Town Council Approves Building AC Hotel On Rosemary Street

The Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously approved a special use permit, which allows construction to begin on the AC Hotel by Marriott, which  will be located on the corner of Church and Rosemary Street.

“We feel like this project is a good fit for where the Town of Chapel Hill envisions itself going,” said Dennis Mitchell of OTO Development. “It’s a walkable to location to the Town of Chapel Hill.”

The hotel will be four stories, with 123 rooms and nearly 70,000 square feet of space. It will include an underground parking lot, which will be able to hold 111 vehicles.

“As a next-door neighbor, if you have to live with a four-story development, this is a good fit for us as we imagine what West Rosemary St. might be,” said Fran Gualtieri, owner of La Residence.

Mitchell said the hotel will also be beneficial residents, even if they do not stay at the hotel.

“The lobby is open and accessible to the public,” he said. “It has a small bar and a small tapas-style F and B program. We encourage the public to come in, but it’s not meant to be a full meal or a full bar.”

Construction of the hotel is supposed to begin before 2017.

Two Chapel Hill Teenagers Charged After Threat Against Local School

A lawyer representing two teenage suspects appeared in court on Tuesday following a threat against a local school.

Two Chapel Hill High School students were arrested and charged with making a false report of mass violence on educational property on Monday, and defense attorney Amos Tyndall appeared in court representing the teenagers on Tuesday afternoon.

17-year-old Shane Long allegedly sent a message to his stepbrother, 16-year-old Caleb Ethridge, via the social media site Snapchat on Monday with a picture of two boxes of ammunition with the caption, “Ready to shoot the school up!”

Ethridge then allegedly sent the same picture and caption out on Twitter.

Officials in the Chapel Hill – Carrboro School system were alerted of the message on Monday morning.

Long and Etheridge were questioned by Chapel Hill Police and arrested on Monday evening.

District Court Judge Beverly Scarlett extended the suspects curfew on Tuesday afternoon to run from seven o’clock in the evening to seven o’clock in the morning. Scarlett also ordered the suspects to attend school every day, unless they had a doctor’s note excusing their absence, and complete coursework as it was assigned by their teachers. The suspects were ordered to not possess or consume any alcohol or controlled substance, except by prescription, or to possess any firearm, weapon, explosive device or ammunition.

Tyndall said in court that the suspects would likely be disciplined by the school but did not want to comment on the record after the hearing, saying that it was too early to have much information.

Both suspects are being charged as adults on the class H level one felony, meaning the suspects could each face a maximum of eight to 19 months in prison, according to Orange County sentencing guidelines.

North Carolina and New York are the only two states in the country that treat 16 and 17 year old suspects as adults, regardless of the crimes they are accused of.

Long and Etheridge are due back in court on January 8, 2016.

Former UNC Linebacker Quincy Monk Passes Away

Former UNC linebacker Quincy Monk passed away on Tuesday afternoon after a battle with cancer.

Monk played for the Tar Heels from 1998 through 2001 and finished second on the team in tackles in his senior season. Monk was drafted by the New York Giants in the seventh round of the NFL draft.

Monk played two seasons for the Giants before finishing his football career with the Houston Texans.

The story of Monk’s battle against cancer gained attention earlier this year as his teammates came to his side.

UNC football coach Larry Fedora released the following statement after the passing on Monk:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of Quincy’s passing this afternoon. Quincy came and spoke to the team earlier this year before our Wake Forest game. In the brief time I knew him, it became clear how great of person he was, how much this University meant to him and how much this football program was part of his life. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Lisa, and his two beautiful children, Naomi and Aiden.”

Underage Drinking a ‘Terrific Problem’ in North Carolina

Cases of underage drinking made for a long meeting of the state Alcohol Beverage Control Commission last Wednesday.

The case against La Res was the main draw for attention. The Chapel Hill restaurant and bar was investigated for its role in the fatal wrong-way crash on I-85 in July.

Records show Chandler Kania, a 20-year-old UNC student, and a group of underage friends were served alcohol at La Res hours before police say Kania drove the wrong-way on I-85 for at least six miles before crashing into another vehicle head-on, killing three of the four passengers.

But after the ABC board meeting, chair James Gardner said, rather than focusing on one infraction, he was more disappointed with the frequency of underage drinking cases the commission hears. Of the 122 offers in compromise ratified on Wednesday, Gardner said two-thirds of them involved underage drinking.

He added the commission is now in the second phase of a mission to curb what some consider a public health risk.

“The first phase was to bring everybody’s attention to the fact that underage drinking in this state is a terrific problem,” Gardner says. “The second phase is to try to get parents and the middle school children to talk together about what the problem is.”

