News Briefs: A Digest of Announcements Provided by Local Organizations


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

October 21, 2021

Chapel Hill, Carrboro Bring Racial Equity Focus to Human Services Program

Consistent with their commitment to equity and inclusion, the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro are taking steps together to center racial equity in the Human Services Program. The Human Services Program provides funding to nonprofit agencies that offer vital services to residents.

Over the course of the next year, the towns will conduct a comprehensive racial equity analysis of the program by:

  • Training staff, human services advisory board members and agency partners on racial equity, drawing on resources from the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (, nonprofit partners and other sources;
  • Conducting a racial equity assessment of the Human Services Program, which will include engagement with nonprofit partners and the people they serve;
  • Based on what is learned through the racial equity assessment, updating the program’s strategic results framework ( and funding application.

The towns will release the application for fiscal year 2023 Oct. 22; applications are due no later than Jan. 13, 2022.

To learn more about the Human Services Program:

Town of Chapel Hill –

Town of Carrboro –

New Loose-Leaf Program Aims to Help Environment

The Town of Chapel Hill’s annual loose-leaf collection has begun. This year’s collection might be slower due to limited staffing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some things to know about leaf collection this year:

  1. Leave the Leaves: In partnership with the New Hope Audubon Society, the town has launched a new voluntary Leave the Leaves program to promote environmental sustainability and to ease the strain on collection services. Leaving leaves where they fall saves time and money and benefits our environment. This process reduces flooding and land erosion; supports bees, fireflies, birds and wildlife; improves tree and soil health; and reduces air, water and noise pollution. For more on Leave the Leaves, see
  2. Compost your leaves: Leaves and other brown materials (like pine straw and twigs) can provide valuable nutrients for your yard and garden. To learn more about composting properly from Orange County Solid Waste Management, see
  3. Containerize your leaves: To reduce the amount for the vacuum trucks to collect, place your leaves in containers when possible. Yard materials are collected weekly in town-issued yard-waste carts, other rigid containers and paper yard-waste bags (no plastic bags) year-round. To order a yard-waste cart, see
  4. Place your leaves behind the curb: Make sure loose leaves and pine straw are free of limbs and other debris. Do not place in the street, and avoid blocking travel and bike lanes, sidewalks, fire hydrants, mailboxes, storm drains, or water meters; and interfering with sight distances at intersections. Loose-leaf collection takes place from mid-October through mid-February in the Town of Chapel Hill.

Carrboro Farmers’ Market Hours Changing Soon

The Carrboro Farmers’ Market hours are changing as follows: 

  • Last day of Saturday main-season hours, 7 a.m. to noon, will be Saturday, Oct. 30; 
  • Saturday winter hours, 9 a.m. to noon, begin Saturday, Nov. 6 and run through next spring;
  • Last Wednesday afternoon market of the year is Nov. 17;
  • Special pre-Thanksgiving market will be Tuesday, Nov. 23, from 3 to 5 p.m.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) benefits may be used at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. The market offers unlimited double bucks to SNAP/EBT customers: for example, $20 from your EBT card = $40 to spend at the market. Stop by the welcome booth for more information; se habla Español.

See for more information.

October 19, 2021

ReVive Recovery Grants for Entrepreneurs, Start-Ups and Small Businesses in Chapel Hill

As a part of its comprehensive economic recovery strategy (, the Town of Chapel Hill has instituted the ReVive Recovery Grants program for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

In June 2021, the town council voted to appropriate $200,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to create and market this program, which will award grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 to support new entrepreneur ideation, existing startups, and local small businesses.

ReVive Recovery Grants will be available in three categories:

  • Micro Grants: up to $1,000 to support business ideas that lead to enterprise creation and growth;
  • Entrepreneur Grants: up to $1,500 to support entrepreneurs who are on a path toward creating a successful enterprise;
  • Small Business Grants: up to $5,000 to support existing Chapel Hill enterprises and help them continue to grow through the pandemic;

Staff will accept applications Oct. 15-Nov. 7 and distribute grants before the end of November. 
Staff will consider applications and award grants based on the likelihood of success and the strength of idea and proposal. Priority will be given to women-owned, minority-owned and locally owned enterprises.

For more information, including qualifications, detailed grant summaries, and links to applications, see

2020 Visitor Spending in Orange County Tops $128 Million

Domestic and international visitors to and within Orange County spent $128.4 million in 2020, a decrease of 47.7% from 2019. The data come from an annual study commissioned and recently released by Visit North Carolina (, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

The 2020 study includes both domestic and international tourism spending to and within Orange County. The $128.4 million in visitor spending represents a tax savings of $78.88 per county resident. Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Orange County was $44.6 million.

Statewide, visitor spending was down 32% to $19.96 billion, compared to 2019. Tourism employment fell 26% to 178,685. The losses were felt most acutely in urban areas.

Chapel Hill Police Offer Safe Way to Discard Prescription Medications

The Chapel Hill Police Department is partnering with Wegmans grocery store to offer you a safe way to get rid of unused, expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications. On Saturday, Oct. 23, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, you can drop off those medications at Wegmans (1810 Fordham Blvd), from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Medications are the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths among children, according to Operation Medicine Drop, a statewide campaign that aims to eliminate the problem. They also report that an average of four people each day die of overdose in North Carolina, and 79% of those deaths involve some type of opioid.

Properly disposing medications helps protect the environment and our community’s health, according to Orange Water and Sewer Authority. The agency asks you not to flush medication or put it down drains because it can contaminate our local water system.

Since the first drug take-back event in North Carolina in 2010, Operation Medicine Drop has collected more than 246 million pills, supported more than 4,284 events and assisted in the placement of more than 490 drop-box locations.

