News Briefs

Pauli Murray

NEWS BRIEFS

Local Residents Honored

Several local residents have been honored by the Orange County Human Relations Commission.

Quinton Harper has been chosen as the adult winner of the commission’s annual Pauli Murray Award. Present Day on Main, a Carrboro coffee shop owned by Sophie Suberman and Soteria Shepperson, was named the business winner of the award.

Harper is the team leader for Activate! IFC, a voting and advocacy project with the local Inter-Faith Council for Social Service. He also chairs the Town of Carrboro Affordable Housing Commission and Human Services Board. 

Present Day on Main, according to the commission, infuses social justice, equity and hope by diversifying its customer base and being intentional about using art to invite community and justice while making sure coffee and tea are served.

Pauli Murray, who grew up in the area, was a human rights activist, legal scholar, feminist, poet, Episcopal priest, writer and labor organizer.


Society Receives Donation

The family of Chapel Hill native Roland Giduz has donated to the Chapel Hill Historical Society bound copies of the Chapel Hill News Leader, a local newspaper Giduz edited and published from 1954 to 1959.

The News Leader covered local news and events such as high school football games. Giduz worked for many years on the Chapel Hill Weekly, the Durham Herald-Sun and the News of Orange County. He also created and published The Triangle Pointer weekly visitors guide magazine for 16 years, was alumni editor for the UNC General Alumni Association and worked for 15 years as director of public affairs for the Village Companies.

Giduz was one of the founding members of the Historical Society, which is working with the North Carolina Digital Heritage program to have these volumes digitized page-by-page and made available to the general public via the Digital Heritage website.


New Living Wage Business

Green Energy Lawn Care is the newest business to be certified by Orange County Living Wage.

Certification means the business has committed to paying all employees the 2021 living wage of $15.40 an hour. The nonprofit OCLW has certified more than 200 local employers since its creation in 2015. 

Green Energy Lawn Care is based in Chapel Hill and provides zero-emission, quiet, organic lawn care services. According to owner Mik Beetham, the company has decided to pay living wages because “It’s time — unquestionably, the right thing to do.”


Stream Buffer to be Restored

The Town of Carrboro has received a 2020 Legacy Tree Fund Grant from the NC Urban Forest Council to restore a stream buffer in Hank Anderson Community Park. 

There will be a virtual presentation from 11 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, March 6, for residents to learn more about the stream restoration project and how it will help Carrboro meet ecosystem protection and enhancement goals of the 2017 Community Climate Action Plan. This plan is posted for review at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/4116/Community-Climate-Action-Plan

After the presentation, residents are invited to participate in a live stream restoration question-and-answer session with staff from the Town of Carrboro’s Planning Department and Stormwater Utility. 

Contact Laura Janway at ljanway@townofcarrboro.org or 919-918-7342 for a link to the virtual meeting.


Camelot Village, Chapel Hill

Police Make Arrest in Fatal Shooting

The Chapel Hill Police Department arrested Jermaine Malik Jahquan Chance, 21, of Mebane and charged him with the first-degree murder of Dearie William Bourne, 21, of Chapel Hill at the Camelot Village Apartments Friday, Feb. 19.

Chance has also been charged with breaking and entering, larceny and discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling. He’s being held at the Orange County Jail under no bond and will have his first appearance in court Monday.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

If you have any information, 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 may be eligible for a reward up to $2,000.


Lisa Kaylie

Kaylie Named to School Board

Lisa Kaylie, a former president of the PTA Council, will be the next member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board.

Kaylie was selected by the board to fill the remainder of the term that became vacant when former member Amy Fowler was elected to the Orange County Commission. The selection was made by coin flip after three consecutive rounds of voting by the current board ended in 3-3 ties between Kaylie and Carmen Huerta-Bapat.

Kaylie, who has two children in district schools, is president of Frucon International, an e-commerce services company. She will be sworn in at the board’s March 4 meeting and her term will expire in December.


Carrboro Hosts Roundtable

The Carrboro Department of Economic Development will host a BIPOC Business Roundtable Discussion Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.

The town seeks to hear the needs and challenges of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and People of Color businesses in Carrboro, and the role the town needs to play to help businesses start and grow. Additionally, the roundtable discussions will serve as an opportunity for BIPOC Business owners to get to know and support each other.

Businesses interested in participating in the roundtable discussions can find more information and pre-register ag http://www.townofcarrboro.org/152/Economic-Development


Pre-trial Detentions Rising

Orange County saw a sharp increase in the number of pre-trial detentions in the last quarter of 2020, according to a nonprofit group monitoring the local criminal justice system. The rise came after what the group called a drastic reduction in people detained pretrial previously during the year.

The Orange County Bail/Bond Justice Court Observation Team found that earlier in the year pre-trial detentions showed a 68 to 75 percent reduction compared to 2019. But from mid-November 2020 to mid-January 2021 the reduction was only around 40 percent.

The change, according to the nonprofit, was likely attributable in part to the county’s COVID-19 lockdown during last March through June, when detentions were at an “artificial low” because fewer people were outside their homes and law enforcement officials were interacting with fewer people. Also, early in the lockdown, the county released people detained pretrial who were deemed at high risk of COVID-19.


New Living Wage Employer

Hoffman Studio, a women-owned, full-service design and build studio in Chapel Hill, has become the latest company certified by Orange County Living Wage.

Certification means the business has committed to paying all employees the 2021 living wage of $15.40 an hour. The nonprofit OCLW has certified more than 200 local employers since its creation in 2015.

Hoffman Studio offers start to finish design/construction of custom homes and large-scale renovations as well as a la carte residential and light commercial design.


Willie Mae Patterson at her home by the rock wall where neighbors gathered to exchange news, watch over kids and plan the first sit-ins in Chapel Hill.

Highlighting the History of Black Neighborhoods

A new interactive website just launched tells the stories of “all who have lived, worked, worshipped, played and served in” Chapel Hill and Carrboro’s historically Black neighborhoods.

From the Rock Wall: Living Histories of Black Chapel Hill/Carrboro brings together more than 250 oral history interviews with images, documents, a timeline, maps and digital lesson plans in a call-and-response format. From the Rock Wall, which was produced by the Northside-based Marian Cheek Jackson Center, draws its name from the low rock wall at the corner of Cotton and McDade Streets, in the heart of the Potter’s Field neighborhood. 

Built in the 1930s, the wall quickly became a gathering spot for the Black community, eventually the place to connect, to exchange news, sometimes to call out each other’s children and, in the early 1960s, to plan the first salvos in the fight for Black freedom in Chapel Hill. Over the decades, the rock wall became a symbol of community sustenance and struggle.

From the Rock Wall was developed over many years, with the collaboration of neighbors from Northside, Potter’s Field, Sunset, Lloyd/Broad, Tin Top, Pine Knolls, Rangewood and Rogers Road. The project also received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation.


Last Call for Leaf Collection

Chapel Hill’s final collection of loose leaves for this season will begin on Monday, Feb. 22.

The town advises residents to place loose leaves, free of limbs and debris, behind the curb or drainage ditch for collection no later than 6 a.m. on Feb. 22 to ensure the leaves are collected.

Leaves that are left after a route has been completed will not be collected.

To dispose of leaves after leaf collection has ended, residents should place them in a yard waste cart or other rigid container for curbside collection with yard waste. Leaves may also be placed in 30 gallon, 50-pound weight limit brown paper bags. Leaves in plastic bags will not be collected.

For information about other disposal options, visit townofchapelhill.org/leaves or call 919-969-5100.


Parking Lot Closure

The Town of Chapel Hill will close the 25 spaces of the lower portion of the Rosemary-Columbia Parking Lot beginning on Monday, Feb. 22. 

The area will be used for a construction lay-down and storage site for several years. This site will support the reconstruction of the 137 East Franklin Street/136 East Rosemary Street (CVS Plaza) building and the construction of the East Rosemary Parking Deck, and potentially serve as a support site for the construction of a new office building where the current Wallace Parking Deck is located once it is authorized by Council


David Andrews

Carrboro Town Manager to Retire

David Andrews has announced plans to retire as Carrboro Town Manager on July 31.

“While I will leave with many enjoyable memories, I am also looking forward to making new ones and spending more time with my family,” said Andrews, who has been Carrboro’s top executive since March 2012. “I will miss the tremendous employee team that is always doing great things for our community with the support and leadership from our elected officials.” 

A veteran of more than 30 years of government service, Andrews previously held several executive level positions in Paradise Valley, Oro Valley and the City of South Tucson, all in Arizona. During retirement, he plans to spend more time traveling with his wife to see their grandchildren in Arizona and New Mexico.  

