Carrboro Police To Citizens; Orangetheory Fitness; Hillsborough Tractor Supply

The Carrboro Police Department has launched a new online service that lets you see incident reports, arrest reports, and traffic crash reports.

It’s called “Police to Citizen,” or P2C. Chapel Hill Police have a P2C program in place as well.

To see it for yourself, head online and visit

A new fitness program called “Orangetheory Fitness” is coming to Meadowmont this fall as part of a nationwide expansion.

“Orangetheory Fitness” is a “group interval fitness concept” that focuses on interval training and short bursts of exercise; advocates say that focus enables the body to keep burning calories for up to 36 hours after the workout.

The program opened its first North Carolina location in Morrisville earlier this year; the Meadowmont location will be the Triangle’s second. Visit to learn more.

Hillsborough mayor Tom Stevens will be on hand Saturday, July 26, to cut the ribbon on Hillsborough’s new Tractor Supply Company store on NC-86.

The store actually opens on Saturday, July 19, but the grand opening celebration on the 26th. It’s the 64th Tractor Supply store in North Carolina, employing 15 people.

The store is located at 1701 NC-86 South, just north of the I-85 bridge. The ceremony will begin at 9:00 a.m. on the 26th.

DSI Comedy Takes Root On Franklin Street

In May, the DSI Comedy Theater – a fixture of the Carrboro arts scene for nearly a decade – became a fixture of the Chapel Hill arts scene when it moved from Carr Mill Mall to a new, larger location on West Franklin Street.

The move was initially prompted by a crisis (Carr Mill Mall elected not to renew DSI’s lease), but theater owner Zach Ward chose to see it as an opportunity – and now, just a few months later, he says the company is thriving in its new spot.

In those few months, DSI completely renovated the old Mansion 462 club at 462 W. Franklin, rebuilding it on the inside from the ground up. Now, the theater occupies about four times the space it had in Carrboro, including an expanded bar and (for the first time) its own separate rehearsal facility. In the process, the theater has added to the burgeoning cultural/commercial scene on West Franklin Street – which now includes newcomers like Al’s Burger Shack and the soon-to-arrive Carolina Ale House alongside older establishments like Local 506, the Cave, Carolina Brewery, and West End Wine Bar.

Zach Ward and DSI company members Ashley Melzer and Vinny Valdivia joined Aaron Keck (who’s also a DSI company member) on the WCHL Afternoon News.

As part of the move, DSI is inviting special guests to perform from around the country. This Friday and Saturday, the theater is welcoming Junior Varsity, an improv team from New York’s renowned Magnet Theater – and next month, the theater is hosting the hip-hop-based improv team North Coast as well as a one-night-only performance by nationally-acclaimed standups Myq Kaplan (a veteran of the TV show “Last Comic Standing”) and Zach Sherwin (a writer and performer on the popular YouTube series “Epic Rap Battles of History”).

Visit DSI’s calendar page for show dates and times.

On July 4, Remembering Our Civil Rights Legacy

For the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, this year’s July 4 festivities come with a somber reflection on our nation’s often-troubling past.

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, one of the most significant pieces of legislation in American history and a watershed moment for the civil rights movement. It also continues the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

To mark the occasion, the Town of Chapel Hill hosted a discussion Wednesday on the legacy of the Civil Rights Act, in a packed room in the Chapel Hill Public Library. Gene Nichol and Ted Shaw served as keynote speakers; State Senator Valerie Foushee was among the panelists. (CORRECTION: Foushee was scheduled to be among the panelists, but was unable to attend.)

And on Friday – Independence Day proper – the Town of Carrboro is hosting a public reading of Frederick Douglass’s famous 1852 speech “The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro” (also known as “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”). Readers will include Valerie Foushee, former State Senator Ellie Kinnaird, and WCHL’s Aaron Keck. It begins at Town Hall at noon and should last about a half hour, as part of the town’s July 4 festivities.

James Williams is the public defender for Orange and Chatham Counties; he too will be among the readers on Friday. Earlier this week he joined Ron Stutts on the Morning News.

CPD Seeks Info For Fraudulent Prescription Case

CPD unsub-1The Carrboro Police Department needs your help identifying a man wanted for questioning after he presented a fraudulent prescription to the CVS Pharmacy in Car Mill last month.

The man presented the Oxycodone prescription on June 17. A security camera caught a picture of him; he is possibly from Raleigh; but no other information about him is currently known.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Brad Ward with the Carrboro Police at 919-913-2960 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515.

Carrboro Firm Develops Web App to Register Voters in Libya

A web development firm in Carrboro was instrumental in making sure that people all over the sprawling terrain of Libya could register to vote in last week’s elections.

“You text your national ID and your preferred polling location,” says Strategy Director Hao Nguyen of the Carrboro-based web development firm Caktus Group, “and it just texts you back a confirmation. It sounds really simple, but it’s actually a highly complex system.”

Nguyen is talking about the company’s SMS voter registration system used in last week’s elections in Libya. Caktus Group was hired to help make last week’s voting process, which was marred by occasional violence, run as smoothly as possible.

“The Libyan General national Congress issued a mandate to create an SMS – a mobile-message voter-registration system,” says Nguyen, “because the population is actually quite spread out. A big chunk of Libya is in the Sahara Desert. They needed a way to give easy access to voters to register across a wide expanse of a very spread-out population.

“As part of the technology implementation, they had hired another company to help them find us, basically.”

Caktus Group had gained an international reputation through its mobile application specialty Rapid SMS, a programming framework that has been used successfully with The International Rescue Committee, UNICEF, and others around the world.

According to Nguyen, the initial phase of the voter-registration system was built in just six months. It was used in sort of a test run back in February, in elections for Libya’s constitutional draft writers.

