News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS

For previous news briefs, click here to read the News Briefs Archive page.


July 27, 2021

Orange County Extends Local Emergency Declaration Indefinitely

With hospitalizations increasing and the Delta variant spreading, Orange County has extended the local COVID-19 related state of emergency declaration (https://bit.ly/3rDQXr5) indefinitely. The extension went into effect Friday, July 23, at 5 p.m.

Orange County’s positive rate of COVID tests was at 0.4% the week of June 6-12 but has increased steadily since, reaching 1.3% for the week of July 4-10 and 2.9% for the week of July 11-17. Most of the new cases are amongst unvaccinated individuals and are caused by the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

The Health Department continues to urge individuals who are eligible for a vaccine to get the shot. Learn more about how to schedule an appointment at https://bit.ly/377vFbK.

Orange County will continue to follow the terms of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 220 related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. As noted in Executive Order 220, the local education agencies of Orange County, together with all other public and private schools in Orange County, shall comply with the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (https://bit.ly/2Vk368d).


New Mural to Celebrate Black Trailblazers of Chapel Hill and Carrboro

A new mural will start to take shape this week at 111 S. Merritt Mill Road, where Chapel Hill and Carrboro meet. The mural will celebrate 12 black “trailblazers” who helped shape and improve the community. Kiara Sanders, a Black artist from Apex, will be working on the mural over the next several weeks and expects to complete it by mid-August.

The mural will be on the north side of the building, which houses two black-owned businesses, Walt’s Grill and Ms. Molly’s Gift Shop. The mural will feature an assembly of portraits of black community leaders, from educators and entrepreneurs to religious and civic leaders.

The idea for the mural originated with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Other community partners have come on board to make this mural a reality, including the Town of Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, the Town of Carrboro, the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership and the Orange County Arts Commission.

More information about the project and the people honored will be released over the coming weeks, with an official unveiling announcing the completion at the end of August.


Carrboro Mayor Lavelle Calls on White House and Congress to Pass Citizenship Legislation

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, alongside 83 fellow mayors across 28 states, sent a letter Monday, July 26, to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi calling for citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, farmworkers and other essential workers to be included in any economic-recovery legislation, including through budget reconciliation.

According to a study by the Center for American Progress and Univ. of California-Davis Global Migration Center (https://ampr.gs/3yaVOCl), a new path to citizenship for Dreamers and TPS holders would add $799 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years. Similarly, for essential workers, citizenship would add $989 billion over the same period. Overall, according to the study, if Congress were to act, nearly 440,000 new jobs would be created, energizing the local economies of communities across the country.


July 24, 2021

Volunteers Needed for Food Drive

The Town of Chapel Hill needs volunteers to help with weekly food bank distributions. Many people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and are food insecure, and the need for volunteers continues to grow. 

The drive-thru food distribution takes place at the Eubanks Park and Ride lot in Chapel Hill on Wednesdays, starting at 10 a.m. and lasting until 11:30 or until all of the food is gone. 

Visit https://www.townofchapelhill.org/home/showpublisheddocument/45714/637594463986030000 to see the weekly food distribution schedule.

If you’re able to volunteer a few hours, sign up online at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904044fa8a922a1fa7-chapel1.


Chapel Hill to Resume Fire Inspection Fees

The Chapel Hill Fire Marshal’s Life Safety Division will resume charging inspection fees for businesses in Chapel Hill in September. Fees were paused in the spring of 2020 in response to the heavy toll the COVID-19 pandemic was taking on local businesses. Critical fire inspections continued during this time without the businesses being charged.

North Carolina mandates that every structure be inspected for fire code violations at least every three years. The fee includes initial inspection and one re-inspection if all corrections are made. Subsequent re-inspections will require additional fees.

The fees are:

  • 0 – 999 sq. ft. – $50
  • 1,000 – 2,499 sq. ft. – $75
  • 2,500 – 9.999 sq. ft. – $100
  • 10,000 – 49,999 sq. ft. – $200
  • 50,000 sq. ft and more – $300

For more information, visit townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/business-management/fee-schedules/fire-department-fee-schedule.

For questions, email firemarshals@townofchapelhill.org.


Street Resurfacing on Christopher and Culbreth Roads

A contractor for North Carolina Department of Transportation will resurface sections of Christopher and Culbreth roads in Chapel Hill beginning next week. Lane closures and delays are expected during this work.

Christopher Road from U.S. Highway 15-501 to the end will be resurfaced July 28 and 29. 

Culbreth Road from U.S. Highway 15-501 to Smith Level Road will be resurfaced July 28 and 30 through Aug. 13. Also on Culbreth Road, bike lanes will replace the left-turn lanes at Weyer Drive, Cobble Ridge Drive and Culbreth Park.

Schedules are tentative and dependent on favorable weather.

For more information on the restriping plans, visit townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/planning/transportation-planning/culbreth-lane-reallocation.