“Carrboro is a small organization with only about 160 employees,” he said, “but we’re mighty because of them. Just look at all the amazing things they have been accomplished in our progressive, civically engaged community. So, it’s really the people I will miss the most. The uniqueness of Carrboro is rooted in our people, their values and character.”  

Some of Andrews’ key initiatives have included improvements in the areas of employee quality of life, tourism and economic development, affordable housing, communication and transparency, public transportation, and long-term financial sustainability, among others. 

The Town of Carrboro is currently inviting executive search firms and consultants to submit a written proposal to conduct a national executive recruitment campaign for the position of town manager. Learn more at http://townofcarrboro.org/bids.aspx?bidID=62


Racial Equity Commission Seeks Members

The Town of Carrboro is recruiting for the newly established Racial Equity Commission. 

The commission, established last month, is empowered to make short-, medium- and long-term recommendations that will make significant progress toward repairing the damage caused by public and private systemic racism, boosting economic mobility and opportunity, and creating generational wealth in the Black community.

The commission will be comprised of nine members who complete race and equity training provided by the town. They will include

  • 4 representatives from the community, of which two have lived in the community for at least 20 years and two for at least 10 years and should have a lived experience based on being a person of color.
  • 1 youth representative between the ages of 15 and 18 years old, who shall reside, work in or attend public, private or homeschool classes in Carrboro.  
  • 1 representative from the Affordable Housing Advisory Commission
  • 1 representative from the Environmental Advisory Board
  • 1 representative from the Economic Sustainability Commission  
  • 1 representative from the Farmer’s Market Board 
  • 3 non-voting town representatives – two Town Council liaisons and one staff liaison, the Town Race and Equity Officer 

Commission members will serve two-year terms. 

An infomation flyer is available at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/8721/Racial-Equity-Commission-Flyer All those interested should apply at townofcarrboro.org/AdvisoryBoards    


Health Department to Recognize Local Businesses

The Orange County Health Department wants to recognize local businesses that have been vigilant in ensuring that their staff and customers feel safe, secure and well-served during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Best business that was very careful to keep their customers safe from COVID-19
  • Best business that took great care in keeping their employees safe from COVID-19
  • MVP: The overall best business that took on the daunting challenge of a global pandemic and knocked it out of the park

Each winner will receive a trophy and $1,000 in advertising support in the form of advertising on Chapel Hill Transit buses.

Voting is open until Sunday, Feb. 28. For more information, visit http://orangecountync.gov/EnvironmentalHealth


Public Defender Candidate Forum

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Orange County and Chatham County branches of the NAACP, in partnership with the District 18 Bar, are hosting a virtual public defender candidate forum Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

The role of the public defender will be summarized by James E. Williams, the former District 18 public defender who served for more than 20 years, followed by candidate introductions and a question-and-answer session, including questions submitted by members of the community.

Orange County Criminal Justice Resource Director Caitlin Fenhagen will moderate the forum.

Anyone interested in attending can join via this link, beginning at 6:15 p.m. on Feb. 3. Questions for candidates can be submitted here by Jan. 30.


How to Report a Violation

Want to report a violation of COVID-19 pandemic protocols?

The Chapel Hill Police Department suggests that minor violations that would benefit from a follow up, like single face-covering violations and small gatherings of people not following physical distancing, can be reported through non-emergency channels below.

More serious violations, like large crowd gatherings (more than 25 people outdoors and crowds clearly violating physical distancing guidance), should be directed to 911 for an immediate response.

  • Chapel Hill Police non-emergency line: 919-968-2760 – 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

Local Scientist Honored

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle has proclaimed Tuesday, Jan. 26, as Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett Day in the town to honor the Orange County native who played a key role in developing one of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“We recognize her remarkable research and success in creating a vaccination to defeat the pandemic,” Lavelle said. “I urge all of the residents of Carrboro to take time to recognize and honor this outstanding achievement of one of Orange County’s own daughters.”

Corbett is currently a research fellow in the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Vaccine Research Center. A viral immunologist by training, she has focused her work on developing novel coronavirus vaccines, including mRNA-1273, which has become a primary vaccine against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Corbett was raised in the Cedar Grove community of Orange County and attended A.L. Stanback Middle School and graduated from Orange High School. She earned her PhD in microbiology and immunology at UNC.


Hargraves Center Receives Award

The Hargraves Community Center received the 2021 Bridge Builder Award during the recent annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Celebration.

Hargraves staff members were recognized for their contributions to the community. In August, for the back-to-school event, Hargraves gave out 215 back packs and clothes to 60 families. Staff packaged 20,000 masks, which were distributed to local nonprofit agencies, churches, town staff, and anyone in the community who needed a mask.

For Thanksgiving, Hargraves partnered with Summit Church to give out 83 turkeys along with fixings for families to prepare their own meals, and then partnered with Al’s Burger Shack, which prepared 100 turkey dinners to give to families in the community. Between May 2020 and late fall, the Hargraves Center provided showers to individuals experiencing homelessness and personal hygiene kits to anyone who needed one.


PORCH Names First Executive Director

PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro has chosen Sarah Dudzic as its first executive director. 

Dudzic comes to PORCH with more than 15 years of experience leading nonprofit organizations. Her most recent position was director of philanthropy at The Connection in Middletown, CT. Previously, she led the MoveUp Partnership for Adult Learning in Hartford, CT and the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition in Greenfield, MA.

“Sarah’s extensive experience managing grassroots nonprofit organizations and her passion for lifting up our most vulnerable and marginalized community members make her an ideal fit to lead our organization,” said Susan Romaine, chair of PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s Board of Directors.

PORCH has been a volunteer-run, grassroots organization since its inception in 2010, working to alleviate hunger and promote better nutrition in the community through its non-perishable and fresh food programs. At the core of PORCH’s operations are monthly food drives organized in over 160 neighborhoods in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, generating $3.5 in local hunger relief since PORCH’s founding.

“I am truly humbled and honored to become the first executive director at PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro. Food insecurity is one of the most fundamental issues facing families right now, and PORCH’s grassroots effort to address that issue is nothing short of inspiring. I am beyond excited to see the programs in action and meet all the volunteers, as they are clearly the heart of the organization. We have challenging times and amazing opportunities ahead. I can’t wait to get started!” Dudzic said.


Bailey Receives MLK Award

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP has named Delores Bailey as the recipient of the branch’s 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award.

The award recognizes and celebrates people and organizations in Chapel Hill and Carrboro whose work exemplifies the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by raising awareness and speaking on behalf of social justice, promoting diversity, and being a spark for action to build a better future for everyone.

“There is no one more suited for this award than Delores Bailey,” Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP President Dawna Jones said. “She is a staple in the community, a true servant-leader, and an all-around social justice warrior. Delores’ work is a genuine reflection of Dr. King’s values.”

Bailey is executive director of EmPOWERment Inc.. “Service to others is my life,” Bailey said. “I was thrilled to receive this prestigious award and truly thank the members of the branch for this honor.”


COVID-19 Memorial Day in Carrboro

To pause and reflect on the lives that we have lost to COVID-19, Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle has proclaimed Jan. 19 as COVID-19 Memorial Day in the town.

“Carrboro Town Hall will be lit on this evening, and I urge all churches and clergy to toll their bells and all residents of Carrboro to light a candle at 5:30 p.m. to honor the lives lost to the pandemic, and to reflect upon this challenging period in our nation’s history,” Lavelle said.

Almost 70 people in Orange County have lost their lives to the disease, while COVID-19 has led to the death of more than 350,000 residents of the United States and more than two million people worldwide.

Carrboro is joining the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is hosting a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 19 to memorialize these lost lives. 

“As we remain in the midst of a deadly pandemic where so many Americans are grieving the loss of family, friends and neighbors, it is important to pause and reflect on the lives that we have lost, as we continue to work to defeat COVID-19,” Lavelle said. 


Mando (left) & Ace (right)

CHPD Welcomes New Canine Partner

The Chapel Hill Police Department is training a new canine officer, Mando, to replace Ace after four years on the job.

K-9 Mando is a German Shepard that will be trained as a dual-purpose canine. Mando will be trained in narcotic detection, tracking, evidence searches, building searches and handler protection. K-9 Ace’s career with Chapel Hill Police began in 2016.

The K-9 program is a lifetime partnership. Ace will retire with his handler for the remainder of his life.


George Henry White

Carrboro to Commemorate George Henry White

The Town of Carrboro will host a virtual program to commemorate the 120th anniversary of George Henry White’s historic farewell address to Congress. The online event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 1. 

After serving in the state legislature, White represented North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives for two consecutive terms from 1897 to 1901. White was a leader in the introduction and the fight for anti-lynching legislation.  

At the time of his farewell address, White was the only African American congressman, and he would be the last until 1929. It would not be until 1992 that another African American was elected to represent North Carolina in Congress.

