Community Notices Archive

COMMUNITY NOTICES ARCHIVE


July 1, 2022

Chapel Hill July Traffic-Safety Initiatives

The Chapel Hill Police Department (CHPD) is planning an enhanced number of pedestrian-safety enforcement operations in July, in addition to normal patrols. Scheduled special operations include – but are not limited to – the following dates:

  • Tuesday, July 5, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Friday, July 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 9, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 13, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Monday, July 18, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 23, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 28, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 30, 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). Everyone traveling is encouraged to remember that community safety, regardless of your mode of transportation, is a shared responsibility.

The CHPD is also planning at least four speed-enforcement operations in July – in addition to normal patrols – with the main goal of improving safety for everyone who shares roads:

  • Tuesday, July 5, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 12, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Tuesday, July 19, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, July 26, 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change

The Town will utilize its variable message sign 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.



Update on the E. Main Street Resurfacing Project

The N.C. Dept. of Transportation (NCDOT) resurfacing project for E. Main Street and W. Franklin Street in Carrboro is underway; Carolina Sunrock is the project contractor.  

The subcontractor Fulcher continues to cut traffic-signal sensor loops at intersections within the Carrboro limits of the project (E. Main Street from Jones Ferry Road to the Carrboro-Chapel Hill town limits at Merritt Mill Road and Rosemary Street).  

To limit disturbance on local businesses and traffic, work will occur at night, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Thursday. No work will occur after 6 a.m. Friday or any time on Saturday. All work will be performed with single-lane closures that will allow continued flow within multilane portions of the work zone and flagging operations through the two-lane portion.  

Milling and resurfacing is anticipated to begin the week of July 5.  The milling and resurfacing work will also take place at night.

Drivers should use caution and stay alert.  Sidewalks should remain open. 

Contact:  John Howell at 336-570-6830 for more information.

Learn more about the project at https://www.carrboronc.gov/2368/East-Main-Street-Restriping.


OCBC Reauthorizes Longtime Homeowners Assistance Program for FY 23, Eases Eligibility Requirements

The Orange County Board of Commissioners has reauthorized the Longtime Homeowners Assistance Program, a 2021 pilot program that provided grants to homeowners for assistance in paying property taxes.

The program started as a way to help lower-income property owners whose property taxes increased because of the 2020 revaluation that saw values in some areas rise significantly. For FY 2021-22, the Board designated $250,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds, but the program received only 91 successful applications and awarded $16,364 of relief.

The revised program will be based on the homeowners’ income and age and will no longer be restricted to properties that saw a tax increase due to the revaluation. The board again designated $250,000 for the program in FY 2022-23 and directed staff to develop a policy that prioritizes applicants based on age, length of time lived in the home and the homeowner’s tax burden (percentage of annual income needed to pay property tax bill) should demand exceed available funds.

The board approved several changes to boost participation, including reducing the requirement to have owned and lived in the home from 10 years to 5 years. According to data compiled by the Orange County Tax Office and the Orange County Housing Department, this would potentially double the number of eligible properties.


June 29, 2022

CHT July 4, Shuttles to Town Celebration

Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) will not operate transit service Monday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. EZ Rider will also be closed.

Chapel Hill Transit will operate shuttle service to the Town’s July 4 fireworks at Southern Village. Shuttles will run from the Jackson Deck at UNC Hospitals starting at 6:30 p.m. The last shuttle will leave the parking deck at 8:15 p.m. No shuttles will run during the show.

Shuttles will run for 30 minutes following the end of the celebration. For more about the Town celebration, see https://www.chapelhillarts.org/calendar/fireworks/.


Vaccines for Children Ages 6 Months to Under 5 Years Available in Orange County

Children ages 6 months and older can now receive a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all children who are eligible receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is available in Orange County following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) emergency use authorization and the CDC recommendation.

Children ages 6 months to younger than 5 get a smaller vaccine dose than any other age group. This vaccine dose differs from the vaccine that was previously authorized for children ages 5 to 11. Booster shots are currently not authorized for children in this age group. 

As with all routine vaccinations for children, these vaccines were tested and reviewed by the FDA and the CDC and their independent scientific committees to ensure they are safe for children. Results from ongoing clinical trials that began in March 2021 showed the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective to protect children ages 6 months to under 5 years from COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized for three doses, while the Moderna will initially begin as two. Moderna is currently testing their third dose, with data expected this summer.   

There were no safety concerns or serious side effects noted in the clinical trials for either vaccine. 

Children between the ages of 3 and 5 have the option of getting vaccinated at a pharmacy or grocery store in addition to a doctor’s office or local health center. Children under 3 years are not able to be vaccinated by a pharmacist. Parents and guardians of children who do not have an established medical provider can visit MySpot.nc.gov to search for a nearby vaccine provider. The N.C. COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center can also help you make an appointment by calling 888-675-4567. The help center is open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekends. You may also call the Orange County Health Department at 919-913-8088 to make an appointment or visit takemyshot.nc.gov. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They speak Spanish and other languages. 
Children may be able to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and other routine shots they are due for at the same visit. This is also a good time for them to get a routine checkup. 

Children may experience temporary and minimal side effects. These side effects are similar to adults – a sore arm, headache and being tired or achy for a day or two. According to the CDC, children under 5 had the highest rate of hospitalizations compared to other pediatric groups. COVID-19 cases in children can result in hospitalization, death, MIS-C (inflammation in different parts of the body) and long-term problems with symptoms that last for months. Vaccines will help reduce infections and transmission, bringing all North Carolinians closer to fewer family disruptions ahead of the summer months and school year. 

Everyone ages 6 months and older can receive a free COVID-19 vaccine, even if they don’t have health insurance and regardless of their immigration status. Parents and guardians with questions about COVID-19 vaccines should talk with their child’s physician.
 
North Carolina’s actions are based on recommendations from the CDC. Read the CDC’s full statement at https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/s0618-children-vaccine.html.


Carrboro to Present Frederick Douglass Community Reading

The Town of Carrboro will hold its Ninth Annual Community Reading of the Frederick Douglass essay, “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro,” on Monday, July 4. 

The reading will occur from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Carrboro Century Center, 100 N. Greensboro St. Introductory remarks will be provided by N.C. Central University professor Irving Joyner. From 1984 to 1992, Professor Joyner served as the associate dean of NCCU School of Law. He regularly teaches courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, civil rights, and race and the law. 

Frederick Douglass’ essay reflects a sobering point of view about what is commonly considered to be America’s Independence Day and is a part of the history of this country that should be recognized and remembered. The community is urged to attend and listen to the reading of this compelling work. 

For more information, contact Mayor Damon Seils at dseils@carrboronc.gov.

The reading is one of the events included in the day-long Carrboro July 4 Celebration. Learn more at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/308/July-4th-Celebration.

Access the entire Douglass speech at https://masshumanities.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/speech_complete.pdf.


Orange County Approves Budget, Reaffirms Commitment to Public Education

On Tuesday, June 21, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners adopted the operating budget and capital investment plan for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. The budget includes an increase in per pupil spending to $4,808 per student, funding for the expansion of Durham Tech on the Orange County campus, the return of Sunday hours at the main library, the creation of a mini-park in Perry Hills, and more.


Groundbreaking for New EMS Station

The public is invited to the groundbreaking for a new emergency management services (EMS) station in Efland on Thursday, July 14, at 3 p.m. This is the first stand-alone EMS station Orange County has built in many years and will help improve service in the western central part of the county.


 

Month-long Celebration Highlights Positive Impact of Parks and Recreation

This July, Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation will celebrate Park and Recreation Month, an initiative of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). A variety of activities are planned for residents of all ages and abilities, including:

  • Parks and Recreation staff and volunteers will be featured on the Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Facebook page throughout the month of July creating opportunities for inclusive recreational and cultural experiences and nurturing beautiful, sustainable spaces.
  • A special story hour and book-signing event, “Home is Where Your Park Is,” by author Cameron Levis, will be held at Southern Community Park on Wednesday, July 6, at 11 a.m. See https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/parks-and-recreation/recreation-events/park-and-recreation-month to read Cameron’s story and his inspiration.
  • A tourof Parks and Recreation facilities with members of the Town Council and Parks, Greenways, and Recreation Commission, will be held Sunday, July 17, at 1:30 p.m. The tour will depart from Homestead Park at 1:30 p.m. aboard a Chapel Hill Transit Bus. Please RSVP.
  • Share social media with the hashtag #RiseUpJuly, your experiences, memories, and stories about how parks and recreation has improved your quality of life, as well as why local park and recreation professionals are important to you.

To learn more about each of these Park and Recreation Month activities, see the Park and Recreation Month Web page.


ARPA Community Partner Application Open

Community Partners may now submit applications for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Based on the Chapel Hill Council’s feedback from spring meetings, the Town is seeking programs or services that address COVID-related needs that are:

  • Between $50,000 and $1,000,000 for calendar years 2023 and 2024 combined
  • Not only for staff salaries
  • Either:
    • New programs specific to pandemic relief or that benefit those most negatively affected by the COVID pandemic; or
    • Existing services that had to adapt because of the COVID pandemic and will still be expanded needs during the Award Period

Applications are due July 29, and questions are due July 22. More information can be found on the Town’s ARPA website or by emailing the team at arpa@townofchapelhill.org.


 

Story Hour and Book Signing with Author Cameron Levis

A special story hour and book-signing event will take place on Wednesday, July 6, at 11 a.m. under the large picnic shelter at Southern Community Park, to help celebrate National Park and Recreation Month.

Author and special populations coordinator for the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Dept., Cameron Levis will be reading his new book, “Home Is Where Your Park Is.”

Inspired by his grandfather’s park-to-scale project, Levis wrote the 46-page book that tells the story of a young boy who befriends an elderly man after meeting him in the park. Together, the two dream up their version of a perfect park.

During the event, there will be hands-on activities for children to draw their idea of what a perfect park is, as well as a question-and-answer session and opportunities to purchase your own signed copy of the book.

Cameron Levis tells everyone he is a “parks and rec kid.” In fact, he wears the title proudly as a badge of honor. So much so he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Dr. Alton Little, a long-time parks administration professor at Western Kentucky University.


June 24, 2022

Tips for Erosion Control from Carrboro Stormwater 

Carrboro is a town that has many natural streams, varied topography and wooded areas that make up our landscape. This landscaping changes over the years with development, yard gardening and natural processes. One of these natural processes is erosion. Over time you may have discovered an area in your yard eroding. There are steps you can take to control erosion on your property. 

If you have steep slopes, you may want to hire someone to help with regrading and landscape design. This type of work may require permitting to ensure that you are not impacting your neighbors. Please contact Planning, Zoning, and Inspections Department at https://townofcarrboro.org/133/Planning-Zoning-Inspections for information on permitting. If your slopes are not too steep, then you have several good options for stabilizing your yard.

First, avoid using any invasive plant materials like English ivy and Asiatic jasmine. Most residents who use invasive plants in their yard regret the choice, as these plants are hard to control, can take over not only your yard but also your neighbors and may exacerbate erosion issues. For more information on invasive plants, visit https://townofcarrboro.org/2679/Invasive-Plants. Second, if you have a stream-bank erosion on your property, consult with Stormwater and Planning staff to ensure that federal, state and town regulations are being followed.

The best way to control erosion on your property is to stabilize the soil as quickly as possible. You can cover the soil with a natural jute/coconut fiber ground fabric as soon as possible to stop the current erosion. Use metal or wooden stakes to hold the fabric. 

The next step is to use plants, of which there many options. You can use grasses, sedges, wildflowers, wood shrubs and trees in various combinations to control erosion long-term. Choosing native plants will give you deeper and wider-spread roots over typical turf grass species. N.C. Cooperative Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox is a great resource for plant materials. You can search for plants based on site conditions, plant types, appearance or maintenance needs.

For stream and drainage pathway erosion, you can also use similar techniques to restore and stabilize the banks. There are a variety of additional techniques that can be helpful with these unique yard features. We suggest researching the material on backyard stream repair https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/options-for-backyard-stream-repair from N.C. Cooperative extension, attending a workshop https://www.bae.ncsu.edu/workshops-conferences/sbr/, and scheduling a site visit with town staff https://townofcarrboro.org/FormCenter/Public-Works-Department-23/Stormwater-Service-Request-134

Using native plants and landscaping with the nature of your yard can turn a perceived erosion issue into a landscaping feature. If you would like some technical advice on addressing erosion issues in your yard, contact the Stormwater Division at 919-913-2999 or Stormwater@CarrboroNC.gov and schedule a site visit with staff.


Chapel Hill Transit Names Facility in Honor of Howard and Lillian Lee

The Chapel Hill transit facility on Millhouse Road was named in honor of Howard and Lillian Lee in a celebration held Monday, June 20, to recognize former Chapel Hill Mayor and state Sen. Howard Lee’s role in bringing public transit to Chapel Hill.

Lee was the first black mayor elected in Chapel Hill, and the first black person to be elected mayor of any majority-white city in the South. Lillian Lee was an advocate for children as one of the first teachers at the UNC Hospital School in 1965. She retired after many years as a counselor and administrator in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. 


You Don’t Have to Ride Jim Crow!

Most Americans know something of the civil rights movement—the speeches of Martin Luther King, the Freedom Rides of the 1960s and the March on Washington. But there were earlier actions that also profoundly changed our country’s history. One of great significance to the civil rights movement but nearly lost to that history was the Journey of Reconciliation.

A special film telling the story of that ride will be shown at the Chelsea Theater in Chapel Hill on Monday, June 27, at 7 p.m.

Seating for this event is limited. Register at https://chapelhillhistory.org/places/journey-of-reconciliation/.

If you need to cancel your registration, email Molly at mluby@townofchapelhill.org.


Public Comment Period on Signature Verification for Absentee Voting

The State Board of Elections has opened a written public comment period for a request by the N.C. Republican Party for the State Board to authorize county boards of elections to scrutinize voter signatures on absentee-ballot request forms and absentee-ballot return envelopes, to determine whether to count those ballots in North Carolina elections. North Carolina law currently requires an absentee voter to confirm their identity by having two witnesses or a notary attest that the voter completed their ballot. This request seeks an additional layer of verification for absentee voters. 

Read the Republican Party’s request for a declaratory ruling, which was made on May 14.

The public comment period is open through Tuesday, July 5. Members of the public may comment using the form at https://www.ncsbe.gov/2022-public-comment-period-signature-verification-absentee-voting.

State Board staff will compile the comments and post them online before the State Board meets to consider a ruling on the request, likely in mid-July. 

Specifically, in addition to confirming that the voter’s ballot was properly witnessed, the request seeks to also allow county boards of elections to compare the signature on an absentee document with the voter’s signature on their voter-registration documents, which are kept on file with the county boards. The request also asks that the county boards be able to “exhaust all available resources to confirm that the signature provided on an absentee container-return envelope is that of the purported voter.” 

The State Board’s current guidance to county boards of elections is not to use signature verification in the consideration of absentee returns. Under state law, each absentee by-mail voter must have two witnesses or a notary attest that the voter completed their ballot in the witnesses’ presence. Verification of the voter’s identity is completed through this witness requirement. State law does not explicitly address the comparison of voter signatures. 


Ephesus Church Road Repaving

Ephesus Church Road is set to be resurfaced and repaved by the N.C. Dept. of Transportation beginning as soon as June 27, and the final pavement markings have been approved.

As part of this resurfacing, the Town will add bike lanes on Ephesus, as included in the Mobility & Connectivity Plan. This will be accomplished by narrowing vehicle lanes and prohibiting parking on the side of the road.


Chapel Hill Police Investigate Shooting

Officers responded to a shooting in the 200 block of Erwin Road on June 22. One person was transported to UNC Hospitals with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. Another person was detained for further questioning.

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


Original Freedom Riders Exonerated in Special Court Ceremony

Four men arrested in Chapel Hill and convicted in 1947 after challenging Jim Crow-era segregation laws had their names cleared June 17 in a special ceremony in Orange County Superior Court.

The Journey of Reconciliation, an interracial freedom ride organized by civil rights leaders Bayard Rustin and George Houser to protest Jim Crow bus segregation, came through Chapel Hill in April 1947. As the riders attempted to board a bus to continue the journey to Greensboro, several were removed by force and were attacked by angry cab drivers. Four of the riders—Andrew Johnson, James Felmet, Bayard Rustin, and Igal Roodenko—were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for refusing to move from the front of the bus.

“Imagine the courage it took to quietly sit together at the front of the bus while people outside taunted them, ridiculed them, threatened them with violence,” said Woodrena Baker-Harrell, the public defender for Orange-Chatham counties. “They were probably mortified, scared about what was going to happen to them. Yet through that agony, they continued to sit there quietly because these four men believed in what they were doing. We, as members of this community, should strive to have the courage displayed by these men.”

Following a May 1947 trial in Orange County, the four men were convicted and sentenced to 30 days on the chain gang. The convictions were later upheld by Orange County Superior Court and then the N.C. Supreme Court.

During ceremonies honoring the 60th anniversary of the 1961 Freedom Rides, Renee Price, chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, learned that the charges against the men arrested in Chapel Hill, in what many civil rights historians consider the first Freedom Ride, had never been dropped. She reached out to Orange County Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour, whose office researched the incident and legal cases.

Baddour decided that a Motion for Appropriate Relief would be the legal vehicle to drop the charges because the men were convicted under state statutes that violated the Constitution. The statutes (N.C.G.S. 60-135 and 60-136) weren’t repealed until 1963.

For more information, including photos and video of the ceremony, see https://www.orangecountync.gov/2937/Journey-of-Reconciliation.


Animal Services Receives Petco Love Grant for Working Barn Cat Program

Orange County Animal Services is proud to announce that they have received a grant from Petco Love to sustain their Working Barn Cat Program. This grant will be used to support spay/neuter services for free-roaming cats belonging to Orange County residents, and thereby reduce pet overpopulation even further in Orange County.

Orange County Animal Services is set to receive the $20,000 grant investment from national nonprofit Petco Love during a special celebration at Petco at 1800 East Franklin St. in Chapel Hill on June 28 at
11 a.m. in support of their lifesaving work for animals in Orange County.

The Working Barn Cat Program helps to trap, sterilize and return free-roaming cats found at farms, stables and in other rural settings belonging to Orange County residents. These cats will be spayed or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and licensed. All of these services are provided at no cost to Orange County residents who have cats that qualify for the program. The Working Barn Cat Program is part of a broader effort to more humanely and proactively manage free-roaming cats in Orange County.