E&W Electrical Certified as Living-Wage Employer

Orange County Living Wage (https://orangecountylivingwage.org/) has announced that E & W Electrical (515 Meadowlands Dr., Suite 100, Hillsborough) has certified as a living-wage employer. E & W Electrical is a locally-owned power-systems provider focusing on complete generator solutions.


July 22, 2021

Tree Removals Due to Declining Health

Town staff have determined that some large trees in the downtown Chapel Hill area are in declining health and need to be removed to avoid future damage.

Between July 26 and July 30 (7 a.m. to 4 p.m.), three trees in the 200 block of East Franklin Street and one tree at 165 East Franklin St. will be removed. Lane closures will be necessary along the 200 block of East Franklin Street.

Between Aug. 2 and Aug. 6 (7 a.m. to 4 p.m.), two trees at 416/422 Cameron Ave. will be removed. Lane closures will be necessary, and nearby houses will receive information about this work.

For more information, contact Park Maintenance Superintendent Kevin Robinson at 919-969-5104 or krobinson@townofchapelhill.org.


Tar Heel Bikes Hub Relocated to West Franklin Street

The Town of Chapel Hill and UNC-Chapel Hill have coordinated with the UNC bikeshare provider, Bolt Mobility, to move a Tar Heel Bikes hub from campus to downtown Chapel Hill. The hub is on the brick area on the southeast corner of West Franklin and Church streets.

ar Heel Bikes can be picked up or dropped off at this location. Anyone may use Tar Heel Bikes for one hour with the Daily Plan, without needing to pay for a yearly membership. After registering for an account at https://app.socialbicycles.com/select_plan/138, find and reserve a bike using the SoBi mobile app, the SoBi website (https://app.socialbicycles.com/users/sign_in), or the bicycle keypad. For more information on how to use Tar Heel Bikes, visit move.unc.edu/bikeshare.

The hub is located in downtown to test ridership and to inform future shared-mobility options in Chapel Hill. The town is exploring additional hub opportunities with UNC.


Estes Drive Public Information Meeting Aug. 4

The Town of Chapel Hill will host a virtual public information meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, to give a brief overview of the Estes Drive Connectivity Project. Virtual office hours will also be available for drop-in from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5.

Work is scheduled to begin on Estes Drive—from west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Caswell Road—in late August or early September. Work will consist of bicycle and pedestrian improvements, including raised bike lanes, sidewalks and a 10-foot multiuse path. More information can be found at townofchapelhill.org/estes.

Register to attend the Aug. 4 public information meeting via Zoom at us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mcP2W-vhTnKYVxrniiqvWQ.

Register to drop in for office hours Aug. 5 via Zoom at us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAocu6hrTgoH9PqvBGOG3CCOiDilSD9nz0X.


July 20, 2021

Applicants for Orange County BOCC Vacancy

Four people have applied to be considered for appointment to the Orange County (OC) Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to fill the vacancy that will occur July 31, when Commissioner Mark Dorosin officially leaves to assume new responsibilities in Florida. The applicants are: 

  • Marilyn Carter
  • Rani Dasi
  • Penny Rich
  • Anna Richards

The applications are being forwarded to the OC Democratic Party for review, as well as to the Board of Elections for verification of eligibility. In addition, all applications, which include a series of questions and answers, are posted on the county website (https://www.orangecountync.gov/DocumentCenter/View/16615/BOCC-Applications_combined).

The BOCC will vote to appoint a new commissioner at their Sept. 2 business meeting. This person will serve through November 2022. A special election will be held next year to elect a person to serve the final two years of Dorosin’s unexpired term.


Orange County Sponsors Southern Hospitality Hiring Series Job Fairs

Orange County Department of Social Services and the North Carolina Works/Skills Development Center co-sponsor Southern Hospitality Hiring Series job fairs for the hospitality industry on the fourth Friday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon at 100 Europa Drive, Chapel Hill. Door prizes and gift cards will be given to the first 100 eligible job seekers.

The pandemic has created many job openings in the hospitality industry with salaries starting at $10-$15 per hour and higher, depending on experience. Job seekers must have an active NC Works account (https://www.ncworks.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx).

Employers scheduled to participate include AC Hotel, Rizzo Center + Carolina Inn, Fearrington Village, the Chapel Hill Restaurant Group, Waffle House, Hillsborough BBQ, Panera Bread, Wegmans, Chapel Hill Transit and many more.

Unvaccinated attendees must wear a mask.


OC BOCC Chair Price Sponsors Resolution to Fund Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Incentive Grants

Orange County Board of County Commissioners Chair Renee Price, along with Guilford County Commissioner Kay Cashion, sponsored a resolution encouraging Congress to fund the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Incentive Grants at the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention, at the annual conference of the National Association of Counties earlier this month.