Film/Discussion About Racial Disparities Within the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System

A Zoom meeting and discussion on “The Past Remains Present in Our Schools” will be presented Sunday, Oct. 17, at 3 p.m. by the Chapel Hill Historical Society. Kim Talikoff will share the locally produced documentary, I’m Smart, Too: Integrated Schools, Segregated Students. The film uses a historical framework to explore dynamics that amplify racial disparities within the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools system today. The audience will be invited to participate in a discussion about the film and the issues it asks us to confront.

Join the Zoom meeting at Meeting ID: 909 112 9297.

Upcoming Local NAACP Banquet Focuses on Voting Rights

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will focus on voting rights and voter suppression at its annual Freedom Fund Banquet to be held Oct. 17. This hybrid virtual and in-person event will feature keynote speaker Nsé Ufot, chief executive officer of the New Georgia Project (NGP) and its affiliate, NGP Action Fund. 

Ms. Ufot leads both organizations with a data-informed approach and a commitment to developing tools that use technology to make it easier for every voter to engage in every election. She and her team are also developing Georgia’s home-grown talent by training and organizing local activists across the state to strengthen Georgia’s democracy. Under her leadership, NGP has registered more than 500,000 eligible Georgians to vote.

The banquet will be held virtually and also safely distanced in person at the drive-in theater at Carraway Village in Chapel Hill. In-person attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a meal catered by Mama Dip’s. Longtime local and national community advocate Creighton Blackwell will serve as master of ceremonies for the banquet. 

The Freedom Fund Banquet is the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP’s primary fundraiser, supporting programming, activism and outreach, as well as branch scholarships; its social-justice internship program; economic development efforts serving local Black and indigenous residents and other people of color; and voter education and advocacy. The funds allow the branch to fulfill the NAACP’s mission to ensure the equal political, educational, social and economic rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

At the event, the branch also recognizes the recipients of its annual scholarships and awards honors to outstanding members of the branch and the Chapel Hill and Carrboro communities.

Campaign for Racial Equity Announces Endorsements for CHCCS Board of Education

The Campaign for Racial Equity in Our Schools (CFRE) announces its endorsement of George Griffin, Riza Jenkins and Mike Sharp to serve on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) Board of Education.

CFRE is a community-based organization that promotes education and advocacy to ensure that race no longer a determines access and outcomes in our public schools. CFRE notes that CHCCS has long been recognized by many as an excellent district, yet also has the second-highest achievement gap in the country and among the highest discipline disparities in the state.

For more information about CFRE and its endorsements, visit

October 8, 2021

East Rosemary Street Temporary Reduction to One Lane

A contractor for the Town of Chapel Hill will reduce East Rosemary Street to one lane between North Columbia and Henderson streets weekdays Oct. 11 through Oct. 22, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., for utility work. This schedule is dependent on favorable weather. Sidewalk users should detour around this closure.

For more information about the East Rosemary Redevelopment Project, visit

Early Voting in Orange County

Orange County offers early voting to all registered Orange County voters who wish to vote early, in-person rather than voting absentee by mail or voting on Election Day, Nov. 2.

For a list of early-voting sites and their schedules, see

Same-day voter registration is available during the early-voting period at all early-voting sites. If completing same-day registration, one must bring a valid form of government ID (does not need to be a photo ID, but must show residence in Orange County) and one must vote during early voting rather than on Election Day.

The voter registration deadline is 25 days before an election, on a Friday, at 5:00 p.m. Applications must be delivered to the board of elections by 5:00 p.m. or must be postmarked by 5:00 p.m.

Orange County also offers absentee voting by mail to all Orange County registered voters who wish to vote by mail rather than in person at a one-stop early-voting site or on Election Day. Absentee ballot requests may be submitted using the required absentee ballot request form, either in person (at 208 S. Cameron St., Hillsborough), by mail (P.O. Box 220, Hillsborough, NC 27278) or online through the absentee ballot portal ( For information on receiving an absentee ballot by mail, rather than voting in person, see

October 7, 2021

Farnan Promoted to Orange County Fire Marshal

After an extensive search and recruitment process, Orange County named Elizabeth Farnan as the new fire marshal for Orange County. She officially began her duties Sept. 25.

Farnan, who was appointed acting fire marshal in July, began her career in 1994 as a telecommunicator for Orange County before moving on to various firefighting roles with the Town of Carrboro, Orange County and Chapel Hill fire departments. She has served as assistant fire marshal with Orange County Emergency Services since October 2009 and holds numerous certifications. She was recently nominated to serve on the N.C. Fire Code Revision Committee through the N.C. Office of the State Fire Marshal.

As the fire marshal for Orange County, Farnan plans to advocate for every home having working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, implement more fire and life safety educational programs and work to build a solid community risk-reduction dashboard.


October Proclaimed Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Mayor Lydia Lavelle has proclaimed October Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Carrboro, encouraging residents to “show support for victims and survivors of domestic violence, and to work toward a future when all people can feel safe in their relationships and their homes.”

Longtime Homeowner Assistance Program Launched

Orange County launched a new Longtime Homeowner Assistance (LHA) program Oct. 8 to provide property tax bill assistance to help people stay in their homes. To qualify, homeowners must live in Orange County, have lived in their home for at least 10 years, have experienced an increase in property taxes due to the 2021 tax revaluation and earn no more than 80% of the area median income (see income chart at

Applicants can apply in the following ways:

  1. Online at
  2. By phone (919-245-2655) or by email (
  3. By paper application available at the Orange County housing and community development department offices:
  • Hillsborough office: 300 West Tryon Street, 3rd Floor, Hillsborough, NC 27278
  • Chapel Hill office: 2501 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Completed paper applications can be dropped in the drop boxes outside of the housing and community development offices or mailed to Orange County Housing and Community Development, P.O. Box 8181, Hillsborough, NC 27278

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Dec. 15 to allow time for processing.