Petco Love is a national nonprofit leading change for pets by harnessing the power of love to make communities and pet families closer, stronger and healthier. Since its founding in 1999, Petco Love has invested $330 million in adoption and other lifesaving efforts. And Petco Love helps find loving homes for pets in partnership with Petco and more than 4,000 organizations across North America, with
6.5 million pets adopted and counting.

Orange County residents interested in spay/neuter assistance can contact Tiani Schifano at 919-932-4966 or tschifano@orangecountync.gov.


Treatment of Invasive Plant in Eno River Begins Next Week

The Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ), in cooperation with the Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources, City of Durham, Durham County, Town of Hillsborough and Orange County will be treating the Eno River for hydrilla through August 31.

Hydrilla is a submerged aquatic plant originally from Asia. The invasive species was first discovered in the Eno River Watershed’s Lake Orange in the early 1990s. It can create nearly impenetrable mats of stems and leaves in lakes, rivers and other waterways, impeding recreational use. It also affects native vegetation and can harm fish and other aquatic and bird species. 

The treatment area is located just below the Lake Ben Johnson dam along the river to U.S. Highway 501 crossing in Durham. The herbicide is applied using a two-injection system to meter the appropriate amount of herbicide throughout the treatment area. It is used at a concentration well within limits approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—determined safe for swimmers and boaters and non-toxic to fish and wildlife. For additional information on water quality safety during the treatment period, contact the Dept. of Health and Human Services at 919-707-5900.

The Eno River Hydrilla Management Task Force first introduced the herbicide fluridone in 2015 to a 16-mile treatment zone largely within Eno River State Park in Orange and Durham counties. It was the first time the herbicide was used successfully in a river in North Carolina to combat hydrilla, although it has been used for many years elsewhere in large lakes.

The Eno River Hydrilla Management Task Force comprises federal, state and local government representatives, including staff from North Carolina state parks, the N.C. Division of Water Resources Aquatic Weed Control Program and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The group has been working since 2007 to evaluate and address the hydrilla threat in the Eno River.

For more information, visit the DEQ website’s Eno River Hydrilla Management Project page, or contact Drew Gay, Aquatic Weed Specialist, Division of Water Resources, at 919-707-9020 or email andrew.gay@ncdenr.gov.


Notice of Public Meeting ADA Paratransit Plan

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires Orange Public Transportation Services (OCTS) provide complementary ADA-accessible paratransit service to eligible persons within three-quarters of a mile of its fixed-route service at concurrent times and dates to the routes and hours of fixed-route operation.

Presentation of the OCTS ADA Paratransit Plan and associated policies will be provided at a public meeting held by OCTS staff Thursday, June 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Orange County North Campus, Bonnie B Davis EAC Building, located at 1020 US-70 West, Hillsborough. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the current adopted 2015 ADA Paratransit Plan.

The revised plan will be available for review on the OCTS website (https://www.orangecountync.gov/transportation) and in the administrative office located at 600 Highway 86 N, Hillsborough, during the 30-day public comment period starting Thursday, July 21, and ending Friday, Aug. 19. 

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners will conduct a public hearing on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Whitted Building, located at 300 W. Tryon St, Hillsborough, at which time a presentation of the Updated ADA Paratransit Plan will be provided and the public will be given an opportunity to comment. 

For further information on the plan or to submit comments, please contact Nishith Trivedi, Orange County Transportation Services interim director, at 919-245-2007 or email ntrivedi@orangecountync.gov.


Department on Aging Accepting Nominations for 2022 Direct-Care-Worker Awards

Orange County Dept. on Aging and the community group Senior Health Advocacy and Resource Partners of Orange County (SHARP), will host the eighth annual SHARP Direct-Care-Worker Awards.

Nominations will be accepted from June 15 through Sept. 15. A recognition ceremony will be held for award winners on Thursday, Nov. 3.

This event is in honor of direct-care workers (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.

In recognition of the outstanding service provided by direct-care workers, the Dept. on Aging and SHARP will present awards in the following categories: 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.

For more information about the awards and to nominate a direct-care worker, complete the online or downloadable nomination form at: www.orangecountync.gov/SHARPAwards.


June 18, 2022

Town of Chapel Hill Awards $546,500 to Nonprofit Organizations

The Town of Chapel Hill’s Fiscal Year 2023 (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023) budget includes $546,500 to support 40 nonprofit organizations that provide vital community programs and services. This funding cycle was exceptionally competitive, with the Town receiving a record $1.3 million in requests from nonprofit organizations.

The Town’s Human Services Program’s overarching goal is to achieve economic and social well-being and opportunities to thrive for all Chapel Hill residents, particularly those who are low-income or otherwise disenfranchised. The program funds programs that improve education, livelihood security and health outcomes for Chapel Hill residents.

The Town awarded three Community Impact Awards, large awards between $30,000 and $50,000 for particularly impactful programs and projects that demonstrate an evidence-based approach and scale of impact. Recipients of the Community Impact Award are El Centro Hispano, Inc.; EmPOWERment Inc.; and Meals on Wheels.

The Human Services Program was established in the 1970s and has supported hundreds of community programs and services. In total, over the past almost 50 years, the Town has invested more than $7 million in the Human Services Program. Last year alone, 50+ agencies were funded, and more than 32,000 individuals were served through funded programs and services.

In 2018, the Town Council adopted a new Results Framework for the Human Services Program. Adoption of the Results Framework reflects the Town’s interest in further focusing the Human Services Program on results and deepening the program’s impact to address the community’s greatest challenges.


OWASA 2021 Water-Quality Report Card Now Available

Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) met all state and federal drinking water regulations during the 2021 calendar year. The annual water-quality report card is now available in English and Spanish. Customers will also be receiving a packet in the mail with highlights from the full report card.

The report card provides details on where your water comes from, how OWASA treats your drinking water to meet regulatory standards, and more about how we can all work together to protect our vital natural resources. The annual water-quality report card shows how OWASA measures up against regulatory standards to ensure that customers continue to receive high-quality drinking water.

You can also learn through this year’s report card more about the OWASA team working to serve customers every day and different water-based activities to enjoy – whether that’s taking a kayak onto Cane Creek Reservoir or University Lake or learning more about how high-quality water is the first and most important ingredient for homebrewing, your morning coffee, and so much more.

Roughly half of every dollar that OWASA receives from customers is put back into the community’s water and sewer infrastructure. The report card also takes time to highlight one of these projects that saw significant work during 2021 at the Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant. This project was focused on increasing the reliability and resiliency of OWASA’s services for residents.

OWASA’s affordability program is also highlighted in the report card. OWASA is working with customers who have bills that are past due to help connect them with funding assistance associated with COVID-19. OWASA also has the Care to Share bill-assistance program, and customers are able to sign up to donate funds as part of their monthly bill to help those in our community who are in need.

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


Chapel Hill Firefighters Respond to North Columbia Street House Fire

Just before 7 p.m. on June 16, the Chapel Hill Fire Department responded to a fire at a home in the 300 block of North Columbia Street. The fire displaced one person, and there were no injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Carrboro Fire Department and Orange County Emergency Services assisted 14 Chapel Hill firefighters at the scene.


June 15, 2022

Carrboro Town Council Adopts Carrboro Connects

On Tuesday, June 7, Carrboro’s Town Council unanimously voted to adopt the Carrboro Connects 2022-2042 Comprehensive Plan. As was discussed during the Council meeting, plan adoption is only the beginning, as the real achievements and progress for the Town will take place over the next five to 20 years of plan implementation. The plan is built on the twin foundations of racial equity and climate action and, for the first time, brings the goals of the Town as a whole into a single document. From supporting local businesses to expanding affordable housing options and access to open space, the plan builds on Carrboro’s leadership in taking bold action to meet its goals.

Carrboro Connects is the product of a community-wide planning effort. The policies and projects reflect the vision, ideas and commitment to Carrboro that were shared by thousands of residents, businesses and organizations. Learn more at https://www.carrboroconnects.org/

Stay tuned for more to come, including an executive summary in English and Spanish. Engagement continues throughout plan implementation.


Free Parking in June 

Downtown parking west of Columbia Street will be free every Saturday in June. 

Support Local Artisans

Gizmo Brew Works will hold a summer night market every Tuesday in June from 5 p.m. to 8p.m. Shop for clothing, jewelry, body care products, visual art and more. Admission is free and food and drink specials will be available for shoppers.


A Conversation with Jenny Schuetz

On Tuesday, June 21, from 5 to 6 p.m., NEXT NC will hold a virtual conversation (on Zoom) with senior Brookings fellow Jenny Schuetz  to discuss her new book, Fixer-Upper: How To Repair America’s Broken Housing Systems. Go here to register. 


Survey for Downtown Chapel Hill

Downtown Chapel Hill is conducting a survey to see what residents think is great and what needs improvement in downtown Chapel Hill. This info will be used to shape the work plan for the year and to share with partners when appropriate.
Go here to take the survey.


Reduced Cat Adoption Fees in June

For the month of June, Orange County Animal Services in Chapel Hill (www.orangecountync.gov/animalservices) has reduced adoption fees for all adoptable cats. Call 919-942-7387 for more information.


Orange County Receives Third Positive Rabies Test of 2022

Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) has received its third positive rabies test result of the year, according to the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health. This incident involved a sheep and occurred in Hillsborough. The county recorded a total of four positive cases last year and eight the year before.

Because the owners of the sheep had possible exposure to rabies due to handling the animal, a communicable disease nurse from the Orange County Health Department will evaluate the risk of rabies exposure. As is always the case, a decision about the post-exposure prophylaxis that protects people from rabies is based upon an assessment of all the factors involved in this type of situation. Other livestock on this property will be evaluated by a veterinarian from the N.C. Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services. 

Rabies is a fatal, viral infection. It is important for the health of your family and your pets to make sure your pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Your veterinarian is the best source of information on vaccinations for your pet. When there is “a reasonable suspicion of rabies exposure” to a dog, cat or ferret with a valid vaccination history, that pet must receive a booster shot within 96 hours (four days). By contrast, an unvaccinated cat or dog must either be euthanized or quarantined for a period up to four months (or six months for a ferret). 

In North Carolina and other areas, rabies is commonly found in raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, wolves, groundhogs and beavers. A host species of rabies in our own region and others is the bat. Of the few cases of rabies in humans in our country in recent years, most have been traced to bats. If there is any possibility of exposure from a bat, it is critical that citizens immediately contact their animal control program. If an incident involving a bat – or other rabies vector, such as a raccoon or skunk – should occur outside regular hours of service, an Animal Control Officer should be reached right away through Emergency Communications (9-1-1).

For more information, you can review the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention. You can also visit http://www.orangecountync.gov/307/Rabies.


Kimberly Jones Named 2022-23 Teacher of the Year 

Kimberly Jones of Chapel Hill High School was named the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Teacher of the Year at its annual Recognition Reception on June 6.

Jones is an English teacher with 16 years of teaching experience.  She holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Wake Forest University and a master of education degree from Wake Forest University, as well as her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in ELA, Adolescence and Young Adulthood.  Jones received a $1,000 check from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation.

During her impromptu acceptance speech, Mrs. Jones said, “This is the first and only place I’ve ever taught. When I interviewed, I told the staff I wanted to be at Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools because I wanted to be in the best school district in the state, and 16 years have proven that. Every year I am so fortunate to be gifted with young minds to help shape and influence and as a humanities teacher, I firmly believe that what is past does not have to be prologue. Every day we have the power to change the future, to teach the struggles and the crises of our past, but more importantly to equip our young people to create a better and more just world.”


 

Fire Damages Carrboro Apartment Building

On Saturday, June 11, at 8:05 p.m., members of the Carrboro Fire Rescue Department responded to 101 Rock Haven Road, for the report of a structure fire. Additional information was given that significant flames and smoke were visible.

Responding fire crews arrived in just over four minutes and found a 14-unit apartment building with heavy smoke and flames emitting from first- and second-floor units at the rear of the building. The fire was brought under control approximately 40 minutes after arrival. Fire crews were able to contain the fire to the four of the units; however, an additional four units received smoke and water damage. Most of the fire damage was limited to two apartments, with the most significant damage in one second-floor apartment, including the attic and roof of that unit. 

There was one minor injury to a civilian, and that resident was not transported to the hospital. An estimated 17 residents were displaced. The American Red Cross is assisting with temporary relocation and other needs of residents. Initial damage estimates are approximately $500,000. The building was deemed uninhabitable. 

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the Carrboro Fire Rescue Department with assistance from the Chapel Hill Fire Department. Carrboro Fire Rescue Department received assistance at the scene from Chapel Hill, White Cross and North Chatham Fire Departments, and South Orange Rescue Squad. The New Hope Fire Department and Orange Grove Fire Department provided coverage to the Town of Carrboro for the duration of the fire.


Orange County Names First Chief Equity and Human Rights Officer

Dr. Shameka Fairbanks has been hired as Orange County’s first chief equity and human rights officer, county manager Bonnie Hammersley announced Monday, June 13. Dr. Fairbanks comes to Orange County from the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, where she served as health equity manager.

Fairbanks will be responsible for implementing Orange County’s One Orange goals to integrate equity in the organization through practical and impactful policies, procedures, programs and services. She will lead the county’s Government Alliance for Racial Equity Workgroup; the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workgroup; provide support and consultation to departments/agencies; and propel the countywide strategy for advancing equity and inclusion into organizational culture and service delivery in the county and its communities.

Fairbanks will also serve as a key liaison to the Orange County Human Relations Commission as well as the community for equity and human rights efforts, including the implementation of the County Racial Equity Action Plan, administration of the Non-Discrimination Ordinance and administration of the County’s fair housing program.

At the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, Fairbanks led communications and creative groupthink strategy sessions for representatives of three departments to design and facilitate organizational initiatives focused on equity. She also motivated a call to action for leadership to implement programs to improve experiences for all cultures by developing a lecture event focused on social justice. 

Dr. Fairbanks earned her bachelor’s degree in communication/marketing from Western Kentucky University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Indiana and her doctoral degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. Her first day in Orange County will be June 27.


Orange County Community Climate Action Grant

The application period for Orange County’s Community Climate Action Grant is now open for FY22-23. The process for soliciting and selecting projects to receive funding is being conducted through a formal grant program.

An estimated $275,075 in funding will be provided to support expansion of climate-change mitigation and resilience projects that build on Orange County’s long history of sustainable actions. An additional $275,075 in funding will be set aside to fund applications submitted under this grant program from either of Orange County’s two public school districts. 
 
Details on grant eligibility, scoring and application materials are available at the grant program website: www.orangecountync.gov/CCAGP.

As part of the FY20 budget, the Board of Orange County Commissioners (BOCC) created the Orange County Climate Action Fund dedicated to accelerating climate change mitigation and resilience projects in Orange County. The first round of projects was proposed by the Commission for the Environment (CFE) and approved by the commissioners. These projects funded solar projects for each of the school districts, a LED lighting campaign for lower-income residents and affordable housing weatherization.
 
Following the direction of the BOCC, the Orange County Sustainability Program is seeking applications for the FY22-23 funding cycle of the Orange County Climate Action Fund.
 
The BOCC has regularly emphasized the need to consider social justice and racial equity, so that those who benefit most directly from the county’s actions and investments are the people who most need assistance. The scoring formula used to rank potential projects reflects these priorities and will be used by the CFE to rank climate action grant applications.
 
Applications are scored using a 25-point scale based on the following weighted criteria:

  • Social justice and racial equity (six points)
  • Emissions reduced (four points)
  • Efficient use of funds (four points) 
  • Capacity of applicant (three points)
  • Local economic development (three points)
  • Amount and duration of engagement (three points)
  • Time to complete (two points)

Pollinator Week in Carrboro

Carrboro will kick off Pollinator Week at Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 1120 Hillsborough Road from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, June 18, with a short presentation and discussion about pollinators. A gardener will show visitors around the site and explain the importance of pollinators, how they built and care for the pollinator beds in the garden, and how having pollinators is important for growing food. 

The community is also invited to visit the Cedars neighborhood pollinator garden to learn about Carrboro’s local pollinators and how you can start your own pollinator garden. Just a 15-minute walk from MLK Park, the community garden is located on the corner of Bolin Forest and Stable roads (parking also available on Bolin Forest Road). (On Google Maps, type in Stable Road for walking or driving directions.)


Carrboro Stormwater Control Measures & Mosquitoes

If designed and maintained properly, stormwater control measures (SCMs) should not promote mosquito breeding. Stormwater management is essential to mitigate the adverse effects of human impacts on the environment, including controlling flooding, improving water quality, increasing groundwater recharge and reducing stream channel erosion. Ensuring that stormwater facilities are properly designed and maintained is the key to limiting mosquito production in these practices. 

There are many SCMs in Carrboro, some of which are large, end-of-pipe basins that contain and treat water from large drainage areas. Others are small, landscaped practices located within right-of-way areas, schools and libraries, and on private property that collect and treat smaller volumes of water close to the source. Some SCMs will pond water temporarily and some retain water permanently to improve water quality. Some are owned and maintained by the town; most are privately owned and maintained.

SCMs that hold water permanently: Stormwater management ponds typically are not preferred breeding habitats for mosquitoes. Wet ponds and stormwater wetlands with aquatic habitats maintain natural predators that control mosquito populations.

SCMs that hold water temporarily: Dry detention basins, bioretention and rain gardens are designed to detain and infiltrate stormwater. Facilities fill up during storm events and then release the water within two to three days. Because these systems are designed to hold water for only short periods of time, these practices should not sustain mosquito populations.

See https://townofcarrboro.org/2711/Mosquitoes for more information on mosquitoes and how to reduce them on your property.


Chapel Hill Police Search for Homicide Suspect

The Chapel Hill Police Department is working to locate Nathaniel Shamone Byrd, 41, of Chapel Hill, who is charged with first-degree murder.

At around 5:30 a.m. on June 10, officers found Ezzard Charles Stroud Jr, 50, deceased inside his home in the 100 block of Creel Street. Their investigators identified Byrd during a subsequent investigation.

The investigation is ongoing, and no additional information is available at this time.

Anyone who has seen Byrd or has 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. Information that leads to an arrest could be eligible for a reward up to $2,000.


June 9, 2022

Orange County to Host “Welcome to Medicare” Seminars

The Orange County Dept. on Aging and the N.C. Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) has partnered with the Orange County Public Library to host free “Welcome to Medicare” seminars.

The seminar topics will introduce Medicare Parts A & B, Medicare Advantage, Part D Prescription Drug Coverage, Medicare Supplement Insurance, and programs to assist with Medicare costs.

The seminars are free and open to the public. However, space is limited, so participants are encouraged to register in advance.