The adopted policy reads: “The National Association of Counties (NACo) urges Congress to provide $61.5 million funding to the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) for the purposes of including arts-based juvenile justice programs among its strategies and expanding existing programming for justice-involved youth in all counties, parishes and boroughs.”


Chapel Hill Police Department Seeking Information About Shooting Incident

The Chapel Hill Police Department has requested that anyone with information about an incident of shots fired at around 11:40 p.m. Sunday, July 18, into an occupied dwelling in the 1700 block of Legion Road, call the Chapel Hill Police Department between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 919-968-2760 or 911 at any time. Callers who wish to remain anonymous may call Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515. You can also leave tips for Crime Stoppers at crimestoppers-chcunc.org. Information that leads to an arrest may be eligible for a reward up to $2,000.

No injuries were reported. Preliminary information suggests this was not a random act, and there does not appear to be an ongoing threat to the community.


At-Home COVID-19 Vaccinations

In its effort to provide everyone access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC) Area Agency on Aging to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations to people with limited mobility who cannot leave their homes.

Caregivers, providers or individuals may access the program by calling the At-Home Vaccination Hotline at 866-303-0026 at any time or by visiting www.ptrc.org/covid and filling out the registration form. 

Within three business days, a PTRC Vaccination Specialist will connect with the individual to schedule their at-home vaccination.  

There is increasing urgency for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the highly contagious Delta variant is rapidly spreading in North Carolina. Clinical trials among thousands of people have proven that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for anyone age 12 and over. All COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19, including from the Delta variant. More than 160 million Americans have been safely vaccinated.


July 18, 2021

BOCC Commits $100,000 to Support Restart the Arts Grants

At their June 15 meeting, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved $100,000 to support Restart the Arts grants for the local arts community. Funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the request was included in a larger proposal submitted by the Orange County Arts Commission to utilize ARPA funding to kick-start the local economy through the arts and provide accessible arts opportunities for residents.

The funding will help restore the local arts sector to its prepandemic impact, employing approximately 4,000 creative industry workers and contributing $131 million to the local economy each year.

The arts commission will establish funding guidelines and will announce the application period later this month.


Alert Carolina Sirens Test Tuesday, July 20

On Tuesday July 20, between 6 and 7 p.m., UNC-Chapel Hill will test its emergency sirens. The sirens will sound an alert tone along with a brief pre-recorded voice message. The University tests the sirens regularly throughout the year to make sure the equipment works properly and to remind everyone what to do in a real emergency.

During the test, anyone outdoors near campus or downtown will likely hear the sirens. You may also hear the emergency sirens that are located at the Friday Center and near the Giles Horney Building off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. No action is required.


Street Resurfacing Begins July 22

A contractor for the Town of Chapel Hill will begin street resurfacing Thursday July 22 at locations throughout town. The project will continue through Aug. 27, weather permitting.

Each location will see milling and patching first. Milling consists of grinding and removing the old pavement; patching involves adding new pavement to areas with cracks, holes or other weak spots. Once the milling and patching are complete, the final driving surface will be paved.

Tentative dates for milling and patching are July 22-Aug. 24 and for paving are Aug. 2-27 on Allard Road, Arlen Park Drive, Brookside Drive, Caswell Road, Catesby Lane, Cedar Hills Circle, Colburn Point, Collison Drive, East and West Columbia Place Drive, Europa Drive, Faison Road, Frances Street, Gurnsey Trail, Ivy Brook Lane, Karin Court, Kingston Drive, New Castle Place, North Columbia Street, North Roberson Street, Nuttal Place, Nuttree Lane, Old Barn Lane, Ridgecrest Drive, Rigsbee Mobile Home Park, Rossburn Way, Simerville Road, Sourwood Circle, Sourwood Drive, Umstead Drive, Woodhaven Road and Woodleaf Drive.

For more information, visit townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/public-works/streets-and-construction/street-maintenance.


Chapel Hill Transit Returns to Full Service in August

On Aug. 1 Chapel Hill Transit will begin running routes paused during COVID-19 pandemic. Some routes will have reduced service and some routes will be operated by a third-party contractor, Carolina Livery.

All customers and team members are required to wear masks while on transit vehicles, and barriers have been installed between seating benches to provide physical separation between people.

Chapel Hill Transit is actively recruiting bus operators for full- and part-time positions, paid-training and excellent benefits. Anyone interested can apply at: townofchapelhill.org/jobs.

Chapel Hill Transit implemented service changes Aug. 3, 2020. For customers who have not been using transit, review the new route brochures at https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/transit/routes-schedules/all-routes-schedules.

Chapel Hill Transit’s office will remain closed to the public. Lost and Found and EZ Rider certifications will remain by appointment only. Call 919-969-4901 to speak with a member of the Chapel Hill Transit team.


Traffic-Calming Interim Installation in Barred Owl Creek Neighborhood

In response to drivers exceeding the speed limit, the Town of Carrboro will be installing traffic-calming devices along Carol Street Thursday July 29, beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Interim devices will be installed for testing purposes on the 100 and 300 blocks of Carol Street and on Carol Street at Lorraine Street.

