Chapelboro.com » News http://chapelboro.com/category/news/ More of what you live here for Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:07:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 More of what you live here for Chapelboro.com no More of what you live here for Chapelboro.com » News http://chapelboro.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://chapelboro.com/category/news/ Medical Marijuana Advocates Blast NC House Committee http://chapelboro.com/news/state-news/medical-marijuana-advocates-blast-nc-house-committee/ http://chapelboro.com/news/state-news/medical-marijuana-advocates-blast-nc-house-committee/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:51:21 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=136759 A North Carolina House committee has angered supporters of medical marijuana by killing a bill that would legalize it.

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A North Carolina House committee has angered supporters of medical marijuana by killing a bill that would legalize it.

And the anger toward legislators on this issue is bipartisan.

On Wednesday, House Judiciary I chose unanimously, by a voice vote – Republicans and Democrats – to provide an “unfavorable report” on House Bill 78, which would have legalized cannabis use for some medical patients.

That prevented the bill from going to the floor for a vote, and effectively squashed it for two years. Another House committee did the same thing to another medical marijuana bill, two years ago.

The vote came after legislators heard from patients and families living with cancer, epilepsy and other illnesses that are made more bearable by cannabis use, according to their testimony.

Jamie Hargitt is a Republican living in Fayetteville. She attended the committee hearing with her husband David, a veteran with Parkinson’s disease.

She is livid at the House committee.

“They don’t even answer questions,” she said. “They played God.”

Ignacio Almazon, the coordinator for Triangle chapter of NORML, is also not pleased.

“I’m very disappointed that our Judiciary Committee is willing to continue to incarcerate non-violent people,” said Almazon. “They’re willing to continue the cycle of opiate overdoses, where states that have programs have shown a reduction of at least 25 percent.”

Almazon said that research shows that 70 percent of North Carolinians favor a legal medical marijuana program in the state.

And there are reasons that veterans are stepping up to support the cause.

“Our veterans coming back from Afghanistan – the pharmaceuticals are causing them to commit suicide,” said Almazon. “yet a plan helps them out exponentially, and doesn’t give them the side effects that the chemicals that are made in a lab do.”

Veterans’ families speak out

Jamie Hargitt is married to 44-year-old retired Major David Hargitt, the founder and president of the North Carolina Chapter of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition – or, NCRAMP.

David retired from the Army in 2013 after 25 years of service.

The couple is certain that David’s Parkinson’s Disease was brought on by chemical exposure during the Gulf War, based on a second opinion they got at the Mayo Clinic.

Due to his symptoms, which include his muscles locking up, rendering him helpless and unable to speak, he can no longer work an eight-hour day.

Fed up with too many canceled appointments, Jamie said they no longer go to the VA for help.

Her husband took a prescribed medication to relieve symptoms until he developed an allergic reaction. Next, he underwent deep brain stimulation surgery.

“It’s like a pacemaker,” said Jamie Hargitt, “except for, it’s a generator. It’s a bigger piece of equipment that goes approximately where a pacemaker would go.”

It’s been helpful in relieving some symptoms, said Jamie. But there are times when his symptoms have prevented David from sleeping for days on end.

They found a support group of other soldiers’ families – and eventually, David tried marijuana, on the advice of a friend. It worked.

“For him, medical cannabis does fantastic,” said Hargitt, “because he’s able to sleep with it. So he’s cut out all of the sleeping pills that he had with it. And it stays with him for a day or two.”

The Hargitts brought RAMP to North Carolina as a result of their search for a conservative pro-medical-marijuana group that could work with the General Assembly.

“We’re Republicans,” said Jamie Hargitt, “and we wanted a professional appearance, and a professional group.”

The stigma involved

Jamie said that she and her husband don’t like breaking the law. Some soldiers, she said, are afraid to try marijuana as medicine for just that reason.

Her friend and fellow Republican Kristine Bacon is married to 46-year-old retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Richard Bacon. He served for 26 years.

Twenty of them were spent in Special Forces. Being near several blasts over that period took a toll. But close proximity to one vehicle IED blast in Afghanistan in August 2009 did a lot of damage.

