Chatham County Seeks Public Input On Website

Chatham County is seeking input on their website.

The county is beginning the process of redesigning and wants to know what the public thinks.

“We can’t incorporate every single suggestion,” said community relations director Debra Henzey. “but we will look for common themes in what people say and try to address those as best we can.”

Henzey said that the new website will run on software that should be more user friendly for people using different browsers and mobile devices.

The project is expected to be completed in the fall.

To take the survey, click here.

Chatham County Deputy Saves A Person’s Life

Deputy Nick Howard has been given the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office Life Saving Award.

Howard was honored for his actions on January 26, when he saved the life of a person in their car.

While responding to a call, Howard saw a vehicle parked with the motor running.

Howard circled the truck and found a hose running from the vehicle’s exhaust pipe to the passenger side window.

After calling for EMS, he gained access through a broken window and opened all doors to give the occupant fresh air.

Howard attempted to revive the victim until paramedics arrived and the victim’s life was saved.

Silver Alert Issued for Pittsboro Man

The North Carolina Center for Missing Persons has issued a Silver Alert for a Pittsboro man.

Chatham County Sheriff’s Office officials are asking citizens to be on the lookout for William David Robinson, who is believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment.

Authorities say Robinson was last seen at 3086 Silk Hope Gum Springs Road in Pittsboro.

The 58-year-old Robinson is described as a white male estimated to be 5’ 8” weighing 175 pounds. Officials say he has short grey hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information about Robinson’s whereabouts should call the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office at (919) 542-2911.

Chatham 911 Operational Again

***UPDATE: Officials say the 911 phones in Chatham County are working again after a short outage.***

Chatham County officials say that 911 phones are currently down.

A release says residents with serious emergencies should call (919) 548-1300 or (919) 704-6320 until further notice.

There is no word on what caused the phones to go down.

Chatham County Authorities Bust Meth Lab

Chatham County officials have arrested two individuals in connection with two meth labs in Siler City.

Authorities say Chatham County deputies executed a search warrant last Friday, January 29, on Driftwood Drive and discovered two methamphetamine labs and additional paraphernalia and a weapon of mass destruction.

Chatham County Sheriff’s Office officials have charged 20-year-old Gabrielle Dowdy and 28-year-old Michael McCurdy with felony manufacturing methamphetamine, possessing methamphetamine, possessing/distributing methamphetamine precursor, maintaining a dwelling/vehicle/place for controlled substances and possessing a weapon of mass destruction.

Law enforcement officials did not elaborate on the weapon of mass destruction.

Authorities say McCurdy and Dowdy were also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

McCurdy is being held on a $25,000 secured bond, and Dowdy is being held on a $10,000 secured bond.

Both are scheduled to appear in court on February 29.

Chatham Health Director Named Best in State

Chatham County health director Layton Long has been named the 2016 Health Director of the Year by the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors.

The award was announced at the organization’s annual luncheon on January 20.

Long has served as a health director for over 10 years, holding that role in Davidson County before joining Chatham County in 2013.

The county has implemented initiatives during Long’s tenure including tobacco control, an updated animal control ordinance and the formation of the Chatham Health Alliance, according to a release.

Chatham County Board of Health chair John Kessler said in a release:

“We have been extremely fortunate to successfully recruit Layton to lead the Health Department and serve the citizens of Chatham County. Layton is remarkably evidence-based in his decision making, pragmatic in solving problems, and politically astute in considering the intended and unintended consequences of his actions and the Board’s policy making process.”

Long said, “it was at total surprise in receiving the award but truly an honor to be recognized by my public health peers.”

The North Carolina Health Director of the Year Award was created by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and is implemented through the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors, an affiliate of the NCACC. It is given to an individual for outstanding leadership in both public health in North Carolina and for leadership and involvement in local community and civic activities, according to a release. Officials say Long was nominated for the Health Director of the Year Award by staff at the Chatham County Health Department.

Precipitation Over But Roads Still Icy

Communities across our area are continuing to deal with wintry weather and the challenges that presents.