The interim treatments will be in place for several months to allow time for data collection. Anticipated next steps are data collection in October and a neighborhood meeting in November.  

See the project webpage at http://townofcarrboro.org/2367/Barred-Owl-Traffic-Calming. For any questions or concerns, contact the Town’s Transportation Planner at zhallock@townofcarrboro.org or at 919-918-7329.


Rosemary Street Parking Deck Work Begins Shortly

Work is about to begin on the Rosemary Street Parking Deck in Chapel Hill. Contractors for the town will install construction fencing around the Rosemary Street Parking Deck in the coming weeks.

The pedestrian bridge over East Rosemary Street will be removed over a weekend to minimize impacts to motor vehicles and pedestrians. Detour signs will be installed for that work. Complete demolition of the deck will follow. The sidewalk on the north side of East Rosemary Street will be closed for the duration of the project to protect people in the area.

For regular updates visit www.townofchapelhill.org/rosemary-project.


July 16, 2021

Free Food Distribution July 22 in Carrboro

From 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday July 22, Carrboro and Orange County volunteers will distribute free food boxes at Carrboro High School, 201 Rock Haven Road, Carrboro. Orange County Animal Services will also have pet food available at no cost. Free masks will be distributed to anyone who needs them.  

The distribution is drive-thru; volunteers will place the food box in the trunk of your car. There are no eligibility requirements — first-come, first-served.


Online Auction to Benefit NAACP

The North Carolina National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is holding an online auction to support their cause. Autographed mementos they have secured from the University of Virginia (UVA), the University of North Carolina (UNC), and the National Basketball Association (NBA) Charlotte Hornets to auction off include a signed football from UNC Head Football Coach Mack Brown, a signed basketball from UVA Head Men’s Basketball Coach Tony Bennett, and a signed jersey from NBA Charlotte Hornets Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball. Other donations are appreciated.


National Night Out in Carrboro

The Carrboro Police Department will be holding a National Night Out event from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday Aug. 3, at Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main Street.

There will be music, games, free food (beef, veggie and turkey hot dogs catered by Al’s), activities, an officer and a firefighter in a dunk booth, the junior firefighter obstacle course, emergency vehicles on display, a free car-seat-checking station and many organizations in attendance with tables. Carrboro Police will also be collecting canned foods and other items to donate to the Inter-Faith Council and Table. Donations are welcome. 

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. For more information about National Night Out, please visit https://natw.org.


Restaurant and Hospitality Hiring Event July 19th

The Town of Chapel Hill’s Office of Economic Development is coordinating with Corralling Chaos to host the “Greets and Treats Hiring Event” from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday July 19, at University Place on Estes Drive in Chapel Hill. Funding for this event is from the ReVive Recovery Plan.

The purpose of the ReVive Plan is to support local businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty to 30 local business will be in attendance and on-the-spot hiring will be available for qualified candidates who are looking for work immediately.

More information about the event and a sign-up form for employers and job seekers can be found at business.carolinachamber.org/calendar/Details/greet-treats-hiring-event-365482?sourceTypeId=Hub.

To see more about ReVive, visit https://www.open2.biz/revive.


Photo courtesy of townofchapelhill.org

Summer Outdoor Movies Are Back at a New Location

Chapel Hill’s outdoor movie series is back for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. Movies Under the Stars will take place on three evenings this summer at its new location, The Forest Theatre.

Movies will begin promptly at sundown, which will vary between 8 and 8:30 p.m., and guests can arrive early. No folding chairs are allowed, and no food or drink will be available on-site; you may bring your own water.

The closest parking is available at the Cobb Parking Deck on Paul Green Drive, Chapel Hill; and the Park Place lot in Chapel Hill. Free parking is available after 6 p.m. on West Franklin Street (past Columbia Street) in Chapel Hill. For more information on parking, visit parkonthehill.com.

To learn more about Movies Under the Stars, visit chapelhillarts.org/movies. To learn more about The Forest Theatre, visit ncbg.unc.edu/venue/forest-theatre/.


July 13, 2021

Special Breed of Dogs on the Loose

Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) wishes to inform the public about several at-large dogs that are presumed to be wolf and German shepherd hybrids, although it has not been confirmed that all of the dogs are wolf hybrids. These dogs recently escaped from their enclosure in Orange County, and it is estimated that approximately four dogs currently remain at large. Some of the dogs were safely captured and are currently being housed at the OCAS facility.

Do not attempt to capture or confine these dogs. If you see any of these dogs running loose, please call Orange County Animal Control at 919-942-7387, option 1.

Orange County Animal Control officers have set traps in the Cedar Grove area of Orange County where the dogs originally escaped their enclosure. OCAS is asking the public not to feed the dogs or interfere with these trapping efforts, as this will severely hinder efforts to safely capture the dogs.