“After that,” said Kristine, “he came home, and he was just having these tremendous headaches.”

Post-traumatic concussion syndrome has made it difficult for Richard to focus. Kristine said he compares his brain to a speeding race car without a track.

She said that cannabis has provided that track for him.

Kristine Bacon said she believes there’s still hope on the horizon. Soon, House Judiciary I will have an opportunity take up another pro-medical marijuana measure, HB 317.

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UNC Grad Assistant Coach Charged With DWI http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/unc-grad-assistant-coach-charged-with-dwi/ http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/unc-grad-assistant-coach-charged-with-dwi/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:06:16 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=136788 Durham police charged 28-year-old Gerald McRath with DWI. He was released on a $1,500 dollar bond.

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A UNC graduate assistant football coach was arrested early Monday morning on a charge of driving while impaired.

Durham police charged 28-year-old Gerald McRath with DWI. He was released on a $1,500 dollar bond.

McRath joined the Tar Heels football staff earlier this year as a Defensive Graduate Assistant Coach.

He played for Coach Larry Fedora while at the University of Southern Mississippi before being drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2009.

He played for four seasons, but was suspended for four games in 2010 after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.

McRath said at the time the positive test came from a tainted supplement.

Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Kevin Best told WCHL the university is aware of the incident and officials are looking into it.

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Local Student Wins Fire Escape Design Contest http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/local-student-wins-fire-escape-design-contest/ http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/local-student-wins-fire-escape-design-contest/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 18:50:32 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=136686 12-year-old Kristin Lewis won both first and second place.

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Congratulations to Kristin Lewis, a 12-year-old Chapel Hill student who just won first and second place in a “Fire Escape Plan” competition sponsored by the American Red Cross and Project Paradigm. The contest invited students to devise a fire escape plan for their families – part of a larger project to challenge students to develop ideas to reduce injuries and fatalities related to house fires.

Kristin won a total of $1,500 for her designs. To learn more about the program, visit TheParadigmChallenge.org.

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Concussion Expert: No Concussion Epidemic, but Still More to Learn http://chapelboro.com/news/health/concussion-expert-no-concussion-epidemic-but-still-more-to-learn/ http://chapelboro.com/news/health/concussion-expert-no-concussion-epidemic-but-still-more-to-learn/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:36:09 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=136659 Kevin Guskiewicz is one of the leading concussion experts in the world, Kenan Distinguished Professor, Director of the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes, and Co-Director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at UNC. Guskiewicz tells WCHL’s Blake Hodge the latest information on Ryan Hoffman, what work is done at […]

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Kevin Guskiewicz is one of the leading concussion experts in the world, Kenan Distinguished Professor, Director of the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes, and Co-Director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at UNC. Guskiewicz tells WCHL’s Blake Hodge the latest information on Ryan Hoffman, what work is done at UNC with former athletes, and how research is changing the landscape of sports.

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CHCCS Takes a Pass on Proposed Obey Creek School Site http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/chccs-takes-a-pass-on-proposed-obey-creek-school-site/ http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/chccs-takes-a-pass-on-proposed-obey-creek-school-site/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:51:50 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=136651 CHCCS is saying “thanks, but no thanks” to a proposed Obey Creek school site.

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The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system is saying “thanks, but no thanks” to a proposed school site offered by Obey Creek developers.

The proposed Obey Creek site was marked as a potential school location several years ago on Chapel Hill’s land use plan.

Todd LoFrese, assistant superintendent for support services at Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, noted that in April 2014, the Board of Education approved a resolution for the Town Council to recognize that potential site, and to include that as party of negotiations with developers.

Later, the Council asked CHCCS if the school site offered by developers should be reserved.

The Board of Education has now come to a decision regarding Obey Creek.

“At a recent board meeting, the board passed a resolution thanking the Town Council for honoring that process,” said LoFrese. “The next was to communicate that we weren’t in reserving a school site. There are some challenges with the proposed area that was offered to the district as a school site.”

