage was cleared, and the overflow was stopped at approximately 10:05 a.m. OWASA personnel cleaned up the affected area and notified appropriate state officials. Testing of samples taken downstream of the wastewater spill showed that no further mitigation steps were needed.

For more information, contact Blake Hodge, communications specialist, bhodge@owasa.org or (919) 537-4326.


New Chapel Hill Campaign Called “Let’s Talk Town”

Chapel Hill Town staff launched a new, “Let’s Talk Town,” input campaign Jan. 3, in town and on Zoom, to talk to as many community members as possible about: 

  • How to spend American Rescue Plan Act funding
  • Where we can make Americans with Disabilities Act improvements
  • Registering for the Peoples Academy
  • How to improve Town news
  • Applying for boards and commissions
  • …and much more

All events are posted online at http://www.townofchapelhill.org/letstalktown and will be updated every Thursday afternoon with the next week’s events. This week’s events include:

Wednesday, Jan. 5: Virtual office hours noon-1 p.m. on Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85438669997);

Friday, Jan. 7: Chapel Hill Public Library lobby (100 Library Drive) from 10 a.m.-11 a.m.

To inquire about any of the above, email talktown@townofchapelhill.org or call 919-969-5009.


Carrboro Celebrates Native Daughter Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten Jan. 5

Legendary North Carolina musician Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten is being feted by her hometown with her very own day on her birthday, Jan. 5. Mayor Damon Seils is officially proclaiming Wednesday, Jan. 5, as “Libba Cotten Day” in Carrboro. 

Born Jan. 5 1893, Cotten wrote her signature song, “Freight Train,” about the train she could hear from her childhood home on Lloyd Street in Carrboro. Cotten’s talents as guitarist and songwriter came to light while she was working in the home of the Seeger family, who encouraged her career as a professional musician. Cotten toured across the country, recording several albums and winning a Grammy Award and a National Heritage Fellowship before her death in 1987.

Libba Cotten Day celebrations include: 

  • Carrboro Libba Cotten Day Community Ride Join the community bike ride at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5, starting at the Libba Cotten mural at 111 N. Merritt Mill Road. Riders will then bicycle to the North Carolina historical marker honoring Ms. Cotten on East Main Street and continue onto the Libba Cotten Bikeway before returning to their starting point back at the mural. The bikeway will be decorated for her birthday. The ReCYCLEry organized this community ride. Masks and social distancing are required. 
  • Reading at the North Carolina historical marker – Mayor Damon Seils will read the proclamation declaring Libba Cotten Day in the town of Carrboro at the site of the North Carolina historical marker on East Main Street. The reading will occur just after 9 a.m. Attending the reading will be Ms. Cotten’s great-grandson John W. Evans Jr. and Ansley Herring Wegner of the N.C. Highway Historical Marker Program, N.C. Office of Archives and History. Read the complete proclamation at https://bit.ly/3FWPZMS. Convenient public parking is located at 200 E. Main St. Learn more about the marker at https://bit.ly/3zuEABE.  
  • Freight Train Blues Festival – With partner Music Maker Blues Foundation, the Town of Carrboro announces its 2022 concert series, which will include five evening concerts from May 13 to June 10 at Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St. For more information, visit https://musicmaker.org/freight-train-blues-concert-series/.

Christmas Tree Recycling in Carrboro

For Christmas tree collection, residents can find their yard waste collection day at https://bit.ly/32Ic0Rm.

Remove all decorations before placing trees at the curbside. Residents in multi-unit apartment complexes should place trees in designated areas alongside dumpsters. 

If you have questions, call 919-968-7428 or email pworks@townofcarrboro.org.


Refreshing a Rain Garden and Waiting for Spring 

Town of Carrboro Stormwater staff last month replanted the rain garden on the corner of Hillsborough Road and James Street. Over the winter, the plants will establish their root systems and flush out in the spring with any surviving original plant material.

The rain garden was originally created in 2012 in a Town partnership with N.C. State University. With help from a volunteer from the Barred Owl Creek neighborhood, Town staff planted about 80 plugs and tubelings of native plants. 

Public works and stormwater staff maintain the rain garden. If you have questions, call 919-913-2999 or email stormwater@townofcarrboro.org.

If you would like information on installing a rain garden at home, the stormwater division has information available online about rain gardens at https://bit.ly/31rFCS9 and in the Homeowner’s Watershed and Stormwater Handbook at https://bit.ly/3352NSD.  To schedule a visit with stormwater staff for technical advice, please use the service request form at https://bit.ly/3sWfH0a.


December 30, 2021

COVID-19 Testing and Vaccines in Orange County

COVID-19 testing hosted by the Orange County Health Department is being done with no out-of-pocket cost (insurance will be billed). For those without insurance, the tests are also available and are free. Testing is conducted by two different vendors, StarMed Healthcare in Hillsborough (tests for persons all ages) and Optum in Chapel Hill (does not test babies under the age of 1). A doctor’s note/referral is not required, and testing is available to everyone with or without symptoms. Both vendors have interpreters on site and the capacity to do virtual interpretation.

Testing in Chapel Hill is by appointment only. Registration is preferred in Hillsborough, too, but if that is a barrier, walk-ins are also welcome. To register, call 919-913-8088.

  • Testing in Chapel Hill is at Southern Human Services Center, at 2501 Homestead Road; testing will take place in the large conference room inside the front entrance.
  • Testing in Hillsborough is in the parking lot in front of the Dept. of Social Services, at 113 Mayo St.

First Omicron Variant COVID-19 Case Confirmed in Orange County

The Orange County Health Department has confirmed that a recent case of COVID-19 in an Orange County resident was caused by the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529). The person is at home in isolation, has mild symptoms and is fully vaccinated but had not yet received a booster.

Omicron arrives while the Delta variant continues to surge in Orange County. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Community Transmission Map (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home), Orange County is experiencing substantial transmission.

Health officials urge the community to take the following steps to protect against COVID-19, including variants like Omicron: 

  • Get vaccinated and if eligible get a booster. Boosters for all residents ages 16 and up are currently available throughout Orange County. To find a convenient location, see https://www.vaccines.gov/.
  • Wear well-fitting masks in indoor public settings and crowded outdoor settings. Orange County continues to have an indoor mask mandate (https://www.orangecountync.gov/2435/Face-Coverings). The mandate applies to anyone 2 years and older, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • Get tested (https://www.orangecountync.gov/2451/Testing ) if you have symptoms, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, have traveled per guidelines (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html ) or have been in a setting where you may have been exposed.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Stay away from crowds.
  • Improve ventilation in your home and workplace.
  • Take extra care to avoid exposure to the virus if you have medical conditions or live with someone with medical conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends a booster for everyone 16 and up, following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency-use authorization for 16- and 17-year-olds to receive a Pfizer booster six months after the date of their second Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine dose. 


Town of Carrboro Holiday Service Changes

The Town of Carrboro’s administrative offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 31, for the holidays. Household trash collection is Monday, Jan. 3, instead of Dec. 31. 


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration set for Jan. 15 in Carrboro

The town of Carrboro invites the community to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15 2022, at the Carrboro Century Center, 100 N. Greensboro St. This youth-planned event strives to bring the community together to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. More details forthcoming. 


Carrboro Awards COVID-19 Mitigation Business Grants to Small Businesses

The Carrboro Town Council has announced 30 small businesses will be receiving grants from the COVID-19 Mitigation Business Grant program. 

The town council voted Tuesday, Dec. 14, to approve a list of 30 small businesses to receive more than $274,000 in grant assistance. The grant program was developed to help local small businesses mitigate the negative economic impacts businesses received as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program utilizes American Rescue Act Plan federal funds awarded to the town.

The applications were reviewed, prioritized and recommended by the COVID Loan and Grant Review Committee, which also reviewed applications for the town’s COVID Emergency Loan program in spring 2020—just after the pandemic began. These additional funds bring the town’s total COVID-19 support for small businesses to more than $630,000.

The following businesses received a grant: Acme, ArtsCenter, BowBarr, Carolina Core Pilates, Carolina Yoga Company, Carrboro Coffee Roasters, Carrburritos Taqueria, CommunityWorx, Coronato Pizza, Craftboro Brewing Depot, Firefly Carrboro, FIT on Main, Glasshalfull, Hope Renovations, Kumon of Carrboro, Love and Peace Boutique, Midway Barbershop, Montessori Academy of Carrboro, Neal’s Deli, Open Eye, Present Day on Main, South Orange Rescue Squad, Steel String Brewery, The Beehive, Thirteen West, Triangle Bikeworks, Twin House Music, Vecino Brewing, Venable and WomanCraft Gifts.


Chapel Hill Town Staff Recognized by Local Home Builders

Town of Chapel Hill Building and Development Services staff received one of three Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange and Chatham County’s (HBADOC) Presidential Service Awards, presented Dec. 9.

Building and Development Services staff have been working closely with this organization to improve communication and the ways in which they do business, including permitting, inspections and code enforcement. A recent example of this strong partnership is the HBADOC’s call for and support in implementing the town’s new permitting software, which helps improve the customer experience while also keeping track of permit status, inspection schedules and other key milestones as building projects are completed.

HBADOC’s goal is to provide service and representation to and for its members—contractors and associated professionals—in support of the building industry at large and in the community.


Chapel Hill Transit’s Winter Holiday Schedule

Chapel Hill Transit winter holiday schedule is as follows:

  • Sunday service Friday, Dec. 31; U route will not run; NU route ends at 7 p.m.
  • Regular service without the CCX, FCX or JFX Tuesday, Dec. 28, through Thursday, Dec. 30
  • No service Jan. 1 2022

To learn more about the holiday hours of operations, see https://bit.ly/3exTuNP.


Community Heroes

Sarah Pickhardt, emergency management division chief, received the Orange County Emergency Services Employee of the Year award for her outstanding service to the people of Orange County and her exemplary performance during the ongoing COVID pandemic, at the 2021 Salute to Community Heroes, hosted by The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro.

Investigator Dylan Ray Hendricks of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office also received an award as Deputy of the Year, commended for his tenacity in solving cases and making Orange County a safer place to live.

Ten first responders in all were celebrated Dec. 16. Honored in addition to Pickhardt and Hendricks were Carrboro Firefighter of the Year, Carrboro Police Officer of the Year, Chapel Hill Firefighter of the Year, Chapel Hill Police Officer of the Year, Orange Rural Fire Department Firefighter of the Year, South Orange Rescue Squad Member of the Year, UNC Hospitals Officer of the Year, and UNC Police Officer of the Year.


Last day to Pay 2021 Property Taxes In-person Dec. 30

The last day to make in-person payments to the tax office so they will be displayed as paid in the 2021 calendar year is Thursday, Dec. 30. Payments must be placed in the dropbox located outside the tax office door (Gateway Center, 228 S. Churton Street, Hillsborough) before 4:30 p.m. that day. The tax office will be closed Friday, Dec. 31.

The tax office also offers online payment options. See www.orangecountync.gov/paytaxes for more information on other payment options or call (919) 245-2100 for additional assistance.

The county will operate its normal schedule Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (Dec. 28-30) and will resume normal operations Monday, Jan. 3 2022.


Chapel Hill Town Offices New Year’s Holiday Schedule

Friday, Dec. 31, is a town holiday. Some services may be affected, as follows.

Residential trash collection will not be affected. Yard waste will not be collected the week of Dec. 26-Jan. 1. Christmas tree collection for mulching will begin in January.

Curbside recycling will not be affected.

Commercial trash will not be collected Dec. 30–31. Thursday’s and Friday’s trash will be collected before the end of the week.

Orange County Landfill and Waste & Recycling Centers will close at noon Dec. 31 and will be closed Saturday, Jan. 1.  

Chapel Hill Transit:

  • 28-30—regular schedule with no service for CCX, FCX or JFX routes
  • 31—Sunday schedule (no U route service); NU route ends at 7 p.m.; GoTriangle 420 operating
  • 1—not operating

Housing Office and Maintenance Division will be closed. For emergency maintenance services, call 919-968-2855.

Chapel Hill Public Library will be closed Jan. 1.

Parks and Recreation: 

  • Parks, greenways, trails, dog parks, playgrounds, picnic shelters and outdoor park amenities are open.
  • Administrative offices will be closed Dec. 31.
  • Chapel Hill Community Center and pool and Hargraves Center will be open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Dec. 31.
  • Homestead Aquatic Center will be open 5:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Dec. 31.
  • All Parks and Recreation indoor recreation and aquatic facilities are closed Jan. 1.

For more information and to make pool and open gym reservations online, see www.chapelhillparks.org.


Two Chapel Hill First Responders Receive Top Awards

The Chapel Hill Police and Fire departments have selected the recipients of their Officer of the Year and Firefighter of the Year awards—Officer Kyle Stuart and Fire Captain Patrick Spencer. Their fellow first responders say their work as public servants is admirably upstanding and humble.

Officer Stuart embodies what it means to be a Guardian of the Hill, a “dedicated, hard-working employee, who goes above and beyond,” and whose work ethic is “the epitome of leadership,” according to his fellow officers. Patrol Captain Johnnie Britt said Stuart is a well-rounded officer, “easy to talk to and lends a helping hand where needed,” and is always willing to guide new officers.

Captain Spencer leads the fire department’s Hazardous Materials Response training program. Firefighters call his approach to training innovative, real and effective. Captain Heather Robinson, who works closely with Spencer, says he “is driven to do the right thing because it’s the right thing, even when it’s not the most convenient or easiest option” and “is the definition of hard working.” Spencer also uses his own time and resources to help firefighters as they receive treatment at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center.

In receiving the awards, both men noted the team effort that enabled them to achieve their awards, expressing gratitude for “the overwhelming support from my family, friends and coworkers,” and “the confidence of my peers.”


Input Needed on Tennis Court Renovations 

The public is invited to participate in an online survey to provide feedback for two renovation projects currently being considered for Cedar Falls and Hargraves parks’ tennis court complexes. Age, weathering and drainage all contribute to the need to completely remove, replace and/or resurface the courts. A public information meeting was held Dec. 2 to present the plans for renovation and to receive public input. 

Visit https://bit.ly/3eA7oPc by Jan. 20, 2022 to take the survey. 

For more information, contact Marcia Purvis, Project Manager, at mpurvis@townofchapelhill.org or (919) 968-2750.


Orange County Government Academy Returns in 2022

The Orange County Government Academy will return in 2022 after a two-year COVID hiatus. The academy educates citizens about the many services and programs Orange County government provides its residents. The course is open to all county residents aged 16 and older and meets every other Tuesday in the winter/spring, beginning at 6 p.m.

The 2022 cohort will begin in February 2022 in a combined virtual/physical format. Register at https://bit.ly/319Zt8f.

Faculty from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Government will teach an overview class on the role of counties in the intergovernmental system. Orange County staff will discuss the services provided by their departments. Students also receive behind-the-scenes tours of county facilities, if circumstances allow.


2021-22 Grassroots Arts Program for Schools Open

The Grassroots Arts Program helps fund arts experiences for schools and is open to school systems, individual schools and PTA/PTO groups. All schools must reside within Orange County.

The application period is now open; applications are due by 11:59 p.m., Friday, Jan. 7 2022. Applicants will be notified no later than Friday, Jan. 14. All projects must take place before June 30.

Grassroots Arts Program funds may be used for expenditures to conduct quality arts programs in public or private schools. Typical uses of Grassroots money include program expenses such as professional artists’ fees and travel, space rental, advertising, marketing and publicity, website and electronic media, scripts, costumes, sets, props, music and theater equipment rental.

Schools wishing to hire teaching artists or in-school (in-person or virtual) performances are encouraged to utilize the following partner resources:

  • Carolina Theatre Arts Discovery Educational Series (https://carolinatheatre.org/education-series/arts-discovery/); virtual offerings include “The Movement” and “February One”
  • Durham Arts Council’s CAPS Artist Directory (https://durhamarts.org/dac-caps/#ArtistsPrograms)
  • United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County’s Artists in Schools Directory (https://unitedarts.org/artist-directory/)

December 17, 2021

Carrboro Sidewalk Repair Underway

About 4,000 square feet of sidewalks around Carrboro are being repaired in a project underway now through the end of January 2022. 

Included in the $75,000 maintenance and repair project are sidewalks, wheelchair ramps and curb and gutter work. The work consists of replacing damaged sections of sidewalk, including trip hazards and upgrading curb ramps to current Americans with Disabilities Act standards. 

Sidewalk repairs will be made at Atterbury, N. Camellia, W. Winmore, S. Camellia, Kiley, Sharp, Jewell, Lucas, Della, Stratford, Tramore, Ellsworth, Autumn, Farm House, Sunset Creek, Rockgarden, Cates Farm, Bel Arbor, Long Meadows, Legends, N. Fields, Shadow Ridge, Hogan Woods, Lake Ridge, E. Main and Martin Luther King Jr. Park. 

A concrete saw and jack hammer will be used for demolition, so residents should expect short durations of noise associated with the demolition. 

For more information, contact the Carrboro Public Works Department at 919-918-7425 or PWorks@townofcarrboro.org


Pam Hemminger Selected as Chair of Metro Mayors

The N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, a bipartisan group established by the mayors of the state’s larger cities, last week elected Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger as its new chair, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo as vice chair and Concord Mayor Bill Dusch as treasurer. Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan rounds out the Coalition officers as the immediate past chair.

The elected officers and executive committee will lead the Coalition’s collaboration with state and federal officials, as well as other stakeholders, as they advocate for policies that create high-quality jobs, effective transportation networks, affordable housing and public safety.

The N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, founded in 2001, comprises the mayors of the state’s cities that combined have over 4 million residents and serve as the centers of economic growth in North Carolina. The Coalition, an affiliate of the N.C. League of Municipalities, is a non-partisan, mayor-driven organization that focuses on issues of special interest to our larger cities and metro regions in a fast-growing and urbanizing state. The Coalition members work with each other and federal and state officials to promote policies that encourage a high quality of life and job creation, protect local revenues, invest in public infrastructure and keep our cities safe.


Chapel Hill Revenue Office Holiday Hours

In a continued effort to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Town of Chapel Hill’s revenue office, while still operating, remains physically closed to the public. Also, Town Hall will be closed on Thursday, December 23; Friday, December 24; Monday, December 27; and Friday, December 31, for the holidays.

For information about paying local taxes, see https://bit.ly/3GUx2dT.


Register New Security Alarms

The Town of Chapel Hill requires the registration of certain home and business alarms through its Accidental Alarm Program. Registering your alarm is free and only applies to alarms that trigger police or fire response in Chapel Hill. The program aims to track and reduce the number of accidental alarms, which tie up emergency services.

You can register by phone at 1-855-725-7107 or online at https://bit.ly/326k7Gy.


Chapel Hill Donates Home for Affordable Housing in Northside Neighborhood

When the Town of Chapel Hill purchased a piece of property on North Street as part of the Rosemary Street Parking Deck project, the town donated the single-family home to Empowerment, Inc., a local non-profit organization with the mission of empowering individuals and communities to achieve their goals through community organizing, affordable housing and grassroots economic development.

In addition to donating the house, the town council approved $26,000 to assist Empowerment with moving the house to a parcel of land the organization already owned in Northside. The home will be added to Empowerment’s inventory of permanently affordable rental housing and will serve a low-income family after renovations.


Chapel Hill Town Offices Christmas Holiday Schedule

Dec. 23-24 and 27 are Town holidays. Some services may be affected, as follows:

Residential trash collection will not be affected. Yard waste will not be collected the week of Dec. 19-25.

Curbside recycling will not be affected.

Commercial trash will not be collected Dec. 23-24. Thursday’s and Friday’s trash will be collected before the end of the week.

Orange County Landfill and Waste & Recycling Centers will close at noon on Friday, Dec. 24, and will be closed Saturday, Dec. 25.

Chapel Hill Transit:

  • 24 (no 420 route) and Dec. 27 — Sunday schedule (no U route service; NU route ends at 7 p.m.)
  • 25 — no service
  • 28-30 — local service (no CCX, FCX or JFX routes)
  • EZ Rider operating Dec. 24 and Dec. 27 from 6:15 a.m. to 8:52 p.m.  

Housing Office and Maintenance Division will be closed. For emergency maintenance services, call 919-968-2855.

Chapel Hill Public Library will be closed Dec. 24-27.

Parks and Recreation: 

  • Parks, greenways, trails, dog parks, playgrounds, picnic shelters and outdoor park amenities are open.
  • Administrative offices will be closed Dec. 23-24 and Dec. 27.
  • All Parks and Recreation indoor recreation and aquatic facilities are closed Dec. 24-25.
  • Chapel Hill Community Center open:
    • Thursday, Dec. 23 (10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. – pool closed)
    • Sunday, Dec. 26 (1:30-10 p.m. – pool closed)
    • Monday, Dec. 27 (10 a.m.-7 p.m. – pool closed)
  • Homestead Aquatic Center open:
    • Thursday, Dec. 23 (5:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.)
    • Sunday, Dec. 26 (12-7 p.m.)
    • Monday, Dec. 27 (5:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.)
  • Hargraves Center open:
    • Sunday, Dec. 26 (1:30-6 p.m.)

For more information and to make pool and open gym reservations online, see www.chapelhillparks.org.


December 9, 2021

Carrboro Leaf Collection Underway

Carrboro leaf collection is now underway. The Town of Carrboro would like to remind everyone that leaves should not be piled into traffic lanes, bike lanes or sidewalks, as they become a dangerous public-safety hazard.

Residents should also check collection schedules for yard waste and leaves, so that piles do not remain at the curb longer than necessary. 

Typically, residents receive yard waste and loose-leaf collection twice per month, either on the first and third Mondays of the month or the second and fourth Mondays of the month. It’s important to note that although the collection day is Monday, depending on the volume of material placed at the curb, the routes may take more than one day to complete.  

To check your solid-waste collection schedule, see https://bit.ly/3Gv12wv. See the holiday solid-waste collection schedule at https://bit.ly/3GLBziP

For requirements for leaf pick-up, see https://bit.ly/31NxVW8. If you need help, contact Carrboro Public Works at (919) 918-7425 or PWorks@townofcarrboro.org.  


Candidate Filing Now Open for Vacant Carrboro Town Council Seat

The Carrboro Town Council has called a special election to fill a vacancy on the Carrboro Town Council. The candidate filing period begins Wednesday, Dec. 8, and ends at noon Tuesday, Dec. 21. 

The vacancy came about when Damon Seils, who held a council member seat with a term until December 2023, was elected mayor of Carrboro. The council called the special election to coincide with the general primary election.

To learn more about filing for office, see https://bit.ly/3oBMNzX, or call 919-245-2350. 


Carrboro Police Investigate Two Shootings

The Carrboro Police Department is investigating two shootings that occurred in the Town of Carrboro last weekend.

The first shooting occurred in the parking lot of Carrboro Plaza, 104 NC Hwy 54, Saturday, Dec. 4, around 7:35 p.m. Officers responded to the report of a subject shot and, upon arrival, found one victim with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. He was transported to UNC Hospitals and treated. It was determined that the victim and the suspect were involved in some type of altercation, when the suspect produced a firearm and shot the victim. The suspect then fled the area in a vehicle.

This appears to be an isolated incident, and the police do not believe there is an on-going threat to the public. If you have additional information on this incident, please contact INV Jordan Armstrong with the Carrboro Police Department at (919) 918-7417, or Crime Stoppers at (919) 942-7515.

The second shooting occurred in the area of NC Highway 54 and Jones Ferry Road Sunday, Dec. 5, at around 6 p.m. The victims reported they were driving on NC Highway 54 and as they exited at Jones Ferry Road, a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed overtook them and stopped in front of them on the exit ramp. A subject exited the vehicle, fired multiple shots into the front of the victim’s vehicle, then got back into their vehicle and sped away. No one was injured; however, there was minor damage to the victim’s vehicle. The suspect’s motive for the shooting is unknown at this time.

If you have additional information on this incident, please contact INV Erasmo Velazquez with the Carrboro Police Department at (919) 918-7413, or Crime Stoppers at (919) 942-7515.

At this point it appears that these two shootings are unrelated. Both incidents are being actively investigated, but no additional information is available at this time.

Media point of contact: CPT A.L. Westbrook II, (919) 918-7415.


 

UNC-CH Honors McClinton and Owl

On Nov. 4, on the recommendation of UNC -CH Chancellor Guskiewicz, the UNC Board of Trustees voted to name a residence hall in honor of Professor Hortense McClinton, the first African American professor at UNC-CH, and the Student Affairs office building in honor of Henry Owl (1896-1980), who was the first Native American student at UNC-CH. Owl enrolled as a graduate student in history in 1928.

In its review, the nominating committee cited these achievements by Owl: 

  • Authored a study of Cherokee history, told from a Cherokee perspective, that challenged the racist myths of white settler colonialism;
  • Fought courageously for Cherokee Indians’ civil rights;
  • Served as an educator in Indian reservation schools and as a counselor to Indian veterans of World War II.

Hortense McClinton accepted an appointment with the UNC School of Social Work in 1966 and retired in 1984. Now 103 years old, she lives in Silver Spring, MD. The committee that nominated McClinton acknowledged that she “overcame the obstacles of a Jim Crow society and distinguished herself as a pioneer in desegregating the social work profession.” Committee members also noted that she was “lauded nationally for teaching the knowledge and modeling the skills that prepare social workers to practice ‘without racial and cultural basis.'”

The naming of these buildings for McClinton and Owl is another step by the university to build a campus community that is welcoming to all. For more information, see the article in The Well (https://thewell.unc.edu/).


Farewell to Mandy Cohen, Welcome Kody Kinsley

Mandy K. Cohen, M.D., secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), will be stepping down from her position after five years of service to the people of North Carolina. She was appointed by Gov. Cooper in January 2017. She has directed the state’s response to COVID-19, serving as chief advisor and strategist to the governor regarding the pandemic.

Gov. Cooper has appointed Kody Kinsley, currently chief deputy secretary for health at NCDHHS and lead for COVID operations, to succeed Dr. Cohen beginning Jan. 1, 2022. Kinsley has held positions at the White House and at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and has led operations for a behavioral health-care service provider in western North Carolina.


Primary Elections

The 2022 primary elections will take place Tuesday, March 8, with early voting starting Feb. 17 and ending March 5.


MLK Award Nominations Open

Nominations are open for this year’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People branch annual award celebrating someone in Chapel Hill-Carrboro whose work exemplifies the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Nominations will be accepted online at https://bit.ly/3EH9d8p or in writing via email to info@chcnaacp.com by Jan. 3, 2022.


Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

A COVID-19 vaccine clinic will be held Saturday, Dec. 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Rogers Road Community Center, 101 Edgar St., Chapel Hill. Walk-ins are welcome.

J & J, Moderna and Pfizer (ages 12 and up) vaccines will be available. For boosters, bring your Centers for Disease Control card or proof of initial series.

The clinic is free, with no ID required.


New Chapel Hill Town Council Takes Seat at the Dais

The Chapel Hill Town Council held its organizational meeting Wednesday, swearing in the mayor and town council members for the new term.

The council passed resolutions of appreciation for each of the outgoing council members, Allen Buansi and Hongbin Gu.

Mayor Hemminger was sworn in to her fourth term; she was first elected to the position in 2015. Camille Berry, Paris Miller-Foushee and Adam Searing were sworn in to their first terms on the council; Karen Stegman was sworn in to her second term. The council voted unanimously to appoint council member Stegman as mayor pro tem.

The council’s next meeting is a work session Jan. 5, 2022, followed by a regular business meeting Jan. 12. For the Town of Chapel Hill governance calendar, see https://bit.ly/3Ivt50R.

The Chapel Hill Mayor serves a two-year term (elected on odd calendar years); the eight town council members serve alternating four-year terms (elected on odd calendar years).


December 3, 2021

Burn Ban Issued for All North Carolina Counties

Due to increased fire risk, the N.C. Forest Service issued a ban on all open burning and canceled all burning permits statewide effective at 5 p.m. Nov. 29, until further notice.

Under North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was previously issued. The issuance of any new permits has also been suspended until the ban is lifted. Anyone violating the burn ban faces a $100 fine plus $183 court costs. Any person responsible for setting a fire may be liable for any expenses related to extinguishing the fire.

The statewide fire ban does not include fires within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. Orange County Fire Marshal Elizabeth Farnan extended the ban to cover the 100-foot buffer for the unincorporated areas of Orange County and Hillsborough.

The ban covers all burning, including but not limited to charcoal and gas grills; recreational burning to roast marshmallows, etc.; any outside “warming” fires; and any yard debris.

See the N.C. Forest Service website (https://bit.ly/3IlHbla) for more information.


Chapel Hill December Traffic-Safety Initiatives

The Chapel Hill Police Department will perform three speed-enforcement operations in December – in addition to normal patrols – with the main goal of improving safety for everyone who shares roads. The sessions will be held:

  • Friday, Dec. 3, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 7, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Chapel Hill Police will also perform three pedestrian-safety enforcement operations this month:

  • Friday, Dec. 3, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 9, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 14, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

All dates and times are subject to change.

Each enforcement operation will focus on areas with heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including downtown and mid-block crosswalks (e.g., along the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard corridor).

The 2019 Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is a key component in turning the town’s Road to Zero commitment into a reality. This plan lays out strategies to address pedestrian-safety concerns through policy, infrastructure and programming. The Road to Zero Task Force advises implementation of the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan with a focus on equity, public engagement, safe routes to school and data analysis. For more information, see https://bit.ly/3dpdxNz.


Missing Person

The Chapel Hill Police Department needs your help locating William Gunning, 16 years old, of Chapel Hill. Gunning was last seen around 8:40 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, in the area of Nuttree Lane. He is 5’10” tall and weighs approximately 160 pounds. He was last seen riding a skateboard, wearing a black and yellow flannel shirt with unknown-color Dickie’s-brand pants. 

If you have information or see Gunning, please call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-968-2760 (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday) or call 911.


Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Releases Its Winter Edition of RECREATE

Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation will release the printed edition of the Winter 2022 RECREATE guide Monday, Dec. 6. It includes recreational activities scheduled for January through March, 2022, including spring-break camps. Registration for these programs will open for residents Tuesday, Dec. 14, and for non-residents Thursday, Dec. 16. To browse a full list of recreation programs and park destinations, see https://bit.ly/2ZVYh82 for the online program catalog of activities and to register online.

Featured activities this winter include a mix of outdoor, indoor and virtual activities for all ages, abilities and skill levels. Baseball and softball leagues return next spring, as well as new pickleball clinics. Other programs you might enjoy include a Celebration of Black History Month with a movie and documentary series, Webster’s Rock the Hill indoor rock-climbing competition and the English Channel swim challenge.

The Chapel Hill Community Center Gymnasium, the Northside Gymnasium at Hargraves Park and Rashkis Elementary School Gymnasium are now available for open-play basketball, volleyball and pickleball. As a special park destination feature, a Chapel Hill garden tour is coming in April next year, as well as a number of other great outdoor spaces for everyone.

Visit https://bit.ly/3EqRJ01 for more information on parks and recreation services and to download your own copy of RECREATE.


Chapel Hill Transit Jingle Bell Express December 17

Try out Chapel Hill Transit Dec. 17 by boarding the bus from 10 a.m. to noon at the Eubanks or Southern Village Park & Ride to discover how the bus works and enjoy a few treats. Take a picture along with your address and email to goch@townofchapelhill.org to receive a fun treat in the mail.


Orange County DSS Needs Toys, Volunteers for Holiday Event

Orange County Department of Social Services (DSS) needs volunteers and donations for its annual Toy Chest (https://www.orangecountync.gov/654/Donate-Toys). The event will be held Dec. 13-17 at Orange County DSS (113 Mayo Street, Hillsborough) and provides assistance to low-income families for the holiday season.

The Toy Chest attempts to provide new toys to each eligible child in Orange County. The number of eligible children continues to increase each year, and DSS relies on individuals, businesses, community groups, schools and churches to meet all these needs. To see their wish list, visit https://bit.ly/2ZRd3N9.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks, including folding flyers, stuffing envelopes, setting up the toys and keeping the toy room organized and stocked during the event. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Theresa Collosso at (919) 245-2862 or via email at tcollosso@orangecountync.gov.


Orange County Rectrac/Webtrac Downtime

Online registration for classes or activities and reservations for Orange County facilities will be temporarily unavailable Monday, Dec. 13, due to a planned system upgrade. The downtime is scheduled for 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.

During that time, Orange County’s RecTrac and WebTrac client and facility reservation system will be offline. The web-based system is used by Aging Services; Asset Management; Dept. of Environment, Agriculture, Parks and Recreation; and the library.

If you experience any issues after 1 p.m., check with the county by phone at 919-245-2280, option 1, or email helpdesk@orangecountync.gov


Raleigh-based Writer Named 2022 Piedmont Laureate

Heather Bell Adams, a Raleigh-based fiction writer, has been selected as the region’s 2022 Piedmont Laureate. During 2022, Bell Adams will appear at virtual and in-person programming, including workshops, reading programs and speaking engagements throughout Wake, Durham and Orange counties.

The Piedmont Laureate program is dedicated to bringing residents together to celebrate the art of writing. Co-sponsored by the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Durham Arts Council, Orange County Arts Commission and United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County, the Piedmont Laureate program’s mission is to “promote awareness of and heighten appreciation for excellence in the literary arts throughout the Piedmont region.”

The program focuses on a different literary form each year, including poetry, novels, creative non-fiction, drama/screenwriting, children’s literature, short fiction, speculative fiction and mystery fiction.

As Piedmont Laureate, Bell Adams will receive an honorarium and serve until Dec. 31. Her duties will include presenting virtual programming, which includes public readings and workshops, virtual participation at select public functions and creating at least one original activity to expand appreciation of the work of fiction.

A schedule of the laureate’s 2022 activities will be posted on the sponsoring agency websites and on the Piedmont Laureate website at www.piedmontlaureate.org.

Bell Adams’ novels, Maranatha Road (West Virginia University Press 2017) and The Good Luck Stone (Haywire Books 2020) appear on reading lists for Deep South MagazineWriter’s Bone, The Big Other, and Buzz Feed.


Carrboro To Survey Residents about Town Services 

The Town of Carrboro seeks to find out what residents think of town services through a survey being issued to a random sampling of residents. 

Results are used in town-planning efforts to identify future improvements. New to the survey this year are questions related to American Recovery Plan funding. These funds are being called a “generational opportunity” to make long-term, impactful investments in our community.  

The Carrboro Resident Survey will be mailed to 2,000 randomly selected Carrboro households. Respondents can complete the survey and return it by mail, or take the survey online or by phone. Everyone who completes the survey will be given chance to enter a random drawing for a $500 Visa gift card. For non-English-speaking households, foreign-language translation will be available in multiple languages. The Town has selected ETC Institute to help with the survey.

A report of the survey findings will be released in early 2022.  For more information, contact Communication and Engagement Director Catherine Lazorko at communications@townofcarrboro.org


November 29, 2021

Carrboro Holiday Tree Lighting

The Carrboro community, along with local schoolchildren and the Find Your Own Voice community singing group, officially kick off the season with music and the lighting of the community tree. The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, in front of Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St. Free for all ages.


Carrboro Cheer Gift Guide

The Carrboro Business Alliance (CBA) launched the new Carrboro Cheer Gift Guide (CarrboroCheer.com), which showcases more than 70 curated, local Carrboro gift ideas for the holiday shopping season. The Gift Guide is part of Carrboro Cheer, an annual #BuyLocal holiday initiative coordinated by the CBA and presented by Carr Mill Mall with additional support from the Carrboro Tourism Development Authority.


Chris Wells Selected to Become New Chapel Hill Fire Marshal

Effective Nov. 29, Chris Wells is Assistant Chief of Life Safety and serves as the Town’s fire marshal. Assistant Chief Wells was most recently the Chapel Hill Fire Department’s assistant fire marshal. His promotion comes as Assistant Chief Tommy Gregory transitions from leading the Life Safety Division to a role overseeing Fire Department operations.

Among many duties in his new position, Assistant Chief Wells will manage fire code enforcement and fire investigations. He will help develop and implement community risk-reduction programs and will be a key part of fire and life safety educational outreach in the Chapel Hill community.

In his previous role with the department, Assistant Chief Wells helped create new work and on-call schedules to improve work-life balance for fire inspectors. He said making the department a great place to work remains a top priority in his new position.

Assistant Chief Wells joined the Chapel Hill Fire Department in February 2019. Before that, he served as fire marshal for the Town of Morrisville. His experience also includes two years as deputy fire marshal in Alamance County and 10 years with Guilford County Emergency Services’ Fire Operations and Fire Prevention Divisions.

Assistant Chief Wells is a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq War. He transitioned out of the military and into firefighting in late 2003, first joining the Burlington Fire Department.


November 24, 2021

Carrboro People Photo Album

The Town of Carrboro is bringing back the Carrboro People Photo Album for the holidays. Send photos of yourself or your pod and family (including pets) to be included. 

The 2020 album — posted at https://youtu.be/yw3S7a65nLs — debuted in November 2020 at the kickoff of Carrboro Connects, the comprehensive planning effort for our town. Over the past year, Carrboro has asked for ideas, visions and input for the community plan. The question asked of people of every age, race and background was, “What can WE create, together?” 

Review the Draft 2022-2042 Carrboro Connects Comprehensive Plan at https://www.carrboroconnects.org/public-hearing-draft.

Post your photos via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram via a tag @CarrboroTownGov or email them to communications@townofcarrboro.org. Music, books, poems, movies or other creative products that show what Carrboro means to you or the Carrboro you would like to see in the future are also welcome.  

The 2021 Carrboro People Photo Album will be posted this winter holiday season, as long as photos are received. 


COVID-19 Booster Shot Eligibility Expanded to Anyone Age 18 or Older

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized and the Centers for Disease Control has recommended booster vaccine shots (https://bit.ly/3HXM3Nd) for all adults 18 and older to help strengthen and extend protections against COVID-19.  

If you received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you can get your booster six months after your second shot. If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you can get your booster two months after your shot. Anyone over 50 or at high risk, as well as those 18 or older who were vaccinated more than two months ago with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, should get a booster dose now.  

Additionally, fully vaccinated people who received their first COVID-19 vaccine outside of the United States or in clinical trials with a brand not currently authorized can now receive a Pfizer booster shot when they are eligible. 

To find a COVID-19 booster, visit MySpot.nc.gov to search for vaccine locations near you. Not all vaccines may be available at every vaccine location. Booster shots are available anywhere COVID-19 vaccines are available. Individuals who want to receive a booster shot will need to know the dates of any past COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as the vaccine brand they originally received. Paper vaccination cards are helpful but may not be necessary. At-home vaccination and free transportation may be available.

Individuals can receive any brand of COVID-19 vaccine for their booster shot. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received and others may prefer to get a different booster. Limited preliminary evidence suggests that booster doses of one of the two mRNA vaccines — Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech — more effectively raise antibody levels than a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


Chapel Hill Police Welcome New K9 Partner

Rocky, a 15-month-old Belgian Malinois originally from Poland, is the newest K9 Guardian of the Hill, joining Mando, Perrin and Raiden. Rocky will work with his human partner, Officer Jacob Clark. 