For more information about the LHA Program, visit:

Club Nova Receives $350,000 Grant from SECU Foundation

Club Nova, a 30-year-old nonprofit in Carrboro that serves adults with severe and persistent mental illness, has been awarded a $350,000 grant from the State Employees Credit Union Foundation. Proclaimed a “godsend” by Executive Director Karen Dunn, it brings the foundation to within $440,000 of what is needed to complete construction and furnish and equip the new clubhouse.
The building is now framed in and is expected to be finished by next spring. 

Carrboro Celebrates Marriage Equality Day

Carrboro is celebrating Sunday, Oct. 10, as Marriage Equality Day, to commemorate that date in 2014, when federal Judge Max Cogburn struck down North Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional.

October 5, 2021

NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro Action Fund Endorses Candidates for Local Office in Chapel Hill and Carrboro

The NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro Action Fund, a local, community-based 501(c)(4) focused on affordable housing, transportation alternatives and economic development, has made the following endorsements in Chapel Hill and Carrboro for the 2021 municipal elections.
Chapel Hill Mayor—Pam Hemminger
Chapel Hill Town Council—Camille Berry, Paris Miller-Foushee, Karen Stegman
Carrboro Mayor—Damon Seils
Carrboro Town Council—Barbara Foushee, Danny Nowell
Our endorsements were based on the answers given at candidate forums, on candidate questionnaires and the voting records of incumbents running for re-election. The NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro Action Fund evaluated the candidates on their relevant experience and depth of knowledge of critical issues facing our community. NEXT believes that growth should support affordable housing that is inclusive of both renting and homeownership, multi-modal transportation infrastructure, climate responses that reduce the carbon footprint of our towns and a diverse and equitable community. 

For more information, visit

October 3, 2021

Who Should Get a COVID-19 Booster?

North Carolinians at high risk for serious illness or exposure who have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for six months or more can now receive a booster shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following groups should get a COVID-19 booster if they have previously been vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer vaccine:

  • People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary shots;
  • People 50 to 64 years with certain underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary shots;
  • People 18 to 49 years who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary shots, based on their individual benefits and risks;
  • People 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary shots, based on their individual benefits and risks;

Those eligible can find booster shots at their health care provider, pharmacies and other locations where COVID-19 vaccines are available. There is no need for people to go back to the location where they received their original vaccines — most COVID-19 vaccination locations can provide Pfizer boosters. Visit and check “Pfizer-BioNTech (age 12+)” to search locations and ensure Pfizer is available. The Orange County Health Department offers booster shots at both the Hillsborough and Chapel Hill walk-in clinics. Learn more at

If you have questions about whether to get a Pfizer booster, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services encourages you to talk to a medical professional to get their opinion.

If you received the Moderna or J & J (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine, a booster shot is not recommended at this time.

Friends of the CHPL Pop-up Book Sales Pop Up Again!

The final Friends of the Chapel Hill Public Library weekend book sales this fall (the others have already taken place) are the non-fiction sale on Friday, Oct. 8, 2:00 – 7:00 pm (Friends members only); and the Big Bag sale Sat., Oct. 16. They will be conducted in the library’s largest meeting room, with COVID protocols ( in place.

The non-fiction sale will include everything from history and biographies to cooking and gardening to sports and travel. The Big Bag sale will include everything that’s left from the previous three sales, all for just $10 per bag.

Capacity will be limited to a maximum of 30 shoppers at any time. NO book stacking and storing will be allowed. NO large rolling carts or wagons will be permitted. 

CHALT Announces 2021 Endorsements for Chapel Hill Mayor and Town Council

The Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (CHALT) announces its endorsement of Hongbin Gu for Chapel Hill Mayor and Adam Searing and Vimala Rajendran for Chapel Hill Town Council.

The interview and selection process comprised the following:

  • All candidates were invited to participate;
  • Interview questions, developed by the group, were given to the candidates in advance;
  • The questions and videorecorded interviews were made publicly available online;
  • We invited over 100 town residents to participate in the two-day selection event, of whom approximately 25 participated and several others sent in written comments;
  • A trained facilitator was recruited to run the meeting;
  • We established the rule that, to receive CHALT’s endorsement, a candidate needed to have support from at least 2/3 of those participating in the selection process. As it turned out, each of our three endorsees received support from more than 90% of the participants.

We encourage voters to view the videorecorded interviews at and to read CHALT’s full endorsement statement, which can be found at

CHALT is a diverse group of residents who bring neighborhood concerns and constituent issues to the attention of elected officials for evaluation and resolution. CHALT advocates for responsible land-use planning and promotes equity, inclusion and data-based decision-making in all facets of Town government.

For more information, please contact: Julie McClintock, Linda Brown or Virginia Gray

Editor’s Note: Victory Fund and Equality North Carolina have also announced endorsements for the 2021 Chapel Hill and Carrboro municipal elections.

October 2, 2021

Carrboro Recognizes Diaper Need Awareness Week

The week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 is “Diaper Need Awareness Week” in the Town of Carrboro, as proclaimed by Mayor Lydia Lavelle. Diaper Bank of North Carolina recognizes the importance of diapers for ensuring health and providing economic stability for families and distributes diapers to families through various channels. 