Seminar Dates and Times:

Wednesday, June 29, 12-1:30 p.m.
Orange County Public Library
137 W. Margaret Lane, Hillsborough
Register at 919-245-2015 by Tuesday, June 28
 
Wednesday, July 13, 6-7:30 p.m.
Online Class using Zoom
Register at www.orangecountync.gov/Medicare101_july
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Monday, August 15, 12-1:30 p.m.
Orange County Public Library
137 W. Margaret Lane, Hillsborough
Register at 919-245-2015 by Friday, August 12
 
In addition, certified counselors are available to meet with you individually, in-person or virtually via Zoom, to explain the basics of Medicare. Book an appointment online or call 919-245-4274.


Chapel Hill Public Library Summer Blast

Chapel Hill Public Library Summer Blast is back in 2022, with reading goals, events, concerts, and other in-person programming.

To get started:

  • Beginning June 1, kids, teens and adults can register online or in-person and come pick up their summer reading log at the library. You’ll also get to pick out your free book.
  • Write down your reading goals and keep track of the time you spend reading using your reading log. You can set any reading goal you want. Don’t be afraid to get creative—try a new genre, aim to finish your to-be-read list, or track minutes, hours, pages or books.
  • If you need reading recommendations, you can always come and ask the staff, explore booklists , or fill out a You Might Like form.
  • See the calendar of events at https://chapelhillpubliclibrary.org/events-calendar/. Join in Family Fun Fridays (https://chapelhillpubliclibrary.org/eventscalendar/family-fun-fridays/), featuring music, food trucks and other fun activities.
  • Look for your name on the Summer Blast window display.
  • Get a stamp on your reading log and pick a prize when you’ve met your reading goal at the end of the summer.

Banned Books Week

In conjunction with Banned Books Week, September 18-24, the Chapel Hill Public Library is looking for original artworks on paper, inspired by books or authors that have been challenged, censored or banned.

Banned Books Week (https://bannedbooksweek.org/) is an annual, national celebration of your freedom to read. Chapel Hill Public Library, in partnership with Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture (https://www.chapelhillarts.org/), celebrates by asking local artists to create original works of art inspired by a banned book or author whose work has been challenged.

The call for artwork for Banned Books Trading Cards 2022 is now open. Help us celebrate the freedom to read. Each piece represents the ongoing struggle for intellectual freedom and the dangers of censorship.

You can collect a free set of Banned Books Trading Cards by visiting the library during Banned Books Week, 2022.

All entries will be displayed at the library during Banned Books Week. Seven works will be selected to be printed as trading cards. Selected entries will also receive $100 and a poster-sized print of their work. Learn more about eligibility and submission requirements at the link below.


Animal Services Reminds Pet Owners about Heat and Hot Car Dangers

Orange County Animal Services asks residents to be mindful of pets during hot temperatures. Temperatures in our area often climb above 90 degrees Fahrenheit during this time of year. Knowing the dangers for pets is a critical part of responsible pet ownership.

One of the biggest areas for concern is people leaving pets inside cars during summer months. Temperatures inside parked vehicles can reach deadly levels in only a matter of minutes, even if parked in the shade and even with all the windows cracked. In Orange County, it is against the law to leave animals inside a parked car if the outside temperature exceeds 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Because pets cannot sweat, their bodies cannot regulate temperature like humans, and they can go into irreversible organ failure that is often fatal in only a matter of minutes inside a car or other overly heated environment.

Other dangers present during extreme heat include pets who do not have access to fresh water and shade. Pets may become dehydrated quickly, and it is critical that they have shade to protect them from the sun. Walking pets in extreme temperatures is not advised, as the heat can cause heatstroke, and the pavement can cause quick damage to the feet of walked pets. Temperatures of these kinds are even harder on senior pets and pets with medical conditions.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also offers more information about hot weather dangers for pets at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/hot-weather-safety-tips.


Fire Sparks Warning About Candle Dangers

The Chapel Hill Fire Department is reminding everyone not to leave burning candles unattended.

Chapel Hill Fire Marshal Chris Wells said that was the cause of a small fire in office space at 141 Providence Road on Monday, May 30. Sprinklers contained the fire and the damage to the immediate area. Wells said the fire did not injure anyone.

The National Fire Protection Association offers the following candle safety tips:

  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least 1 foot away from anything that can burn.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily.
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.

Update on E. Main Street Resurfacing Project

The N.C. Dept. of Transportation (NCDOT) resurfacing project for E. Main Street in Carrboro and W. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill is underway, with Carolina Sunrock as the project contractor.  

Carolina Sunrock’s subcontractor Browe Construction continues to adjust utilities throughout the project limits. The work will continue from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Friday, June 10. This work is advancing with minimal traffic disruption.

To limit disturbance of local businesses and traffic, work will occur at night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Thursday. No work will occur after 6 a.m. on Friday or on Saturday. All work will be performed with single-lane closures that will allow continued flow within multilane portions of the work zone and flagging operations through the two-lane portion. Drivers should use caution and stay alert. Sidewalks should remain open. 

At this time, the milling and resurfacing is anticipated to begin the week of June 27. The milling and resurfacing work will also take place during the night.

NCDOT Project Contact:  John Howell at 336-570-6830. 


Chapel Hill Police Chief to Retire in December

Police Chief and Executive Director for Community Safety Chris Blue will retire Dec. 31, after 25 years of service to the Town of Chapel Hill.

“This is a bittersweet announcement for me to make,” said Chief Blue. “It has truly been an honor to serve as a police officer in my hometown for all these years and I still love every minute of it. But, it is time for me to try other things and make space for the next leader of this outstanding organization. They will be taking over the most progressive and innovative law enforcement agency in this state and I’m excited to see what’s next for the incredible team at CHPD.”

Chief Blue was sworn in as a patrol officer in November of 1997, serving in many roles before his appointment as chief of police on Dec. 1, 2010. During his tenure, Chief Blue led the department’s response to the tragic murders of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, as well as the investigation into the murder of Faith Hedgepeth. Also under his leadership, the Town successfully prepared for and managed three UNC men’s basketball Final Four appearances and reduced the size, cost and community impacts of the annual Halloween event. Finally, with the input and collaboration of an engaged community, his team has enthusiastically responded to calls for enhanced transparency about Chapel Hill’s policing efforts and more progressive police policies, has expanded the ground-breaking Police Crisis Unit, and has strengthened police/community relationships in Chapel Hill. 

The Town is developing a hiring process to fill this position that will include opportunities for public input. That process will be announced soon, with the goal of having the new chief hired before Chief Blue’s retirement.  

Members of the media wishing to speak with Chief Blue can contact Communications Manager Ran Northam at rnortham@townofchapelhill.org or 919-969-4878.


June 2, 2022

Special Court Session to Address Orange County Convictions of 1947 Freedom Riders

A special session of Orange County Superior Court is scheduled for June 17 at 2 p.m. in the Historic Courthouse in Hillsborough (106 E. King St.), the sole purpose of which is a Motion for Appropriate Relief seeking to vacate posthumously the 1947 convictions of four original Freedom Riders in the Civil Rights movement. Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour will preside.
 
On April 9, 1947, an interracial group of 16 men began the Journey of Reconciliation, the first “freedom ride,” to challenge continued Jim Crow segregation on buses despite the 1946 U.S. Supreme Court Morgan v. Virginia ruling declaring segregation on interstate travel unconstitutional. After an overnight stay in Chapel Hill, the buses prepared to leave. The riders, black and white, sat in front, while an angry mob of cab drivers gathered outside the bus.
 
Police were called to the scene. Four riders—Bayard Rustin, Igal Roodenko, Andrew Johnson and Joseph Felmet—were arrested for disorderly conduct for refusing to move from the front of the bus. The four men subsequently were convicted in the Orange County Courthouse in Hillsborough and sentenced to serve 30 days on a chain gang. Civil rights leader Bayard Rustin later wrote about his experiences of incarceration and hard labor in North Carolina, and this work is credited with reforming the practice of prison chain gangs.
 
“While this judicial action is taking place 75 years after the injustice occurred, never should we falter in examining past wrongs, seeking reparation, and lifting those heavy burdens from our hearts and minds so that future generations may know justice,” said Renée Price, chair of the Orange County Board of County Commissioners. “We also must recognize the brave individuals who stood up in the face of Jim Crow to demand our humanity and our liberation. Seeking legal redress for Roodenko, Rustin, Felmet and Johnson as we prepare for the Juneteenth holiday is timely and relevant.”
 
A short program will be part of the court session and will include Price; District Attorney James R. Woodall; Public Defender Woodrena Baker-Harrell; Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger; Dr. Freddie Parker, professor emeritus of history at N.C. Central University; LaTarndra Strong, president of the Northern Orange Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue. Family members and friends of Mr. Rustin, Mr. Roodenko, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Felmet will attend this event and will also participate. For those unable to attend in person, the court session and program will be live-streamed.
 
For further information, please contact Renee Price, BOCC Chair, at rprice@orangecountync.gov or 919-593-1904.


Chapel Hill-Carrboro Juneteenth Celebration

A coalition of local organizations invites the community to be a part of the second annual Chapel Hill-Carrboro Juneteenth Celebration. The event will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 19, at Hargraves Community Center, 216 N. Roberson St., Chapel Hill. Attendees can expect live performances by local black artists, a black-owned small-business fair, kids activities, food trucks and more. 

Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. The towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro proclaimed the observance and commemoration of Juneteenth on June 19, 2020, and encourage residents and employers to recognize the holiday. 

Planning for the event is led by representatives from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and NAACP Youth Council, the Marion Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Office of Equity and Engagement, the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association, and the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. 

Events include:

Live Performances
The main stage will feature a variety of local musical acts, including the Gospel Winds, the R&B ensemble Souls of Joy, hip-hop performer Kevin “Rowdy” Rowsey, and steel drummer Mickey Mills & Steel. Chapel Hill poet laureate C.J. Suitt and Carrboro poet laureate Fred Joiner will also perform on the main stage. 

Small Business Fair, Non-Profit Expo and Local Food 
Local black-owned business and organizations will be highlighted throughout the event. Small business vendors will sell handcrafted goods and wares inside the center, while non-profits and community groups will engage festivalgoers outside. Local black-owned restaurants and food trucks will serve a variety of foods and special menu items. 

Kids Programming
The celebration will feature an entire zone dedicated to youth, with arts, books, crafts, games and more. A basketball skills clinic and a performance by the Bouncing Bulldogs jump rope team will take place inside the Hargraves gym.  

Local History
Different exhibits will be on display for attendees to learn about local black history and discover local black culture. 

Planning is still underway for Chapel Hill and Carrboro’s in-person Juneteenth Celebration. Regular updates will be shared via social media and the official website at chapelhillcarrborojuneteenth.org.


Gun Violence Awareness Day in Carrboro

Carrboro will recognize Gun Violence Awareness Day on Friday, June 3, as proclaimed by Mayor Damon Seils. 

Mayor Seils encourages all residents to contact state and federal lawmakers — including Senator Richard Burr and Senator Thom Tillis — to insist they enact widely supported gun restrictions and gun safety legislation, and to remind them that lawmakers’ continued inaction on such legislation helps to make guns easily available and contributes to the deaths of North Carolinians and people across the U.S.

Recent mass shootings — including the incident of racial terrorism at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., and the massacre of children and teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Tex. — are horrifying reminders that the U.S. stands alone among high-wealth countries in its exceptionally high level of gun violence. 

Read the full proclamation at http://www.carrboronc.gov/2630/Proclamations-and-Resolutions.


June Chapel Hill Traffic-Safety Initiatives

The Chapel Hill Police Department (CHPD) is planning an enhanced number of pedestrian-safety enforcement operations in June — in addition to normal patrols. Scheduled special operations include — but are not limited to – the following dates:

  • Wednesday, June 1, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, June 4, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 7, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 11, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Monday, June 13, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 18, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 21, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 25, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 30, 6 p.m. to 10 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, Estes Drive corridors).

The CHPD is also planning at least four speed-enforcement operations in June – in addition to normal patrols – with the main goal of improving safety for everyone who shares roads.

  • Tuesday, June 7, 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, June 14, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, June 21, 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, June 28, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change

The Town will utilize its variable message sign 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.


May 30, 2022

New OCLW Certifications 

Since March, Orange County Living Wage has certified the following local businesses and employers: 

B3 Coffee
Krave Kava Bar
Pee Wee Homes
Quantum Eye Care
Rasberry Maintenance Services, LLP
Simple Air Solutions
Soltys Place

In addition to these new certifications, many employers have recertified. Go to https://orangecountylivingwage.org/directory/ to see all Orange County living wage employers. OCLW recently certified their 300th employer since their founding in 2015.

The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro announced the 2022 Business Excellence Awards finalists. OCLW is included, as well as certified living wage employers Craftboro, Hope Renovations, Community Home Trust, Orange Literacy, Fitch Lumber Company, Carrboro Plumbing and Carrboro Coffee Roasters. The winners will be revealed during an awards ceremony on June 16 (https://bit.ly/3t5BvGa). 


Orange County Adds 12 EV Charging Stations in Hillsborough

Orange County has recently installed 12 new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for use by the public.
The new “Level 2” Clipper Creek charging stations are available to the public 24/7. Six stations are located at the Eno River Parking deck accessed from 131 W. Margaret St. or Nash and Kollack streets, in Hillsborough. Six more stations are available at the Durham Technical Community College Park and Ride lot located at 525 College Park Road, Hillsborough.

Orange County is pleased to offer these chargers to support EV adoption and to further the county’s climate action goals. The county looks forward to offering more EV charging opportunities in the future to expand the growing network and to provide greater access to this service in the community. 

The charging stations are free of charge; however, users are asked to limit their use to a maximum of four hours a day as a courtesy to other users.

Questions about the chargers can be directed to Amy Eckberg, Sustainability Program Manager, Orange County Asset Management Services, at 919-245-2626


May 26, 2022

25-Year Town Veteran Receives Employee Service Honor

Assistant Public Housing Director Lisa Edwards was selected by a panel of her peers to receive the 2022 W. Calvin Horton Service Award. Town Manager Maurice Jones presented the award to Ms. Edwards at the Town’s Employee Appreciation Event Friday, May 20.

Ms. Edwards has worked for the Town of Chapel Hill since 1996, serving in the police, human resources, fire, and public housing departments.

On the nomination form, Lisa was celebrated for her belief in the Town’s organizational values, “[it is] not simply a poster that hangs in a break room. Lisa ensures that we understand, recognize, and appreciate how adherence improves our workspace.”

The nominating party said she adds more than institutional knowledge in her current role, but real-world experience to help the people she serves. “She strives to make sure that all public housing residents are treated fairly, with dignity and with respect.”

The award is one of the highest honors the Town bestows upon an employee, who receives an inscribed glass plaque and $3,000 cash award.

The W. Calvin Horton Service Award was initiated in 2007, when funds were raised by the community through the Foundation for a Sustainable Community, Inc., a not-for-profit charitable corporation under the auspices of the Chapel Hill–Carrboro Chamber of Commerce. The community raised the funds to honor the 16 years of service of former Town Manager Cal Horton. It was Horton’s request that the funds raised be used to award Town employees for distinguished service of at least 10 years. The fund supports the cash stipend associated with the award. 


Chapel Hill Fire Department Responds to Fires, Downed Tree

The Chapel Hill Fire Department responded to two fires and a downed tree as a storm moved through Monday afternoon. Lightning was reported around the time of the fires, but the cause of each fire remains under investigation. There were no reports of injuries during any of the incidents.

At 4 p.m. firefighters extinguished a small fire in the basement of a home in the 100 block of Cynthia Drive. At 4:06 p.m. firefighters responded to 18 Hamilton Road, where a tree fell on a home; there were no reports of injuries. At 4:12 p.m. firefighters responded to 600 Perkins Drive. They saw flames on the roof of an apartment building and began their work to extinguish the fire. Four of nine units in the building are uninhabitable. Of those four units, seven residents are displaced.

Take time now to prepare for the next storm. Sign up for OC Alerts to receive notifications when severe weather is approaching or happening in our area. Visit weather.gov/rah to check the forecast.


BLM Vigil

Saturday, May 28, from 12 to 1 p.m., Binkley Baptist Church will again hold a Black Lives Matter vigil at 1712 Willow Drive to remind people driving by, and those of us standing together, that we will never give in to hatred. This marks the two-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd. Music and fellowship will follow the vigil.



Freight Train Blues Concert this Friday 

Sister Lena Mae Perry of The Branchettes says her gospel music is like medicine. Come hear her amazing voice at the Freight Train Blues concert Friday, May 27, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St. Friday’s concert will also feature the innovative bluegrass band Hard Drive. 

The Town of Carrboro continues to present the Music Maker Foundation’s Freight Train Blues series of free concerts every Friday evening through June 10.


Chapel Hill Police Investigate Armed Robberies

The Chapel Hill Police Department (CHPD) is investigating two armed robberies reported Wednesday night, one at Rosemary Street and Pritchard Avenue at 9:30 p.m. and one at Church Street and Clark Court at 9:45 p.m. A gun was displayed during both robberies, and each robbery involved two suspects. No injuries were reported.

One of the suspects was described as a man wearing a black hoodie, black sweatpants, and blue bandana or scarf over his face.

Anyone with information should call 911 or contact the CHPD 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.


Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Celebrates National Trails Day

Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation, in collaboration with Chapel Hill Public Housing and the Friends of Chapel Hill Parks, Recreation, and Greenways, has planned a unique, interactive trail experience to celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 4, at Umstead Park from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. The event will highlight a recently .3-mile refurbished natural-surface trail, which is in Town-owned open space, and is adjacent to the planned Trinity Court housing development.

This vital trail development project connects pedestrians from the planned Trinity Court community to Umstead Park, the Northside Neighborhood and Downtown Chapel Hill via the Tanyard Branch Trail, as well as East Franklin Street and the Chapel Hill Community Center on South Estes Drive via the Bolin Creek Trail.

Faith Brodie, director of public housing, will share more about the new Trinity Court development and what’s coming as part of the Community Housing Partners leadership on the project. Steve Price, from the Friends of Chapel Hill Parks, Recreation, and Greenways, will also be on hand to share about recent trail improvements, new wayfinding signage, as well as opportunities for getting involved with similar projects.

Following the ceremony, Adventure Jones from the Parks and Recreation adventure team will lead a short interactive hike and talk about the new trail features as well as many new adventure programs coming this summer and fall. Chapel Hill’s municipal arborist Adam Smith will also be on hand to share information and to answer questions that you may have about trees in the area. 