The event, which is part of the town’s annual Black History Month celebration, will be emceed by James Williams, Jr., the retired chief public defender for Orange and Chatham counties. Opening remarks will be provided by current U.S. Congressman G. K. Butterfield.

The featured presenter will be White biographer, Benjamin R. Justesen. Justesen will lead a discussion of his new book, “Forgotten Legacy: William McKinley, George Henry White, and the Struggle for Black Equality.”

Following the discussion, local oral historian and documentarian Danita Mason-Hogans will introduce three student guest speakers, Malkam Hawkins and Milosh McAdoo, from N.C. A & T, and Ania Hairston, from NCCU. All three are members of the Cheatham-White Scholars program, which honors White and Henry P. Cheatham.

The Zoom event will be simulcast to the Town of Carrboro’s YouTube account at www.youtube.com/CarrboroNC. To register for the Zoom webinar, visit: https://townofcarrboro.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-lorm6uDSauaS23HIFNzvQ. The Zoom call is limited to the first 100 registrants.  Those who do not register can view the program via YouTube.


Community Food Distribution Scheduled

A community food distribution event will be held from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, at Carrboro High School, 201 Rock Haven Road.

Anyone in need is welcome. The distribution is first-come, first-served. It is free of charge, and there are no eligibility requirements.

Due to COVID-19, distributions are held on a drive-through basis. Boxes are placed inside vehicle trunks. Free masks will be distributed to anyone who needs them.

The event is sponsored by the Town of Carrboro and the Orange County Social Services Department.


Carrboro Police Chief Walter Horton

Carrboro Police Chief to Retire

After 27 years in law enforcement, Carrboro Police Chief Walter Horton has announced that he plans to retire effective Jan. 31 

A native of Carrboro, Horton joined the department in 1993 as a member of the patrol division. He was appointed chief of police, the first African American to hold that position, in 2013.

“My greatest accomplishment has been being true to this department and this community,” Horton said. “I’m thankful to all the officers and the staff of the department, as well as all my Town of Carrboro colleagues. I would not have been successful without them.” 

Mayor Lydia Lavelle said Horton has been the perfect fit as police chief for Carrboro, especially during turbulent times across the nation. 

“He and his department serve everyone in the community, including our immigrant population, by their proactive practice of community policing,” Lavelle said. “Born in Orange County, Chief Horton chose to spend his adult years and career in his home community, and he has served us well.”


Tree Removal on East Rosemary

East Rosemary Street will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 26 and 27, from North Boundary Street to Hillsborough Street because of the removal of a tree.

Town of Chapel Hill staff have determined a large tree at 507 E. Rosemary St. is in poor health and needs to be removed.

Anyone interested in honoring the tree can stop by a public gathering at the tree at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19. Public health guidelines, including face coverings and physical distance of at least six feet, will be enforced.

The tree has been monitored for several years. Town staff and Bartlett Tree Service agree that the tree’s health will not improve and needs to be removed.

Local traffic will be directed through the closure during the removal process.


Peoples Academy Registration

The Town of Chapel Hill invites residents, students and visitors to register for the 2021 Peoples Academy. People can register for the Academy until Feb. 19 at townofchapelhill.org/peoplesacademy.

The Peoples Academy began in 2018 to give residents and visitors of the town an opportunity to learn about its services and jobs, connect with town leadership and other staff, and build leadership and communication skills.

The 2021 Peoples Academy has been redesigned to provide a similar experience virtually. Participants will participate in a session each Saturday morning in March. Leadership from multiple town departments will engage with participants in discussions of community issues and town functions.

The registration form is available online in English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, and, for the first time, The Peoples Academy will provide simultaneous interpretation in those languages.


Musicians Sought

Triangle-area musicians and bands are invited to submit work for consideration in a streaming platform dedicated to local music.

Initiated by Chapel Hill Public Library and Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, Tracks Music Library is a commercial-free, curated collection of diverse local music. Interested musicians and bands are encouraged to submit songs by Jan. 31 via the link tracksmusiclibrary.org/submit.

Launched this past summer, Tracks Music Library aims to represent the diverse sounds of the Triangle area and introduce artists to new listeners. The current collection hosts more than 70 albums from bands spanning the entire musical spectrum from indie rock to jazz to hip hop to R&B.

Local musicians and bands interested in submitting should be based in the Triangle area, hold the rights to the music they submit and the music must have been produced in the last two 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 receive a $200 honorarium for sharing their music. 


Barber to Speak

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP will host a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Virtual Celebration Monday, Jan. 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, co-chair of the national Poor People’s Campaign and the former leader of North Carolina’s Moral Mondays efforts.

The theme of the celebration will be “Lift Every Voice for Justice!” Those interested can register for the Zoom event at bit.ly/MLKJr2021


Living Wage Rises

Orange County Living Wage has announced a new annually adjusted living wage of $15.40 an hour, effective with the new year. For living wage employers who provide at least half an employee’s health insurance coverage, the living wage rises to $13.90 an hour.

A living wage is the minimum amount of income a worker needs to cover the most basic necessities without any form of governmental assistance.

OCLW calculates its living wage by using the widely accepted Universal Living Wage Formula based on the standard that no more than 30 percent of a person’s gross income should be devoted to housing. To calculate the wage each year, OCLW considers the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in a four-county area that includes not only Orange but surrounding Alamance, Chatham and Durham counties, home to many who work in Orange County.

Since 2015, the Orange County living wage has increased annually by an average of 3 percent to keep up with the rising cost of housing. More than 250 employers have been certified since the beginning of the program. The most recent business to be certified is Syd’s Hair Shop, a women-owned business and a staple in the Chapel Hill community since 2001.


Carrboro Gets Housing Funding

The Town of Carrboro has been awarded $900,000 in funding for emergency housing assistance, the maximum grant amount awarded by the NC Department of Commerce.  

The funds will allow the town to continue to respond to the housing needs of Carrboro families, preventing evictions and homelessness.


Keeping the Wreath Green

The Chapel Hill Fire Department is once again displaying the green wreath on the front of Fire Station One at Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. during December as a reminder to the community of the importance of home fire safety over the holidays. 

Each time crews respond to a fire, a green bulb will be replaced by a red one to remind people of the dangers posed by fires.

The department is also offering these reminders during the holidays:  

  • Don’t leave lit unattended candles in your home
  • Unplug holiday lights when you are away
  • Allow three feet of clearance around portable heaters
  • Don’t place live Christmas trees near a fireplace (it dries them out)
  • Water live Christmas trees every day
  • Don’t build large fires in your fireplace
  • Don’t use holiday decorations that are not flame retardant
  • Open the damper on your fireplace before use

Carrboro Waives Fees for Park Pavilions 

Responding to community needs for social distancing and outdoor gathering spaces, the Town of Carrboro is waiving fees through Jan. 31 for pavilion rentals at public parks.  

Pavilions are located at the following parks: 

  • Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St. 
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 1200 Hillsborough Road
  • Wilson Park, 110 Wilson St. 
  • Baldwin Park, 346 Broad St. 
  • Henry Anderson III Community Park, 302 N Carolina Hwy 54 W

Park pavilions may be reserved by contacting Wendell C. Rodgers, Town of Carrboro Parks Facilities Administrator, at wrodgers@townofcarrboro.org or 919-918-7371.


Triangle Bikeworks Recognized

Orange County Living Wage has certified Triangle Bikeworks in Carrboro as a living wage employer.

Triangle Bikeworks provides organized cycling opportunities for youth, inspiring them to discover who they’re really meant to be. Kevin Hicks, founder and executive director of Triangle Bikeworks, said “Simply put, paying a living wage is the right thing to do. A living wage means that a person can afford to live a productive life free from many mundane concerns [and] ensure[s] that employees can live where they work.”


This is not a picture of the vehicle. The
stolen vehicle is the same make, model
and color.

CHPD Searching for Carjacked Vehicle

The Chapel Hill Police are looking for a green 2004 Toyota Avalon XL with NC license plate HHF-6582. The vehicle was stolen during a carjacking early Friday morning that left one man taken to UNC Hospitals with multiple gunshot wounds.

According to the police’s initial investigation, the victim was a food delivery driver and was robbed of his vehicle while he was in the area of the 300 block of Umstead Drive for a delivery.

Anyone who has seen the vehicle or has information about the incident should call the Chapel Hill Police at 919-968-2760 during normal business days between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., call 911 24/7 or call Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crimestoppers at 919-942-7515.

Calls to Crimestoppers may remain anonymous, and anyone with information that leads to an arrest is eligible for a reward up to $2,000.


