CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill Police Sgt. Bryan Walker confirmed Wednesday at 10:35 a.m. that Franklin Street was closed in both directions between Estes Dr and Elliott Rd for a natural gas leak.
Sgt. Walker said he was unaware of any evacuations in the area. EMS and gas crews were on the scene managing the incident.http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/franklin-street-from-estes-dr-to-elliott-rd-closed-natural-gas-leak/
CHAPEL HILL – Franklin Street is well-known in the Triangle as a Halloween hotspot; but police try to downsize the party more and more each year.
The most worn costume on Franklin Street Thursday night may be a police uniform. But these officers won’t be playing pretend.
“We are bringing in several hundred officers from departments all over the Triangle area,” Chapel Hill Public Information Officer, Sgt. Bryan Walker says.
Walker says the town of Chapel Hill is doing everything it can to limit the guest list for the annual celebration.
“We’ve tried to reduce the size of the crowd, and we’ve been fairly successful at doing that over the last few years, making it more of a local celebration,” Walker says, “As much fun as it is to come to Franklin and see the festivities, if you’re coming from out of town you’re going to have a hard time getting here.”
Shuttles to Franklin from outlying areas will be limited for crowd control. Lane and street closures downtown will make parking essentially unavailable.
Walker says they each Halloween is planned around lessons learned in years past. He says alcohol is the main cause of issues every year. He asks that pre-Franklin partying be kept under control
“We would encourage everyone that is going to be drinking before coming to Franklin Street to drink responsibly,” Walker says.
Walker also says it’s important to keep track of your friends whereabouts, and stay together.
“Don’t get separated and trust that your companions will make it home on their own,” Walker says.
Thursday night is a no-pets-allowed event.
“We have had a problem in years past with someone bringing a snake to an event like this,” Walker says, “When you’re in that crowd, shoulder to shoulder, and you’ve got a snake hanging around your neck, it tends to make people nervous.”
A few other things Walker says you should leave out of your bag of tricks and treats are weapons, fireworks, flammable substances, or anything that may be considered a threat to safety.
Aside from the rules in place to protect people, Walker says the Chapel Hill Police Department wants you to have a good time.
“We’re looking forward to this being another successful and safe Halloween in Chapel Hill,” Walker says.
Franklin Street will close to traffic, and open its door for the annual costume party at 9:00 p.m. Roads reopen two and a half hours later at 11:30.http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/reducing-the-halloween-crowd-on-franklin-street/
CHAPEL HILL – A new law allowing concealed weapons on public school campuses and in restaurants took effect Tuesday; and it has some folks in Chapel Hill concerned.
***Listen to the Story***
Next time you visit your favorite restaurant or bar, you may be sitting next to someone with a gun. Adults at your child’s school may have a weapon stashed in their car on the campus parking lot.
And the North Carolina government says that’s okay. But we found out bar owners like Rob Moll disagree.
“It is a bad idea. I just don’t think everyone needs to be walking around carrying guns,” Moll says.
Moll is a co-owner of R & R Grill on Franklin Street.
The new law allows concealed weapons in restaurants and government-owned parking lots.
Moll and other near-by restaurant owners are taking action. “We put the sticker up that says ‘No guns allowed,’” says Moll, “We will not allow them, and that’s it.”
Take a stroll down Franklin Street, and you will notice the sticker on several restaurant windows.
Bar and restaurant owners have an opt-out option. But you may be surprised to hear public school officials don’t have the same. Guns are allowed on public school campuses, and no window sticker or sign can change that.
Public Information Officer for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Jeff Nash, says he doesn’t necessarily agree with the law, but it will be obeyed by the school system.
“It was a law that was passed apart from our input,” Nash says, “We will abide by it, but we don’t think there’s any need to have guns on campus.”
While the law permits concealed weapons on any public school campus, they must be stored in a closed compartment in a locked car.
Concealed weapons carriers who bring their weapons into bars or restaurants are not allowed to consume alcohol.
Advocates of the new North Carolina law say other states have adopted similar laws. They say those states did not see higher crime rates, or more gun use after the laws were passed.
But for now, bar owners like Moll remain skeptical.
“Guns and booze and things just don’t mix,” Moll says.http://chapelboro.com/news/business/guns-allowed-at-bars-and-on-campuses/
CHAPEL HILL – 1789 is the newest business incubator to open in Chapel Hill. It’s geared toward Carolina students and recent graduates, with the goal of supporting the area’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Following in the footsteps of Launch Chapel Hill, it will act as a feeder to its predecessor. Young entrepreneurs are already moving in to the space, with innovative ideas in the works.