Rocky and Officer Clark have bonded quickly and are ready to start training together. At K9 school, Rocky is learning how to help officers search for missing people or fleeing crime suspects, as well as to search for and find dangerous narcotics. He is also learning how to search buildings and protect his new partner.


Small Business Saturday in Carrboro

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle has proclaimed Saturday, Nov. 27 (the Saturday after Thanksgiving), as Small Business Saturday in Carrboro. 

The Town of Carrboro supports local businesses that create jobs, boost our local economy and preserve our communities. There are more than 387 small businesses in Carrboro, making up 96% of all business in town. Small businesses in Carrboro employ over 2,500 people and provide over $93 million in payroll.

Carrboro Cheer 2021, to support local Carrboro businesses, will have a table at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market featuring the distribution of complimentary local swag bags and the launch of the buy local Carrboro Cheer Gift Guide.


Town of Carrboro Establishes Community Safety Task Force

In the interest of advancing racial equity in law enforcement and public safety, the Town of Carrboro has established a Community Safety Task Force. On Tuesday, Nov. 16, the Carrboro Town Council appointed the following members to the task force: George Barrett, Barbara Fedders, Benjamin Gear, Madison Hayes, Frances Henderson and Mariela Hernandez. The task force is expected to begin its work in early 2022, following appointments of council liaisons and establishing a meeting schedule. 

Task force members have professional expertise and/or lived experience in the criminal justice, legal system, human services delivery, social work, public health and harm reduction, community building in marginalized populations or related content areas. 

The task force will provide recommendations to the town council on additional services to enhance community safety and well-being that rely on prevention and intervention strategies as alternatives to policing and the criminal justice legal system — including but not limited to community nonviolence and de-escalation training programs; domestic violence intervention and prevention; youth-oriented programs; on-call crisis response that would allow certain calls for police assistance to be handled by other trained professionals, such as social workers or crisis counselors; and other related approaches.


Donate to the Emergency Housing Assistance Program

In order to help others this holiday season, consider making a contribution to assist Chapel Hill residents in housing crisis by making a tax-deductible donation to the county-wide Emergency Housing Assistance Program.   

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the town has seen a tremendous increase in requests for assistance, as many residents continue to struggle to make ends meet. Amid the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic, in collaboration with Orange County, the towns of Carrboro,

Hillsborough and Chapel Hill expanded the eligibility criteria and funding available through the Emergency Housing Assistance Program. The program provides low-income residents in urgent need of rent and utility assistance with a one-time payment. 

All donations received will be used to directly assist Chapel Hill residents. Donations of any amount may be made by check payable to the Town of Chapel Hill. Send to Business Management Department, 405 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Please indicate in the memo “Emergency Housing Assistance Program.”  The town will provide a receipt for each tax-deductible donation. 

For residents in need of assistance, please call or email the Housing Helpline to get an application: 919-245-2655 or HousingHelp@orangecountync.gov.

For more information about the Emergency Housing Assistance Program, see https://bit.ly/30Vkfby.


SHARP Direct Care Worker Awards

The Department on Aging and the Senior Health Advocacy and Resource Partners (SHARP) of Orange County honored 29 individuals for their outstanding service in long-term care Thursday, Nov. 4, during a virtual Direct Care Worker Award ceremony.

This event recognizes direct care workers (nurse aides, personal care aides, companion caregivers, etc.) who served clients in Orange County within the past year, making a difference in their clients’ lives on a daily basis and in the community. 

Bonnie Hammersley, Orange County Manager, recognized all 29 nominees, including six individuals who received the following 2021 SHARP Direct Care Worker awards:

  • Longevity: Jean Knight – Home Instead Senior Care
  • Rising Star: Genmy Escamilla – Homewatch Caregivers of the Triangle
  • Client Impact: Christina Rich-Parrish – Homewatch Caregivers of the Triangle  
  • Going the Extra Mile: Gloria Borbor – Homewatch Caregivers of the Triangle
  • Leadership: Crystal Perry – Carol Woods Retirement Community 
  • Direct Care Worker of the Year: Lucy Williams – independent care provider (pictured)

Employers of the award winners were also honored at the virtual awards ceremony. 
2021 SHARP Direct Care Worker awardee employers are ARC of the Triangle, Carol Woods Retirement Community, Charles House Association, Homewatch Caregivers of the Triangle, Home Instead Senior Care, LiveWell Assisted Living, Piedmont Health, Premier Home Health Care Services, Right at Home of the Triangle, UNC Home Health and six individual family caregivers.

See https://bit.ly/3cMaRcS, or call 919-245-4253 to learn more and to view this year’s awards ceremony.


Orange County Public Library Goes Fine-Free

The Orange County Public Library no longer collects fines for overdue materials. County commissioners approved the fine-free policy during their Nov. 16 business meeting as part of an effort to remove barriers to library use. 

See https://bit.ly/3xjdtrT for more information.


Partnership to End Homelessness Seeking Board Members

The Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness (OCPEH) invites community members, service providers, people with lived experience of housing instability and other stakeholders to join their board, the OCPEH Leadership Team. Members serve two-year terms and direct the work to end homelessness in Orange County, including making community funding decisions and working to fill homeless system gaps (https://www.ocpehnc.com/gaps-analysis).

Apply online  at https://bit.ly/3nOgP34 by Friday, Dec. 10, to be considered for the 2022 slate of members.
 
To learn more about ending homelessness, see https://www.ocpehnc.com/, or contact Rachel Waltz at rwaltz@orangecountync.gov or 919-245-2496.


Bus Stop Improvements Scheduled at Stops in Hillsborough, Chapel Hill

As a function of the Orange County Transit Plan, improvements are being made at various Orange County Public Transportation (OCPT) bus stops in Hillsborough and Chapel Hill. These improvements are funded through the half-cent public transit sales tax.

By early fall, construction will begin at the following sites:

  1. Faucette Mill Rd. at Cornelius Street (US 70), Hillsborough;
  2. North Churton Street (NC-86) at Hillsborough Police Station, Hillsborough;
  3. New NC 86 at Home Depot, Hillsborough;
  4. MLK Jr Boulevard at Homestead Road, Chapel Hill.

These bus stops service multiple routes shared among OCPT, GoTriangle and Chapel Hill Transit. The improvements will bring a more comfortable experience to high-ridership areas.

The shelters are made in the USA and will be fitted with solar lighting, USB charging ports, spacious seating and bicycle racks. 


Town Accepting Funding Applications for Community Development Projects

Organizations that operate programs or provide housing to benefit low- to moderate-income residents of the community may be eligible to apply for funding through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.  Individual households are not eligible to apply directly for funding.

The CDBG Program, operated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides communities with resources to address a wide range of community needs to serve low- to moderate-income residents. Last year, the town focused the funds received on COVID-19 relief and recovery by providing emergency housing assistance to 416 households at risk of homelessness due to COVID-19, support for remote learning and childcare for 131 children, and distribution of more than 18,500 food boxes to households in need.

Applications are due by noon Jan. 14, 2022.  Programs awarded funding will likely be eligible to begin next summer.

For more information, contact Megan Culp at cdbg@townofchapelhill.org to schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss your project proposal and application. More information and the 2022-2023 application can be found on the website at townofchapelhill.org/cdbg.


Chapel Hill Recognized Globally Among New Climate Leaders

Chapel Hill is one of 95 cities to receive top score on climate action from environmental impact non-profit, CDP. CDP is a global non-profit that runs the world’s environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states and regions.

A-list cities build climate momentum, taking twice as many climate-mitigation and adaptation measures as cities receiving lower scores. Only 9.8% of cities that were scored in 2021 received an “A” score.

To score an “A,” a city must disclose publicly and have a city-wide emissions inventory, have set an emissions-reduction target and a renewable-energy target for the future, and have published a climate action plan. It must also complete a climate risk and vulnerability assessment and have a climate adaptation plan to demonstrate how it will tackle climate hazards.

The Town Council has a goal to reduce carbon emissions and make Chapel Hill a 100%-clean-energy community by the year 2050. The Town Council adopted a Climate Action and Response Plan in June. It can be viewed at townofchapelhill.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=48581.

The full 2021 A-List of cities can be found at cdp.net/en/cities/cities-scores.  


Chapel Hill Mayor, Busy Bees Partner to Install Little Free Libraries in Public Housing Communities

Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger is partnering with the Busy Bees Volunteer Service Corps, Inc. — a statewide organization that supports nonprofits and social causes through volunteerism and advocacy — to install Little Free Libraries in Chapel Hill public housing communities. The first library will be installed at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 22, in the Pritchard Park public housing community located on Pritchard Avenue Extension. Gil Mandell (pictured) and his mom, Rachel, of Carrboro, built the library that will be installed at Pritchard Park public housing.

Chapel Hill Police Chief and Executive Director for Community Safety Chris Blue has committed his staff to partner in the installation of the second Little Free Library, which will be installed in the Eastwood community, located at the corner of Piney Mountain Road and Louis Armstrong Court. The installation date will be announced soon.

For more information or to find out how you can join The Busy Bees Volunteer Service Corps., email busybeesvscnc@gmail.com.


Marion Cheek Jackson Center and the Community Empowerment Fund Awarded $25,000

The Marion Cheek Jackson Center and the Community Empowerment Fund have been awarded $25,000 by Duke Energy for training and policy reforms. Duke Energy is providing over $1 million to organizations working for social justice and racial equity across North Carolina.


Google Fiber Work on Multiple Roads

Contractors will install infrastructure for Google Fiber on several roads near downtown one-segment-at-a-time. Each segment is expected to take one-to-two days to complete. This project impacts portions of W. Rosemary Street, W. Franklin Street, N. Graham Street, S. Graham Street, S. Roberson Street, Kenan Street, Ransom Street and Cameron Avenue. The work includes boring, street coring and open trenching of affected roads. 

During the work, commuters can expect to see flaggers, traffic shifts and pedestrian detours to allow vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic to travel around the work zones.  None of the impacted roads will be completely closed at any point.   

This work is expected to begin Monday, Nov. 29.  It will take approximately four work weeks to complete.  Workers will be on site weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  When they are not working, workers will place steel plates over any open trenches.   

Contractor for Google fiber installation: 877-454-6959. Town of Chapel Hill: utilityissues@townofchapelhill.org 


Town of Chapel Hill Receives a Score of 100 in 2021 Municipal Equality Index Report

The Town of Chapel Hill, a leader in advancing LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, allies, asexual and pansexual) equality in North Carolina, has received a score of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) 2021 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) scores.

The HRC rates cities across the United States each year based on their initiatives to support LGBTQ communities. The findings are compiled on the MEI scorecard. Cities are given points for inclusive programs and policies, such as non-discrimination laws, transgender-inclusive health benefits for employees, inclusive workplaces and LGBTQ+ liaisons in the executive office.

This year, Chapel Hill received additional points for enacting an ordinance that prohibits discrimination in employment and places of accommodation.

Many Fortune 500 companies rely on the HRC report as a guide for relocation and expansion because the inclusion of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, helps support a more diverse workforce and provides a high quality of life for all employees. The full report can be found at https://bit.ly/3DJGkbn.


Indoor Mask Mandate Continues for Orange County

With several key COVID metrics increasing, Orange County will continue its indoor countywide mask mandate. The mandate applies to anyone 2 years and older, regardless of vaccination status.

Orange County is experiencing a surge in new cases, mostly among the unvaccinated, despite having one of the highest rates of vaccination in the state, with 71% of the population fully vaccinated. Face coverings will still be required in all indoor public places, including public transportation facilities and vehicles. The mandate will be reevaluated mid-January.

The mask mandate does not apply to the following individuals:

  • Anyone with a diagnosed medical or behavioral condition or disability, including difficulty breathing;
  • Children under age 2;
  • Children under 5 if a parent, guardian or responsible person has been unable to place and maintain a face covering safely on the child’s face;
  • Anyone who is actively eating or drinking;
  • Anyone who is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible;
  • Anyone who is giving a speech or performance for a broadcast or to an audience where a distance of at least 20 feet is maintained from the audience;
  • Anyone who is working alone in an individual office setting. Face coverings must be applied when in common areas such as breakrooms, hallways, restrooms or other areas where additional persons may be encountered;
  • Anyone who has determined the face covering is impeding the person’s visibility in the operation of equipment or a vehicle.

November 17, 2021

Orange County Recreation Offers Pre-school Academies in December

The Orange County Recreation Division is offering preschool academies for children ages 3-5 to help them prepare for the transition to a school environment. The month-long academies meet twice a week and are offered in virtual and in-person formats.

They will feature curriculum-based learning, using age-appropriate activities to teach students numbers, letters, colors, rhythm and science. Based on the weekly theme, students will partake in a wide variety of activities each day.

For more information on the virtual format, see http://www.orangecountync.gov/2491/Preschool-Academy-Virtual. For more information on the in-person format, see http://www.orangecountync.gov/2764/Preschool-Academy-In-Person.


Orange County Thanksgiving Holiday Schedules

Thursday, Nov. 25, and Friday, Nov. 26, are Town holidays. Some services may be affected, as follows:

Residential trash collection: Not affected; yard waste not collected the week of Nov. 21-27.

Curbside recycling: Not collected Thursday, Nov. 25 (make-up day Saturday, Nov. 27).

Orange County landfill and waste and recycling centers: Closed Thursday, Nov. 25.

Commercial trash: Not collected Nov. 25-26. Thursday’s and Friday’s trash collected before the end of the week.

Chapel Hill Transit: Will not operate Thursday, Nov. 25, and will provide Sunday service (no U route service) on Friday, Nov. 26; EZ Rider closed Thursday and will operate from 8:15 a.m. to 6:52 p.m. Friday.

Housing: Office and maintenance division closed; for emergency maintenance services, call (919) 968-2855.

Chapel Hill Public Library: Closed Nov. 24-26.

Parks and recreation:

  • Parks, greenways, trails, dog parks, playgrounds, picnic shelters and outdoor park amenities open.
  • Administrative offices closed Thursday, Nov. 25, and Friday, Nov. 26.
  • Chapel Hill Community Center, Hargraves Center, Northside Gym, Homestead Aquatics Center and the Teen Center closed Thursday, Nov. 25.
  • Homestead Aquatics Center and Chapel Hill Community Center open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26. (pool closed); reservations required—schedule a time online at https://bit.ly/3Cqmpgd.

New Electric Vehicle Charging Station in Carrboro

Piedmont Electric Cooperative has unveiled a new electric vehicle (EV) DC fast-charging station at the Carrboro Plaza, 104 NC Highway 54. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, including Piedmont Electric, are working to create a statewide network of EV charging stations, enabling the increased adoption of EV technology. DC fast-chargers provide the quickest charge available and can charge a depleted electric vehicle’s battery to 80% capacity in less than 30 minutes.

Cooperatives primarily serve members in rural locations, and their expanding charging network fills gaps in charging infrastructure in rural and tourist-visited areas, creating environmental and economic benefits for communities.  

Piedmont Electric applied for and was awarded a grant to fund the chargers as part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency settlement with Volkswagen (VW). The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality awarded eight North Carolina electric cooperatives, including Piedmont Electric, approximately $700,000 in VW settlement funding to install high-speed EV charging stations in rural and suburban communities throughout the state. Additional funding and support were provided by the Town of Carrboro to ensure this project’s success.

The NC electric co-ops’ charging network has now expanded to nearly 70 charging stations, with more than 100 charging ports across the state. To learn more about their EV charging network and how Piedmont Electric supports members in accessing the benefits of EVs, including rebates and special rates, visit NCDriveElectric.com/piedmont-electric.

A level 2 charging station is currently located at Carrboro Town Hall, and two stations, which will be operational by Spring 2022, are being installed in the new East Rosemary Street Parking Lot and at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park.


Chapel Hill Celebrates Arbor Day on Friday, November 19

The Town of Chapel Hill will celebrate Arbor Day virtually on Friday, Nov. 19, at noon, as part of Arbor Week in Chapel Hill. Second-grade students and teachers from Northside Elementary School have been invited to join Mayor Pam Hemminger, staff members of the parks and recreation department, and the N.C. Forest Service to commemorate the occasion. 

During the virtual event, Mayor Hemminger will read an Arbor Day proclamation and accept the Tree City USA Award from the N.C. Forest Service. The students, from Northside Elementary School, will share artwork and poems about the trees they have studied.  

A short video will be shown of the Parks and Recreation department planting a small urban forest along the Bolin Creek Trail connector (https://bit.ly/31ZooLN), made up of fifteen trees, including oaks, magnolias, dogwood, cedar and others.

To help celebrate the town’s tree canopy, the community tree committee and Mayor Pam Hemminger have also announced the second annual “Mayor’s Tree of the Year” contest. Learn more, and nominate your favorite tree at https://bit.ly/3HwooDf

Learn more ways Chapel Hill celebrates trees during Arbor Week at https://bit.ly/32bn6xv.


Carrboro Film Fest Is Back!

Carrboro Film Fest is bringing the movies back to Carrboro this November.  Now in its 16th year, Carrboro Film Festival will run from Friday, Nov. 19, to Sunday, Nov. 21, at The ArtsCenter, and includes 6 feature films and 4 blocks of short films. 

Features include Theirs Is the Kingdom documentary (pictured) on Saturday, Nov. 12.  

Attendees will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, and masks will be required. 

For the full film schedule, see https://www.carrborofilm.org/events

For ticket information, see

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/carrboro-film-fest-2021-tickets-195950732917


Major Thermo Fisher Facility in Orange County

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., a world leader in serving science, announced Nov. 12 it will build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Mebane. The site is part of a recently announced co-investment with the U.S. government — a $192.5 million contract in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure domestic supply of critically needed laboratory pipette tips.

Thermo Fisher currently employs approximately 4,000 colleagues across 7 sites in North Carolina, including a center of excellence for laboratory equipment in Asheville, 3 life sciences and chemical manufacturing sites in Durham, pharmaceutical manufacturing sites in Greenville and High Point, and a Raleigh distribution center. The Mebane site is expected to create 150-200 new jobs in manufacturing, engineering and business operations.


Gallop & Gorge 8K Scheduled for Thanksgiving Day in Carrboro

The Gallop & Gorge 8K race is scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 25, in Carrboro. Expect traffic delays around this time on W. Weaver Street and Main Street.

There are two ways you can participate in the run:

  • The in-person race starts at 8 a.m.; the course starts and finishes on Weaver Street in downtown Carrboro.
  • A virtual option is also available; you can run when and where you want, and submit your virtual results by Dec. 5.

The Gallop & Gorge 8K race is the final race in the 17th annual Le Tour de Carrboro race series, sponsored by the Cardinal Track Club.

For more information, see https://www.cardinaltrackclub.com/.


OWASA Holding Public Information Session Ahead of East Main Street Sewer Project

Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) will hold a public information session from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17, ahead of a sewer line rehabilitation and replacement project on East Main Street in downtown Carrboro.

The upcoming project will invest in upgrades for the community’s sewer infrastructure on East Main Street in Carrboro from the intersection with Rosemary Street to the intersection with Greensboro Street. The project will include replacing approximately 2,000 feet of sewer line, replacing 8 manholes, installing 2 new manholes, and point repairs at 2 locations in the project area.

Construction on this project is expected to begin in January 2022 and be completed by June 2022. That timeline could be extended by weather or other factors. Normal work hours during the project will be Sunday through Friday 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Traffic will be impacted during the construction hours, with a signed detour established. All travel lanes will be open at the end of each work period, with no lingering impacts to vehicle traffic expected.

If you are unable to attend the public information session, you can contact OWASA Utilities Engineer Deepthi Kalyanam via email at dkalyanam@owasa.org or (919) 537-4215 and sign up for future email updates as the project progresses.


OWASA Holding Third-Annual Care-to-Share Day Fundraiser for Bill-Assistance Program

Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) will hold its third-annual Care to Share Day Nov. 18, 2021. Care-to-Share Day is focused on raising awareness of and funds for the bill-assistance program that is administered in partnership with OWASA and the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service (IFC).

Those who are able are asked to consider donating to help neighbors who might be having a hard time paying their water bill. OWASA temporarily suspended service disconnections due to non-payment in March 2020 in response to the emerging pandemic. While that moratorium remains in place, there are a growing number of customers who are behind on their bill and would otherwise be subject to service disconnection.

Donations can be made as part of a customer’s monthly OWASA bill or through a one-time donation to the IFC. 100% of donations will go toward helping pay down debts for those neighbors who are behind on their OWASA bill.

More information about the Care-to-Share program is available at owasa.org. Also, for more information, contact Blake Hodge, communications specialist, bhodge@owasa.org/(919) 537-4236.


November 10, 2021

First Thanks + Giving Food Truck Rodeo and Non-Profit Showcase in Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture and Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation are hosting the first Thanks + Giving Food Truck Rodeo and Non-Profit Showcase Sunday, Nov. 21 from noon to 4 p.m. at Legion Road Open Space. Food vendors will offer a variety of cuisines, and local nonprofits will provide activities for all ages. Two organizations, TABLE and the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service, will anchor the event and will collect canned food, winter clothing items and toiletries.

Susan Brown, executive director of Community Arts & Culture, says the event will have the feeling of a community picnic and attendees should bring blankets and folding chairs to spread out on the large green space at Legion Road. A local DJ will provide a family-friendly soundtrack and lawn games will be available.

The event will feature approximately 15 nonprofits focused on a range of causes, from mental health to art therapy to sustainability and more. The current collection of charities includes EmPOWERMENT, Porch, B3 Coffee, Hope Renovations, Musical Empowerment, Institute of Art Therapy, TABLE, Chapel Hill Service League, Orange Literacy, Kidzu Children’s Museum, Friends of Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation, Orange County Rape Crisis Center, Triangle Bikeworks, Beautiful Together Animal Sanctuary and Inter-Faith Council for Social Service.

Approximately 12 food trucks will offer a variety of menu items and culinary styles. The current line-up of food trucks includes The Naked Empanada, Baton Rouge Cuisine, The Corner Venezuelan, The Paddy Wagon, Poblanos Tacos, Buffolina’s, Brusters Ice Cream, Cilantro Mexican Cuisine, Drizzle D’s, and Buoy Bowls.

Plenty of parking will be available, and alternative modes of transportation are always encouraged. Consider biking to the event or using Chapel Hill Transit. Route D will stop every hour at the Europa Center, located close to the event. 

To learn more about the event, see https://bit.ly/3C4IQay.


Ending School Racism Program

The Campaign for Racial Equity in Our Schools will present Barbie Garayua Tudryn as the next speaker in their Ending School Racism: What Can White Parents Do? series. Her topic will be “Social-Emotional Learning, Race, and the Mindsets of Young Children.”

Ms. Tudryn has years of experience as a school counselor, tutor and founder of Mariposas, a community of Latinx youth and families in Chapel Hill. She is a LatinxEd fellow and is on the Learning for Justice Advisory Board.

The Zoom program will be Monday evening, Nov. 15, at 6:30. It is free, but registration is required.


Concert Singers of Cary Presents Holiday Pops

Concert Singers of Cary Holiday Pops will be back in-person  Dec. 11, 2021, at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for this one-hour show can be purchased at the Cary Arts Center theater (101 Dry Ave., Cary). Tickets (including tax) are $20 for adults and $5 for persons 17-and-younger. Singers will be masked, and COVID safety protocol requirements are outlined on the eTix ticketing page (https://bit.ly/3kqSHBx).

An array of holiday tunes will be performed. The concert follows the Cary Christmas Parade, a celebration that includes bands, mascots, local businesses, community groups and churches.

For more information, see https://bit.ly/3ktjVYl.


Webinar to Discuss Historical Content and Importance of the James Cates Critical Oral History Initiative

James Cates was a 22-year-old man who was murdered on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus in 1970. A webinar will be presented Thursday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. by community historian Danita Mason-Hogans. Ms. Mason-Hogans will introduce and contextualize Mr. Cates, the history of the
university and community, what happened that evening and its future implications and share a dossier of information that has been researched and archived.

Sponsored by The James Cates Remembrance Coalition, it will highlight ongoing efforts to collect history, share future project goals and provide an update of the UNC Cates memorial and building name. The coalition is a collective that includes family members, community leaders, scholars, activists and students who are commemorating Mr. Cates’s life and death through a multi-phase community history project.

Zoom registration for this program is at https://bit.ly/3wy3YEQ. For more information, see https://south.unc.edu/. Listen to the podcast at https://chapelhillhistory.org/podcast/.


November 8

Deer Hunting with Dogs

Orange County Animal Services is preparing for deer-hunting season by promoting awareness of the legal requirements and responsibilities of using dogs and guns to hunt deer. The season opens Saturday, Nov. 13, and ends Jan. 1, 2022.

An Orange County brochure (https://bit.ly/3FaZCXD) is available that provides general information about using dogs to hunt deer. This is lawful in northern Orange County — specifically, the portion of the county north of Interstate 85. The brochure also describes the process for reporting concerns or issuing complaints about unlawful hunting practices.

In Orange County, written permission must be obtained to hunt on someone’s private property whether or not private property is posted as “No hunting.”  This differs from other counties in North Carolina, which require written permission only when hunting on posted property.

For more information about deer hunting with dogs in Orange County, see https://bit.ly/3n3Kx3P.

More information, including a sample written permission form, is also provided by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission at https://bit.ly/3D9b2u4. Wildlife Dispatch may also be reached at 1-800-662-7137 for any hunting-related conflicts.


Orange County, Carrboro and Chapel Hill Outside Agencies Funding Process Opens

Each year, Orange County, the Town of Carrboro and the Town of Chapel Hill invite program funding requests from nonprofit providers (outside agencies) to support delivery of vital community services. The county and towns administer a common application with separate evaluation processes.

The total outside agency budget for FY2021-22 is $1.72 million. Each quarter, agencies must report their performance objectives and provide financial receipts in order to receive funding disbursements, as outlined in funding applications and the Scope of Services Performance Agreement.

For more detailed information, see the Funding Process page (https://www.orangecountync.gov/738/Funding-Process). The application deadline is Jan. 13, 2022. 


Animal Services Needs Homes for Working Barn Cats

Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) needs to find homes for cats that are part of their working barn cat initiative. These cats are currently housed at the Animal Services Center in Chapel Hill, and they are not quite social enough to be adopted through the regular adoption program. However, these cats would likely make great working cats if you have a barn, stable or other structure that could use hard-working felines.

Adopting a working cat may be an effective way of controlling the rodent population in a structure or area while providing a safe home for a cat that is not social enough to be adopted to an indoor household. Working cats will be sterilized and fully vaccinated before going to their new homes. They will also come with general-care instructions and recommendations for helping them to adapt to their new space on an adopter’s property. For more information on what adopters need to provide for these cats, see the document at https://bit.ly/3qodgSY.

If you are interested in adopting a working cat, please call the OCAS adoption desk at 919-942-7387, menu option 3.


Native American Heritage Month

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners will consider a proclamation declaring November as Native American Heritage Month at the Nov. 16 meeting. On Aug. 3, 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared November as National Native American Heritage Month with a bill honoring the tribal people of America. North Carolina currently is home to eight state-recognized tribes, including the Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, Sappony and Waccamaw-Siouan. Locally, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation dwelt in this region now known as Orange County; they had their own social, economic and governance systems.

American Indian peoples have struggled and persevered to maintain their identity and their civilization, despite inhumane and unjust federal policies focused on genocide, removal and compulsory assimilation ever since the United States of America was founded. National Native American Heritage Month has become a platform for American Indians to share their culture, traditions, arts and concepts of life. It also is a time for others to celebrate the myriad contributions by native peoples past and present and to honor their influence on the advancement of the United States.

The theme this year is “Strong Roots in Changing Times,” to reflect the resilience of American Indians throughout the pandemic and the continued preservation of their culture and traditions.


November 3

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available for Children Ages 5 to 11

Children ages 5 to 11 can now receive a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized a lower dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children in this age group, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend all children 5–11 get the vaccine to protect against serious illness and help keep them healthy.

“Children are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus just like everyone else,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “The authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provides a safe, tested way to protect them from serious illness and provide healthier, happier experiences in and outside of the classroom.”

During the most recent surge, pediatric cases of COVID-19 rose by about 240% in the United States, demonstrating a need to protect children from the disease. Results from clinical trials that began in March 2021 showed the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was safe and effective to protect children ages 5–11 from COVID-19.

Children are given two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Each dose is one-third the amount given to people ages 12 and older. The dose for 5–11 year olds is different from the dose authorized for people ages 12 and older, and children in this age group should not receive the 12 and older dose.

The vaccine is effective and produced a similar immune response in children 5–11 as in older kids and adults ages 16–25. As with other routine vaccinations for children, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine underwent a thorough testing and review process by the FDA and an independent scientific committee to ensure it is safe and effective for children.

Everyone ages 5 and older can receive a free Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, even if they don’t have health insurance and regardless of their immigration status. 

In Orange County there are multiple places that your 5–11-year-old can be vaccinated, including pediatric clinics, K-12 Schools, and local pharmacies and “pop-up events.” For more information visit http://www.townofcarrboro.org/civicalerts.aspx?AID=1909.


2021 Municipal Election Results

On Nov. 2, the Orange County Board of Elections announced the following winners of the Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and CHCCS School Board races:

Carrboro

Mayor: Damon Seils

Town Council: Barbara Foushee, Randee Haven-O’Donnell, Dany Nowell

Chapel Hill

Mayor:  Pam Hemminger

Town Council: Camille Berry, Paris Miller-Foushee, Adam Searing, Karen Stegman

CHCCS Board of Education

George Griffin, Riza Jenkins, Mike Sharp


Carrboro CD and Record Show

The 29th Biannual Carrboro CD and Record Show will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7. in the Carrboro Century Center, 100 N. Greensboro St. in downtown Carrboro. Admission is free. Masks are required during the event.

The event will feature 42 tables of new and used CDs, vinyl records, and music memorabilia. Although the items for sale will mostly be vinyl records, there will also be a large number of CDs, cassettes, and 45 RPM records.

For more information, contact organizer Gerry Williams at 919-260-0661 or gerrycw51@gmail.com or visit www.musicalroots.net


Orange County Department on Aging to honor veterans with appreciation breakfast on Veterans Day

The Orange County Department on Aging invites veterans and their families to a Veterans Day Celebration Breakfast Thursday, Nov. 11. 

Join us for a FREE tailgate/drive-thru breakfast and patriotic music in honor of your contribution and service to the United States of America. Park your car and listen to patriotic music while you enjoy a delicious breakfast from Chick-fil-A, or drive by to receive your breakfast and our appreciation on the go. Participants will also receive a Veteran’s Day discount booklet.

The event will take place at the Passmore Center (back parking lot) located at 103 Meadowlands Dr., Hillsborough, Thursday, Nov. 11 from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. 

Space is limited. Please register on or before Tuesday, Nov. 9 to reserve your breakfast. To register, please call 919.245.2015.

Co-sponsored by Chick-fil-A, Orange County Department of Social Services and the Friends of the Jerry M. Passmore Center. 


One-Way Road: Country Club Road

Country Club Road will be reconstructed from Raleigh Street to Raleigh Road. 

This work is expected to begin Monday, Nov. 1st, and last 10 to 14 days, depending on favorable weather. Workers will be on site 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Restriping is scheduled for the week of Nov. 8th.

During the work, one-way westbound traffic will be allowed in the direction of Raleigh Road to Raleigh Street. All other traffic will be detoured to Raleigh Street.

Pedestrians can continue to use the sidewalks. Bicycle traffic should use the sidewalks or follow the detour.


Orange County Department on Aging to Host Session on Advance Directives

The Orange County Department on Aging and the Project EngAGE End of Life Choices Senior Resource Team invite the public to attend a virtual/in-person discussion, Advance Directives Made Easy Nov. 9.

Advance directives can be overwhelming and confusing; this umbrella term encompasses a variety of forms from which to choose. Join our Project EngAGE End of Life Choices Senior Resource Team members for an honest discussion about the types of advance directives and how to find the one that suits your needs.  

Presenters:

  • Betty Myers, Project EngAGE, Duke Equal ACP-trained community health worker;
  • Ina Stern, Project EngAGE, Duke Equal ACP-trained community health worker;
  • Anne Weston, Green Burial Project, Duke Equal ACP-trained community health worker.

The event will take place Tuesday, Nov. 9, from 4 – 5:30 p.m. via a virtual platform with limited seated for in-person viewing.

Please register for in-person attendance by Thursday, Nov. 3 with the Seymour Center front desk at 919-968-2070. Maximum in-person attendance: 26.

You may register for the virtual event until Tuesday, Nov. 9 using the link www.orangecountync.gov/AdvancedDirectives.


Parks and Recreation takes a step forward with Open Play at our Gymnasiums

The Chapel Hill Community Center Gymnasium, the Northside Gymnasium at Hargraves Park and Rashkis Elementary School Gymnasium are now available for open play basketball and volleyball with a limited capacity. To participate, patrons can reserve up to three open play times a week, no more than seven days in advance. Open play is a combination of dedicated days and times for all individuals and skill levels to play, practice or enjoy a pick-up game at our indoor gymnasiums. Private instruction, personal training, team practices, and group lessons are not permitted during open play.

To reserve a day and time visit https://bit.ly/3BCCzTj. Patrons can also “drop-in” to reserve a space at the Chapel Hill Community Center Gym and Northside Gym at Hargraves Park; however, availability is on a first come first serve basis until the maximum occupancy is reached. Drop-ins are not available at Rashkis Elementary School Gym.

The daily visit fee for individuals 18 years and older is $2 for residents and $3 for non-residents. Patrons 17 and under, or 18 with a current high school ID, play for free, but must register for a Youth Annual Basketball Pass.


Weigh in on the region’s transportation future

The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization is updating the region’s long-range plan, the 2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP).  The agency will use the public input received on the draft plan, called the  Preferred Option, to identify where roadway, public transportation, bicycle, pedestrian, and other transportation investments will be needed in the coming decades.

The Preferred Option for the 2050 MTP deemphasizes highway widenings and provides greater support for public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian, and highway modernization investments to meet the region’s climate and equity goals.

Residents and other stakeholders are asked to review the Preferred Option on the DCHC MPO website and provide comments by email no later than Tuesday, Dec. 7. Residents can also speak directly to the DCHC MPO Board at an online public hearing on November 10 at 9 a.m.


Local Disabled American Veterans chapter coming to Chapel Hill

A chapter of Disabled American Veterans is coming to Chapel Hill and will hold its first meeting Thursday, Nov. 18, at 101 Edgar St. The meeting is scheduled for 6-7 p.m.

Topics of discussion include: 

  • Demographics, Diversity, Membership and Inclusiveness;
  • How can you help your local DAV;
  • Helping those in need with their Veteran’s Benefits;
  • How can your local DAV help you and your family.

Masks required for all attendees.


OCAC sponsors Fifth Annual Paint It Orange Plein Air Pain-Out

The Orange County Arts Commission presents the 5th Annual Paint It Orange Plein Air Paint-Out and Wet Paint Sale Nov. 3-5, 2021.

Artists are invited to Orange County to capture the landscapes and landmarks signature to the Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and Carrboro communities. Participating artists will paint at sites of their choosing throughout Orange County from Nov. 3-5, and will submit up to three of their favorite paintings for jurying on Friday, Nov. 5 at the Eno Arts Mill Gallery in Hillsborough.

An awards reception and preview party will take place at 6 p.m., followed by a reception and Wet Paint Sale at 7 p.m., in which the submitted paintings will be available for sale.


Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period is Oct. 15 through Dec. 7

Medicare plans change each calendar year.  Your medication costs can increase significantly if your plan changes its drug list and pricing as of Jan 1.  Many people save hundreds and even thousands of dollars by switching plans, but most can only change during Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period. The Orange County Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) provides free and unbiased assistance.

Meet with a certified counselor for an Annual Medicare Review. Orange County will be offering in-person appointments at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill and the Passmore Center in Hillsborough as well as online using Zoom Video Chat. Schedule online at www.orangecountync.gov/Medicare or call 919-245-4274.


November Traffic-Safety Initiatives

The Chapel Hill Police Department will perform three speed enforcement operations in November – in addition to normal patrols – with the main goal of improving safety for everyone who shares roads.

  • Tuesday, November 2, 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, November 9, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Tuesday, November 23, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change

Chapel Hill Police will also perform four pedestrian safety enforcement operations this month:

  • Friday, November 5,  8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 18, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change

Each effort will focus on areas with heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including downtown, and mid-block crosswalks (ex. along the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard corridor). We encourage everyone traveling, regardless of your mode of transportation, to remember that community safety is a shared responsibility.

The Town will utilize its variable message sign (VMS) boards throughout Town to alert people driving of the events as well as encouraging them to limit distractions and watch out for people walking and people riding their bikes.


COVID Business Grant Application Period Now Open

The Town of Carrboro Economic Development Department announces the opening of the application period for the much-anticipated COVID-19 Mitigation Business Grants. The grants are provided through additional funding the Town has received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The grant program provides businesses that are located in Carrboro and have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 the opportunity to apply for up to $10,000 in mitigation assistance. The funds can be used for back rent and utilities, COVID-19 loan repayment, training for upskilling employees, capital projects to make businesses safer for customers and employees, and marketing and advertising.

The program also places a priority on business organizations employing or serving persons who are low to moderate income, women- and BIPOC-owned businesses, tourism-sector business, certified living-wage businesses, and small and locally-owned businesses.

The application period will remain open through 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19. Applications and more information are available at http://www.townofcarrboro.org/ED or can be obtained at Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St., Carrboro, NC 27510. 


Veterans Day Ceremonies

Town of Carrboro employees who are veterans will be recognized for their service and sacrifice by Mayor Lydia Lavelle and the Town Council on Veterans Day. This special recognition will take place at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, on the steps in front of Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St. Carrboro, N.C.   

An Orange County Veterans Day Celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, at Southern Human Services Campus, 2501 Homestead Drive, Chapel Hill, NC. This event is free and open to the public. Masks and social distancing are required. If you can’t be there in person, you can watch live on Orange County Veterans Memorial’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/orangecountyveteransmemorial. Learn more at http://www.orangecountyveteransmemorial.com/.

Veterans Day is marked each year on Nov. 11, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice (cease-fire) that ended WWI. The armistice was signed in 1918 and President Woodrow Wilson first began the tradition of it as a day of American national remembrance in November 1919. In 1938, it became an official national holiday. In 1954, it became known as Veterans Day instead of Armistice Day.


October 27

Carrboro Film Fest Scheduled Nov. 19-21

Carrboro Film Fest is bringing the movies back to Carrboro this November!  Now in its 16th year, Carrboro Film Fest begins with a special Early Fest Screening of the local documentary We Are Here at the Varsity Theatre Nov. 5. The film documents the 20th season of the acclaimed, Chapel Hill-based theater troupe Paperhand Puppet Intervention.