Mayor Lavelle encourages residents of Carrboro to donate generously to diaper banks, diaper drives and those organizations that collect and distribute diapers to those struggling with diaper need. 

Carrboro Advisory Board Recruitment

The Town of Carrboro is recruiting for many positions on town advisory boards and commissions. To see the list of current vacancies and to apply, go to

 The Town Council is making it a priority to put Black/African American voices on all advisory boards and commissions that address aspects of Carrboro’s quality of life.

Carrboro 10K Scheduled Saturday, Oct. 2

A Carrboro 10K road race is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2.

Expect traffic delays around this time on N. Greensboro Street and Hillsborough Road. The race begins in front of McDougle Middle School, winds through downtown Carrboro and its neighborhoods and finishes on the McDougle track.

To learn more, visit

Carrboro Connects Preliminary Draft Plan Released 

The Carrboro Connects Comprehensive Plan team met for discussion and feedback on the recently released preliminary draft plan that lays out a vision and a set of goals, strategies and projects for the next 20 years in Carrboro. 

The plan is centered on an overarching foundational framework of racial equity and climate action. It outlines plans for affordable housing; climate action & environment; transportation; green infrastructure; energy & water; economic sustainability; recreation, parks & cultural resources; land use; and public services. 

The Town is seeking input on the plan from the entire community; visit and offer feedback. The plan will undergo a round of revisions in October and has a town council public hearing set for Nov. 16.

New Electric-Vehicle Charging Stations Coming Soon 

This fall the Town of Carrboro is installing two Level 2 electric-vehicle charging stations in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 1120 Hillsborough Road and in the municipal lot at 604 W. Rosemary St. 

Each station has two charging ports (and each port has a corresponding parking spot). There will be two spots for charging at MLK Park and two spots in the Rosemary lot. They will be free for the public to use. Project work is scheduled to be completed this fall. There are also existing charging stations located at Carrboro Town Hall. 

National Drive Electric Week, a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, trucks, motorcycles and more is Sep. 25-Oct. 3, 2021.

New Mural Honors African American Community Leaders

A new mural honoring Black civic leaders from Carrboro and Chapel Hill has been completed and can be viewed at 111 S. Merritt Mill Road. Painted by artist Kiara Sanders, the African American Trailblazers mural celebrates 12 people who were vital to Chapel Hill and Carrboro’s history.

Honorees include:

  • Valerie Paige Foushee, North Carolina State Senator;
  • Addie Robinson, director and founder of Holmes Day Care at Hargraves Community Center;
  • Nurse Adelia Compton, the first Black employee for the Town of Chapel Hill;
  • Barbara Booth Powell, Chapel Hill Town Council, educator and politician;
  • Bynum & Susie Weaver, artists, musicians and entrepreneurs;
  • Howard Lee, the only Black mayor of Chapel Hill and the first Black mayor in the South;
  • William D. Peerman, championship-winning coach, mentor and educator and the first Black head football coach at Chapel Hill High School;
  • Rev. Dr. J.R. Manley, former pastor of the Rock Hill-First Baptist and Hickory Grove Baptist Church and community leader;
  • Walter Riggsbee, HVAC builder and entrepreneur;
  • Dr. L.H. Hackney, pastor and founder of the first Black high school;
  • Thurman Atkins, developer and entrepreneur.

To watch a video (by Miriam McSpadden/Fly Squirrel Films) about Kiara Sanders and her work on the African American Trailblazers project, visit The video is also available in the Town of Carrboro’s Celebrating Black America playlist. 

To learn more about each individual leader honored, visit

Jones Ferry Road Water Line Resiliency Improvements Project

Continuing construction of the Jones Ferry Road Water Line Resiliency Improvements Project, Orange Water and Sewer Authority construction crews were to begin work in the roadway on Jones Ferry Road Wednesday, Sept. 29.

During October, periodic lane closures of Jones Ferry Road will be required in front of the water treatment plant. Work in the roadway will occur between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Customers in the area may be affected by noise, dust and mud; traffic and parking impacts; and interruption of water service during construction.

For more information about the project, visit

To receive email updates about the project, visit

Applicants Needed for Orange County Housing Authority Board

The Orange County Housing Authority Board is currently seeking applications, particularly from Orange County residents residing outside Chapel Hill town limits. There is currently one at-large position open.

Orange County Housing Authority Board members are appointed by the board of county commissioners to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing for low- and moderate-income families in the county. At least one member of the board must be a housing choice voucher holder. Other board members may represent the following areas of interest: real estate, development, affordable housing, municipal law and banking.

If interested, apply at

Orange County strives for authentically diverse representation on volunteer boards and commissions. Residents of all demographic backgrounds, identities and perspectives are encouraged to apply. Applicants must reside in Orange County. Volunteers appointed have the opportunity to directly influence the county’s decisions, policies and priorities.

For additional information, contact Tara May at 919-245-2125 or

September 24, 2021

OCLW New Certifications and Recertifications

Orange County Living Wage has recently added several local businesses and employers committed to living wages to their roster. They include:

Orange County Living Wage supports the business-driven movement to dignify employees’ labor by paying adequate, fair wages.

In addition to the new certifications, more than 80 employers have recertified since earlier this summer. For a directory of all Orange County living wage employers, see

Chapel Hill Public Library

Chapel Hill Public Library Announces Plans for Community History Lab

Chapel Hill Public Library is planning a new, innovative space dedicated to exploring and sharing the rich history of Chapel Hill’s people, places and moments. The Community History Lab will be located in the lower level and house a variety of resources. For more information, see

County Receives Application for Development of Efland Industrial Park

On Sept. 15, Orange County staff accepted for review a non-residential zoning compliance permit application and site plan proposing the development of the Efland Industrial Park. The development at 304 Mount Willing Road in Efland involves two parcels totaling approximately 100 acres in the Cheeks Township.