According to the National Recreation and Park Association, parks and open spaces are vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in a community, ensuring the health of families and youth, and contributing to the economic and environmental well-being of a community and region.

For more information about National Trails Day and Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation, or to find a trail near you, see chapelhillparks.org


Chapel Hill Police Seek Assistance Locating Missing Juvenile

The Chapel Hill Police Department (CHPD) is seeking the community’s assistance locating a juvenile who was last seen Wednesday at around 10:25 p.m. in the area of River Birch Lane.

Saniya Famer, 15, of Chapel Hill, was last seen wearing a dark hoodie, jean shorts, and several wrist bracelets. Farmer has brown eyes with braided black hair. She has a nose ring and ear piercings. Farmer is not believed to be in any danger.

Anyone with information should call 911 or contact the CHPD 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.


Period Poverty Awareness Week in Carrboro

May 23-29 is Period Poverty Awareness Week in Carrboro, proclaimed by Mayor Damon Seils. 

Carrboro is proud to be home to trusted community-based organizations, including On the Spot, a program of the Diaper Bank of North Carolina, a member of the Alliance for Period Supplies, a network of more than 100 active period-supply banks in that are raising awareness of the importance of period products in ensuring health and providing economic stability, and thus distributing period products through various channels. 

Read the full proclamation at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/11383/Period-Poverty-Awareness-Week-2022.

Support efforts of the Diaper Bank of North Carolina at https://ncdiaperbank.org/circle-of-change.   


May 23, 2022

Chapel Hill Police Seek Assistance Locating Missing Juvenile

The Chapel Hill Police Department (CHPD) is seeking the community’s assistance locating a missing juvenile. Colby Williams, 15, of Chapel Hill, was last seen at approximately 4:30 p.m. May 18 in the area of Perkins Drive. He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, black shorts with a silver design and black Adidas slide-style sandals.

Williams is not believed to be in danger.

Anyone with information should call 911 or contact the CHPD 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.


May 20, 2022

Volunteers Needed for Partnership to End Homelessness Project Review Committee

The Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness (OCPEH) is recruiting new members for the OCPEH Project Review Committee. OCPEH helps to coordinate nearly $1 million in federal funding for housing and homeless services each year. The Project Review Committee is a standing group that meets year-round (usually 2-3 hours every other month) to establish funding priorities, rate and rank project applications, create and maintain relationships with Continuum of Care- and Emergency Solutions Grant-funded service providers and monitor program performance.

For more information, register at https://orangecountync.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkfu-pqj8jGNKZgdjhZNhEH6O7-9eIxn6R to attend the Project Review Committee Information Session to be held on Tuesday, May 24, from 4 to 5 p.m. The session will be recorded and available at https://www.ocpehnc.com/project-review-committee.

To apply:

Applications will be accepted ongoing with deadline for consideration for the 2022-2024 term by June 3. Please feel free to contact Rachel Waltz at rwaltz@orangecountync.gov with any questions.


Stober Selected to be Planning Director for Orange County

Orange County manager Bonnie Hammersley announced May 20 that Cy Stober, who is currently the development director for the City of Mebane, will fill the position of planning director for Orange County created by the retirement of Craig Benedict.

“As Planning Director of Mebane, I have witnessed the county’s commitment to innovative and progressive planning,” Stober said. “In order to meet the challenges of unprecedented growth, Orange County will need to maintain its role as a proponent of economic development, regional partnerships, transportation efficiency, and sustainability while also maintaining its emphasis on equity, accountability and environmental protection.”

As Mebane’s development director, Stober oversees development and growth for a fast-growing city of 18,000 residents. His duties include approval and oversight of the construction of hundreds of houses and millions of industrial square feet, from the initial permits through the issuance of the certificate of occupation.

Under his leadership, Mebane created a historic downtown small-area plan; implemented a bicycle and pedestrian plan; and managed regional and local transportation plans to construct multimodal infrastructure for a growing city.

Stober earned a B.S. in biological sciences from Ohio University and a master of environmental management from Duke University.

He has worked with the City of Mebane since 2017. Before that, he served as a source water assessment program manager for the N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality and was a senior regional planner for the Piedmont Triad Regional Council, which provided services to 74 local governments throughout 12 counties, including Alamance. He began his career as environmental education/outreach coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Region 3) as part of an Americorps Service Year.

Stober replaces Benedict, who retired April 1 after 23 years of service to the county. Stober’s first day on the job will be June 21.


E. Main Street Resurfacing Project Set to Begin May 23

Crews for the N.C. Dept. of Transportation are scheduled to begin work to improve a prominent stretch of roadway in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. The work will begin Monday, May 23, and run through mid-August. 

West Franklin Street/East Main Street will be milled and resurfaced between N.C. 86 and Jones Ferry Road over the coming months. A new traffic pattern will also be implemented to add bike lanes along this stretch. The new restriping plan will include turn lanes and bike lanes on E. Main Street in Carrboro.

Lane closures will be utilized for the duration of the project. Drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians are urged to be cautious when traveling through this work zone – for their own safety and that of the crews that will be working near the open travel lanes.

Learn more about the project at https://bit.ly/3wx2FYn


Memorial Day Holiday in Chapel Hill

Monday, May 30, is a Town holiday for Chapel Hill. Some services will be affected, as follows:

Residential trash will not be collected (make-up day Wednesday, June 1). Yard waste collection will not be affected.

Curbside recycling will not be collected on Monday (make-up day Saturday, June 4).

Commercial trash will not be collected. Collections will be completed by the end of the week.

Orange County Landfill and Waste and Recycling Centers will be closed.

Chapel Hill Public Library will be closed.

Chapel Hill Transit will not operate.

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

Parks and Recreation: Parks, greenways, trails, dog parks, playgrounds, picnic shelters and outdoor park amenities are open.

Parks and Recreation administrative offices, Chapel Hill Community Center and Pool, Hargraves Community Center and Teen Center will be closed. Homestead Aquatic Center and A.D. Clark Outdoor Pool will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.


May 18, 2022

Town of Carrboro Receives NC3C Excellence in Communications Awards

The Town of Carrboro was among 29 North Carolina governments to earn recognition in the N.C. City & County Communicators (NC3C) 2022 Excellence in Communications Awards. The Town of Carrboro won awards in the Citizen Participation and Most Creative with Least Dollars categories. 

The Town of Carrboro received the First Place Award for Citizen Participation with the Carrboro Connects Comprehensive Plan. The engagement plan aimed to have all residents, organizations, businesses and appointed and elected officials come together to develop a common vision for the future of Carrboro and set of goals and strategies to meet that vision. The Draft Carrboro Connects 2022-2042 Comprehensive Plan has been well received by the community. This engagement effort culminated in a new draft, which was released on May 2 and is available for viewing at https://www.carrboroconnects.org/

Small Town Pride won a Second Place Award in the Most Creative Least Dollars category. You can watch a video at https://youtu.be/wf5vlRSM0jk.  

The purpose of N.C. City & County Communicators is to encourage professional development and networking among local governmental communications professionals. The organization is celebrating 15 years since its founding in March 2007 and consists of professional government communicators from around the state. For more information about NC3C, see nc3c.com.


Former Carrboro Mayor Robert “Bob” Drakeford Dies 

Robert “Bob” Drakeford made history as Carrboro’s first and only black mayor, elected in 1977 and serving until 1983. Longtime residents remember him as the young activist mayor who was elected as part of the progressive Carrboro Coalition in the 1970s. 

“Mayor Drakeford brought a planner’s sensibility and a forward-looking vision to a Carrboro that was ripe for both,” Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils said. “Many of his priorities, from expanding public transportation and improving pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to fostering a welcoming, inclusive community, are at the heart of what we in Carrboro continue to reach for today.” 

Mayor Drakeford served as alderman from 1975 to 1977 before being elected as mayor in 1977. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill’s city and regional planning program, he was an advocate for public transit and cycling, and he developed valuable collaborations with other progressive black mayors in the South during his tenure. 

Mayor Drakeford held public office when the Council (then Board of Aldermen) hired Richard Knight as the town’s first black town manager, employed from 1976-1980.  And he served as mayor during the hiring of the Town’s first professional planner, who was black. This decision helped set high standards that eventually made Carrboro more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. He also established a loan program to encourage business entrepreneurs and created the Carrboro Community Park, later renamed the Hank Anderson Community Park. The biggest issue during his tenure was planning the Chapel Hill-Carrboro bus system. 

The Town of Carrboro will remember Mayor Drakeford for his service to the community, for his courage and dedication and for laying the foundation for an inclusive community. 


Police Week in Carrboro 

The week of May 15-21 is Police Week in the Town of Carrboro. In 1961 a joint resolution of Congress authorized the president to proclaim May 15th of each year to be Peace Officers Memorial Day, which honors law enforcement officers who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty, and to proclaim the week of each year during which that date occurs as Police Week.

In the most recent biennial community survey, the Carrboro Police Department was among the major categories of Town services that had the highest levels of satisfaction. 

The Carrboro Police Department provides a vital public service by fostering the well-being of the community in a way that respects and promotes the rights of individuals; by providing for the safety of the Town’s residents and visitors; by acting as first responders in emergency and crisis situations; by investigating and solving crimes; by offering a variety of community services to individuals, local businesses, and community organizations and agencies; and by participating in ongoing training to stay up to date on current policing techniques, to achieve the department’s bias-free policing goals, and to provide community services in a fair and professional manner.


Public Works Week in Carrboro

The week of May 15-21 is Public Works Week in the Town of Carrboro, proclaimed by Mayor Damon Seils. 

The town is following a national observance, of which the theme is “Ready and Resilient,” highlighting the ability of public works professionals to perform regular public works duties and react as first responders during natural disasters and overcome trials in the field. 

Carrboro Public Works provides reliable solid waste collection; loose leaf collection; street, greenway, and right-of-way maintenance; snow removal; stormwater facility maintenance; mowing and landscaping of Town properties; tree trimming and removal; ball field preparation and maintenance; facility maintenance; vehicle and equipment maintenance; cemetery maintenance and burials; and more. 

There are 35 dedicated employees, half of whom joined the Town in the last five years, 10 of whom have reached up to 15 years of service, 4 of whom have reached up to 25 years of service, and another 4 of whom have achieved more than 25 years of service. 

In the most recent biennial community survey, Carrboro Public Works earned residents’ highest ratings of satisfaction, with 91% of residents indicating they were satisfied or very satisfied with the department’s services. 

Read the complete proclamation at https://bit.ly/3Mwlwsk.


No Mow May

The Town of Carrboro is participating in No Mow May. The goal of No Mow May is to allow grass to grow unmown for the month of May, creating habitat and forage for early season pollinators. 

Researchers in Wisconsin studying the impact of No Mow May found that participating yards had three-times higher bee species richness and five-times higher bee abundance than nearby parks that had been mowed. Many pollinator species emerge in May from their hibernation or wintering habitat, and flowers in your yard can provide them with a critical first meal. 

Regular lawn mowing favors grasses and other low-growing species. Mowing your lawn less can allow different species to thrive, increasing biodiversity. Researchers in Canada have found that certain allergenic species, such as ragweed, can be decreased simply through reducing lawn-mowing frequency. 

As part of its commitment to Bee City USA, the Carrboro Town Code was updated to allow managed natural landscapes. No Mow May is one way you can participate. 


Stormwater Contractors Directory Available

To promote residential stormwater improvements and help bridge the connection between residents seeking assistance and those companies wishing to provide it, the Stormwater Division is continually compiling a directory of qualified contractors who are capable and available to perform such work and wish to be contacted by Carrboro residents.

The directory is now available and can be downloaded as an Excel workbook at https://bit.ly/3wj7Riv

If you want your business to be included, or know of a business that you think would like to be listed, contractors/businesses are invited to submit information for listing in the directory via the Contractor Directory Application at https://bit.ly/3sKllBS.


Carrboro Seeks Feedback on Jones Ferry Road Protected Bike Lane

The Town of Carrboro is seeking feedback from cyclists who have used the protected bike lane along the eastbound lane of Jones Ferry Road. 

Take the survey at: 

The protected bike lane in Carrboro was approved by the N.C. Dept. of Transportation 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. 

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.  

Contact planning administrator Tina Moon at 919-918-7325 or cmoon@carrboronc.gov to submit additional questions or comments or to request a physical copy of the survey.


Carrboro and Chapel Hill Celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June 

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA+) Pride Month is celebrated nationally and locally each year in June. The towns of Carrboro and Chapel Hill are hosting Small Town Pride, a joint celebration featuring events, art installations, online resources and other opportunities to celebrate the Pride community. Through Small Town Pride, the aim is to affirm community values ensuring that all residents, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated with respect and dignity.

Together with Carrboro, the Town of Chapel Hill’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group has been instrumental in planning Small Town Pride. Celebrations will happen the entire month of June and will recognize local LGBTQ+ leaders, artists and activists and highlight history, resources and businesses. More information is available at carrboronc.gov/pride and chapelhillarts.org/smalltownpride

Participate in one of the many events happening in June: 

  • Chapel Hill Pride! Promenade | Saturday, June 4, 2-4 p.m. (downtown Chapel Hill)
    Gather at Peace and Justice Plaza (179 E. Franklin St.) and strut alongside performers and other revelers in celebration of the LGBTQ+ community to 140 W. Franklin Plaza for a social gathering with music and activities.
  • Poets Open Mic Night | Tuesday, June 7, 7-9 p.m. (via Zoom)
    Celebrate LGBTQ Pride through your poetry with other local poets. This event encourages the writing, reading and listening of poetry. Hosted by Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources Department. Join the zoom event at https://bit.ly/3ws92w4.
  • Drag Story Times | Saturdays, June 11, 18 and 25, 3-4 p.m. (locations vary)
    Drag Story Times celebrate glamour, imagination, play and gender fluidity while providing positive queer role models. Bring your kids to enjoy a fabulous hour of story time by some of the most prominent drag royalty in the Triangle!
  • ORGULLO LATINX PRIDE | Saturday, June 11, 5-9 p.m. (Carrboro Town Commons)
    Celebrate Latinx Pride with local food trucks, a drag show, a DJ and games for the kids. Organizers from El Centro Hispano aim to create an event that fosters unity, inclusivity and empowerment by showcasing our community’s talents while providing social, healthcare and advocacy resources, and family fun.
  • Pride Piper Walk | Friday, June 24, 4:30 p.m. (Carrboro Century Center)
     Join local officials and the Bulltown Strutters to help roll “Rainbow Ram” down Weaver Street from the Century Center to Town Commons for the Pride Food Truck Rodeo & Dance Party. 
  • Pride Food Truck Rodeo & Dance Party | Friday, June 24, 5-8 p.m. (Carrboro Town Commons)
    Join for food, dance and frolicking on the lawn. If you’re interested in participating as a vendor or by setting up a table, fill out the application form at https://bit.ly/3LnN41L.  

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Small Town Pride hopes to promote the equality of the LGBTQIA+ communities, as well as increase visibility, challenge anti-LGBTQ legislation and bring awareness to other LGBTQ issues. Progress for true equality requires the support of everyone, including straight allies who know that support for LGBTQ+ people strengthens the entire community.

For media inquiries, contact Catherine Lazorko for the Town of Carrboro at clazorko@carrboronc.gov and Melissa Bartoletta for the Town of Chapel Hill at mbartoletta@townofchapelhill.org


New Anti-Dooring Ordinance in Chapel Hill

At its May 4 meeting, the Chapel Hill Town Council enacted an anti-dooring ordinance. This ordinance makes it unlawful for a driver to open their car door in a way that puts bicyclists, pedestrians and other drivers in danger. Check your rearview and sideview mirrors before leaving your vehicle to make sure the path is clear.


Orange County Launches Digital Payment System for Property Taxes

MyOrangeCountyNC is Orange County’s new official online and mobile payment portal for property taxes. Orange County leadership created the new payment solution in partnership with PayIt, an award-winning digital government and payment platform. The system went through a soft launch on May 5 and is now available for everyone to use.

MyOrangeCountyNC provides residents with an easy-to-use experience that streamlines the payment process through a user-friendly interface. MyOrangeCountyNC allows residents to securely store their preferred payment methods within the platform and set up automatic payments as well as create reminder notifications about bill due dates. 

MyOrangeCountyNC replaces Orange County’s previous online bill-pay site. The new digital payment system is currently available to download in the Google Play store for Android devices as well as the Apple App Store for iOS devices. It can also be accessed online at pay.orangecountync.gov.


W. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill Returns to Five Lanes Temporarily

The N.C. Dept. of Transportation (NCDOT) will begin resurfacing W. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill soon. In preparation for this work, Town crews and contractors have adjusted the Merritt Mill Road intersection, installed curb ramps for new bus stops and removed the temporary barriers that created the on-street walkway. The road has been returned to the pre-COVID-19, five-lane design until the road is resurfaced in June and July.

A contractor for NCDOT will resurface and repaint the road with a design provided by the Town. Utility work will begin the week of May 23, then milling and resurfacing will begin in mid-June. This schedule is dependent on favorable weather in Chapel Hill and where the contractor is performing other projects.

The new pavement-marking design includes bike lanes that are mostly next to the curb and, where there is on-street parking, will run between parked cars and the curb (known as curb-running bike lanes), except in front of Carolina Square, where the bike lane will be between parked cars and traffic. See the project website (https://bit.ly/3sGHK2Q) for more information.


May 11, 2022

Seeking Volunteers to Be Local History Stewards at Visitors Center

 The Chapel Hill Historical Society and Preservation Chapel Hill are seeking volunteers for Hometown Ambassadors, a program to provide local history to visitors and new residents at the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Center.

Missy Julian-Fox, program organizer, says, “Hometown Ambassadors are a way to marshal a cohort to help tell the stories of our town. We hope to involve community members from across neighborhoods and from many areas of town. It seems a perfect match for those of us who love to learn, value our history, like to meet new people, and serve our community. We can help shape the experience and understanding of others, near and far.”

CHOCVB executive director Laurie Paolicelli says, “Many of the surrounding towns offer visitors frequently scheduled, guided historical tours. I think Hometown Ambassadors is a fun, unique and engaging way to fill that void for visitors to Chapel Hill and Carrboro.”

Hometown Ambassadors will volunteer at the CHOCVB’s Welcome Center at 308 West Franklin Street for a selected, two-hour shift to share history, insight, and recommendations to visitors. The Hometown Ambassador may prefer to stay on site to share history and landmarks or to lead a walking tour downtown. A series of prep sessions will be held to prepare volunteers as Hometown Ambassadors.