The main festival will run Nov. 19-21 at The ArtsCenter and includes six feature films and four blocks of short films. Features include the heartwarming drama Drought, the beautiful road-trip film Landlocked, and the world premiere of the local documentary Captain Scott B and the Great Adventure

Join us in November! 

Attendees will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, and masks will be required. 


 

Orange County Board of Commissioners 2022 Meeting Calendar

Pursuant to NCGS § 153A-40, the Orange County Board of Commissioners provides notice of its 2022 meeting calendar. 
 
On Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021 the Orange County Board of Commissioners approved the calendar of BOCC meetings scheduled for 2022.  The meeting dates are provided at https://bit.ly/3w4S9WN.
 
There are two different calendar formats available. There is a text schedule of meetings and also a one page “meetings at a glance” color calendar. 


Chapel Hill Seeks Input on How to Spend American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) includes money for local, county, and state governments to address difficulties caused by COVID-19. While governments are still waiting for more information about how funds can be spent, the Town has begun soliciting community input and evaluating proposed projects. 

ARPA funds can be used to: 

  1. Support public health. Fund medical expenses, behavioral health care and certain public health and safety staff;
  2. Address negative economic impacts. Relieve economic harm to workers, households, small businesses, affected industries and the public sector;
  3. Replace lost town revenue. Provide government services to the extent of the loss in revenue because of the pandemic; 
  4. Provide premium pay for essential workers. Offer additional support to those who have borne and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure sectors;
  5. Invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. Make necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and expand access to broadband internet; 

ARPA funds cannot be used to:

  • Build a town’s savings reserves or repay loans;
  • Pay litigation costs;
  • Fund a town’s pension debts;
  • Offset loss in tax revenue as a result of a law, regulation or administrative interpretation;
  • Lower tax rates;
  • Pay for general growth or economic development purposes.

If you have ideas about how ARPA money can be spent in Chapel Hill, visit https://bit.ly/3pO5jGj and complete the online survey or email us at arpa@townofchapelhill.org.


Oct. 31 in Chapel Hill

The Town of Chapel Hill encourages everyone to find safe ways to celebrate Halloween and keep Franklin Street – and the surrounding area – open to vehicle traffic. Our emergency management team, with years of experience handling Halloween, is prepared to respond to any need. 

The Town’s goal in recent years has been to make Oct. 31 even safer for people, and this remains our focus while COVID-19 is a factor. The Town, along with its partners at UNC-Chapel Hill, is discussing how to ensure everyone is keeping safety top of mind. Instead of gathering in large crowds — regardless of vaccination status — there safer ways you can celebrate Halloween.

The Town encourages our community to avoid celebrating in large crowds, even outside, and to find other ways to enjoy Halloween. The Orange County Health Department has developed a guide of safer alternatives for this year. It can be viewed at orangecountync.gov/Halloween.

What to expect downtown Sunday, Oct. 31

Should crowd sizes become large enough that keeping Franklin Street, Columbia Street, or any other downtown roads open to motor-vehicle traffic becomes unsafe, the roads will be closed. That closure will not begin before 8 p.m., and it will conclude no later than 9:30 p.m.

Prohibited items

You will notice officers from the Chapel Hill, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Carrboro police departments and Orange County Sheriff Deputies downtown the evening of Sunday, Oct. 31.

Law enforcement officers will be looking for prohibited items, such as open containers of alcohol, weapons, or items that look like or could be used as weapons. If you bring any of these items, you will be asked to dispose of them or remove them from the downtown area.

“Our goal this year is to encourage our community to find safe ways to celebrate Halloween that don’t include gathering in our downtown,“ said Chapel Hill Police Chief and Executive Director for Community Safety Chris Blue.


Town of Chapel Hill Accepting Applications for Human Services Funding

The Town of Chapel Hill is now accepting applications for Human Services funding for FY23 (Fiscal Year 2022-2023). The application submission deadline is 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13 2022.

Performance Measures Workshop (Virtual):

  • 9-11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3

Application Orientation Session (Virtual):

  • 9-11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 18
    • Registration will open one week before the event.  Please register here.

Q&A Sessions (Virtual):

  • 9-11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 9 (Optional)
    • Registration will open one week before the event.  Please register here.
  • 9-11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 6 (Optional)
    • Registration will open one week before the event.  Please register here.

Human Services

The Town supports nonprofit organizations that deliver vital community programs and services. The program’s overarching goal is to achieve economic and social well-being and provide opportunities to thrive for all Chapel Hill residents, particularly those who are low-income or otherwise disenfranchised. The program supports initiatives that improve education, livelihood security, and health outcomes for Chapel Hill residents.

The Human Services Funding application is available online at townofchapelhill.org/humanservices.

For more information about human services funding, contact Jackie Thompson at 919-969-5081 or jthompson@townofchapelhill.org


Boosters for All Vaccines Available Now

To strengthen and extend protections against severe illness, North Carolinians who have been fully vaccinated with the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines you may now be eligible to receive a booster dose. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have authorized and recommended ”booster” vaccine shots to provide continued protection (see https://bit.ly/318Ow6F).   

Moderna: If you were vaccinated more than six months ago with the Moderna COVID-19 shot, boosters are now available for people: 

  • 65 years or older,    
  • 18 years or older who:  
    • live or work in a nursing home or long-term care facility;    
    • have underlying medical conditions;    
    • who work in high-risk settings like health care workers, teachers and child care providers or food workers;   
    • live or work in a place where many people live together (for example, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, migrant farm housing, dormitories or other group living settings in colleges or universities).

The Moderna booster is a smaller dose than what is given in the first two shots. Be sure to let your provider know you want the booster. 

Johnson & Johnson: It is recommended that anyone 18 or older who was vaccinated more than two months ago with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster dose. 

Pfizer: Pfizer-BioNTech (COMIRNATY) booster shots continue to be available to anyone at high risk for serious illness or exposure, and who received their second dose at least six months ago.  

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has now authorized the distribution of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters in addition to Pfizer COVID-19 boosters. Not all vaccines may be available at every vaccine location.   

To find a COVID-19 booster visit MySpot.nc.gov to search vaccine locations near you. 

Additionally, individuals are now able to receive any brand of COVID-19 vaccine for their booster shot. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received and others may prefer to get a different booster. Limited preliminary evidence suggests that booster doses of one of the two mRNA vaccines — Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech — more effectively raise antibody levels than a booster dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. NCDHHS encourages you to speak with a doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you have questions about what booster is right for you. 

Have questions about whether your personal medical conditions or job might make you eligible?  Talk to a doctor, pharmacist or nurse about whether you should get a booster. Booster shots are available anywhere COVID-19 vaccines are available. People do not need a doctor’s note to get a booster shot and may self-attest to eligibility. Individuals who want to receive a booster shot will need to know the dates of any past COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as the vaccine brand they originally received. Paper vaccination cards are helpful but may not be necessary. At-home vaccination (https://bit.ly/3Gr8bPj) and free transportation may be available. To learn more, visit https://bit.ly/3Bhc99j).

Related Links


Greene Tract Community Open House

A Community Open House on the future of the Greene Tract will be held Nov. 7-8. Two opportunities to participate are scheduled:

  • First meeting: In-person Sunday, Nov. 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the RENA Community Center located at 101 Edgar Street.(rain date Sunday, Nov. 14th)
  • Second meeting: Virtual meeting online Monday, Nov. 8, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Participants must register for the session in advance. For those individuals who may not have internet access, there are phone options available to join. Participants may register at https://bit.ly/3jIUhyo.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Topics will include:

  • Background and history of the Greene Tract
  • Environmental Assessment
  • Connectivity
  • Future development and land uses
  • Next steps

Orange County, Carrboro, and Chapel Hill have been collaboratively planning for the future of the jointly owned 104-acre Greene Tract and permanent preservation of the Orange County owned 60-acre Headwaters Preserve. 

The Greene Tract is a place of immense historical, cultural and natural resources, and all three governmental entities are committed to a thoughtful and inclusive site planning process that respects the people and resources of the area, while reflecting the shared goal of increasing affordable housing for our community. Additional information on the Greene Tract can be found here: https://www.orangecountync.gov/2127/Greene-Tract.

For questions, contact Ashley Moncado, Orange County Planning and Inspections Department, by email (amoncado@orangecountync.gov) or by phone (919-245-2589).


Orange County, Carrboro and Chapel Hill Outside Agencies Funding Process Opens

Each year, Orange County, the Town of Carrboro and the Town of Chapel Hill invite program funding requests from nonprofit providers (outside agencies) to support delivery of vital community services. The County and Towns administer a common application with separate evaluation processes.

“Outside agencies play a crucial role in providing services to county residents,” said Renee Price, Chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. “We rely on nonprofit organizations to help fill the gaps and deliver life-enhancing programs for our families and communities to assure safe, healthy and nurturing living environments.”

The FY 2020-21 Commissioner-Approved Budget included funding for 50 agencies totaling $1,561,974, an increase of $71,793 from the prior year. This included funding for one new or previously unfunded agency, in the amount of $20,000.

The total Outside Agency budget for FY2021-22 is $1.72 million, which is consistent with the goal established by the Board of County Commissioners to allocate 1.2% of general fund expenses, not including education, to outside agencies.

Each quarter, agencies must report their performance objectives and provide financial receipts in order to receive funding disbursements, as outlined in funding applications and Scope of Services Performance Agreement.

For more detailed information, please visit the Funding Process page. The application deadline is Jan. 13 2022. 

Points of Contact


Orange County Living Wage New Certification

Orange County Living Wage is excited to announce that The Lupine School has recently certified as a living wage employer! The Lupine School is a community preschool located at the 1870 Farm in Chapel Hill. Director and teacher Amy Magrinat pays a living wage because it’s important to “cultivat[e]compassion and teach [students] what it means to live in a democratic society where their voices matter. That needs to extend not just to the children in our care and their families, but to our employees!”


Community Bike Ride Set for Friday Oct. 29

The Town of Carrboro will participate in a community bike ride starting from Carrboro Town Hall (301 W. Main St.) at 4:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29. 

The purpose of the ride – organized by the Carrboro Bike Coalition/Bike Carrboro – is to help publicize the pilot protected bike lane installed along the eastbound lane of Jones Ferry Road in August. Protected bike lanes generally have a separation element between the bike lane and the vehicular travel lane. On Jones Ferry Road, this element is a row of flex posts. The flex posts serve to identify the bike lane as a space for people on bikes.  

The route of the bike ride runs from Carrboro Town Hall and down Jones Ferry Road to the Willow Creek shopping center, where the group will turn around and then cruise back up the new protected bike lane and return to Town Hall. 

The protected bike lane in Carrboro was approved by the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) as a pilot project and installed by the Town’s Public Works Department. It begins just south of the N.C. 54 eastbound ramps and extends north to the point near Barnes Street where the street narrows and the buffered bike lane end. The pilot project is expected to be in place through August 2022, and during this period, Town staff will collect data and will assess maintenance procedures during the winter months.  

To reinforce road safety, Town staff will offer free safety gear (such as front lights and rear lights) to participants. The lights are a reminder for local cyclists to get ready for shorter days, in anticipation of daylight saving time which starts Nov. 7.

Anyone who wishes to join the Community Bike Ride Oct. 29 and needs a bike, or would like to try out an electric bike, is welcome to borrow one from The Clean Machine Bike Shop just before the ride.  Contact tamara@thecleanmachine.com to make arrangements for borrowing a bicycle.


October 21, 2021

Chapel Hill, Carrboro Bring Racial Equity Focus to Human Services Program

Consistent with their commitment to equity and inclusion, the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro are taking steps together to center racial equity in the Human Services Program. The Human Services Program provides funding to nonprofit agencies that offer vital services to residents.

Over the course of the next year, the towns will conduct a comprehensive racial equity analysis of the program by:

  • Training staff, human services advisory board members and agency partners on racial equity, drawing on resources from the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (https://www.racialequityalliance.org/), nonprofit partners and other sources;
  • Conducting a racial equity assessment of the Human Services Program, which will include engagement with nonprofit partners and the people they serve;
  • Based on what is learned through the racial equity assessment, updating the program’s strategic results framework (https://bit.ly/3ncbnFy) and funding application.

The towns will release the application for fiscal year 2023 Oct. 22; applications are due no later than Jan. 13, 2022.

To learn more about the Human Services Program:

Town of Chapel Hill – https://bit.ly/3b3DYqY

Town of Carrboro – townofcarrboro.org/2378/Human-Services-Funding


New Loose-Leaf Program Aims to Help Environment

The Town of Chapel Hill’s annual loose-leaf collection has begun. This year’s collection might be slower due to limited staffing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some things to know about leaf collection this year:

  1. Leave the Leaves: In partnership with the New Hope Audubon Society, the town has launched a new voluntary Leave the Leaves program to promote environmental sustainability and to ease the strain on collection services. Leaving leaves where they fall saves time and money and benefits our environment. This process reduces flooding and land erosion; supports bees, fireflies, birds and wildlife; improves tree and soil health; and reduces air, water and noise pollution. For more on Leave the Leaves, see townofchapelhill.org/leaves.
  2. Compost your leaves: Leaves and other brown materials (like pine straw and twigs) can provide valuable nutrients for your yard and garden. To learn more about composting properly from Orange County Solid Waste Management, see orangecountync.gov/1150/Compost-at-Home.
  3. Containerize your leaves: To reduce the amount for the vacuum trucks to collect, place your leaves in containers when possible. Yard materials are collected weekly in town-issued yard-waste carts, other rigid containers and paper yard-waste bags (no plastic bags) year-round. To order a yard-waste cart, see townofchapelhill.org/yardwaste.
  4. Place your leaves behind the curb: Make sure loose leaves and pine straw are free of limbs and other debris. Do not place in the street, and avoid blocking travel and bike lanes, sidewalks, fire hydrants, mailboxes, storm drains, or water meters; and interfering with sight distances at intersections. Loose-leaf collection takes place from mid-October through mid-February in the Town of Chapel Hill.

Carrboro Farmers’ Market Hours Changing Soon

The Carrboro Farmers’ Market hours are changing as follows: 

  • Last day of Saturday main-season hours, 7 a.m. to noon, will be Saturday, Oct. 30; 
  • Saturday winter hours, 9 a.m. to noon, begin Saturday, Nov. 6 and run through next spring;
  • Last Wednesday afternoon market of the year is Nov. 17;
  • Special pre-Thanksgiving market will be Tuesday, Nov. 23, from 3 to 5 p.m.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) benefits may be used at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. The market offers unlimited double bucks to SNAP/EBT customers: for example, $20 from your EBT card = $40 to spend at the market. Stop by the welcome booth for more information; se habla Español.

See http://www.carrborofarmersmarket.com for more information.


October 19, 2021

ReVive Recovery Grants for Entrepreneurs, Start-Ups and Small Businesses in Chapel Hill

As a part of its comprehensive economic recovery strategy (https://www.open2.biz/revive), the Town of Chapel Hill has instituted the ReVive Recovery Grants program for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

In June 2021, the town council voted to appropriate $200,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to create and market this program, which will award grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 to support new entrepreneur ideation, existing startups, and local small businesses.

ReVive Recovery Grants will be available in three categories:

  • Micro Grants: up to $1,000 to support business ideas that lead to enterprise creation and growth;
  • Entrepreneur Grants: up to $1,500 to support entrepreneurs who are on a path toward creating a successful enterprise;
  • Small Business Grants: up to $5,000 to support existing Chapel Hill enterprises and help them continue to grow through the pandemic;

Staff will accept applications Oct. 15-Nov. 7 and distribute grants before the end of November. 
Staff will consider applications and award grants based on the likelihood of success and the strength of idea and proposal. Priority will be given to women-owned, minority-owned and locally owned enterprises.

For more information, including qualifications, detailed grant summaries, and links to applications, see https://bit.ly/3lXhXAp.


2020 Visitor Spending in Orange County Tops $128 Million

Domestic and international visitors to and within Orange County spent $128.4 million in 2020, a decrease of 47.7% from 2019. The data come from an annual study commissioned and recently released by Visit North Carolina (https://www.visitnc.com/), a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

The 2020 study includes both domestic and international tourism spending to and within Orange County. The $128.4 million in visitor spending represents a tax savings of $78.88 per county resident. Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Orange County was $44.6 million.

Statewide, visitor spending was down 32% to $19.96 billion, compared to 2019. Tourism employment fell 26% to 178,685. The losses were felt most acutely in urban areas.


Chapel Hill Police Offer Safe Way to Discard Prescription Medications

The Chapel Hill Police Department is partnering with Wegmans grocery store to offer you a safe way to get rid of unused, expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications. On Saturday, Oct. 23, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, you can drop off those medications at Wegmans (1810 Fordham Blvd), from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Medications are the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths among children, according to Operation Medicine Drop, a statewide campaign that aims to eliminate the problem. They also report that an average of four people each day die of overdose in North Carolina, and 79% of those deaths involve some type of opioid.

Properly disposing medications helps protect the environment and our community’s health, according to Orange Water and Sewer Authority. The agency asks you not to flush medication or put it down drains because it can contaminate our local water system.

Since the first drug take-back event in North Carolina in 2010, Operation Medicine Drop has collected more than 246 million pills, supported more than 4,284 events and assisted in the placement of more than 490 drop-box locations.


Film/Discussion About Racial Disparities Within the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System

A Zoom meeting and discussion on “The Past Remains Present in Our Schools” will be presented Sunday, Oct. 17, at 3 p.m. by the Chapel Hill Historical Society. Kim Talikoff will share the locally produced documentary, I’m Smart, Too: Integrated Schools, Segregated Students. The film uses a historical framework to explore dynamics that amplify racial disparities within the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools system today. The audience will be invited to participate in a discussion about the film and the issues it asks us to confront.

Join the Zoom meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9091129297. Meeting ID: 909 112 9297.


Upcoming Local NAACP Banquet Focuses on Voting Rights

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will focus on voting rights and voter suppression at its annual Freedom Fund Banquet to be held Oct. 17. This hybrid virtual and in-person event will feature keynote speaker Nsé Ufot, chief executive officer of the New Georgia Project (NGP) and its affiliate, NGP Action Fund. 

Ms. Ufot leads both organizations with a data-informed approach and a commitment to developing tools that use technology to make it easier for every voter to engage in every election. She and her team are also developing Georgia’s home-grown talent by training and organizing local activists across the state to strengthen Georgia’s democracy. Under her leadership, NGP has registered more than 500,000 eligible Georgians to vote.

The banquet will be held virtually and also safely distanced in person at the drive-in theater at Carraway Village in Chapel Hill. In-person attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a meal catered by Mama Dip’s. Longtime local and national community advocate Creighton Blackwell will serve as master of ceremonies for the banquet. 

The Freedom Fund Banquet is the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP’s primary fundraiser, supporting programming, activism and outreach, as well as branch scholarships; its social-justice internship program; economic development efforts serving local Black and indigenous residents and other people of color; and voter education and advocacy. The funds allow the branch to fulfill the NAACP’s mission to ensure the equal political, educational, social and economic rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

At the event, the branch also recognizes the recipients of its annual scholarships and awards honors to outstanding members of the branch and the Chapel Hill and Carrboro communities.


Campaign for Racial Equity Announces Endorsements for CHCCS Board of Education

The Campaign for Racial Equity in Our Schools (CFRE) announces its endorsement of George Griffin, Riza Jenkins and Mike Sharp to serve on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) Board of Education.

CFRE is a community-based organization that promotes education and advocacy to ensure that race no longer a determines access and outcomes in our public schools. CFRE notes that CHCCS has long been recognized by many as an excellent district, yet also has the second-highest achievement gap in the country and among the highest discipline disparities in the state.

For more information about CFRE and its endorsements, visit https://www.facebook.com/campaignforracialequity/.


October 8, 2021

East Rosemary Street Temporary Reduction to One Lane

A contractor for the Town of Chapel Hill will reduce East Rosemary Street to one lane between North Columbia and Henderson streets weekdays Oct. 11 through Oct. 22, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., for utility work. This schedule is dependent on favorable weather. Sidewalk users should detour around this closure.

For more information about the East Rosemary Redevelopment Project, visit townofchapelhill.org/rosemary-project.


Early Voting in Orange County

Orange County offers early voting to all registered Orange County voters who wish to vote early, in-person rather than voting absentee by mail or voting on Election Day, Nov. 2.

For a list of early-voting sites and their schedules, see https://bit.ly/2YwGVNQ.

Same-day voter registration is available during the early-voting period at all early-voting sites. If completing same-day registration, one must bring a valid form of government ID (does not need to be a photo ID, but must show residence in Orange County) and one must vote during early voting rather than on Election Day.

The voter registration deadline is 25 days before an election, on a Friday, at 5:00 p.m. Applications must be delivered to the board of elections by 5:00 p.m. or must be postmarked by 5:00 p.m.

Orange County also offers absentee voting by mail to all Orange County registered voters who wish to vote by mail rather than in person at a one-stop early-voting site or on Election Day. Absentee ballot requests may be submitted using the required absentee ballot request form, either in person (at 208 S. Cameron St., Hillsborough), by mail (P.O. Box 220, Hillsborough, NC 27278) or online through the absentee ballot portal (https://votebymail.ncsbe.gov/app/home). For information on receiving an absentee ballot by mail, rather than voting in person, see https://bit.ly/3lpxwRm.


October 7, 2021

Farnan Promoted to Orange County Fire Marshal

After an extensive search and recruitment process, Orange County named Elizabeth Farnan as the new fire marshal for Orange County. She officially began her duties Sept. 25.

Farnan, who was appointed acting fire marshal in July, began her career in 1994 as a telecommunicator for Orange County before moving on to various firefighting roles with the Town of Carrboro, Orange County and Chapel Hill fire departments. She has served as assistant fire marshal with Orange County Emergency Services since October 2009 and holds numerous certifications. She was recently nominated to serve on the N.C. Fire Code Revision Committee through the N.C. Office of the State Fire Marshal.

As the fire marshal for Orange County, Farnan plans to advocate for every home having working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, implement more fire and life safety educational programs and work to build a solid community risk-reduction dashboard.


 

October Proclaimed Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Mayor Lydia Lavelle has proclaimed October Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Carrboro, encouraging residents to “show support for victims and survivors of domestic violence, and to work toward a future when all people can feel safe in their relationships and their homes.”


Longtime Homeowner Assistance Program Launched

Orange County launched a new Longtime Homeowner Assistance (LHA) program Oct. 8 to provide property tax bill assistance to help people stay in their homes. To qualify, homeowners must live in Orange County, have lived in their home for at least 10 years, have experienced an increase in property taxes due to the 2021 tax revaluation and earn no more than 80% of the area median income (see income chart at https://bit.ly/3oIijwH).

Applicants can apply in the following ways:

  1. Online at https://orangecountynchousing.submittable.com/submit
  2. By phone (919-245-2655) or by email (HousingHelp@orangecountync.gov.)
  3. By paper application available at the Orange County housing and community development department offices:
  • Hillsborough office: 300 West Tryon Street, 3rd Floor, Hillsborough, NC 27278
  • Chapel Hill office: 2501 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Completed paper applications can be dropped in the drop boxes outside of the housing and community development offices or mailed to Orange County Housing and Community Development, P.O. Box 8181, Hillsborough, NC 27278

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Dec. 15 to allow time for processing.

For more information about the LHA Program, visit: https://bit.ly/3oHgGzj.


Club Nova Receives $350,000 Grant from SECU Foundation

Club Nova, a 30-year-old nonprofit in Carrboro that serves adults with severe and persistent mental illness, has been awarded a $350,000 grant from the State Employees Credit Union Foundation. Proclaimed a “godsend” by Executive Director Karen Dunn, it brings the foundation to within $440,000 of what is needed to complete construction and furnish and equip the new clubhouse.
The building is now framed in and is expected to be finished by next spring. 


Carrboro Celebrates Marriage Equality Day

Carrboro is celebrating Sunday, Oct. 10, as Marriage Equality Day, to commemorate that date in 2014, when federal Judge Max Cogburn struck down North Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional.


October 5, 2021

NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro Action Fund Endorses Candidates for Local Office in Chapel Hill and Carrboro

The NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro Action Fund, a local, community-based 501(c)(4) focused on affordable housing, transportation alternatives and economic development, has made the following endorsements in Chapel Hill and Carrboro for the 2021 municipal elections.
 
Chapel Hill Mayor—Pam Hemminger
Chapel Hill Town Council—Camille Berry, Paris Miller-Foushee, Karen Stegman
Carrboro Mayor—Damon Seils
Carrboro Town Council—Barbara Foushee, Danny Nowell
 
Our endorsements were based on the answers given at candidate forums, on candidate questionnaires and the voting records of incumbents running for re-election. The NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro Action Fund evaluated the candidates on their relevant experience and depth of knowledge of critical issues facing our community. NEXT believes that growth should support affordable housing that is inclusive of both renting and homeownership, multi-modal transportation infrastructure, climate responses that reduce the carbon footprint of our towns and a diverse and equitable community. 

For more information, visit https://nextnc.org/2021-elections/.


October 3, 2021

Who Should Get a COVID-19 Booster?

North Carolinians at high risk for serious illness or exposure who have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for six months or more can now receive a booster shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following groups should get a COVID-19 booster if they have previously been vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer vaccine:

  • People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary shots;
  • People 50 to 64 years with certain underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary shots;
  • People 18 to 49 years who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary shots, based on their individual benefits and risks;
  • People 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary shots, based on their individual benefits and risks;

Those eligible can find booster shots at their health care provider, pharmacies and other locations where COVID-19 vaccines are available. There is no need for people to go back to the location where they received their original vaccines — most COVID-19 vaccination locations can provide Pfizer boosters. Visit MySpot.nc.gov and check “Pfizer-BioNTech (age 12+)” to search locations and ensure Pfizer is available. The Orange County Health Department offers booster shots at both the Hillsborough and Chapel Hill walk-in clinics. Learn more at www.orangecountync.gov/getyourshot.

If you have questions about whether to get a Pfizer booster, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services encourages you to talk to a medical professional to get their opinion.

If you received the Moderna or J & J (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine, a booster shot is not recommended at this time.


Friends of the CHPL Pop-up Book Sales Pop Up Again!

The final Friends of the Chapel Hill Public Library weekend book sales this fall (the others have already taken place) are the non-fiction sale on Friday, Oct. 8, 2:00 – 7:00 pm (Friends members only); and the Big Bag sale Sat., Oct. 16. They will be conducted in the library’s largest meeting room, with COVID protocols (https://friendschpl.org/#safety) in place.

The non-fiction sale will include everything from history and biographies to cooking and gardening to sports and travel. The Big Bag sale will include everything that’s left from the previous three sales, all for just $10 per bag.

Capacity will be limited to a maximum of 30 shoppers at any time. NO book stacking and storing will be allowed. NO large rolling carts or wagons will be permitted. 


CHALT Announces 2021 Endorsements for Chapel Hill Mayor and Town Council

The Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (CHALT) announces its endorsement of Hongbin Gu for Chapel Hill Mayor and Adam Searing and Vimala Rajendran for Chapel Hill Town Council.

The interview and selection process comprised the following:

  • All candidates were invited to participate;
  • Interview questions, developed by the group, were given to the candidates in advance;
  • The questions and videorecorded interviews were made publicly available online;
  • We invited over 100 town residents to participate in the two-day selection event, of whom approximately 25 participated and several others sent in written comments;
  • A trained facilitator was recruited to run the meeting;
  • We established the rule that, to receive CHALT’s endorsement, a candidate needed to have support from at least 2/3 of those participating in the selection process. As it turned out, each of our three endorsees received support from more than 90% of the participants.

We encourage voters to view the videorecorded interviews at https://bit.ly/3oq1433 and to read CHALT’s full endorsement statement, which can be found at https://www.chalt.org/chalt-endorsements-2021/.

CHALT is a diverse group of residents who bring neighborhood concerns and constituent issues to the attention of elected officials for evaluation and resolution. CHALT advocates for responsible land-use planning and promotes equity, inclusion and data-based decision-making in all facets of Town government.

For more information, please contact: Julie McClintock  mcclintock.julie@gmail.com, Linda Brown  lkbrown9478392@gmail.com or Virginia Gray  vagray@email.unc.edu

Editor’s Note: Victory Fund and Equality North Carolina have also announced endorsements for the 2021 Chapel Hill and Carrboro municipal elections.


October 2, 2021

Carrboro Recognizes Diaper Need Awareness Week

The week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 is “Diaper Need Awareness Week” in the Town of Carrboro, as proclaimed by Mayor Lydia Lavelle. Diaper Bank of North Carolina recognizes the importance of diapers for ensuring health and providing economic stability for families and distributes diapers to families through various channels. 

Mayor Lavelle encourages residents of Carrboro to donate generously to diaper banks, diaper drives and those organizations that collect and distribute diapers to those struggling with diaper need. 


Carrboro Advisory Board Recruitment

The Town of Carrboro is recruiting for many positions on town advisory boards and commissions. To see the list of current vacancies and to apply, go to townofcarrboro.org/advisoryboards.

 The Town Council is making it a priority to put Black/African American voices on all advisory boards and commissions that address aspects of Carrboro’s quality of life.


Carrboro 10K Scheduled Saturday, Oct. 2

A Carrboro 10K road race is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2.

Expect traffic delays around this time on N. Greensboro Street and Hillsborough Road. The race begins in front of McDougle Middle School, winds through downtown Carrboro and its neighborhoods and finishes on the McDougle track.

To learn more, visit https://www.cardinaltrackclub.com/


Carrboro Connects Preliminary Draft Plan Released 

The Carrboro Connects Comprehensive Plan team met for discussion and feedback on the recently released preliminary draft plan that lays out a vision and a set of goals, strategies and projects for the next 20 years in Carrboro. 

The plan is centered on an overarching foundational framework of racial equity and climate action. It outlines plans for affordable housing; climate action & environment; transportation; green infrastructure; energy & water; economic sustainability; recreation, parks & cultural resources; land use; and public services. 

The Town is seeking input on the plan from the entire community; visit carrboroconnects.org/prelim-draft-plan and offer feedback. The plan will undergo a round of revisions in October and has a town council public hearing set for Nov. 16.


New Electric-Vehicle Charging Stations Coming Soon 

This fall the Town of Carrboro is installing two Level 2 electric-vehicle charging stations in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 1120 Hillsborough Road and in the municipal lot at 604 W. Rosemary St. 

Each station has two charging ports (and each port has a corresponding parking spot). There will be two spots for charging at MLK Park and two spots in the Rosemary lot. They will be free for the public to use. Project work is scheduled to be completed this fall. There are also existing charging stations located at Carrboro Town Hall. 

National Drive Electric Week, a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, trucks, motorcycles and more is Sep. 25-Oct. 3, 2021.


New Mural Honors African American Community Leaders

A new mural honoring Black civic leaders from Carrboro and Chapel Hill has been completed and can be viewed at 111 S. Merritt Mill Road. Painted by artist Kiara Sanders, the African American Trailblazers mural celebrates 12 people who were vital to Chapel Hill and Carrboro’s history.

Honorees include:

  • Valerie Paige Foushee, North Carolina State Senator;
  • Addie Robinson, director and founder of Holmes Day Care at Hargraves Community Center;
  • Nurse Adelia Compton, the first Black employee for the Town of Chapel Hill;
  • Barbara Booth Powell, Chapel Hill Town Council, educator and politician;
  • Bynum & Susie Weaver, artists, musicians and entrepreneurs;
  • Howard Lee, the only Black mayor of Chapel Hill and the first Black mayor in the South;
  • William D. Peerman, championship-winning coach, mentor and educator and the first Black head football coach at Chapel Hill High School;
  • Rev. Dr. J.R. Manley, former pastor of the Rock Hill-First Baptist and Hickory Grove Baptist Church and community leader;
  • Walter Riggsbee, HVAC builder and entrepreneur;
  • Dr. L.H. Hackney, pastor and founder of the first Black high school;
  • Thurman Atkins, developer and entrepreneur.

To watch a video (by Miriam McSpadden/Fly Squirrel Films) about Kiara Sanders and her work on the African American Trailblazers project, visit https://youtu.be/y_UoZFpnEGI. The video is also available in the Town of Carrboro’s Celebrating Black America playlist. 

To learn more about each individual leader honored, visit chapelhillhistory.org/aatrailblazers.


Jones Ferry Road Water Line Resiliency Improvements Project

Continuing construction of the Jones Ferry Road Water Line Resiliency Improvements Project, Orange Water and Sewer Authority construction crews were to begin work in the roadway on Jones Ferry Road Wednesday, Sept. 29.

During October, periodic lane closures of Jones Ferry Road will be required in front of the water treatment plant. Work in the roadway will occur between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Customers in the area may be affected by noise, dust and mud; traffic and parking impacts; and interruption of water service during construction.

For more information about the project, visit https://bit.ly/3l2M0GI.

To receive email updates about the project, visit https://bit.ly/3tDb7Rs.


Applicants Needed for Orange County Housing Authority Board

The Orange County Housing Authority Board is currently seeking applications, particularly from Orange County residents residing outside Chapel Hill town limits. There is currently one at-large position open.

Orange County Housing Authority Board members are appointed by the board of county commissioners to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing for low- and moderate-income families in the county. At least one member of the board must be a housing choice voucher holder. Other board members may represent the following areas of interest: real estate, development, affordable housing, municipal law and banking.

If interested, apply at www.orangecountync.gov/Apply.

Orange County strives for authentically diverse representation on volunteer boards and commissions. Residents of all demographic backgrounds, identities and perspectives are encouraged to apply. Applicants must reside in Orange County. Volunteers appointed have the opportunity to directly influence the county’s decisions, policies and priorities.

For additional information, contact Tara May at 919-245-2125 or tmay@orangecountync.gov.


September 24, 2021

OCLW New Certifications and Recertifications

Orange County Living Wage has recently added several local businesses and employers committed to living wages to their roster. They include:

Orange County Living Wage supports the business-driven movement to dignify employees’ labor by paying adequate, fair wages.

In addition to the new certifications, more than 80 employers have recertified since earlier this summer. For a directory of all Orange County living wage employers, see https://orangecountylivingwage.org/directory/.


Chapel Hill Public Library

Chapel Hill Public Library Announces Plans for Community History Lab

Chapel Hill Public Library is planning a new, innovative space dedicated to exploring and sharing the rich history of Chapel Hill’s people, places and moments. The Community History Lab will be located in the lower level and house a variety of resources. For more information, see https://www.townofchapelhill.org/Home/Components/News/News/17353/.


County Receives Application for Development of Efland Industrial Park

On Sept. 15, Orange County staff accepted for review a non-residential zoning compliance permit application and site plan proposing the development of the Efland Industrial Park. The development at 304 Mount Willing Road in Efland involves two parcels totaling approximately 100 acres in the Cheeks Township.

The parcels are located within the Commercial-Industrial Transition Activity Node (CITAN) as defined by the adopted 2030 Orange County Comprehensive Plan. As part of the CITAN, the parcels are also zoned for non-residential activity, so the current proposal constitutes a permitted use of property. The project does not require approval from an advisory board or the board of county commissioners as long as the use is permitted and the project conforms to the established development, environmental and building standards.


Eno Arts Mill to Host Grand Opening on Oct. 1

The Orange County Arts Commission announced the grand opening of the Eno Arts Mill Friday, Oct. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. The event will feature the work of resident artist Kennedi Carter (https://www.ken-carter.com/), music by XOXOK (https://www.xoxokmusic.com/), and the opportunity to visit the working studios of the Mill’s additional resident studio artists (https://artsorange.org/enomill/eno-mill-studio-artists/). Masks and social distancing will be required.

The Arts Mill is a 7,000-square-foot multi-purpose arts space located within the historic Eno River Mill in Hillsborough. The space adjoins the 3,000-square-foot Eno Mill Studios, which opened in Feb. 2020, offering affordable work space for 11 artists. The new addition provides teaching space for classes in the visual, performing and literary arts; a gallery; four artist studios; and a new Hillsborough office for the Carrboro-based Art Therapy Institute (http://www.ncati.org/).


Orange County to Host 2022-27 MAP Community Engagement Events

The Orange County Department on Aging and its advisory board will hold community-engagement drop-in events during October at key locations around the county to engage residents in the process of creating a new Master Aging Plan (MAP).

July 1 marked the beginning of the planning year for the 2022-27 MAP with a survey to determine the issues that Orange County residents are most concerned about for the next five years. The knowledge gained from the survey will be shared during the drop-in events, which will also provide another opportunity for community members to share their thoughts and to engage with the MAP workgroup leaders.

There are seven MAP workgroups (social participation, community supports and health services, transportation, housing, civic participation and employment, outdoor spaces and communication), and interested community members are invited to help formalize the goals and strategies for the 2022-27 MAP by joining one of these workgroups. Visit https://bit.ly/3i3RLBJ for dates and sign-up information.


Gun “Give Back” Event to be Held in Chapel Hill

People in possession of unwanted firearms will be able to safely remove them from their homes at the Community Church of Chapel Hill (106 Purefoy Road) Oct. 9 from 2 to 3 p.m. At the give-back event, proper possession permits will be available for the sponsors to receive the weapons, which will be chopped and rendered useless. The gun scraps will then be taken to the metal recyclery the following week. Security personnel will be on hand to ensure a safe event for all participants.

Those participating should make sure that the gun is not loaded and does not have any bullets in any chamber or magazine; ammunition cannot be taken at the event. Place all guns in the trunk or rear storage area of your vehicle and when you arrive at the parking lot, release the trunk or rear storage area to open it up; do not exit your vehicle. Trained security personnel will take the gun out of the trunk, check its serial number, and take the gun.


Festifall 2021

Chapel Hill’s annual Festifall for 2021 will feature arts-focused block parties at different locations in downtown Chapel Hill from 4 to 8 p.m. on three evenings in October—Oct. 15 on Henderson Street, Oct. 23 at 140 West Plaza and Oct. 30 at the West Franklin Parking Lot.

Festifall Arts Markets & More will feature 20-30 unique artists, artisans and craftspeople; 2-3 gourmet food and drink vendors; and dance groups, poetry and buskers.


Calling Triangle Area Artists

Chapel Hill Transit is looking for a Triangle-based artist or artist team to create an original 2-D design to adorn the ceilings of three Chapel Hill Transit buses, as part of the Art + Transit project (https://bit.ly/3i7gpl2). A $400 stipend will be given for the final design.

The final design will be printed on adhesive vinyl and installed on the bus ceilings by a town contractor. The installed artwork will be displayed on the buses for approximately 12 months. If selected, you must have the ability to deliver the final design as an .AI or .EPS file using the specification in the template.

Artists and designers must reside within a 40-mile radius of Chapel Hill and submit application materials following the instructions found at https://bit.ly/3m0Bwa0. The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11.


September 17, 2021

Chapel Hill Police Make Arrest in Homicide

The Chapel Hill Police Department, in coordination with the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), arrested Miguel Enrique Salguero-Olivares, 28, of Durham, Thursday, Sept. 16, in connection with the murder of Faith Danielle Hedgepeth. 