One of those development challenges, said LoFrese, is that the school would be difficult to access.

“There’d be an extensive bridge that would need to be constructed to cross over the creek,” said LoFrese.

In the final part of the resolution, the Board of Educations expressed that the Chapel Hill- Carrboro school system has other facility needs to address.

“We would be open to looking at other potential locations for where a school could be built,” said LoFrese. “We didn’t specify that it would be in the area that is currently proposed for development by Obey Creek. And the board also communicated that we have 10 older school facilities that have a lot of financial need.”

LoFrese said that it’s too early to estimate the impact the development will have on the school system, without a hard number of residential units to consider.

Right now, however, there are some spot-crowding problems that could be fixed, he said.

“Smith Middle School rises to the top of the list in my mind,” said LoFrese. “We had to close the school this year to new enrollment, even if you lived in the Smith zone. So we have some families who are being transported to either McDougle or Phillips, or Culbreth.”

LoFrese said there is still some breathing room at the elementary and high school levels. The next projected need for a middle school is in 2023.

In the meantime, said LoFrese, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro system would like to expand older schools, while performing long-needed renovations.

That, he said, would further put off the need for new schools. He added that it could also create the equivalent of an entire new elementary school.

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Hillsborough Police Search for Suspect in Shooting http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/hillsborough-police-search-for-suspect-in-shooting/ http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/hillsborough-police-search-for-suspect-in-shooting/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:01:33 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=136628 Hillsborough police are looking for the gunman who shot someone in the wrist. The incident happened around 3 o’clock Thursday afternoon on West Hill Avenue. The victim was treated at UNC Hospitals for non-life threatening injuries. Police are looking for a black Chevrolet Malibu with tinted windows and factory wheels, but Lieutenant Simmons says they […]

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Hillsborough police are looking for the gunman who shot someone in the wrist.

The incident happened around 3 o’clock Thursday afternoon on West Hill Avenue. The victim was treated at UNC Hospitals for non-life threatening injuries.

Police are looking for a black Chevrolet Malibu with tinted windows and factory wheels, but Lieutenant Simmons says they have little information about who was in the car.

“This is one of those ones where we have a vehicle description, but we don’t really have good descriptions of suspects, or descriptions of suspects at all really,” says Simmons. “There’s a white male driver and we’re unsure about the passengers.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Hillsborough Police Department at (919) 732-9381.

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Orange County Governments Talk Recycling Funding http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/orange-county-governments-talk-recycling-funding/ http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/orange-county-governments-talk-recycling-funding/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 06:49:51 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=136547 County and town elected officials met Thursday night to work out how to fund recycling and solid waste services.

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County and town elected officials met Thursday night to work out how to fund recycling and solid waste services.

Legislative boards from the towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough met with the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

The Solid Waste Advisory Group (SWAG), made up of elected officials from each local government, has come up with two funding options.

  • Option 1: A two-part fee with $94 a year for urban property and $118 per year for rural property.
  • Option 2: A flat fee of $103 per year for all Orange County property. (The exact dollar amounts could change since projections are based on the fiscal year 2014/15 budget.)

Board members from the county and towns said they would prefer a flat fee, but not members of the Chapel Hill Town Council.

“Right now I am unwilling to ask people I represent to pay more to achieve a one-fee system,” said Chapel Hill Town Council member Jim Ward. “Chapel Hill taxpayers are paying for more than they are getting in services.”

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt pointed to a UNC survey that found town residents make up only 11 percent of those who use the county’s solid waste convenience centers. He said the two-part fee would be more equitable than the flat fee.

Others said the flat fee would be a way to bring together all Orange County residents and spread out the costs.

“You all know I teach,” said Carrboro Alderwoman Randee Haven-O’Donnell. “My students, after their lunch they’ve got paper; they’ve got bottles sitting on their tables. And if the mindset was, ‘I’m only going to take care of my own recycling, and we didn’t help with the other recycling’ . . . where would we be?”

O’Donnell drew a comparison between students helping out with the whole group’s recycling and a flat fee for the whole county.