To become a Hometown Ambassador, volunteers should like to meet new people, love the community, want to learn more, and understand and honor the responsibility of representing the community.  

A trial program will run from July through September. If interested in serving as a Hometown Ambassador, please email Missy Julian-Fox at mjulianfox@gmail.com.

 


May 7, 2022

Chapel Hill Town Manager Recommends $128 Million Budget to Council

Chapel Hill Town Manager Maurice Jones presented his recommended budget for fiscal year 2022-2023 to the Chapel Hill Town Council Wednesday night. The proposed budget is $127,716,587, an 8.9% increase from fiscal year 2022. The recommended budget supports Town Council’s strategic priorities, continues recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic, restores focus on long-term priorities and invests in the Town’s most valuable resources, its employees.

The Town’s current tax rate is 51.4 cents per $100 assessed valuation. Mr. Jones has proposed a half-cent increase in the tax rate to support the operations and capital costs in Chapel Hill Transit.

Community members have multiple opportunities to weigh in on the budget before the Council adopts it June 8. The Council will hold two — possibly three — work sessions by June 1 and a public hearing May 18. 


Electric-Vehicle Charging Stations at Town Hall Closed Temporarily

To maintain personal and vehicle safety while the roof is being replaced at the Chapel Hill Town Hall, the electric-vehicle charging stations are temporarily unavailable. The project is expected to continue for as long as eight weeks.


Chapel Hill Recognized as Top Solar Energy Designation

Chapel Hill was officially recognized at this year’s State Energy Conference as having a SolSmart Gold designation from the U.S. Dept. of Energy. As their website says, “SolSmart recognizes cities, counties, and regional organizations for making it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar.” The Town initially received this designation in 2017.

SolSmart designations of Gold, Silver or Bronze are based on actions across permitting and inspection, planning and zoning, government operations, community management and market development. The designation recognizes communities that have taken bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development.

For more details visit https://solsmart.org/communities/chapel-hill-nc/.


Carrboro Connects Adoption Draft Ready for Consideration

After multiple rounds of public comment and review by Town staff, advisory boards and commissions, and the Town Council, the Carrboro Connects Adoption Draft is ready to be considered for adoption. It reflects the extensive engagement conducted throughout the planning process, as well as specific input on previous drafts of the plan.

The Town Council will review and consider this draft for possible adoption at its meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 10. You can view the livestreamed meeting at YouTube.com/CarrboroNC or Cable TV 18.

Access the document at https://www.carrboroconnects.org/adoption-draft-may-10-2022


Severe Storm Damages Three Buildings in Mebane

Three buildings in Orange County sustained damage from heavy winds that could have been the result a tornado, Orange County emergency officials said Friday, May 6. The county has not been able to confirm if the damage was caused by a tornado, but Orange County Emergency Services Director Kirby Saunders said several callers to 911 reported seeing a funnel cloud.

Saunders said the Orange County 911 center received the first call about a potential tornado at 5:18 p.m. from the Gildan Distribution Center on E. Washington Street in Mebane. The county received several more calls, including from residences on Frazier Road and Mace Road that reported damage, including fallen trees and downed power lines.

Saunders said 30 employees were inside the distribution center when the storm struck and ripped off large chunks of an exterior wall, but no one suffered any injuries. Crews were still assessing the impacted residences but had no estimates of the amount of damage. Saunders said the county would work with any residents who might be displaced and need emergency housing assistance.

Saunders said the storm also damaged several natural gas lines. Utility crews were working to secure those lines.


May 5, 2022

Outdoor Festival to Showcase Local Bands

Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture and Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) will collaborate on Tracks Local Music Fest, a free outdoor concert in downtown Chapel Hill later this month.

On Saturday, May 21, from 3 to 7 p.m., five diverse acts from the Tracks Music Library (https://tracksmusiclibrary.org/) collection will perform back-to-back as part of Tracks Music Fest, taking place outside at CPA’s CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio (https://carolinaperformingarts.org/venues/), located in Carolina Square and created to connect campus and community via the arts. The lineup spans a range of genres – from pop to hip hop to punk rock – mirroring the mix of sounds that make up the Triangle’s music scene. Each act will play a 30-minute set with small break in between. Acts are as follows:

3:00 p.m. – Kicking off the event is Anne-Claire, North Carolina-born and Carrboro-based singer and songwriter. Anne-Claire is known for elegant vocals both on and off the stage – as a teacher of singing and songwriting for adults and kids alike.

3:50 p.m. – Americana band Dissimilar South takes the stage with sounds rooted in country and folk genres while experimenting with synthesizers, electric guitars and drum kits. Expect tight harmonies and lyrics that explore “the bittersweet nature of relationships and queerness with honesty and whit.”  

4:40 p.m. – Transition to the dance realm with Treee City, the electronic music project of Durham-based DJ and producer Patrick Phelps-McKeown. Drawing inspiration from field recordings, pop radio, vintage technology and 90’s rave nostalgia, Treee City’s sound is unique and an essential part of the Triangle’s electronic music scene.

5:30 p.m. – Rapper, producer and songwriter Austin Royale turns up with a full band to explore experimental sounds of hip hop, rock and beyond. Austin continues to recreate himself and has been an ongoing influence in the local music scene for almost a decade.

6:20 p.m. – The event closes out with punk rock duo, BANGZZ, hailed for their “loud and fast songs with in-your-face feminist themes.” Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Erika Libero is also the co-founder of the local Chapel Hill music festival Manifest.

Each slated act appears on Tracks Music Library, a free local music streaming platform from Community Arts & Culture and Chapel Hill Public Library.  With over 100 albums from Triangle-based artists, Tracks aims to help new audiences discover new music and for local musicians to reach new listeners.

Limited seating is available, so bringing a chair or blanket is recommended. Beer and ice cream will be available for purchase. Additional food can be purchased at local and nearby restaurants. To learn more about the event, like parking and transportation options, visit chapelhillarts.org/tracksfest.  To learn more about CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio, visit carolinaperformingarts.org. To learn more about Tracks Music Library, visit tracksmusiclibrary.org. For media inquiries, contact Melissa Bartoletta at mbartoletta@chapelhillarts.org.


Tar Heel Express Shuttles to Serve the UNC Chapel Hill Commencement Ceremony May 8

Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) will provide Tar Heel Express service from 6:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 8, for the UNC-Chapel Hill commencement ceremony at Kenan Stadium.

Tar Heel Express Shuttles will transport customers from the Friday Center park-and-ride lot (100 Friday Center Drive) to Gate 2 of Kenan Stadium (Stadium Drive). Shuttles will run every 10 minutes, providing continuous service between the Friday Center and Kenan Stadium.

The shuttles and parking at the Friday Center will be free. Customers, especially graduates, are encouraged to arrive at the park-and-ride lot at least one hour before the start of the ceremony to allow for possible traffic delays.

Face coverings are required on CHT vehicles.

For those wishing to stay on campus longer, Carolina Livery will provide shuttle service from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Carolina Livery shuttles will loop campus, making stops at the Student Union, the Old Well (Cameron Avenue) and the Dean E. Smith Center, and return to the Friday Center park-and-ride lot.

For additional information about UNC-Chapel Hill’s commencement ceremony, see commencement.unc.edu/spring-commencement/.


Carrboro Police Investigating Sexual Assault

The Carrboro Police Department is investigating a sexual assault that occurred in the 600 block of Jones Ferry Road at approximately 12:05 a.m. Wednesday, May 4. Investigation revealed that the victim was jogging on Jones Ferry Road near Willow Creek Shopping Center when a suspect approached from behind. The suspect threw the victim to the ground and began sexually assaulting her. A bystander in the area heard the victim screaming and called 911. The suspect fled the area on foot towards Poplar Place Apartments, located at 605 Jones Ferry Road. The victim was transported to UNC Hospitals for treatment.

The suspect was described as a black male with a dark complexion, clean shaven, approximately 6 feet tall, medium build, possibly in his mid-30’s.

This is an active investigation, and updates will be released as they become available. If you have 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. Media point of contact: CPT A.L. Westbrook II: 919-918-7415.


Legendary N.C. Musician Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten to be Inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced on Wednesday, May 4, that legendary Carrboro musician Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

Ms. Cotten will be honored with the Early Influence Award as part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2022 class. She will be inducted in a ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. 

Its new webpage about the Carrboro artist states: “Elizabeth ‘Libba’ Cotten’s warm and intimate recordings and live performances inspired generations of artists, and her guitar prowess and musical inventiveness influenced countless other musicians. Cotten’s compositions have been performed by Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Taj Mahal and Peter, Paul and Mary, among many others.” 

Born on Jan. 5, 1893, Ms. 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.

In her honor, the Town of Carrboro is presenting 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. 

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. For more information, see https://musicmaker.org/freight-train-blues-concert-series/. 

 Learn more about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announcement at https://www.rockhall.com/elizabeth-cotten.


Town of Carrboro Recognized by N.C. League of Municipalities

The Town of Carrboro was among 13 municipalities recognized by the N.C. League of Municipalities Local Leadership Foundation in its 2022 Annual Awards program. 

Carrboro was recognized with an Honorable Mention for its Town Information Center project in the Direct Reflection category. This category recognizes municipalities that have adapted their approaches or changed services or practices to address inequity in an area of concern for the community. 

The Town of Carrboro began its neighborhood information network on Christmas Eve 2020 at the Rocky Brook Manufactured Home Community. In 2021, three more outdoor kiosks were installed around town. Plans are underway to install six additional kiosks at public parks, and queries are continuing with local apartment managers and neighborhood residents. The growing network of outdoor Town Information Centers advances a goal to find new methods of non-digital outreach and to build relationships by going where the people are.


May 2, 2022

May Traffic-Safety Initiatives

The Chapel Hill Police Dept. (CHPD) is planning an enhanced number of pedestrian safety enforcement operations again this month in addition to normal patrols. Officers will watch for driving violations, including failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and turning right on red where it is not allowed. Scheduled special operations include – but are not limited to – the following dates:

  • Wednesday, May 4, 7-11 a.m.
  • Saturday, May 7, 2-6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 10, 7-11 a.m.
  • Friday, May 13, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 18, 1-5 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 21, 12-4 p.m.
  • Monday, May 23, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 28, 10:30 a.m.- 2:30 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, Estes Drive corridors). We encourage everyone traveling, regardless of your mode of transportation, to remember that community safety is a shared responsibility.

The CHPD is also planning at least four speed-enforcement operations in May – in addition to normal patrols – with the main goal of improving safety for everyone who shares roads.

  • Tuesday, May 10, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 17, 9-11 a.m.
  • Tuesday, May 24, 7:30-9:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, May 31, 8-10 a.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change.


Small Business Week in Carrboro

Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils has proclaimed May 2-5 to be Small Business Week in Carrboro. Ninety-six percent of businesses in Carrboro are small businesses, and together they employ more than 3,350 workers.

“I encourage all residents to support the small businesses in our community, appreciating and celebrating the personal touches and unique expertise small businesses offer and the economic resilience they foster,” Mayor Seils said. 

Accepting the proclamation on behalf of the local business community was Josh Moorhead, who is chair of the Carrboro Business Alliance Leadership Council and manager of Weaver Street Market.  

The Town’s Economic Development Dept. supports the business community, with a special emphasis on locally owned businesses, by serving as an information hub to help businesses succeed. It also administers loan programs to support job creation, business retention and energy efficiency, partnering with the Carrboro Tourism Development Authority, the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau, and the Carrboro Business Alliance to promote local businesses.

Access the complete proclamation for Small Business Week in Carrboro at https://bit.ly/3y7ELE2


OWASA Announces Resumption of Standard Collection Practices

Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) will be resuming standard collection practices on June 1. Funding assistance is still available for customers who have bills that are past due, and OWASA is offering extended, fee-free payment plans to assist customers pay down any debts accrued since March 2020.

OWASA has had a moratorium on service disconnections in place since March 12, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. OWASA has been using the Orange County State of Emergency as guidance for resuming standard collection practices. With the declaration expiring on May 1, OWASA is providing 30 days’ notice before resuming standard collection practices. 

Under standard collection practices, a customer who has a bill that is more than 60 days past due is subject to service disconnection. In this scenario, the earliest a customer could have their service disconnected would be August. 

Funding assistance is available for customers who have bills that are past due. OWASA is offering fee-free, 6-, 12-, and 18-month payment plans for these customers. OWASA is directly reaching out to all customers who have bills that are more than 60 days past due to ensure they are aware of the funding assistance and extended payment plans. 

OWASA customers can contact the customer service team at customerinquiries@owasa.org or 919-537-4343 for more information and to register for extended payment plans. Customers can also register for a payment plan through the OWASA website (https://www.owasa.org/covid-bill-assistance/).

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


April 30, 2022

Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Summer Programs

Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation has released their summer RECREATE activity guide. Registration opens for residents on Tuesday, May 3, at 8:30 a.m. and for non-residents on Thursday, May 5, at 8:30 a.m.

Browse the programs offered and register online at (https://bit.ly/3OPqrWX), or pick up a copy of the full-color RECREATE activity guide at any of recreation and aquatic centers, as well as the Chapel Hill Public Library and Chapel Hill public housing offices. You may also download a copy at https://bit.ly/3Kw9LjF.

Feature articles in this edition include celebrating National Trails Day on Saturday, June 4, at Umstead Park, as well as National Parks and Recreation Month the entire month of July. Also featured in the summer edition of RECREATE are new pickleball clinics where beginners and intermediates get introduced to this growing new sport; Art in the Park, a series of fun, family-oriented arts and crafts activities; and lifeguard training courses where they’ll teach you how to prevent and respond to aquatic emergencies, in addition to becoming eligible to join their aquatics lifeguard team in a part-time employment role.

Applications are being accepted for camp counselors, lifeguards, camp coordinators and swim instructors and provide competitive rates for ages 16 and older. They provide flexible, part-time hours and a positive environment for individuals who are looking to grow. View job descriptions and apply online at www.townofchapelhill.org/jobs.    


Bike Month in Chapel Hill

The Town of Chapel Hill and Go Chapel Hill support special events during the month of May to celebrate Bike Month. 

Chapel Hill is committed to being a community where bicycling and walking are safe and convenient everyday choices. The Town of Chapel Hill is busy with projects to improve travel safety and convenience—including sidewalks, streets, trails and greenways. 

Events include the following:

  • May 4—National Bike & Roll to School Day, 7 a.m.
  • May 14: Bicycles, sweet ice, and Bike Rack Youth Art Workshop, 1-3 p.m., Chapel Hill Community Center
  • May 16-22—National Bike to Work Week. Ride your bike to work any day (or every day).
  • May 21—Bike on Bus Workshop, 9 a.m.-noon, Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market
  • June 10—Vets on the Move; Jim Huegerich Bike Ride, 6 p.m., Hargraves Community Center.

Jim Huegerich was instrumental in development of the Town’s Vets on the Move program. This special bicycle ride will have a short Vets on the Move ceremony, with Jim’s family leading the Huegerich Bicycle Ride—a salute to Jim and to all veterans for their service. Come for the ceremony or for the bike ride, and enjoy sweet red, white and blue ice pops afterwards.


New Storm Drain Art Completed

Community Arts & Culture and Stormwater Management teamed up to bring educational art to three storm drains around town. With hopes of bringing more awareness to our water system and how storm drains work, the murals bring bright colors, native species and educational messages to the pavement. Visit all three:

  • Northside Elementary by Mayanthi Jayawardena called, “We Are All Connected”
  • Southern Village Park & Ride by Nyssa Collins
  • Chapel Hill Public Library by Elisabeth Flock

Learn more about murals around in Chapel Hill by visiting chapelhillarts.org/murals.


Department on Aging to Host Presentation on the Five Wishes

The Orange County Dept. on Aging and the Project EngAGE End of Life Choices Senior Resource Team invite the public to attend a free discussion on The Five Wishes on Wednesday, May 11, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
 
Instructors Sheila Evans and Anne Weston will walk you through the importance of discussing and documenting your care and comfort choices with the Five Wishes. End-of-life care should honor your personal choices. The Five Wishes is more than just a document—it can be the tool you need to ensure your voice is heard and choices are known. It’s about connecting families, learning to communicate with our healthcare providers, and supporting our community members, using advance directives. 
 
Each registrant will receive a free copy of the Five Wishes. Light refreshments will be served from 5:30 to 6 p.m. 
  
To register, contact the Seymour Center at 919-968-2070 by Monday, May 9. 


Orange County COVID Emergency Declaration to Expire at 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 1

The longest-running state-of-emergency declaration in Orange County history will expire at 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. Orange County originally declared a state of emergency due to COVID on March 13, 2020, and extended it more than a dozen times as conditions warranted. With the overall situation improving, officials will allow the current declaration to expire as scheduled.

As a result, masks will no longer be required in some indoor settings, including public transportation. Even so, Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart urges individuals to wear masks while using public transportation.

Key metrics like number of hospital admissions and percent of emergency-room visits due to COVID remain low across North Carolina, and no counties in the state are considered at high risk of straining their healthcare system.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s state-of-emergency declaration for North Carolina is still in effect, and the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services continues to recommend masks for individuals in high-risk settings (health and long-term-care facilities, correctional facilities and homeless shelters).


April 28, 2022

Carrboro Day Event May 1

The annual Carrboro Day event will be returning in person this year, scheduled to occur at Town Commons on Sunday, May 1, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Carrboro Day is an annual event that is traditionally held at Town Commons on the first Sunday in May. This event is about meeting your neighbors, learning about aspects of the Town’s history, connecting with the Town and learning about Town services, and taking a day to celebrate Carrboro. Events this year include the following:

  • 12:00-5:00 p.m.—The Orange County Artists Guild (OCAG) will present their Spring Art Show. To learn more about OCAG, visit see https://www.ocagnc.org/.
  • 1:00-2:00 p.m.—Local historian Richard Ellington will present an encore of last year’s virtual presentation entitled, “Ringing the School Bells – Schools of the Carrboro Area from Jim Crow to Integration.” The talk will discuss the development of the separate school systems that developed in Orange County in the late 1880s and trace their changes up to the late 1960s. The county systems, black and white, were the only schools until 1909, when Chapel Hill decided to form their own school system. Carrboro did not become part of the Chapel Hill system until 1959. The presentation will be held in the Town Council chambers.
  • 1:00-4:00 p.m.—There will be live music for the community, with these artists confirmed for this year’s event: 1:00 p.m. – Saludos Compay; 2:00 p.m. – Certain Seas; 3:00 p.m. – The Dowdy Boys; 4:00 p.m. – Bluegrass Battleship.
  • 2:00-4:00 p.m.—Community members are invited to join members of the Carrboro Poets Council inside the Town Council chambers for a special Carrboro Day “Poetry in the Round.” Everyone who wants to read joins the circle and reads a short (one page or less) poem. Participation is voluntary. You can read your own poem or a favorite poem of another poet. This is an informal event designed to allow the celebration of poetry in true Carrboro fashion. The reading will be facilitated by Gary Phillips, former Carrboro poet laureate, and Susan Spalt, longstanding member of the Carrboro Poets Council.
  • Plan a walk or run around downtown Carrboro, and check out the sites on the Historic Downtown Walking Tour. Learn more about the history of the area while getting in some exercise and enjoying the spring weather.
  • Carrboro Day provides an opportunity for residents to engage with Town staff and learn more about Town services. Many Town departments/divisions/advisory boards are currently scheduled to participate in this year’s event.