Hedgepeth was found dead in her off-campus apartment the morning of Sept. 7, 2012. The Police Department has been actively investigating the case, working closely with the SBI and other agencies. 

The homicide investigation will remain an active and ongoing case until the Durham County district attorney tries the case in court. At this time, no additional information is available. 


Town of Chapel Hill Receives Two National Communications Awards

The Town of Chapel Hill was recognized with two national awards for local government communications at the City-County Communications & Marketing Association (3CMA) Annual Conference Sept. 8-10 in St. Louis.

The Town won a Silver Circle Award in the COVID PR Campaign category for the Spread Kindness, Not Illness campaign; the Chapel Hill Fire, Now Hiring video won an Award of Excellence in the Video – Promo category.

The Savvy Awards were judged by a group of national 3CMA-member communicators. This year, 870 entries were submitted and winners hailed from 25 states. North Carolina local governments received 10 awards.

In response to concern about a particular population in the community being blamed for the coronavirus, the Joint Information Center was prompted to create a simple, easily translated message as part of the campaign Spread Kindness, Not Illness. That campaign was translated into Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Burmese and Karen and has been featured on the Town website, social media channels and Chapel Hill Transit buses.

The Chapel Hill Fire Department created a video, shared on social media, that targeted young recruits for several upcoming vacancies at a time when recruitment and retention were down and a strong pool of applicants was needed to find people who were the right fit for these slots and would remain on the job long term. The fire department received 28 applications from NC-certified firefighters and 318 applications from non-certified individuals and was able to fill at least 8 vacancies.


Life Science Startup Company First to Claim Space in New Downtown Innovation District

UNC-Chapel Hill and Town of Chapel Hill leaders announced a new university partnership with startup coworking pioneer BioLabs and next steps for an innovation hub and downtown revitalization this week.

BioLabs, a premier coworking space for life-science startups, is the first company to claim space in the downtown innovation district that is currently under construction. In 2022, BioLabs plans to open the new site in downtown Chapel Hill, featuring shared wet-lab space and office facilities for new research-based startups.


2020-2021 Community Development Block Grant Annual Performance Report

Residents are invited to review and comment on the FY 2020-2021 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report. This report details the progress in carrying out the FY 2020-2021 Community Development Block Grant Annual Plan as well as the performance in meeting the overall priorities and objectives. All comments received will be recorded in the final document submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. The official 15-day comment period is Sept. 13, 2021, through Sept. 27, 2021. Written comments may be addressed to: Megan Culp, Community Development Program Manager, Office for Housing and Community, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514; or may be emailed to cdbg@townofchapelhill.org.

A copy of the draft document is available for public review and comment at https://townofchapelhill.org/cdbg.


Northside Challenge to Property Tax Valuation Pays Off

More than 600 community members joined neighbors to challenge Orange County’s valuations of Northside properties. The county listened, revaluing long-term neighbors’ property values and extending the deadline for appeals. The resulting reductions have saved long-term Northside neighbors an average of $1,355 per year. Northside residents are also advising Orange County as it establishes a new $250,000 fund to assist long-term residents across the county with the impacts of rising property taxes.


Applicants Needed for Orange County Advisory Boards and Commissions

 The Orange County Board of Commissioners is currently recruiting applicants for the following advisory boards and commissions:

Affordable Housing Advisory Board – Prioritizes affordable housing needs and assesses project proposals. Currently two at-large vacancies.

Agricultural Preservation Board – Promotes the economic and cultural importance of agriculture in the county and encourages voluntary preservation and protection of farmland for future production. Currently one position open for a representative of the Cedar Grove Voluntary Agricultural District.

Animal Services Advisory Board – Charged to advise the Board of County Commissioners on matters of concern regarding animal issues and animal services in Orange County. Currently one position open for an individual who resides within the town limits of Chapel Hill and one position open for an individual who resides within the town limits of Carrboro.

Board of Equalization and Review – Hears appeals from residents concerning various property tax issues, including valuation and exemption appeals. Currently five alternate positions open. 

Orange Unified Transportation Board – Advises the Orange County Board of County Commissioners and provides information and comments on major transportation issues. Currently one vacancy for a resident of Little River Township and one vacancy for a resident of Cedar Grove Township.
 
If interested, apply at www.orangecountync.gov/Apply.

For additional information contact Tara May at 919-245-2125 or tmay@orangecountync.gov.


Orange County Emergency Food Assistance Distribution Set for Sept. 22

Residents receiving Food and Nutrition Service/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits or who meet income guidelines may be eligible for Orange County’s Emergency Food Assistance Program. The program is available for individuals/students, couples or families.

Distributions occur on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Pick-ups are available at Orange Works in Hillsborough (113-B Mayo St.) and Southern Human Services Center in Chapel Hill (2501 Homestead Road).

Due to social distancing requirements and limited supplies, appointments are required. Appointments will be issued the day before the distribution, on a first-call, first-served basis. Applicants should call (919) 245-4354 to request an appointment and for more information.


September 14, 2021

2021 Carrboro Music Festival Canceled

The Town of Carrboro has canceled the 2021 Carrboro Music Festival, which was scheduled to be held Sept. 25-26 at venues throughout downtown Carrboro.

Organizers had hoped that the Covid-19 vaccines would allow this traditional event to take place, but all of the surrounding counties are now classified as posing either “Very High Risk” or “Extremely High Risk” of transmission to unvaccinated community members.

Next year’s event is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 2 2022.


Durham Tech Celebrates 60 Years

On Thursday, Sept. 9, Durham Technical Community College (DTCC) kicked off a yearlong celebration of “60 Years of Impact” with the dedication of the William G. Ingram Center for Applied Learning and Technology.

Board of Trustees members — past and present — elected officials, students, staff, faculty and friends gathered under a tent on the lawn. Speakers recalled the visionary people who founded the institution, their visions and the success of current programs, such as the Durham Tech Promise. They also discussed plans to meet the needs of 21st-century industries, such as life sciences.

In 1961, DTCC opened its doors to all people regardless of race or color. The late Phail Wynn Jr., DTCC president from 1980-2007, was the first Black community college president in North Carolina and DTCC started North Carolina’s first office of equity and inclusion. 


Harm Reduction and Cultural Humility

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) continues to seek alternatives that offer more effective ways to assist and support individuals yearning to get their lives back on track, such as with a recent presentation to the Orange County Justice Advisory Council (JAC) on the importance of harm reduction and cultural humility. The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition “is a statewide grassroots organization dedicated to the implementation of harm reduction interventions, public health strategies, drug policy transformation, and justice reform in North Carolina and throughout the American South.”

The presentation at the JAC meeting provided more awareness of the scope of work in progress by the OCSO and local law enforcement agencies to improve the well-being of community members and the community as a whole.

This critical work includes providing medication-assisted treatment (suboxone) and peer support to individuals with substance-use disorders who are incarcerated at the detention center, as well as law enforcement-assisted diversion from the criminal justice system where treatment and harm reduction interventions are more appropriate. Law enforcement and criminal justice stakeholders recognize that these efforts will increase healthier outcomes and improve public safety for Orange County.


One Orange Countywide Racial Equity Plan Invites Input

The One Orange Countywide Racial Equity Plan: A Framework for Moving Forward seeks to identify and address implicit biases in our institutions to ensure that race no longer predict life outcomes in our community.

The community is invited to share their opinions about the plan via a meeting to take place 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, via Zoom. Register to participate at www.orangecountync.gov/BOHMeeting

Organizers would like to know:

  • What three results would you like this plan to produce?
  • What sections of this plan will help us achieve those results?
  • Who should be involved in future community engagement?
  • Who is negatively affected by using this framework/plan?
  • What do you consider the most critical outcomes?

View the plan at www.orangecountync.gov/RacialEquityPlan


September 10, 2021

Chapel Hill Transit Reduces Service to Improve Reliability

In the face of continuing staffing shortages, Chapel Hill Transit will make temporary schedule adjustments to increase the reliability of the bus system, starting Monday, Sept. 20.

The last trip on most routes will run until 8 p.m., with the following adjustments:

  • On weekdays, the NS route will run less frequently until 10 p.m.
  • On weekends, the J and NS routes will run every hour and 20 minutes.
  • The schedule for FCX and NU routes will not change.

There will be no midday service on F, G, HS & T routes.

The F, G, HS, and T routes will only run between 6:30 and 9 a.m. and 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. to provide options for students and employees commuting to Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC Hospitals, with the following schedule:

  • F route trips (from Jones Ferry Road): 6:30 & 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 & 3:30 p.m.
  • G route trips (from Booker Creek): 7 & 8 a.m. and 3 & 4 p.m.
  • HS route trips (from Morris Grove): 7:15, 7:50 & 8:25 a.m. and 3:25, 4:00 & 4:35 p.m.
  • T route trips (from East Chapel Hill High School): 7:05 & 8:05 a.m. and 4:10 & 5:15 p.m.

420, CL, NU, weekend J and weekend NS customers will have fewer trips, with the following adjustments:

  • NU route will run every 30 minutes.
  • CL route will run about every 40 minutes.
  • Route 420 will run at the following times:
    • 6:00, 6:55, 8:00 & 8:30 a.m. from Hillsborough
    • 3:40, 4:40, 5:45 & 6:15 p.m. from UNC Hospitals
  • Weekend J will run every hour and 20 minutes.
  • Weekend NS will run every hour and 20 minutes.

Friday Center South Park and Ride Lot users will need to use the Friday Center Park and Ride Lot, with the following adjustments:

  • Friday Center South Park and Ride Lot (formerly the NC-54 Park and Ride Lot) will be closed.
  • S route will serve the Friday Center Park and Ride Lot.
  • FCX route will serve stops on NC-54 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and after 8 p.m.

These reductions will remain in effect until Chapel Hill Transit is able to hire more operators.
Chapel Hill Transit is actively recruiting operators. Chapel Hill Transit offers wages starting at $16+ an hour and paid training and benefits. People interested can apply at chtransit.org.


Breaking Ground on the East Rosemary Redevelopment Project

The Town of Chapel Hill and project partners will ceremoniously break ground on the East Rosemary Redevelopment Project next week before the foundation of a new 1,100-space parking deck begins taking shape in the coming weeks.

The groundbreaking ceremony will begin 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, at the project site (125 E. Rosemary St.). Parking is available in the Wallace Parking Deck (150 E. Rosemary St.) or the Rosemary/Columbia Parking Lot (100 E. Rosemary St.).

Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and members of the Town Council will be in attendance, in addition to UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz.

Masks will be required at the ceremony, and everyone will be encouraged to practice physical distancing. The ceremony will be brief, and refreshments will not be provided due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information on the project, and to see a live video feed, visit townofchapelhill.org/rosemary-project.


Proposals to Manage Flooding in Lower Booker Creek Watershed to be Discussed at Sept. 13 Meeting

Chapel Hill residents will have an opportunity Monday, Sept. 13 to hear presentations about and to comment on the Town’s plans to address flooding in the Lower Booker Creek subwatershed. An informational community meeting will be held at 6 p.m. via Zoom and is open to the public.

In 2016, Chapel Hill hired an engineering firm to analyze the Booker Creek watershed and make recommendations to reduce flooding. The firm, WK Dickson, published its final report in 2018.
The firm’s study evaluated how stormwater is currently managed within the subwatershed and the impact future development is likely to have on the capacity of existing infrastructure to adequately convey stormwater. The report recommended various stormwater management improvements, including construction of several new stormwater retention facilities.

There will be time during the meeting for attendees to ask questions about the watershed studies and the proposed stormwater management projects. Questions and responses will be compiled and posted to the project website.

The agenda for the meeting includes opening remarks from Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger, presentation of WK Dickson’s watershed study, a presentation by the Booker Creek Neighborhoods Preservation Alliance and a question-and-answer period. To register for the meeting, visit https://bit.ly/3A8MtMr.

Public input and comments regarding the project may also be submitted to: stormwater@townofchapelhill.org. A summary of public comments will be presented at the Town Council work session Oct. 20, 2021.


September 8, 2021

NAACP PAC Needs Volunteers for Upcoming Local Elections

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), with funding from Blueprint NC, is mounting a Get Out the Vote campaign for the fall local elections, with the goal of increasing participation of minority voters. Blueprint NC is a nonprofit organization that works with partner organizations across the state to “address the complex issues of racial injustice, the massive and growing gap between the richest and poorest and the privatization of public resources for private financial gain.”

The NAACP’s Political Action Committee has decided that more emphasis should be put on sending out handwritten individualized postcards and that some time also should be spent knocking on doors. These postcards and door knocks will be focused on a handful of precincts inside Orange County with the lowest turnouts and highest diversity. The goal is to invite residents to participate in local elections by reminding them what local offices are up for election and how those elected can have a personal impact on their lives. Door hangers and postcards are especially effective in reminding voters about the who, where and when for elections.

If you are able to help with this effort, please send your contact information to Nicole (politicalaction5689@gmail.com) with a message of whether you can help writing postcards, leaving door hangers or both.


OCDP Donation Drive for Afghan Refugees

The Orange County Democratic Party (OCDP) is hosting a donation drive for Afghan refugees coming to North Carolina as part of a wider regional effort. The Triangle region has been identified as one of 19 “Welcoming Communities” for Afghan refugees by the U.S. State Department.
You may drop off your donations to assist newly arriving families at the OCDP Office at 209 Lloyd St., Suite 310, Carrboro, Wednesday, Sept. 8, from 3 to 5 p.m. OCDP wants to officially thank everyone for their support and donations thus far.

High-priority donation items include winter clothing, cleaning supplies, paper products, cookware, cooking utensils, dishes, cutlery, towels, blankets, sheets, educational toys, school supplies and men’s and women’s hygiene items. For a fuller listing, visit: https://www.facebook.com/orangedemsnc. Please place items in a clean box with an itemized list taped on the box. (Please do not bring large items, furniture, food items, old used plastic containers, old and/or stained or ripped clothes or anything partially broken.)

Contact Marilyn Carter via FB messenger or at marilyn.carter@orangedems.com for questions and more information.


September 5, 2021

Chapel Hill Historical Society Fall Virtual Program Series

The Chapel Hill Historical Society has announced its fall program line up:

  • Sept. 19, 3 p.m. – Listening for Community: An Oral History Workshop with the Southern Oral History Project (SOHP). This workshop, led by Anna Hamilton, Ph.D. candidate and SOHP field scholar, will provide a primer on the basics of oral history — the hows, whats, and whys of recording community stories for posterity. She will discuss oral history process, equipment and best practices.
  • Oct. 17, 3 p.m. – I’m Smart, Too — Integrated Schools, Segregated Students. Kim Talikoff will present this documentary film that explores the racial disparity within the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system and moderate a discussion.
  • Nov. 21, 3 p.m. – Historic Chapel Hill Mapping Project. Dr. John Sweet, UNC Associate Professor of History, will discuss and share his project using census and other records to map the history of Chapel Hill. A link to his website is available at https://historicchapelhill.org.

All programs will be conducted via Zoom and are free and open to the public. Links for each Zoom session will be posted to the Historical Society’s website (https://chapelhillhistoricalsociety.org/) two days before each program. In addition, each session will be recorded and available via YouTube. Recordings of the Historical Society’s spring 2021 programs are available at (https://bit.ly/3n4WGFT).


Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” Campaign Aims to Close Health Disparity in N.C.

This year’s “Booze It & Lose It” anti-drunk driving campaign, now underway, is focusing on informing and protecting minority college students and reducing the number of traffic crashes and deaths in N.C. during what is a busy travel period.

So far in 2021, Black people have the second-highest rate of total traffic deaths, pedestrian traffic deaths and bicyclist traffic deaths, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows Black North Carolinians made up 26% of all deadly crashes between 2015 and 2018.

The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program (NCGHSP) and its partners are asking fraternities, sororities and other students to use their social media accounts to promote the importance of driving sober.

The Booze It and Lose It campaign is one of several initiatives NCGHSP leads. It increases awareness of the dangers and consequences of drinking and driving through education and enforcement. The campaign is used as a model for other agencies across the country.


Richards Chosen Unanimously to Replace Dorosin

Social justice and community activist Anna Richards was chosen unanimously on Sept. 2 to fill a vacancy on the Orange County Board of Commissioners. Richards was chosen from among four candidates forwarded by the Orange County Democratic Party.

Richards has long been active in social justice issues in Orange County through her work with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She served on the Orange County Complete Count Committee that encouraged residents to complete the 2020 census.

The seat became open when Commissioner Dorosin resigned effective July 31 to take a teaching job in Florida. Although Dorosin’s term was through 2024, Richards will serve only through November 2022. A special election will be held next year to fill the remaining two years of Dorosin’s term. The special election will be open to candidates from all parties.


Orange County Government Closed for Labor Day

Orange County Government will be closed Monday, Sept. 6, in honor of Labor Day. Closings include the COVID testing sites at the Whitted Building and Southern Human Services Center in Chapel Hill. If you need a COVID-19 test, visit https://bit.ly/3h3tR94.

Exceptions to the Labor Day closings include: Recycling pickup will run as normal on Sept. 6 (have carts curbside by 7 a.m.); Transportation Services will run the in-county dialysis route only (Carolina Dialysis); and 9-1-1 services will be available (call only to report emergencies).

Regular services will resume Tuesday, Sept. 7.


Orange County Department on Aging Handy Helper Program Nominated for 2021 RISE Award

The Orange County Department on Aging’s Handy Helper Program has been nominated for a 2021 RISE Community award for the work it is doing to build a stronger and safer community. Community voting has begun, and help is needed to spread the word.

You can read and vote for the Orange County Department on Aging’s Handy Helper Program nomination once per day through Sept. 17 by visiting https://bit.ly/3jHwVcJ. In addition to being recognized, the Handy Helper Program is also in the running to win $7,500 in prize money that the program will put toward building a better community.

The RISE Awards celebrate those who rise to serve and protect their communities through heroism and dedication. The RISE Community award honors a community program that is working hand in hand with local law enforcement.


Orange County Mobile Vaccine Team Available for Home Vaccinations

In an effort to ensure that all community members have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, the Orange County Mobile Vaccine Team is ready to vaccinate people who are homebound or are otherwise unable to travel to a vaccine clinic.

The most challenging part of this program is identifying those in need. Community members may make referrals by visiting www.orangecountync.gov/MobileVax or by calling 919-245-6127. Visit https://bit.ly/3toXOp5 for more information.



For previous community notices, click here to read the Community Notices Archive page.

 

August 31, 2021

Carrboro Town Hall Closed for Labor Day

Carrboro Town Hall and administrative offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 6, for Labor Day. They will resume regular business hours Tuesday, Sept. 7. 

Yard waste and loose leaves will be collected Tuesday, Sept. 7, instead of the usual Monday collection day. 


Town of Carrboro Accepting Applications for Youth Advisory Board

The Town of Carrboro is accepting applications for the Town’s Youth Advisory Board. The board meets virtually once a month (currently, the first Tuesday of the month at 4 p.m.). 

The board plans the annual MLK Youth Event with the NAACP Youth Council and the Recreation and Parks Youth Council and advises the Town Council on items of interest to teens. Participants must be high school age and either live in Carrboro or attend high school in Carrboro.

Apply at https://bit.ly/2Y3JMNZ.


Four Suspects Charged in Shooting

Investigators with the Carrboro Police Department have charged four suspects in the shooting incident that occurred Aug. 2 outside of Wendy’s restaurant at 100 S. Greensboro St.

Juvenile petitions were obtained for all four suspects and each was charged with the following offenses: Attempted 1st-Degree Murder, Conspiracy to Commit 1st-Degree Murder, Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill Inflicting Serious Injury, Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle Inflicting Serious Injury, Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle, and Possession of a Handgun by a Minor. At the time of the incident, one suspect was 17 years old, and the other three were 16 years old.

Three of the suspects are currently being held in juvenile detention facilities on unrelated charges from other agencies. The fourth suspect will be taken into custody by Juvenile Justice and confined in a juvenile detention facility as well. Because of the age of the suspects, no additional identifying information is being released.

If you have additional information on this incident, please contact Investigator Trey Kennedy with the Carrboro Police Department at (919) 918-7412 or Crime Stoppers at (919) 942-7515.


Town of Chapel Hill Accepting Applications to Create Affordable Housing Opportunities

The Town of Chapel Hill is accepting applications through noon Friday, Oct. 1, to fund affordable housing development and preservation projects in the community.

Awards will be made from the Town’s Affordable Housing Development Reserve (AHDR), established by the Town Council in March 2015. The total funding available this fiscal year (July 1, 2021 through July 30, 2022) in the AHDR is $688,395.

The Town will accept applications for the following priority project areas:

  • Land bank and land acquisition
  • Rental subsidy and development
  • Homeownership development and assistance
  • Future development planning

The Town’s Housing Advisory Board will evaluate applications and present a funding recommendation to the Town Council for final approval in October 2021. There will be up to two additional funding cycles this fiscal year until funding is exhausted.

To access the application and learn more, visit bit.ly/32zt4oy.


August 27, 2021

Church Street Upcoming Closure

Google Fiber is in the process of installing fiber infrastructure under Church Street, requiring a road closure from Monday, Aug. 30, through Wednesday, Sept. 8. The closure will be from West Franklin Street to West Rosemary Street Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. No work will occur on Sundays. The nearest detour is South Columbia Street.


AD Clark Pool Repairs Complete

The AD Clark Pool reopened Saturday, Aug. 28, at 10 a.m. It is now open for drop-in recreation swim on Saturdays 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sundays 12-7p.m., weekdays 3 p.m.-7 p.m. and Labor Day Monday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

For more information about pool schedules and operations, see www.chapelhillparks.org/aquatics.

Last week, the AD Clark Outdoor Pool facility was temporarily closed in order to drain the tank and clean broken glass from the pool deck and the pool itself.


Improved Glenwood Elementary School Carpool Line

Beginning Monday, Aug. 30, Glenwood Elementary School administrators, along with Chapel Hill Police and Fire, will encourage parents and guardians to form safer drop-off and pickup lines leading to the school. Lines forming on Hamilton Road are blocking the front of Fire Station Two and backing up onto NC-54. Instead, authorities and school administrators are asking parents and guardians to line up along Prestwick Road, toward Finley Golf Course Road.

The improvement, with more space for lines, is designed to make walking, driving, biking and rolling safer for everyone in the area. The change will also give firefighters and personnel with Orange County Emergency Services at Fire Station Two the access they need to quickly respond to emergencies.


Animal Services Joins “Clear the Shelters” Campaign

Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) has joined NBCUniversal Local’s Clear the Shelters™ 2021 pet-adoption campaign. This year, the campaign will run Aug. 23 to Sept. 18. Adoption fees will be waived for all adoptable pets at OCAS during that time. Also, OCAS encourages donations by asking that everyone view the opportunities listed on their donation page. OCAS depends upon monetary and material donations to continue to care for the thousands of animals that come to the shelter each year.

A special reservation event will be held at OCAS Saturday, Sept. 18, to help finalize this year’s Clear the Shelters campaign. The Animal Services facility will be closed to visitors, with the exception of those who make an appointment in advance. During these appointments, people may view, meet and adopt pets.

Every year, NBCUniversal Local’s NBC and Telemundo-owned stations, plus affiliated stations, partner with animal shelters and rescue organizations in their communities to host Clear the Shelters events. Since 2015, the campaign has resulted in more than a half-million pets finding new homes.

Visit ClearTheShelters.com and DesocuparLosAlbergues.com for more information. For more information about OCAS see www.orangecountync.gov/animalservices.


Curry Named 2021 Outstanding Tax Employee of the Year

Valerie Curry, a collections manager with the Orange County Tax Department, has been named the 2021 Outstanding Tax Employee of the Year by the North Carolina Tax Collector’s Association.

Curry was nominated by her tax peers across the state and her co-workers. She has been employed with Orange County Tax Administration for 23 years, beginning as a paralegal and advancing to her current position. Valerie was described as helpful to others, dedicated, hardworking and open-minded and a supporter, encourager, leader and friend.


Photo courtesy TownofCarrboro.org

August 25, 2021

New Town Manager Takes Office in Carrboro

Richard J. Wright III began his tenure as Carrboro’s town manager Aug. 23. Twenty years ago, he served as assistant to the town manager for Carrboro. Since then, he has served as the Elon Town Manager and in executive management positions with the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County, GA and most recently, the City of Asheville.


Estes-Greensboro Roundabout Update

As part of the Estes-Greensboro roundabout project, two pedestrian hybrid beacons (PHBs) have been installed along N. Greensboro Street at Williams Street and at Oak Avenue. 

These signals control the flow of traffic to create a dedicated phase for people crossing the street. Research by the Federal Highway Administration has shown that PHBs reduce total crashes by 19% and crashes with pedestrians by 69%. The graphic here shows the phasing operations of these PHBs. Note that drivers are expected to stop during the steady red phase (#4) but may proceed during the flashing red phase (#5) once people have cleared the crosswalk. 

For more information about PHBs, see https://bit.ly/3zi0184.


Photo courtesy TownofCarrboro.org

Carrboro Citizens Academy Postponed

The Carrboro Citizens Academy has been postponed due to rising cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19. 

Town Clerk Catherine Dorando said she hopes the highly interactive, in-person academy can be brought back safely in spring 2022. 

The free, six-session course is designed to provide insight into town government and develop future leaders through well-informed and civically engaged residents.  Participants enjoy an up-close and personal look at how town government functions and helps shape the community.


Chapel Hill Police Investigate Reported Assault

The Chapel Hill Police Department responded to a reported assault at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. A female victim was walking in the area of the 500 block of North Columbia Street. The victim told officers she had just left the area of East Franklin Street and North Columbia Street. Officers are working to gather details on suspects. No additional information is available at this time.

Anyone with information should contact the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-968-2760 (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday), or call 911. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crimestoppers at 919- 942-7515. Information that leads to an arrest could be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.


Chapel Hill Labor Day Holiday Closings

Monday, Sept. 6, is a town holiday for Chapel Hill. Some services will be affected, including residential trash will not be collected (makeup day Wednesday, Sept. 8), there will be no Chapel Hill Transit service and Chapel Hill Public Library will be closed.

For a complete list of Labor Day closings and schedule changes, see https://www.townofchapelhill.org/Home/Components/News/News/17297/4048?backlist=%2fgovernment%2fnewsroom%2fchapel-hill-enews.


Chapel Hill Police Investigate 18 Vehicle Break-ins in One Day

Chapel Hill police officers are investigating 18 vehicle break-ins that happened early Monday, beginning at about 3:30 a.m. Most of the break-ins were on Abbot Place. Others happened on residential streets near Homestead Park. In each case the vehicle was unlocked. Three of the vehicles were stolen.

Officers are working to gather a description of the suspects in these cases. Anyone with information should contact the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-968-2760 (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday), or call 911. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crimestoppers at 919- 942-7515. Information that leads to an arrest could be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.


Two Businesses Certified by OCLW

Two businesses, Grata Café (www.gratacafe.com) and Szostak Build (SzostakDesign.com), have been certified by Orange County Living Wage as living-wage employers. Located in Carrboro, Grata Café serves “Italian-themed dishes in a welcoming and warm space.” Szostak Build is based in Chapel Hill. Its mission is to “build unique, modern homes using proven building practices that stand the test of time.”

For a full list of living-wage employers, see OrangeCountyLivingWage.org.


Photo courtesy ChapelHillArts.org

August 20, 2021

New Art Bus Designed by Local Youth

A new art bus hit the streets of Chapel Hill this week, highlighting the struggle for racial justice and celebrating young community members who rise above racism. Titled Rise Above Racial Injustices, the art bus is a collaboration between several community arts partners, local Black artist and arts educator Debi Drew and members of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Youth Council. This bus, along with Orgullo Latino/LatinX Pride by Georges Le Chevallier, are both art buses created during the pandemic to honor inclusivity and diversity.

The art buses, along with a growing collection of artistic bus shelters, are part of the Town of Chapel Hill’s Art + Transit project (https://www.chapelhillarts.org/arts-experiences/public-art/art-transit/). The three Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Youth Council participants selected for the project were Kennedy Lytle, Sol Ramirez and Anthony Swann. Artist Debi Drew was selected to lead this project because of her artistic expertise and experience working with youth.

Four powerful words — Rise Above Racial Injustices — extend across each side of the art bus. Along with this statement, the bus holds three portraits of masked local teens and their personal missions and motivations for fighting against racism. “My self-worth negates racist remarks” by Kennedy Lytle, “Rise above hate” by Sol Ramirez and “Show empathy for others” by Anthony Swann are all quotes on the new bus.


Comment on Changes to Chapel Hill Parks for the North-South Bus Rapid Transit Project

Chapel Hill Transit is holding a 30-day public comment period focused on impacts on local parks and trails from the North-South Bus Rapid Transit (N-S BRT) project.

Constructing and operating the N-S BRT project will require some minor changes to parks and trails, including:

  • Southern Community Park
  • Fan Branch Trail
  • Bolin Creek Trail
  • Carolina North Forest (PSNC Corridor)
  • Homestead Park and Upper Booker Trail

Residents and users of these parks can find more information about these proposed changes and impacts at nsbrt.org, along with a comment form. The comment period opened Aug. 16 and will close on Sept. 16.


New Law Enforcement Program Aims to Reduce Impaired Driving

In a joint effort, the Chapel Hill Police Department and the Campus and Community Coalition are teaming up to identify alcohol establishments that serve intoxicated patrons and contribute to a potential public-safety threat. The Chapel Hill Police Department is piloting a Place of Last Drink (POLD) program to identify the last place that suspected impaired drivers consumed alcohol.

The Chapel Hill Police Department program will gather valuable information on where those arrested consumed their last drink. The data collected are an investigative tool for law enforcement and the Campus and Community Coalition to track and monitor bars and other alcohol-serving establishments that could pose a problem. In turn, law enforcement can educate, monitor, and conduct compliance operations on those establishments that are reported more frequently in POLD data.


Photo courtesy TownofCarrboro.org

New Mural at Carrboro High School

Carrboro High School, 201 Rock Haven Road, is sporting a new mural, ready for the return to in-person classes beginning Aug. 23. The mural is a gift from the Carrboro High School Class of 2021, students who had not been in school most of their senior year and for about half of their junior year.

Muralist Loren Pease, in collaboration with Michael Brown, involved students in the conceptualization and painting of the mural, which depicts a purple jaguar and “Welcome to Carrboro High” message. It is located on the outside wall facing the football stadium and athletic fields.


AD Clark Pool Temporary Closure and Alternative Location

Because of a vandalism incident at the AD Clark Outdoor Pool facility, the pool has been temporarily closed in order to drain the tank and clean broken glass from the pool deck as well as from the pool itself. It likely will take one to one-and-a-half weeks to have the pool back up and running.

Alternative recreation swim times are available at the Homestead Aquatics Center (https://bit.ly/3mmoaGX) program pool Monday thru Friday 2-7:50 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday 12-7 p.m. The recreation swim times are all drop-in, with a maximum capacity of 20 people at any one time. All drop-in swims will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

To ensure users are well-informed, there is a webpage titled “What to Know Before You Go” available at https://bit.ly/3mm2j25. There is also a health screening checklist (https://bit.ly/3mm0WR3) that participants will be asked to complete before entering a facility.

For more information see www.chapelhillparks.org/aquatics.


Help Map Heat in Chapel Hill

Citizen scientists are needed to map urban heat in Chapel Hill this month. Researchers at UNC’s Data-Driven EnviroLab (https://datadrivenlab.org/) will use the data to better understand how people are experiencing the Urban Heat Island effect. Citizen scientists will collect the data using hand-held sensors and a smartphone app. Each mapping session should take about one hour. Cool treats will be provided. If you would like to help, please fill out the form at https://bit.ly/3z9YiRU, or contact xuewei.wang@unc.edu with any questions.


OWASA Among Drinking-Water-Treatment Plants Honored

The North Carolina Division of Water Resources has honored 64 water treatment plants, including Orange Water and Sewer Authority, for surpassing federal and state drinking water standards in 2020. The facilities received the prestigious North Carolina Area-Wide Optimization Award, which is part of a state effort to enhance the performance of existing surface-water-treatment facilities.

Awards are given each year to water systems that demonstrate outstanding turbidity removal, a key test of drinking water quality. Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness or haziness of water caused by individual particles that can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Microbes are microscopic particles that occur naturally but can include harmful bacteria and viruses.

While all drinking water systems must meet strict state and federal drinking water standards, these systems met performance goals that are significantly more stringent than state and federal standards. In 2020, nearly 2.5 million North Carolina residents were served by these award-winning plants.

To see a list of award-winners, see https://bit.ly/3szHjpG.


Sally Greene. Photo courtesy OrangeCountyNC.gov

August 17, 2021

Sally Greene Receives Outstanding County Commissioner Award

Sally Greene, Orange County Commissioner, was one of the recipients of the M. H. “Jack” Brock Outstanding County Commissioner Award, given by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) Aug. 14, during the 114th NCACC Annual Conference. Ms. Greene was recognized for her work on the 5-5-5 Committee—5 county managers, 5 attorneys, 5 commissioners—that worked on an opioid settlement.

The committee’s time and effort were instrumental in developing the historic statewide Memorandum of Agreement on the distribution and use of opioid-settlement funds. The Outstanding County Commissioner Award honors commissioners for going “above and beyond” on behalf of counties and their constituencies.

North Carolina is projected to receive about $750 million from the $26 billion settlement with Johnson & Johnson and other companies that distributed opioids while addiction and overdose deaths increased. All counties in the state will benefit from this settlement.

In addition, Renee Price, chair of the Orange County Commissioners, received an award for “dedication, commitment and support,” by the North Carolina Association of Black County Officials (NCABCO). NCABCO is an affiliate of the NCACC and focuses on the well-being and advancement of African American communities, advocating for a future of peace and justice.


Grand Opening of the Bonnie B. Davis EAC

On Friday, Aug. 20, at 10 a.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held for the grand opening of the Bonnie B. Davis Environmental and Agricultural Center, the first building in Orange County to be named in honor of an African American woman. It will be the first building to open in Orange County’s new Northern Campus. 

Mrs. Davis was a longtime agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension and died in 2018. She worked for 40 years until retiring in 1990. After her retirement, she remained active in the community and became a founding member of the Friends of Department of Social Services.


Carrboro Seeks Feedback on Town Information Centers

The Town of Carrboro installed four Town Information Centers (TICs) (outdoor kiosks) in Rocky Brook Mobile Home Park, on Rock Haven Road, in the Oakwood public housing community, and in the Pine Grove Mobile Home Park, and is now seeking feedback on them. 

The Town is asking how likely people are to use the kiosks to access community information and resources. Also, they would like to know what types of information people would like to see. All comments are welcome. 

There are paper surveys in English and Spanish posted at the TICs, or you can access an online survey via a QR code posted at the kiosk. The surveys are available in English at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B639JC8 and in Spanish at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B667KQD.  

The Town is evaluating locations for additional TICs. If you are interested in requesting one for your neighborhood, please contact Catherine Lazorko, Communication and Engagement Director, at clazorko@townofcarrboro.org


August 12, 2021

Indoor Mask Mandate Reinstated for Orange County

With several key COVID metrics experiencing a drastic increase since the end of June, Orange County reinstated its countywide indoor mask mandate effective 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11. The mandate applies to anyone 2 years and older, regardless of vaccination status.

The mandate does not apply to the following individuals:

  • Anyone with a diagnosed medical or behavioral condition or disability, including difficulty breathing;
  • Children under 2 years of age;
  • Children under 5 years of age if their parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place and maintain a face covering safely on the child’s face;
  • Anyone who is actively eating or drinking;
  • Anyone who is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible;
  • Anyone who is giving a speech or performance for a broadcast or to an audience where they maintain a distance of at least 20 feet from the audience;
  • Anyone who is working alone in an individual office setting (however, such persons shall apply a face covering when in common areas such as breakrooms, hallways, restrooms, or other areas where additional persons may be encountered);
  • nyone who has determined the face covering is impeding their visibility in the operation of equipment or a vehicle;

Even though Orange County has one of the highest rates of vaccination in the state with 76% of the population fully vaccinated, the county is still experiencing a surge in new cases, mostly among the unvaccinated.

For the week of Aug. 1-7, Orange County reported 235 cases out of 4,040 tests, for a positivity rate of 5.3%. A positivity rate above 5% is considered one of the key indicators of increased spread. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also show that vaccinated people can transmit the virus, particularly the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Businesses are struggling to recruit and retain workers and are concerned that infected individuals may transmit the virus to their employees, which would then force them to close their doors again.
Many locations throughout Orange County now have the free vaccine. Visit www.myspot.nc.gov to find a provider near you.


NCDHHS Approves Orange County Transition to Alliance Health for LME/MCO Services

Orange County’s request to disengage from Cardinal Innovations and align with Alliance Health as its Local Management Entity/Managed Care Organization (LME/MCO) has been approved by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). Orange County’s transition to Alliance will occur Dec. 15, according to a timetable established by NCDHHS.

LME/MCOs are local political subdivisions of the state that manage mental health, traumatic brain injury, substance use and intellectual/developmental disability services for individuals who are insured by Medicaid or who have no health insurance. Alliance currently manages these services for residents in Durham, Wake, Cumberland and Johnston counties. Mecklenburg County will also be transitioning from Cardinal to Alliance.

More information about this transition is available at https://bit.ly/3fYzyVn, and additional questions can be directed to Alliance Health at (800) 510-9132.


Local Service Organizations to Assist Chapel Hill/Carrboro Teachers with Supplies

A program funded through Chapel Hill Rotary groups, the Public School Foundation and a Rotary district grant will provide eight Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and 650 teachers with necessary school supplies. Booths will be set up Aug. 19, when the PTA and Rotary volunteers distribute supplies to teachers.

In addition, 115 backpacks will be provided to the city schools for social workers to distribute to students in need.

According to Tim Smith, volunteer with East Chapel Hill Rotary, the sponsoring organizations are now hosting their 15th store with a total of $415,000 donated by the East Chapel Hill Rotary club. This service has helped 5,965 teachers.

For more information, contact Tim Smith at 919-824-6117 or email him at Tismith@email.unc.edu.


Air Permit Renewal Issued for UNC-CH

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality has issued a renewal of the Title V air permit for The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This permitting action also consolidates three additional applications for modification of the facility.

The final permit adds monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements to ensure compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides as a result of updated modeling.

The final permit, final permit review and environmental justice report are available at https://bit.ly/3g1Qv15.


Street Closings for UNC Fall Fest

Stadium Drive and Raleigh Street will be closed starting at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15, for UNC’s Fall Fest.

Chapel Hill Transit will also have detours on the following routes:

  • A—from the Pittsboro Street Credit Union toward University Place and from Glen Lennox toward Weiner & Severin
  • N—from the Pittsboro Street Credit Union toward Meadowmont and from Harris Teeter toward Estes Park Apartments
  • NU—from Hillsborough Street to Ridge Road
  • U—from Carolina Coffee Shop to Ridge Road

Photo courtesy of www.townofcarrboro.org

Town of Carrboro Accepting Applications for Carrboro Citizens Academy 

The Town of Carrboro is accepting applications for Carrboro Citizens Academy for individuals who would like a better understanding of the town.