Gardner said it is important to get the message to those middle school students and parents to start the education process. But he added training servers and reminding them of their responsibilities was another key spoke in the fight against underage drinking.

“This is especially true in all of our college towns,” Gardner says. “We have trained over 4,000 permit holders [and] servers this year. And we will continue to do it into next year, going into every college town in the state of North Carolina.”

Gardner said with the training that is offered by state and local officials, enforcement efforts will also be increased.

“With ALE and the local ABC enforcements, we have stepped up our activities in trying – in particular in college towns across the state – to see that every permit holder in the state of North Carolina understands that it is their responsibility not to serve anybody under 21 years old.”

More than $200,000 in fines were brought in at the November meeting alone as part of the more than 120 offers in compromise agreed to by businesses across the state and the ABC Commission.

Gardner said the commission has brought in more than $800,000 throughout the year and anticipates nearly $1 million in fines by year’s end. He added that money is redistributed to local schools across the state. Wherever the violation occurred, that school district receives the funding.

Of the 120-plus offers agreed to, 22 of those establishments that were fined for not being in compliance were located in Orange County.

Businesses that sell alcohol in Orange County are facing nearly $44,000 in fines or having their alcohol permits suspended for 439 days, collectively. Those numbers are just related to the November board meeting of the state Alcohol Beverage Control Commission.

Local Efforts

Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore says the department has an investigator whose primary role is as a liaison between local police and the state Alcohol Law Enforcement and the ABC Commission.

“A big part of his role is organizing those alert operations where we do either compliance checks or we might have officers out doing loud party patrols during specific times of year,” Mecimore says. “Frequently those center around prom season and graduation time for the high school, graduation time for the university.”

Seven of 34 Chapel Hill businesses checked in August during a compliance sweep were cited for selling alcohol to an underage patron.

“Those underage buyers are using their own ID,” Mecimore says. “It’s not like they have a fake ID that says they are over 21. They have their ID that says that they are 19 or however old they are.

“So they either didn’t check the ID at all or they checked it, it says that the person is under 21 and they still served them.”

That failure rate is actually an improvement over checks in recent years.

Mecimore says businesses included in compliance checks are made up of a combination of random selections and businesses that were previously cited.

Mecimore says Chapel Hill Police have a multifaceted effort against alcohol-related incidents. But he adds, in a college town, underage drinking is a major focus.

“I regularly tell people the reason for that is far less about what the legal drinking age is and far more about what we see as a result of people either over-consuming or irresponsibly-consuming alcohol.”

Mecimore says police see many cases where a suspect and victim have consumed alcohol, including physical assaults and sexual assaults.

Jim Wise is the student assistance program specialist at Chapel Hill High School and the lead in that role for all middle and high schools across the district. Wise says there is coordination with local police and schools for enforcement and education.

“We’ll do more of that with the high school,” Wise says. “Bring [police] in for events around safe driving, impaired driving. But we’ll do legal education. They come in, they’ll present in driver’s education classes for instance.

“The traffic officers will come [and] they’ll talk about safe driving, but they’ll talk about all of the issues around impairment and distracted driving.”

Wise says education about drinking starts in middle school health classes and continues until graduation.

“The one piece that really seems to resound and be effective with young people is to talk to them about brain development, brain biology and how use, especially at young ages, can affect the development of their brains,” Wise says. “And with such a premium put on education in this community, it’s a message that doesn’t just resonate with young people.

“But it also resonates with parents, staff and pretty much any community member.”

Wise says Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools conducts its own survey every two years regarding underage drinking in high schools across the district. Wise says, in 2013, 32 percent of high school students responded they had consumed an alcoholic beverage in the last 30 days. Wise says that number is down three percent from 2011. But Wise says he is more disturbed that 17 percent of students responded they did binge drink, which is consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting. He says that number has not changed much in recent years.

“One of the powerful things is, since this is our data, the students can’t say, ‘Well that’s those kids in Georgia or North Dakota,’” Wise says. “We can say, ‘No, this is what you and your peers said you’re doing.’

“So we really do feel like this is accurate and local information that we can do something with.”

Wise says it is important for parents to be involved in the conversation with their school-aged children and for parents to avoid glorifying past bad decisions.

“But to be able to say, ‘This happened and it was scary,’” Wise says. “Because I think we all have personal stories of people we may have grown up with we know who had some really scary, impactful things happen to them because of involvement and decisions they made around alcohol use or other substance use.”

Wise says he expects new data related to underage drinking gathered this spring.