Parking—the main Town Hall parking lots will be reserved for event activities and vendor parking. While attendees are encouraged to walk or bike, additional vehicle parking will be available in the public lot at 303 West Weaver St., on-street parking along Fidelity Avenue, and at Carrboro Elementary School (400 Shelton St.).

To see a map and a brief description of each site, see https://www.townofcarrboro.org/2491/Walking-Tour.

Continue to check the Carrboro Day website at http://www.carrboroday.org for updates on the event.


Carrboro Launches New Website

The Town of Carrboro has officially launched a revamped website, www.carrboronc.gov, shaped by user input, in its continuing commitment to provide exceptional services and enhance transparency, communication and community engagement.

The site reflects the look and feel of the community while incorporating features designed to help residents, visitors and community partners quickly locate the information and services they need. 

The new website is easy to navigate and presents information in a variety of formats.  The site incorporates a translation feature allowing the Town to communicate with residents in languages other than English. 

The site was designed using feedback from surveys of users, as well as from analytics of the most-visited pages and requested services. Research on usability was led by the Town’s Communication and Engagement Department in collaboration with CivicPlus, the website designer; the Town Communications Team; the Information Technology Department; and the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. 

Residents ranked the website as one of their top three sources for Town of Carrboro news and information in a communitywide survey conducted in November 2021. Also ranking highly as information sources are word of mouth and outdoor signage. 

The Town aims for continuous website improvement with more streamlining of content, continual review of analytics and communications support of Town departments. 

To provide feedback or share any concerns about the website, please contact Communication and Engagement Director Catherine Lazorko at clazorko@carrboronc.gov or 919-918-7314. 


May is Bike Month in Carrboro

Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils has proclaimed May to be Bike Month in Carrboro. Highlights include:

  • Wednesday, May 4—Bike to School Day
  • May 16-22—Bike to Work Week
  • Friday, May 20—Bike to Work Day

Biking is an easy way for people to reduce their carbon footprint and advance the Town’s climate action goals by avoiding the use of single-occupancy vehicles and reducing reliance on nonrenewable resources for transportation.

The Town of Carrboro will promote biking at several upcoming events: 

  •  May 10, 8 a.m.­—Ride with the mayor   
  •  May 10, 9 a.m.-noon—Bike on Bus event at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market
  •  May 17, 7-9 a.m.—Bike Breakfast at the Libba Cotten Bikeway

Additional events are being organized with local partners, including the Town of Chapel Hill, the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition, the Orange County Commuter Options program and UNC Transportation and Parking. 

In 2010, Carrboro became the first community in North Carolina to be designated a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

See the proclamation at https://bit.ly/3rShXV5.


Drop Off Old or Unused Medicines

Carrboro Police is hosting an operation medicine drop event on April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Harris Teeter at 310 N. Greensboro St. OperationMedicineDrop provides safe and secure ways for people to get rid of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications—preventing accidental poisonings and drug abuse while protecting our waters. Find a permanent drop box near you at https://ecs.page.link/LxaNc.


Kids Seedling Day  

Come join the Carrboro Farmers’ Market (CFM) for Kids Seedling Day on Saturday, April 30. Kids can start their gardens with a free seedling donated by CFM farmers, with potting soil and growing tips from the event’s sponsor, Fifth Season Gardening Company in Carrboro. 

From 8:30 a.m. until seedlings run out, kids can come by the market gazebo and pick a seedling of their choice, then plant it in a cup with potting soil provided by Fifth Season Gardening Company. Kids can also decorate a label for their seedling, then write a thank-you card to the farmer who donated it. Fifth Season Gardening will also be raffling off a composter.

Kids Seedling Day is also supported by the CFM’s Big Beef Sponsor, Laser Image Printing & Marketing.


Stormwater-Friendly Car Washing

Vehicle washing can contribute pollutants to our rivers and streams, depending on where your vehicle is cleaned. Dirty water from commercial car washes goes into the city’s sanitary system and is treated at the regional wastewater treatment plant. However, soap suds and water run-off from vehicle washing on driveways, parking lots and streets typically flows along the gutter and into a storm drain before it empties into a creek or river.

Soap is only one part of the discharge problem. Even if only water is used, there’s a mix of pollutants, including oils, grease, heavy metals, particulates from vehicle exhaust emissions and brake linings and rust being washed down the drain. Adding soap to the mix may introduce phenols, dyes, acids and ammonia. And even more potentially harmful ingredients are found in spray-off tire cleaner.

There are some environmental advantages to washing a car at a drive-through or self-serve commercial car wash. Commercial car washes drain used water into the sanitary system instead of storm drains. This water is treated to remove pollution before it is discharged to our waterways. Plus, conveyor car washes can use substantially less water, depending on the equipment used. Advanced, computerized pumps and nozzles control water output, reducing the amount of water used by up to 60% compared to a home wash. Special pressure nozzles mix air in with the water to create pressure without volume. Some even recycle and reuse water on site.

If you plan to wash your vehicle at home, here are some earth-friendly tips. If you wash with more than water, choose soaps, cleaners or detergents labeled phosphate-free and biodegradable. Vegetable or citrus-based soaps are the safest products. Before you get started, sweep driveways to prevent leaves and trash from being carried to the storm drain. Control water volume by using a spray nozzle and, if possible, wash your car on lawn or gravel areas where runoff doesn’t flow to the street and to streams. If your wash area is paved and slopes toward the street, try rolling up a few towels to divert run-off to a landscape area. When you are done, discard dirty wash water onto your grass, flower bed or into the sink.

If you see suds or other pollutants in your local creek or stream, please report it using the Stormwater Hotline at 919-913-2999 or Stormwater@CarrboroNC.gov.


LWVONC Announces: Availability of 2022 Primary Election Online Nonpartisan Voter Guide

The League of Women Voters of North Carolina announces the availability of VOTE411.org, their online 2022 Primary Election Voter Guide.  The league’s nonpartisan election resource offers voters a “one-stop shop” for all things election-related as voters prepare to cast their ballots. Early voting runs from Thursday, April 28, to Saturday, May 14.  Primary election day is Tuesday, May 17. Visit VOTE411.org, enter your address and see:

  • Your customized ballot
  • Candidate profiles and responses to questions in the candidate’s words
  • Where and when to vote
  • Voter registration status

The league invited all statewide and local candidates in 38 counties to participate in VOTE411.org. All candidates were asked to provide their contact information, personal profiles and responses to survey questions.  Voters can see a candidate’s unedited responses, compare the responses from multiple candidates in a contested race, make their choices, and keep a copy of their choices to take to the polling place.  VOTE411.org is a user-friendly tool designed to help voters make informed choices and simplify the voting process.


Chapel Hill Police Seek Assistance Locating Missing Juvenile

The Chapel Hill Police Department is seeking the community’s assistance locating a missing juvenile. Zoe Borden, 16, of Chapel Hill, was last seen on April 22. Borden is not believed to be in danger.

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.


NorthState, Orange County Partner to Provide Fiber-optic Internet Service to Underserved Areas

NorthState, a telecommunications company headquartered in High Point, and Orange County have announced a public-private partnership to bring ultra-high-speed fiber internet service to approximately 28,000 homes and businesses in Orange County, including nearly 10,000 locations that currently have little or no internet service. The project, one of the largest fiber infrastructure public-private partnerships in North Carolina’s history, is made possible by significant investments from both NorthState and Orange County.

Orange County is using funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to provide fiber service to close to 10,000 addresses in unserved and underserved areas. NorthState’s own investment expands the project and will result in access to best-in-class fiber technology and a competitive choice for fiber service for the additional 18,000 Orange County homes and businesses.

As part of its partnership with Orange County, NorthState will also provide fiber internet service to approximately two dozen county-owned anchor institutions, including fire stations, emergency medical services and community centers.

NorthState will begin work within weeks to initiate the process of installing approximately 990 miles of fiber in Orange County; service is planned to be available to some areas as early as spring 2023.


April 24, 2022

Free Child Safety Seat Clinics

Free child safety seat clinics are starting again Saturday at Chapel Hill Fire Station Two on Hamilton Road. Pull up to the bay doors between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. each Saturday. Firefighters will explain where in your vehicle you should put a child safety seat, and they’ll show you how to correctly install it. They’ll also answer any questions you have. No appointment is necessary, but you must bring your own child safety seats.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 325 children younger than five are saved by car seats each year, and 46% of car seats and booster seats are used incorrectly.


Chapel Hill Releases Interactive Map for Parkland, Greenways and Open Spaces

In commemoration of Earth Day, Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation released a new interactive map showing parkland, open spaces and greenways in Chapel Hill. The new interactive map identifies spaces that maintain the town’s tree canopy and provide green spaces and opportunities for outdoor recreation. The map features properties owned by the Town of Chapel Hill, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, N.C. Botanical Garden and N.C. Botanical Garden Foundation.

“Parkland” areas on the map are designed and managed to provide various recreational interests to residents and visitors alike. “Open space reserve areas” are underdeveloped properties that receive a lower level of maintenance. Reserve areas may offer environmental conservation benefits and may have been acquired to develop a park or greenway.

The new map shows the Town of Chapel Hill’s 1,376 acres of parkland and open space. The map also shows 1,242 acres of open space managed by other agencies.

Chapel Hill’s natural surface trails and paved greenway system provide access to an interconnected system of linear open-space reserve areas. In addition to the many recreational benefits greenways provide, they also help pedestrians and bicyclists travel easily between residential neighborhoods, community parks and educational and commercial shopping centers.

As the map continues to be refined, feel free to make suggestions on future improvements by contacting Marcia Purvis at Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation, mpurvis@townofchapelhill.org or 919-968-2750.

The Town of Chapel Hill, together with Orange County and other local jurisdictions, continues to support the Orange County park locator map as well as the Orange County interactive trails and greenways map. These resources feature publicly managed parks-and-recreation-related amenities, trails and greenways. Each of these maps and the new interactive map are easily accessible on the parks and recreation webpage (https://tinyurl.com/yckmbbcz).


Seymour Center to Host Open House in Celebration of Older Americans Month

Orange County Dept. on Aging, along with the Friends of the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center, is sponsoring a public event for people of all ages. Celebrate Older Americans Month at the Seymour Center Community Open House: We Are Here for You event and discover all they have to offer. The event is free and will take place on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Seymour Center, located at 2551 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill. 

May is Older Americans Month and a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country. Specifically, this event will recognize the many contributions of Orange County’s older adults.

The event  will feature:

  • Music with a live disc jockey
  • Dancing
  • Seymour Center tours
  • Food trucks
  • Wellness demonstrations
  • Senior living resource

In conjunction with the Community Open House, the Friends of the Seymour Center will host a Books and Games Fundraiser to benefit the many programs offered at the Center. There will be books of all genres, puzzles and a variety of tabletop and board games.

Registration is encouraged, but not required. For information, or to register, call 919-968-2070. 


Orange County Arts Commission Offers Summer Camps for Youth

This summer the Orange County Arts Commission will host several camps for children of all ages.
Programs on mosaic art, drumming, painting, creative writing and musical theatre are just some of the offerings available. Visit the Arts Commission website (https://tinyurl.com/438792kh) for more information. Check back often – more camps are being added regularly.

Financial assistance is available. All youth should be able enjoy the benefits of self-expression, regardless of financial standing. Please complete the Youth Scholarship Application (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSefKgv9JngGpMVu6F8RvwtDh8gg3r5KnEL8qUAv6lnAINC1lw/viewform if financial assistance is needed. 


Orange County FY23 Transit Work Program Available for Public Review, Comment

Each year, a work group with representatives from Orange County, GoTriangle and the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization puts together a work program for transit service and infrastructure improvements for funding in the next fiscal year (July-June).

Following an extremely successful second phase of community outreach and engagement, the consulting team and Orange County staff are ready to finalize and document the projects, concepts and implementation plan that together represent the Transit Plan Update.

The draft FY23 Orange County Transit Work Program is available for a 21-day public review and comment period through May 11 (https://tinyurl.com/2p9devd2). The work group will collect and review comments before the work program’s adoption in June.


BGMPO to Host Public Meetings on CTP and TSP

The Burlington-Graham Metropolitan Planning Organization (BGMPO), which includes the City of Mebane and portions of Orange County, will hold public meetings in the coming weeks to gather feedback on a comprehensive transportation plan (CTP) and a transportation safety plan (TSP).

A CTP is a long-range multimodal transportation plan of the future transportation network. The N.C. Dept. of Transportation and BGMPO will host a CTP public information meeting on April 26, from 6 to 7 p.m., at the Burlington Municipal Conference Room (425 S. Lexington Ave., Burlington).

The BGMPO is developing a TSP to identify safety concerns and recommend improvements with the goal of reducing crash fatalities and serious injury rates within the Burlington-Graham planning area. The BGMPO will host an in-person public information meeting on May 4, 6-7:30 p.m., at the Alamance Community College Main Campus Auditorium (1247 Jimmie Kerr Road, Graham). 

A formal presentation will be made at 6:15 p.m. The public may drop in at any time during the meeting hours. The project team, led by Eric Tang, VHB, Inc., will be available to answer questions and listen to comments regarding the development of the plan. 

Go to https://tinyurl.com/3mkj2fwr for more information, including how to submit comments or to request meeting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who wish to participate in this meeting.


Tarred Healing Photo Exhibit Comes to Chapel Hill Public Library

A student in cap and gown standing barefoot next to a crumbling gravestone. Four generations of a family seated in their historic home. Barricades surrounding a campus monument. These are just some of the images in Tarred Healing, a photography exhibit by Cornell Watson that will be on display at Chapel Hill Public Library (CHPL) from April 30 through June 30.

The community is invited to the exhibit launch and reception, which will include a talk by Cornell Watson, on Saturday, April 30, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

The exhibit, which debuted in The Washington Post (https://tinyurl.com/ycktjk4k) and has garnered national attention, consists of 14 large-scale photographs and accompanying narratives that reflect the experiences of Chapel Hill’s black community, past and present. Some images are documentary, like the photos of protests at the University Board of Trustees meetings that resulted in tenure denial for Nikole Hannah-Jones. Other photographs are conceptual, such as the image of a pair of angel’s wings marking the spot where James Cates was murdered on campus in 1970. All of the images explore important people, places and milestones, from Rev. Robert Campbell and Mr. David Caldwell of the Rogers-Eubanks neighborhood to the Clark family and the historic Strayhorn home. 

A coalition of black community leaders, including many of the people featured in the exhibit, came together with the artist to bring Tarred Healing to CHPL. This group led the planning efforts, from the location of the exhibit within the library to the public programs that will accompany the exhibit.

Watson says that the collaborative nature of the planning aligned with the spirit of many of the photographs. “The Black community of Chapel Hill has faced challenges, solved problems, and joined together over decades of oppression and injustice. Working with them to bring the exhibit, which has had its own challenges and injustices, to the library put that resilient community spirit on display once again. I am so pleased that the community will finally be able to engage with these photos and learn about these stories.”

Lorie Clark, whose family is featured in several photos, says the exhibit is important to her, both as a family member and a community activist and leader. “These photos tell of generational struggles and strengths. To see my family’s history portrayed in such beautiful and powerful images is incredibly moving. I hope that people who visit the exhibit are inspired to learn more about local history and the legacies that have been created. These images should move all to act in support of justice and reconciliation for healing for the people and places in the show.”  

In addition to the support of the planning coalition, the Friends of the CHPL and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) provided financial support for the exhibit. The NAACP marks its 75th anniversary this year, and Anna Richards, co-chair of the Anniversary Planning Committee, says, “Our celebration is focused on remembering what the community was like 75 years ago and what led to the founding of this NAACP chapter. Tarred Healing tells a similar story, and we are honored to support this important exhibition.”  

Additional support for the exhibit was provided by Through This Lens, who printed and framed all of the photographs, and A Better Image Printing, who printed the narrative captions and promotional materials.

Cornell Watson is an acclaimed photojournalist and artist who lives in Durham. His photojournalism appears regularly in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and other major media outlets. Watson is also recognized for his art photography and photo essays, including his well-known photo series, “Behind the Mask.” His work has been exhibited at The Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, The Mint Museum in Charlotte, and The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk. More information about the artist and his other work can be found at cornellwatson.com.


April 20, 2022

Religious and Nonprofit Leaders to Meet with Orange-Chatham District Attorney Candidates

Nonprofit groups Orange County Justice United and the N.C. Congress of Latino Organizations will host a nonpartisan Orange-Chatham (District 15B) District Attorney Candidates’ Assembly on Tuesday, April 26, 7-8:30 p.m., both in-person and virtually. The in-person location will be Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church, 1929 Piney Grove Church Road, Hillsborough. The assembly will take place outside, under a tent, for additional COVID-19 precaution.

Candidates Jeff Nieman and Kayley Taber will attend the event. It is co-sponsored by community partners Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP’s Criminal Justice Committee, Orange County Bail/Bond Justice Project, Inter-Faith Council for Social Services, Kehillah Synagogue and Binkley Baptist Church, to build public relationships of accountability with the candidates.

Both candidates will be asked to make specific commitments to increase transparency and consistency in the district attorney’s (DA’s) office, reduce mass incarceration and involvement with the justice system through increased diversion, and implement policies to end racially biased and wealth-based pretrial detention.

Candidates also will be asked to continue the agreement made by outgoing DA Jim Woodall to offer a deferral program, in place of prosecution, for otherwise safe drivers who cannot obtain a license. Candidates will have the opportunity to share their vision for increasing transparency and fairness in the DA office, if elected. Because both candidates for DA are running as Democrats, the winner of the May 17 primary election will effectively be the new Orange-Chatham DA.

Speakers will include community members with direct experience in the justice system, as well as representatives from the Success While In Transition reentry support program, Reentry House Plus, Inc., and the Orange County Bail/Bond Justice Project.