Lockers for the Library

Chapel Hill Public Library users can now pick up and return library materials any time of the day or night from lockers at University Place. While the service was originally conceived as a way to offset parking shortages at the library, it is launching during the COVID-19 pandemic and provides a contact-free way to get library materials. 

Library users can use the service by first placing holds via the library’s online catalog and selecting University Place Lockers as their pick-up location. Once they receive an email that the items are ready, users then go to University Place at 201 South Estes Drive, in the area between Planet Fitness and Alfredo’s Pizza.

Once there, users scan their library card or enter their card number and wait for the locker holding their materials to open. In addition to the 99 lockers, there is also a bin for returning library materials, a shelter to protect from inclement weather and a delivery van to bring items from the library to the lockers. 


Town Ranks High for Equality

The Town of Chapel Hill has received the highest score of any North Carolina municipality in the 2020 Equality Index.

Compiled by the Human Rights Campaign, the index rates cities across the United States each year based on their initiatives to support LGBTQ communities. 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.

With a score of 86, Chapel Hill was also recognized as an “MEI All Star,” which is reserved for high-scoring municipalities in states without non-discrimination laws that expressly include LGBTQ+ people.  


Public Input Needed

The Orange County Long-Term Recovery Group has identified potential strategies for recovering from COVID-19 and needs public input on which strategies best meet the community’s needs.

Community members are asked to take a 10-minute online survey between now and Dec. 11. The survey contains a draft list of recovery strategies and asks the public to evaluate the importance of each.

Survey results will be used to determine the priority order of strategies in a long-term recovery and transformation plan being developed by the group, a partnership of nearly 150 community stakeholders, Orange County and the towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough.

Community members are asked to share this survey with their networks ― particularly within communities of color or historically underserved groups ― to help obtain input from all community members. 

The work of the Long-Term Recovery Group and the survey can be found on the group’s website, orangencforward.org. 


A Guide to Carrboro Gifts

The Carrboro Business Alliance has launched the new Carrboro Cheer Gift Guide showcasing more than 60 curated, uniquely Carrboro gift ideas for the holiday shopping season.

The Carrboro Cheer Gift Guide is designed to encourage more local shopping this holiday season. The six different gift lists in the guide can be found at https://www.carolinachamber.org/carrboro-cheer, including Uniquely Carrboro, One-Click Wonders, and Gifts Around $15.


CHPL Working to Reduce Waste

The Chapel Hill Public Library is launching Reducing Food Waste, a composting and recycling initiative that seeks to divert up to 12 tons of materials from the community’s waste stream each year.

Thanks to a $21,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Quality, matched by $4,000 from the Friends of Chapel Hill Public Library, this project will support the creation of new practices, policies and programs to significantly decrease the waste generated at the library.

Orange County Solid Waste will coordinate with CompostNow to regularly collect compost from CHPL and deliver it to a commercial composting facility. This compost collection model was piloted at the Town of Chapel Hill’s Town Hall in 2019, and realized significant reductions in waste.


Work Begins on BLM Mural

Artist Tyrone Small and a student artist team has begun work this week on a Black Lives Matter mural on the side of the CommunityWorx building facing West Main Street in Carrboro.

The team expects to complete the mural by Dec. 20. Work on the project will take place in the afternoons and weekends, and will be done with mask-wearing and social distancing protocols. 

“We are extremely excited for this new public art project,” said Anita Jones-McNair, the town’s race and equity officer.  “The Black Lives Matter mural highlights and advocates for values that are important to Carrboro. It expresses our community’s acknowledgment of and opposition to systemic and institutional racism.”


No Waffling: Shop is Finished

One of the oldest restaurants in town, Ye Olde Waffle Shop, is now, definitively, old and gone.

The long-time Franklin Street mainstay has announced on its Facebook page that it is closing permanently. A staple of downtown since 1972, the restaurant said it had been done in by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After much consideration, we have decided to close Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe,” the owners posted. “It is hard to imagine waking up in the morning and not heading over to Ye Olde to prepare breakfast for the town of Chapel Hill, as it has been our norm for over 48 years. However, from a public health perspective and due to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, it is the right choice for us.”

The waffle shop joins a growing list of deeply rooted local restaurants that have been forced to close because of COVID, including Elmo’s and K&W cafeteria, among others. Newer places have closed, too, including Lula’s on Franklin Street and City Kitchen and in recent weeks, the 2nd Wind bar, in Carrboro.


Mark Chilton

Chilton Gets Award

The Chapel Hill Historical Society recently presented its first Community History Award to Mark Chilton, Orange County register of deeds.

The award recognized Chilton’s significant contributions to the acquisition, presentation and conservation of vital records in Orange County. Following the presentation of the award by society vice president Richard Ellington, Chilton talked about some of his work, focusing on his efforts to make records more accessible and searchable. This includes efforts to digitize and provide abstracts of handwritten deeds dating from 1752 to the 1870s.

A You Tube video of the award ceremony presentation is available here.


Small Business Saturday in Carrboro

Two days after Thanksgiving will be Small Business Saturday in Carrboro.  

“This year, more than ever, supporting our local businesses is even more necessary to their survival; support is easily accomplished in-person or virtually, and by purchase of items or by gift cards for future use,” Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle said in a proclamation. “I urge all Carrboro residents to make an extra effort to support our local businesses in Carrboro on this day, especially during this challenging year.”

Advocacy groups across the country, including the Carrboro Business Alliance, have endorsed Saturday, Nov. 28, as Small Business Saturday.

There are more than 385 small businesses in Carrboro, making up 95 percent of all businesses in the town.  


Socks for the Homeless

The East Chapel Hill High School Benevolence Club is holding a sock drive for those who are homeless in Chapel Hill.

The club is collecting new socks which will then be delivered to various facilities, shelters and rehabilitation centers. The drive will run through Dec.18.  In the past, the club has donated to a women’s rehabilitation facility and several homeless shelters as well as directly to people living under bridges and overpasses.   

New socks in any size (with tags on if possible) can be dropped in the club’s collection boxes.  The boxes are located at Cha House, Purple Bowl and Rumors, all on Franklin Street, and Coco Bean Market on Environ Way.

For more information, see @east.benevolence.club on Instagram.


Trail Nearing Completion

The Bolin Creek Trail connector project is finally nearing completion.

Barring any significant rain or inclement weather events, the entire connector projects should be completed later this year, providing direct access to parks, schools, shopping districts, neighborhoods and the UNC campus by foot or bicycle from the community center.  

Work on the connector will continue this week, with the contractor replacing the old asphalt section of the greenway with a more resilient concrete path between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Bolinwood Drive. While this work is occurring, segments of the trail will not be accessible. Signs providing alternative routes are located at the greenway entrance on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Bolinwood Drive.  


Chilton Honored

The Chapel Hill Historical Society we’ll present Mark Chilton, Orange County register of deeds, with its first Community History Award. The presentation will be made Sunday at 3 p.m.

Chilton began his political career as a UNC student by serving on the Chapel Hill Town Council. He later served as an alderman in Carrboro and as mayor there. In 2014 he was elected as register, where he is responsible for taking care of Orange County’s historical records and vital records.


Thrift Shop Closing

The longtime thrift shop CommunityWorx will close its Chapel Hill location on South Elliott Road as it makes plans to open a new store online.

The CommunityWorx Online Thrift Shop “will showcase high end and unique merchandise,” starting in December, said officials with the Carrboro-based nonprofit in a news release. The organization formerly known as the PTA Thrift Shop will continue to operate its store on West Main Street. That store will expand its hours to seven days a week.

The Chapel Hill store, located near Whole Foods, will accept donations until Nov. 29, chief operating officer Erik Valera said in the release. CommunityWorx negotiated an end to the Chapel Hill lease with Regency Centers, which owns the Village Plaza shopping center.

The store has operated on South Elliott Road since 1981.


Crafts for Sale

Preservation Chapel Hill will host its annual local craft exhibit and sale from Nov. 29 through Dec. 24.

On display will be fine woodturnings, pottery and more. The exhibit will take place at the Horace Williams House, 610 East Rosemary Street, Thursdays through Sundays, from noon to 4 p.m.

For more information, contact preservationchapelhill.org.


Visitor Center Reopens

The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitor Center has reopened its welcome center at 501 W. Franklin Street following an extended closure because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With new safety measures in place, the center is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to welcome visitors, offer information services and provide updates on local attractions, museums, hotels and walking tours. 

Visitor Center amenities include a public restroom, complimentary parking in the back (Bentley Building) parking lot and various gift items for sale by cash or check. 

Visitors are required to wear masks and maintain six feet of physical distance to provide a safe experience for all visitors. If needed, face coverings will be provided and disposable gloves will be available for brochure browsing.

For more information, visit VisitChapelHill.org, call (919) 245-4320 or email info@visitchapelhill.org.


