Anne Brenner

Local Residents Question Fracking Monitoring-Standards

CHAPEL HILL – State residents will have to wait to find out whether the state’s first rule surrounding hydraulic fracturing will be approved—and in the meantime, some local residents are afraid oil industries might have too much influence over any rules that are allowed to exist. “Here again, if, in the end, there’s no broader consideration for the broader concerns for protecting our water and resources, I  have a lack of confidence they’ll write a good rule in that case,” says local science expert Jeff Danner. Last year, hydraulic fracturing—otherwise known as “fracking”— was formally legalized in North Carolina. Since then, the N.C. Mining & Energy Commission has been charged with creating regulations for the procedure. On Friday, the commission was set to formally vote on its first rule, which stated that miners would have to publically disclose certain chemicals that were being used. But at the last minute, commission members learned they couldn’t consider the rule yet because officials from Haliburton—one of the country’s biggest oil companies—believe it’s overly harsh in its current form. During fracking, miners drill high-pressure fluid and chemicals into the ground to obtain natural gas. Many local politicians and residents, such as Danner, have questions about how the practice should be monitored to make sure it stays environmentally safe. Danner says this could be just the beginning of a larger pattern where high-powered oil...

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Hagan Sees Uptick In Popularity After Vote For Background Checks In Gun Sales

CHAPEL HILL-Senator Kay Hagan’s recent vote in support of background checks for gun sales might help her as she seeks re-election. Public Policy Polling Tom Jensen says according to the company’s newest round of surveys, 52 percent of North Carolinians are more likely to vote for Hagan now that she voted in favor of those checks. “Only 26 percent are less likely to, and that’s just a reflection that those background checks remain overwhelmingly popular,” he says. “Seventy-three percent of North Carolinians support them and only 22 percent are opposed.” On April 17, the U.S. Senate members, including Hagan,...

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New Assistant Principal, Top Honors For Businessman

Tiffany Cheshire is the new assistant principal of McDougle Elementary School. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System made it official this week. Cheshire served as a principal intern at Seawell Elementary before heading to the Alamance-Burlington School System as an assistant principal. She also spent four years in the Orange County Public School System as a Spanish teacher. Cheshire received her Master of School Administration from UNC and earned her bachelors degree from Appalachian State. **** One prominent local businessman is being honored at both the regional and national level for his achievements in the financial services field. Corporate...

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ECHHS Earns High Honors In National Ethics Bowl

CHAPEL HILL-A local high school has earned semi-final honors in a UNC-hosted competition designed to encourage discussion among young people about various ethical issues. This year marked the first-ever National High School Ethics Bowl, which was held in Chapel Hill April 19-20, and East Chapel Hill High School finished among the top four finalists. UNC Faculty Chair Jan Boxill says the event is, in some ways, similar to a debate—but in another sense, it’s very different. “It’s a competitive yet collaborative event where students analyze and discuss real-life, timely ethical issues,” she says. “It differs from debate in that the students aren’t assigned opposing views. Rather, they defend whatever position they believe is the right one, and they win by showing that they’ve thought more carefully, deeply and perceptively about the cases in question.” Along with East Chapel Hill, a team made up of homeschooled students in the Triangle area also made the semifinal round. St. Petersburg High School of Florida and Farmingdale High School of New York were the other teams in the final four; St. Petersburg ultimately took the championship by two points. The Bowl was created and hosted by UNC’s Parr Center for Ethics. The National High School Ethics Bowl is modeled after the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, which includes UNC and has been hosted for 17 years by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. Although...

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NCYTE Returns Home For Finale Dance Concert

CHAPEL HILL-Over the course of its dance seasons, the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble has traveled all over the world for performances,—and this weekend, they’ll wrap up their year a little closer to home with a finale dance concert spectacular. Ensemble artistic Director Gene Medler says the performance, which is called “Rhythm Evolved,” covers a variety of different percussive dance styles. “It ranges from French-Candian waltz clogs and Irish jigs, all the way up to the cutting edge contemporary choreography of Michelle Dorrance.” Michelle Dorrance is the daughter of highly touted UNC women’s soccer head coach Anson Dorrance. Each year, the ensemble performs about 15-25 shows; this year, one of them took place at Washington D.C.’s prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Senior dancer Laura Matrazzo says the company’s been working on their finale show for about six weeks. “We basically have to come up with a show order, organize costumes, pick who will be in each number, and then watch it all happen,” she says. Earlier this week, Matrazzo and fellow dancer Luke Hickey stopped by the WCHL studios to give a sneak peak of their fancy footwork in this weekend’s performance. The ensemble’s final performance will take place Sunday afternoon at 2:00 at Durham’s Carolina Theatre. To purchase tickets, click...

