Salsa Night With DJ Juan Pachanga

Cafe Symmetry Presents Salsa Night With DJ Juan Pachanga on Friday, September 25.

Come to Cafe Symmetry in Carrboro for their first Salsa Lesson Latin Dance Party.  Salsa lessons from 9:30 to 10:30 PM.  Latin dancing from 10:30 PM till 1:00 AM or last call.

Jones Ferry Road Reconfiguration Starts Monday

A busy stretch of Jones Ferry Road is going on a diet.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is breaking ground Monday on a road diet project that will trim travel lanes between Highway 54 and Barnes Street in Carrboro.

According to DOT officials, the half-mile span has been the site of numerous bicycle and pedestrian accidents in the past five years.

The road diet plan will reduce through lanes from four to two, and add turn lanes, a median, bike lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks and a traffic signal at Davie Road, all in an effort to improve safety.

Construction will take place daily between 7 a.m and 9 p.m. Drivers should plan for alternating lane closures and delays throughout the process, which is expected to be completed in March of next year.

Unopposed Carrboro Candidates Use Campaign Season to Promote Voter Turnout

Municipal races will be over in less than a month, and candidates in Carrboro are taking the opportunity to urge voters to make their voice heard.

While most eyes in local politics are focusing on the races for Chapel Hill Mayor and Town Council as well as the Chapel Hill – Carrboro City School Board, the candidates in Carrboro are focusing on voter involvement.

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle and Board of Aldermen members Bethany Chaney, Michelle Johnson and Damon Seils are all running for re-election this year unopposed. But they are not resting on their laurels. They have taken it upon themselves to encourage residents to still exercise their civic duty of voting, according to Chaney.

“I know that I am particularly interested in just hearing from voters,” she says, “either affirming that what the Board of Aldermen is doing now is heading in the right direction or telling us that, ‘no, it’s not.’

“When people show up to the polls, they actually have a choice; they can vote for one of us, two of us, all of us, or write in somebody’s name. And I think it’s still worth it to show up at the polls, even in an uncontested race, so that you can do that.”

Seils says the candidates are taking up this voter-involvement initiative in the time they would have spent running a campaign.

“In terms of our own sort of individual campaigns,” he says, “we have elected instead to focus on this more general issue of getting people to the polls.

“I think, as Bethany said, not only are we interested in hearing from people, we are politicians after all we want to know how we’re doing and how people think we’re doing.”

Seils was also quick to point out there are races on the ballot where Carrboro residents can still make an impact.

“The Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools School Board is on the ballot,” he says. “It’s an incredibly important election this year. There are four seats up for election; two incumbents are not running for re-election.

“This is an opportunity for folks to really shape the future of the school system in this community, and it’s a rare opportunity.”

Chaney adds on to the importance of the school board vote because she says there are no Carrboro residents currently on the board.

“There’s an argument to be made that context is really important,” she says. “Where you live shapes your view of how things are going in the schools or shapes your opinion of how your child is doing in the schools.

“I think it’s something for Carrboro citizens to be thinking about.”

Lavelle says, while some residents choose not to vote in municipal elections, it is important to not get out of the routine of voting.

“Part of what we’re doing is reminding people about our election that’s coming up this fall,” she says. “But I think it’s extremely important for people to get in the habit of voting, because next fall it’s going to be so critical for the state of North Carolina for many reasons.”

The 2016 election will include races for the US Senate, Governor and County Commissioner, among other races.

Early voting for this year’s municipal races in Orange County starts on October 22nd and Election Day in November 3rd.

What’s Left After the General Assembly Went Home

The North Carolina General Assembly has wrapped up one of the longest legislative sessions in recent memory.

Municipalities’ ability to make decisions specifically impacting their communities, public school funding being diverted to charter schools, light rail spending, status of sanctuary cities, and the discreteness of the search for the next UNC system president were all up for debate in the whirlwind of action over the final few days of the legislative session.

Local Government Control: Senate Bill 279

A piece of legislation was introduced on the final day of the legislative session that proposed restrictions on local governments, before flaming out in spectacular fashion.

The changes were introduced as part of an unrelated bill that started out in an attempt to address qualifications of sexual education experts to approve sex ed curricula in school districts across the state. Throughout the intense debate on Tuesday, social media lit up with protests over the surprise amendment. LGBT advocates argued the move was aimed at reversing decisions by some municipalities extending discrimination laws to cover sexual orientation.

After being voted down by the House Rules Committee, a previous version of the bill – without the restrictive language – was passed by the Senate.

Charter School Funding: House Bill 539

Another piece of controversial legislation was also stopped in committee Tuesday night. The bill would have shifted some traditional public school funding to charter schools.

Public schools already split funding with charter schools based on enrollment numbers, but the new proposal would have taken money from pots previously reserved for public schools and diverted it to charters across the state.