The parcels are located within the Commercial-Industrial Transition Activity Node (CITAN) as defined by the adopted 2030 Orange County Comprehensive Plan. As part of the CITAN, the parcels are also zoned for non-residential activity, so the current proposal constitutes a permitted use of property. The project does not require approval from an advisory board or the board of county commissioners as long as the use is permitted and the project conforms to the established development, environmental and building standards.

Eno Arts Mill to Host Grand Opening on Oct. 1

The Orange County Arts Commission announced the grand opening of the Eno Arts Mill Friday, Oct. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. The event will feature the work of resident artist Kennedi Carter (, music by XOXOK (, and the opportunity to visit the working studios of the Mill’s additional resident studio artists ( Masks and social distancing will be required.

The Arts Mill is a 7,000-square-foot multi-purpose arts space located within the historic Eno River Mill in Hillsborough. The space adjoins the 3,000-square-foot Eno Mill Studios, which opened in Feb. 2020, offering affordable work space for 11 artists. The new addition provides teaching space for classes in the visual, performing and literary arts; a gallery; four artist studios; and a new Hillsborough office for the Carrboro-based Art Therapy Institute (

Orange County to Host 2022-27 MAP Community Engagement Events

The Orange County Department on Aging and its advisory board will hold community-engagement drop-in events during October at key locations around the county to engage residents in the process of creating a new Master Aging Plan (MAP).

July 1 marked the beginning of the planning year for the 2022-27 MAP with a survey to determine the issues that Orange County residents are most concerned about for the next five years. The knowledge gained from the survey will be shared during the drop-in events, which will also provide another opportunity for community members to share their thoughts and to engage with the MAP workgroup leaders.

There are seven MAP workgroups (social participation, community supports and health services, transportation, housing, civic participation and employment, outdoor spaces and communication), and interested community members are invited to help formalize the goals and strategies for the 2022-27 MAP by joining one of these workgroups. Visit for dates and sign-up information.

Gun “Give Back” Event to be Held in Chapel Hill

People in possession of unwanted firearms will be able to safely remove them from their homes at the Community Church of Chapel Hill (106 Purefoy Road) Oct. 9 from 2 to 3 p.m. At the give-back event, proper possession permits will be available for the sponsors to receive the weapons, which will be chopped and rendered useless. The gun scraps will then be taken to the metal recyclery the following week. Security personnel will be on hand to ensure a safe event for all participants.

Those participating should make sure that the gun is not loaded and does not have any bullets in any chamber or magazine; ammunition cannot be taken at the event. Place all guns in the trunk or rear storage area of your vehicle and when you arrive at the parking lot, release the trunk or rear storage area to open it up; do not exit your vehicle. Trained security personnel will take the gun out of the trunk, check its serial number, and take the gun.

Festifall 2021

Chapel Hill’s annual Festifall for 2021 will feature arts-focused block parties at different locations in downtown Chapel Hill from 4 to 8 p.m. on three evenings in October—Oct. 15 on Henderson Street, Oct. 23 at 140 West Plaza and Oct. 30 at the West Franklin Parking Lot.

Festifall Arts Markets & More will feature 20-30 unique artists, artisans and craftspeople; 2-3 gourmet food and drink vendors; and dance groups, poetry and buskers.

Calling Triangle Area Artists

Chapel Hill Transit is looking for a Triangle-based artist or artist team to create an original 2-D design to adorn the ceilings of three Chapel Hill Transit buses, as part of the Art + Transit project ( A $400 stipend will be given for the final design.

The final design will be printed on adhesive vinyl and installed on the bus ceilings by a town contractor. The installed artwork will be displayed on the buses for approximately 12 months. If selected, you must have the ability to deliver the final design as an .AI or .EPS file using the specification in the template.

Artists and designers must reside within a 40-mile radius of Chapel Hill and submit application materials following the instructions found at The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11.

September 17, 2021

Chapel Hill Police Make Arrest in Homicide

The Chapel Hill Police Department, in coordination with the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), arrested Miguel Enrique Salguero-Olivares, 28, of Durham, Thursday, Sept. 16, in connection with the murder of Faith Danielle Hedgepeth. 

Hedgepeth was found dead in her off-campus apartment the morning of Sept. 7, 2012. The Police Department has been actively investigating the case, working closely with the SBI and other agencies. 

The homicide investigation will remain an active and ongoing case until the Durham County district attorney tries the case in court. At this time, no additional information is available. 

Town of Chapel Hill Receives Two National Communications Awards

The Town of Chapel Hill was recognized with two national awards for local government communications at the City-County Communications & Marketing Association (3CMA) Annual Conference Sept. 8-10 in St. Louis.

The Town won a Silver Circle Award in the COVID PR Campaign category for the Spread Kindness, Not Illness campaign; the Chapel Hill Fire, Now Hiring video won an Award of Excellence in the Video – Promo category.

The Savvy Awards were judged by a group of national 3CMA-member communicators. This year, 870 entries were submitted and winners hailed from 25 states. North Carolina local governments received 10 awards.

In response to concern about a particular population in the community being blamed for the coronavirus, the Joint Information Center was prompted to create a simple, easily translated message as part of the campaign Spread Kindness, Not Illness. That campaign was translated into Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Burmese and Karen and has been featured on the Town website, social media channels and Chapel Hill Transit buses.