At this time, there is no confirmation that the dogs have attacked or hurt any people, animals, or livestock. However, like any fearful animal, these dogs may display aggressive tendencies when confronted by people. 

No outcome has been determined for the dogs at this time. They are not currently available to the general public for adoption or foster, and it is highly unlikely that they will ever be made available in that way. Hybrids of this kind may not be kept as pets in Orange County, and there is not an approved rabies vaccine for these canines. OCAS is working to find placement options.


Bakery Receives Living Wage Certification

Starfish Bakery (https://www.starfishbakery.org) has received certification as a living-wage employer by Orange County Living Wage.


July 11, 2021

Public Feedback on Triangle Bikeway Requested

After more than 2,000 individuals shared their thoughts during the Triangle Bikeway’s first phase of engagement, the project team is back to seek public feedback on a recommended route and to find out more about how bicyclists and pedestrians would like to access this regional shared-use path.

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO invite Triangle residents, employees, businesses and visitors to provide input on the Triangle Bikeway Study’s recommended route – a critical milestone in the process to create a regional 17-mile biking and walking path connecting Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Research Triangle Park (RTP), Durham and Chapel Hill along I-40 and NC Hwy 54. By connecting Triangle communities, the pathway will allow residents to make both short and long biking and walking trips for work, play and daily errands. Since the eastern segment of the pathway has been through a preliminary study, the current planning effort includes design recommendations between Raleigh and RTP and a corridor assessment for the connection west to Durham and Chapel Hill.

The goals of the Triangle Bikeway Study focus on equity, connectivity and safety and include prioritizing equal access to the shared-use path for all; providing seamless connections between the path, the regional transportation network, employment centers and local neighborhoods; and addressing the safety needs of users of all ages and abilities.

The survey during this second phase will identify pathway user preferences and facility needs. Participants can share their ideas on where they would prefer to walk along the route and where they would like to access the path by taking the survey at https://publicinput.com/trianglebikewaystudy. The survey will remain open through Friday, July 16. Learn more at http://www.trianglebikeway.com. Watch the project update video at https://vimeo.com/553048796


Chapel Hill’s New Online Permit System

On July 8, the Town of Chapel Hill Building and Development Services Department launched a limited new online permit center that allows applicants to submit building permit applications, track the progress of their applications, schedule inspections, communicate with staff and pay permit fees online. The limited-launch period will last at least a month, after which the Town will publish an evaluation of the system and describe next steps. 

Applicants can still use their preferred method of submittal, and staff will help them enter the information in the system and set them up with an account. Staff will also continue to accept applications and inspection requests via telephone and email. The purpose of the limited launch is to help users transition to the new system and will allow staff the opportunity to collect user feedback and make any changes that are needed to the system. 

If paying fees online, a third-party transaction processor provided by Stripe.com charges a non-refundable convenience fee to process a payment. This fee is separate from Town fees and goes directly to Stripe. Cash and checks will still be accepted at the Town Hall Revenue Desk. 

  • Credit card fee: 2.99% + 99 cents per transaction
  • Electronic check:  $5.50 flat fee

Visit chapelhillnc.viewpointcloud.com to use the new system and create a login with an email address and password. To provide feedback, email permits@townofchapelhill.org or call the Permit Center at 919-968-2718.


Homestead Aquatic Center Reopening Operations July 12

On July 12 the Homestead Aquatic Center will begin a mix of new hybrid pool operations for both reservable swim times and drop-in swim times. The Chapel Hill Community Center Pool will continue to operate on a limited schedule with only reservable times available. The AD Clark outdoor pool will revert back to free drop-in swimming with a limit of 45 swimmers at any one time. Drop-in swims at all facilities will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. For pool schedules and more detail, visit https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/parks-and-recreation/recreation-facilities-schedules/aquatic-facilities.

The easiest way to reserve a swim time is via the online catalog at https://webtrac.townofchapelhill.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?SessionID=db1065337fc17c1e78d86ddbdae6fd0e5e319746e5baf6f020712d4f88ee267146a18f035f7d50613e48aac7221d87e9980f2eab7dfaec3d2cab24a1fadd1858&module=AR&type=AQUA&subtype=HALAPRES. If you need to register by phone or have a question, call Homestead Aquatic Center (919) 968-2799, Chapel Hill Community Center pool (919) 968-2790, or AD Clark outdoor pool (919) 968-2816. Patrons who plan to swim at Homestead Aquatic Center or at the Chapel Hill Community Center pool will have the option of paying the single-visit fee when they reserve online or may inquire on-site about 20-day, six-month and 12-month passes. To learn more about swim passes, visit https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/parks-and-recreation/recreation/aquatics-pool-schedules.

See the webpage titled “What to Know Before You Go” (https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/parks-and-recreation/what-to-know-before-you-go) for more information on Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation. See chapelhillparks.org for updates and information regarding parks and recreation facilities and service.