The free, six-session course of interactive classes is designed to provide insight into town government and develop future leaders through well-informed and civically-engaged residents.  
Citizens Academy sessions will take place Wednesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. starting on Sept. 8 and ending Oct. 20.

Apply today at https://bit.ly/3g0czcn.


Chapel Hill Police Investigating Breaking and Entering on Laurens Way

The Chapel Hill Police Department is investigating a breaking and entering on Laurens Way (off Weaver Dairy Road Extension near Homestead Road) that occurred around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. This case is similar to a string of incidents currently being investigated by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Durham Police Department.

Investigators believe a suspect in a construction-style vest is going door-to-door checking to see if residents are home; if no one is home, he and the other suspects return and break in. The resident in this case reported four suspects left the scene, one in a construction-style reflective vest. No one was injured during the breaking and entering.

If you have information about the incident or see the suspects, please call 911. If you see the suspects, do not approach them. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crimestoppers at 919-942-7515. People with information that leads to an arrest could be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.


Town of Carrboro Requests Comment for COVID-19 Business Grant Policy

The Carrboro Economic Development Department has released a policy for a new COVID-19 Mitigation Business Grant and invites the public and business community to review and provide comments on the policy.

Approved by the Town Council in June 2021, the grant program allows the department to issue up to $300,000 in business grants using funds the town will receive from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The proposed policy would allow a business to receive up to $20,000 in order to mitigate negative economic impacts to the business from COVID-19. The grant funds could be used for a variety of things, including marketing and advertising, back rent and utilities, COVID-19 loan repayment, training for new under-skilled or unskilled employees, and capital expenditures to adapt business to a post-COVID-19 environment.

To learn more about the grant program, review the policy, or provide a comment on the policy, please visit https://bit.ly/3iELw8o. The comment period will remain open through Monday, Aug. 16. 


Photo courtesy TownofChapelHill.org

August 7, 2021

Chapel Hill Transit Resumes All Routes

Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) have resumed running all routes. However, with more than 30 full-time operator positions unfilled, CHT is unable to operate all scheduled service. To see schedule updates, customers should follow @chtransit on Twitter or use the NextBus/Umo app and website.

The following route schedules have been changed, removing some trips:

Additionally, Carolina Livery is operating the following routes until further notice:

There are also bus stop changes. The bus stop at Pittsboro Street and University Drive was permanently closed on Aug. 1, due to safety concerns; the closest alternative stops are the Pittsboro Street at Credit Union stop and the Health Sciences Library stop. The bus stop at Manning Drive at Public Safety will be closed Aug. 9 through late November for sidewalk and parking lot improvements.

Chapel Hill Transit is actively recruiting bus operators for full- and part-time positions, with paid training and excellent benefits. Anyone interested can apply at townofchapelhill.org/jobs.

 


Annual Maintenance Scheduled at Parks and Recreation Facilities

The Hargraves Recreation Center and Northside Gym will close Aug. 16-20 for annual maintenance and reopen Aug. 23. This does not include the A.D. Clark Outdoor Pool.

The Chapel Hill Community Center Pool is scheduled to close for annual maintenance Aug. 23 for up to four weeks, with a planned reopening date of Sept. 20. The Chapel Hill Community Center and gymnasium will also close for annual maintenance Sept. 13-19 and will reopen Sept. 20.

During this closure of the Community Center Pool, pass holders may use the pool at the Homestead Aquatic Center, which has available a mix of reservable and drop-in facility use times. Through Aug. 16, the A.D. Clark Outdoor Pool offers free drop-in lap swimming from 7 to 9:30 a.m. (maximum three swimmers per lane). Drop-in swims will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. 

For information on reservable and drop-in swim times and pool schedules, see chapelhillparks.org/aquatics.


OneOrange Community Engagement

OneOrange is a commitment by Orange County, Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough leaders and staff to uncover and address implicit racial biases in our institutions and to create a community where race no longer predicts life outcomes in our community. For the past few months, representatives from these local governments have been working on a framework for engaging the community to advance these efforts.

This work entails meaningful engagement and participation with all of the community, particularly members of the community most impacted by racial bias and discrimination. Organizations are encouraged to provide feedback on the framework for the racial equity plan that will help OneOrange develop strategies to meet the vision of true racial equity in our community. Inform the team of any standing meetings, outreach efforts, or other ways for it to connect with the community.

There will be two virtual information sessions, at 11 a.m. August 10 and 7 p.m. August 17. Team members are also available to meet with members of organizations in whatever manner works for them.

Register in advance for the virtual meetings at
https://bit.ly/3AprVPv (Aug. 10 meeting) and https://bit.ly/3lHNmag (Aug 17 meeting).
For more information, contact the team by email at OneOrange@orangecountync.gov or by telephone at 919-245-2317. 


Parks and Recreation Releases Fall Recreation Programs

Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation has released its fall 2021 recreation guide, titled RECREATE. You can download your own copy and browse all recreation programs online at chapelhillparks.org. The printed edition will be available at each of their recreation centers and at Chapel Hill Public Library on Monday, Aug. 9.

Fall programs and activities include 13 days of Halloween-themed programs, a new mix of pickleball clinics and outdoor youth and adult athletic leagues as well as parks and recreation destinations. 

Chapel Hill residents may register beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 16. Non-residents may register beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 23. 

For more information about Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation, visit chapelhillparks.org.


Orange County Reinstitutes Mask Mandate Inside County Facilities

With COVID cases surging due to the Delta variant, Orange County government has reinstituted a mask mandate for visitors and staff inside county facilities. The mandate went into effect Aug. 5 and will remain in place indefinitely. Visit https://bit.ly/3CqIOuS for more information about the vaccine and to schedule an appointment at a place and time convenient to you.


Carrboro Police Investigate Burglary and Shooting

The Carrboro Police Department is investigating a burglary and shooting that occurred at Oakwood Apartments, located at 605 Oak Ave.

At approximately 10:15 p.m. on Thursday, August 5, a resident returned home and discovered that multiple suspects had broken into their apartment. The resident and a friend chased the suspects out of the apartment and through the complex. At some point, one of the suspects fired one shot from an unknown-type weapon; no injuries were reported. The suspects escaped the area and are still at large. The victim reported that multiple items were stolen from the residence.

If you have additional information about this incident, please contact INV Trey Kennedy with the Carrboro Police Department at (919) 918-7412, or Crime Stoppers at (919) 942-7515.


N.C. Agriculture Cost-Share Funds Available Soon

The Orange Soil and Water Conservation District expects to receive its cost-share allocation from the state for non-point source pollution control from agriculture activities in the next couple of weeks.

These funds are available to improve water quality by assisting farmers in implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs), which help decrease the amount of sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, animal waste, chemicals and other pollutants entering the surface and ground waters of the state. 

Landowners and operators may apply for technical and cost-share assistance to install BMPs such as animal-waste storage facilities, mortality-management systems, wells and watering troughs in conjunction with livestock exclusion fencing from streams, heavy-use areas, animal trails and stream crossings, closure of waste impoundments, cropland conversions, sod-based rotations, grassed waterways, field borders and diversions.

For a complete list of BMPs available and other cost-share programs to improve water quality and enhance an agriculture operation, visit www.orangecountync.gov/soilwater (see Financial Assistance).

An initial sign-up will be held through Aug. 21 for those landowners and operators wishing to request technical and cost-share assistance on practices.

To apply for cost-share assistance and other agricultural funding programs, contact Kenny Ray or Todd Roberts at (919) 245-2750.


Town of Carrboro Requires Masks Indoors, Vaccinations for All Employees

Beginning Monday, Aug. 9, the Town of Carrboro will require all employees and visitors accessing town facilities indoors to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. Social distancing (maintaining a six-foot distance between individuals) is also required in all facilities.

The indoor mask requirement was reinstated because the Delta variant of the coronavirus is so highly contagious. Orange County public health officials urge all unvaccinated residents 12 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Those who are vaccinated remain strongly protected against severe illness, hospitalization and death.

By Sept. 1, Town of Carrboro employees will be required to demonstrate proof of vaccination status. Currently, more than 70% of Town employees are vaccinated.


Jones Ferry Road Bike Lane Installation Scheduled Aug. 11

The Town of Carrboro will be installing a protected bike lane along the eastbound lanes of Jones Ferry Road between the N.C. Highway 54 eastbound ramps and Barnes Street.

Workers will be present in the roadway beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11, and work is expected to be completed before 4 p.m. Rain days for the installation would be either Thursday, Aug. 12, or Wednesday, Aug. 18.  

A map of the work zone can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3ixf1Jk.
For more information, visit the project webpage at https://bit.ly/2VB9fxh.


August 4, 2021

Carrboro to Unveil New Truth Plaque

The official unveiling of the Town of Carrboro Truth Plaque for the Freedman School will take place at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 9. 

The plaque is located in the Town’s right of way next to St. Paul’s AME Church at 101 N. Merritt Mill Road. Nearby parking is available at the parking deck adjacent to the Hampton Inn at 370 E. Main St.

The goal of the truth plaques is to recognize Carrboro’s history while uplifting the truth and acknowledging an unjust past. The first plaque, located at Carrboro Town Hall, explains Julian S. Carr’s ties to racial segregation.

Learn more about the history of the Freedman School at https://openorangenc.org/buildings/quaker-freedmens-school


Assistance for Orange County Residents and Families Facing Eviction

With federal and state COVID-related eviction moratorium programs having expired, Orange County residents and families facing eviction can seek assistance through the Orange County Housing Helpline and the Eviction Diversion Program (EDP).

The Housing Helpline connects people with eviction diversion, homeless services and other resources. Contact them during business hours at 919-245-2655 or housinghelp@orangecountync.gov. Calls are answered live in more than 200 languages from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Voicemails and emails will be responded to during business hours.

The EDP can be accessed through the Housing Helpline at 919-245-2655, by writing to housinghelp@orangecountync.gov or directly through the EDP Intake Form (https://bit.ly/3xw7Wg1).


School COVID-19 Vaccination Status Requirements

UNC-CH Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz is asking students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated and to certify their vaccination status online. Students who neglect to advise the university of their vaccination status will get tested every week. For more information, visit carolinatogether.unc.edu.

Orange County Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools are expected to comply with the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (https://bit.ly/3xmS6Et).


Carrboro Police Investigating Shooting

The Carrboro Police Department is investigating a shooting that occurred outside of Wendy’s restaurant at 100 S. Greensboro St. at approximately 9:45 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2.

A vehicle pulled up to, and suspects within the vehicle opened fire on, another vehicle attempting to leave the Wendy’s parking lot entrance within the 100 block of W. Main Street. The suspect vehicle then fled the area and is still at large. Passengers in the initial vehicle fired upon and passengers in another vehicle, which attempted to flee the scene when the shooting started and struck a light pole and overturned, were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Another vehicle in the drive-thru at Wendy’s was hit multiple times with bullets; no one in that vehicle was injured. Multiple bullet holes were found in the Wendy’s building and fence around the drive-thru at the rear of the business.

At this point it appears this is an isolated incident, and authorities do not believe that there is an ongoing threat to the public. Police do not have any suspect information at this time, and the investigation is continuing.

If you have additional information on this incident, please contact INV Trey Kennedy with the Carrboro Police Department at (919) 918-7412, or Crime Stoppers at (919) 942-7515.


SCSJ Ballot Analysis Allowed Votes

In 2020, North Carolina’s mail-in “cure” process allowed nearly 20,000 North Carolinians to have their votes counted in the general election, according to the Southern Coalition for Social Justice’s (SCSJ) recently released impact analysis.

SCSJ’s analysis of mail-in ballots with material errors from the 2020 November election revealed that the cure process helped almost 20,000 voters either: 1) cure their ballot (9,461) or 2) receive notice of an issue with their mail-in ballot, giving them the option to vote another way (10,006). The cure process also addressed the disproportionate impact of mail-in ballot rejections on voters of color in North Carolina. For example, of the more than 7,000 Black voters who had material defects with their mail-in absentee ballot applications, 27.1% (1,946) were able to use the cure process to have their vote counted, and 60% (4,313) were able to find another way to vote. 

See the full report at https://bit.ly/3lxFBnh.


NAACP Announces New Push to Safeguard Americans’ Voting Rights

On July 28 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced a new push designed to call attention to the grave risks that recent developments in Texas pose to the voting rights of all Americans and encourage elected officials to take concrete steps to prevent the spread of voter infringement.

Led directly by NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and NAACP Texas President Gary Bledsoe, the goal of this work will be to alert concerned Americans as to how easily the infringement of voters’ rights in Texas could become a nationwide blueprint unless the U.S. Senate passes voting reforms. The NAACP’s work will:

  • Enlist support from, and highlight stories of, elected officials and other policymakers who are ready to enact needed voting reform
  • Evaluate the various voting-rights reform measures being considered for passage at the federal level
  • Track state-specific impacts that certain voting policies could have on disenfranchised communities

Across the country, lawmakers are proposing bills that endanger everyone’s voting rights and, in particular, target the rights of Black and brown communities. For example, in Texas, restricting mail-in ballots and reducing early voting affects every American’s right to a fair and just voting process.


Local Jurisdictions Release Joint Statement on Greene Tract

Since 2000, deliberate steps have been taken to explore and identify how the 104-acre Greene Tract and the permanent preservation of a 60-acre Headwaters Preserve can enhance the Historic Rogers Road Neighborhood and adjacent neighborhoods, while also serving the community as a whole. Three governments, Orange County, Carrboro and Chapel Hill, have joint ownership of the properties.

Steps taken have included: a “community-first” long-range planning process, which culminated with the report, Mapping Our Community’s Future; planning efforts with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School system to set aside land for a school; a market research study to evaluate retail and other neighborhood business opportunities; and an environmental assessment.

Throughout this time, top priorities have been affordable housing, environmental conservation and a future school site. In 2020, the owners’ respective boards voted to utilize the remaining lands as follows: 

  • Approximately 66 acres for housing/mixed-use 
  • Approximately 22 acres for joint preserve 
  • Approximately 16 acres for public school site and public recreational facility site

In addition, based on the environmental assessment, a realignment of the boundaries of the Headwaters Preserve in order to best preserve highly sensitive areas is being considered. All three jurisdictions will vote on the realignment of these two parcels this fiscal year, FY2021-22.


July 30, 2021

Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Creates Factual Covid-19 Website

In order to protect vulnerable communities, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has created a website of factual information. The website contains up-to-date research, resources and stories to help ease uncertainties and safeguard the community. Visit it at https://naacp.org/campaigns/covid-know-more.


Orange County Public Library Receives Grants to Reduce Barriers to Library Use

The Orange County Public Library (OCPL) has received two grants totaling $62,343 to reduce barriers to library use. The library will use the funds to purchase a mobile app and contact-less self-checkout machines, Chromebooks for at-home use and a customized website for computer instruction. The new services will be available for use this winter.

The OCPL seeks to address head-on lack of transportation or work and family demands that make it difficult for some residents to get to the library or to use the library’s online services. The mobile app will reduce the time needed to borrow materials and manage multiple library accounts. Once the immediate threat of the pandemic is over, having the app will make it possible to offer circulation services at community locations. 

The county has a broadband taskforce (https://bit.ly/3C5yPef) that is investigating ways to increase internet access for the more than 5,000 Orange County residents who still lack it. In the meantime, the library is taking steps to address that gap.

By combining hotspots, laptops and instruction, the library will have a robust program to help address the digital divide. Currently, library account holders may check out internet hotspots, and adding Chromebooks to the collection will make it possible for patrons to borrow both devices at the same time. The library will also launch a website to offer computer instruction. 

The OCPL has two locations, the Main Library at 137 W. Margaret Lane in Hillsborough and the Cybrary at 100 N. Greensboro St. in Carrboro. For more information, visit www.OrangeCountyLibrary.org, call 919-245-2525 or email library@orangecountync.gov.


CDC Recommends Indoor Masking for Vaccinated Individuals in High-Risk Counties

To prevent the further spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas where the COVID-19 virus has substantial or high community transmission. According to the CDC COVID Data Tracker (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view), Orange County currently has moderate, but not substantial or high, community transmission.

Vaccination is the most effective tool against COVID-19. Following are locations where residents can get a free, effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Chapel Hill Vaccine Clinic
    2501 Homestead Road
    Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    (Closed holidays)
    Call 919-913-8088 to schedule an appointment.
    Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen are available.
  • Hillsborough Vaccine Clinic
    2nd Floor, 300 W. Tryon St.
    Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    *Closed Monday, Aug. 9; Thursday, Aug. 12; Friday, Aug.13
    Call 877-505-6723 to schedule an appointment.
    Call 919-913-8088 for questions.
    Moderna and Pfizer are available.
  • Pop-Up Vaccine Clinic
    In addition to regularly scheduled walk-in clinics (see above), the Orange County Health Department offers a pop-up vaccine clinic to all community members ages 12 and older. You are encouraged to register by calling 919-913-8088 or by visiting https://www.myspot.nc.gov. Walk-ins are also welcome.
  • National Night Out at Gateway Apartments
    400 Lakeside Drive, Hillsborough
    Tuesday, Aug. 3, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
    ***$25 gift cards for 1st-dose recipients***
  • Sportsplex at Passmore Center
    103 Meadowlands Drive, Hillsborough
    Wednesday, Aug. 4, from 4 to 7 p.m.

Learn more at https://www.orangecountync.gov/2617/Vaccine.


National Night Out in Chapel Hill

National Night Out is held annually across the country to give community residents a chance to meet their neighbors, local police and fire departments and members of local churches and community organizations, to promote community safety. Chapel Hill will hold its National Night Out this year Tuesday, Aug. 3. All town-hosted events will be outdoors to promote physical distancing and good air flow; everyone is asked to wear face coverings at the events due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

“History has shown us that, when community members know each other, important relationships are formed that can help us come together when crime occurs or when our neighborhoods are facing a challenge,” said Chapel Hill Police Lt. Paul Bell.

The Chapel Hill Department of Housing and Community will host neighborhood gatherings at Colony Woods West, South Roberson, and Eastwood from 4 to 7 p.m. The police department will host a block party from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hargraves Community Center (216 N. Roberson St.), with free food, a live DJ, inflatable play structures, giveaways and more. A free, round-trip shuttle to the block party will be available, courtesy of Chapel Hill Transit. View the flier with the map for more details at https://bit.ly/3xiGTVJ (English) and https://bit.ly/3xf6mPD (Spanish).

People are also encouraged to host an event in their own neighborhoods to get out and get to know their immediate neighbors.


Carrboro Seeks User Feedback on Town Website

The Town of Carrboro is evaluating www.townofcarrboro.org for a future update and seeks your feedback.

An online survey, which takes about two minutes to complete, offers website visitors the opportunity to provide input through Aug. 8. at the following sites:

The new website, expected to be completed in early 2022, will improve the end-user experience; possess better design and functionality; employ streamlined and simplified site navigation; ensure full Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility and security compliance; and enhance and simplify staff processes.


Orange County Housing Ready to Help Residents in Need

With federal and state COVID-related eviction moratorium programs already expired or set to expire July 31, Orange County residents and families facing eviction can seek assistance through the Orange County Housing Helpline and the Eviction Diversion Program (EDP).

The Housing Helpline connects people with eviction diversion, homeless services and other resources. Contact them during business hours at 919-245-2655 or housinghelp@orangecountync.gov. Calls are answered live in over 200 languages from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Voicemails and emails will be responded to during business hours.

Staff can assist with several programs, including the Orange County EDP program, which provides free legal representation for individuals and families threatened with eviction. The EDP has assisted over 200 Orange County households facing eviction, allowing residents to remain in their home or obtain additional time to find an alternative residence. The EDP can be accessed through the Housing Helpline or directly through the EDP Intake Form (https://bit.ly/3rQZren).  

The Orange County Emergency Housing Assistance program (https://bit.ly/37dfo57) also continues to assist people with rent, mortgage and utility payments. People can apply online at https://bit.ly/3yhZpyx. In-person help is available on Tuesdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Southern Human Services Center (2501 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill). For help over the phone or by email, contact the Housing Helpline.

The recently reopened HOPE Program (https://www.rebuild.nc.gov/hope-program) provides rent and utility assistance for renters who meet income requirements. New HOPE applicants can apply online at https://www.rebuild.nc.gov/hope-program/applicant-pre-screening-tool . Returning HOPE applicants can call (888) 927-5467 to speak with someone about their application.


Animal Services Offers Grant Program to Support Animal Welfare Initiatives

Orange County Animal Services is offering The Pat Sanford Animal Welfare Grant, a program to support animal welfare initiatives and projects in Orange County, thanks to a generous donation from Friends of Orange County Animal Shelter. This is the sixth year the award has been offered, and it will be awarded for initiatives up to $500. Applications must be received by Friday, Oct. 15.

The grant can be used for a wide range of pilot or seed projects or to supplement other programs, projects and grants that support companion animals, including those animals used in recreation or therapy. It is available to individuals, groups and organizations, and although the recipients do not have to live in Orange County, the funds must be used to aid animal welfare efforts in Orange County. Past recipients include Hope Animal Rescue, Independent Animal Rescue, North Carolina Therapeutic Riding Center, Pet Pals, Trestle Leaf Web Design and Carolina Boxer Rescue.

For more information on the grant, to find the application and to find out more about giving opportunities for this program, visit https://bit.ly/3rJI13q.


State Urges Employers to Adopt Vaccine Verification, Issues New Guidance

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations accelerating at an alarming rate, North Carolina will begin requiring vaccine verification for state employees and urges other government agencies and private employers to do the same.

The changes announced Thursday, July 29, come as the highly contagious and potentially dangerous Delta variant has spread across the state, mostly among the unvaccinated. The changes include additional guidance for unvaccinated people and align with new guidance on masks from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Updated guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reminds unvaccinated people to continue practicing the three Ws (wear a mask in all indoor public settings, wait 6 feet apart in all public settings and wash hands often), do not gather with other unvaccinated people who do not live with you or, if you do, stay outside and keep 6 feet of distance and do not travel.

Updated guidance from the CDC this week recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas where the COVID-19 virus has substantial or high community transmission. According to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker (https://bit.ly/3C1zqOe), Orange County currently has moderate community transmission. Counties surrounding Orange County currently have substantial or high community transmission.

The state also recommends, in accordance with the updated CDC guidance, that all K-12 public and non-public schools require face coverings to be worn by students, staff and visitors regardless of their vaccination status. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is updating its guidance for schools to align with this recommendation.

The governor’s latest executive order (https://bit.ly/3fgwdR6) took effect at 5 p.m. July 29 and will remain in effect through 5 p.m. Aug. 31. Under the order:

  • Effective Aug. 2, unvaccinated cabinet agency employees must wear face coverings in any indoor area of a state government office, building or facility that is controlled by an agency that is part of the governor’s office or is headed by a member of the governor’s cabinet.
  • Effective Sept. 1, cabinet agency employees who are not vaccinated will have to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

Under the order, private businesses and organizations are strongly encouraged to follow, at minimum, the guidance from the NC. DHHS to reduce transmission of COVID-19, including the Delta variant. The recommendations are available at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance and include:

  • Requiring workers to verify that they are fully vaccinated.
  • Requiring unvaccinated workers to wear face coverings and be tested weekly.
  • Recommending face coverings for fully vaccinated workers and guests indoors when other people are present.

Getting a free, effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine is easy. Find locations at myspot.nc.gov (English) or vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish).


Orange County Bail/Bond Justice Program Releases Court Observation Report

The Orange County Bail/Bond Justice Program (OCBBJP), a faith-based initiative that seeks to change unjust bail practices in Orange County and provide assistance to people who cannot afford to pay their bail, has issued its 2020 court observation report. According to the report, 2020 saw a drastic reduction in arrests and detentions, a marked increase in the use of Written Promise to Appear to release individuals, and significant reversal of racial disparity for several justice indicators the initiative tracks. The report cautions that, while these positive trends are encouraging, one cannot conclude that any permanent progress has been achieved yet based on only two years of data, especially given the anomalous events of 2020.

OCBBJP encourages anyone interested in fair, consistent, and universal justice practices to read the full report and engage in existing community efforts — both inside and outside the justice system — to bring equity to pretrial practices in Orange County.

See the full report at https://bit.ly/3rH8Kh9.


July 27, 2021

Orange County Extends Local Emergency Declaration Indefinitely

With hospitalizations increasing and the Delta variant spreading, Orange County has extended the local COVID-19 related state of emergency declaration (https://bit.ly/3rDQXr5) indefinitely. The extension went into effect Friday, July 23, at 5 p.m.

Orange County’s positive rate of COVID tests was at 0.4% the week of June 6-12 but has increased steadily since, reaching 1.3% for the week of July 4-10 and 2.9% for the week of July 11-17. Most of the new cases are amongst unvaccinated individuals and are caused by the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

The Health Department continues to urge individuals who are eligible for a vaccine to get the shot. Learn more about how to schedule an appointment at https://bit.ly/377vFbK.

Orange County will continue to follow the terms of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 220 related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. As noted in Executive Order 220, the local education agencies of Orange County, together with all other public and private schools in Orange County, shall comply with the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (https://bit.ly/2Vk368d).


New Mural to Celebrate Black Trailblazers of Chapel Hill and Carrboro

A new mural will start to take shape this week at 111 S. Merritt Mill Road, where Chapel Hill and Carrboro meet. The mural will celebrate 12 black “trailblazers” who helped shape and improve the community. Kiara Sanders, a Black artist from Apex, will be working on the mural over the next several weeks and expects to complete it by mid-August.

The mural will be on the north side of the building, which houses two black-owned businesses, Walt’s Grill and Ms. Molly’s Gift Shop. The mural will feature an assembly of portraits of black community leaders, from educators and entrepreneurs to religious and civic leaders.

The idea for the mural originated with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Other community partners have come on board to make this mural a reality, including the Town of Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, the Town of Carrboro, the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership and the Orange County Arts Commission.

More information about the project and the people honored will be released over the coming weeks, with an official unveiling announcing the completion at the end of August.


Carrboro Mayor Lavelle Calls on White House and Congress to Pass Citizenship Legislation

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, alongside 83 fellow mayors across 28 states, sent a letter Monday, July 26, to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi calling for citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, farmworkers and other essential workers to be included in any economic-recovery legislation, including through budget reconciliation.

According to a study by the Center for American Progress and Univ. of California-Davis Global Migration Center (https://ampr.gs/3yaVOCl), a new path to citizenship for Dreamers and TPS holders would add $799 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years. Similarly, for essential workers, citizenship would add $989 billion over the same period. Overall, according to the study, if Congress were to act, nearly 440,000 new jobs would be created, energizing the local economies of communities across the country.


July 24, 2021

Volunteers Needed for Food Drive

The Town of Chapel Hill needs volunteers to help with weekly food bank distributions. Many people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and are food insecure, and the need for volunteers continues to grow. 

The drive-thru food distribution takes place at the Eubanks Park and Ride lot in Chapel Hill on Wednesdays, starting at 10 a.m. and lasting until 11:30 or until all of the food is gone. 

Visit https://www.townofchapelhill.org/home/showpublisheddocument/45714/637594463986030000 to see the weekly food distribution schedule.

If you’re able to volunteer a few hours, sign up online at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904044fa8a922a1fa7-chapel1.


Chapel Hill to Resume Fire Inspection Fees

The Chapel Hill Fire Marshal’s Life Safety Division will resume charging inspection fees for businesses in Chapel Hill in September. Fees were paused in the spring of 2020 in response to the heavy toll the COVID-19 pandemic was taking on local businesses. Critical fire inspections continued during this time without the businesses being charged.

North Carolina mandates that every structure be inspected for fire code violations at least every three years. The fee includes initial inspection and one re-inspection if all corrections are made. Subsequent re-inspections will require additional fees.

The fees are:

  • 0 – 999 sq. ft. – $50
  • 1,000 – 2,499 sq. ft. – $75
  • 2,500 – 9.999 sq. ft. – $100
  • 10,000 – 49,999 sq. ft. – $200
  • 50,000 sq. ft and more – $300

For more information, visit townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/business-management/fee-schedules/fire-department-fee-schedule.

For questions, email firemarshals@townofchapelhill.org.


Street Resurfacing on Christopher and Culbreth Roads

A contractor for North Carolina Department of Transportation will resurface sections of Christopher and Culbreth roads in Chapel Hill beginning next week. Lane closures and delays are expected during this work.

Christopher Road from U.S. Highway 15-501 to the end will be resurfaced July 28 and 29. 

Culbreth Road from U.S. Highway 15-501 to Smith Level Road will be resurfaced July 28 and 30 through Aug. 13. Also on Culbreth Road, bike lanes will replace the left-turn lanes at Weyer Drive, Cobble Ridge Drive and Culbreth Park.

Schedules are tentative and dependent on favorable weather.

For more information on the restriping plans, visit townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/planning/transportation-planning/culbreth-lane-reallocation.


E&W Electrical Certified as Living-Wage Employer

Orange County Living Wage (https://orangecountylivingwage.org/) has announced that E & W Electrical (515 Meadowlands Dr., Suite 100, Hillsborough) has certified as a living-wage employer. E & W Electrical is a locally-owned power-systems provider focusing on complete generator solutions.


July 22, 2021

Tree Removals Due to Declining Health

Town staff have determined that some large trees in the downtown Chapel Hill area are in declining health and need to be removed to avoid future damage.

Between July 26 and July 30 (7 a.m. to 4 p.m.), three trees in the 200 block of East Franklin Street and one tree at 165 East Franklin St. will be removed. Lane closures will be necessary along the 200 block of East Franklin Street.

Between Aug. 2 and Aug. 6 (7 a.m. to 4 p.m.), two trees at 416/422 Cameron Ave. will be removed. Lane closures will be necessary, and nearby houses will receive information about this work.

For more information, contact Park Maintenance Superintendent Kevin Robinson at 919-969-5104 or krobinson@townofchapelhill.org.


Tar Heel Bikes Hub Relocated to West Franklin Street

The Town of Chapel Hill and UNC-Chapel Hill have coordinated with the UNC bikeshare provider, Bolt Mobility, to move a Tar Heel Bikes hub from campus to downtown Chapel Hill. The hub is on the brick area on the southeast corner of West Franklin and Church streets.

ar Heel Bikes can be picked up or dropped off at this location. Anyone may use Tar Heel Bikes for one hour with the Daily Plan, without needing to pay for a yearly membership. After registering for an account at https://app.socialbicycles.com/select_plan/138, find and reserve a bike using the SoBi mobile app, the SoBi website (https://app.socialbicycles.com/users/sign_in), or the bicycle keypad. For more information on how to use Tar Heel Bikes, visit move.unc.edu/bikeshare.

The hub is located in downtown to test ridership and to inform future shared-mobility options in Chapel Hill. The town is exploring additional hub opportunities with UNC.


Estes Drive Public Information Meeting Aug. 4

The Town of Chapel Hill will host a virtual public information meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, to give a brief overview of the Estes Drive Connectivity Project. Virtual office hours will also be available for drop-in from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5.

Work is scheduled to begin on Estes Drive—from west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Caswell Road—in late August or early September. Work will consist of bicycle and pedestrian improvements, including raised bike lanes, sidewalks and a 10-foot multiuse path. More information can be found at townofchapelhill.org/estes.

Register to attend the Aug. 4 public information meeting via Zoom at us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mcP2W-vhTnKYVxrniiqvWQ.

Register to drop in for office hours Aug. 5 via Zoom at us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAocu6hrTgoH9PqvBGOG3CCOiDilSD9nz0X.


July 20, 2021

Applicants for Orange County BOCC Vacancy

Four people have applied to be considered for appointment to the Orange County (OC) Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to fill the vacancy that will occur July 31, when Commissioner Mark Dorosin officially leaves to assume new responsibilities in Florida. The applicants are: 

  • Marilyn Carter
  • Rani Dasi
  • Penny Rich
  • Anna Richards

The applications are being forwarded to the OC Democratic Party for review, as well as to the Board of Elections for verification of eligibility. In addition, all applications, which include a series of questions and answers, are posted on the county website (https://www.orangecountync.gov/DocumentCenter/View/16615/BOCC-Applications_combined).

The BOCC will vote to appoint a new commissioner at their Sept. 2 business meeting. This person will serve through November 2022. A special election will be held next year to elect a person to serve the final two years of Dorosin’s unexpired term.


Orange County Sponsors Southern Hospitality Hiring Series Job Fairs

Orange County Department of Social Services and the North Carolina Works/Skills Development Center co-sponsor Southern Hospitality Hiring Series job fairs for the hospitality industry on the fourth Friday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon at 100 Europa Drive, Chapel Hill. Door prizes and gift cards will be given to the first 100 eligible job seekers.

The pandemic has created many job openings in the hospitality industry with salaries starting at $10-$15 per hour and higher, depending on experience. Job seekers must have an active NC Works account (https://www.ncworks.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx).

Employers scheduled to participate include AC Hotel, Rizzo Center + Carolina Inn, Fearrington Village, the Chapel Hill Restaurant Group, Waffle House, Hillsborough BBQ, Panera Bread, Wegmans, Chapel Hill Transit and many more.

Unvaccinated attendees must wear a mask.


OC BOCC Chair Price Sponsors Resolution to Fund Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Incentive Grants

Orange County Board of County Commissioners Chair Renee Price, along with Guilford County Commissioner Kay Cashion, sponsored a resolution encouraging Congress to fund the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Incentive Grants at the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention, at the annual conference of the National Association of Counties earlier this month.

The adopted policy reads: “The National Association of Counties (NACo) urges Congress to provide $61.5 million funding to the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) for the purposes of including arts-based juvenile justice programs among its strategies and expanding existing programming for justice-involved youth in all counties, parishes and boroughs.”


Chapel Hill Police Department Seeking Information About Shooting Incident

The Chapel Hill Police Department has requested that anyone with information about an incident of shots fired at around 11:40 p.m. Sunday, July 18, into an occupied dwelling in the 1700 block of Legion Road, call the Chapel Hill Police Department between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 919-968-2760 or 911 at any time. Callers who wish to remain anonymous may call Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515. You can also leave tips for Crime Stoppers at crimestoppers-chcunc.org. Information that leads to an arrest may be eligible for a reward up to $2,000.

No injuries were reported. Preliminary information suggests this was not a random act, and there does not appear to be an ongoing threat to the community.


At-Home COVID-19 Vaccinations

In its effort to provide everyone access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC) Area Agency on Aging to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations to people with limited mobility who cannot leave their homes.

Caregivers, providers or individuals may access the program by calling the At-Home Vaccination Hotline at 866-303-0026 at any time or by visiting www.ptrc.org/covid and filling out the registration form. 

Within three business days, a PTRC Vaccination Specialist will connect with the individual to schedule their at-home vaccination.  

There is increasing urgency for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the highly contagious Delta variant is rapidly spreading in North Carolina. Clinical trials among thousands of people have proven that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for anyone age 12 and over. All COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19, including from the Delta variant. More than 160 million Americans have been safely vaccinated.


July 18, 2021

BOCC Commits $100,000 to Support Restart the Arts Grants

At their June 15 meeting, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved $100,000 to support Restart the Arts grants for the local arts community. Funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the request was included in a larger proposal submitted by the Orange County Arts Commission to utilize ARPA funding to kick-start the local economy through the arts and provide accessible arts opportunities for residents.

The funding will help restore the local arts sector to its prepandemic impact, employing approximately 4,000 creative industry workers and contributing $131 million to the local economy each year.

The arts commission will establish funding guidelines and will announce the application period later this month.


Alert Carolina Sirens Test Tuesday, July 20

On Tuesday July 20, between 6 and 7 p.m., UNC-Chapel Hill will test its emergency sirens. The sirens will sound an alert tone along with a brief pre-recorded voice message. The University tests the sirens regularly throughout the year to make sure the equipment works properly and to remind everyone what to do in a real emergency.

During the test, anyone outdoors near campus or downtown will likely hear the sirens. You may also hear the emergency sirens that are located at the Friday Center and near the Giles Horney Building off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. No action is required.


Street Resurfacing Begins July 22

A contractor for the Town of Chapel Hill will begin street resurfacing Thursday July 22 at locations throughout town. The project will continue through Aug. 27, weather permitting.

Each location will see milling and patching first. Milling consists of grinding and removing the old pavement; patching involves adding new pavement to areas with cracks, holes or other weak spots. Once the milling and patching are complete, the final driving surface will be paved.

Tentative dates for milling and patching are July 22-Aug. 24 and for paving are Aug. 2-27 on Allard Road, Arlen Park Drive, Brookside Drive, Caswell Road, Catesby Lane, Cedar Hills Circle, Colburn Point, Collison Drive, East and West Columbia Place Drive, Europa Drive, Faison Road, Frances Street, Gurnsey Trail, Ivy Brook Lane, Karin Court, Kingston Drive, New Castle Place, North Columbia Street, North Roberson Street, Nuttal Place, Nuttree Lane, Old Barn Lane, Ridgecrest Drive, Rigsbee Mobile Home Park, Rossburn Way, Simerville Road, Sourwood Circle, Sourwood Drive, Umstead Drive, Woodhaven Road and Woodleaf Drive.

For more information, visit townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/public-works/streets-and-construction/street-maintenance.


Chapel Hill Transit Returns to Full Service in August

On Aug. 1 Chapel Hill Transit will begin running routes paused during COVID-19 pandemic. Some routes will have reduced service and some routes will be operated by a third-party contractor, Carolina Livery.

All customers and team members are required to wear masks while on transit vehicles, and barriers have been installed between seating benches to provide physical separation between people.

Chapel Hill Transit is actively recruiting bus operators for full- and part-time positions, paid-training and excellent benefits. Anyone interested can apply at: townofchapelhill.org/jobs.

Chapel Hill Transit implemented service changes Aug. 3, 2020. For customers who have not been using transit, review the new route brochures at https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/transit/routes-schedules/all-routes-schedules.

Chapel Hill Transit’s office will remain closed to the public. Lost and Found and EZ Rider certifications will remain by appointment only. Call 919-969-4901 to speak with a member of the Chapel Hill Transit team.


Traffic-Calming Interim Installation in Barred Owl Creek Neighborhood

In response to drivers exceeding the speed limit, the Town of Carrboro will be installing traffic-calming devices along Carol Street Thursday July 29, beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Interim devices will be installed for testing purposes on the 100 and 300 blocks of Carol Street and on Carol Street at Lorraine Street.

The interim treatments will be in place for several months to allow time for data collection. Anticipated next steps are data collection in October and a neighborhood meeting in November.  

See the project webpage at http://townofcarrboro.org/2367/Barred-Owl-Traffic-Calming. For any questions or concerns, contact the Town’s Transportation Planner at zhallock@townofcarrboro.org or at 919-918-7329.


