Blake Hodge

Orange County Officials Attempt to Reassure at El Centro Hispano Event After ICE Raids

“It was a shocker.” That’s what Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said on WCHL last week after agents with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detained several Orange County residents. “We don’t get advanced notice; we don’t know why they’re here…we do not support this; we do not participate in this.” Hemminger said there are still many unanswered questions. “We’re not sure what prompted ICE to come here,” Hemminger said. “We don’t send information [to ICE]; we don’t know if they’re looking for someone, in particular. “They just established that they have the right to do this.” Authorities across Orange County...

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Rosemary Street Closed After Truck Strikes Pedestrian Bridge

The 100 block of East Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill is closed after a truck struck the pedestrian bridge crossing the roadway. Authorities said in a release that the section of road in downtown Chapel Hill would be closed “to through traffic until further notice.” Police said in an update late Sunday night that the roadway would remain closed “most of the day Monday.” An Orange County Solid Waste truck hit the pedestrian bridge at 125 East Rosemary Street just after six o’clock Sunday morning, according to police. Engineering staff are evaluating the structural integrity of the bridge, which...

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Orange County Under Tornado Watch

The National Weather Service in Raleigh has issued a Tornado Watch ranging from South Carolina to Virginia, including much of central North Carolina. Orange, Durham and Chatham counties are all included in the watch. The watch went into effect at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15, and is in place until 11 p.m. Sunday. Storms have been moving east across the Tar Heel State over the weekend. Thunderstorms remain in the forecast until early Monday...

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El Centro Launches Fundraiser to Cover Legal Fees of ICE Detainees

Advocacy organization El Centro Hispano has organized a fundraising campaign to help cover the legal fees for 10 individuals recently arrested by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in Orange County. The ICE raids have sparked fear and anxiety among the immigrant community in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and across Orange County. El Centro is hoping to raise $30,000 through a GoFundMe campaign that was launched late Thursday night. Local elected officials have issued statements attempting to reassure the immigrant community that local police are not assisting ICE with the arrests in any way. “We are deeply disturbed by the heightened fear...

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ICE Arrests Causing Concern in Orange County Immigrant Community

Carrboro’s mayor is addressing concerns over ICE arrests being carried out in the town and throughout Orange County. Mayor Lydia Lavelle said in a release that it is believed Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials have “detained at least two Carrboro residents and at least four other county residents.” The first word of the arrests came after a Facebook post by the advocacy organization El Centro Hispano on Tuesday night saying that they had been informed two Carrboro residents were arrested by ICE “while they were working.” El Centro officials said they were working with the town and Carrboro Police...

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State Law Complicates Petition for Chapel Hill Gun Buyback Program

Some Chapel Hill residents are expressing a desire to turn their firearms over to police but are running into legal issues. Gun violence and firearms in general have been in the public spotlight over the last few weeks following the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day where 17 people were killed. The reaction from some residents has been to turn their firearms in to police in hopes they would then be destroyed. A petition is scheduled to go before the Chapel Hill Town Council on Wednesday night asking for a gun buyback program. But...

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Pittsboro Man Charged in Drug Investigation

A Pittsboro man was recently arrested on 10 narcotics charges after an investigation by the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies searched a home at 6409 US Highway 15-501 and seized approximately 7.4 pounds of marijuana, 10.4 grams of cocaine and more than $13,400 in cash. Authorities have charged 39-year-old James Crawford Lane III with two felony counts of possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine, two felony counts of possession of cocaine, felony possession of marijuana, felony maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance, felony maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance, two counts of possession with intent...

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Clerical Error Blamed for Chapel Hill ‘Troubled Performer’ Public Housing Designation

Officials from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development visited Chapel Hill last week after the town’s public housing was graded at 52 out of 100 possible points during a semiannual evaluation. That score left Chapel Hill in the “Troubled Performer” category of HUD rankings and caused concern among town staff and elected officials. During the visit last week, it was discovered that a “clerical error” was a “major component” of the low ranking, according to a follow-up email from town manager Roger Stancil to the Chapel Hill Town Council. The error came from “staff entering one...

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Chatham County Investigation Finds Infant with Broken Bones, Burns

An investigation carried out in part by the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in two arrests on felony child neglect charges after an infant was found with broken bones and burns. Authorities said in a release that the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office received a call from their Moore County counterparts on April 7 regarding a “possible child abuse incident affecting both counties.” Chatham County Sheriff’s Office officials said in a release that 41-year-old Kisha Joann Welch was allegedly providing care to a child under six months of age. Authorities said Welch failed to seek medical attention for the...

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Attendance Down Dramatically After Chapel Hill High School Threat

Average attendance at the three Chapel Hill – Carrboro City schools on Seawell School Road is well over 90 percent. But those numbers were down significantly on Tuesday after schools officials were made aware of a threat against one of the schools. Statistics provided by the school district show that 72.5 percent of students at Smith Middle School were in attendance on Tuesday, compared with a 96.7 percent rate on a normal day. The rates at the neighboring Seawell Elementary and Chapel Hill High School were more dramatic. Seawell Elementary has an average daily attendance of 96.4 percent but...

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