Chatham, Durham and Orange Counties will be under a Winter Weather Advisory until noon on Sunday due to the threat of black ice, as forecasts are not calling for additional precipitation.

Power outages were concentrated from Raleigh to the east and knocked power out to tens of thousands of North Carolinians. But other than periodic individual outages, Chatham, Orange and Durham Counties were not impacted by widespread outages.

Chapel Hill officials reported responding to three vehicle accidents during the day on Friday but noted that residents were staying off the road for the most part on Saturday. Residents are continued to be encouraged to not park on roadways to allow for plows to clear the thoroughfares.

Crews are evaluating to determine if Chapel Hill Transit will be able to operate on Sunday. Community centers are expected to open at 12:30 Sunday afternoon, but the aquatic center will likely be closed on Sunday.

Due to the inclement weather, Orange County Public Libraries will continue to be closed on Sunday.

Hillsborough officials reported an estimated 10 vehicles being left on roadsides. Two vehicles abandoned in the roadway along West King Street and Lakeshore Drive were moved.

Police continue to ask residents to stay off the roads. “If you don’t have to go out, don’t,” advises Sgt. William Parker. “If you do and your vehicle gets stuck, don’t leave it in the middle of the road.”

Durham reported the highest number of accidents with 40 crashes being responded to on Friday.

Two Chatham County Roads Closed Due to Sinkholes

Chatham County officials are working with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to fix multiple sinkholes that have developed this week.

A section of Jones Ferry Road in the northern portion of the county is closed due to a sinkhole that started cracking the pavement on Tuesday morning. The impacted area is just north of River Road.

Chatham County director of emergency operations Janet Scott said that DOT crews came to assess the damage on Tuesday. The roadway will be closed until at least January 29 for repairs.

A sinkhole is also causing issues on Lystra Road, which is closed until further notice. That sinkhole developed on Monday morning near Jordan Lake.

Crews with the DOT set up detours for traffic around that area.

Early reports from the state agency say this repair could be an “extensive project” due to the two 72-inch culverts crossing under the road.

Detours will be set up in that area until further notice.

Chatham County Officials Searching for Bank Robbery Suspect

Chatham County law enforcement officials are searching for a suspect in connection with a Chapel Hill bank robbery Wednesday afternoon.

Multiple outlets are reporting that shortly after three o’clock Wednesday afternoon a suspect robbed the State Employees’ Credit Union on North Chatham Parkway.

Reports say the suspect approached the teller with a note demanding money.

The Sheriff’s Office received a distress call, according to reports, and an employee was able to call 911. Police do not know if the suspect was armed.

Police described the suspect as wearing a blue, New York Yankees hat with a striped, gray hoodie, gray t-shirt, black gloves, jeans and tennis shoes. Authorities are looking for a small, gray SUV in connection with the robbery.

Police say the suspect left with an estimated $1,700.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office at (919) 542-2911.

Grant Will Aid Chatham County Animal Services in Cruelty Cases

Chatham County Animal Services has received a grant to purchase equipment to assist in animal cruelty cases, the organization announced Wednesday.

The grant is funded by the ASPCA and totals $5,735. A release says Animal Services requested the funds to purchase foundational veterinary forensic equipment to assist in evidence collecting in animal cruelty cases.

Animal Services director Leigh Anne Garrard said in a statement, “We are extremely grateful to the ASPCA for their support of agencies like ours in the fight against animal cruelty. Having the support of a national partner like the ASPCA is imperative to continuing our efforts of positive growth in the Animal Services division. I know the staff will utilize the new tools for the best possible outcomes in our cruelty cases.”

The funds will be used to purchase two SLR cameras, two lenses, two external flash drives, four memory cards, two cases, four wildlife cameras, one ammonia reader, one passport for chain of custody and one locker for evidence, according to the agency.

Nearly 200 animals were rescued from a Chatham County home earlier this year. Officials say that was the largest animal rescue in Chatham County history. Those animals were then sent to shelters across the country.