OWASA Launches Campaign

OWASA’s second-annual Care to Share Day on Thursday will help raise funds for the Care to Share bill-assistance program administered by the water utility and the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service.

For this year’s day, OWASA is asking the community to get involved and help spread the message about the program on social media. Between now and Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, the utility is asking community members to imagine a day without water.

No drinking water from the tap. No water for making coffee or cooking. No water for a shower or clean laundry. Residents can post a short video to Facebook or Twitter about what a day without water would mean to them, tag OWASA and two friends, and use the hashtag #CareToShare with a link to the donation page.

More information is available about how to donate to the Care to Share program through an on-bill monthly donation or through a one-time gift.


A Time for Trees

The Town of Chapel Hill will celebrate Arbor Day at 9:45 a.m., Friday.

Students from Glenwood 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 participate in the celebration. Community members can view the presentation virtually through Zoom at Arbor Day Celebration.

Hemminger will read an Arbor Day Proclamation and accept the Tree City USA Award from the forest service. Third-grade students from Glenwood will share poems they have written about trees. Also, a short video of the parks and recreation department planting five Emerald Arborvitae trees near Town Hall at the Stephens Street parking lot will be shared.


BIPOC Business on the Agenda

The Carrboro Department of Economic Development will hold a BIPOC Business Roundtable discussion at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

At the roundtable, the town seeks to hear the needs and challenges of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and People of Color businesses in Carrboro, and the role the town needs to play to help businesses start and grow.

Businesses interested in participating in the roundtable discussions are asked to pre-register. To register and for more information, visit www.townofcarrboro.org/152/Economic-Development


Jones to Take NAACP Helm

Dawna Jones, an assistant dean of students at UNC has been elected as the next branch president, of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the NAACP.

Diane Robertson, Joal Broun and Anna Richards were elected to vice-president positions. Paris Miller and Margaret Krome-Lukens were elected secretary and assistant secretary, respectively, while Deborah Stroman will serve as treasurer and Lonnie Merrick as assistant treasurer.

“Dawna Jones’ leadership and creativity were integral to operations during the last several years,” current branch President Richards said. “Those experiences ensure a seamless transition and position the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP for the next level. I congratulate her and all members of the team. I look forward to working together for equality.”

The officers will begin serving two-year terms in 2021


Affordable Housing Gets a Boost

The Chapel Hill Town Council has approved $513,395 in funding to support three affordable housing projects in Chapel Hill.

The approved funding plan will support construction of new affordable rental housing, predevelopment and site improvement activities, and provide rental housing subsidies. These projects should add around 125 affordable homes in Chapel Hill.

The projects receiving funding include the Community Home Trust’s master leasing program; the PEACH Apartments Development being developed by EmPOWERment, Inc.; and the 2200 Homestead Road Development.


Lane Closures on the Boulevard

Fordham Boulevard will have lane closures near the Glen Lennox project site — between Raleigh Road and Brandon Road — through Friday, Nov. 20.

Contractors for the project will reduce lanes between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. Weekend hours for the work are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Work also will resume nightly between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.


Revaluation is Coming

Orange County is getting ready for the next property revaluation.

The effective date of the most recent revaluation was Jan. 1, 2017, and all current tax assessments for real property reflect a market value as of that date. The next planned revaluation will be effective Jan 1, 2021, and tax assessments will be updated to reflect market value as of that specific appraisal date.

State law requires each county to revalue all properties within its borders at least once every eight years. For more information about the county’s revaluation process, visit https://www.orangecountync.gov/878/Revaluation.


Comprehensive Plan Plans

Carrboro is looking for residents to participate in developing the town’s first-ever comprehensive plan.

The drafting of the comprehensive plan is an opportunity for residents to share their long-term vision on issues such as growth and development, race and equity, climate action, and economic sustainability.

A Carrboro Connects task force was appointed by the town council to guide outreach and development of the plan. The next meeting workshop for Carrboro Connects will take place virtually on Thursday, Nov. 19, starting at 7 p.m. To register for the meeting, go to carrboroconnects.org.


Climbing Wall Reopens

Chapel Hill’s Parks and Recreation department has re-opened the climbing wall at the Community Center. Open climb sessions, with limited capacity, will be offered on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-9 p.m.

To maintain limited capacity, as well as provide an equitable opportunity for all to participate, climbing and belaying reservations will be accepted for one 75-minute session per day, no more than seven days in advance. Both climbers and their intended belayer must both reserve a 75-minute session and enter and check in together.

Register online at Activity #110324, or by phone at (919) 968-2790. Walk-up climbing is not permitted. Each 75-minute session is separated by a 30-minute disinfection period, so staff has adequate time to clean.

A handout and web page titled “What to Know Before You Go” gives more information on what the department is doing differently, as well as what patrons are being asked to do differently.


Picture This

The Town of Carrboro is creating a Carrboro People Photo Album

If you would like to be included, take a photo of yourself, your pod or your family (pets included), and feel free to add your name. 

“Many of us haven’t seen each other in a while, due to the pandemic,” said Mayor Lydia Lavelle. “This is a simple way to catch up by sharing a snapshot to show your community how you’re doing. The faces of our community at this moment in time will surely be interesting to look back on, much like photos in a family album.” 

Residents can choose how they’d like to be a part of the photo album:

Post to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and tag the Town of Carrboro and #IamCarrboro, email to clazorko@townofcarrboro.org or mail or drop off to Attn: Carrboro Connects, Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St., Carrboro, NC 27510. 

Photos are due by Monday, Nov. 16.   


 Celebrating ‘Libba’ Cotten

The UNC university libraries will present an evening of stories and music celebrating the life of legendary North Carolina musician Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten. The free online celebration —”When I’m Gone: Remembering folk icon Elizabeth Cotton” — will be held Nov. 12 from 7-8 p.m.

Born in 1893 in what is now Carrboro, Cotten wrote her signature song, “Freight Train,” about the train she could hear from her childhood home. Cotten recorded several albums and won a Grammy Award and a National Heritage Fellowship before her death in 1987.

The hour-long virtual program will feature guitarist Yasmin Williams, musician and scholar Alice Gerrard and Cotten’s great-grandson John W. Evans Jr.

To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/when-im-gone-remembering-folk-icon-elizabeth-cotten-tickets-127915100509.


Anderson Park Improvements

The Town of Carrboro has received a grant from the NC Urban Forest Council’s Legacy Tree Fund Program.

The grant will be used to plant trees and restore a stream buffer in Henry “Hank” Anderson III Community Park.  If you’d like to help with the work, come to the park on Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Bring your own gloves and water bottle and wear a face mask and closed-toed shoes.

For more information, contact Laura Janway at ljanway@townofcarrboro.org or (919) 918-7342.


Bus Route Change

Chapel Hill Transit will adjust the routing of the S bus starting on Monday to help transport people between the Friday Center Park and Ride lot and UNC Hospitals.

After reaching the Pittsboro Street Credit Union, the bus will turn right onto South Columbia Street, turn left onto Mason Farm Road, turn left on Manning Drive, and then turn left back onto South Columbia Street. This will provide customers with an easier way to access the hospital.

The S route will operate this routing until further notice and the current schedule will remain in effect.


James Parise, U.S. Army, Vietnam; John Cocowitch, Captain US Navy Retired; Renee Price, Orange County Commissioner at 2019 Veterans Day Ceremony.

Celebrating Veterans

Orange County Commissioner Renee Price will offer remarks and special guest speaker Lt. Col. Daniel Hurd, U.S. Army, will speak about service to and by veterans at a live Veterans Day celebration Wednesday.

The celebration, at the Veterans Memorial site adjacent to the Seymour Center, kicks off at 11 a.m. and online viewing is also available through Orange County Veterans Memorial Facebook site, https://www.facebook.com/orangecountyveteransmemorial. The event is free and open to the public. For a complete schedule of events, see https://ocveteransmemorial.com/events

Following the ceremony members of the American Legion Chapel Hill Post 6 will gather at the former site on Legion Road and caravan to the new site, 3700 NC-54, via Rosemary Street, and give small group tours to new members.  For details on how to tour the site or arrange a visit, call (919) 537-8703 or email Regina Merritt at queenmerritt@gmail.com


Orange County Courthouse, Hillsborough, NC

Virus Closes Courthouse

Because of a case of COVID-19, the Orange County Courthouse will be closed through Friday, Nov. 6.

“We are following best practices to keep everyone who enters the courthouse safe, said Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour. “We will be ready to resume operations on Monday, Nov. 9, and we ask the public for their patience and understanding until then.”   

While the courthouse in Hillsborough will be closed, some operations will continue to occur, including first appearances for in-custody defendants and emergency filings. Emergency domestic violence matters will be heard remotely.

