Erin Wygant

Food for the Summer Program Announcing A ‘Seamless Summer’

This summer is officially a ‘seamless summer’ for children relying on the Food for the Summer program. Program director Katie Hug announced the service will continue for an additional two weeks – providing meals up until August 26, the Friday before school starts. Originally slated to end on August 12, Hug said the program’s success is helping it to continue seamlessly throughout the rest of the summer. “At this point, of all of the Chapel Hill and Carrboro City Schools within our district, children who have been served would be 45,773 meals as of August 10,” Hug said. The...

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Orange County Prepares for Elections Without Voter ID Law Requirements

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down North Carolina’s voter ID laws last month. This change is causing local Boards of Elections to revamp their systems – including Orange County. ID requirements are now being replaced with preregistration for teenagers, a week of early voting, same-day registration and out-of-precinct provisional voting.  All of these changes will be part of the general election this November. And with all these changes, Tracy Reams has her own way of describing the looming elections. “It seems like it’s been a moving target up until now.” Reams is the...

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State Epidemiologist Resigns in Wake of Well Water Debate

Questions regarding the safety of well water near coal ash ponds have led to the resignation of the state epidemiologist and a slew of accusations against state administrators and scientists. The upheaval in the state’s Department of Health and Human Services has played out in a series of open editorials and public resignations. According to NC state toxicologist Ken Rudo, North Carolina officials, including the state health director, misled homeowners about the safety of well water near coal ash ponds. During his deposition last Tuesday, Rudo claimed that McCrory was aware of unsafe readings in the well water but...

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New Chapel Hill Fire Chief Matt Sullivan Discusses His Plans for the Position

After serving the fire department as the interim fire chief for over a year, Matt Sullivan knows the department is more than just him. “This is definitely not about Matt Sullivan but this is about a group of tremendously talented people at the Chapel Hill Fire Department who have always served the community with excellence,” Sullivan said. Removing the word ‘interim’ from his position, Sullivan said the change in title will reflect a change in the department. “I think a lot of times when folks looked at interim, they thought that interim signified a future change,” Sullivan said. “And...

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‘WonderSphere’ Brings Nature into UNC Children’s Hospital

In a fifth floor room of the UNC Children’s Hospital, a rectangular tray with a large dome was cleaned and ready to go. “The top of it is clear so that the kids can see what they’re doing, and it has built in gloves so that they can actually touch things,” said Katie Stoudemire. “We can open it and put things in it, but once we seal it, there’s no air going in or out.” Stoudemire described the WonderSphere – her latest invention to connect hospital patients with nature. “Kids who have compromised immune systems can’t be around plants and...

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UNC and Duke Students Team Up to Fix NC Shortage of Primary Care Physicians

Anne Steptoe and Patrick O’Shea met at Duke’s School of Business. It wasn’t long until they connected over their shared passion for service, and MedServe was born. “I think Patrick and I are both a little crazy and that’s how this whole thing has gotten off the ground,” Steptoe said. Steptoe attends Brown University’s school of Medicine and O’Shea is a UNC School of Medicine student – both are still students at Duke as well. Their combined interests in primary care and public health made them a perfect team to tackle North Carolina’s shortage of primary care physicians. “When...

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Matt Sullivan Named New Chapel Hill Fire Chief

Matt Sullivan was named Chapel Hill’s new Fire Chief after serving as the interim chief since May of 2015. Town manager Roger Stancil sent an email to the town council announcing Sullivan’s promotion, saying he has “ably demonstrated his skills and qualifications for this position of leadership.” “I want to send a strong message that Matt has my full confidence as the leader of our Fire Department,” Stancil wrote. “He meets my leadership interests in a Chief.” Stancil also wrote that Sullivan has become a key member of the Town’s leadership team, citing his understanding of fire service, experience...

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UNC Hoping New Orientation Will Help Veterans Transition from Military to College Student

A new program for veterans at UNC, called “Boot Print to Heel Print,” follows a series of other steps the university has taken to support military personnel. This latest program seeks to ease the veteran’s transition to college life, something that Amber Mathwig experienced first hand. “I made mistakes and I made it hard on myself. And it didn’t necessarily have to be that hard.” Mathwig is a 10-year United States Navy veteran and UNC’s first student veteran assistance coordinator. She said she uses her personal experiences to guide her in her new position. “There are parts where I...

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Synthetic Turf Causes Community Concerns

In June, the Chapel Hill Town Council agreed to move forward with new synthetic turf for the Homestead Park soccer field. But since that decision, community members have expressed concerns about dangerous carcinogens in the rubber that could endanger the athletes, contaminate storm water and harm the environment. In response to these concerns, Parks and Recreation Director Jim Orr released a “Frequently Asked Questions” document. He addressed many of these points during the June town meeting, including the main reason for the project. “There’s a variety of reasons, and one main reason is that you can play on the surface...

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Traffic Data Shows Link Between Race and Police Searches

North Carolina was the first state in the country to require traffic stop records. Any time a car was pulled over, the officer filled out a report. Now with 13 years worth of data, the trends hold answers to questions about racial profiling in policing. UNC political scientist Frank Baumgartner has been studying the data for years, and said there’s an undeniable link between people of color and car searches. “The striking numbers are that if you’re a young Hispanic or a young African American male, in the situation that you get pulled over, you’re much more likely to be...

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