Supporters say the bill would just provide equal funding to charter schools. Opponents argued against allowing charter schools to split funding for nutritional meals and transportation with public schools, because charter schools are not required to provide the same food and transportation services as traditional schools.

The bill could be brought back up in the short session next year.

Lawmakers said they wanted more time to evaluate charter school needs.

Light Rail Spending Amendment of Revenue Law Changes: Senate Bill 605

The House had voted earlier in the week to pass an amendment that would have removed the $500,000 spending cap on light rail.

The cap was originally placed in the state budget with no discussion beforehand.

Some have called the cap a “project killer” for the Durham – Orange Light Rail project, because the 17-mile light rail proposal is counting on 25 percent of the funding to come from state dollars.

The Senate sent the amended legislation to committee, where it will stay until at least next April.

The legislation to remove the cap could be reevaluated next session.

Sanctuary Cities: House Bill 318

Legislation is heading to Governor Pat McCrory that would ban sanctuary city policies, similar to what Chapel Hill and Carrboro have in place, from being adopted in the future.

This places the status in our community in limbo with several jurisdictional questions left to be answered, likely through litigation.

Protestors delivered letters to Mcrory on Wednesday asking him to veto the legislation. Another protest was held on the UNC campus on Thursday.

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt spoke with WCHL’s Blake Hodge about the proposal earlier in the week before it was passed. Listen below:

UNC President Search: Senate Bill 670

Finally, term limits have been placed for members to serve on the UNC Board of Governors, who will now only be able to serve three four-year terms on the 32-member board.

An amendment on the bill had called for a public meeting with the final three candidates for the president of the 17-campus UNC System.

That proposal was removed before the bill was finally passed to the governor.

Now the dozens of pieces of legislation that were nailed down in a fast-paced few hours await the signature of Governor Pat McCrory to become the law of the land.

High School Football Week 4 Preview

This week WCHL will be broadcasting the game between Northwood and Carrboro. Kickoff is at 7:30 at Carrboro High School.

The Jaguars are still looking for their first win of the season, coming off a blowout loss to Chapel Hill last week to fall to 0-3. The Tiger offense was unstoppable as they beat the Tigers 52-15. Jaguar QB Gordon Guest went 11-21 for 71 yards. He hooked up with WR Greyson Magee on a 39 yard touchdown pass.

Northwood earned its first win of the season last week against Jordan Matthews 21-7. The Chargers relied on the workhorse running back Montel Goods, who touched the ball 30 times and ran for 270 yards. He scored two touchdowns and his longest run was 63 yards, which was more than the entire Jordan Matthews team combined.

Last year Northwood topped Carrboro 56-14.

The Southeast Raleigh Bulldogs and Chapel Hill Tigers were in the second quarter of their Thursday-night varsity football game when the clouds opened up.

The Bulldogs led 13-6 with 9:40 left in the first half as a storm closed in on Southeast Raleigh and dumped heavy rain and lightning into the area. The game was postponed and will be continued Friday evening at 6.

Officials had already delayed the game 30 minutes at the start due to lightning.

In other action this week, East Chapel Hill travels to Bartlett Yancey, Cedar Ridge travels to Riverside and Orange defends their home field against Cummings.

Make sure to tune in to WCHL for all of your local high school football coverage.

Civilian Killed; 2 Firefighters Injured in Carrboro Fire

One resident was killed in a fire in Carrboro on Friday.

Officials say the Carrboro Fire-Rescue Department was dispatched to a report of a structure fire at 1144 Smith Level Road at 10:41 Friday night.

Crews found the structure to be fully engulfed with smoke and flames. The structure was a total loss.

Officials say one civilian fatality was reported along with two non-life threatening injuries to firefighters.

The residence was not protected with residential fire sprinklers, according to officials.

In addition to Carrboro Fire and Rescue, crews from Chapel Hill, North Chatham and White Cross responded to the fire. Officials from the Orange County Fire Marshal’s office and the State Bureau of Investigation were also called to the scene.

The fire is still under investigation.

The name of the deceased has not been officially released at this time.

WNCN is reporting that the victim in the fire was 83-year-old Emma Jean Cole. Family members told the television station Cole managed to escape the fire but was found unconscious by first responders. The family told WNCN Cole was taken to the hospital but later died, and that she had lived in the house for about 25 years.

High School Football Preview: Week 2

Football is back across our community again tonight.

WCHL will broadcast the game Friday night between Carrboro High School and East Chapel Hill High School. The game will start at 7:30

East is looking to avenge a 42-12 loss to the Jaguars last year. Both East and Carrboro are coming off of a loss in their first games of the season last week.

Carrboro lost to Cedar Ridge 56-15. The Jaguars were torched by Cedar Ridge QB Peyton Pappas, who went 8-9 for 103 yards and three touchdowns, and RB Shemar Miles, who ran for 161 yards and also scored three touchdowns.

In their first game of the season the Wildcats fell to Northern Vance by a score of 26-15.