Orange County Department on Aging 2021 Direct Care Worker Award Nominations Now Open 

Since 2015, Orange County Department on Aging and the community group Senior Health Advocacy and Resource Partners of Orange County (SHARP) have hosted an annual SHARP Direct Care Worker Awards event. This event is in honor of nurse aides, personal care aides, companion caregivers, etc. who affect their clients’ lives on a daily basis and make a difference in the Orange County community.

Awards will be presented for client impact, longevity, leadership, going the extra mile and rising star. One person will be chosen as the “Direct Care Worker of the Year.”

To be eligible, direct-care workers must have served clients in Orange County within the past year. Each person may be nominated in two categories. Nominees must have provided direct care to clients and have at least six consecutive months of service in the past year.

Nominations are open through Sept. 24. A ceremony will be held for award winners Thursday, Nov. 4, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

For more information about the awards or to nominate a direct-care worker, please visit http://www.orangecountync.gov/249/SHARP-Direct-Care-Worker-Awards, or contact Kim Lamon-Loperfido at kloperfido@orangecountync.gov or at 919-245-4253.


Orange County Senior Centers Phase in On-Site Programs

The Seymour Center (2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill) and the Passmore Center (103 Meadowlands Dr, Hillsborough ) again offer indoor programming, with limited capacity. In addition, individual activities, including table tennis, billiards, fitness center, fit feet clinic and more are available by reservation. Many programs will be offered in a hybrid model, with in-person and online options. Outdoor spaces are also available for gathering with friends. Lunch service will continue to be offered curbside.

Participants must pre-register for programs and activities and sign in upon arrival. While inside, masks and social distancing will remain in place at both centers.

For assistance or more information about programs offered, contact the Passmore Center (919-245-2015), Seymour Center (919-968-2070), or the Aging Helpline at agingtransitions@orangecountync.gov or 919-968-2087.


Deadline to Appeal Property Values Extended to Sept. 1

On June 15 the Orange County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to extend the 2021 Orange County Board of Equalization and Review Formal Appeal adjournment date from June 30 to Sept. 1.

The purpose of this extension is to allow additional time for property owners to formally appeal their 2021 property values to the Board of Equalization and Review.

Instructions and the Formal Notice of Appeal to the Board of Equalization and Review are available on the Orange County website: http://www.orangecountync.gov/806/Appeals. Property owners may file a formal appeal online at https://appeals.spatialest.com/nc-orange

To receive a paper copy of the form, email reval@orangecountync.gov or call 919-245-2100, option 2. All formal appeals must be submitted before the board’s adjournment Wednesday, Sept. 1.


NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro Action Fund Candidate Coming-Out Party and Happy Hour

The NEXT (https://nextnc.org/) Chapel Hill-Carrboro Action Fund will hold its biennial Candidate Coming-Out Party and Happy Hour (https://www.facebook.com/events/187049100031907) Friday, July 16, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Present Day on Main (901 West Main St., Carrboro).

This event will mark the end of the candidate filing period for this year’s municipal, school board and state elections. Attendees can meet and engage with constituents, journalists and candidates for local office in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough.


Orange County Seeking to Expand Rural Broadband

Orange County has designated $5 million of its initial American Rescue Plan Act Local Recovery Funds to improve broadband in rural areas and is seeking a company or companies that can help the county achieve its goals.

The Orange County Broadband Task Force and the North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office are offering virtual meetings for interested companies. These sessions will be held Thursday, July 22, beginning at 3 p.m. Each company will have 20 minutes to discuss their ability to meet the county’s goal to improve service in rural areas.

Companies should be prepared to discuss the details of an affordable fiber-based solution that provides a minimum of 100 Mbps symmetrical service to approximately 5,000 unserved and underserved households within Orange County. The plan should include a subsidized option for low-income families to ensure that all residents are served.

Interested companies should include details on project costs and what kind of subsidy per household would be needed from the county to provide the minimum service to every home by Dec. 31, 2024.

Interested companies should register for a meeting at https://orangecountync.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mcbbcSAJQAuIy0mxStBRSQ.


July 6, 2021

Carrboro Town Council Member Barbara Foushee (photo courtesy of reelectbarbarafoushee.com)

Carrboro Town Council Member Barbara Foushee to Seek Reelection

Carrboro Town Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Foushee announced Tuesday, July 6, the launch of her reelection campaign. Learn more about Foushee and her campaign at http://www.reelectbarbarafoushee.com.


House Fire at 106 Kenan Street

The Chapel Hill Fire Department responded at 6:16 a.m. Tuesday, July 6, to the report of a structure fire at 106 Kenan Street. The fire was under control within 30 minutes of crews arriving.

No one was injured because of the fire; two residents will be displaced. The fire damaged roughly 50% of the house. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Frederick Douglass Community Reading Available for Viewing

The Town of Carrboro held its eighth annual Frederick Douglass Community Reading of Douglass’ speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” under the old elm tree outside Town Hall July 4.