With the DA Candidates’ Assembly just two days before the start of early voting, Orange County Justice United and N.C. Latino Congress members and community partners will also announce during the Assembly their own commitments for a nonpartisan Get Out The Vote effort to provide voter education to at least 1,000 residents who pledge to vote.

RSVP for virtual option at. https://bit.ly/3EyN9xC.

The proposals to be presented to the DA candidates are available at https://bit.ly/3K7OvQZ.


Early Voting for May 17 Primary

Early voting for the May 17 primary election will be held April 28 through May 14. This primary will decide the Orange County Board of Education and include candidates in the Nov. 8 election for the U.S. Senate and House, N.C. legislators, county commissioners, district attorney, sheriff and judges.

Unaffiliated voters may choose a Democratic, Republican or Libertarian ballot in the May primary. Eligible voters can register, update their registration and vote at the same time at any early-voting site. You will need to show an ID with name and current address (e.g., N.C. driver’s license, utility bill). A photo ID is not required to register or to vote. Voters cannot register on election day.

Early-voting locations are the following:

  • Carrboro Town Hall Complex
    108 Bim St., Carrboro
  • Chapel of the Cross
    304 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
  • Efland Ruritan Club
    3009 Forrest Ave., Efland
  • Orange Works at Hillsborough Commons
    113 Mayo St., Hillsborough
  • Seymour Center
    2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill

All locations will have the same dates and hours:

  • Thursday-Friday, April 28-29, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 30, CLOSED
  • Sunday, May 1, 12-4 p.m.
  • Monday-Friday, May 2-6, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 7, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 8, CLOSED
  • Monday-Friday, May 9-13, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 14, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

If you vote on election day (May 17), you must cast a ballot at your assigned polling place. You can check your registration status, election-day polling place and sample ballot (when available) at vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/.

For more information, see orangecountync.gov/Elect, or call 919-245-2350.


April 18, 2022

Keep Carrboro Beautiful Volunteer Day

On April 23 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources Dept. will host its annual Keep Carrboro Beautiful Volunteer Day. Bring your group, friends or family out to help clean-up the Town of Carrboro and prevent trash from entering our local streams. Jeremy Poythress, recreation supervisor for Carrboro’s recreation, parks and cultural resources department, said the event’s purpose is to beautify the town by removing litter. Bring your work gloves, and dress to be outside. Volunteers will meet at the Century Center at 9 a.m. and clean-up supplies are provided. Scout groups and youth groups are welcome to participate. Please register your family or group at by calling 919-918-7392.


Protect Our Watershed During Spring Cleaning in Carrboro

It’s important to keep pollutants and litter out of storm drains because in The Town of Carrboro they flow directly to creeks and to the water supply sources, without going to a treatment plant first. Grass clippings, soot, auto fluids and other residue from daily life settles on sidewalks, driveways, roofs and other structures. When these surfaces are cleaned by hosing or using a power washer, the wash water carr­ies the pollutants away from your home, where they eventually they find their way into a storm drain. Even tap water can harm the delicate microorganisms that help keep water ecosystems healthy.

You can prevent pollution by sweeping instead of hosing. If you must wash, be sure that the flow of water ends up on landscaping or gravel areas instead of the street or sidewalk. Allowing wash water runoff to enter storm drains or streams is a considered an illicit discharge (https://bit.ly/3KZDF0G) and is a violation of town ordinance Article IV ( https://bit.ly/3MjwMaL).

For more information on outdoor washing activities and how you can prevent stormwater pollution, see Carrboro’s Homeowner’s Watershed and Stormwater Handbook (https://bit.ly/3rCEqp0) and other online resources (https://bit.ly/3rE7mgh).

To report suspected illicit discharges, use the Stormwater Hotline at 919-913-2999, Stormwater@CarrboroNC.gov, or the online form at https://bit.ly/3vunGRV.


Groundbreaking for New Library and Cultural Center

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Orange County Southern Branch Library and Cultural Center at 203 S. Greensboro St. is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, May 5, on the current parking lot site across from Open Eye Café. 

The event will include remarks by local officials, a reading by the poet laureate of Carrboro, and a dance performance by Takiri Folclor Latino. 

Parking will be available nearby at the future site of The ArtsCenter at 400 Roberson St.

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 Dept.; WCOM Radio; the Virtual Justice Center; and performance/multipurpose uses. 

For more information about the groundbreaking event, please contact Libbie Hough, communications manager for the Orange County Public Library, at lhough@orangecountync.gov; Catherine Lazorko, communication and engagement director for the Town of Carrboro, at clazorko@carrboronc.gov; or Todd McGee, community relations director for Orange County at tmcgee@orangecountync.gov

Learn more about the 203 Project at www.the203project.org.   


April 15, 2022

Estes Drive Connectivity Project Update

As the Estes Drive Connectivity Project is underway, construction impacts continue. 

The existing sidewalk on the south side of Estes Drive, from Phillips Middle School to MLK, is now closed. The closure will last until October. 

This closure is necessary due to the need to stockpile dirt that will be used to create an even, flat sidewalk and bike lane. The construction project is designed to be neutral in terms of dirt removed and dirt added on Estes Drive. This neutrality means that the dirt left over from the grading on the north side of the road will be used to build up the south side so there is no waste and no need to purchase new dirt. However, until construction can begin on the south side of the road, the dirt will need to be stored on the sidewalk—storing it offsite would be prohibitively costly, would require a number of large dump trucks moving the dirt back and forth, and delay completion of this phase of the project.

The Town is working with Chapel Hill Transit to make EZ Rider service available to all those who need to access a location on Estes Drive by foot. Those who walk can use the Bolin Creek Trail or the G Route as a detour.


Franklin Street Lane Reallocation

The resurfacing of W. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill will occur shortly after UNC graduation in May. The N.C. Dept. of Transportation (NCDOT), using a contractor, will resurface and repaint the new asphalt with a design provided by the Town. The design will include bike lanes that are mostly next to the curb and, where there is on-street parking, will run between parked cars and the curb (known as curb running bike lanes) except for Carolina Square, where the bike lane will be between parked cars and traffic. See https://bit.ly/3OfrP4I for final pavement marking plans.

The NCDOT will be resurfacing Franklin Street in 2022, providing an opportunity to implement a lane reallocation at a lower cost since they will paint the new asphalt. The Town of Carrboro is also adding a bike lane on E. Main Street, which will provide an important connection across both downtowns.

Lane reallocations are when vehicle lanes are repurposed for bike lanes, parking, loading zones, turn lanes or other amenities. They are relatively low-cost ways to achieve safety, mobility and access for all transportation modes. Many lane reallocation projects have resulted in significant increases in the number of pedestrians and bicyclists, more customers and higher sales revenue for local businesses, and decreases in speeding and crashes along the corridors. Town staff have been considering W. Franklin Street for lane reallocation for a number of years, and it is a recommended project in the Mobility and Connectivity Plan.

For more information about this project, email or call Sarah Poulton (spoulton@townofchapelhill.org or 919-969-5009).


Storm Drain Mural Installations in Chapel Hill

The Chapel Hill Community Arts and Culture Dept. (https://www.chapelhillarts.org/) is teaming up with Chapel Hill Stormwater to commission artists to paint murals around local storm drains (https://bit.ly/3OiBs2q) in an effort to bring awareness to Chapel Hill’s water system and encourage environmentally friendly habits.

The Town hopes to commission three artists within a 40-mile radius of Chapel Hill to paint three murals by Earth Day, April 22, and the project comes with a $1,300 stipend.

Steve Wright, public art coordinator for the Town of Chapel Hill, says that the vision of the project is to help educate people about local stormwater drains by fixing the misconception that all drains are the same; stormwater drains and the regular sewer system are separate things.

The stormwater drains in Chapel Hill go into Jordan Lake alongside anything else that happens to make its way into the water system, including sediment from erosion, trash from littering, and household hazardous waste like improperly disposed paint or soap from washing your car.

Sammy Bauer, community education coordinator for stormwater, says that this project is an excellent way to engage local artists in order to draw attention to storm drains that usually go unnoticed and in turn promote people to be more conscious about how their actions affect the water system.


Nate Broman-Fulks

Affordable Housing and Community Connections Names Broman-Fulks Assistant Director

Affordable Housing and Community Connections Director Sarah Viñas has selected Affordable Housing Manager Nate Broman-Fulks as the department’s assistant director.

Broman-Fulks joined the Town as affordable housing manager in 2017. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Carolina. After receiving his master of public administration and master of international studies degrees from N.C. State University, Nate began his local-government career in 2014 as assistant to the town manager in Carrboro, where he managed strategic initiatives, including the Town’s affordable housing and community development efforts. 

In the last nearly five years, Nate has worked with the Town of Chapel Hill’s affordable housing team to implement the Town’s affordable housing work plan and performance measurement systems.


Chapel Hill Police Seek Assistance in Two Hit-and-Run Crashes

The Chapel Hill Police Dept. is seeking assistance locating drivers involved in two separate hit-and-run crashes involving bicyclists this month.

A driver struck a bicyclist on Franklin Street around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 13. An image from a bystander shows a blue suspect vehicle in the intersection of Franklin and Mallette streets. The bicyclist did not have apparent injuries.

Surveillance video shows the driver of a red Chevrolet Cruz striking a bicyclist while leaving the Shortbread Lofts on Rosemary Street around 4:45 p.m. Friday, April 8. The vehicle should have a damaged front bumper and hood. The bicyclist had minor injuries.

Anyone who recognizes the vehicles or has information should call 911 or contact the Chapel Hill Police Dept. 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.


Pump Track at MLK Park closed April 19-22

The pump track located at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 1120 Hillsborough Road, will be closed for maintenance from Tuesday, April 19, to Friday, April 22.


Carrboro Residents Express High Satisfaction for Town Services and Quality of Life

Carrboro ranks as a “high performing city,” with nearly all (98%) of the residents surveyed rating the Town of Carrboro as excellent or good as a place to live, as a place to raise children (98%), and as a place they feel welcome (96%), according to results from the Carrboro Resident Survey.

The Carrboro Town Council received the results from the biennial survey at its April 12 meeting. The status of “high performing city” comes from the national surveying company, which has benchmarking data to compare Carrboro to cities across the country and region.

“I am pleased to see in these survey results that residents rate the quality of life and their satisfaction with services and local government as excellent or good,” Town Manager Richard J. White III said. “This is certainly a great validation of the high-quality services that town employees have continued to deliver despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. We will continue to review the data and feedback to find areas where we can improve services, increase civic engagement, and address quality-of-life issues in the community.”  

Highlights from overall survey results: 

  • Notable high areas of satisfaction are overall appearance of the town (82%), access to parks and green space (80%), and availability of festivals and community events (78%). Notable high areas of satisfaction with town services were public works (91%), fire services (87%), parks and recreation facilities (87%), recreation and cultural programs (83%), and police services (81%).
  • Most important categories of Town services identified by residents were parks and recreation facilities, public works and police services. 
  • The top three priorities for the Town were identified from importance-satisfaction data as being affordable housing, economic development and police services.  
  • Residents were asked to prioritize the allocation of funds received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the purpose of which is to address the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The actions that had the highest levels of support were providing services to disproportionately impacted communities and investing in infrastructure. 

In an effort to hear voices from residents who are historically hard to reach, a second survey of residents who live in the town’s Qualified Census Tracts (QCTs) was conducted. These tracts have 50% of households with incomes below 60% of the Area Median Gross Income or have a poverty rate of 25% or more. Results from this specialized survey will be used along with other information to identify ARPA funding priorities.

Respondents from these areas of town were more likely to be renters (78% in the QCT as compared to 45% in the overall survey), younger (43% in the QCT are ages 18-34 as compared to 19% in the overall survey), people of color (13.3% are black, 9.6% Asian and 9.6 % Hispanic in the QCT as compared to 11% black, 9% Asian and 7% Hispanic in the overall survey), and have less access to the internet (6% reported no access to the Internet in the QCT as compared to 3% in the overall survey). 

Highlights from QCT survey results:

  • Most important categories of Town services were parks and recreation, housing and community, and transportation.  
  • Satisfaction was lower than the overall survey results for ease of walking, adequacy of street lighting and availability of sidewalks.  
  • When residents were asked to prioritize the allocation of funds received through the ARPA, the actions that had the highest levels of support were providing services to disproportionately impacted communities and investing in infrastructure. 

When Carrboro is compared to communities across the region and the U.S., it scores the highest in every comparable category. For example, overall ratings for Carrboro “as a place to live” were 98% for Carrboro, 60% in the Atlantic Region and 50% in the U.S. These data were collected from ETC Institute (etcinstitute.com) national and regional surveys. North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia and New Jersey comprise the Atlantic Region. 

The six-page survey was mailed to a random sample of 2,000 households in Carrboro in December 2021. The goal to obtain completed surveys from at least 400 residents was surpassed when a total of 512 residents completed the survey. The survey mailing was followed up by emails and phone calls inviting responses. 

Survey reports are available for public review at. https://bit.ly/3jIk9d9.  

To learn more about Town of Carrboro services, come out to Carrboro Day from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 1. Carrboro Day is an annual event that is traditionally held at Town Commons on the first Sunday in May. This event is about meeting your neighbors, learning about aspects of the Town’s history, connecting with the Town and learning about Town services, and taking a day to celebrate Carrboro. Learn more at http://carrboroday.com/301/Carrboro-Day.


Interest in American Rescue Plan Act Funding

The Town of Chapel Hill is accepting letters of intent (LOI) from community organizations for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding (https://bit.ly/3ryWfVR) of eligible projects. This is the first step in applying for ARPA funds from the Town, designed to give Town staff and leadership an estimate of what funding our partners need. The next step will be submitting a full application, most likely over the summer.

Letter of intent (LOI) forms are due by Friday, May 13. You can email them to arpa@townofchapelhill.org or mail them to Sarah Poulton, Town of Chapel Hill Managers Office, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill NC  27514.

The LOI is not strictly required but organizations that submit their LOI will have their projects reviewed for eligibility and ensure that Town Council will be aware of their need and thus be more likely to fund it during the open application process.

See details on ARPA eligibility categories at https://bit.ly/3xtFK1a. Any organization that has an idea that is ARPA-eligible can apply. You do not have to be a 501(c)3 to apply.

The Town’s ARPA team will hold three virtual office hours:

If those times do not work for you or you would like to chat separately, email arpa@townofchapelhill.org to set up a time.

For more information, see https://www.townofchapelhill.org/arpa.


Department on Aging to Host Presentation on Retirement and Mental Wellness

The Orange County Dept. on Aging and the Project EngAGE Mental Wellness Senior Resource Team invite the public to attend a virtual presentation, Retirement and Mental Wellness, on May 3.

The Project EngAGE Mental Wellness Senior Resource Team welcomes you to join Lydia Arnold, AT/VC 55+ specialist; Carl Nordgren with Being Better than Before; Mike Komives, employment specialist; and Alison Smith, VC 55+ volunteer coordinator, for a discussion about challenges associated with the new transition of retirement and how they can impact our mental wellbeing. You’ll learn more about discovering your creative renewal, becoming involved, overcoming these challenges and embracing this new chapter.

The free virtual event will take place on Tuesday, May 3, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. 

To register, go to www.orangecountync.gov/Retirement-MentalWellness. If technology assistance is needed, contact Lydia Arnold at 919-245-4276 by Friday, April 29.


April 13, 2022

Town of Chapel Hill Adds Public Art to New Hip Hop South Festival

Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture is partnering with Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) on a new mural to celebrate the Hip Hop South Festival (https://bit.ly/3xHIw3), taking place in Chapel Hill and Carrboro later this month.   

Acclaimed artist Artie Barksdale will create a downtown mural featuring images and icons of hip hop, including an 808 drum machine, a cassette tape, a microphone and a rooster. “The rooster represents the southern hospitality, waking up early, and fighting for supremacy. I was inspired by the rooster from the movie ‘Idlewild,’ a Hip Hop musical featuring OutKast which an animated rooster made cameo appearances throughout the film,” says Barksdale in his project proposal. It will also include Andre 3000’s famous quote, “The South got something to say.” The mural will be installed at 108 Henderson St., on the side of the building that currently houses Imbibe restaurant and Zog’s bar. This location was selected because of its proximity to the site of a former hip hop club, The Hideaway, which was a key stop on the Southern hip hop circuit in the early 2000s.

Carolina Performing Arts’ Hip Hop South Festival is a two-day event, taking place April 22nd and 23rd in venues around Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Co-curated by Harvard Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellows Christopher Massenburg (also known as Dasan Ahanu) and Dr. Regina Bradley, the festival will feature headlining performances by hip hop heavyweights and local artists, as well as academic gatherings, late-night beat and dance battles, visual art, and more. The festival is part of CPA’s Southern Futures initiative, which focuses on racial equity, social justice, and the American South (go to the website above to learn more and buy tickets).

The new hip hop mural is part of the growing collection of art being added to the downtown landscape – focusing on diverse artists and inclusive themes. The mural is made possible by a coalition of funding partners, including CPA, Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership and the Orange County Arts Commission. To see mural updates, follow Community Arts & Culture on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/chapelhillarts/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/CHCommunityArts) and visit chapelhillarts.org.


ADA Improvement Survey Still Available

The Town of Chapel Hill has hired a consultant to look at their operations and facilities for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. As part of that study, they are asking community members how the town is doing right now with sidewalks, parks, greenways and other facilities and how easy they are to access.

Go to  https://bit.ly/3vjQPPw to take the survey in English, Chinese, or Spanish; email talktown@townofchapelhill.org or call 919-969-5009 to complete the survey in English. 


Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Partners with the 2022 Vision & View Garden Tour

The 13th biennial Vision & View Garden Tour is Saturday, April 23, and Sunday, April 24. This year Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation partners with the Chapel Hill Garden Club’s Garden Tour after the tour was postponed in 2020. Since 1931, the Chapel Hill Garden Club has showcased the wonders of gardening and championed good stewardship of the environment.

The 2022 tour, “Vision & View,” will showcase six private gardens and the North Carolina Botanical Garden. The gardens range from historic to modern, personal to campus, mountaintop to lakeside, and have each been thoughtfully created by passionate, visionary gardeners with diverse properties and points of view. 

Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 on tour days. Youth 16 and under are free with a ticketed adult. Ticket vouchers can be redeemed during the tour for a full-color tour brochure that includes fabulous photos of each garden, a map, and much more.

Proceeds support the North Carolina Botanical Garden’s expanding Children’s Wonder Garden and ongoing programs, as well as the Chapel Hill Garden Club’s many community-service projects.