As both teams look to right the ship and get back on track with a victory on Friday night, WCHL will have all of the coverage you are looking for.

In other action this week, Chapel Hill travels to South Granville, Cedar Ridge takes on Jordan Matthews, Orange defends their home field against Northern Durham and Northwood is up against Charlotte Latin at home.

You can see the full schedule here.

Be Loud! Sophie Fundraiser at Cat’s Cradle Friday and Saturday

Cat’s Cradle will host a weekend of music benefiting the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation.

The lineup includes John Howie Jr. & the Rosewood Bluff, Southern Culture on the Skids, and the Neil Diamond Allstars on Friday night. On Saturday night, The Veldt, Dillon Fence, and Preesh! will take the stage.

Greg Bell and Elsa Steiner from Be Loud! Sophie were on the WCHL Morning News with Ron Stutts with more information about the weekend.


You can buy tickets for the whole weekend for $40. Tickets for individual shows are also available. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation.

New WCHL Owner on Station’s Future

Leslie Rudd is a Colorado-based entrepreneur and philanthropist with Chapel Hill ties, who will also be the new owner of WCHL and, once the final administrative hurdles are cleared.

WCHL has a history of serving Orange County that dates back to 1953.

READ MORE: New Owner Announced for WCHL and Chapelboro

Rudd says he is excited to continue the work of WCHL and Chapelboro, as one of the few remaining commercial radio stations in the country with a mission of serving the local community.

“We are very excited about owning WCHL and in a community that is near and dear to my heart. There have been some questions about the new ownership, and what we plan to do with the station and website, which are unique properties in a vibrant college town. Although we do not officially take over until the FCC license transfer is complete and the actual sale closes, our plans are to continue to serve the community with informative, entertaining and educational programming and content, much like it has in the past.

“Our business model when acquiring an existing company is to keep the operation in place and help the staff get even better at what they are doing as we go along. In some cases, we have brought in partners that make up a local ownership group, and we are exploring that option with WCHL. Of course, we will continue to carry the Tar Heel games and cover high school sports and have Ron Stutts in the morning and Aaron Keck in the afternoon. In my years having a home in Chapel Hill, I met so many wonderful people and still have great friends there. I know how much having their own dedicated radio station means to them, and that is what they will continue to have.”

READ MORE: New Bidders Vie for WCHL


1953 Roland “Sandy” McClamroch begins WCHL as a daytime operation with 1,000 watts at 1360 AM

1958 Jim Heavner joins WCHL as a part time summer announcer

1967 Heavner purchases first interest in WCHL from then Mayor McClamroch

1978 Heavner purchases McClamroch remaining ownership, owns 100%

1993 Curtis Media purchases WCHL

2002 Heavner buys WCHL back from Curtis

2009 Barry Leffler buys controlling interest in WCHL from Heavner

2011 WCHL establishes, a community news and feature website

2012 WCHL adds FM translator at 97.9FM

2014 Heavner repurchases Leffler interest when he leaves for Dallas role with Tenet Health Care, places it in VilCom.  WCHL is offered for sale.

2015 Leslie Rudd purchases WCHL

Affordable Care Act Funds Coming to Carrboro

Primary care services in Carrboro are getting a boost from the Affordable Care Act.

The Carrboro Community Health Center will receive more than $270,000 in funds from the Affordable Care Act to improve primary health care services, according to Jason deBruyn with the Triangle Business Journal.

“One of the big drivers of health care costs, in the United States, is that people just simply don’t take advantage of primary care,” he says. “The primary care physicians don’t have enough control over treatment of patients at sort of a basic level.

“And that leads to all kinds of downstream problems – chronic illnesses, people showing up in the emergency rooms, having expensive surgeries – when maybe they could have managed their diseases much better.”

deBruyn says this money will turn into supplies needed at the facility or for community outreach programs.

“You could have health clinics where you go out to churches or community centers and help educate people on proper eating,” he says. “Or have people in the community centers encouraging patients to come in for health checkups.

“Or even put in health-screening day, where you tell people ‘come on in for free, and we’ll screen you for your health.’”

deBruyn adds routine primary care health checkups are a vital factor in lowering health care costs and maintaining higher levels of health across our community.

“Health systems, hospitals, doctors, it’s something they’ve been trying to do a much better job of here lately,” he says, “getting people in for those routine checkups.

“Just like you would getting your oil changed in your car. It’s maybe a bit of a crass example but not that dissimilar.”

These funds are a piece of the most recent distribution from the Health Resources and Services Administration, according to deBruyn. He says the funds in the Tar Heel state total nearly $4 million, which will translate to serve more than 20,000 new patients in North Carolina alone.

The Carrboro Community Health Center is part of the Piedmont Health Services network.

Other recipients in North Carolina, according to deBruyn, are the Appalachian District Health Department in Sparta, Blue Ridge Community Health Services in Hendersonville, Rural Health Group in Roanoke Rapids, and Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine in Greensboro.