The Chapel Hill Fire Department created a video, shared on social media, that targeted young recruits for several upcoming vacancies at a time when recruitment and retention were down and a strong pool of applicants was needed to find people who were the right fit for these slots and would remain on the job long term. The fire department received 28 applications from NC-certified firefighters and 318 applications from non-certified individuals and was able to fill at least 8 vacancies.

Life Science Startup Company First to Claim Space in New Downtown Innovation District

UNC-Chapel Hill and Town of Chapel Hill leaders announced a new university partnership with startup coworking pioneer BioLabs and next steps for an innovation hub and downtown revitalization this week.

BioLabs, a premier coworking space for life-science startups, is the first company to claim space in the downtown innovation district that is currently under construction. In 2022, BioLabs plans to open the new site in downtown Chapel Hill, featuring shared wet-lab space and office facilities for new research-based startups.

2020-2021 Community Development Block Grant Annual Performance Report

Residents are invited to review and comment on the FY 2020-2021 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report. This report details the progress in carrying out the FY 2020-2021 Community Development Block Grant Annual Plan as well as the performance in meeting the overall priorities and objectives. All comments received will be recorded in the final document submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. The official 15-day comment period is Sept. 13, 2021, through Sept. 27, 2021. Written comments may be addressed to: Megan Culp, Community Development Program Manager, Office for Housing and Community, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514; or may be emailed to

A copy of the draft document is available for public review and comment at

Northside Challenge to Property Tax Valuation Pays Off

More than 600 community members joined neighbors to challenge Orange County’s valuations of Northside properties. The county listened, revaluing long-term neighbors’ property values and extending the deadline for appeals. The resulting reductions have saved long-term Northside neighbors an average of $1,355 per year. Northside residents are also advising Orange County as it establishes a new $250,000 fund to assist long-term residents across the county with the impacts of rising property taxes.

Applicants Needed for Orange County Advisory Boards and Commissions

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

Affordable Housing Advisory Board – Prioritizes affordable housing needs and assesses project proposals. Currently two at-large vacancies.

Agricultural Preservation Board – Promotes the economic and cultural importance of agriculture in the county and encourages voluntary preservation and protection of farmland for future production. Currently one position open for a representative of the Cedar Grove Voluntary Agricultural District.

Animal Services Advisory Board – Charged to advise the Board of County Commissioners on matters of concern regarding animal issues and animal services in Orange County. Currently one position open for an individual who resides within the town limits of Chapel Hill and one position open for an individual who resides within the town limits of Carrboro.

Board of Equalization and Review – Hears appeals from residents concerning various property tax issues, including valuation and exemption appeals. Currently five alternate positions open. 

Orange Unified Transportation Board – Advises the Orange County Board of County Commissioners and provides information and comments on major transportation issues. Currently one vacancy for a resident of Little River Township and one vacancy for a resident of Cedar Grove Township.
If interested, apply at

For additional information contact Tara May at 919-245-2125 or

Orange County Emergency Food Assistance Distribution Set for Sept. 22

Residents receiving Food and Nutrition Service/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits or who meet income guidelines may be eligible for Orange County’s Emergency Food Assistance Program. The program is available for individuals/students, couples or families.

Distributions occur on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Pick-ups are available at Orange Works in Hillsborough (113-B Mayo St.) and Southern Human Services Center in Chapel Hill (2501 Homestead Road).

Due to social distancing requirements and limited supplies, appointments are required. Appointments will be issued the day before the distribution, on a first-call, first-served basis. Applicants should call (919) 245-4354 to request an appointment and for more information.

September 14, 2021

2021 Carrboro Music Festival Canceled

The Town of Carrboro has canceled the 2021 Carrboro Music Festival, which was scheduled to be held Sept. 25-26 at venues throughout downtown Carrboro.

Organizers had hoped that the Covid-19 vaccines would allow this traditional event to take place, but all of the surrounding counties are now classified as posing either “Very High Risk” or “Extremely High Risk” of transmission to unvaccinated community members.

Next year’s event is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 2 2022.

Durham Tech Celebrates 60 Years

On Thursday, Sept. 9, Durham Technical Community College (DTCC) kicked off a yearlong celebration of “60 Years of Impact” with the dedication of the William G. Ingram Center for Applied Learning and Technology.

Board of Trustees members — past and present — elected officials, students, staff, faculty and friends gathered under a tent on the lawn. Speakers recalled the visionary people who founded the institution, their visions and the success of current programs, such as the Durham Tech Promise. They also discussed plans to meet the needs of 21st-century industries, such as life sciences.

In 1961, DTCC opened its doors to all people regardless of race or color. The late Phail Wynn Jr., DTCC president from 1980-2007, was the first Black community college president in North Carolina and DTCC started North Carolina’s first office of equity and inclusion. 

Harm Reduction and Cultural Humility

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) continues to seek alternatives that offer more effective ways to assist and support individuals yearning to get their lives back on track, such as with a recent presentation to the Orange County Justice Advisory Council (JAC) on the importance of harm reduction and cultural humility. The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition “is a statewide grassroots organization dedicated to the implementation of harm reduction interventions, public health strategies, drug policy transformation, and justice reform in North Carolina and throughout the American South.”

The presentation at the JAC meeting provided more awareness of the scope of work in progress by the OCSO and local law enforcement agencies to improve the well-being of community members and the community as a whole.

This critical work includes providing medication-assisted treatment (suboxone) and peer support to individuals with substance-use disorders who are incarcerated at the detention center, as well as law enforcement-assisted diversion from the criminal justice system where treatment and harm reduction interventions are more appropriate. Law enforcement and criminal justice stakeholders recognize that these efforts will increase healthier outcomes and improve public safety for Orange County.