District Court matters in Chapel Hill will occur as previously scheduled, while traffic court and criminal district court will be automatically rescheduled.


Carrboro to Place Another Plaque

The Town of Carrboro will place a “truth plaque” at the site of the former Freedmen’s school by the border of Chapel Hill and Carrboro to recognize its historical importance.

The sign, on the side of St. Paul A.M.E. Church on Main Street, will read: “Green Cordal & Benjamin Craig, freed from bondage, purchased this land for a Freedman School and church. With funds from the Society of Friends, they built a schoolhouse that served hundreds of free Black children and adults.”

The Truth Plaque Community Task Force placed its first truth plaque last year at Carrboro Town Hall to recognize the background of Julian Carr, the white supremacist who is the town’s namesake.


Muralists Wanted

The Town of Carrboro is seeking student artists and a muralist to work together on the creation of a new mural to depict Black Lives Matter/End Racism Now.  The mural will be located on the east side of the CommunityWorx building located at 125 West Main St. in downtown Carrboro. 

Preference will be given to student(s) that reside in Carrboro and/or members of the Youth Advisory Board, Carrboro Youth Council or NAACP Youth Organization. Compensation will be $500 per student artist up to $1,500 for a team of three artists. The deadline to apply is Nov. 8.

For the coordinating muralist, preference also will be given to applicants residing in Carrboro. Once the mural is selected by the Town Council, the muralist will work with students to create the artwork and help ensure creation and installation of the mural is done in a safe manner and that social distancing is maintained.

Compensation will be $1,500 and the deadline to apply is also Nov. 8.

For questions, contact Anita Jones-McNair at amcnair@townofcarrboro.org or 919-918-7381.


Absentee Ballot Deadline

If you haven’t requested an absentee ballot already, it’s too late. The deadline to request an absentee ballot was Oct. 27 at 5 p.m.

But if you did request your ballot before the deadline, and want to vote by absentee, you must return it or mail it by Nov. 3. Ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 will be counted as long as they are received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 12.

Orange County residents can return their absentee ballots to the Board of Elections office at 208 S. Cameron Street in Hillsborough. The office is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m-5 p.m.

Weather permitting, there will be a tent outside for staff to accept returned absentee ballots. On gloomy and rainy days, residents should come inside where staff will assist them in the hallway.

Voters who requested and received an absentee ballot may still vote in person on Election Day or during early voting as long as the mailed absentee ballot was not returned.


Greenfield Wins Award

The Greenfield Community in Chapel Hill has received North Carolina’s top honor for excellence in affordable housing. 

Greenfield was financed with town funding, federal low-income housing tax credits awarded by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, Orange County funding and land donated by the town.

Developed by DHIC, Greenfield Place and Greenfield Commons, which together make up the Greenfield Community, provide 149 apartment homes for seniors and working families. The community serves households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the area median income, and renters can save more than 40 percent compared to market rate apartments in the area.


Leaf Pickup Has Begun

Loose leaf collection in Chapel Hill has begun.

This year’s collection might be slower due to limited staffing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The town asks residents to consider putting leaves in containers for collection this year.

Loose leaves and pine straw (no limbs or debris) should be placed behind the curb. Do not place leaves 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. Don’t pile leaves near streams or storm drains.


Colleen Willger

Willger Named Planning Director

Chapel Hill’s next planning director will be Colleen Willger. Willger, who will begin her work on Nov. 16, was selected from a national pool of applicants.

“Colleen brings a wide variety of experiences to this position,” said Town Manager Maurice Jones. “She is committed to promoting and protecting vibrant neighborhoods while enhancing economic vitality in commercial and mixed-use districts.”

Willger has served as the acting deputy director for community planning + design for the District of Columbia’s Office of Planning. She played a key role there in advising government leadership concerning the long-term visioning plan called ReOpen DC. She also serves as the associate director for neighborhood planning in D.C.

Her most recent focus has been on developing small area, corridor and neighborhood plans that reflect the policies and actions outlined by the district’s Comprehensive Plan, with the goal of advancing equity, economic vitality and community vibrancy in diverse neighborhoods.


Phi Beta Kappa Inducts Local Students

Thirteen local students are among UNC’s latest class inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society.

The students include:

  • Collins Knight Alexander, a senior with peace, war and defense and global studies majors and a history minor, of Chapel Hill.
  • Taylor Cox, a senior with Arab cultures and peace, war and defense majors and a Middle Eastern languages minor, of Chapel Hill.
  • Daniel Fan, a senior with a business administration major and a Spanish for the professions minor, of Chapel Hill.
  • Katherine Sijing Fesperman, a senior with psychology and sociology majors and a neuroscience minor, of Chapel Hill.
  • Callum James Funk, a junior with a biomedical and health sciences engineering major, of Chapel Hill.
  • Angela Wei Guo, a senior with economics and public policy majors and a statistics and analytics minor, of Chapel Hill.
  • Marichi Gupta, a senior with mathematics and computer science majors and a music minor, of Chapel Hill.
  • Brett Michael Harris, a junior with English and comparative literature and contemporary European studies majors and an urban studies and planning minor, of Chapel Hill.
  • Heidi Nicole Kreis, a senior with psychology and exercise and sport science majors and a neuroscience minor, of Chapel Hill.
  • Brenna Everly Kuder, a senior with environmental studies and global studies majors and a Hispanic studies minor, of Chapel Hill.
  • Joseph Vincent Osti III, a senior with a biology major, of Carrboro.
  • Samuel Benjamin Pritchard, a senior with political science and peace, war and defense majors and a philosophy, politics and economics minor, of Chapel Hill.
  • Robert Allen Winslow, a senior with a computer science major and a business administration minor, of Chapel Hill.

To gain admittance to Phi Beta Kappa at UNC, a student must have either completed 75 hours of coursework on the liberal arts and sciences with at least a 3.85 GPA or 105 credit hours with at least a 3.75 GPA.


County Gets Funds for Housing

The Orange County Department of Housing and Community Development has received a $797,133 grant from the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency to provide rent and utility assistance to county residents experiencing housing distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This funding will allow us to continue to provide eviction prevention services to the county and continue the work being done through the Emergency Housing Assistance program established by the Board of Commissioners,” said Emila Sutton, Orange County housing and community development director.

With the funding, up to six months of assistance may be provided to allow applicants to remain in safe housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicants must live in Orange County, in a rental property and earn less than or equal to 80 percent of the area median income and be in urgent need.

Visit https://nc211.org/hope/ for more information and to apply. Eligible callers to 211 will be routed to the Orange County Housing and Community Development Department for application processing.


Carrboro Hopes to Get Grant

The Town of Carrboro plans to apply for $900,000 in Federal Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds, to be used for emergency housing assistance.

If awarded the full $900,000 (the maximum grant amount), at least 90 percent of funds would be used as direct financial assistance for rent, utilities and other housing-related costs to town residents with low incomes and urgent need for housing assistance.

Two public hearings will be held to receive input on the town’s proposal to apply. The first hearing will be held Oct. 27 at 7 p.m., while the second will be on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.

Those interested in more information on the item or watching the meeting can find a link at https://carrboro.legistar.com/. Those interested in speaking at the meeting or submitting a comment for the public hearing should contact publiccomment@townofcarrboro.org or the Town Clerk, Catherine Dorando at 919-918-7309.


Arts Grants Available

The Orange County Arts Commission will host a virtual information session Oct. 19 at 5:30 p.m. on how to apply for North Carolina Cares for the Arts grants.

The commission is distributing $166,510 in grants to the local arts community and the application period is currently open but closes Oct. 30.

The primary purpose of the grant program is to assist the nonprofit arts industry that has been severely impacted by the pandemic. Nonprofit arts organizations therefore will receive funding priority.

However, other local organizations and businesses are invited to apply, particularly those whose operations have a high impact in our community through employment, tourism or services offered to county residents or artists.

Visit http://artsorange.org/nccares for more information.


Have you seen Aliane Urujeni?

The Chapel Hill Police Department is seeking help in locating Aliane Urujeni, a 25-year-old black female with black hair and dark eyes who is about 5’6” tall and about 140 pounds.

She was last known to be in the area of Umstead Drive on Oct. 9, 2020, and may have been seen in the same area on Oct. 12. She was wearing a white t-shirt, yellow cardigan, khaki shorts and no shoes.

If you have information concerning her whereabouts, call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-968-2760 or contact Orange County Communications by calling 911 or 919-732-5063 immediately.


Triangle Bikeway Study

Virtual public workshops focusing on the Triangle Bikeway Project will be held at noon and 4 p.m. Oct. 29. The project is studying the idea of a 17-mile bikeway that will link Chapel Hill with Raleigh, RTP and Durham. 