County Commissioner Barry Jacobs, the chair of SWAG, also favors the flat fee.

“I think we spend way too much time trying to figure out who’s getting over on whom instead of saying we’re all in this together,” said Jacobs. “We have a bigger opponent in Raleigh that’s going to bring things down on us that’s not going to be good for any of our governments . . . We’re going to have various challenges that we can only even begin to address if we feel like we’re partners.”

The governments pondered the possibility of piloting a funding option for one to three years. Officials could gather data on how well it’s working and then reassess.

The four governments could agree on a funding plan for recycling and waste services by the end of April.

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Board of Trustees Continues Conversation on Saunders Hall http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/board-of-trustees-continues-conversation-on-saunders-hall/ http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/board-of-trustees-continues-conversation-on-saunders-hall/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:19:30 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=136530 The namesake of Saunders Hall, and other memorials on campus with controversial histories, was the topic of discussion at a UNC Board of Trustees Committee meeting on Wednesday. Hundreds of students, faculty members, and concerned residents gathered at the Rizzo Conference Center to discuss finding a resolution that recognizes the controversial history in North Carolina […]

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The namesake of Saunders Hall, and other memorials on campus with controversial histories, was the topic of discussion at a UNC Board of Trustees Committee meeting on Wednesday.

Hundreds of students, faculty members, and concerned residents gathered at the Rizzo Conference Center to discuss finding a resolution that recognizes the controversial history in North Carolina that is recognized on UNC’s campus.

Saunders Hall has been a rallying point for those that feel disengaged by the university due to the building’s namesake. William L. Saunders was a Colonel in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and has been linked to the Ku Klux Klan as a leader of the terrorist group in the late 1860’s.

In a presentation, the University Affairs Committee Chair Alston Gardner recognized that when Saunders Hall was named after the Confederate Colonel in 1922, one of Saunders’ listed qualifications by the board was that he was the “Head of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina.”

Eight speakers presented options for dealing with the naming of Saunders Hall.

First was Omololu Babatunde, Spokesperson for the Real Silent Sam Coalition at UNC.

“If we choose to keep Saunders Hall as a marker of UNC’s character,” she says, “we will find ourselves, ultimately, on the wrong side of history again.”

Among the other presenters there was mixed conversation on a resolution of Saunders Hall. Some said they believed the name should remain, but a plaque or some other recognition should be placed to tell the entire history of the campus.

UNC History Professor Jim Leloudis says that if it were up to him to change the name, he would do so “in an instant.”

“I think this curation, however it’s configured, is vitally important because we can’t let this historical moment evaporate,” he says. “I’ve been on this campus long enough to see this issue come around, and around, and around again.

“Things are said, things are done, and there is no ongoing legacy and engagement with these issues. And I think we are a weaker institution for that.”

Former UNC Trustee Arch Allen suggests Saunders Hall be renamed after Governor William Holden for his ambition to curb the KKK.

“[Holden] used 21st century attitudes on race, white supremacy, and other matters to condemn murders that occurred in the 19th century,” he says. “The Ku Klux Klan murdered people, white and black.”

UNC Alumnus Sam Fulwood, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, points to the students for the work they are continuing on campus for equality.

“[Their work] I believe is in the highest tradition and totally in keeping with the purpose of public institutions,” he says. “They’re speaking up and issuing challenges on matters they deem important to them, even when their voices make others uncomfortable.”

The committee announced an opening of public comment on the controversial names. The period will run through April 25.

You can see the background for the presentation from the meeting here.

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Orange is Healthiest County in State http://chapelboro.com/news/health/orange-is-healthiest-county-in-state/ http://chapelboro.com/news/health/orange-is-healthiest-county-in-state/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:34:51 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=136442 County-by-County Health Reports were released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, on Wednesday. Orange County is the healthiest county in the Tar Heel state, according to the newly-released data. Andrea Ducas, Program Officer with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, says there is more to the report than a ranking. “What we really hope folks will do […]

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County-by-County Health Reports were released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, on Wednesday.