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BOCC Passes Resolution Denouncing Death Penalty

ORANGE COUNTY-Orange County recently became the first county in the state to formally take a stand against using the death penalty. During last Tuesday night’s meeting, the Orange County Board of Commissioners voted 6-1 to pass a resolution calling for the repeal of capital punishment. Allen Archibald of Hillsborough first asked the board to pass the motion; he says his stance against capital punishment has been motivated by what he perceives to be racial biases. “We now know as a matter of statistically demonstrated truth that the deck is seriously stacked against people of color,” he says. “Perhaps the most sacred rubric of America’s legal system is equal treatment before the law. But, when it comes to the death penalty, we have very unequal treatment before the law.” Earlier this month, the state General Assembly voted 33-14 to pass Senate Bill 306, which effectively removed the remainder of North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act. The act had previously been in place to allow death row convicts to make appeals based on racial biases. Numerous local politicians, including state Senator Ellie Kinnaird, have been vocal about their support of the act. The resolution also came in a timely manner because April 22 marked the 26th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in McCleskey v. Kemp. In that case, the Supreme Court held that a defendant couldn’t rely on statistical evidence of...

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UNC Baseball Slams N.C. State 7-1

RALEIGH- UNC baseball didn’t have much trouble taking down N.C. State 7-1 last night in the first of a three-game series against the Wolfpack in Raleigh. Junior Tar Heel pitcher Kent Emanuel pitched through the eighth inning and tied a career high nine strikeouts. Colin Moran and Brian Holberton both tallied home runs for UNC. “He got better as he went,” says Head Tar Heel Coach Mike Fox. “It’s tough to start a game. You don’t know where the strike zone is, and you’re really having to pitch.” The Heels took control right, putting three runs on the board in the first inning alone—and Fox says that early lead was important in setting the tone for the rest of the game, especially in the hostile environment away from home. “It quieted the crowd and they never really got into the game,” he says. UNC now moves to 41-3 overall and 19-2 in the ACC, while N.C. State is at 33-11 overall and 14-8 in conference play. Game two of the series gets underway Saturday night at 6:30, and the series concludes Sunday night at...

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Local Residents Clash Over Budgeting Priorities For 2013

CHAPEL HILL- As budget season kicks into high gear, local and state officials are working to determine what services make up the local area’s top priorities—but the local community is sharply divided on which of those entities should come first. “There’s a level of service we want to maintain, be it libraries, recycling pick-up, or affordable housing,” says community member Greg Bell. “It will be sad to watch the gradual dismantling of those services. Even though the General Assembly is going to force a lot of unfounded mandates on us, we need to do our best to hold on and try to get through this.” Since the beginning of this year, Chapel Hill Town Council members have been focusing on a process known as priority budgeting, where they will concentrate their funding and where they will consider making cuts. According to local resident Bonnie Hauser, three particular services are at the top of the list of entities that need the most attention in Chapel Hill and throughout Orange County—but she adds that at the same time, local government officials should limit the amount of funding that they put into any one of them. “I don’t know how to choose between public safety, schools, or libraries,” she says. “Certainly we want them all, but I don’t understand why our services have to be so much more expensive than everyone else’s.”...

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After A Decade, CH Opens New Public Library

CHAPEL HILL-Hundreds of local residents gathered Saturday afternoon at the site of the Chapel Hill Public Library off Estes Drive to celebrate the opening of its newly renovated facility—and it’s a project that’s been about a decade in the making. “Dreams of more than a generation of Chapel Hillians are the mortar holding these bricks together,” says Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, who was one of several local government officials to deliver remarks during the ceremony. “These are the kinds of days when I pinch myself and ask, ‘Am I really the mayor of this great town?’ Look at what we can do, and look at what we have done.” Town Council members Sally Greene and Jim Ward also gave brief speeches, along with County Commissioner Alice Gordon. For the past ten years, budget constraints have put the undertaking on hold multiple times—and the financial burden still hasn’t been completely erased. Out of the $700,000 from the town’s budget that was projected for the new library, about $350,000 still has to be implemented into the library’s operating budget cost. But after the ceremony, Chapel Hill Public Library Foundation President George Cianciolo said he’s confident in Chapel Hill Town Council’s ability to finish the job and keep the facility alive. “I’m personally optimistic because in the past two citizen surveys, the library has been the second highest rated service in...

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