Focus groups also will be held the week of Nov. 9-13.

To sign up, text TriBike to 73224 or call 855-925-2801 (code 9843)


Sidepath Meeting Scheduled

A virtual public information meeting to discuss recent survey results and next steps for the development of the Fordham Boulevard Sidepath will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 22.  

The Town of Chapel Hill is in the design phase for a multi-use sidepath along Fordham Boulevard between Cleland Drive and Willow Drive. The recent survey outlined two options for traffic calming mechanisms for Hickory Drive as well as two intersections along the boulevard. In addition, the existing sidepath between Cleland Drive and Ridgefield Road will be upgraded, and a new section will be constructed between Ridgefield Road and Willow Drive.

To participate in the live meeting, those interested should register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xyMBw9wmS5aaXbwKjsN4wg. Residents may participate online via the Zoom platform or by telephone. After registering, they will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

For more information, a project summary and copies of the two concept plans are available at Fordham Boulevard Sidepath Project. Contact Marcia Purvis, the project manager at mpurvis@townofchapelhill.org or call (919) 968-2750 for questions or comments.


County Looking for Volunteers

The Orange County Board of Commissioners is recruiting for an Elections Advisory Group. This advisory group will study alternative methods/districts to elect commissioners and make a recommendation to the board.
 
This is a newly formed group and there are currently 15 at large positions to be filled om the group. This will be a temporary group formation and will dissolve once recommendations are delivered to the BOCC.
 
If interested, apply at http://www.orangecountync.gov/1708/Boards-and-Commissions.


Chapel Hill Public Library

Library Receives Major Grant

The Chapel Hill Public Library has been awarded nearly $150,000 of competitive federal grant funds to bring computers, increased Wi-Fi and multilingual assistance directly to communities of need.

The project, “Whenever, Wherever, Whyever: Expanding Technology Access,” will address the community’s ongoing need for public computing services and the challenges of providing these services during a pandemic.

Over the course of two years, starting now, the funds from the CARES Act grant — which administers this technology grant — will allow the library to reimagine and redesign public computing access. The project will include a laptop lending program, increased Wi-Fi in communities of need and multilingual instruction and assistance.

The project will target historically marginalized populations, including black and immigrant communities in Chapel Hill, who are more negatively impacted by COVID-19 and its associated outcomes. It will also provide people who have lost jobs as a result of the pandemic the tools they need to search for and apply for jobs, or learn new skills.

CHPL’s proposal was one of more than 1,700 submitted by museums and libraries nationwide.

“With this project, we will turn outward to communities most in need during this pandemic, giving them access to technology that is needed now more than ever,” said Library Director Susan Brown.


Vigil Set for Missing Teen

The family of a missing Chapel Hill teen will hold a vigil for her at the green in Southern Village Oct. 15.

The vigil, held by the family of Sydney West, will begin at 4:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/FindSydneyWest. The vigil is intended to bring together those who know Sydney to celebrate their love for her and talk about the help needed to keep up the momentum to find Sydney and bring her home. The program will begin at 4:30 PM ET.

The 19-year old, who had been a student at UC-Berkeley, was last seen Sept. 30, near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Anyone with any information is urged to call the San Francisco Police Tip Line at 415-575-4444.

The West family is also planning a “Vigil to Find Sydney” in the bay area of California. 


New Mural to Honor Cotten

A new downtown mural will celebrate legendary blues musician Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten, a native of the Carrboro area.

Located on the Carrboro-Chapel Hill line at 111 N. Merritt Mill Road, the mural is part of a statewide project to honor famous North Carolina musicians in their hometowns. The mural will be painted by Chapel Hill artist Scott Nurkin, who also conceived of the statewide project.

Cotten was a folk-blues singer, songwriter and guitar player. Born in the early 1890s, she taught herself to play music on her brother’s banjo as a child, but only began publicly performing and recording in her 60s. Renowned for her distinctive musical style of playing left-handed on a right-handed guitar, she was best known for the song, “Freight Train.”  

Nurkin will begin work on the mural beginning Oct. 12 and is expected to complete it by Oct. 19. 


Chapel Hill Teen Still Missing 

The parents of a missing Chapel Hill teenager are “asking anyone who has any information about our daughter Sydney to please contact” authorities. “This is a parent’s worst nightmare.”

Nineteen-year-old Sydney West has been missing since Sept. 30, when she was last seen in downtown San Francisco, near the Golden Gate Bridge. Until recently, West was a student at UC Berkeley, but according to authorities had been living with friends in San Francisco since August.

“We are asking anyone who has any information about our daughter Sydney to please contact the investigators,” West’s parents said in the video. “We are anxious to have our daughter found safe and brought home.” 

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone in North Carolina who may have had recent contact with West to call Investigator Ashley Woodlief at 919-245 – 2909.


Aquatics Center Set to Reopen

The Homestead Aquatic Center will reopen for Chapel Hill and Orange County residents on Monday, Oct. 12, at limited capacity. Lap swimming and independent water exercise will be offered seven days a week, while recreation swimming will be offered on weekends only.

To maintain limited capacity, as well as provide an equitable opportunity for all to participate, the center will continue to offer reservable swim times for all swimmers. Each hour-long block is separated by a 30-minute disinfection period, so staff has adequate time to clean.

Reservations can be made online at https://tochaq.getomnify.com, in person or by calling 919- 968-2799 during business hours. Walk-up swimming is not permitted; you must have a reservation in advance. Reservations are limited to three reservations per person per week.


New Reopening Phase

We’re now in Phase 3.

Like the rest of the state, Orange County now has new regulations for reopening during the coronavirus pandemic. As of Friday at 5 p.m., Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order allows bars, movie theaters and outdoor venues, among others, to open with capacity limits.

“Current trends in Orange County allow us to move forward with the state, but should we experience changes in positivity rates, more clusters or outbreaks or an increase in the number of cases, we will not hesitate to reinstate stricter limits on gatherings and other activities,” said Penny Rich, chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

“We must remain diligent and continue social distancing and wearing masks while in public until a safe, effective vaccine is readily available.”

By aligning with the state plan, the county’s stricter limit on mass gatherings is lifted. State limits of 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors now will be in effect until further notice.


New Bus Routes

Chapel Hill Transit will be adding two new bus routes. The CL and N routes will begin Oct. 5. The addition of the routes was approved by the Public Transit Partners committee, comprised of members of the Chapel Hill Town Council, Carrboro Town Council and UNC Parking and Transportation office.

“Providing safe and reliable service to the residents and visitors of Chapel Hill and Carrboro is our top priority. By adding these two routes we will be able to connect more of our customers to employment and healthcare opportunities,” said Brian Litchfield, Transit director.

The newly designed CL route runs between UNC Hospitals and Eastowne Drive, serving East Franklin Street, Old Sterling Drive, Sage Road, Dobbins Drive, Summerfield Crossing Road and Old Oxford Road. The CL route runs every 20 minutes between 6:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The newly designed N route runs between Estes Park apartments and the Northside neighborhood, UNC Hospitals and Meadowmont, providing service the discontinued V route used to provide. The N route provides hourly service from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.


Free Weekly Virus Testing

Orange County is now offering free coronavirus testing every Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the R7 Parking Lot at 725 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Chapel Hill.

Registration for the tests will occur on-site. Those wanting to be tested can meet with an on-site provider prior to testing.

The tests will be nasal swabs and results will be available on average in three days. Providers will contact patients via text message with positive or negative results. 


Bus Route Change

Beginning Monday, Sept. 21, Chapel Hill Transit will no longer serve the Friday Center South Park and Ride Lot (formerly the NC 54 Park and Ride Lot).

The bus S route will begin and end at the Friday Center Park and Ride Lot and will follow the normal routing and continue to serve all stops along NC Highway 54. There will be no changes to the schedule and the Friday Center South Park and Ride Lot timepoint will be used at the Friday Center Park and Ride Lot.


Applicants Needed

The Town of Chapel Hill is seeking volunteers to serve on various standing boards and commissions that advise the Town Council on a wide range of issues.

Appointed members to the boards and commissions meet approximately once or twice per month and are eligible for a three-year term.

No experience is necessary to apply. For more information, eligibility requirements or to complete an application, visit www.townofchapelhill.org/boards.

 The council will make appointments in October and November.


Animal Services Launches Assistance Program

Orange County Animal Services is now offering a new Veterinary Care Assistance Program.

The program was created to assist county residents who are having difficulties affording veterinary care, especially due to challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and to help keep more pets in their homes with their families.

The veterinary care fund will be available to Orange County residents based on their needs and ability to meet income criteria. Obtaining this assistance would require collaboration with local veterinarians or specialists, and may cover full or partial expenses for treatable, non-emergency care, such as skin and ear conditions (including allergies and flea/tick treatment), dental issues, arthritis and other painful conditions, upper respiratory infections, vomiting and diarrhea, urinary tract infections, minor surgeries, etc.