The speech was first delivered in 1852, in Corinthian Hall, Rochester, New York, to the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. The themes addressed in the speech still resonate with Americans more than 150 years after they were written, forcing us to reckon with the legacy of slavery and the promises of democracy. It took 13 years after the speech for slavery to be abolished — 89 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Opening remarks for the program were provided by former North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, the first African American woman to serve as chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The complete video of the event can be viewed at https://youtu.be/QGLmmhbGTaQ. Justice Cheri Beasley’s opening remarks are at 35:00, and closing remarks by James Williams, the retired chief public defender for Orange and Chatham counties who chairs the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System (NC CRED), are at 1:44. The Douglass speech is available at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/9293/Frederick-Douglass-Speech-.


Tracks Music Library Releasing New Local Music Throughout July

Tracks Music Library, Chapel Hill’s commercial-free streaming music platform, announces a new music collection for 2021 featuring more than 30 albums produced in the last two years by Triangle-area musicians. Launched in the summer of 2020, Tracks Music Library is a collaboration between Chapel Hill Public Library and Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture. Anyone can listen to the streaming service for free, and those with a Chapel Hill Public Library card can download songs. 

To celebrate the 2021 Tracks Music Library collection, local media and digital platforms will be featuring Tracks artists and curators each Tuesday in July. Listeners can visit tracksmusiclibrary.org/featured each Tuesday to hear newly released albums and a ‘summer mixtape’ playlist curated by staff that showcases a variety of genres and bands. They can also tune in to WCHL 97.9 The Hill (Chapelboro.com) each Tuesday in July from 6:00 – 6:30 p.m. for live interviews and on-air performances with Tracks musicians and bands, follow Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture and Chapel Hill Public Library social media accounts on Tuesdays for to read features and hear live performances, and download music and create custom playlists with a Chapel Hill Public Library card. Orange County residents can obtain a library card for free at chapelhillpubliclibrary.org.

To learn more about Tracks Music Library, visit tracksmusiclibrary.org. To learn more about Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, visit chapelhillarts.org. To learn more about Chapel Hill Public Library, visit chapelhillpubliclibrary.org


July 4, 2021

The Chapel Hill Public Library

Chapel Hill Public Library Takes Another Step Towards Fully Reopening

Starting on Thursday, July 8, library users will be able to browse the stacks on the Chapel Hill Public Library’s main level.

Users are asked to wear masks, as will the library staff. This phase will start with some occupancy limits, and users are asked to keep visits brief.

Also, starting on July 11, Sunday hours are being restored. The library’s hours of operations will then be Monday, Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Tuesday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Wednesday closed; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

People can still request items and pick them up at University Place lockers. Computers and printers are available on the lower level of the library, and the terrace is available for a place to meet or to work.

Call 919-969-2034 or email library director Susan Brown (sbrown2@townofchapelhill.org) with any questions or concerns.


July Traffic-Safety Initiatives in Chapel Hill

The Chapel Hill Police Department will perform four special traffic-safety initiatives—in addition to normal patrols—in July, with the main goal of improving safety for pedestrians. The events will be held (subject to change) Friday, July 9, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; and Tuesday, July 13, and Friday, July 23, 2-6 p.m.

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

Chapel Hill Police will also perform four speed enforcement operations this month, on Tuesday, July 6, 6:30-8:30 a.m.; Friday, July 16, 2-4 p.m.; Thursday, July 22, 10 a.m.-12 noon; and Tuesday, July 27, 8-10 a.m.

Police encourage everyone to limit distractions; yield to pedestrians in crosswalks; and walk against traffic, ride with traffic.

The Town will utilize its variable message sign (VMS) boards throughout town to alert people driving of the events as well as encourage them to limit distractions and watch out for people riding their bikes and walking.


July is National Parks and Recreation Month

An initiative of the National Recreation and Park Association (https://www.nrpa.org/), Parks and Recreation Month has been celebrated in the U.S. since 1985, building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation, and to recognize park and recreation professionals, seasonal workers and volunteers who maintain our community parks. This July Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation will join in the celebration by celebrating how Chapel Hill is stronger, more vibrant and more resilient because of parks and recreation.

This year’s theme for Parks and Recreation Month is “Our Park and Recreation Story,” and people can follow along on their Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/chparksrecreation) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/CHParksRec) pages. People can also share what parks and recreation mean to them by taking their picture and posting about their favorite park or park experience to their own social media page using the hashtag #OurParkAndRecStory.

The Town of Chapel Hill is nationally regarded for its quality of life. In addition to parks, trails and indoor and outdoor recreation facilities, Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation offers a myriad recreation programs and cultural activities for all ages and backgrounds. To learn more about the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department, visit https://www.townofchapelhill.org/government/departments-services/parks-and-recreation/.