Rosemary Street Parking Deck Work Begins Shortly

Work is about to begin on the Rosemary Street Parking Deck in Chapel Hill. Contractors for the town will install construction fencing around the Rosemary Street Parking Deck in the coming weeks.

The pedestrian bridge over East Rosemary Street will be removed over a weekend to minimize impacts to motor vehicles and pedestrians. Detour signs will be installed for that work. Complete demolition of the deck will follow. The sidewalk on the north side of East Rosemary Street will be closed for the duration of the project to protect people in the area.

For regular updates visit www.townofchapelhill.org/rosemary-project.


July 16, 2021

Free Food Distribution July 22 in Carrboro

From 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday July 22, Carrboro and Orange County volunteers will distribute free food boxes at Carrboro High School, 201 Rock Haven Road, Carrboro. Orange County Animal Services will also have pet food available at no cost. Free masks will be distributed to anyone who needs them.  

The distribution is drive-thru; volunteers will place the food box in the trunk of your car. There are no eligibility requirements — first-come, first-served.


Online Auction to Benefit NAACP

The North Carolina National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is holding an online auction to support their cause. Autographed mementos they have secured from the University of Virginia (UVA), the University of North Carolina (UNC), and the National Basketball Association (NBA) Charlotte Hornets to auction off include a signed football from UNC Head Football Coach Mack Brown, a signed basketball from UVA Head Men’s Basketball Coach Tony Bennett, and a signed jersey from NBA Charlotte Hornets Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball. Other donations are appreciated.


National Night Out in Carrboro

The Carrboro Police Department will be holding a National Night Out event from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday Aug. 3, at Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main Street.

There will be music, games, free food (beef, veggie and turkey hot dogs catered by Al’s), activities, an officer and a firefighter in a dunk booth, the junior firefighter obstacle course, emergency vehicles on display, a free car-seat-checking station and many organizations in attendance with tables. Carrboro Police will also be collecting canned foods and other items to donate to the Inter-Faith Council and Table. Donations are welcome. 

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. For more information about National Night Out, please visit https://natw.org.


Restaurant and Hospitality Hiring Event July 19th

The Town of Chapel Hill’s Office of Economic Development is coordinating with Corralling Chaos to host the “Greets and Treats Hiring Event” from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday July 19, at University Place on Estes Drive in Chapel Hill. Funding for this event is from the ReVive Recovery Plan.

The purpose of the ReVive Plan is to support local businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty to 30 local business will be in attendance and on-the-spot hiring will be available for qualified candidates who are looking for work immediately.

More information about the event and a sign-up form for employers and job seekers can be found at business.carolinachamber.org/calendar/Details/greet-treats-hiring-event-365482?sourceTypeId=Hub.

To see more about ReVive, visit https://www.open2.biz/revive.


Photo courtesy of townofchapelhill.org

Summer Outdoor Movies Are Back at a New Location

Chapel Hill’s outdoor movie series is back for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. Movies Under the Stars will take place on three evenings this summer at its new location, The Forest Theatre.

Movies will begin promptly at sundown, which will vary between 8 and 8:30 p.m., and guests can arrive early. No folding chairs are allowed, and no food or drink will be available on-site; you may bring your own water.

The closest parking is available at the Cobb Parking Deck on Paul Green Drive, Chapel Hill; and the Park Place lot in Chapel Hill. Free parking is available after 6 p.m. on West Franklin Street (past Columbia Street) in Chapel Hill. For more information on parking, visit parkonthehill.com.

To learn more about Movies Under the Stars, visit chapelhillarts.org/movies. To learn more about The Forest Theatre, visit ncbg.unc.edu/venue/forest-theatre/.


July 13, 2021

Special Breed of Dogs on the Loose

Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) wishes to inform the public about several at-large dogs that are presumed to be wolf and German shepherd hybrids, although it has not been confirmed that all of the dogs are wolf hybrids. These dogs recently escaped from their enclosure in Orange County, and it is estimated that approximately four dogs currently remain at large. Some of the dogs were safely captured and are currently being housed at the OCAS facility.

Do not attempt to capture or confine these dogs. If you see any of these dogs running loose, please call Orange County Animal Control at 919-942-7387, option 1.

Orange County Animal Control officers have set traps in the Cedar Grove area of Orange County where the dogs originally escaped their enclosure. OCAS is asking the public not to feed the dogs or interfere with these trapping efforts, as this will severely hinder efforts to safely capture the dogs.

At this time, there is no confirmation that the dogs have attacked or hurt any people, animals, or livestock. However, like any fearful animal, these dogs may display aggressive tendencies when confronted by people. 

No outcome has been determined for the dogs at this time. They are not currently available to the general public for adoption or foster, and it is highly unlikely that they will ever be made available in that way. Hybrids of this kind may not be kept as pets in Orange County, and there is not an approved rabies vaccine for these canines. OCAS is working to find placement options.


Bakery Receives Living Wage Certification

Starfish Bakery (https://www.starfishbakery.org) has received certification as a living-wage employer by Orange County Living Wage.


July 11, 2021

Public Feedback on Triangle Bikeway Requested

After more than 2,000 individuals shared their thoughts during the Triangle Bikeway’s first phase of engagement, the project team is back to seek public feedback on a recommended route and to find out more about how bicyclists and pedestrians would like to access this regional shared-use path.

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO invite Triangle residents, employees, businesses and visitors to provide input on the Triangle Bikeway Study’s recommended route – a critical milestone in the process to create a regional 17-mile biking and walking path connecting Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Research Triangle Park (RTP), Durham and Chapel Hill along I-40 and NC Hwy 54. By connecting Triangle communities, the pathway will allow residents to make both short and long biking and walking trips for work, play and daily errands. Since the eastern segment of the pathway has been through a preliminary study, the current planning effort includes design recommendations between Raleigh and RTP and a corridor assessment for the connection west to Durham and Chapel Hill.

The goals of the Triangle Bikeway Study focus on equity, connectivity and safety and include prioritizing equal access to the shared-use path for all; providing seamless connections between the path, the regional transportation network, employment centers and local neighborhoods; and addressing the safety needs of users of all ages and abilities.

The survey during this second phase will identify pathway user preferences and facility needs. Participants can share their ideas on where they would prefer to walk along the route and where they would like to access the path by taking the survey at https://publicinput.com/trianglebikewaystudy. The survey will remain open through Friday, July 16. Learn more at http://www.trianglebikeway.com. Watch the project update video at https://vimeo.com/553048796


Chapel Hill’s New Online Permit System

On July 8, the Town of Chapel Hill Building and Development Services Department launched a limited new online permit center that allows applicants to submit building permit applications, track the progress of their applications, schedule inspections, communicate with staff and pay permit fees online. The limited-launch period will last at least a month, after which the Town will publish an evaluation of the system and describe next steps. 

Applicants can still use their preferred method of submittal, and staff will help them enter the information in the system and set them up with an account. Staff will also continue to accept applications and inspection requests via telephone and email. The purpose of the limited launch is to help users transition to the new system and will allow staff the opportunity to collect user feedback and make any changes that are needed to the system. 

If paying fees online, a third-party transaction processor provided by Stripe.com charges a non-refundable convenience fee to process a payment. This fee is separate from Town fees and goes directly to Stripe. Cash and checks will still be accepted at the Town Hall Revenue Desk. 

  • Credit card fee: 2.99% + 99 cents per transaction
  • Electronic check:  $5.50 flat fee

Visit chapelhillnc.viewpointcloud.com to use the new system and create a login with an email address and password. To provide feedback, email permits@townofchapelhill.org or call the Permit Center at 919-968-2718.


Homestead Aquatic Center Reopening Operations July 12

On July 12 the Homestead Aquatic Center will begin a mix of new hybrid pool operations for both reservable swim times and drop-in swim times. The Chapel Hill Community Center Pool will continue to operate on a limited schedule with only reservable times available. The AD Clark outdoor pool will revert back to free drop-in swimming with a limit of 45 swimmers at any one time. Drop-in swims at all facilities will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. For pool schedules and more detail, visit https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/parks-and-recreation/recreation-facilities-schedules/aquatic-facilities.

The easiest way to reserve a swim time is via the online catalog at https://webtrac.townofchapelhill.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?SessionID=db1065337fc17c1e78d86ddbdae6fd0e5e319746e5baf6f020712d4f88ee267146a18f035f7d50613e48aac7221d87e9980f2eab7dfaec3d2cab24a1fadd1858&module=AR&type=AQUA&subtype=HALAPRES. If you need to register by phone or have a question, call Homestead Aquatic Center (919) 968-2799, Chapel Hill Community Center pool (919) 968-2790, or AD Clark outdoor pool (919) 968-2816. Patrons who plan to swim at Homestead Aquatic Center or at the Chapel Hill Community Center pool will have the option of paying the single-visit fee when they reserve online or may inquire on-site about 20-day, six-month and 12-month passes. To learn more about swim passes, visit https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/parks-and-recreation/recreation/aquatics-pool-schedules.

See the webpage titled “What to Know Before You Go” (https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/parks-and-recreation/what-to-know-before-you-go) for more information on Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation. See chapelhillparks.org for updates and information regarding parks and recreation facilities and service.


Orange County Department on Aging 2021 Direct Care Worker Award Nominations Now Open 

Since 2015, Orange County Department on Aging and the community group Senior Health Advocacy and Resource Partners of Orange County (SHARP) have hosted an annual SHARP Direct Care Worker Awards event. This event is in honor of nurse aides, personal care aides, companion caregivers, etc. who affect their clients’ lives on a daily basis and make a difference in the Orange County community.

Awards will be presented for client impact, longevity, leadership, going the extra mile and rising star. One person will be chosen as the “Direct Care Worker of the Year.”

To be eligible, direct-care workers must have served clients in Orange County within the past year. Each person may be nominated in two categories. Nominees must have provided direct care to clients and have at least six consecutive months of service in the past year.

Nominations are open through Sept. 24. A ceremony will be held for award winners Thursday, Nov. 4, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

For more information about the awards or to nominate a direct-care worker, please visit http://www.orangecountync.gov/249/SHARP-Direct-Care-Worker-Awards, or contact Kim Lamon-Loperfido at kloperfido@orangecountync.gov or at 919-245-4253.


Orange County Senior Centers Phase in On-Site Programs

The Seymour Center (2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill) and the Passmore Center (103 Meadowlands Dr, Hillsborough ) again offer indoor programming, with limited capacity. In addition, individual activities, including table tennis, billiards, fitness center, fit feet clinic and more are available by reservation. Many programs will be offered in a hybrid model, with in-person and online options. Outdoor spaces are also available for gathering with friends. Lunch service will continue to be offered curbside.

Participants must pre-register for programs and activities and sign in upon arrival. While inside, masks and social distancing will remain in place at both centers.

For assistance or more information about programs offered, contact the Passmore Center (919-245-2015), Seymour Center (919-968-2070), or the Aging Helpline at agingtransitions@orangecountync.gov or 919-968-2087.


Deadline to Appeal Property Values Extended to Sept. 1

On June 15 the Orange County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to extend the 2021 Orange County Board of Equalization and Review Formal Appeal adjournment date from June 30 to Sept. 1.

The purpose of this extension is to allow additional time for property owners to formally appeal their 2021 property values to the Board of Equalization and Review.

Instructions and the Formal Notice of Appeal to the Board of Equalization and Review are available on the Orange County website: http://www.orangecountync.gov/806/Appeals. Property owners may file a formal appeal online at https://appeals.spatialest.com/nc-orange

To receive a paper copy of the form, email reval@orangecountync.gov or call 919-245-2100, option 2. All formal appeals must be submitted before the board’s adjournment Wednesday, Sept. 1.


NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro Action Fund Candidate Coming-Out Party and Happy Hour

The NEXT (https://nextnc.org/) Chapel Hill-Carrboro Action Fund will hold its biennial Candidate Coming-Out Party and Happy Hour (https://www.facebook.com/events/187049100031907) Friday, July 16, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Present Day on Main (901 West Main St., Carrboro).

This event will mark the end of the candidate filing period for this year’s municipal, school board and state elections. Attendees can meet and engage with constituents, journalists and candidates for local office in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough.


Orange County Seeking to Expand Rural Broadband

Orange County has designated $5 million of its initial American Rescue Plan Act Local Recovery Funds to improve broadband in rural areas and is seeking a company or companies that can help the county achieve its goals.

The Orange County Broadband Task Force and the North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office are offering virtual meetings for interested companies. These sessions will be held Thursday, July 22, beginning at 3 p.m. Each company will have 20 minutes to discuss their ability to meet the county’s goal to improve service in rural areas.

Companies should be prepared to discuss the details of an affordable fiber-based solution that provides a minimum of 100 Mbps symmetrical service to approximately 5,000 unserved and underserved households within Orange County. The plan should include a subsidized option for low-income families to ensure that all residents are served.

Interested companies should include details on project costs and what kind of subsidy per household would be needed from the county to provide the minimum service to every home by Dec. 31, 2024.

Interested companies should register for a meeting at https://orangecountync.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mcbbcSAJQAuIy0mxStBRSQ.


July 6, 2021

Carrboro Town Council Member Barbara Foushee (photo courtesy of reelectbarbarafoushee.com)

Carrboro Town Council Member Barbara Foushee to Seek Reelection

Carrboro Town Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Foushee announced Tuesday, July 6, the launch of her reelection campaign. Learn more about Foushee and her campaign at http://www.reelectbarbarafoushee.com.


House Fire at 106 Kenan Street

The Chapel Hill Fire Department responded at 6:16 a.m. Tuesday, July 6, to the report of a structure fire at 106 Kenan Street. The fire was under control within 30 minutes of crews arriving.

No one was injured because of the fire; two residents will be displaced. The fire damaged roughly 50% of the house. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Frederick Douglass Community Reading Available for Viewing

The Town of Carrboro held its eighth annual Frederick Douglass Community Reading of Douglass’ speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” under the old elm tree outside Town Hall July 4.

The speech was first delivered in 1852, in Corinthian Hall, Rochester, New York, to the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. The themes addressed in the speech still resonate with Americans more than 150 years after they were written, forcing us to reckon with the legacy of slavery and the promises of democracy. It took 13 years after the speech for slavery to be abolished — 89 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Opening remarks for the program were provided by former North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, the first African American woman to serve as chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The complete video of the event can be viewed at https://youtu.be/QGLmmhbGTaQ. Justice Cheri Beasley’s opening remarks are at 35:00, and closing remarks by James Williams, the retired chief public defender for Orange and Chatham counties who chairs the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System (NC CRED), are at 1:44. The Douglass speech is available at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/9293/Frederick-Douglass-Speech-.


Tracks Music Library Releasing New Local Music Throughout July

Tracks Music Library, Chapel Hill’s commercial-free streaming music platform, announces a new music collection for 2021 featuring more than 30 albums produced in the last two years by Triangle-area musicians. Launched in the summer of 2020, Tracks Music Library is a collaboration between Chapel Hill Public Library and Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture. Anyone can listen to the streaming service for free, and those with a Chapel Hill Public Library card can download songs. 

To celebrate the 2021 Tracks Music Library collection, local media and digital platforms will be featuring Tracks artists and curators each Tuesday in July. Listeners can visit tracksmusiclibrary.org/featured each Tuesday to hear newly released albums and a ‘summer mixtape’ playlist curated by staff that showcases a variety of genres and bands. They can also tune in to WCHL 97.9 The Hill (Chapelboro.com) each Tuesday in July from 6:00 – 6:30 p.m. for live interviews and on-air performances with Tracks musicians and bands, follow Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture and Chapel Hill Public Library social media accounts on Tuesdays for to read features and hear live performances, and download music and create custom playlists with a Chapel Hill Public Library card. Orange County residents can obtain a library card for free at chapelhillpubliclibrary.org.

To learn more about Tracks Music Library, visit tracksmusiclibrary.org. To learn more about Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, visit chapelhillarts.org. To learn more about Chapel Hill Public Library, visit chapelhillpubliclibrary.org


July 4, 2021

The Chapel Hill Public Library

Chapel Hill Public Library Takes Another Step Towards Fully Reopening

Starting on Thursday, July 8, library users will be able to browse the stacks on the Chapel Hill Public Library’s main level.

Users are asked to wear masks, as will the library staff. This phase will start with some occupancy limits, and users are asked to keep visits brief.

Also, starting on July 11, Sunday hours are being restored. The library’s hours of operations will then be Monday, Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Tuesday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Wednesday closed; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

People can still request items and pick them up at University Place lockers. Computers and printers are available on the lower level of the library, and the terrace is available for a place to meet or to work.

Call 919-969-2034 or email library director Susan Brown (sbrown2@townofchapelhill.org) with any questions or concerns.


July Traffic-Safety Initiatives in Chapel Hill

The Chapel Hill Police Department will perform four special traffic-safety initiatives—in addition to normal patrols—in July, with the main goal of improving safety for pedestrians. The events will be held (subject to change) Friday, July 9, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; and Tuesday, July 13, and Friday, July 23, 2-6 p.m.

Each effort will focus on areas with heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including downtown and mid-block crosswalks (e.g., along the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard corridor).

Chapel Hill Police will also perform four speed enforcement operations this month, on Tuesday, July 6, 6:30-8:30 a.m.; Friday, July 16, 2-4 p.m.; Thursday, July 22, 10 a.m.-12 noon; and Tuesday, July 27, 8-10 a.m.

Police encourage everyone to limit distractions; yield to pedestrians in crosswalks; and walk against traffic, ride with traffic.

The Town will utilize its variable message sign (VMS) boards throughout town to alert people driving of the events as well as encourage them to limit distractions and watch out for people riding their bikes and walking.


July is National Parks and Recreation Month

An initiative of the National Recreation and Park Association (https://www.nrpa.org/), Parks and Recreation Month has been celebrated in the U.S. since 1985, building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation, and to recognize park and recreation professionals, seasonal workers and volunteers who maintain our community parks. This July Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation will join in the celebration by celebrating how Chapel Hill is stronger, more vibrant and more resilient because of parks and recreation.

This year’s theme for Parks and Recreation Month is “Our Park and Recreation Story,” and people can follow along on their Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/chparksrecreation) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/CHParksRec) pages. People can also share what parks and recreation mean to them by taking their picture and posting about their favorite park or park experience to their own social media page using the hashtag #OurParkAndRecStory.

The Town of Chapel Hill is nationally regarded for its quality of life. In addition to parks, trails and indoor and outdoor recreation facilities, Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation offers a myriad recreation programs and cultural activities for all ages and backgrounds. To learn more about the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department, visit https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/parks-and-recreation/.


Tracks Music Library Launches New Video Concert Series

Tracks Music Library, a local music-streaming platform launched in collaboration with Chapel Hill Public Library and Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, has released Tracks in the Stacks, a video series of three intimate, short concerts and interviews filmed inside Chapel Hill Public Library. The videos can be viewed at chapelhillarts.org/tracks. The video series originated amidst the COVID-19 pandemic with people yearning for live music and to be among the “stacks” at Chapel Hill Public Library.

The series, produced and hosted by Hip Hop artist Kevin “Rowdy” Rowsey, features three Tracks musicians, A.yoni Jeffries, XOXOK and Austin Royale. The set also features a variety of hand-picked titles and authors that highlight Black musicians, performers, graphic novelists and more. The booklist can be found at https://www.townofchapelhill.org/?splash=https%3a%2f%2fchpl.bibliocommons.com%2flist%2fshare%2f469322777_aridaysreynoc%2f1923333149_tracks_list&____isexternal=true. More will be coming from Tracks Music Library this summer.

To learn more about Tracks Music Library, visit tracksmusiclibrary.org. To support the artists and watch the Tracks in the Stacks video series, visit chapelhillarts.org/tracks.


New Art at Bus Shelter at Eastgate Shopping Center

There is new artwork on the bus shelter at 4352 East Franklin St. The piece, created by artist Victoria Primicias, is titled, “Birds of a Feather,” and is inspired by the metaphor for inclusion, community, acceptance and diversity. All the birds depicted are common species found in North Carolina. Several more shelters will be getting beautified with art in the coming weeks.


East Rosemary Street Redevelopment Project

Contractors for the Rosemary Parking Deck will begin preparations for its demolition in the coming weeks. Fences and barricades will be set up before the work begins, and the Town will share more at that time. The Town of Chapel Hill is preparing to carry out the East Rosemary Street Redevelopment Project in conjunction with Grubb Properties.

The project involves construction of a 1,100-space parking deck and an office building with web lab space, bringing an estimated $50 million investment and 800 jobs. UNC-Chapel Hill is exploring the possibility of joining the envisioned Innovation Hub.

The project is expected to attract new entrepreneurs and retain local businesses. Development of office space has remained stagnant for over a decade in Chapel Hill. Additional community benefits include increased centralized parking, new greenspaces, improved bike and pedestrian connections, and downtown jobs to support Chapel Hill restaurant and retail businesses.

For a timeline and project materials, visit https://www.townofchapelhill.org/businesses/east-rosemary-street-redevelopment-project#ad-image-0.


July 2, 2021

Applicants Needed for Orange County Advisory Boards and Commissions

The Orange County Board of Commissioners is currently recruiting applicants for the following advisory boards and commissions:

  • Agricultural Preservation Board – One position for a representative of the Cedar Grove Voluntary Agricultural District, as well as three at-large vacancies.
  • Animal Services Hearing Panel Pool – One position for a resident living in an unincorporated area of the county and one position for a veterinarian.
  • Board of Equalization and Review – Five alternate positions.
  • Historic Preservation Commission – One at-large position.
  • Orange County Housing Authority Board – One at-large position.
  • Orange County Parks and Recreation Council – One Cedar Grove Township position.

If interested, apply at www.orangecountync.gov/Apply. Applicants must reside in Orange County.

For additional information, contact Tara May at 919-245-2125 or at tmay@orangecountync.gov


New Bulk Item Waste Collection Schedule

The Carrboro Public Works Department will begin collecting bulk waste items, such as furniture and appliances, on a regular, biweekly schedule.

To find your collection day, a list of acceptable and unacceptable items and collection guidelines, see http://www.carrboropw.org/2231/Bulky-Items. All bulk waste items are collected free of charge.


Town of Carrboro to Observe Independence Day Holiday

In observance of Sunday’s Independence Day holiday, Town of Carrboro administrative offices will be closed Monday, July 5.

Yard waste and loose leaves will not be collected on Monday. Residents who normally receive this collection on Monday will receive it on Tuesday, July 6. 

View the Town of Carrboro’s 4th of July holiday events at carrborojuly4th.com.


Tree to be Removed at Martin Luther King Jr. Park

A silver maple tree in the parking lot of Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 1120 Hillsborough Road, Carrboro, will be removed soon because of extensive decay and the possible hazard it poses due to falling limbs and branches.

For questions, contact the Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources Department at 919-918-7364.


Photo courtesy Facebook.com/BlackwoodFarmPark


June 29, 2021

Blackwood Farm Park to Close for a Year 

Blackwood Farm Park, 4215 NC 86 S, will close July 4 at 8 p.m. for construction. The park is expected to remain closed for approximately a year. The construction will bring many upgrades to the park, including a large picnic shelter, restrooms, an amphitheater and a new park entrance and parking area. Read more about the plans at the Blackwood Farm Park website, https://www.co.orange.nc.us/Facilities/Facility/Details/Blackwood-Farm-Park-2.


County Extends COVID Guidelines

Orange County has extended its local state-of-emergency declaration for its COVID-19 response through July 30. The terms of the governor’s current and future executive orders related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency shall be effective in Orange County without exception. This means the county will follow state guidance on face masks, capacity, etc.

To read the executive order in English, go to https://www.nc.gov/covid-19/current-restrictions/faqs-eased-restrictions-under-executive-order-215. For the order in Spanish, see https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/media/2969/open.


Application Form Available for Orange County Commissioner Seat

The Orange County Board of Commissioners will have a vacancy on the board after July 31, 2021. Applicants must be registered Democrats and live in District 1 in Orange County. Applications are due to the clerk of the board by July 19, 2021, at 5 p.m.

The application may be downloaded at https://www.orangecountync.gov/DocumentCenter/View/16261/Orange-County-Board-of-Commissioners—Vacancy-Application. Interested individuals can also obtain a copy of the application by contacting the clerk to the board at 919-245-2130 or by emailing clerk@orangecountync.gov.

For further information on the process to fill the vacancy, visit https://www.orangecountync.gov/2738/Commissioner-Vacancy-Information-Applica or contact the clerk to the board.

The person chosen by the board of commissioners will serve until Dec. 1, 2022. An election will be held in 2022 to fill the remaining two years of the unexpired term.


Chapel Hill Services Schedule for July 4

Residential trash will not be collected (make-up day July 7). Curbside recycling will not be affected.

Commercial trash will not be collected July 5. Monday’s trash will be collected July 7.

Waste and recycling centers and the Orange County landfill will be closed.

Chapel Hill Public Library will be closed.

Chapel Hill Transit will not operate. On July 5, Transit will run Sunday routes (except the U and NU). EZ Rider will operate from 8:15 a.m. to 6:52 p.m., and the 420 route will run.

Housing Office and Maintenance Division will be closed. For emergency maintenance services, call 919-968-2855.

Chapel Hill Community Center, Hargraves Center, Northside Gym and the Teen Center will be closed July 4-5.

Homestead Aquatics Center and AD Clark Outdoor Pool will be open from noon to 5:30 p.m. July 4, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 5 (reservations required — schedule a time online at https://webtrac.townofchapelhill.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?SessionID=ce6de8edba444343916fed682a6ffbd968d68e6754eb0ceb4e62df491b9aa6c59c93bb6a0b64e71d93fe2faf696961b5d04210602115858a9a8bd6427748bd7f&module=AR&type=AQUA&subtype=LAPRES).

Parks, greenways, trails, dog parks, playgrounds, picnic shelters and outdoor park amenities will be open with safe user guidelines posted.

A fireworks show will be held at Southern Community Park. Shuttle service will not be provided, and parking will be limited. See https://www.townofchapelhill.org/Home/Components/News/News/17164 for more information.


Orange County Begins Phase 1 Transformation Plan

Orange County will begin a phased approach to reopening county facilities to the public beginning July 1. The county’s transformation plan is based on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the Orange County Health Department.

While allowing residents to return to certain county facilities, such as the library, departments will continue to offer remote and online services developed over the last year in response to the pandemic.

Effective July 1, the following transformation strategies will be implemented:

Face coverings
Face coverings will not be required for fully vaccinated guests or employees to enter county facilities, except for employees who provide transportation services, medical and dental care, in-home visitation or serve children. Unvaccinated individuals are required to wear face coverings in all county facilities.

Indoor social distancing
Social distancing (maintaining a six-foot distance between individuals) is required in waiting areas and other indoor settings where the public may congregate. Care should be taken in small spaces, such as elevators and restrooms, where social distancing is not practical. All outdoor venues are allowed to open at full capacity, although proper social distancing is encouraged. Both indoor and outdoor facility rentals may resume at full capacity.

For department-specific plans, see https://www.orangecountync.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=756.


Free Parking on West Franklin Street through July

Parking will be free on West Franklin Street (west of Columbia Street) after 6 p.m. and every Saturday through July.


Carrboro’s Affordable Housing Board Seeks New Members

Carrboro’s Affordable Housing Advisory Commission has vacancies on its board. The AHAC plays a key role in helping the town further its goal to provide opportunities for safe, decent and affordable housing for all residents. Learn more at http://www.ci.carrboro.nc.us/1116/Affordable-Housing-Advisory-Commission.

The AHAC reviews goals, strategies, policies and Affordable Housing Fund applications. The board makes recommendations to the Town Council that further affordable housing goals. Carrboro seeks to appoint members who represent the ethnic, racial and geographic diversity of the community.  

Online applications are available at http://www.ci.carrboro.nc.us/FormCenter/Town-Clerks-Office-25/Advisory-Board-Application-97.


County Aging Department to Host Self-Care Event

The Orange County Department on Aging and the Project EngAGE Mental Wellness Senior Resource Team will present a virtual presentation, Let’s Talk About Self Care, on July 22. The event, open to the public, is in celebration of National Self Care Day. Annie Deaver, LMSW, will talk about the importance of individuals looking after their own health based on the knowledge and information available to them.

The event will take place on Thursday, July 22, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. via a virtual platform. Register at www.orangecountync.gov/LetsTalkAboutSelfCare. If technical assistance is needed, contact Shenae McPherson at 919-245-4243 by Monday, July 20.


June 25, 2021

Commuting Options for Veterans

Veterans can learn more about the ride-along buddy program and alternative transportation in Chapel Hill (transit, biking, walking or rolling) at the Veterans Commute Options Event to be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, June 25, at 140 West Franklin St. plaza. The Vets on the Move program provides assistance with alternative transportation for veterans who are transitioning into civilian life.

The program helps veterans use public transportation to get to work and medical or mental health appointments. Ride-along buddies will accompany those needing someone to ride along for three sessions until they are comfortable using public transportation alone.

At the event, attendees can get a Commute Toolkit, find out their best routes, and sign up for monthly gift-card drawings.

Volunteers, including veterans and Town of Chapel Hill employees, helped to develop the program, which was envisioned by Len Cone, Town of Chapel Hill transportation demand community manager. This is one of two similar programs in the country, and the only program like this on the East Coast.

All attendees are asked to wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from non-household members.

For more information on Vets on the Move and transportation alternatives, visit https://gochapelhill.org/.


Homebuyer’s Education Webinar

Empowerment Inc. is hosting a free webinar for prospective homebuyers from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 26, via Zoom.  

Topics will include understanding mortgages, debt management, predatory lending, budgeting and fair housing. A translator will be available. Contact Sharron Reid at 919-967-8779 or empowermentincnc@gmail.com to register.


Park for Large Dogs to Close for a Day

The dog park enclosure for large dogs at Southern Community Park (northern entrance at 100 Sumac Road and southern entrance at 1000 Dogwood Acres Drive, Chapel Hill) will be closed from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 1, for routine maintenance (Friday, July 2, as a rain date if needed). The enclosure for small dogs (less than 25 pounds) will remain open. During this brief closure, large dogs should not be brought into the small-dog enclosure.

During the maintenance period, people with large dogs can visit the town’s other dog park at Homestead Park, 100 Aquatic Drive, Chapel Hill.


Town of Carrboro July 4th Events

The Town of Carrboro will celebrate July 4th with a mix of virtual and live activities at Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St.:

Annual community reading of Frederick Douglass’ essay

From 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. Mayor Lydia Lavelle will host the eighth annual community reading of Frederick Douglass’ essay, “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro.” The community reading will also be available on YouTube, at https://www.youtube.com/carrboronc.

Musician Tre. Charles

From 2 to 3 p.m. musician Tre. Charles will perform live, and the performance will also be livestreamed on YouTube, at https://www.youtube.com/carrboronc. For more information about the artist and his music, visit https://www.trecharles.com/.

Mix Tape Grab Bag

From 4 to 6:00 p.m. the Town of Carrboro is partnering with the Cat’s Cradle to present a livestreaming performance from local favorites, Mix Tape Grab Bag. The performance is tentatively scheduled to stream via the Cat’s Cradle social media channels.

Ice cream truck

An ice cream truck will be on site at Carrboro Town Commons during the above events.

Kids’ crafts

July 4th-inspired crafts have been created by camp staff, with how-to videos. For a supply list, visit https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/7675/4th-of-July-Kids-Craft-Activities .

For video instructions on how to complete these craft projects, check out the playlist on the YouTube page at https://bit.ly/3xKbbBd .

Continue to check http://www.carrborojuly4th.com for updates. 


June 22, 2021

Bee Protection Week Has Carrboro Buzzing

The week of June 21-27 has been proclaimed Pollinator Week in Carrboro.

In October 2014, Carrboro became the third municipality recognized as a BEE CITY USA and, in doing so, agreed to meet the standards required of all BEE CITY USA affiliates, including annual celebration of National Pollinator Week or other appropriate occasion through events, proclamations and promotions that showcase the town’s commitment to being a BEE CITY USA.

The town has worked to create pollinator habitats by installing native bee nest boxes, establishing a pollinator garden and planting pollinator-friendly vegetation.

To read the proclamation, go to http://townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/9257/2021-Pollinator-Week


Survey Would Benefit Regional Bikeway Study

The Triangle Bikeway Study seeks input from residents, employees, businesses and visitors for the creation of a regional 17-mile biking and walking path connecting Chapel Hill, Durham, Research Triangle Park, Morrisville, Cary and Raleigh along Interstate 40 and N.C. 54.

The focus of the study is on equity, connectivity and safety and providing seamless connections among the path, the regional transportation network, employment centers and local neighborhoods.

An initial survey conducted in fall 2020 provided public input on desired destinations, commuting patterns, estimated frequency of use and route preferences. The survey during this second phase will identify user preferences and facility needs. Participants can share ideas on where they would prefer to walk along the route and where they would like to access the path by taking the 5-minute survey at https://publicinput.com/trianglebikewaystudy. The survey will remain open through July 16.

Two public meetings will be held online on June 29 so that community members can receive the latest project updates, provide feedback on the recommended route of the Triangle Bikeway and ask questions of the project team. Meeting details, informational videos and more can be found on the project website at http://www.trianglebikeway.com.


Deadline to Appeal Property Values Extended

Orange County property owners will have more time to appeal their 2021 property values. The county board of commissioners has approved a resolution to extend the 2021 county Board of Equalization and Review Formal Appeal adjournment date from June 30 to Sept. 1. The extension is to allow additional time for property owners to appeal their 2021 property values to the Board of Equalization and Review.

Instructions and the Formal Notice of Appeal to the Board of Equalization and Review are available on the Orange County website: http://www.orangecountync.gov/806/Appeals.
Property owners may file a formal appeal online at https://appeals.spatialest.com/nc-orange
To receive a paper copy of the form, email reval@orangecountync.gov or call 919-245-2100, option 2. All formal appeals must be submitted prior to the board’s adjournment on Sept. 1.


June 18, 2021

Orange County Living Wage Certifies More Businesses

The following businesses have been certified by Orange County Living Wage as paying employees $15.40 an hour without benefits, or $13.90 an hour if the employer provides health insurance:

Acupuncture & Apothecary, 1829 E. Franklin St., Suite 9-C, Chapel Hill; 919-241-5395
Acupuncture & Apothecary is an integrative Chinese medicine practice, complete with a pharmacy of herbs and nutritional supplements.

Caffe Driade, 1215-A E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill; 919-942-2333
Caffe Driade is an award-winning, independently owned, full-service espresso bar, wine bar and teahouse. Learn more at caffedriade.com.

United Church Preschool, 1328 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill; 919-338-7916
Founded in 1993, United Church Preschool is a”small, nonprofit preschool serving children ages 2 through 5. For more information about its philosophy and enrollment process, visit UnitedChurchPreschool.com.

The Noble Law Firm PLLC, 141 Providence Road, Suite 210, Chapel Hill, 919-251-6008
Founded in 2009, The Noble Law Firm is a women-owned business providing consultations and legal advice for employment issues. Learn more about its services at TheNobleLaw.com.


Fireworks Planned for July 4 Event

The Town of Chapel Hill will host a fireworks display at Southern Community Park on Sunday, July 4. This year’s event will be smaller in scale and scope than in previous years, due to the pandemic.

No additional programming such as live music and kids’ activities is planned. There will not be any shuttle service to the event. Event parking will open at 7 p.m., with the fireworks show expected to begin at 9:20 p.m.

The best viewing for the fireworks is expected to be from the Southern Community Park ball fields and around the Southern Village Green. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs; tents and tailgates will not be allowed.

Between Southern Community Park and Southern Village, there are approximately 1,000 parking spaces. Masks will not be required, but attendees are encouraged to spread out. Masks are encouraged for those who carpool with people who have not yet been vaccinated.

For information and parking details, visit chapelhillarts.org/fireworks.


Carrboro Sets a Day to Honor Top Teacher

Carrboro has declared Wednesday, June 16, as Eugenia Floyd Day. In April, Floyd was named the 2020-21 Burroughs Wellcome Fund N.C. Teacher of the Year.

“I urge all residents of the Town of Carrboro to congratulate North Carolina Teacher of the Year Eugenia Floyd,” Mayor Lydia Lavelle said.

Floyd is a fourth-grade teacher at Mary Scroggs Elementary School in Chapel Hill. She was first recognized as the Teacher of the Year at Scroggs and then as Teacher of the Year in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District in June 2020, and then as North Central Regional Teacher of the Year in December 2020.

As Teacher of the Year, Floyd will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession and will also serve as an adviser to the State Board of Education for two years and as a board member for the N.C. Public School Forum for one year.

Read more about Floyd’s dedication to her students in the proclamation posted at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/9256/Eugenia-Floyd-Day.


Vaccine Team Offers COVID-19 Vaccinations in Homes

The Orange County Mobile Vaccine Team has begun to vaccinate people who are homebound or otherwise unable to travel to a vaccine clinic.

To date, the team has administered COVID-19 vaccine to 44 homebound individuals. The county encourages community members to make referrals for individuals who may be encountering challenges to getting vaccinated.

The team serves people who are medically fragile or may be physically unable to leave home, such as people who need supplemental oxygen when traveling to a vaccine clinic. Or bed-bound people who may not be able to make or afford a trip because of the cost of convalescent services. 

Set up a time for in-home vaccination by visiting www.orangecountync.gov/MobileVax or by calling 919-245-6127.


June 15, 2021

Police to Monitor Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian safety will be the focus of several Chapel Hill Police Department traffic-safety initiatives in June. The first efforts will focus on areas with heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including downtown and mid-block crosswalks (for example, along the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard corridor):

  • Thursday, June 17, 2 to 6 p.m.
  • Friday, June 25, 8 a.m. to noon
  • Wednesday, June 30, noon to 4 p.m.

Police also will perform two speed enforcement operations:

  • Tuesday, June 22, 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 29, 4 to 6 p.m.

Police offer the following safety tips for everyone on and near roads:

  • Limit distractions
  • Phones down; eyes up (this is true for people driving, walking, rolling or riding a bike)
  • Keep music at an appropriate level to hear what’s happening outside your car or around you
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Use designated crosswalks to cross roads
  • Walk against traffic; ride with traffic, in a bike lane, if there is one

Bicycles are permitted to ride on the sidewalk except downtown (Franklin and Rosemary streets) and on the east side of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in front of the Chapel Hill Police Department.

Variable message signs will be posted throughout town to alert drivers to events as well as to encourage them to limit distractions and watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists.

For information on town strategies to address pedestrian safety, visit: townofchapelhill.org/residents/transportation/bicycle-and-pedestrian/road-to-zero.


Photo courtesy ChapelHillArts.org

Celebrate Juneteenth in Carrboro

The Town of Carrboro will celebrate Juneteenth as an official holiday for the first time on Friday, June 18. Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration marking the end of slavery in the U.S., is observed on June 19. It was originally celebrated June 19, 1865, the day Union soldiers told enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, the war was over and they were free. The news arrived more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The holiday is also recognized by the towns of Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, and Orange County.

