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.

Chapel Hill Town Council Member Lee Storrow Arrested for DWI

Chapel Hill Town Council member Lee Storrow was arrested early Wednesday morning on charges of driving while impaired and speeding.

Police records show Storrow was pulled over in the area of Municipal Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd for speeding. Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore says the incident report shows that Storrow’s 2012 Toyota Prius was going 63 in a 35 mile per hour zone.

The report states the arresting officer suspected that the subject was impaired by alcohol.

Storrow reportedly willfully submitted a sample of his breath for chemical analysis. The report shows Storrow’s alcohol content was a .16; the legal limit to drive in North Carolina is .08.

Storrow was arrested around 1:20 Wednesday morning and was released from custody at 3:30 on a written promise to appear in court.

Storrow was elected to the Town Council in 2011. He is running for his second term in this fall’s municipal election.

In a statement released to WCHL, Storrow wrote:

“I’m deeply sorry for my actions. I let myself, my supporters, and my community down. This has brought into clear focus that I’m not only an elected official but a role model, and I take that responsibility more seriously now. I’m committed to making better decisions going forward.”

Light Rail Project Clears Hurdle

The light rail project connecting Chapel Hill and Durham has cleared a major hurdle.

Natalie Murdock is the spokesperson on the project for GoTriangle. She says the Federal Transit Administration signed off on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement last Thursday.

“Essentially, this allows us to go forward and show the public everything that we’ve been working on at a very intense pace,” she says, “taking a four-year process and really trying to whittle that down into two years.”

Murdock says this draft statement focused on potential environmental impacts along the pathway from Chapel Hill to Durham.

“Throughout those 17 miles, we did have a number of environmentally-sensitive areas,” she says. “In this document, you will see our recommendation as to how we can offset some of those environmental impacts.

“And also ways that we can try to avoid impacts to communities and institutions.”

Murdock adds work has narrowed down on the potential path of the tracks.

The funding for the project is coming from local, state, and federal funds. Murdock says that will follow a 25-25-50 format, with 25 percent from the local level through a sales tax increase already approved by Orange and Durham County voters, 25 percent from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and 50 percent to come from the federal government.

A public comment period will open for 45 days after the formal FTA approval, which is expected on Friday.

Murdock says that will set off the next chain of events on the timeline.

“That final document will be finalized around February 2016,” she says. The final environmental-impact document approval will lead to additional authorization being sought from the FTA regarding engineering. “At that time, if the federal government allows us to proceed with the engineering, then in 2019 we will pursue 50 percent funding from the federal government and begin construction in 2019.”

The public comment period will include two public information sessions and two public hearings. The Friday Center will host an information session on September 15 and a public hearing on September 29.

“We need to hear from the public how they think the project will help their community,” Murdock says, “what concerns they have about how it will impact their community; if they think it will impact their access to work; if it will impact the access that customers will have to a business owner’s business.

“Those are the types of comments that we do need to hear from the public.”

You can view the draft proposal here.

Charges Against UNC BOG Member Parrish Dismissed

***UPDATE: A member of the Wake County Clerk of Court’s Office has told WCHL that the charges against Parrish have been dismissed.***

A member of the UNC Board of Governors is due in court Wednesday morning.

61-year-old R. Doyle Parrish is scheduled to appear in Wake County Court on a simple assault charge following his arrest at his Raleigh home on May 12 after a report was filed by his wife Nancy Parrish – who the report lists as the victim.

READ MORE: UNC Board of Governors Member Arrested in Alleged Domestic Assault

Parrish was appointed to a four-year term on the Board of Governors by the North Carolina House in 2013. Parrish began a leave of absence from the board in July and resigned his post on the search committee, which is looking for the next leader of the UNC system after the board announced in January that Tom Ross would be removed from that position.

READ MORE: Parrish Resigns from UNC Search Committee Amid Domestic Violence Allegations

UNC System Spokesperson Joni Worthington wrote in an e-mail to WCHL on June 29 that, “While many members of the Board of Governors are likely aware of news reports about the allegations regarding Mr. Parrish, this matter remains in the hands of law enforcement and the judicial process, which are in the best position to address it at this time.”

Worthington was responding on behalf of University Governance Committee Chair Joan MacNeill, who was the recipient of WCHL’s original e-mail requesting comment.

READ MORE: Removing a Member of the Board of Governors

University policy states that the Chair of the University Governance Committee, MacNeill in this scenario, would be responsible for submitting a written specification of reasons to consider the board member’s removal.

Clear guidelines are put forward in university policy detailing the removal of a board member for missing a number of meetings or being appointed to a conflicting board, however, there is no clear policy for handling criminal charges being levied against board members.