Tracks Music Library Launches New Video Concert Series

Tracks Music Library, a local music-streaming platform launched in collaboration with Chapel Hill Public Library and Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, has released Tracks in the Stacks, a video series of three intimate, short concerts and interviews filmed inside Chapel Hill Public Library. The videos can be viewed at chapelhillarts.org/tracks. The video series originated amidst the COVID-19 pandemic with people yearning for live music and to be among the “stacks” at Chapel Hill Public Library.

The series, produced and hosted by Hip Hop artist Kevin “Rowdy” Rowsey, features three Tracks musicians, A.yoni Jeffries, XOXOK and Austin Royale. The set also features a variety of hand-picked titles and authors that highlight Black musicians, performers, graphic novelists and more. The booklist can be found at https://www.townofchapelhill.org/?splash=https%3a%2f%2fchpl.bibliocommons.com%2flist%2fshare%2f469322777_aridaysreynoc%2f1923333149_tracks_list&____isexternal=true. More will be coming from Tracks Music Library this summer.

To learn more about Tracks Music Library, visit tracksmusiclibrary.org. To support the artists and watch the Tracks in the Stacks video series, visit chapelhillarts.org/tracks.


New Art at Bus Shelter at Eastgate Shopping Center

There is new artwork on the bus shelter at 4352 East Franklin St. The piece, created by artist Victoria Primicias, is titled, “Birds of a Feather,” and is inspired by the metaphor for inclusion, community, acceptance and diversity. All the birds depicted are common species found in North Carolina. Several more shelters will be getting beautified with art in the coming weeks.


East Rosemary Street Redevelopment Project

Contractors for the Rosemary Parking Deck will begin preparations for its demolition in the coming weeks. Fences and barricades will be set up before the work begins, and the Town will share more at that time. The Town of Chapel Hill is preparing to carry out the East Rosemary Street Redevelopment Project in conjunction with Grubb Properties.

The project involves construction of a 1,100-space parking deck and an office building with web lab space, bringing an estimated $50 million investment and 800 jobs. UNC-Chapel Hill is exploring the possibility of joining the envisioned Innovation Hub.

The project is expected to attract new entrepreneurs and retain local businesses. Development of office space has remained stagnant for over a decade in Chapel Hill. Additional community benefits include increased centralized parking, new greenspaces, improved bike and pedestrian connections, and downtown jobs to support Chapel Hill restaurant and retail businesses.

For a timeline and project materials, visit https://www.townofchapelhill.org/businesses/east-rosemary-street-redevelopment-project#ad-image-0.


July 2, 2021

Applicants Needed for Orange County Advisory Boards and Commissions

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

  • Agricultural Preservation Board – One position for a representative of the Cedar Grove Voluntary Agricultural District, as well as three at-large vacancies.
  • Animal Services Hearing Panel Pool – One position for a resident living in an unincorporated area of the county and one position for a veterinarian.
  • Board of Equalization and Review – Five alternate positions.
  • Historic Preservation Commission – One at-large position.
  • Orange County Housing Authority Board – One at-large position.
  • Orange County Parks and Recreation Council – One Cedar Grove Township position.

If interested, apply at www.orangecountync.gov/Apply. Applicants must reside in Orange County.

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


New Bulk Item Waste Collection Schedule

The Carrboro Public Works Department will begin collecting bulk waste items, such as furniture and appliances, on a regular, biweekly schedule.

To find your collection day, a list of acceptable and unacceptable items and collection guidelines, see http://www.carrboropw.org/2231/Bulky-Items. All bulk waste items are collected free of charge.


Town of Carrboro to Observe Independence Day Holiday

In observance of Sunday’s Independence Day holiday, Town of Carrboro administrative offices will be closed Monday, July 5.

Yard waste and loose leaves will not be collected on Monday. Residents who normally receive this collection on Monday will receive it on Tuesday, July 6. 

View the Town of Carrboro’s 4th of July holiday events at carrborojuly4th.com.


Tree to be Removed at Martin Luther King Jr. Park

A silver maple tree in the parking lot of Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 1120 Hillsborough Road, Carrboro, will be removed soon because of extensive decay and the possible hazard it poses due to falling limbs and branches.

For questions, contact the Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources Department at 919-918-7364.


Photo courtesy Facebook.com/BlackwoodFarmPark


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3 Comments on "News Briefs"

  1. Thank you for local news. I didn’t realize I was hungry for local news until I found you. I come from a small college town in Ohio and I was accustomed to having local news available in our weekly town newspaper. Now I see what I’ve been missing since moving here. Thank you!!

  2. Could you please do an article on the occupancy rate at the new apartment buildings around town—on Legion Rd, on Fordham Blvd, on Estes? They don’t appear to have many residents. Thanks.

  3. Appreciate the effort to connect us through this online newspaper. Knowing what is going on around town brings us together to help each other, to learn about significant proposals in our local governments, and share our lives in general. Thank you.

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