One Orange Countywide Racial Equity Plan Invites Input

The One Orange Countywide Racial Equity Plan: A Framework for Moving Forward seeks to identify and address implicit biases in our institutions to ensure that race no longer predict life outcomes in our community.

The community is invited to share their opinions about the plan via a meeting to take place 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, via Zoom. Register to participate at

Organizers would like to know:

  • What three results would you like this plan to produce?
  • What sections of this plan will help us achieve those results?
  • Who should be involved in future community engagement?
  • Who is negatively affected by using this framework/plan?
  • What do you consider the most critical outcomes?

View the plan at

September 10, 2021

Chapel Hill Transit Reduces Service to Improve Reliability

In the face of continuing staffing shortages, Chapel Hill Transit will make temporary schedule adjustments to increase the reliability of the bus system, starting Monday, Sept. 20.

The last trip on most routes will run until 8 p.m., with the following adjustments:

  • On weekdays, the NS route will run less frequently until 10 p.m.
  • On weekends, the J and NS routes will run every hour and 20 minutes.
  • The schedule for FCX and NU routes will not change.

There will be no midday service on F, G, HS & T routes.

The F, G, HS, and T routes will only run between 6:30 and 9 a.m. and 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. to provide options for students and employees commuting to Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC Hospitals, with the following schedule:

  • F route trips (from Jones Ferry Road): 6:30 & 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 & 3:30 p.m.
  • G route trips (from Booker Creek): 7 & 8 a.m. and 3 & 4 p.m.
  • HS route trips (from Morris Grove): 7:15, 7:50 & 8:25 a.m. and 3:25, 4:00 & 4:35 p.m.
  • T route trips (from East Chapel Hill High School): 7:05 & 8:05 a.m. and 4:10 & 5:15 p.m.

420, CL, NU, weekend J and weekend NS customers will have fewer trips, with the following adjustments:

  • NU route will run every 30 minutes.
  • CL route will run about every 40 minutes.
  • Route 420 will run at the following times:
    • 6:00, 6:55, 8:00 & 8:30 a.m. from Hillsborough
    • 3:40, 4:40, 5:45 & 6:15 p.m. from UNC Hospitals
  • Weekend J will run every hour and 20 minutes.
  • Weekend NS will run every hour and 20 minutes.

Friday Center South Park and Ride Lot users will need to use the Friday Center Park and Ride Lot, with the following adjustments:

  • Friday Center South Park and Ride Lot (formerly the NC-54 Park and Ride Lot) will be closed.
  • S route will serve the Friday Center Park and Ride Lot.
  • FCX route will serve stops on NC-54 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and after 8 p.m.

These reductions will remain in effect until Chapel Hill Transit is able to hire more operators.
Chapel Hill Transit is actively recruiting operators. Chapel Hill Transit offers wages starting at $16+ an hour and paid training and benefits. People interested can apply at

Breaking Ground on the East Rosemary Redevelopment Project

The Town of Chapel Hill and project partners will ceremoniously break ground on the East Rosemary Redevelopment Project next week before the foundation of a new 1,100-space parking deck begins taking shape in the coming weeks.

The groundbreaking ceremony will begin 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, at the project site (125 E. Rosemary St.). Parking is available in the Wallace Parking Deck (150 E. Rosemary St.) or the Rosemary/Columbia Parking Lot (100 E. Rosemary St.).

Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and members of the Town Council will be in attendance, in addition to UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz.

Masks will be required at the ceremony, and everyone will be encouraged to practice physical distancing. The ceremony will be brief, and refreshments will not be provided due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information on the project, and to see a live video feed, visit

Proposals to Manage Flooding in Lower Booker Creek Watershed to be Discussed at Sept. 13 Meeting

Chapel Hill residents will have an opportunity Monday, Sept. 13 to hear presentations about and to comment on the Town’s plans to address flooding in the Lower Booker Creek subwatershed. An informational community meeting will be held at 6 p.m. via Zoom and is open to the public.

In 2016, Chapel Hill hired an engineering firm to analyze the Booker Creek watershed and make recommendations to reduce flooding. The firm, WK Dickson, published its final report in 2018.
The firm’s study evaluated how stormwater is currently managed within the subwatershed and the impact future development is likely to have on the capacity of existing infrastructure to adequately convey stormwater. The report recommended various stormwater management improvements, including construction of several new stormwater retention facilities.

There will be time during the meeting for attendees to ask questions about the watershed studies and the proposed stormwater management projects. Questions and responses will be compiled and posted to the project website.

The agenda for the meeting includes opening remarks from Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger, presentation of WK Dickson’s watershed study, a presentation by the Booker Creek Neighborhoods Preservation Alliance and a question-and-answer period. To register for the meeting, visit

Public input and comments regarding the project may also be submitted to: A summary of public comments will be presented at the Town Council work session Oct. 20, 2021.

September 8, 2021

NAACP PAC Needs Volunteers for Upcoming Local Elections

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), with funding from Blueprint NC, is mounting a Get Out the Vote campaign for the fall local elections, with the goal of increasing participation of minority voters. Blueprint NC is a nonprofit organization that works with partner organizations across the state to “address the complex issues of racial injustice, the massive and growing gap between the richest and poorest and the privatization of public resources for private financial gain.”

The NAACP’s Political Action Committee has decided that more emphasis should be put on sending out handwritten individualized postcards and that some time also should be spent knocking on doors. These postcards and door knocks will be focused on a handful of precincts inside Orange County with the lowest turnouts and highest diversity. The goal is to invite residents to participate in local elections by reminding them what local offices are up for election and how those elected can have a personal impact on their lives. Door hangers and postcards are especially effective in reminding voters about the who, where and when for elections.