UNC alum Aaron Scarboro has played a key role in getting 1789, which has arguably the coolest office space in Chapel Hill, up and running.
“We really want to be able to create an impact on the entrepreneurial community in the Triangle. We think we are filling a pretty big niche here. Launch is for the later-staged companies, and we are trying to focus on encouraging students who may have never thought of themselves as entrepreneurs before.” Scarboro said.
Named for the year when UNC was founded, 1789 is located above Four Corners and is replete with conference tables, a kitchen, sitting areas, and private phone booths. For times when venturists want a creative break, there’s a ping-pong table and arcade game machines. Scarboro explained it took a lot of work to get the space ready for business.
“The floor was dirty, walls and windows were all dirty and grimy,” Scarboro said. The windows were broken and had bars over them—it was an absolute wreck. Over the course of about three months, we did a great job of renovating it, and it is an awesome space now.”
1789 also has one of the best views in town, with wide, open windows looking onto Franklin Street.
“The idea behind 1789 was that this was going to be a workspace for students and graduates to come and be able to work on an idea. We didn’t want people closed off in their own office space. We definitely wanted ideas to be thrown around and people to interact with each other. We do have some private spaces but really we wanted an open collaborative space,” Scarboro said.
After overseeing the renovation process, Scarboro then transitioned into an administrative role. He says local businessman and philanthropist Jim Kitchen had the vision for 1789 and was also heavily involved in LaUNCh Chapel Hill. After just a few months, 1789 is currently home to eight business ventures, from fair trade clothing makers to video production specialists.
Chapel Hill native Mary Elizabeth Lovelace worked closely with Scarboro to open 1789.
“It’s been really exciting to see it transform from a space under construction to a working venture lab,” Lovelace said.
Lovelace graduated from the University of Richmond. She did not have access to a program like this during her college years, so she has enjoyed seeing the venturists take advantage of a great opportunity.
“It is awesome to watch the entrepreneurial ecosystem grow in Chapel Hill because it wasn’t like this five years ago. There’s been so much to increase it, and 1789 is a huge part of that,” Lovelace said.
She explained that all a student needs to get involved with 1789 is a viable idea and willingness to take risks.
“It is really exciting to see the students get fired up about their ideas and the possibilities within those ideas,” Lovelace said.
Senior Kailey Izzard is an entrepreneurship minor at UNC and is interning with 1789.
“I always had a passion for entrepreneurship so I thought I might start my own business one day. I starting interning here  and realized that I love managing people who are starting their own businesses to help them turn it into something real,” Izzard said.
Scarboro said he is working to recruit new ventures for the fall and also looking for business experts to mentor the young entrepreneurs.
“Hopefully we will be able to recruit mostly through word of mouth, through our interns, and our current ventures talking to people about it. We hope to generate a buzz on campus,” Scarboro said.
For more information on how to apply for the program, click here.
Big names and big personalities came together for the Friends of Downtown meeting at The Franklin Hotel early Thursday morning for coffee, cookies and cupcakes, as well as to hear Holden Thorp, UNC’s Chancellor, speak. Located in the Grand Terrace on the 2nd floor, sunshine filled the room with all the socializing Friends and made for a lively morning.
CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill Police are investigating a series of assaults that occurred this past weekend on Franklin Street.
Just after 8:00 p.m. Friday, a man was reportedly assaulted in front of the Carolina Coffee Shop by one white male and three black males who were all wearing t-shirts.
Chapel Hill Police arrested one man and are still investigating the case. The police bulletin shows 45-year-old Darryn Maurice Dye was arrested at the address of the Carolina Coffee Shop Friday night.
Saturday morning, a woman was reportedly assaulted at around 1:30 a.m. when she was leaving the Pita Pit on Franklin Street. She told police she was shoved and knocked to the ground.
Twenty-four hours later, one white male and three black males reportedly assaulted a male victim near Gumby’s Pizza on West Franklin Street. In that case, the suspects were described as being in their late teens or early twenties.
There were no reports of weapons being used in any of the cases.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-968-2760; you can call Crime Stoppers at 919-942- 7515; you can also submit information online by clicking here.http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/multiple-assaults-on-franklin-street-over-the-weekend/
It took Pike Electric more than eight hours to replace the power pole that was struck Friday.