Nguyen says that, as of last week, a member of Caktus group was in Libya monitoring the progress of voter registration, and the effectiveness of the SMS application.

“The voter registration system seems to have worked excellently,” says Nguyen. “They needed it in order to verify the people coming to the polling stations were the correct registrants.”

Currently, the system has registered 1.5 million Libyans, according to a press release from Caktus Group.

The company’s founding owners are Tobias McNulty, Colin Copeland, and Alexander Lemann, a group of friends that had attended Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana together.

Caktus Group began life in 2007 with a small group of people working out of a cooperative space in Carrboro.

The company has grown to 20 people, and its own office on Lloyd Street.

Soon, the company will move to Morris Street in Downtown Durham.

“We’re growing so much, and so quickly, we actually had to buy a building in Durham,” says Nguyen. “We couldn’t find a space that was quite large enough for us.”

Carrboro Joins AT&T Master Network Plans

The Town of Carrboro has officially joined five municipal partners and four universities in the Master Network Development Agreement with AT&T.

The vote was 5-to-2 in favor of the plan at Tuesday night’s Board of Aldermen meeting, with Alderpersons Sammy Slade and Jacquelyn Gist voting no.

Chapel Hill, Cary, Durham, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem were already on board with AT&T to bring “next-generation” fiber-based communication networks to the town.

UNC-Chapel Hill was among the four major universities that had signed on as well.

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen held out for assurances that the plan for networks with the capability of one-Gigabit-per-second would satisfy the Town of Carrboro’s goal of helping to bridge the digital divide for low-income residents.

Under the agreement, AT&T will provide the service to community centers, including churches, as well as public housing developments.

Slade said he did not support the agreement because of AT&T’s history of using market devices to stifle competition.

“They’re currently fighting, at the federal level, the FCC against net neutrality,” said Slade. “And so this is AT&T. They’re not the good guys that they’d like to claim — that they are offering all these things in this contract is really a PR thing.”

Gist objected to AT&T’s request to streamline the application and inspection processes. She said she wondered whose application processes with the town would be slowed down in order to accommodate AT&T.

Kristen Smith, vice president for advocacy and engagement at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce spoke in favor of the agreement. She said it will bring “super high-speed internet access and incredible pricing to our community.”

Lavelle Talks Local Advocacy (And The Fourth Of July)

With the NC General Assembly in session and Independence Day around the corner, Carrboro mayor Lydia Lavelle joined WCHL’s Aaron Keck on the air Wednesday to talk about advocacy efforts and event planning.

Town clerk Cathy Wilson was in Raleigh Wednesday, meeting with elected officials on state-level issues with local effects in Carrboro – and Tuesday was “Equality Lobby Day” at the NCGA, as representatives from Equality NC met with elected representatives to promote LGBT issues at the state level. Lavelle met with those advocates later in the day, she says, to discuss how to promote those same issues in individual municipalities.

On an unrelated (or perhaps semi-related) note, Lavelle also mentioned Wednesday that plans were in the works for a Fourth of July event at Carrboro’s Town Hall – featuring a public reading of Frederick Douglass’s famous 1852 Independence Day oration, “The Meaning of July Fourth to the Negro” (also known as “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”).

Listen to Lavelle’s conversation with Aaron Keck below.

Carrboro Board of Aldermen Consider Rural Buffer Amendments

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen will spend most of Tuesday night’s meeting on discussing possible amendments to the Land Use Plan for the Rural Buffer, a longtime cooperative planning effort with the Town of Chapel Hill and Orange County.

The low-density residential area comprised of 38,000 acres surrounding the towns includes the New Hope Creek Basin, University Lake Watershed, and Southern Triangle area.

The Joint Planning Land Use Plan for the Rural Buffer was adopted back in 1986.

At tonight’s meeting, Alderpersons will consider amendments to clarify density and size requirements for lots; and to ensure that cluster subdivisions are viable in the area.

The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at Carrboro’s Town Hall, located at 301 West Main Street.

Carrboro’s Proposed Budget Up for Discussion Tuesday

Increasing pay for some of the lowest-paid employees of the Town of Carrboro is on the proposed budget up for discussion Tuesday night.

Town Manager David Andrews presented the $29.5 million budget for FY 2014-15 at the Board of Aldermen meeting last week, and the public will have an opportunity to offer comments at Tuesday night’s meeting at Town Hall.

The plan calls for a two-percent cost-of-living wage for town workers, as well as an incentive bonus for some of the lowest-paid workers, based on performance reviews.

The Town also recommends creating two more full-time positions – one in the Manager’s Office, to work on affordable housing; and the other in the Police and Fire Departments, where two part-time positions would be expanded.

The budget calls for the property tax to remain at 59 cents, and cites a growth in sales tax revenue.

The meeting takes place Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Town Hall is located at 301 West Main Street in Carrboro.

You can read the proposed budget here.

Carrboro Board of Aldermen to Receive Recommended Budget

Carrboro Town Manager David Andrews will present the recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 at tonight’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen.

The Board will then set the time for a public hearing on the proposed budget, and well as budget work sessions.

Also on tonight’s agenda: Alderpersons will receive an overview on the North Carolina Next Generation Master Network Development Agreement with AT&T, for the installation of ultra-high-speed broadband network and internet access.

It’s an effort to promote more economic opportunities, and to address the digital divide.

Carrboro has joined other municipalities, including Chapel Hill and Durham, as well as four major universities including UNC, to evaluate proposals from network providers.

That resulted in the development agreement that will be discussed tonight.

On a similar note, there will also be an update on Google Fiber, an initiative to build high-speed networks in 34 municipalities. Carrboro is part of a designated region for the project.

The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at Carrboro Town Hall, located at 301 West Main Street.