The Best of The Local Reporter  – Year 2023


By Michelle Cassell
Managing Editor

This week, The Local Reporter is giving our team of writers and columnists a well-deserved holiday break. Please grab a cup of hot chocolate and a cookie and enjoy 2023 in review with some of our best articles and columns by season.


We began 2023 with Chief Lehew being sworn in as Chapel Hill’s first female police Chief. The 2022 housing market got an overview, and the beginning of a controversial issue appeared- Chapel Hill Town Council discusses single-family zone removal.

Also in January, columnist Laurie Paolicelli wrote about a local landmark, Sutton’s Drug Store and Neil Offen helped us look at COVID’s damage and how to improve our socialization when we dared to venture out.

In February, our arts writer reviewed Playmaker’s Hamlet and a local dance company, capturing their creative process as they prepared to perform.

An article in Community Growth and Development showed us where past and future meet along an old Chapel Hill road.

Blood, sweat and money is the title of an article that discussed UNC-Chapel Hill names tied to enslavement.

A tribute to a remarkable man and Scoutmaster, Ed Johnson, in the Through a Townie’s Lens column was a heart-warming story.

A few highlights as we looked forward to spring included the new calculus of retirement from our financial columnist and thoughts on February plants as a spring tease from our weekly garden columnist Kit Flynn.

At the end of February, schools were busy attempting to tackle an acute bus driver shortage.


Community issues were coming to light with the 828 Martin Luther King Boulevard bond proposal approved by Chapel Hill Town Council.

We bid farewell to Southern Seasons officially in March. Our area churches came together to fund Weaver’s Grove community center in April. In the same month, we discovered that another beloved landmark, Mama Dip’s, was leaving its location on Rosemary Street.

On the lighter side of spring, our Wild Side column talked about birdy family life, and we answered your questions about why you are seeing more coyotes: coyotes are here to stay.

In May, we saw local politics in play with Chapel Hill 5-cent tax increase recommended and a new initiative that helps local minority businesses find funding. Locals were thrilled to learn Snooze is coming to Chapel Hill.


Summertime brought Pride Promenade: a festival to kick off small-town pride month in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. South Creek development got final approval from Chapel Hill Town Council.

NCDOT tries to allay fears over a 15-501 plan, and the Town of Carrboro adopts budget for 2023-2024. Zoning amendments were passed in Chapel Hill at the end of June. Leafblowers became a topic of conversation and regulation.

The Ackland Art Museum featured an exhibition of French drawings from 1770 – 1830 that we previewed before it opened.

As an invasive insect moved in and conquered Orange County ash trees, we spoke with experts who explained what was happening. Our transportation expert correspondent reviewed area transportation planning as a TIP-ing point in depth. A shocking fire at Mediterranean Deli devastated the beloved local eatery and several businesses near it.

Municipal political filings were completed on July 31. We welcomed Julia Runk Jones as our new local editor and Michelle Cassell as Managing Editor.  Suddenly, August became a very busy month.

Beautiful Together an 83-acre animal sanctuary being created in Chapel Hill by the owners of Coco Bistro was highlighted. Our business correspondent covered changes at Eastgate Shopping Center. Orange County School Superintendent resigns and top honors go to Chapel Hill High School teacher.

The summer heat wave was undeniable. An exclusive to TLR, a doctor gave us what alpha-gal syndrome is and how it is rampant in  Orange County. We interviewed the top research scientist working on it at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Glenn Lennox building in Chapel Hill felt the effects of a nationwide office space glut and brought the national issue home to our community.

Tragedy struck when a UNC professor was murdered on campus, deeply impacting the entire community.


UNC’s active shooter response came under fire.

Orange County Living Wage set new goals and hosted a fundraiser. Our Arts and Culture correspondent described the art of textile art at a local exhibit.

Another lockdown at UNC campus caused stress and led to an arrest. Chapel Hill Police Department announced plans to move to the former BCBS building.

Political campaigns were in full swing. TLR published questions and answers from all of the Carrboro and Chapel Hill candidates and maintained a 2023 election section.

In Carrboro, two businesses were snuffed out by cigar smoke  The article got much reader attention and contained exclusive comments from both parties.

The towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro get new mayors and council members. Chapel Hill considered a Life Sciences Center along Franklin Street.

Chapel Hill planned better airport transportation.  The EPA was petitioned to consider Superfund for coal ash clean up – a TLR exclusive.

Chapel Hill Town Council approved a controversial water and sewer proposal. A new ice hockey complex is coming to Chapel Hill – another  TLR exclusive.

Chapel Hill town leaders rejected a proposed 12-story building at 157 East Rosemary. Carrboro broke ground for a new Pee Wee Homes development.


Finally, we end the year with two of our columnists providing holiday stories that received amazing reader reviews. Christmas Carol-ina and a very popular Christmas Cookies nostalgic story.

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1 Comment on "The Best of The Local Reporter  – Year 2023"

  1. Wow! You all covered a lot of really interesting stories! Thanks for the hard work!

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