CHAPEL HILL – Franklin Street’s worst driving corner took three vehicles as victims in less than 36 hours this weekend shutting down the north east end of the road twice.
Chapel Hill Police Sgt. Josh Mecimore says Friday afternoon’s incident involved a single car that veered off the road and struck a power pole.
“Ann Heinz has been charged with two charges: driving while impaired (and) careless and reckless driving,” Sgt. Mecimore says. “The driving while impaired is a blood test, so we won’t have the actual alcohol level (results) back for some time.”
The vehicle was reportedly traveling southwest on Franklin approximately 50 miles per hour in the 35 mile-per-hour zone.
Once she’s charged, Heinz will lose her license for 30 days. She will then have to appear in court and could face up to another year of her license revoked if convicted. The reckless driving charge carries a penalty less than one year in jail, but Sgt. Mecimore says offenders don’t often get that harsh a punishment.
Heinz was transported to UNC Hospitals with minor injuries.
Thirty-three and a half hours later, a car traveling in the opposite direction had a similar problem, but this time with no alcohol as the cause.
“A car heading toward Durham crossed the center line in the curve there, into oncoming traffic, and then struck another vehicle head-on,” Sgt. Mecimore says. “So, I guess in this situation the difference was there was another vehicle there.”
In that accident, Ciarra Roberts was charged with failure to maintain lane control. That infraction is an offense which can be waived by just paying the fine.
Two of the four people from Roberts’ vehicle—not including Roberts herself—were transported to UNC Hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the other car was the lone occupant and was also transported to the hospital with minor injuries.http://chapelboro.com/news/traffic/northeast-end-of-franklin-street-takes-three-cars-over-the-weekend/
CHAPEL HILL – Investigations are ongoing, but alcohol and high speeds may have been the cause of Friday’s car wreck on East Franklin Street near Boundary Street. The incident resulted in a snapped telephone pole and the closure of the west end of Franklin Street for many hours.
The watch commander on duty Friday night could not confirm that an impaired driving, driving while intoxicated charge against Ann McCardle Heinz was in connection with the incident. However, the police bulletin reports the charge being cited at the intersection of Franklin and Boundary, where the incident took place.
Pike Electric crews were on the scene until just before 11:00 p.m. installing a new pole. Areas of Franklin near where the incident took place were closed until the installation was complete.
The driver of the vehicle was taken to UNC Hospitals with minor injuries.http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/alcohol-possible-factor-in-franklin-st-wreck/
CHAPEL HILL – A pedestrian was struck at the intersection of Franklin Street and Columbia Street, Sergeant Josh Mecimore of the Chapel Police Department confirms.
WCHL received reports of the incident around noon on Monday. It caused a portion of the road to be closed.
Mecimore says it was a low speed collision. The pedestrian was woman, and she was transported to UNC Hospitals with no major injuries. Mecimore says she was crossing against the light.
The roadway is open now.http://chapelboro.com/news/traffic/pedestrian-struck-at-intersection-of-franklin-and-columbia/
CHAPEL HILL – The beloved mural on Franklin Street depicting a girl playing a flute is gone. All that’s left is a black wall in its place.
“I didn’t know anyone was planning that. I was very disappointed. These things are kind of like my little children,” said artist Michael Brown. He says he was on his ladder Wednesday painting a new mural for the Chapel Hill Library when he found out the news.
“And I’m very disappointed in the way it was done in an expedient way,” Brown said.
Brown explains he painted the mural around 2001. The Lantern Restaurant in the 400 block of West Franklin Street painted over the mural with black paint after the restaurant expanded.
“There are so many people who are invested in it,” Brown explained. “You can only think that they just didn’t know. And were very eager to display their new look and indeed the place does look wonderful.”
The murals are not protected because the walls belong to property owner. The Lantern Restaurant was with in its rights.
“Save the Murals” campaign raised $1,500 to restore the mural back in 2008.
Though he says he holds no hard feeling towards the Lantern Restaurant, Brown says he’d love to see some of the more cherished murals be protected.
“I never imagined how people would fall in love with them and how much a part of the community it would really become,” Brown said.
Brown says he’s painted more than 20 murals in Chapel Hill over the years. He also travels to other cities up and down the East Coast, painting about 10 murals a year.
Statement from Lantern Restaurant