The holiday will celebrate Black community and culture through art performances, history exhibits, kids’ activities and more. Most of this year’s events will be virtual, with a limited number of in-person and hybrid offerings. Events start June 18 at 7 p.m. and continue through June 19.

Household trash will not be collected on June 18. Residents who normally receive waste collection services on Friday will be serviced on Monday, June 21. Town government offices will be closed on June 18. Learn more at https://www.chapelhillarts.org/calendar/juneteenth-celebration.


Carrboro Seeks Applicants for Community Safety Task Force

The Town of Carrboro is accepting applications from Carrboro residents who want to serve on a new Community Safety Task Force. In the interest of developing new approaches to public safety beyond policing, the ideal task force will include five to seven residents with professional expertise or lived experience in the criminal legal system, human services delivery, social work, public health and harm reduction, community building in marginalized populations or related content areas. Town Council will pick two of three of its members to join the task force.

The task force will provide recommendations to council for additional services to enhance community safety and well-being that rely on prevention and intervention strategies as alternatives to policing and the criminal legal system — including community nonviolence and de-escalation training programs; domestic violence intervention and prevention; youth-oriented programs; on-call crisis response that would allow certain calls for police assistance to be handled by other trained professionals, such as social workers or crisis counselors; and other related approaches.

Read the authorizing legislation at https://carrboro.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=9320407&GUID=425F9D1A-BB55-42DC-93DD-97D810352405   

Apply at http://townofcarrboro.org/FormCenter/Town-Clerks-Office-25/Advisory-Board-Application-97 


Root Named Orange County’s Next Housing and Community Development Director

Corey Root, who has spearheaded the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness since March 2016, has been chosen to succeed Emila Sutton as Orange County’s next housing and community development director. Root’s first day will be June 21.

As OCPEH coordinator, Root partnered with local government elected officials, staff, service providers and advocates to advance affordable housing goals within Orange County. She also coordinated efforts to develop and implement programs and services for the homeless or those in danger of becoming homeless. In the past five years, OCPEH completed a systems map and gaps analysis and worked with community partners to fill several of the major gaps in homeless services. 

Root has a degree in film and TV from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a master’s degree in public administration from N.C. State University. Before coming to Orange County, she was a project specialist for the N.C. Coalition to End Homelessness.

The primary mission of the Orange County Housing and Community Development Department is to promote adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity and a dignified living environment.


Free Food Distribution Planned for June 24

A community food distribution event is scheduled for 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday, June 24, at Carrboro High School, 201 Rock Haven Road. Anyone in need of free food is welcome; there are no eligibility requirements. The distribution is first-come, first-served. Distributions are drive-through, and boxes are placed inside vehicle trunks. Free masks will be distributed to anyone who needs them.

The event is sponsored by the Town of Carrboro and the Orange County Social Services Department. If you are interested in volunteering, contact zhall@townofcarrboro.org


Volunteers Needed for Chapel Hill’s Food Distribution

The Town of Chapel Hill needs volunteers to help with its weekly food bank distributions. If you’re able to volunteer up to four hours per shift, sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904044FA8A922A1FA7-chapel1/.

Community members in need of food assistance can view the weekly food distribution schedule at https://www.townofchapelhill.org/home/showdocument?id=45714.

The food is given out at the Eubanks Park and Ride lot (https://goo.gl/maps/dFvYaVmVfoUR2Dwm6).


CommUNITY Commissioned Bus Shelter 

The CommUNITY Commissioned Art + Transit shelter is here. Thanks to RedApple school art teacher Ms. TT for leading the project and excellent work by the K-5 students. This project is made possible through a collaboration with The Chinese School, the Chinese-American Friendship Association, Community Arts & Culture, and Chapel Hill Transit.


Orange County Department on Aging Wants Input on Next Master Aging Plan

The Orange County Department on Aging and its advisory board are seeking the input of the community as they develop the next Master Aging Plan, a five-year plan that provides comprehensive and coordinated delivery of community services and support that foster lifelong community engagement and well-being to older adults in Orange County. To develop the MAP for 2022-27, the department would like input on goals that are important to the community.

Survey participants have the opportunity to anonymously share their ideas and vision about how to make Orange County a great place to age. Take the survey online at www.orangecountync.gov/2021-MAP-Survey or pick up a hard copy of the survey at the Seymour Center, 2551 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill, or Passmore Center, 103 Meadowlands Drive, Hillsborough. 

The survey is now open and will close on July 15 and is available in English, Chinese and Spanish. For more information or assistance, please call 919-968-2087 or visit www.orangecountync.gov/MasterAgingPlan.


Carrboro Recreation, Parks & Cultural Resources Facilities Reopening Update

Carrboro Century Center at 100 N. Greensboro St. has updated its reopening plan as follows:

  • All recreation classes have returned to their normal size limits.
  • Capacity limits have been lifted, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and all Century Center reservations are currently being accepted, with the exception of larger public events. People are asked to wear masks and social distance during events.
  • Century Center reservation restrictions will change based on further guidance from the CDC and state agencies.
  • The Carrboro Cybrary plans to add additional hours and services the first week in August and will continue its current curbside schedule until then. August hours will be Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday/Thursday 12 noon to 7 p.m.

For questions, contact the Recreation, Parks & Cultural Resources main office at 919-918-7364.


June 10, 2021

Orange County to Host Presentation on Home Funerals

The Orange County Department on Aging and the Project EngAGE End of Life Choices Senior Resource Team invite the public to attend a virtual presentation, Home Sweet Home Funerals, on June 22.

Sara Williams, founder of Shrouding Sisters (www.shroudingsisters.com), will discuss alternatives to conventional funeral ceremonies. She will present information regarding the care, ceremony and honoring of a body while keeping a loved one at home. Valuable information will be provided on the legalities and other components of family-directed home funerals.

The free virtual event will take place on Tuesday, June 22, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Participants may get into the event beginning at 3:50 p.m. to get help with any questions or platform issues before the program starts.

To register, visit www.orangecountync.gov/HomeFunerals. If technology assistance is needed, please contact Shenae McPherson at 919-245-4243 by Monday, June 21.


Photo courtesy TownofChapelHill.org

Six Triangle Transit Agencies Hold a Job Fair

The need for bus and paratransit operators is so critical across the Triangle that GoTriangle is having to reduce service on eight routes starting June 14. Chapel Hill Transit also has had to modify schedules on some of its most popular routes, and GoDurham and GoCary are planning service reductions this month as well.

To respond to the need, six transit agencies are staging a mega job fair to attract responsible people with good driving records and excellent customer service skills for fulfilling careers in transit.
The regional job fair will be on Tuesday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at GoTriangle’s offices at 4600 Emperor Blvd. in Durham. Masks will be required.

Representatives from Chapel Hill Transit, GoCary, GoDurham, GoRaleigh, GoTriangle and GoWake ACCESS will be on site to interview potential bus and paratransit operators and will be ready to make job offers that day.

Having a Commercial Driver’s License is not required to apply, but those offered employment for bus operator positions will need to obtain a class B CDL Permit with a Passenger Endorsement before starting training.

The agencies prefer that people fill out online applications before attending the event for every agency they are interested in talking with. Following are links for each agency:


Exhibit Remembers Black Victims of Violence

Carrboro Poet Laureate Fred Joiner, journalist Mike Ogle and Orange County Commissioner Renee Price have created three banners that illustrate the violence and trauma that Black people have experienced in America since its founding. The banners acknowledged Manly McCauley, Emmett Till and James Cates, with poetry by N.C. Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green.

The exhibit will be set up on the lawn at the Hillsborough Visitors Center at 150 E. King St. Hours are: Friday, June 18, from 4 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, June 19 (Juneteenth), from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Sunday, June 20, from 4 to 7 p.m. It will also be set up again at the Last Friday Event in Hillsborough on June 26.

This project is made possible by a grant from the Orange County Arts Commission.


Blue Dogwood Public Market Certified as Living Wage Employer

Blue Dogwood Public Market, 306 W. Franklin St., Suite G, Chapel Hill, has been certified as a living wage employer by Orange County Living Wage. The public market and food hall also features art by local artists and hosts special events. For more information, visit BlueDogWood.com.


Shenekia Weeks (left), Loryn Clark (middle), and Ran Northam (right)

Chapel Hill Promotes Staff

Ran Northam has been promoted to communications and public affairs director for the Town of Chapel Hill, after serving in the interim since May 2020. Loryn Clark has been named deputy town manager, succeeding Flo Miller, who had held the position for 32 years before retiring in June. And Shenekia Weeks has been hired as the town’s first diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

Northam joined the town staff in 2014 as a communications specialist. Since 2017, he has worked as the public information officer for the police and fire departments. Previously, he led WCHL’s news and sports divisions.

Clark started as an intern in the town’s planning department in 1994 and worked her way up to executive director of the department of housing and community when that position was created in 2014.

Weeks comes to Chapel Hill from Stokes and Surry counties, where she is the district administrator of the Guardian ad Litem program. Previously, she was director of diversity, equity and trauma for EducationPlus. In her 27-year career, she has addressed multiple facets of social determinants of health and eliminating race- and class-based disparities.


Department on Aging Seeks Volunteer Drivers

Orange County Department on Aging is looking for volunteers for the community-based services team to deliver lunches to older adults throughout the county on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays from noon until 1 p.m. Volunteers must be dependable, qualified drivers.

Contact Shenae McPherson, Volunteer Connect 55+ administrator, at 919-245-4243 or via email shmcpherson@orangecountync.gov.


Chapel Hill Public Library

Chapel Hill Public Library Raising Money to Diversify Collection

Friends of Chapel Hill Public Library is launching a community-wide fundraising campaign, “Diverse Books for a Diverse Community.” The campaign — which will run through Labor Day — aims to raise $15,000 for the Chapel Hill Public Library to increase the diversity of its collection, particularly for children.

The money will enable the library to purchase picture books that feature differently abled kids; books in languages other than English; young adult books about Black teens, written by Black authors; and novels written by Latinx and Asian American authors.

For more information and to invest in this campaign, go to www.friendschpl.org.


June 2, 2021

The Marian Cheek Jackson Center in Northside. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Northside Property Tax Update: Price-It-Right!

In response to what many perceive as inequitable property valuations, Chapel Hill’s Northside neighborhood Jackson Center has written a “Community Letter” (https://jacksoncenter.info/letter-to-county-commissioners-on-property-tax-inequities/) by which residents can appeal their property valuations. In just a few weeks, more than 650 Orange County residents have signed onto the letter, and over 50 individual appeals have been submitted.

This effort took hundreds of hours and the collective effort of 40+ volunteers and Jackson Center and EmPOWERment Inc. (http://www.empowermentinc.org/) staff. 

In the coming weeks the nonprofits aim to continue spreading the word, as the county considers the appeals. They created “Price It Right” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omaAClwiPcg), a satirical quiz and game show parody that shows examples of property valuations in Chapel Hill/Carrboro.


Jackson Center Hires New Director of Housing Justice

The Jackson Center has named Christine Abernathy director of housing justice for the Northside neighborhood in Chapel Hill. Abernathy will lead the Jackson Center’s housing justice initiatives, stewarding the land bank and the 45+ partnerships that are a part of the Northside Neighborhood Initiative. She brings experience and enthusiasm to lead housing justice in Northside — enabling elders to age in place, creating affordable housing opportunities for diverse families, and preserving the future of the neighborhood by passing the baton of community justice to the next generation of Northside, Pine Knolls and Tin Top residents. 

Abernathy first got involved with the Jackson Center when she was a student at UNC-Chapel Hill. Since then, she has remained connected through her work at Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, leading youth empowerment initiatives and volunteering with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. Reach her at christine@jacksoncenter.info.


Historic Cottages Moved to Northside

The brief, below, has been updated to correct the number of houses moved and the actions taken by the property owner and the Historic District Commission.

The Northside Initiative moved three century-old cottages from the Franklin-Rosemary Historic District to Northside. The tiny houses (from 366 to 756 square feet) were built from kits sold through Sears & Roebuck in the 1920s. Author John Grisham bought the Franklin Street property and applied in 2017 for a demolition permit, which the Historic District Commission delayed for a year in order to look for a way to save them. Several nonprofits lobbied to take the houses, and the Northside Initiative prevailed. The houses were moved to two lots in Northside and renovated. Two cottages were joined to create a duplex and will be rented at an affordable rate; the other cottage was sold to a local family.


Online Learning Connects Generations

This year the Northside neighborhood in Chapel Hill launched Learning Across Generations-Online (LAG-Online), a free digital curriculum tailored for at-home and hybrid learning across a range of ages. The curriculum draws upon the wealth of wisdom of the experiences of Northside neighbors, showcased in From the Rock Wall and their education programs. The curriculum teaches local students about the powerful civil rights and local histories of the community’s historically Black neighborhoods. As school classrooms reopen, Northside hopes to continue developing this curriculum as a powerful and dynamic tool for learning. Explore and access the LAG-Online curriculum at https://jacksoncenter.info/learning-across-generations-online-curriculum/.

From the Rock Wall (https://fromtherockwall.org/) was developed under the auspices of the Community Review Board with the collaboration of hundreds of neighbors over many years. It hosts a wealth of memory and vision from historically Black neighborhoods of southern Orange County, including Northside, Potter’s Field, Sunset, Lloyd/Broad, Tin Top, Pine Knolls, Rangewood and Rogers Road. Read more about it at https://www.unc.edu/discover/preserving-the-history-of-local-black-communities/, or at https://www.wral.com/reliving-the-history-of-a-chapel-hill-rock-wall-that-s-helped-to-break-barriers/19542392/.


Juneteenth Scavenger Hunt

In honor of Juneteenth, the Chapel Hill/Carrboro NAACP (https://www.chapelhillcarrboronaacp.com/) is hosting the first #BuyBlackCHC Virtual Scavenger Hunt (https://www.chapelhillcarrboronaacp.com/blog/hashtags/BuyBlackCHC), June 14-20. Participants will earn points for activities and purchases at local Black-owned businesses, trivia responses and Juneteenth-inspired actions.

Activities will include in-person, curbside/pickup and virtual options, in which participants can try new foods and products, learn Black history about Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and win gifts. Follow @chcnaacp_econ and hashtag #BuyBlackCHC for tips, teasers and bonus points.

To participate in the scavenger hunt, follow these steps:

  1. Download the GooseChase iOS or Android app.
  2. Register for a personal account with a username & password of your choice.
  3. Search for and select the Juneteenth BoB Scavenger Hunt game, or search by game code VJ9WKX; password is #buyblackchc.
  4. Follow the prompts to select or create your player profile.

This event is held in conjunction with the inaugural Juneteenth Celebration in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Learn more about the events and community partners at chapelhillcarrborojuneteenth.com.


June is Immigrant Heritage Month in Carrboro

June as “Immigrant Heritage Month” in Carrboro, by proclamation from Mayor Lydia Lavelle. 

Generations of immigrants from around the word have built the U.S. economy and contributed to the cultural diversity across the country. Immigrants continue to grow businesses, innovate and strengthen the economy. The Town of Carrboro appreciates local nonprofits and other groups, including El Centro Hispano and the Refugee Support Center, that work with immigrant communities. 

Read the mayor’s proclamation at http://townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/9194/2021-Immigrant-Heritage-Month.


Celebrate Small Town Pride

Carrboro and Chapel Hill are collaborating to show LGBTQ+ Pride and to affirm community values ensuring that all residents, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated with respect and dignity.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ+) Pride Month is celebrated nationally and locally each year in June, stemming from the Stonewall riots in 1969. Patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City clashed with anti-LGBTQ police. Marches and protests popped up in some major U.S. cities in June of the following year to commemorate the event, and the tradition has continued. The purpose of celebrating Pride is to promote the equality of the LGBTQ+ communities, as well as increase visibility, challenge anti-LGBTQ legislation and bring awareness to other LGBTQ issues.

Through a mix of in-person and virtual events, Small Town Pride will promote equality and celebrate diversity and acceptance in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. The entire community — local businesses, artists, volunteers and community partners — will get involved.

 Small Town Pride events include:

  • Proclamations of Pride Month by each municipality
  • Raising of Pride flags in the downtowns
  • Social media campaign to highlight local LGBTQ+ leaders, history and milestones
  • Small Town Pride video: Small Town Pride, about the Pride vibe that took place in Carrboro in 2019, by Richard Jaimeyfield, a local filmmaker
  • Area business specials
  • Pride Food Truck Rodeo and Dance Party at Carrboro Town Commons on June 24, 5-8 p.m.
  • Pride Book Club virtually on June 28, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Drag Queen Story Time
  • Special guest speakers

 If you have an idea to contribute to the next Small Town Pride, contact mdebellis@townofchapelhill.org.


Pop in to Carrboro Pop-Ups

Carrboro Connects Pop-Up booths taking place June 10-12, will give residents an opportunity to share input on the town’s first Comprehensive Plan, including transportation, housing, jobs and more. Popsicles will be on hand for all who share, and safe physical distancing will be practiced.

Carrboro Connects is a comprehensive planning effort of the Town of Carrboro to address climate action, race and equity, affordable housing, and economic and fiscal sustainability. 

A Virtual Pop-Up will be available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week at carrboroconnects.org. See the flyer at: https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/9188/Around-Carrboro-Pop-Ups-June-2021.


Library Brings StoryWalks to Three Town Greenways

In June, three of Chapel Hill’s greenways will have a new attraction: environmentally themed children’s books featuring diverse voices, authors, illustrators and languages. Chapel Hill Green Way StoryWalks will be constructed along accessible trails in Homestead Park, Pritchard Park and the Tanyard Branch Trail (Umstead Park). Each installation will highlight a different culturally diverse, nature-themed picture book. Updated with new titles throughout the year, StoryWalks will regularly provide fresh opportunities for kids to develop as readers and learners.

Karin Michel, project manager and library manager of youth and family experiences, says that titles were selected with language access in mind, too, with some of the books written in world languages like Spanish, Mandarin and Burmese.

Partners in Chapel Hill Green Ways Story Walk include Chapel Hill Public Library, the Friends of the Library, Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation and Flyleaf Books. Additional grant funds come from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

StoryWalks was created by Anne Ferguson, a chronic-disease-prevention specialist in Montpelier, Vt., in 2007, in conjunction with Rachel Senechal from the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Their goal was to initiate an activity that would keep families active and engaged. StoryWalks have grown in popularity, popping up in parks, at libraries and in hundreds of outdoor community spaces.


Chapel Hill, Property Owners Partner to Improve Alleyway

The private owners of the 157 and 159 E. Franklin St. buildings have been renovating the two buildings throughout the last year and have now partnered with the Town of Chapel Hill to install two archways between the buildings, in Amber Alley. This is part of the town’s continuing effort to improve pedestrian walkways in downtown. The archways were constructed by local metalsmith David Wehrenberg of Iron on Fire and match those installed in 2019 at Varsity and Post Office alleys.

The iconic Amber Alley was the historic home of The Rathskellar and now includes Bandido’s Mexican Café and Gizmo Brew Works. The alleyway also connects pedestrians from the Wallace Parking Deck to East Franklin Street.

Improvements to 157 and 159 include an overhead canopy, repainting the alleyway and constructing a new roof-top bar, slated to open late this year.


Carrboro Celebrates Trails Day

Saturday, June 5, is Trails Day in Carrboro, proclaimed by Mayor Lydia Lavelle.

Residents are invited to enjoy the hiking opportunities that can be found in the region and to celebrate the outdoors. 


Chapel Hill Proposes Bike Lanes on Culbreth Road

The Town of Chapel Hill is proposing to add bike lanes to Culbreth Road as part of a scheduled resurfacing and repaving project by the N.C. Department of Transportation this summer.

The Culbreth repaving project may start as early as July 1 and is scheduled to be completed before school begins in August. As part of this resurfacing, the town is looking at adding bike lanes on Culbreth Road, as included in the Mobility & Connectivity Plan (https://www.townofchapelhill.org/residents/transportation/bicycle-and-pedestrian/chapel-hill-mobility-and-connectivity-plan). This would be accomplished by narrowing vehicle lanes and removing the center turn lane. This change would keep the left turn into the kiss-and-go driveway at Culbreth Middle School, the left turn into Adams Way and the intersections of Smith Level Road and U.S. 15-501.

The town modeled the changes in the town-wide traffic model and found little to no delay as a result of removing the turn lanes. For full details on the analysis and the proposed lane changes, go to https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/planning/transportation-planning/culbreth-lane-reallocation.

The town would like to hear feedback from residents on the proposed changes to Culbreth Road and is collecting it through:

Contact Josh Mayo, transportation planner, at jmayo@townofchapelhill.org, with any questions.


DCHC MPO Seeks Comment on Transportation Needs Analysis

The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization is seeking public feedback on the Deficiency and Needs Analysis for the 2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. The DCHC MPO is updating the 2050 MTP this fall and will use the public input received on the Deficiency and Needs Analysis as part of its efforts to model future population and employment projections to identify where roadway, public transportation, bicycle, pedestrian and other transportation investments will be needed over the next 30 years. 

Residents and other stakeholders are asked to review the Deficiency and Needs Analysis at the DCHC MPO website (http://www.dchcmpo.org/programs/transport/2050mtp/default.asp#tabs6) and provide comments by email no later than Wednesday, June 30.

The DCHC MPO plans and programs state and federal transportation projects in all of Durham County and the urbanized areas of Orange and Chatham counties. For more information about the 2050 MTP, contact DCHC MPO principal planner Andy Henry at 919-560-4366, ext. 36419, or by email, andrew.henry@durhamnc.gov.


May 26, 2021

Ceremony Honors Veterans

The Orange County Veterans Memorial will host a special ceremony on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, at the Veterans Memorial Site on Homestead Road. The guest speaker will be former Army Ranger Capt. Nick Palmisciano, CEO of Diesel Jack Media, founder of Ranger Up. Arrive at 7:45 a.m. for the Posting of Colors promptly at 8 a.m. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held inside at the Seymour Center Theater, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill.


Photo courtesy TownofChapelHill.org

No Buses on Memorial Day

Chapel Hill Transit will not be operating on Monday, May 31, in honor of Memorial Day. Buses will return to the road on Tuesday, June 1, running on reduced weekday routes, along with GoTriangle’s 420 route and EZ rider service.


Orange County Memorial Day Schedule

Curbside recycling will be collected, and Orange County buses will run only the Carolina Dialysis routes on Memorial Day. But all other Orange County Government offices and operations will be closed Monday, May 31, in observance of Memorial Day. Offices will resume normal operations Tuesday, June 1, with the following exceptions:

• Though curbside recycling will be collected under the normal schedule on Monday, all manned waste and recycling centers and the landfill will be closed.
• Orange County Public Transportation will operate only the in-county dialysis route. In order to provide two working days’ notice for scheduling, trip requests for Tuesday, June 1, must be received by 5 p.m. Thursday, May 27. Trip requests for Wednesday, June 2, must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, May 28.

The walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Whitted Human Services Building will be closed on Memorial Day. Visit https://www.orangecountync.gov/2617/Vaccine for the current schedule and a list of pop-up vaccine clinics being held throughout the county.


Period Poverty Awareness Week in Carrboro

Recognizing that period poverty is a public health issue, Mayor Lydia Lavelle has proclaimed May 24-30 to be Period Poverty Awareness Week in Carrboro.

National surveys and research studies report that one in four women and girls struggle to secure enough menstrual supplies due to a lack of income, and this lack of supplies, known as period poverty, can adversely affect the health and well-being of menstruators. 

Lavelle is encouraging the residents of Carrboro to donate generously to period-supply banks, product drives and organizations that collect and distribute period products to those in need. 

Carrboro is home to trusted community-based organizations, including On the Spot, a program of the Diaper Bank of North Carolina. These period-supply banks and their staff and volunteers served on the front lines of Carrboro’s COVID-19 pandemic response, helping local families weather the crisis.

Read the mayor’s proclamation at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/9163/2021-Period-Poverty-Week


Orange County Halfway There

Orange County has one of the highest rates of vaccination in the state, with more than half (50.4 percent) of the population having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of May 24.
 
If you would like to schedule an appointment, call 919-913-8088 or visit https://www.myspot.nc.gov/, and search for your ZIP code to find locations near you. The Orange County Health Department also hosts pop-up vaccination clinics throughout the county.

Check the vaccine page on the health department’s website, https://www.orangecountync.gov/2617/Vaccine, for a schedule. The health department has vaccine events planned at the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association Community Center, 101 Edgar St., Chapel Hill, on May 29; and at the Buckhorn Flea Market, 529 Buckhorn Road, Mebane, on June 12.


Orange County Summer Camps

Orange County Recreation is offering in-person camps this summer. More information, including program descriptions, can be found at http://www.orangecountync.gov/621/Spring-Break-Summer-Camps. Pre-registration is required.
 
Orange County Cooperative Extension is also offering camps. Check its website for a schedule at https://orange.ces.ncsu.edu/search-results/?q=summer+camp.


May 23, 2021

BIPOC Business Roundtable Discussion

The Carrboro Department of Economic Development has scheduled a business roundtable discussion for black, indigenous, Latinx and people of color (BIPOC) for Thursday, May 27, at 4 p.m.

In addition to informing the town about the needs and challenges of BIPOC businesses, the roundtable discussions serve as an opportunity for BIPOC business owners to get to know and support each other.

Businesses interested in participating in the roundtable discussions are asked to pre-register. To register and find more information, go to http://www.townofcarrboro.org/152/Economic-Development  


Applicants Sought For School Committee

Carrboro is looking for four applicants to serve on its Safe Routes to School Committee. The following seats need to be filled:

  • Two students of either an elementary or middle school (from different schools) located in Carrboro;
  • One parent of an elementary or middle school student attending school in Carrboro;
  • One administrator, faculty or staff member working at an elementary or middle school in Carrboro.

Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis, and appointments will be made by the town council.

Applicants should visit the link:
https://www.townofcarrboro.org/FormCenter/Planning-Zoning-Inspections-Department-24/Safe-Routes-to-School-Subcommittee-Appli-163  

Interested applicants may attend the town’s Transportation Advisory Board meeting on Thursday, June 17, at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. Future meetings will occur on the third Thursday of January, March, June and September of each year.

Additional information about the town’s Safe Routes to School Plan can be found at http://townofcarrboro.org/741/Safe-Routes-to-School

For information or questions, contact the town’s transportation planner, Zachary Hallock, at zhallock@townofcarrboro.org or call 919-918-7329. 


Memorial Day Observances Planned

Local Memorial Day observance will begin at 6:30 a.m. on May 31 when veterans and members of Scout Troops 835 and 505 will begin placing flags at marked graves at the Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery at 1721 Legion Road. A memorial service will follow. For more details visit https://www.chapelhillpost6.com/post-activities/memorial-day/

The Orange County Veterans Memorial Committee will host a memorial service at the Veterans Memorial site at 2501 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill (near the Seymour Center). It starts with seating by 7:45 a.m. and the raising of colors promptly at 8 a.m., followed by the memorial service. For more information about the Orange County Veterans Memorial, visit https://ocveteransmemorial.com/.

And an open house and food drive will begin at 11 a.m. at the new headquarters of American Legion Post 6 at 3700 N.C. 54 West in Chapel Hill. A post memorial service is at 11:30 a.m. The Village Band will perform a concert at 1 p.m., and Maple View Mobile Ice Cream will be on-site. Visit https://www.chapelhillpost6.com/.


Memorial Day Recycling Schedule

Recycling trucks will roll on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, but the landfill, recycling centers and offices will be closed. The Waste and Recycling Centers, Landfill/Disposal Center and administrative office, though closed on Memorial Day, will operate under their normal hours Saturday, May 29, and Sunday, May 30. For hours of operation, please visit orangecountync.gov/recycling.

Curbside recycling will be picked up as usual Monday, May 31. Place your carts out on the curb by 7 a.m.


Application Period Opens for Arts Grants

The Orange County Arts Commission opened its 2020-21 Arts Grants Application Period on May 18. Approximately $60,000, funded by the N.C. Arts Council and Orange County, will fund artist, school and nonprofit arts programs and projects taking place between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.
 
Available grants are:
–Artist Project Grants, which fund individual artist-led projects that benefit the greater community;
–Grassroots Arts Program Grants, which fund arts programs, projects and services through area nonprofits, schools and municipal organizations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s school grant cycle will take place in the fall.

The deadline to apply is June 30. All applications must be submitted through the OCAC’s online submission program. For information, including guidelines and criteria, visit the arts commission’s website at www.artsorange.org, call 919-245-2335 or email aarts@orangecountync.gov.


Spring Shred-A-Thons Successful

Orange County held confidential-paper shredding events April 24 at the Eubanks Road Park and Ride lot and May 1 at the recycling site behind Home Depot in Hillsborough. Over 1,100 participants brought a total of 55,000 pounds of paper (about 50 pounds per car) — about 20 percent more than the previous average from 2019. Two events are included in the proposed 2021 County budget and, if approved, will be held in October. Watch for further announcements later this year.


Photo courtesy ChapelHillArts.org

Towns Plan Juneteenth Celebration

The first annual Chapel Hill-Carrboro Juneteenth Celebration is planned for June 19. The event will celebrate black community and culture through arts performances, history exhibits and children’s activities. While this year’s event will be mostly virtual, a limited number of in-person and hybrid offerings are planned. 

The celebration will kick off June 18 at 7 p.m. with online video messages from local leaders and performances from poets laureate CJ Suitt and Fred Joiner. On June 19 at 4 p.m., a Juneteenth motorcade will proceed through historic black neighborhoods. Online and in-person music performances are planned for June 19, with live performances slated for Downtown Chapel Hill’s Save the Music series that night.

To learn more, go to chapelhillcarrborojuneteenth.com.


May 15, 2021

State Lifts Mask Mandate

North Carolina has lifted its mask mandate for most indoor settings as well as mass gathering limits and social distancing requirements.

On May 14, Gov. Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen made the announcement following the May 13 decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that fully vaccinated individuals can safely do most activities without wearing a mask.

Masks will still be required in child care facilities, schools and camps. Everyone, including people who are fully vaccinated, will still be required to wear a mask in such settings as public transportation, health care settings (hospitals, doctor’s offices, rehab facilities and nursing homes), correctional facilities and homeless shelters.

State officials also announced that children between 12 and 15 can now get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

To date, the state has administered more than 7.7 million doses, with 51 percent of residents 18 and older at least partially vaccinated, and 46 percent fully vaccinated. 


Meeting Set to Continue Buckhorn Discussion

Orange County Planning will host a virtual meeting Monday, May 17, from 6 to 8 p.m., to discuss continuation of coordinated efforts between Orange County and the City of Mebane on the Buckhorn Area.

The purpose of the public outreach meeting is to follow up on previous Buckhorn Area Study meetings, focus on outreach and planning coordination between Mebane and the county and collect public comments and questions.

Participants must register for the meeting in advance, which will generate the Zoom invite with the link to join, at https://orangecountync.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__gyShxVQTLywLw_MBXXbtA.

Anyone who does not have internet access may contact Tina Love at 919-245-2575 for information on how to call in the meeting.

Additional information, including background information on the study as well as the hyperlink for registration to this meeting, can be found on the Planning Department’s website under the Current Interest Projects tab.

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners will receive a report on comments and questions collected, as well as the final FAQ document, at its business meeting on June 1, 2021. Public input will help guide the BOCC in determining any next steps.


Fire Marshal Has Advice on Fuel Storage

In the wake of the Colonial Pipeline disruption, the Orange County Fire Marshal is reminding residents to follow proper procedures when dispensing and storing fuel, including using only approved containers.

Residents are also asked not to hoard fuel. Purchase fuel only if needed, and remain patient and civil while waiting in line.

The fire marshal offers the following tips for safely dispensing fuel:

  • When using a fuel pump, always identify the emergency shutoff prior to operation;
  • Shut vehicle off prior to fueling;
  • Avoid any activity that involves lighting a fire such as smoking, striking a match or using a lighter;
  • Only dispense fuel to approved containers;
  • Keep all ignition sources away from the fuel;
  • And, if filling an approved fuel can, always place the fuel can on the ground to prevent static electricity.

Next Round Set for Arts Support Fund

The fifth round of grant applications is open for the Orange County Arts Support Fund. The fund supports local artists, arts industry workers and arts organizations facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

The ArtsCenter in Carrboro serves as the fiscal agent for this initiative, meaning all payments will be issued by the ArtsCenter’s personal check. However, this is not a fundraising effort by or for The ArtsCenter.

To apply, go to artsorange.org/covid-19/apply/. To contribute, go to artsorange.org/supportfund.
The deadline to apply is midnight, May 31.


News of Orange Mural Project Seeks Artist

The Hillsborough Tourism Development Authority in partnership with the Orange County Arts Commission is looking for a mural artist to design and install a publicly viewable mural on a private building exterior at 109 E. King St. in Hillsborough.

The mural will be on the east elevation facing a public alley and is intended to capture the rich history of Hillsborough as well as The News of Orange, a local newspaper publication that has been in production since 1893.

For information go to artsorange.org/newsoforange/.


May 11, 2021

County Holds Hearings on Budget and Capital Investment Plan

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners will hold its next public hearing on the general operating budget and Capital Investment Plan on June 7 and 7 p.m. Residents may weigh in on the spending plan recommended by the county manager for the next fiscal year, from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022.

Included in the budget and CIP are recommendations to fund an emergency management services substation at Waterstone; maintain the same level of per-pupil spending for the two school systems; and increase the property tax rate. There are also plans for parks, housing, climate change mitigation, the arts and more to consider.

Members of the public are asked to contact the clerk of the BOCC at ocpubliccomment@orangecountync.gov no later than 3 p.m. on the day of the meeting. Please indicate that you wish to speak at the budget public hearing, along with your name, address, email address and phone number you will use to call in from, if you plan to speak via phone. You may also mail your comments in a letter to: Board of County Commissioners, P.O. Box 8181, Hillsborough, N.C. 27278.


Memorial Day Service 2021

A Memorial Day service will be held on Monday, May 31, at the Veterans Memorial site on Homestead Road, Chapel Hill. In case of inclement weather, it will be inside at the Seymour Center Theater, 2551 Homestead Road. The guest speaker will be Nick Palmisciano, CEO of Diesel Jack Media, founder of Ranger Up, former Army captain and ranger. Please arrive at 7:45 a.m. for the Posting of Colors promptly at 8 a.m.
 
To learn more about the memorial and to make a donation to make this become a reality, please visit https://ocveteransmemorial.com/memorial/.


Kashara Lavonda Lyons

Missing Person

UPDATE: Kashara has been found and is safe.

The Chapel Hill Police Department is seeking assistance locating Kashara Lavonda Lyons, 38, of Dobbins Drive, reported missing since 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 5.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 at any time or Chapel Hill Police (919-968-2760) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.


May Is Bike Month in Carrboro

Carrboro is celebrating Bike Month in May, proclaimed by Mayor Lydia Lavelle. Established in 1956 and promoted by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month has been celebrated in communities from coast to coast. 

The Town of Carrboro and community partners are planning events open to all to encourage new riders by showcasing the many benefits of biking, such as enjoying the outdoors and using active transportation to commute.


Carrboro Bike Month Activities Include:

  • May 14 – Taco Truck Tour – 7 p.m. at The ReCYCLEry, 108 N. Graham St., Carrboro 
  • May 17-23 – Bike to Work Week 
  • May 18 – Bike to Work Day Afternoon Snack – 4 to 6 p.m. at Libba Cotten Bikeway (endpoints Roberson Street near Sweet Bay Place and S. Merritt Mill Road near W. Cameron Avenue)
  • May 21 – Salute Heroes & Bike to Work/School – decorate your bike 
  • May 21 – Full Moon Ride – Queer Ride Carrboro Cruiser Ride – 8 p.m. – meet at ReCYCLEry, 108 N. Graham St.

For more information about bike month events being held across the Triangle, visit https://gotriangle.org/bikemonth.


Mental Health Awareness Month in Carrboro

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month. 

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month is “You Are Not Alone.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness will share stories on its website, www.nami.org, about using this time to focus on the healing value of connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay.

The purpose of Mental Health Awareness Month is to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses; to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses; and to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses.


May 8, 2021

Chapel Hill Celebrates Bike Month 2021

The Town of Chapel Hill encourages COVID-safe cycling by asking cyclists to wear helmets and follow state and local mask and distancing guidance. Check out the following videos for more information:
• Chapel Hill Police Department bicycle safety video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91BmVwAKbG8)
• Traveling on the bus with your bike (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk65tikP8Go)
• Bike fix-it stations (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmQLRZ24Bmc)

For important N.C. traffic laws applicable to cycling, see https://www.bikewalknc.org/important-nc-traffic-laws-applicable-to-bicyclists/.


Chapel Hill Public Library

Library Indoor Pickup Begins May 13

Beginning May 13, Chapel Hill Public Library users will be able to come into the library to pick up materials they have requested to be held for them. Library users should continue to electronically place a hold on materials they want, then put on a mask and go inside for pickup. Users will no longer have to call in advance. Once someone has gotten an email letting them know that their materials are ready, they are welcome to come by anytime the library is open.

The library will be closed May 11 and May 12, so staff can prepare for library users to come inside. After that, library hours will be:

Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tuesday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Closed Wednesday and Sunday

A limited number of people will be allowed inside at once. Everyone will be asked to follow the “3Ws,” wearing a face covering, watching your distance and washing hands. Masks will be required for everyone over the age of 5 at all times inside the building.

To ensure a smooth transition and orderly operations, library staff encourage everyone to bring their library card or have their library card number ready.


Town Hosts Public Information Meeting on E. Rosemary Redevelopment

The Town of Chapel Hill will host a virtual public information meeting at 6:30 p.m. on May 10 on the upcoming East Rosemary Redevelopment Project. The meeting will include a project schedule, visuals, communication plan, opportunities for further information and a question-and-answer session.

The public is invited to register and attend via Zoom at us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2VXdKL-_RcSyvWqV5MCkHQ. Registrants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar in listen-only mode.

For further information on the project, see https://www.townofchapelhill.org/businesses/east-rosemary-street-redevelopment-project#ad-image-0.


Carrboro Listens to Immigrants Virtually

As part of the Town of Carrboro’s ongoing comprehensive planning process, Carrboro Connects, community members from Myanmar participated in a listening session with Mayor Lydia Lavelle on Tuesday, May 4. Hear what they had to say at https://www.facebook.com/100048787422845/videos/304592711176974

The conversation, which was assisted through interpreters in the Burmese and Karen languages, addressed housing, transportation and jobs/economy.

In March, Carrboro Connects held a similar listening session with members from the Latino community. In this bilingual session, Lavelle and Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Foushee heard ideas and concerns of residents. It aired live on El Centro Hispano’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/elCentroHispanoNC/videos/vb.132854053415670/451022346331770/?type=2&theater.  

Common themes shared in both sessions are the desire for quality affordable housing, expanded transit service, workforce development, translated materials, jobs and services.