Orange County is the healthiest county in the Tar Heel state, according to the newly-released data.

Andrea Ducas, Program Officer with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, says there is more to the report than a ranking.

“What we really hope folks will do is, in addition to looking at where their counties rank, is really digging into the data,” she says, “to get a better sense of how where we live, where we work, and where we’re playing have to deal with how healthy we are.”

Ducas says Orange County is excelling in areas including premature deaths, adult smoking rate, and an increased rate of physical activity.

She adds having a healthy county extends far beyond immediate access to high-quality medical care.

“Individual health behaviors – whether folks in a community smoke, whether they have good access to diet and exercise opportunities,” Ducas says, “and also some social and economic factors like employment rates, graduation rates, what income looks like in a county, and physical environment conditions all go into a county’s rank.”

Dr. Colleen Bridger, Director of the Orange County Health Department, says they were not surprised to be ranked at the top of the scale for county-by-county health.

“The health of a community is essentially determined by two things,” she says. “One is how well educated the community is. And two is how wealthy the community is.

“Folks who follow Orange County statistics understand that, pretty typically, Orange County leads the state in both of those categories.”

While Orange County is well positioned, it also is an area that sees higher disparity between residents. And that can play a big role on the health of different segments of the community.

“One of the indicators in these rankings is what they call income inequality,” Bridger says. “Orange County’s income inequality was higher than average.

“Basically, what that means is we have a lot of people at the top of the income scale, and we have a lot of people at the bottom of the income scale.”

To battle income inequality, Bridger credits programs including the Family Success Alliance for helping children in low-income families succeed through high school and beyond.

Other obstacles that present themselves for Orange County include affordable housing – which Bridger says can lead to difficult decisions for residents. She adds she has been surprised binge drinking for adults was higher in our area when compared with national rates.

Bridger says there were plenty of highlights for Orange County to be proud of, including limited tobacco use.

“12 percent of our population uses tobacco, and that’s one of the best percentages in the entire nation,” she says.

She adds other areas where Orange County excels include teen birth rate and increased use and availability of healthcare services.

You can see the full rankings here.

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UNC Students Use Federal Law To Get Admissions Data http://chapelboro.com/news/higher-education/unc-students-use-federal-law-to-get-admissions-data/ http://chapelboro.com/news/higher-education/unc-students-use-federal-law-to-get-admissions-data/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:38:43 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=136411 UNC students who want to know what’s in their admission files are using a little-known federal law to get a look.

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Steve Farmer is the admissions director at UNC. He says he’s seen a significant increase in the number of students requesting access to their admissions files.

“We’ve never had a request in the admissions office under FERPA in the time that I’ve been here, at least as I can recall,” says Farmer. “We’ve had about 25 requests this year for students to review the contents of their admissions files.”

Students are making their requests under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as FERPA. It grants students the right to see their educational records and protects those records from disclosure to others.

An anonymous newsletter from Stanford University called the Fountain Hopper was published in January outlining the steps necessary for students to request their files. Since then, college students across the nation have taken advantage of the law.

Farmer says the admissions files UNC students receive will likely contain application materials, transcripts, and notes from university personnel, but not letters of recommendation.

“Generally when students apply for admission, they waive the right to see confidential letters of recommendation and other supporting materials that are submitted by the student’s school on behalf of the student,” explains Farmer. “Because the students waive their FERPA rights and because those recommendations were submitted with the expectation of confidentiality, those generally can’t be accessed by students.”

Farmer says one of the most surprising documents might be the student’s own words.

“For some students, seeing what they submitted when they were 17 or 18 years old might be reassuring or it might be a bit of a shock, depending on how much time has passed,” says Farmer.

Currently, UNC admissions department staffers are working on the logistics of filling those requests.

“What we want to make sure we’re doing is that we’re complying fully with the law and that we’re honoring students’ rights to see their records. The mechanics of it are a little complicated,” says Farmer. “It’s also been a little complicated figuring out what exactly in the file is confidential and what’s not. We’re making good progress and I think we’ll be done soon.”

The university has 45 days to comply under the federal law.

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