UNC Launches New Academic Support Website for Student-Athletes

UNC has launched a new website centered on academic services for student-athletes.

The Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes at UNC announced the new website that offers information regarding all of the academic support services offered to student-athletes at Carolina, according to the ASPSA Director Michelle Brown.

“The website doesn’t change or doesn’t present new services,” she says. “It gives us an opportunity to showcase the services to the prospective families and student athletes, our current students and our faculty members.”

UNC has an estimated 800 student-athletes spanning 28 sports.

Brown has been at UNC for nearly two and a half years. She says that, since the uncovering of the paper-class scandal at UNC, several new programs have been implemented.

“One of the largest, and the newer, services that we offer is the MAP program,” she says, “which is My Academic Plan. It replaces a traditional study hall program.

“My Academic Plan is more of an individualized plan where it takes into consideration the student’s needs.”

Brown adds they are working to continue the support beyond traditional programs.

“We are taking the skills and knowledge from each individual, putting the learning specialist in there and cross training across from academic counselors,” she says, “so that we can understand how a student would need to study and what they might need to focus on.

“We also have some guided study sessions where we then, in the study hall-environment where they will be studying, practice those skills.”

The university’s website says ASPSA “helps student-athletes explore their interests and abilities and provides numerous academic services, including tutoring, secondary academic and career advising, and University and NCAA eligibility.”

Brown says the new website will better showcase the services being provided to current and prospective student-athletes as well as faculty and administrators.

“This is a place where faculty can come to, to see what services we’re providing [and] find out other faculty committees and groups that are there for them,” she says. “One of the premier parts of the website is the place to showcase the students and their academic achievements.”

Brown adds general population students at Carolina are offered similar services as the student-athletes are provided, but the oversight of the students is not as regimented.

Alcohol-Related Incidents Keep Chapel Hill Police Busy

As the first week of classes at UNC wrapped up, it kicked off the first full weekend of parties with the full student body back on campus. And as the campus was filled with revelers, the UNC student charged in the triple-fatal wrong-way crash on I-85 in July was served new charges.

The police blotter is full of alcohol violations from Thursday through Sunday night.

Chapel Hill Police responded to multiple calls of loud music and parties in Fraternity Court, on the UNC campus, and on Church Street, in Chapel Hill, leading to 10 citations for underage possession of alcohol being issued to citizens between the age of 18 and 20.

It wasn’t only the under-21 population breaking the rules, police also issued six open container citations for the over-21 crowd, along with a 21-year old charged with resisting arrest and public urination, and a 22-year-old cited for being drunk and disruptive and resisting arrest.

More students were issued citations this weekend than compared with move-in weekend earlier this month.

Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore told WCHL recently that authorities are typically very active early in the semester.

“Our hope is that parents will have set those kids up with some good decision-making skills,” he says, “and then when we set clear expectations, that they’ll choose to follow those. We know that some people won’t.

“But we try to set clear expectations, and then we’re going to have some consequences for those who don’t follow those expectations. And that’s especially true at the beginning of the school year.”

He adds police also have concentrated efforts and a larger volume of calls on certain occasions, including football games and the days surrounding breaks in the academic calendar.

Renewed focus has been aimed at underage drinking on the UNC campus after a rising junior was involved in a triple-fatal wrong-way crash earlier this summer.

20-year-old Chanlder Kania has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder after allegedly driving his 2005 Jeep Wrangler the wrong way on I-85 for at least six miles before crashing head-on into another vehicle, killing three of the four passengers.

Kania was cited on Friday with two additional charges of obtaining alcohol with a false ID, according to court documents.

Kania is currently under house arrest in Asheboro after posting a $1 million bond. He is scheduled to be back in court on his initial charges on September 25 and has an appearance on October 8 for the additional allegations.

UNC School of Government Preparing to Train Officials Across NC

The UNC School of Government has received a donation to continue training elected officials to best serve residents of North Carolina.

Donna Warner is the Director of the Local Elected Leaders Academy at UNC, and she says their programs will serve several hundred newly-elected municipal leaders across the state following this fall’s elections.

“Our job is to help public officials – and that’s elected and appointed – to lead and govern their communities,” she says. “And to provide the knowledge, the skills, and the context that help them make strategic decisions that are going to move their communities forward.”

This training will consist of budget simulations, conducting mock meetings, and other obligations to bring newly-elected officials up to speed and help veteran politicians bring new thinking into their process.

“One of the things that newly-elected people feel is that they are surprised that no one is in charge,” she says. “The way that our Republic is set up is that the power is distributed.

“People are elected, and they come with an agenda. And what they have to learn is they may campaign as an individual but now you govern as a body.”