Due to time constraints, time-sensitive, life-threatening conditions will not be considered (such as emergency surgery for foreign bodies, emergency orthopedic issues, etc.). Currently, these funds are not available for routine, preventative care such as yearly visits to a veterinarian.

Visit https://www.orangecountync.gov/2538/Veterinary-Care-Assistance-Program for more information and to fill out a form to apply for assistance. Animal Services is currently asking for help to fund the program by encouraging donations online at https://gf.me/u/yny6qw. Monetary donations can also be mailed to the Animal Services Center at 1601 Eubanks Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.


Feedback Sought on Corridor Study

The public can give feedback on proposed highway, transit, bicycle and pedestrian improvements in the US 15-501 corridor between Durham and Chapel Hill. 

The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization is seeking that public feedback through Oct. 15 on the US 15-501 Corridor Study, which integrates land use, public plans and a transportation vision for the corridor. Members of the public can provide a comment via email or speak directly to the DCHC MPO Board at an Oct. 14 public hearing.

Those needing assistance to access documents, or to provide feedback, should request it by email, andrew.henry@durhamnc.gov, or contact Andy Henry, 919-560-4366, ext. 36419.

The survey for the Corridor Study comments has been withdrawn. The Public Comments to date can be viewed here: http://www.dchcmpo.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=30485


CHPD Reports Vehicle Break-ins Increasing

The Chapel Hill Police Department says it has seen a sharp increase in break-ins to unattended motor vehicles this year, and that three simple steps could help reduce those crimes.

Residents have reported 215 cases of breaking and entering to a motor vehicle since mid-March 2020. That is a 74-percent increase compared to the same time frame last year (123, from March 13 to Sept. 15, 2019).

The CHPD says it has received numerous reports that the vehicles were entered, with the suspects going through the center console, glove box, and other areas looking for valuables. Even spare change is often reported stolen.

“The most concerning larceny from a motor vehicle that we saw was that of two handguns over the weekend,” said Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue. “Firearms should be secured at all times. Period. Leaving a gun in a vehicle, unlocked, is not adequately secured.”

Blue urged local residents to “please lock your doors, roll up your windows and store your valuables out of sight.” These are, he said, “quick, easy steps. In most of these cases, subjects are walking vehicle to vehicle and pulling door handles. If they’re locked — as long as they don’t see something that appears to be valuable — we hope they will move along.”


Task Force Seeking Applicants

Applications are now being accepted from Chapel Hill residents wishing to serve on the town’s Reimagining Community Safety Task Force that is scheduled to be appointed by the Town Council in October.

The council announced its intention to establish this task force on developing new community approaches to improve racial equity and safety in a resolution at its June 24 virtual meeting (townofchapelhill.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/17548). The council established two subcommittees at its Sept. 9 virtual meeting (townofchapelhill.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/18008/15), one to finalize the charge of the task force and the other to select 13 members and two alternates to serve on the task force.

For more information about the Reimagining Community Safety Task Force, visit townofchapelhill.org/boards. Applications will be accepted through Sept. 28. Apply at chapelhill.granicus.com/boards/forms/146/apply.


Towns Reopen Some Facilities

As of Sept. 11, a number of Carrboro’s recreation facilities have reopened.

They include: Park pavilions/picnic shelters, playgrounds, the dog park at Hank Anderson Park and the bicycle pump tracks at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

For facilities like pickleball courts and soccer fields, reservations are now being accepted, but are limited to a maximum of 25 people.  All other reservations remain suspended until further notice, including all reservations for the Century Center.

Indoor town facilities remain closed.

In Chapel Hill, also as of Sept. 11, now open are playgrounds, picnic shelter reservations, the bocce court, the sand volleyball courts and tennis and pickleball courts.


Food Drive Volunteers Needed 

The Town of Chapel Hill needs volunteers to help with the weekly food bank distributions. As the number of weeks in pandemic continue to grow so does the need for more volunteers.

Community members in need of food assistance can view the weekly food distribution schedule.

If you’re able to volunteer a few hours (up to 4), sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904044FA8A922A1FA7-chapel1/. The food bank distribution takes place at the Eubanks Park and Ride lot.


New Phase for County Reopening

Orange County is moving into Gov. Roy Cooper’s Phase 2.5 of the statewide reopening plan — but with a few exceptions.

In the county, the limit on mass gatherings will remain at 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors, as opposed to the governor’s new limit of 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors. According to county officials, this limit will be reconsidered when the county’s positivity rate for COVID tests decreases to 5 percent. It is currently at almost 10 percent, according to data from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

“We need the community to partner with us in order to get the positivity rate down to 5 percent for a sustained amount of time,” said Penny Rich, chair of the Orange County Commissioners.

State restrictions under the governor’s executive order will remain in effect in Orange County through Oct. 31 despite the state expiration date of Oct. 2.

 Meanwhile, playgrounds in the will open Sept. 11, along with some picnic shelters, dog parks and tennis and pickleball courts.  


An Easier Way to Request a Ballot

Not sure about how to request an absentee ballot for the November election?

You can now request one completely online.

You don’t have to print it, scan it in or mail it on to the Orange County Board of Elections. All you have to do now is go to https://votebymail.ncsbe.gov/app/home where you fill out a simple form to request your ballot. It takes only a few minutes.

The Orange County Board of Elections will begin sending out absentee ballots beginning Friday, Sept. 4. The board is encouraging those who went to vote absentee to send their requests in early.   

Voters who receive a mailed absentee ballot may still vote in person on Election Day or during early voting as long as the mailed absentee ballot has not been returned.


10by10 Ready to Stream 

Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s OdysseyStage is offering a new approach to the annual NC 10by10 Play Festival.

Odyssey and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum are each producing five ten-minute plays by North Carolina playwrights and then all ten will be presented in a single production. The plays, which will be streaming online Sept. 18-19 and Sept. 25-26, have been adapted for online performance. This year, with a new performance platform, the productions are expected to reach fans of ten-minute plays across the country and around the world.

OdysseyStage, along with the forum, reviewed script submissions from across North Carolina. Playwright Mike Brannon, whose work “The Kindness of Strangers” will be one of the plays presented, said he appreciates the professionalism of Odyssey and the forum from previous festivals. “It’s fantastic to see them fighting to keep theater alive through this presentation of the NC10by10 festival,” Brannon said.

The play festival maintains the summer tradition of the original 10X10 in the Triangle, a staple at the Carrboro ArtsCenter for 15 years. Since 2018, the two theater companies have collaborated to engage more than 100 artists and crew from across the Triangle.

Each ticket provides access to the festival for 24 hours. Suggested donation is $5; see https://www.odysseystage.org/shows/2020-nc-10by10-play-festival/ for more details and tickets.


ArtsCenter Offers In-Person Classes

The Carrboro ArtsCenter is now offering select ArtSchool classes in-person.

These classes are conducted with minimal class size, social distancing, mandatory masking and outdoor settings where possible.

Among the new in-person classes are a ceramics glazing workshop and a continuing watercolor painting class.

For more information about ArtSchool, contact ArtSchool Director Jenks Miller at jmiller@artscenterlive.org.


Eno River Group Revises Fall Programs

Due to safety concerns stemming from the ongoing global pandemic, the Eno River Association is re-imagining several of its popular in-person fall events and programs. The association will focus its efforts on small group and individual programs that highlight the natural, cultural and historic resources of the Eno River basin in Orange and Durham counties.

The association plans to provide environmental education programs for individuals, small groups and families throughout the fall, and supplemental STEM educational programs for local students and learning pods. Additionally, to offset the cancellation of large group stewardship and trail workdays, the association will be supporting small group service projects for workplaces, families and pandemic pods.

“Having access to safe, outdoor activities has never been more essential to the health of our community,” said Jessica Sheffield, the organization’s executive director. “Since the outbreak of the global pandemic, citizens have flocked to our parks for recreation and respite in record numbers. Never has the need for open spaces and safe, outdoor activities been more apparent.”

On Oct. 3, the association will host an education event at their Confluence Natural Area. The program will feature some of the popular activities from their Eno River Field Station and iWalk the Eno Summer Camp program and will support youth and adults of all ages. Attendance will be limited, and participants will be required to sign-up for specific timeslots.

The association’s education team has also created a catalog of available programming ranging from hands-on STEM activities to local history topics to cultural arts. Learning pods are encouraged to use these resources, as well as online educational videos and other self-serve
content, to create physical or virtual field trips to the Eno River this fall.

For more information, go to www.enoriver.org.

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2 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.

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