Chansky Notebook: UNC Winning The Hard Way

If champions find a way to win, the Tar Heels must be champions.

Larry Fedora said his team went into Saturday’s game at Virginia Tech facing the perfect storm. Frank Beamer coaching his last home game after 29 years in Blacksburg, the Hokies needing one more win to secure their 23rd consecutive bowl bid, senior day, black uniforms, Metallica revving up an already crazy crowd. The whole schmeer.

Yet, Carolina had to find a way to win to avoid going to N.C. State this week to wrap up the ACC Coastal Division. If the Tar Heels kept playing like they had the last month, it would have been no problem. But they played tight from start to finish and made uncharacteristic mistakes. Fumbling six times and losing three and committing nine penalties, several by veteran players.

With four minutes left, they had found a way, ready to score again and win comfortably by more than two touchdowns. Then Marquise Williams, upon whose shoulders this magical season has rested, lost the ball on two straight possessions, giving him three turnovers for the game. Shades of South Carolina – the last time the Tar Heels lost.

Going to overtime, how confident were you? If you’re into bad karma, the UNC basketball team was blowing a 16-point lead out in Iowa and it looked like a black Sabbath upon Tar Heel Nation. But the UNC defense, which had given up two touchdown passes on fourth-down after near goal-line stands, this time held the Hokies to a field goal and gave the offense a chance to win.

It looked easy when the Heels had a first-and-goal at the three but another false start made it third-and-goal from the 8. They had to get into the end zone or face a second overtime, which would have really been pushing their luck.

Marquise to Quinshad for only the second time this season, and they were celebrating with Fedora, destined to be for ACC Coach of the Year.

Ten straight and going to Charlotte to play top-ranked Clemson, which trust me does not want to face the 11th-ranked Carolina in what will be a wild scene at Bank of American Stadium. Before that comes N.C. State, and as tight as the Tar Heels were Saturday in the foothills, their sphincters should be loose and ready to take on the Wolfpack in the fairgrounds.

Eleven straight wins would be a school record for one season and the first time a UNC team has ever won that many before the post-season. That, and last year’s bad loss to State, should be plenty to play for.

UNC Board of Trustees Discuss Connect NC Bond

House Representative Dean Arp briefed the UNC Board of Trustees on the Connect NC bond that will be on the ballot across North Carolina in March.

“We believe this is a proactive and fiscally sound plan,” he said.

The total investment will add up to $4.36 billion with the $2 billion bond proposal and the $2.36 billion that will be paid in cash for transportation needs over the next six years.

The bond will go towards building and infrastructure needs.

Projects across the UNC System, including the Medical Education Building Replacement at Chapel Hill, are included in the proposal, which is the first general obligation bond issued in the last 15 years.

“We’re very excited about the bond package,” UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said. “It’s a huge investment in the state. It’s great for the universities. Ours goes directly to increasing the number of physicians so we can increase the number of lives saved.”

Arp added that even with borrowing $2 billion, the state would still be 25 percent below the recommended debt limit.

So trustee Hari Nath asked why just $2 billion instead of a bond that would fund more capital need projects?

“I’m a positive guy and I like to focus on the positive things,” Arp answered. “Two billion is what we could get passed.”

Arp said that after looking at the financial standing of the state, the General Assembly would be open to a higher bond number. But Arp said that he had encountered opposition to the initial number of the bond proposal but he added that those groups have warmed to the idea.

“It provides not only an economic benefit to the citizens of North Carolina, but it makes financial sense,” said Dwight Stone, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “If we address those messages I think the citizens of North Carolina are going to go along with it.”

The bond proposal will be on the ballot across the Tar Heel state during the election primary on March 15.

UNC Women’s Basketball Wins Three Straight in Weekend Tournament

UNC women’s basketball pulled out a 70-63 win against Yale on Sunday afternoon in Carmichael Arena. Behind an impressive effort from sophomore Jamie Cherry, the Tar Heels picked up their fourth straight win.

Cherry finished with 24 points, as the guard made 7-12 field goal attempts, as well as added a team-high four assists and completed 8 – 9 free throws. Cherry has been impressive early in the season, but Sunday’s performance was extra remarkable, in what may be a breakout season. Cherry averaged 6.4 points per game last season and had a season-high 15 points her freshman year.

Cherry continued to play in a full facemask after breaking her nose on Friday night, which has been a total adjustment, she said.

“I think yesterday was a kind of getting used to the mask thing, just getting used to being able to see out of it and getting my breathing down pat. Just of course seeing those two three’s go in, because the past couple days I haven’t been hitting shots, was very confidence building.”