Warner says a recent $100,000 gift from Prudential Financial will provide continued funding of initiatives, including an upcoming session with a mix of veteran county commissioners and municipal leaders.

“We don’t know of any other state in the nation that is doing what we’re doing,” she says. “We are bringing together 10 county commissioners and 10 council members for a week of intensive personal-leadership training.

“That gives them an understanding about themselves as well as gives them an understanding about others.”

Program participants are selected from among those who attend educational programs and volunteer for their statewide associations, the North Carolina League of Municipalities and North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.

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

Danny Lotz Passes Away

A member of the 1957 UNC national championship team passed away on Wednesday.

Dr. Danny Lotz passed away at Rex Hospital, surrounded by his family, on Wednesday shortly before noon, according to a statement from the hospital.

Anne Graham Lotz – who is the daughter of Reverend Billy Graham – found Danny unresponsive in the couple’s pool at their Raleigh home on Monday afternoon. The hospital’s statement reports Lotz’s heart stopped while swimming. Emergency responders “restarted” his heart and transported him to Rex Hospital, where he remained hospitalized.

Lennie Rosenbluth was a teammate of Lotz on the ’57 championship team. He tells WCHL’s Blake Hodge that he had just recently spoken with Lotz while planning a team reunion.

Listen below:


Lotz was 78 years old.

UNC released the following statement regarding Lotz passing:

“The University of North Carolina and the Tar Heel basketball program extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Danny Lotz. He was a true gentleman and beloved member of our Tar Heel family. His brother, John, who passed away several years ago, was also a wonderful ambassador for the University as well as an outstanding basketball coach. Danny and his teammates permanently etched their names in the history books as members of the undefeated 1957 national champions, but his positive impact on people went far beyond basketball. Our prayers go out to the Lotz and Graham families and all of Danny’s friends, colleagues and teammates.”

The Lotz Family released the following statement through Rex Hospital:

The Lotz family appreciates all the prayers and expressions of love and support that have poured in this week, which the Lord has used to sustain them during this time. They respectfully ask for privacy as they mourn their loss and celebrate the life and legacy of a great husband, father and man of God.

Gov. Pat McCrory released the following statement:

Ann and I were saddened today to hear the news about the death of Danny Lotz. Danny was a champion in so many ways. First as a member of UNC’s 1957 undefeated national basketball championship team and then later in life as his faith led him to be a strong supporter and mentor of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and as a dedicated Bible study teacher. He was truly a North Carolina legend. We send our prayers to his wife Ann and the rest of their family in this truly difficult time.

From Afghanistan to Chapel Hill

There are many amazing stories among the thousands of incoming students at Carolina for the fall semester, including Zach Johnson’s course to UNC.

The 25-year-old has not followed a typical path to the Carolina campus.

“I don’t think I’m too much different than any other student,” he says. “But my story is a little bit different in the sense that I didn’t go straight into college when I was 18; I joined the military on my 18th birthday.

“I was finishing up high school, and I just wanted something different. I was trying to challenge myself. I was young and thought I was invincible, that led me to sign up for the Marines.”

Johnson says seeing everything that was going on in Afghanistan made him want to get involved.

“By the time I was 20 years old, I was over there,” he says. “I completed one deployment, and I came back home [and] heard about the bomb-dog handling position opening up.

“That’s how I met Gus.”

Gus is the Golden Labrador Retriever Johnson was matched up with after telling instructors that he wanted a challenge. The relationship between human and canine didn’t get off on the best foot.

“When we got to the kennel – you can’t see the dogs, you can only hear them – there’s about 35 dogs and there’s one growl that you can hear over all the rest of them,” he says. “They looked at me and said, ‘You hear that growl? That’s your dog.’

“He’s an unassuming looking dog, a beautiful golden retriever, and I went in there and he bit me on the hand on the first day.”

After their initial relationship troubles, Johnson says Gus was an amazingly loyal dog for a year and half, joining Johnson on hundreds of patrols and searches before retiring in 2012.

Johnson joined the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program after enrolling at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington. Now that his transfer to Chapel Hill is complete, he has eyes on another challenge.

“Next goal is to earn my place into Kenan-Flagler,” he says. “I think Chapel Hill has one of the best business programs in the country, especially for undergrads.

“I’ve had my eyes on that prize since I applied for C-STEP about a year and a half ago at Cape Fear.”

Johnson adds there is one part of the Chapel Hill experience, outside of the classroom opportunity, that he is most looking forward to.

“I keep hearing about Halloween night on Franklin Street,” he says. “Everywhere I go I hear about Halloween on Franklin Street.”

And while a final costume decision hasn’t been made, he says a military-theme is highly likely.