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Blake Hodge

UNC System Adopts New Strategic Plan

Nearly a full year into Margaret Spellings’ tenure as President of the UNC System, the Board of Governors unanimously approved a new strategic plan at its meeting last Friday Spellings said after the meeting that there was a lot of time and effort put into this plan but now the hard work will begin. “That’s actually the easy part,” Spellings said. “The hard part will be putting this into motion and getting the work done, because they’re audacious goals and appropriate goals. And I’m really excited, and I think it shows a lot of solidarity on the board and...

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Chapel Hill Issues RFP for Funding New Buses

Chapel Hill Transit may soon have some new buses to deploy across our community. The Town of Chapel Hill has started the process requesting proposals for an installment purchase contract to allow for the purchase of new transit vehicles. Chapel Hill Transit director Brian Litchfield said at an April 2016 Town Council meeting that nearly half of the organization’s bus fleet was beyond their fixed-route useful life. At that meeting last April, the council authorized town manager Roger Stancil to enter an agreement with Gillig LLC, which enables the purchase of up to 53 new buses. But that agreement...

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Carrboro Mayor, Alderman Sign Open Letter to Trump Advocating LGBT Policies

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle and Alderman Damon Seils are two of the few openly LGBT elected officials across North Carolina. The Carrboro leaders were two of 156 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elected officials who signed an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump on Friday ahead of Trump’s inauguration. The letter begins congratulating Trump on his election before asking him to join them in “embodying the highest ideals of our great and diverse nation.” “More than 300 million Americans depend on you to bring our nation together,” the letter continues. The elected officials wrote asking that Trump “deescalate the...

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Chapel Hill Police Make Arrest in Armed Robbery

Chapel Hill Police have arrested a 25-year-old Pittsboro man in connection with an armed robbery on New Year’s Day. Police say that officers responded to a reported armed robbery at the Family Fare Station at 1201 Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard just before five o’clock in the evening on January 1. Authorities say the clerk reported the suspect entered the store, displayed a handgun and demanded money and cigarettes. The suspect fled the scene in a burgundy colored vehicle with $250 in cash and several packages of cigarettes. Officers have now arrested Johnathan Darrell Burton and charged him with...

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Orange County Library Hopes to Reopen Saturday After Flooding

What officials are calling “significant flooding” will keep the Orange County Library closed through Friday. The flooding occurred during the recent winter storm when an HVAC unit on the roof malfunctioned causing water to leak into the building. The water damaged areas and collections on the first and second floor, according to library director Lucinda Munger. “Cleaning crews and library staff are working diligently,” said Munger. “Our first priority is to ensure the library is safe and accessible for all of our customers. We are grateful no injuries resulted from this incident and look forward to opening our doors...

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UNC Nobel Laureate Oliver Smithies Dies at 91

Dr. Oliver Smithies, UNC’s first full-time faculty member to win a Nobel Prize, passed away Tuesday at UNC Hospitals at age 91, the university announced. Smithies won the Nobel Prize in in physiology or medicine in 2007. “Oliver Smithies was such a loving, wonderful force for all things good in this world,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt in a release announcing Smithies’ passing. “Spending time with Oliver and Nobuyo has been one of the highlights of my tenure at Carolina. Every time I saw the two of them together, I was uplifted and inspired by their relationship, joyful attitude to life...

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Chapel Hill Public Library Offers Pop-Up Coffee Shop from Local Vendors

“A lot of people like to curl up with a good book and a good cup of coffee,” said Chapel Hill Public Library assistant library director Meeghan Rosen. And now the library is giving Chapel Hillians the chance to sample local coffee vendors while browsing reading material. Rosen said three local vendors – Carrboro Coffee Roasters, Coco Bean Coffee Shop and Market Street Coffee – will each set up a temporary “pop-up” coffee shop in the library over the next few weeks. “Each of them will provide their own equipment and furniture to operate from,” Rosen said. “And they’ll all...

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CNN Anchor, UNC Grad Brooke Baldwin to Deliver Spring Commencement Address

CNN news anchor and UNC alumna Brooke Baldwin will deliver the university’s Commencement address this May. UNC made the announcement on Wednesday. Baldwin is a native of Georgia who graduated from UNC with degrees in Journalism and Spanish in 2001, according to the university. “We are fortunate to have Brooke Baldwin, an award-winning journalist and Carolina graduate, returning to her alma mater to share her experiences about broadcast journalism today,” said Chancellor Carol Folt in a release announcing the choice. “I have had the pleasure of meeting Brooke and I know our students will be inspired by her story...

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‘Significant Flooding’ Keeps Orange County Main Library Closed

Government facilities and services across Orange County are set to operate on a regular schedule for the first time on Wednesday since a winter storm had a grip on the area over the past four days. But the Orange County Main Library will remain closed on Wednesday due to “significant flooding.” Officials say the flooding was a result of plumbing issues. The Cybrary and McDougle Middle School branch will resume normal operating hours on Wednesday – as will all other Orange County facilities and services. There is no timeline for when the main branch will...

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UNC Hires House Speaker Chief of Staff as Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs

Clayton Somers started his new job as the vice chancellor of public affairs and secretary of the university at UNC on Monday. Somers has been serving as the chief of staff for North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore. The UNC System Board of Governors approved the creation of the new position in August and the hire of Somers was approved by the UNC – Chapel Hill Board of Trustees. Somers will now report directly to Chancellor Carol Folt. “I am pleased to add a highly skilled professional of Clayton Somers’ caliber to our senior leadership team,” Folt said in...

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