N’Dea Bryant has been piecing together a set of solid games, but UNC head coach Sylvia Hatchell said the senior guard may have played her best game as a Tar Heel against Yale. Bryant had her first career double-double, with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

“N’Dea, probably in my estimate, had the best game she’s ever had because she had 13 rebounds. I challenged her before the game and she did it. I said ‘N’Dea, don’t let me down’ and she didn’t let me down. So that’s great that she had a great game and we need her to keep doing that,” said Hatchell.

Bryant said her first instinct is typically to rebound, especially when Cherry drives to the net.

“Definitely most of the time to rebound first, but usually my teammates find me on the open shot, so it’s not like I have to do a whole lot to try to get a shot off. That’s definitely my first thought coming into the game and then getting those easy lay-ups and seeing the ball going in the hole makes taking a shot a little bit easier.”

Senior Xylina McDaniel contributed a season-high 11 points in her third game back, while freshman Destinee Walker added 10 points and missed her first free-throw, going 18 – 19 on the season thus far.

Once again, UNC played a physical game that featured no ties and no lead changes, something the Tar Heels struggled with their first couple games of the season. North Carolina entered intermission with a 33-21 lead, which only grew in the third period off of a 12-0 UNC run, putting the Tar Heels up 49-35 for a 14-point advantage, their largest of the game.

20 turnovers and a dull 26.8 percent three-point completion average prevented the Tar Heels from truly breaking away in the game, as the Bulldogs finished the third period with seven straight points, bringing the game too close for comfort, with UNC up 49-42 and ten minutes left to play. The Bulldogs came as close as six points in the final minutes, however, 11 of Cherry’s 24 points came in the fourth period, cementing the UNC win.

UNC will next play on Wednesday, November 25th in a home game against Pacific at 3:00 p.m.

“I’m proud of these kids for hanging in there the last three days. It’s amazing how we’ve improved as a team in the last eight days. We’ve had different people step up in different games. We’re looking forward to playing Wednesday and then going up to the Mohegan Sun for the final part of this Naismith,” Coach Hatchell said.

UNC Women’s Basketball Wins Three Straight

The North Carolina women’s basketball team has strung together a three-game winning streak with their latest game against a struggling Iona College team. With the win, the Tar Heels are now 3-2 overall after outpacing the Gaels for a 64-52 win.

The highlight of Saturday afternoon’s game in Carmichael Arena was freshman guard Destinee Walker. Walker, a 5’10” Orlando, Florida, native, once again lead the team in points, and is making a name for herself, after impressively contributing 32 points earlier in the week against Florida A&M.

“We’re learning and we’re working on progress. We do some good things at times and I love my freshmen, even though sometimes we make some not real smart decisions out there. But those two can really light it up when they get going. And I think they’re two of the best; I’d put them up against any two freshmen in the country,” said UNC Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell regarding Walker and freshman Stephanie Watts.

Shooting 10 -13 from the field, Walker was additionally almost perfect in her field-goal attempts, completing five of six shots. Senior guard N’Dea Bryant contributed double figures for the second game in a row, with 10 points, and Watts added 11, despite temporarily leaving the game with an ankle problem.

“Coming in at other schools freshmen don’t get that many minutes. I knew I would play a big role on the team, I knew I fit in and I knew the chemistry would be great, but of course I didn’t know I would start and play all these minutes,” Walker said.

Carolina went into Saturday’s contest coming off of a big win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday night.

The game featured no ties and no lead changes, as Carolina has begun to find a rhythm in a team that now has senior Xylina McDaniel back in action. UNC’s largest largest came in the fourth period with 2:39 left in the game in which the Tar Heels had a 19-point advantage.

McDaniel said watching the team from the bench for a majority of last season and early this year was a hard experience for her, but overall she was able to learn how to better contribute to team camaraderie.

“Being out has been very hard, but at the same time I learned a lot from sitting on the bench and watching them play, seeing what I need to do as a player and a leader to help the team get better and grow. So, it hurt me and the team a little bit, but at the same time it helped us because now I’m able to tell them more and do more because I saw so much more from sitting on the bench,” McDaniel said.

Sophomore guard Jamie Cherry scored seven points, all from free throws, as she completed 7 – 8 attempts. In a frightening scene in Friday night’s game, Cherry suffered a broken nose in the fourth period, in which the crowd saw Cherry lying face down on the floor, writhing in pain, blood splattered on her towel. On Saturday she wore a full face mask, though Hatchell is not certain Cherry will continue to wear it in further games.