For descriptions of all seven gardens, and to purchase tickets in advance, see https://bit.ly/3jDyZ4B.


Town, Community Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the First Freedom Riders

At its April 6 meeting, the Chapel Hill Town Council proclaimed April 13 as the Journey of Reconciliation Day of Remembrance. The Town of Chapel Hill, in partnership with community groups, faith organizations, and the university, encourages everyone to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, also known as the First Freedom Ride.

On April 9, 1947, eight Black and eight white members of the Congress of Racial Equality set out from Washington, D.C., on Greyhound and Trailways buses in what was billed as the “Journey of Reconciliation.” Their goal was to test the enforcement of Morgan vs. Virginia, a Supreme Court decision that declared segregation on interstate buses and trains unconstitutional. Their planned route included stops in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Chapel Hill was the only stop where the riders met with violence.

On April 12, the buses arrived in Chapel Hill, where the organizers met with local pastor, Reverend Charles Jones, as well as students and townspeople. As the buses prepared to depart on April 13, four riders — Andrew Johnson, James Felmet, Bayard Rustin and Igal Roodenko — were arrested for disorderly conduct for refusing to comply with the segregated seating rules. One rider, James Peck, was physically attacked for his participation.

The riders arrested in Chapel Hill were later sentenced to thirty days on a chain gang. Bayard Rustin’s writings about the journey and later about his experiences on the chain gang inspired Rosa Parks’ protest in 1955 and the Freedom Riders of 1960-61.

Several events and activities will mark the 75th anniversary of the journey and educate the community about this important historical event. In the coming weeks, activities and commemorations are planned, including those listed below. James Williams, retired public defender for Orange and Chatham counties, brought community members together to think of ways to recognize this milestone and says, “This is such an important aspect of both local and national history, and I’m so pleased that community partners came together to commemorate the Journey in creative ways.”

  • Keeping Your Seat to Take a Stand: Trailblazer Sarah Keys Evans
    • This virtual event will be hosted by Carolina K-12, a program of UNC Chapel Hill’s Carolina Public Humanities (https://humanities.unc.edu/ck12/). The date and time of this event will be announced later.
  • The 1947 Journey of Reconciliation: A Long Road to Justice. May 20, 2-4 p.m. at the Hillsborough Courthouse
    • This public event will focus on the trial and sentencing of the riders.
  • Re/Collecting Chapel Hill podcast episode
    • Later this month, co-hosts Danita Mason-Hogans and Molly Luby will share how the journey impacted the local community. Other episodes of the podcast can be found at chapelhillhistory.org.
  • Journey of Reconciliation Bus Shelter
    • The bus shelter at Rosemary and Columbia streets will be wrapped with a photo of the riders as they set out on the journey. This will add to the collection of Civil Rights bus shelters in downtown, part of the Art + Transit program (https://www.chapelhillarts.org/arts-experiences/public-art/art-transit/).

Learn more and stay up to date on events at https://bit.ly/3Ef4ag1.


WCOM Radio Friends & Family Festival April 23

To celebrate and support Carrboro’s VERY OWN radio station, come enjoy the WCOM Friends & Family Festival from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St.

The WCOM Friends & Family Festival will be a day of fun, friends, live music, food and lots of activities for kids and kids at heart. This fundraiser for WCOM is free to attend. There will be food trucks; a beer/wine tent; a KIDS ZONE; and live music featuring Karen K, Saludos Compay, The Carolina Songbirds and Jay Carlis. 

Carrboro’s WCOM 103.5 FM broadcasts more than 50 locally produced music and talk shows and carries such essential news shows as Democracy Now, Counter Spin, and Making Contact. 


Chapel Hill Police Department Joins 30×30 Pledge to Advance Women in Policing

The Chapel Hill Police Dept. has signed the national 30×30 Pledge (https://30x30initiative.org/the-30×30-pledge/) to strengthen the representation and experiences of women in law enforcement. These actions address recruitment, assessment, hiring, retention, promotion and agency culture. Collectively the actions promote stronger community policing outcomes.

The goal of the 30×30 Pledge is for women to make up 30% of police recruit classes by 2030 and to ensure that law enforcement agencies are truly representative of the community each serves.

The Department’s commitment corresponds with its current recruitment for both non-sworn and sworn positions, seen at https://bit.ly/3jCvVWz and at https://bit.ly/3KG5gEg.

By signing the pledge, the Chapel Hill Police Dept. has agreed to:

  • Take measures to increase the representation of women in all ranks
  • Ensure that policies and procedures are free of all bias
  • Promote equitable hiring, retention and promotion of women officers
  • Ensure the department’s culture is inclusive, respectful, and supportive of women in all ranks and roles

More than 155 agencies have signed the 30×30 Pledge. The pledge is based on social science research that shows that greater representation of women on police forces leads to stronger community outcomes. Currently, women make up only 12% of sworn officers and 3% of police leadership in the U.S., according to the 30×30 Initiative. This underrepresentation of women in policing has significant public safety implications. Research suggests that women officers:

  • Use less force and less excessive force
  • Are named in fewer complaints and lawsuits
  • Are perceived by communities as being more compassionate
  • See better outcomes for crime victims, especially in sexual assault cases

For more information about the 30×30 Initiative, see www.30x30initiative.org.


OWASA Responds to Wastewater Overflow

An overflow caused by grease in the sewer line prompted Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) crews to respond at around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, to an overflow of untreated wastewater from a manhole near 121 Turvey Court near Erwin Road. OWASA was alerted of the overflow by an OWASA employee traveling to a project site. An estimated 2,925 gallons of untreated wastewater entered surface water that eventually led to Booker Creek.

OWASA reminds all residents that fats, oils, and grease should be disposed of in the trash rather than being put down the drain. These items solidify in sewer lines, causing these blockages.

The blockage was cleared, and the overflow was stopped at approximately 8:45 a.m. OWASA personnel are continuing efforts to clean up the affected area. Samples will be taken once again after mitigation efforts have concluded to determine if further remediation efforts are required. The appropriate state officials have been notified. 

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


April 11, 2022

Chapel Hill Good Friday Holiday Schedule

Friday, April 15, is a municipal holiday. Some Town services will be affected, as follows:

Residential trash pickup will not be affected. Yard waste will not be collected (no make-up day). Curbside recycling will not be affected.

Chapel Hill Public Library will be closed on Sunday, April 17.

Chapel Hill Transit will operate on a Sunday schedule (no U route) on April 15. Go Triangle 420 will operate.

Parks and Recreation:

  • Parks, greenways, trails, dog parks, playgrounds, picnic shelters and outdoor park amenities are open.
  • Administrative offices, Hargraves Community Center, Teen Center and Community Center Pool will be closed Friday, April 15. Chapel Hill Community Center (pool closed), Homestead Aquatic Center and Northside Gymnasium will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Hargraves Community Center, Teen Center and Community Center Pool will be closed Sunday, April 17. Chapel Hill Community Center (pool closed), Homestead Aquatic Center and Northside Gymnasium will be open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Social Services Recognizes Child Abuse Prevention Month

Orange County Dept. of Social Services kicked off Child Abuse Prevention Month on April 1 by wearing blue and planting a pinwheel garden. Pinwheels are the national symbol for child-abuse prevention, and they represent the bright future all children deserve.

This month, and throughout the year, Orange County Dept. of Social Services encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Orange County a better place for children and families. By ensuring parents have the knowledge, skills and resources they need to care for their children, we can help prevent child abuse and neglect by making meaningful connections with children, youth and families in our communities.

Orange County Dept. of Social Services encourages community members to learn how we can all prevent child maltreatment by registering for Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina’s free webinar, “Ensuring Strong Foundations for Children | Learn the Basics & Take Action” (https://bit.ly/3EdU2ED) on April 20.

Learn how you can #BeAConnection at www.preventchildabusenc.org.


OCAC, CJRD Present Our Lens, Our Voice

The Orange County Criminal Justice Resource Dept. (CJRD), in partnership with the Orange County Arts Commission (OCAC), is presenting Our Lens, Our Voice, a photography and emotional expression project that reframes and refocuses narratives of justice-impacted youth. The photography exhibit will open to the public on Friday, April 29, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Orange County Courthouse (106 E. Margaret Ln., Hillsborough) as part of Hillsborough’s Last Fridays ArtWalk. In addition to the exhibit, attendees will enjoy live music and spoken-word artists.

In September 2020, CJRD and the OCAC, together with photographer Emily Baxter and “artivist” Soteria Shepperson, created Our Lens, Our Voice, where justice-impacted youth used photography and poetry to create a series of anonymous photographs using meaningful words and phrases as prompts. All cameras and supplies were provided, thanks to the generosity of community members. The exhibit will feature the final photographs together with named emotional experiences by each participant.

Growing positive outcomes have led to creative expression becoming a more commonly used tool for engaging justice-involved individuals. A study by the California Dept. of Corrections showed six months after release, rates of parole violation for arts-in-corrections participants were 15% lower than nonparticipants; after two years, this difference climbed to 30%. Seventy-five percent of program participants had fewer disciplinary infractions than nonparticipants.

Involvement in the arts is also critical for student outcomes. Students engaged in arts-learning have higher grade-point averages and standardized test scores and are two times more likely to graduate college. Low-income students who participate in the arts, both in school and after school, have a dropout rate of just 4% — five times lower than their peers. Participation in after-school arts programs causes juvenile crime to fall by 4.2% on average, and slightly more (5.4%) in lower-income cities.

For more information, see https://artsorange.org/ourlens/.


Town of Carrboro Offices Closed Good Friday

Town of Carrboro government offices will be closed for the Good Friday holiday on Friday, April 15.

Residents who normally receive solid-waste collection on Friday will be serviced on Monday, April 18.


Carrboro to Participate in Black Restaurant Week

From April 22 to May 1, you are invited to discover and enjoy Black-owned restaurants and culinary businesses throughout the Triangle. Participating restaurants will be offering weekly specials, including prix-fixe brunch and lunch and dinner specials for dine-in or take-out.

Find participating restaurants at https://blackrestaurantweeks.com/carolinas-directory/.


April 8, 2022

Native Plant Month in Carrboro

At the April 5 Town Council meeting, Council members resolved to designate April as “Native Plant Month” in Carrboro. The designation recognizes the benefits of native plants to our town’s environment and economy.

Residents are invited to celebrate Native Plant Month by planting more native plants in their yard and common spaces. Each seedling does its part to help feed birds, bees and butterflies and to create a more resilient ecosystem. A list of native plant recommendations can be found at. https://bit.ly/3JnDpaj.

Residents interested in learning more about the value of native plants as pollinator habitats can do so at https://townofcarrboro.org/986/Pollinator-Habitat.

Read the full resolution at. https://bit.ly/3v5PT1d.


Carrboro Egg Hunts

The Carrboro Community Egg Hunt and the Flashlight Egg Hunt are scheduled for Saturday, April 16.

Originally scheduled for April 9, the Carrboro Community Egg Hunt has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 16. The start time for the event remains 12:00 p. m. The event is open to children ages 2 through 10. The location is Hank Anderson Community Park, located at 302 N.C. Highway 54 West, Chapel Hill. Participants should bring their own bag or basket.

The Flashlight Egg Hunt begins at dark, with registration beginning on site at 7:45 p.m. This hunt is open to youth ages 11 through 14. The location is Wilson Park, located at 101 Williams St., Carrboro. Participants should bring their own bag or basket and flashlight.

There will not be a rain date for either event.

Both events are free for participants.  

If you have any questions, contact the Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources Department at 919-918-7392.


Carrboro E. Main Street Closure April 19-20

A contractor conducting work on the railroad that intersects near the 200 block of E. Main Street in Carrboro will close this portion of the roadway on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 19-20. A contractor notified the Town of Carrboro that they plan to replace wooden railroad ties and do other work.

Detours will be set up for local traffic, but commuters are encouraged to look for alternative routes to their destination.

The town will share updates on the status of the closures on its social media channels.


Orange County Voters to Gather in Hillsborough to Thank Local Election Workers

Orange County voters will assemble at the historic old county courthouse in downtown Hillsborough (104 E. King St.) on Tuesday, April 12, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. to express their appreciation for Orange county’s hard-working and dedicated poll workers and election officials.

Voters recognize that election workers are on the front line of democracy. Year in and year out, they perform the essential work that keeps elections fair and free, but now they are facing attacks as never before. One in five local election administrators around the country say they are likely to leave their jobs before the 2024 presidential election (https://bit.ly/3xdQNLK). One in three know an election worker who has already left.

Organized by local volunteers in cooperation with the League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham and Chatham counties, this event brings together Americans across race, place and party to stand up for the right to decide who represents us. American voters turned out in record numbers in 2020 to make their voices heard, despite Covid and other threats. We are determined to cast our votes in 2022.

America’s free and fair elections depend on the vital work done by election workers behind the scenes and at the polls. Their diligence and nonpartisanship enable voters to have their say. They truly embody the League’s mission, “making democracy work.”

To express the public’s support for local election workers, Orange County voters will come together, hold signs along Churton Street (Hillsborough’s main artery), and then gather at the historic Old County Courthouse to hear from Orange County Board of Elections Chair Jamie Cox and Board Secretary Shawnee Seese, representing the Orange County poll workers and board staff. Voters will sign giant thank you cards to honor these local Election Heroes.

The event will send a simple message to Orange County’s election heroes: You are essential workers in American democracy. Voters stand with you and deeply appreciate the work that you do. Election workers are just as essential to Orange County communities as are nurses, grocery store workers, letter carriers and firefighters.

The Hillsborough event is one of more than 50 events across the country organized by a coalition of 200 pro-democracy groups, the Voter Empowerment Collaborative (https://www.mobilize.us/voterempowerment/), to thank these unsung election heroes.

For more information, contact Jennifer Bremer at bremer.jennifer@gmail.com or 301-955-6333.


Second Chance Month in N.C.

Governor Roy Cooper has announced that April is Second Chance Month in North Carolina, a time to focus on the challenges facing the more than 20,000 people returning to their communities each year after completing sentences of incarceration. Barriers facing previously incarcerated individuals can be overwhelming. The Orange County Local Reentry Council (LRC) is now in its fourth year of service to Orange County and its formerly incarcerated residents.

The purpose of the LRC, as mandated by the N.C. Department of Public Safety, is to coordinate resources in the community in order to assist residents and their families as they transition from incarceration to society. In addition to assembling these resources and addressing gaps, the LRC and its umbrella agency, the Orange County Criminal Justice Resource Dept., provide case management services, funding and support to formerly incarcerated clients.

This year was heavily influenced by COVID-19 and the attending restrictions and limitations. Due to the pandemic, the LRC and clients experienced challenges similar to those that most human services providers experienced and continue to experience. The work for both provider and client is tough and required creativity and adaption on all fronts. Despite often overwhelming barriers, LRC clients experienced many successes this year.

It is difficult to present them all, especially when there are so many different person-centered goals and needs for a client caseload that averages around 30. See https://bit.ly/37wxYsy to read a few client success stories to shine light, power, encouragement and strengthened community support for a resilient population who have been navigating and adapting since well before COVID-19.


April 7, 2022

Check Out OCLW’s Job Board

Orange County Living Wage maintains a job listing on their website (orangecountylivingwage.org/jobs). Jobs are posted by living-wage employers that demonstrated that they paid the living wage that was in effect at the time they certified. Openings include positions such as human resources manager, front-of-house restaurant workers, office and community organizer, and asset manager. See the entire listing at orangecountylivingwage.org/jobs.


Help Preparing for April Showers

April showers in Carrboro can sometimes result in more than just May flowers. Wet weather can also bring flooding, streambank erosion and property damage. In Carrboro, stormwater management is always top of mind, as evidenced by the maintenance of a stormwater team dedicated to helping residents mitigate its effects, managing stormwater and identifying future restoration projects to improve the health of our watersheds.

If you are experiencing issues, you can reach the stormwater staff via these reporting tools:


April 4, 2022

Earth Day in Carrboro

Earth Day will be celebrated from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 22, at the Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St., with a wide array of food vendors; information tables, displays, and demonstrations; and a children’s parade at 6 p.m.  

Organizers with the Orange County Chapter of the Climate Reality Project have partnered with the Town of Carrboro to line up an amazing group of Orange County’s finest to share information with attendees on food-waste composting, native plants, electric vehicles, edible gardens on the UNC campus and many others, along with kid-friendly activities of Earth Day crafts, seed-planting and a Children’s Parade at 6 p.m. Children (and any brave adults) are invited to come in costume of a favorite animal or plant. There will be small costume add-ons to make at the event, and loaned items from Paperhand Puppets will bring a festive spirit to the parade. 

Organizations and vendors that wish to participate in this event can apply at. https://bit.ly/38jbtre.  

Learn more about Carrboro’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution and fight climate change at. https://bit.ly/3r3nwiU.


Poetry Month in Carrboro

Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils has declared April as Poetry Month in Carrboro. 

Carrboro poet laureate Fred Joiner will invite special guests to read poems at the beginning of upcoming meetings of the Town Council for April 5, 12, 19, and 26. A list of poems read at previous Council meetings can be found at http://www.ci.carrboro.nc.us/2593/Poetry-Readings-During-Town-Council-Meet.

The Town of Carrboro established the position of poet laureate in 2002 to enhance the presence of poetry in the social and civic life of Carrboro. Poet laureate Fred Joiner was selected as a laureate fellow of the Academy of American Poets in 2019, one of 13 poets of literary merit chosen from across the U.S. to “enable them to undertake meaningful, impactful, and innovative projects that engage their fellow residents, including youth, with poetry, helping to address issues important to their communities, as well as create new work.” 

The Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org/) established the month of April as National Poetry Month in 1996 to celebrate the legacy and ongoing achievements of poets in the U.S., introduce the pleasures and benefits of reading poetry, bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways, and make poetry an important part of children’s education.

“Poem in Your Pocket Day,” which will take place on Friday, April 29, encourages people to select a poem and carry it with them to share with others.

Read the proclamation at https://bit.ly/3DJRwFz.

There’s a poem in this place—
in the footfalls in the halls
in the quiet beat of the seats.
It is here, at the curtain of day,
where America writes a lyric
you must whisper to say.
Amanda Gorman from “In This Place” (An American Lyric)


Robertson Selected for President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts

President Joe Biden has appointed Carrboro resident Diane Robertson, along with 13 others, to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts (PACA). Robertson is the only appointee from North Carolina.

Robertson’s creativity and background in the arts led her to this appointment. The appointees provide input on artistic programming for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The PACA was established in 1958 to help sustain the center.

Read the full story at https://bit.ly/3DOMGqL.



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