If you are able to help with this effort, please send your contact information to Nicole ( with a message of whether you can help writing postcards, leaving door hangers or both.

OCDP Donation Drive for Afghan Refugees

The Orange County Democratic Party (OCDP) is hosting a donation drive for Afghan refugees coming to North Carolina as part of a wider regional effort. The Triangle region has been identified as one of 19 “Welcoming Communities” for Afghan refugees by the U.S. State Department.
You may drop off your donations to assist newly arriving families at the OCDP Office at 209 Lloyd St., Suite 310, Carrboro, Wednesday, Sept. 8, from 3 to 5 p.m. OCDP wants to officially thank everyone for their support and donations thus far.

High-priority donation items include winter clothing, cleaning supplies, paper products, cookware, cooking utensils, dishes, cutlery, towels, blankets, sheets, educational toys, school supplies and men’s and women’s hygiene items. For a fuller listing, visit: Please place items in a clean box with an itemized list taped on the box. (Please do not bring large items, furniture, food items, old used plastic containers, old and/or stained or ripped clothes or anything partially broken.)

Contact Marilyn Carter via FB messenger or at for questions and more information.

September 5, 2021

Chapel Hill Historical Society Fall Virtual Program Series

The Chapel Hill Historical Society has announced its fall program line up:

  • Sept. 19, 3 p.m. – Listening for Community: An Oral History Workshop with the Southern Oral History Project (SOHP). This workshop, led by Anna Hamilton, Ph.D. candidate and SOHP field scholar, will provide a primer on the basics of oral history — the hows, whats, and whys of recording community stories for posterity. She will discuss oral history process, equipment and best practices.
  • Oct. 17, 3 p.m. – I’m Smart, Too — Integrated Schools, Segregated Students. Kim Talikoff will present this documentary film that explores the racial disparity within the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system and moderate a discussion.
  • Nov. 21, 3 p.m. – Historic Chapel Hill Mapping Project. Dr. John Sweet, UNC Associate Professor of History, will discuss and share his project using census and other records to map the history of Chapel Hill. A link to his website is available at

All programs will be conducted via Zoom and are free and open to the public. Links for each Zoom session will be posted to the Historical Society’s website ( two days before each program. In addition, each session will be recorded and available via YouTube. Recordings of the Historical Society’s spring 2021 programs are available at (

Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” Campaign Aims to Close Health Disparity in N.C.

This year’s “Booze It & Lose It” anti-drunk driving campaign, now underway, is focusing on informing and protecting minority college students and reducing the number of traffic crashes and deaths in N.C. during what is a busy travel period.

So far in 2021, Black people have the second-highest rate of total traffic deaths, pedestrian traffic deaths and bicyclist traffic deaths, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows Black North Carolinians made up 26% of all deadly crashes between 2015 and 2018.

The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program (NCGHSP) and its partners are asking fraternities, sororities and other students to use their social media accounts to promote the importance of driving sober.

The Booze It and Lose It campaign is one of several initiatives NCGHSP leads. It increases awareness of the dangers and consequences of drinking and driving through education and enforcement. The campaign is used as a model for other agencies across the country.

Richards Chosen Unanimously to Replace Dorosin

Social justice and community activist Anna Richards was chosen unanimously on Sept. 2 to fill a vacancy on the Orange County Board of Commissioners. Richards was chosen from among four candidates forwarded by the Orange County Democratic Party.

Richards has long been active in social justice issues in Orange County through her work with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She served on the Orange County Complete Count Committee that encouraged residents to complete the 2020 census.

The seat became open when Commissioner Dorosin resigned effective July 31 to take a teaching job in Florida. Although Dorosin’s term was through 2024, Richards will serve only through November 2022. A special election will be held next year to fill the remaining two years of Dorosin’s term. The special election will be open to candidates from all parties.

Orange County Government Closed for Labor Day

Orange County Government will be closed Monday, Sept. 6, in honor of Labor Day. Closings include the COVID testing sites at the Whitted Building and Southern Human Services Center in Chapel Hill. If you need a COVID-19 test, visit

Exceptions to the Labor Day closings include: Recycling pickup will run as normal on Sept. 6 (have carts curbside by 7 a.m.); Transportation Services will run the in-county dialysis route only (Carolina Dialysis); and 9-1-1 services will be available (call only to report emergencies).

Regular services will resume Tuesday, Sept. 7.

Orange County Department on Aging Handy Helper Program Nominated for 2021 RISE Award

The Orange County Department on Aging’s Handy Helper Program has been nominated for a 2021 RISE Community award for the work it is doing to build a stronger and safer community. Community voting has begun, and help is needed to spread the word.

You can read and vote for the Orange County Department on Aging’s Handy Helper Program nomination once per day through Sept. 17 by visiting In addition to being recognized, the Handy Helper Program is also in the running to win $7,500 in prize money that the program will put toward building a better community.

The RISE Awards celebrate those who rise to serve and protect their communities through heroism and dedication. The RISE Community award honors a community program that is working hand in hand with local law enforcement.

Orange County Mobile Vaccine Team Available for Home Vaccinations

In an effort to ensure that all community members have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, the Orange County Mobile Vaccine Team is ready to vaccinate people who are homebound or are otherwise unable to travel to a vaccine clinic.

The most challenging part of this program is identifying those in need. Community members may make referrals by visiting or by calling 919-245-6127. Visit for more information.

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

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4 Comments on "News Briefs: A Digest of Announcements Provided by Local Organizations"

  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.

  4. Regarding your August 14 news brief, the missing woman was found several days ago.

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