“She was shooting 41% from the three before tonight. She was missing that and also her driving. She’s really good, she’s been getting to the foul line a lot because she’s been driving and she couldn’t, wasn’t able to drive. She was fumbling the ball around because she couldn’t see. Knowing Jamie, she’ll probably end up taking that mask off. I wouldn’t be surprised.”

The Tar Heels are back in action Sunday afternoon for their third and final game in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge against Yale.

“I think we’re a pretty good team now. I told them in the locker room just a few minutes ago, I said, for our potential, on a scale of 1-10, we’re probably about a 6 right now, so we’re going to keep getting a lot, lot better. We can get up there to a 9, 10 and we can give anybody a game,” Hatchell said.

UNC Women’s Basketball Starts Weekend with a Victory

The University of North Carolina women’s basketball team improved to 2-2 with a 64-46 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday night in Carmichael Arena. The game was the first of three for the Tar Heels this weekend in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge.

The Tar Heels have a complete team that sees a different player step up every night, with Friday night’s victory over the Knights coming with the help of Hillary Summers and N’Dea Bryant, who combined for 35 points.

Summers, a red-shirt junior, contributed a career-high 20 points and 13 rebounds, notching her first career double-double. Bryant, a senior guard, also had a career night, adding 15 points after averaging six points for the first three games of the season.

“We have really good offenses, so it’s kind of easy. I just get into the right spot and our guards are really talented, so they’re able to get it to me. I’m really happy. Like I said, it’s not that hard with how good our offenses are, but I’m glad I was able to do that,” Summers said.

On her career-high points as well, Bryant said she is starting to find a rhythm as she gets used to logging high minutes.

The game featured two ties and no lead changes, despite a tough night for the Tar Heels, who only completed 25 of 65 field goal attempts for a 38.5 completion percent. Additionally, the team only had one three-pointer for the night, on 12 attempts. Despite those numbers, UNC still managed a 24-point lead over Fairleigh Dickinson in the fourth period, their largest of the game.

“We did a lot of good things, but we just missed a lot of shots. We had a lot of really, really good shots and we missed them. But it’s a win against a good team, well coached. They battled us really hard. Hillary had a great game with her double-double and N’Dea had a good game,” said UNC Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell.

Freshmen Destinee Walker and Stephanie Watts contributed 10 and 8 points, respectively, after being the stars of UNC’s last game, in which the two guards combined for 59 points.
Senior Xylina McDaniel got into her first game since her injury on December 21, playing 11 minutes and scoring 3 points.

“The freshmen keep learning. They keep making a lot of mistakes. They’re learning and getting better and better, Destinee and Stephanie,” said Hatchell.

Sophomore Jamie Cherry scored six points and suffered a broken nose in what was a frightening moment for the guard in the fourth period, with Cherry laying face down on the floor, writhing in pain, blood splattered on her towel.

Coach Hatchell said Cherry will be back out on the court this weekend.

“Jamie’s got a broken nose, but we’ll get her a mask and she’s got to play. Put a mask on her and keep playing. We don’t have many bodies; we need Jamie back out there.”

The Tar Heels will be back in action Saturday afternoon in Carmichael Arena at 3:00 p.m. against Iona.

Chapel Hill Police Make Arrest in Pedestrian Hit and Run

Chapel Hill Police have made an arrest in a hit and run from late October.

30-year-old Tyson Kim was extradited to Chapel Hill on Wednesday in connection with felony charges, according to police records.

Chapel Hill Police Lt. Josh Mecimore says the charges stem from a report on October 25 near the Eastgate Shopping Center.

“Officers arrived and the fire department arrived and found a person who had been hit by a vehicle, possibly run over by a vehicle,” Mecimore says, “no life-threatening injuries but was certainly injured and was subsequently taken to the emergency room.”

Mecimore says police were able to quickly identify Kim as a suspect and get a description of the vehicle he had been driving.

Mecimore adds the victim had been a passenger in Kim’s vehicle before being struck.

“The passenger decided to get out of the car, after some sort of issue between the two,” Mecimore says. “He got out and the driver of the vehicle, Mr. Kim, subsequently ran him over or ran into him at the very least with the vehicle.

“And so [Kim] was charged with assault inflicting bodily injury, hit and run with injury and then driving while his license was revoked.”

Mecimore says the incident that led to the victim exiting the vehicle was the passenger attempting to intervene in an argument between Kim and a female passenger.

The assault inflicting bodily injury and hit and run with injury are both felony charges.

Mecimore says authorities were able to identify that Kim had fled the state. South Carolina law enforcement officials arrested Kim after he was stopped in the Palmetto State in early November.

Kim was taken to Orange County Jail under a $50,000 secured bond and was scheduled to make his first court appearance on Thursday afternoon.