Register at carrboroconnects.org to learn more about the project, stay up to date on future events and news, and share your ideas.


May 2, 2021

COVID Restrictions Eased

Effective Friday, April 30, masks are no longer mandated outdoors in North Carolina but are strongly recommended outdoors by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services in crowded areas and higher-risk settings where social distancing is difficult. Masks are still required indoors in all circumstances. 

The number of people who may gather indoors has increased from 50 to 100, and the number of people who may gather outdoors has increased from 100 to 200. Occupancy limits currently in place remain the same.

The state continues to strive for two-thirds of adults to be at least partially vaccinated. Orange County Health Department offers self-scheduling of COVID vaccine appointments at https://myspot.nc.gov/.


Photo courtesy TownofChapelHill.org

More Riders Allowed on Chapel Hill Buses

Chapel Hill Transit buses will remove capacity restrictions on buses starting May 3. All customers are still required to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth, and customers should not ride if they feel ill. The majority of the bus fleet has been outfitted with an enhanced air-purification system that will improve air circulation and the air-replacement rates on vehicles.

Chapel Hill Transit will continue to run reduced weekday service until further notice.


CHPD Announces May Traffic-Safety Initiatives

The Chapel Hill Police Department will perform four special traffic-safety initiatives in May: May 7 and May 28, 4 to 8 p.m., and May 13 and May 20, 1 to 5 p.m. The goal is to improve safety for pedestrians.

Efforts will focus on areas with heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including near schools, downtown and midblock crosswalks. CHPD urges drivers to limit distractions and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Pedestrians should walk against traffic; cyclists should ride with traffic.


View Greene Tract Environmental-Assessment Presentation

An environmental assessment for the Greene Tract has been completed, and the video presentation is available for viewing at https://chplan.us/Greene_Tract. The 104-acre tract is jointly owned by the Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Orange County. 

In January 2020, the Town of Carrboro, Town of Chapel Hill and Orange County adopted the Greene Tract Resolution for a Path Forward. This resolution initiated the drafting of an environmental assessment to obtain site-specific information on environmental and cultural conditions present on the Greene Tract. Following a request-for-proposal and bid process, SynTerra was selected to complete the Environmental Assessment. Beginning in May 2020, SynTerra reviewed background information, conducted fieldwork and completed an environmental analysis of the Greene Tract. The final assessment was presented to the local governments in July 2020.

Comments and questions regarding the environmental assessment and video presentation can be submitted at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7QB7L9M. All questions are due by May 23. Following this date, local government staff, in partnership with SynTerra, will provide additional informational materials, including frequently asked questions and a second video presentation to answer questions from the public.

Residents who have limited internet access are welcome to schedule a reservation to view the video, within COVID-19 protocols, at the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association Community Center, 101 Edgar St., Chapel Hill, or to learn about other viewing options.

Reservations can be scheduled by email (amoncado@orangecountync.gov) or by phone (919-245-2589).

For further information, contact Craig Benedict, Orange County Planning and Inspections director,
cbenedict@orangecountync.gov, 919-245-2592; Judy Johnson, Chapel Hill assistant planning director,
jjohnson@townofchapelhill.org, 919-969-5078; or Trish McGuire, Carrboro planning director,
pmcguire@ci.carrboro.nc.us, 919-918-7327.


Carrboro Joins Criminal Justice Debt Program

Carrboro residents needing assistance with fees and costs imposed due to criminal justice or traffic court involvement are now able to apply for relief through the Criminal Justice Debt Program. 

The Carrboro Town Council voted on April 27 to officially join the program established in 2020 by the Town of Chapel Hill. The Town of Carrboro is providing $7,500 for the program through the end of the fiscal year, with future appropriations to be determined through the annual budget process. 

The program provides criminal justice-related debt relief to community members who are taking steps to reintegrate into the community but whose ability to do so is hampered by debt from court fees and costs.

Court fees and costs have greater impact on the poor, and these costs and fees create barriers to seeking to reintegrate into the community. African Americans are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system due to historic and structural racism, making this a racial-equity issue.

The program pays the outstanding court debt for low-income residents of Orange County. Relief is considered for post-conviction court fees and costs, deferred prosecution court fees and costs, and license-restoration fees. Fines and restitution payments imposed as part of sentencing are not eligible for the fund. Program applications are available online at https://form.jotform.com/201253950662048. Paper applications are also available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Burmese and Karen.

To be considered eligible for relief, applicants:

  • Must live in Orange County
  • Must meet court indigency standards
  • Cannot be currently incarcerated
  • Must have outstanding criminal justice or traffic fees or costs 
  • Must demonstrate that they are on the road to stability
  • Must have already pursued other avenues for debt relief (e.g., driver’s license restoration program)
  • Must demonstrate that assistance will have an immediate impact on their stability or successful reentry into the community

For questions about the application or program requirements, contact the Chapel Hill Police Crisis Unit Supervisor Megan Johnson at 919-968-2806; or Savannah Allred, with Carrboro Police Department, at 919-918-7397.


April 28, 2021

Orange County Bail/Bond Justice Expands Assistance

In the first quarter of 2021, Orange County Bail/Bond Justice expanded assistance program and issued a special report on citations versus arrests for 2020.

The OCBBJ board voted to donate 20 percent of its Bail Fund to provide other types of assistance to those ordered detained pretrial in Orange County. OCBBJ will help pay court costs and fees, transportation costs to court and some jail-related fees (telephone calls and commissary costs at the detention center) for people unable to afford them.

OCBBJ assessed local law enforcement agency data on citations and arrests for the year 2020. To better focus on enforcement situations in which the officers’ arrest choices are more discretionary, only those arrests not involving a warrant or indictment were assessed. For citations, traffic infractions were excluded. Key findings include the following:

  • For cases involving only misdemeanor charges, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough issued citations in most cases (55 percent and 65 percent, respectively). Carrboro issued arrests in 56 percent of misdemeanor cases.
  • The overall percentage of citations given in 2020 declined. The most significant change in police practices due to COVID-19 was the drop in police citations and arrests in 2020 compared to 2019, not the proportion of citations given during the COVID lockdown or COVID post-lockdown period in 2020. OCBBJ has called for maintaining the decreased detentions seen in 2020, which means a need to sustain the decreased police citations and arrests. It also shows an opportunity to increase the use of citations over arrests when taking enforcement action.
  • Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough had a higher percentage of police cases involving citations and arrests for Black residents compared to their portion of the community. In Carrboro, this was also true for Hispanics. There are aggregate differences between white and Black residents in the total number of citation and arrest cases, and for Hispanics and Asians in the likelihood that a case will result in arrest, suggesting some racial disparity in our criminal justice system.

The assessment did not evaluate causation. More complex study would be needed to show racial bias or discrimination in practice. These findings indicate a need for further study by police and the community into policies, practices and biases that may contribute to inequities in our local criminal justice system.

For more information about Orange County Bail/Bond Justice, visit ocbailbondjustice.org.


Carrboro Recreation, Parks & Cultural Resources Updates

The Carrboro Recreation, Parks & Cultural Resources Department will reopen the Carrboro Century Center at 100 N. Greensboro St. for limited indoor programming and reservations beginning the week of May 17.

All activities/rooms will operate at 30 percent and follow all state and local health guidelines. Modifications include reduced class sizes, increased social distancing, mask requirements and increased hand sanitizing. More modifications may be made depending on the nature of the activity. Rooms will be sanitized between activities.

Facility access will remain limited to enrolled activity participants and approved reservations. Doors will remain locked, and staff will be on hand to facilitate access to the building. Residents wishing to conduct business in person will need to make an appointment by contacting the department at 919-918-7364 in advance. All participants and visitors to the facility will be required to answer health-screening questions and receive a temperature check.

Outdoor programming will operate in the manner in which it has since last summer/fall, complying with current state and local guidelines as above.  

All park facilities, including pavilions and athletic fields/courts, are open and available for reservations. Events and reservations are considered on a case-by-case basis. All state and local guidelines must be followed and may require an approved COVID plan from the Orange County Health Department.

Town-sponsored special events — Carrboro Day (www.carrboroday.com/), Freight Train Blues Concert Series (freighttrainblues.com) and Carrboro July 4th Celebration (www.carrborojuly4th.com) — will be presented virtually. Continue to check the event websites and www.carrbororec.org for COVID-related programming and facility updates.


Comments Sought on Changes to Long-Range Bike/Ped and Transportation Plan

The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization is seeking public feedback on a proposed amendment to the Comprehensive Transportation Plan. The CTP identifies future highway, transit, rail, bicycle, pedestrian and other transportation projects for this region over the next 30 years and beyond. The DCHC MPO is amending the CTP to add a network of bicycle/pedestrian paths along major roadways, identify high-capacity transit (such as bus rapid transit) along the region’s major travel corridors, ensure that the CTP supports local bicycle plans and improve roadways in fast-developing rural areas.

Residents and other stakeholders are asked to provide comments by reviewing the proposed Amendment #3 at the http://www.dchcmpo.org/programs/ctp/default.asp#tabs4 and provide comments directly by email to andrew.henry@durhamnc.gov by Tuesday, May 25. Residents and stakeholders may also directly address the DCHC MPO Board on Amendment #3 on Wednesday, May 12, beginning at 9 a.m., during the virtual board meeting (http://www.dchcmpo.org/about/board/agenda/default.asp).


Freight Train Blues 2021. Photo courtesy of Music Maker Relief Foundation.

Freight Train Blues Rolls in to Carrboro

The Town of Carrboro, the Carrboro Tourism Development Authority, WUNC, Music Maker Relief Foundation, Soul Bag and Artarie will present a livestream version of the annual Freight Train Blues Music Series each Friday at 6:30 p.m. beginning May 14. Featured concerts include “artist on the rise” (NPR Music) Amythyst Kiah, “enchanting new Appalachian voice [that] sounds like the soul child of Bob Dylan and Dolly Parton”; Alexa Rose; sacred soul guitar master Johnny Ray Daniels; Grammy-nominated trio The Hamiltones; and Harvey Dalton Arnold of Southern rock legends The Outlaws.

The series is hosted by the Hillsborough-based nonprofit Music Maker Relief Foundation, whose mission is to tend the roots of American music. The series, which typically takes place at Carrboro Town Commons, was filmed at The Fruit in Durham and will be broadcasted on Facebook and YouTube. It will also be streamed on Soul Bag (https://www.soulbag.fr/) and Artarie (https://www.artarie.com/).

Each installment of the series will open with a rare archival performance from one of North Carolina’s Piedmont blues masters. These legends have either been showcased at previous Freight Train Blues performances or performed in Carrboro over the years.

For more information, see http://townofcarrboro.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1684.


Black Summit Urges Protecting The Vote

The N.C. Black Alliance held its Annual Black Summit virtually on April 22 and 23, with the theme “Focused on the Fight, Facing the Future.” N.C. Senator Valerie Foushee, president of the NCBA board of directors, served as mistress of ceremonies. Orange County Commissioner Moses Carey Jr. was among the honorees and offered words of wisdom from his career in public service and community engagement.

One major takeaway of the summit was the importance and significance of protecting the vote, particularly for Black women and men, as efforts to disenfranchise specific sectors of Americans are underway. Participants were urged to register to vote; be informed about the candidates and issues; and then make a promise, “I will vote.”


Input Sought on Buckhorn Area Plan

Residents interested in keeping abreast of the Buckhorn Area Plan can offer their input at a community outreach meeting on Monday, May 17, from 6 to 8 p.m., hosted by Orange County Planning Department staff, who will provide the materials and Zoom link. Email Tom Altieri (taltieri@orangecountync.gov) with questions about the plan.

Information about how to join the meeting will be posted on the Current Interest Projects page of the website (https://www.orangecountync.gov/1722/Current-Interest-Projects) once it is available.


April Marks Financial Literacy Month

At a time when an examination of wealth in the U.S. finds evidence of staggering racial disparities, the NAACP is working to promote economic development.

Gaps in wealth between Black and white households reveal the effects of accumulated inequality and discrimination, as well as differences in power and opportunity that can be traced back to this nation’s inception.

The net worth of a typical white family ($171,000) is nearly 10 times greater than that of a Black family ($17,150), as of 2016. The Black-white wealth gap reflects a society that has not and does not afford equality of opportunity to all its residents.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP branch organized its Economic Development Committee in 2021 in part to address this wealth gap. The committee seeks to explore issues related to these disparities as well as ways to close the gap in line with the programs of the national NAACP. In addition to promoting support of minority businesses and advocating living wages for all workers and reparations, the committee will promote financial literacy and education.

Join an Economic Development Committee meeting (https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcpdeutpzMuGdW5lyiFgQNNfSbKuD_EvCMM) on the third Monday of every month, or email the co-chairs (economicdev5689@gmail.com) for more information.


Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Rides

On May 4, 1961, 13 Black and white civil rights advocates boarded a Greyhound bus in Washington, DC, bound for New Orleans. Riding side by side on interstate highways through the Jim Crow south, they sought to test the 1960 U.S. Supreme Court decision that segregation of interstate transportation facilities was unconstitutional. From May to December 1961, over 400 women and men challenged segregation, despite the danger of refuting white supremacy at the time.

On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the Orange County Community Remembrance Coalition, in collaboration with Carolina K-12, will present a free virtual program to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Rides.

The featured speaker will be David J. Dennis, JD, who will recount some of his experiences among the fearless and determined Freedom Riders on the bus and also his work as co-director of Council of Federated Organizations, Mississippi Director of the Congress of Racial Equality, and a coordinator of the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

Also speaking will be Dr. Freddie L. Parker and Dr. William Sturkey, with a facilitated discussion by young leaders Derrick Davis (UNC-CH student) and Joyah Horton (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Youth Council).

In addition to elevating this important history, the program will explore the ways in which the struggle for civil rights continues, via discussion with local activists Braxton Foushee, LaTarndra Strong, Jerdene Alston and Ajamu Dillahunt-Holloway, as well as local “artivists” Cortland Gilliam and Jerry Wilson of Black Out Loud. In addition, Chapel Hill Poet Laureate CJ Suitt will deliver a special tribute to Bayard Rustin.

The event is free and open to the public. Attending K-12 teachers can receive continuing education credits, and lesson plans will be provided. Teachers are encouraged to invite their students to attend as well.

Suggested pre-viewing: https://www.pbs.org/video/american-experience-freedom-riders/.


Carrboro is Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community

Mayor Lydia Lavelle has proclaimed the Town of Carrboro to be a 2021 Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community. The local designation supports parents and childcare staff to continue breastfeeding and offering expressed milk when returning to work or school and supports childcare staff with on-site breastfeeding facilities or spaces.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and other leading health organizations, breastfeeding is the optimal food for infants. 

The Carrboro community has attained broad support and direct community actions. The UNC Women’s Hospital and a birthing center, Women’s Birth and Wellness Center, have attained Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative designation; the Orange County Health Department has received the N.C. Breastfeeding Coalition Mother-Baby Clinic Award; and childcare programs in the community have been designated breastfeeding-friendly. 

To learn more about how the Town of Carrboro is helping families to thrive by ensuring that they receive community support to develop and sustain healthy lifestyles, see the proclamation at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/9062/2021-Breastfeeding-Friendly-Community-Proclamation.


Centers for Disease Control Updates Guidance for Vaccinated People

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has updated its guidance for fully vaccinated people. Some of the changes include the following:

  • Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues.
  • Fully vaccinated workers do not need to stay home from work after exposure, as long as they do not have any symptoms.
  • Fully vaccinated people living in a non-healthcare congregate setting no longer need to quarantine after an exposure.
  • Fully vaccinated people who have not been exposed to COVID-19 and do not have any symptoms may be exempted from routine screening testing.

The CDC adds that immunocompromised individuals should check with their doctor about these recommendations.

For more information, read the full CDC document at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html.


Housing Advisory Board Seeking Applicants for the Board

The Town of Chapel Hill is currently seeking three members to serve on its Housing Advisory Board. The three open seats are Affordable Housing Advocate, Homeowner/Tenant and Non-market Rate Housing Resident.

Submit an application online at www.townofchapelhill.org/boards or call 919-968-5014 to request a paper application.

The Housing Advisory Board is made up of nine members appointed by Town Council, including three homeowners or tenants; one non-market rate housing resident; one affordable housing advocate; one non-profit housing provider/professional; one for-profit developer; one real estate broker; and one housing, planning or public policy expert.

Housing Advisory Board members are appointed by the Town Council to serve three-year terms. The Board meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The average time commitment to serve on this board is about 2-4 hours per month. No previous board experience is required—new members will receive training and guidance to support their success.

For questions, call 919-969-5014 or email advisoryboards@townofchapelhill.org.


April 23, 2021

Town of Carrboro Achieves High Financial Ratings

The Town of Carrboro was recently assigned a credit rating of Aa1, the highest of high quality and only one notch below the highest possible rating of Aaa, by Moody’s. Additionally, the Town of Carrboro is rated AAA, the best rating possible, by Standard & Poor’s.

The ratings are key indicators of the town’s financial strength and allow the town to borrow funds at the best possible interest rates, saving taxpayers money.

For more information about the Town of Carrboro budget and debt management, visit http://townofcarrboro.org/175/Finance.


Cary and Greensboro Playwrights’ Forums Present Radio Play Festival

A collaborative audio play festival co-produced by the Cary Playwrights’ Forum and the Greensboro Playwrights’ Forum will present two plays each week, May 8-29, on CPF’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. The plays also will be fully produced on the CPF Radio Hour podcast site, https://cpfradiohour.podbean.com/. In keeping with the season, the theme is “rebirth/renewal.”

Links to the premieres on the CPF Facebook page and YouTube channel will be added on or slightly before each of the four Saturdays. Viewing is free with no required pre-registration; donations are appreciated and can be made by clicking the Donate button at the CPF home page, https://www.caryplaywrightsforum.org/.

The names of directors/editors and cast and information about how to watch the premieres will be available at https://www.caryplaywrightsforum.org/?p=4699.

For questions, contact one of the producers, Christian O’Neal at (christian.b.oneal@gmail.com) or Mike Brannon gsomojo@gmail.com.


Orange County Offers Vaccine Walk-In Clinics

The Orange County Health Department has switched to walk-in clinics for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. No appointment or pre-registration is necessary.

Walk-in clinics will be held every week at the Whitted Building, 300 W. Tryon St., Hillsborough, on Mondays and Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The county will host pop-up clinics at other locations throughout the county. For a full schedule of pop-up and walk-in vaccine clinics in Orange County, visit www.orangecountync.gov/getyourshot.

The vaccine is free, and no identification or insurance is required.

If you would like to be notified when clinics are available, you can still register with Orange County at https://redcap.link/OCHDvax or by calling 919-913-8088 seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Spanish and other languages are available.

To find out when shots are available with the Orange County Health Department or other providers close to you, visit www.myspot.nc.gov and search for your zip code. You can register for an appointment through the website, or you can just arrive during clinic hours and receive a shot. The website will show you other vaccinators within your area and times they are available.

Questions may be directed to covid19vaccine@orangecountync.gov.


County Honors Community Partners in Preventing Eviction

The Orange County Housing and Community Development Department has recognized the exceptional contributions, collaboration and partnership from community organizations in administering eviction and homelessness prevention funds through the Emergency Housing Assistance program. The organizations receiving recognition are Community Empowerment Fund, El Centro Hispano, Family Success Alliance, Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness and Refugee Community Partnership.

These agencies work closely with Orange County residents in need of resources and services, support them throughout the process of seeking assistance, and advocate for housing opportunity and racial equity in the community.
 
In 2020, in partnership and investment from the towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, the EHA and Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) programs assisted 1,245 Orange County households and provided more than $4 million in financial assistance, preventing eviction and homelessness and ensuring that residents had stable housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.


HOME Consortium Seeks Public Input on Annual Action Plan

The Orange County HOME Consortium is seeking public input on its draft Annual Action Plan for the fiscal year 2021-22 HOME Program. Each year, Orange County receives funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The county creates an annual action plan that lays out how HOME funds will be spent in the upcoming program year to address the county’s affordable housing needs and priorities. 

For FY 2021-22, Orange County proposes funding projects carried out by three local nonprofit organizations, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County (assistance to low-income households to purchase affordable homes); Pee Wee Homes (funds to develop three units of affordable rental housing for low-income households experiencing homelessness); and EmPOWERment Inc. (funds to acquire two units to be preserved as affordable rental housing).

To see the full draft plan, visit: http://orangecountync.gov/2336/HOME-Program (under “Plans, Reports and Forms”).

The public comment period is open through April 28. Comments may be submitted by mail (P.O. Box 8181, Hillsborough, N.C. 27278), email (ebrandt@orangecountync.gov) or telephone (919-245-4331).


April 22, 2021

Deadline Monday for Artists to Create Vaccine Posters

The ArtsCenter in Carrboro and Day One Relief will pay a local artist or designer $150 to create original poster art that spreads awareness about and encourages COVID-19 vaccination. Artists and designers residing in North Carolina are invited to apply with their portfolio of past work, especially poster design work, as well as a short, written description of the poster and tagline they would create if selected. One applicant will be selected and paid a $150 artist fee to create the poster design, which will be printed by The ArtsCenter and distributed by Day One Relief as part of vaccine rollout. Posters will be distributed to vaccine clinics and providers and community partners across the state, including Elizabeth City State University, NAACP North Carolina and Sunshine Station for Pasquotank/ECSU. As vaccine rollout continues into the summer and fall, applications will reopen to commission more artists to design more posters for more locations.

The request for proposals is available at https://artscenterlive.org/vaccine-poster-project/ in both English and Spanish. The deadline for the first round of proposals is Monday, April 26. Application materials should be emailed to marketing@artscenterlive.org. Artists who are seeking guidance on how to prepare an application or anyone with questions about this project are invited to contact marketing director Patrick Phelps-McKeown at marketing@artscenterlive.org.


Feast on Poetry, Virtually

Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources invites you to celebrate National Poetry Month with a menu of local poets reading from their works. Log on to the virtual event and bring your own your water, wine, or coffee and dessert as you feast on poetry. There will be time for discussion and questions.

Featured poets include: Chris Abbate, Bartholomew Barker, Dan Boehl, Marrow Dowdle, Tara Lynn Groth, Maura High, Jonathan Hopkins, JeanMarie Olivieri, Gary Phillips and Anna Weaver.

To access the event via Zoom, go to https://bit.ly/3arHR9h.


Composting Expands to Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market

The Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market will begin accepting residential food waste at University Place on Saturday, April 24. Coming on the heels of Earth Day, this new drop-off program will divert organic waste from the landfill to create compost, thereby reducing potent greenhouse gas emissions like methane. Residential food waste that is free of plastics, produce stickers and other non-compostable materials can be dropped off during Saturday market hours from 8 a.m. until noon.

A very wide array of organic materials is acceptable, including all food; food-related uncoated paper products, like paper napkins and paper towels; and certified compostable serving-ware that has been approved by Biodegradable Products Institute or other certification organizations. Be sure to remove all stickers, labels, plastic, rubber bands, twist-ties and other contaminants from the food before tossing it in the bin, the rule of thumb being, “When in doubt, leave it out.” Read more about what is — and isn’t — compostable at https://www.orangecountync.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2382/Commercial-Composting-Poster-PDF?bidId=.


Carrboro Day Program Online

The annual Carrboro Day Event is scheduled for Sunday, May 2. This year’s event will be presented in a virtual format with activities via YouTube and Zoom. Content will also be shared via the Carrboro Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/carrbororec.  

Events this year include music with Saludos Company; an open poetry reading in the round; Storytime with Mr. Keith; a historical presentation on schools in the Carrboro area by local historian Richard Ellington; a historic downtown walking tour; and a virtual art exhibition with Carrboro artist Renzo Ortega.

Visit http://www.carrboroday.com/301/Carrboro-Day for the schedule and details of all of these events.


April 18, 2021

Photo courtesy TownofChapelHill.org

Take the Bus to Vaccination Clinics

Chapel Hill Transit provides service to two UNC Health vaccination clinics and the Orange County Health vaccination clinic, at the RR Lot, 1071 Estes Drive Extension, Chapel Hill.

Routes FCX, S and N provide service to the UNC Friday Center on N.C. 54. From Friday Center Drive, customers can walk to the back of the center to access the UNC Health vaccine clinic. GoTriangle’s routes 800, 800S and 805 also stop at the Friday Center.

GoTriangle’s 420 route provides service to the UNC Health vaccine clinic in Hillsborough. 

Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents who are unable to access fixed route service or need to access the RR Lot can use EZ Rider to get to these vaccination points (you don’t need to be an EZ Rider customer). Book your trip by calling 919-969-4979 or completing the online form at https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/transit/ez-rider/online-reservations.

Chapel Hill Transit asks that customers do not ride the bus if they are sick or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. Face coverings are required on Chapel Hill Transit vehicles. 


CASA Breaks Ground on Perry Place

CASA (Community Alternatives for Supportive Abodes) has broken ground on its newest affordable housing community in Orange County. The site is located along South Merritt Mill Road and straddles the border of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. When completed, the community will be named Perry Place in memory of Northside leader and activist Velma Perry. 

The community will consist of 48 one- and two-bedroom apartment units for individuals and families living at under 60 percent of the Area Median Income. A portion of the apartments will be reserved for people living with disabilities. 

CASA was awarded Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the N.C. Housing Finance Agency for this community, as well as an interest-free Workforce Housing Loan. Additional funding for the land and predevelopment costs for Perry Place were provided by Orange County, the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and Strowd Roses Inc. 

Velma Perry was a community leader and activist who lived in the same home in Chapel Hill for 98 years and was a passionate affordable-housing advocate.


Carrboro Seeks Volunteers for Racial Equity Commission

The Town of Carrboro is recruiting for the newly established Racial Equity Commission, a volunteer board empowered to make short-, mid- and long-term recommendations that will make significant progress toward repairing the damage caused by public and private systemic racism, boosting economic mobility and opportunity and creating generational wealth in the Black community. The commission was established by the Carrboro Town Council on Jan. 19.
 
Commission members will serve two-year terms. Interested potential volunteers can find and submit an application at townofcarrboro.org/AdvisoryBoards. An informational flyer is accessible at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/8721/Racial-Equity-Commission-Flyer.

The mission of the Racial Equity Commission is to educate, provide leadership and facilitate ongoing equitable engagement with the immediate and greater Carrboro community. The focus is to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment that enhances the overall social, physical, mental and economic well-being of Carrboro. The town seeks to incorporate equitable policies, procedures and practices for real change based on both short- and long-term strategies to address disparities. Necessary resources and budgetary appropriations can start immediately to build greater equity within the community.

The commission will comprise nine members who complete race and equity training provided by the town’s core team. Members will include four representatives from the community (two who have lived in the community for at least 20 years and two for at least 10 years and should have a lived experience based on being a person of color); one youth representative between the ages of 15 and 18 years old who lives in Carrboro and works in or attends public, private or homeschool classes; and one representative each from the Affordable Housing Advisory Commission, the Environmental Advisory Board, the Economic Sustainability Commission and the Farmer’s Market Board. There will also be three non-voting town representatives — two Town Council liaisons and one staff liaison, the Town Race and Equity Officer.

For more information, contact the Town Clerk’s Office at cdorando@townofcarrboro.org or 919-918-7309. 


Grant to Animal Services Aids Kittens

Orange County Animal Services has received a grant of $25,000 from Petco Love to fund its kitten foster program. The grant will be used to provide medications, vaccines and medical care for kittens in the foster program at OCAS. The grant will also be used to increase the amount and quality of care provided in order to help even more kittens in the program grow strong and remain healthy in their foster homes.

For more information about the kitten foster program at OCAS, visit http://www.orangecountync.gov/290/Kitten-Foster-Program.


Orange County Program Supports Sexual Assault Survivors

The Orange County Local Reentry Council will host “Understanding Support for Survivors of Sexual Violence and Trauma” on Tuesday, April 27, at 10 a.m. The Orange County Rape Crisis Center will present on sexual violence and tools to be used by service providers when interacting with survivors. Join the meeting at www.orangecountync.gov/Survivors.


County Fosters Understanding of Reentry Challenges

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper has declared April as Second Chance Month to recognize the hurdles many formerly incarcerated people face as they reacclimate to society. Several virtual events are being held this month to bring greater awareness to the issue and highlight support programs available in the Orange County.

The Orange County Local Reentry Council Stigma & Recovery Support Services is hosting a free virtual event at 10 a.m. on April 21. Troy Manns, the statewide manager of advocacy and education for Recovery Communities of North Carolina, will present on stigma and recovery support services. Join the meeting at www.orangecountync.gov/stigma.

The Coordinated Local Reentry Council for Orange County will host its regular meeting on April 23. The public is invited to participate in this live virtual event hosted by the Orange County Criminal Justice Resource Department and the Orange County Health Department. Join the meeting at www.orangecountync.gov/ReentryMeeting. For more information, contact Keith Patterson, local reentry council coordinator, at 919-245-2064.


Carrboro Roundabout Traffic Shifts on April 20

The N.C. Department of Transportation contractors plan to shift traffic between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, onto a new roundabout at the intersection of Greensboro Street and Estes Drive.

Once open, approaching drivers will yield to any vehicles or bicyclists already in the roundabout. Drivers should also use turn signals when exiting and yield to pedestrians using crosswalks at the roundabout.

A short video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6uYbj7Gtyo will show how easy it is to maneuver through a roundabout.


Carrboro Town Council

Carrboro Grant Helps Affordable Housing on Cobb Street

The Carrboro Town Council granted $100,000 from its Affordable Housing Special Revenue Fund in support of the construction of four new units (two duplexes) on Cobb Street in the Northside neighborhood. These homes will be energy efficient and affordable to households earning between 30 percent and 80 percent of the Area Median Income. The two ground-floor units will be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant. 

The project is the culmination of a collaboration among the Compass group, Northside Neighborhood Initiative, the Marian Cheek Jackson Center, Self Help Ventures Fund, Habitat for Humanity and the Town of Carrboro.


April 14, 2021

Property Tax Assistance For Elderly and Permanently Disabled Residents

The N.C. General Assembly offers three programs to help low-income elderly and disabled homeowners obtain tax relief: the Elderly and Disabled Exclusion, the Disabled Veteran Exclusion, and the Circuit Breaker Tax Deferment. To obtain any of these, complete the application found at https://www.orangecountync.gov/DocumentCenter/View/14227/2021-PROPERTY-TAX-RELIEF-APPLICATION-PACKET.

In addition, those totally and permanently disabled need to complete a Certification of Disability (https://files.nc.gov/ncdor/documents/files/av9a.pdf).

The Homestead Exclusion Program assists homeowners 65 and older or who are permanently disabled on Jan. 1 and have income below $31,500. Applicants must have owned the home as of Jan. 1 and use it as their permanent residence in order to receive an exclusion of the taxable value of their residence of either $25,000 or 50%, whichever is greater. Apply with the Assessor’s Office between Jan. 1 and June 1.

People applying for the Homestead Exclusion Program may also qualify for payment assistance with their Solid Waste Programs Fee (https://www.orangecountync.gov/1797/Solid-Waste-Programs-Fee-Financial-Assis). Submit the application with the Homestead Exclusion Application.

The Circuit Breaker Tax Deferment creates a lien on property and is a tax-deferment program that caps the current property tax obligation for eligible taxpayers at a percentage of their income. Taxes, interest, penalties and fees in excess of the circuit breaker tax “ceiling” are deferred and are not payable until a disqualifying event occurs, such as if the owner transfers the residence, dies or ceases to use the property as a permanent residence. Multiple owners of a permanent residence must all qualify for the circuit breaker.

For questions about any of these programs or to schedule an appointment to speak to a staff member, contact the Orange County Tax Office at 919-245-2100, option 2.


Spring Green Home Tour a Hybrid Event

The High Performance Building Council of the Triangle, a joint council of the Home Builders Associations of Durham, Orange and Chatham counties and of Raleigh-Wake County, will hold its 2021 Spring Green Home Tour on April 24-25 and May 1-2.

This year’s tour will have some homes open for in-person touring, and all 18 homes will have their own online tours. A 3D virtual tour will stay live through the end of 2021 (SpringGreenHomeTour.com). The tour will showcase a variety of excellent examples of green home construction at various levels of national certification, with links for the public to reach out to building professionals with questions.

Attendees will be able to interact with the builders and onsite representatives (whether online or in person) to learn more about what’s involved in meeting stringent green building requirements. Homes entered in the tour may be in various stages of construction or owner occupied.

According to Home Innovation Research Labs, North Carolina continues to be ranked first in the country in the number of National Green Building Standard-certified single-family homes.

For more information about the tour, call (919) 493-8899, email julie@hbadoc.com, or visit the Tour pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Chapel Hill-Carrboro Creek Cleanup Ends April 17

The towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro are inviting residents and businesses to help clean our urban streams this spring (https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/public-works/stormwater-management/public-education-and-participation/annual-cleanup-with-carrboro#ad-image-0).

So far, 60 residents in Chapel Hill and Carrboro have removed over 1,500 pounds of trash from our local watersheds. The goal is to top 2,000 pounds.

Participants can enter to win prizes by completing the Litter Cleanup Data Sheet on Survey123 (https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/3f7db8f6d3df41cc974c86b09ebf6ea8). The data sheet will be open to the public until April 17. Prizes include reusable straws, cloth grocery bags, water bottles and more.

All trash should be bagged and put into your trash can. If you have more trash than will fit in your trash can, take it to one of the Waste and Recycling Centers, 1514 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill or 1616 Ferguson Road in Chapel Hill.

Learn more at http://bit.ly/JointCleanup, or contact Sammy Bauer at 919-968-2715 or sbauer@townofchapelhill.org or Heather Holley at 919-918-7426 or hholley@townofcarrboro.org.


Memorial Day Ceremony Planned at Orange County Veterans Memorial

The Veterans Memorial Planning Committee will hold its annual tribute to the women and men in our armed services who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, beginning at 7:45 a.m. The special ceremony will be held at the site of the future Orange County Veterans Memorial near the Orange County Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road. To learn more about the planned memorial, visit https://ocveteransmemorial.com/.


Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Paused for Review

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services sent a message to health care providers around the state advising that they follow the federal recommendation to pause use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration review data about an extremely rare type of blood clot that has been reported in six people who received that vaccine in the United States.

As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. The CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving a rare and severe type of blood clot that was reported in six people after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination.

People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. For people who got the vaccine more than a month ago, the risk to them is very low at this time.

There are three vaccines available. These events have not occurred with the other two vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna.


Parks and Recreation Releases Summer Recreation Programs and Summer Camp Guide

Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation is releasing its summer recreation program guide titled RECREATE. It will also contain a six-page Summer Camp Guide.

A mix of summer programs and activities for all ages and skill levels will be offered. The numerous indoor, outdoor and virtual programs this summer include Trivia Nights, Glow in the Dark Archery, Art In The Park, virtual Drawing for Comics, and much more.

Chapel Hill residents may register for summer recreation programs and specialty camps beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 4, and for summer day camps at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 12. Nonresidents may register for the programs and camps beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 11, and for day camps at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 19.

All summer camps will be running at a limited capacity this year, and everything possible will be done to make sure as many kids as possible still get to go to camp.

Recreation programs and summer camps can be viewed and downloaded at https://www.townofchapelhill.org/home/showpublisheddocument?id=48633. The printed edition will be available at recreation centers and the Chapel Hill Public Library on Monday, April 19.
For more information about Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation, visit www.chapelhillparks.org.


Share Your Input on Community Celebrations in Chapel Hill

Over the next two weeks, residents are invited to share their personal thoughts about Chapel Hill celebrations by completing an online survey and/or participating in a virtual open house.

The 5-minute online survey is available in both Spanish and English at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe7ByOIPD0CRCKPAzxuu5lXfrNlLANnA7pLe6ieoKaaDpxOOA/viewform. The survey is open until Sunday, April 25, and is anonymous.

On Thursday, April 15, between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., community members are invited to drop into various Zoom breakout rooms to discuss festivals and events in Chapel Hill. Topics include location and family-focused, adult-centric and uniquely Chapel Hill events. Registration is not required but appreciated. Email artsandculture@townofchapelhill.org to receive the Zoom link or visit chapelhillarts.org/communityinput.

The Community Arts & Culture division of the town is coordinating this project. Project findings will be shared with the community in early summer. To learn more about the project, visit chapelhillarts.org/communityinput.


April 10, 2021

Celebrate Earth Day All Month Long

The Town of Chapel Hill has created a month-long guide of fun (and COVID-friendly) activities, workshops and challenges to inspire love for our local environment. Called April Is for the Earth, the program invites residents to get outside, appreciate natural spaces and learn about local sustainability efforts. Go to chapelhillarts.org/earthday for the full schedule of programming.


Mayor Lavelle Signs Monarch Pledge

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle has signed the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, a step aimed at protecting the iconic butterfly, which has experienced a 90 percent decrease in eastern population.

Through the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, U.S. cities, municipalities and other communities are committing to create habitats for the monarch butterfly and pollinators and to educate community members about how to make a difference at home and in their community.  

Actions to increase pollinator habitat throughout Carrboro include a proclamation to raise awareness about the decline of the monarch butterfly and the species’ need for habitats; a public communication effort to encourage residents to plant monarch gardens at their homes or in their neighborhoods; native seed or plant sales, giveaways or swaps; monarch neighborhood challenges to engage neighborhoods and homeowners’ associations within the community to increase awareness and create habitats for the monarch butterfly; an invasive-species removal program that will support the re-establishment of native habitats for monarch butterflies and other pollinators; and educational signage at monarch gardens and pollinator habitats beyond monarch demonstration gardens.

Learn more about the Monarch Pledge at https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Invertebrates/Monarch-Butterfly


Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Extended Through May 6

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) has extended its assistance through May 6. Volunteers provide free federal and N.C. state income tax preparation to eligible individuals with low-to-moderate income regardless of age or county of residence. The Internal Revenue Service and N.C. Department of Revenue have extended the tax filing deadline to May 17.

As of April 1, VITA closed its virtual service and now provides only a do-it-yourself program and drop-off services. 

Drop-off VITA is by appointment only on Thursdays through May 6 at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill and on Wednesdays at the Passmore Center in Hillsborough.

For DIY VITA, certified volunteers are offering assistance by email through May 7. The DIY service is powered by TaxSlayer, free software to prepare and e-file your own taxes.

Unfortunately, VITA is not able to assist foreign students this year.

Go to http://www.orangecountync.gov/254/Tax-Assistance to learn more and schedule an appointment.


Frank Porter Graham Bilingue PTA president Alana Argersinger, dressed as the school mascot, a flying lion, welcomes fourth graders Daniela Schwartz, left, and Alma Lee on the first day of full-time in-person classes. Contributed photo.

Schools Reopen for Full-Time Option

On April 5, elementary school students throughout Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools entered their school buildings and saw their teachers in person for the first time in more than a year. The welcome back at Frank Porter Graham Bilingue included health screenings and temperature checks in the drop-off lane, traffic backups along Smith Level Road and a creative hello from the P