River Park Concert Highlights Weekend Of Music In Hillsborough

Local music lovers: this weekend, plan to spend a lot of time in Hillsborough.

The weekend begins on Friday with the monthly Last Fridays event. From 6:30-9:30, enjoy music from Todd Johnson and the Revolvers on the old courthouse lawn, plus more music, art, crafts and food along the sidewalks and special events at shops, restaurants, churches and galleries throughout downtown. On Sunday, the Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce hosts the second round of “Sundays in Hillsborough,” featuring horse-drawn carriage and train rides from 1-4 pm and music on the lawn from the Mason Lovette Acoustic Experience from 2-5 pm. (“Sundays in Hillsborough” runs every week through the end of October.)

But the highlight of the weekend comes in between: on Saturday, August 27, head to downtown Hillsborough for the River Park Concert, an annual, all-day free music event for the whole family. The day begins with a young musicians’ workshop at 11 am (ages 4-10) and yoga for all ages at 11:15 – then live music begins at noon and runs until 7:30. Mel Melton & the Wicked Mojos get things started at noon, followed by the Piedmont Regulators, Raising Caine, Coleslaw, Joe Tullos & the Bold Chorus, and Dr. Bacon.

The band Coleslaw dropped in on Aaron Keck on WCHL last week and played some live songs off their album “Last on Board.”


For more info and a full concert schedule, visit RiverParkConcert.org.


Orange County Marks 150th Anniversary Of 13th Amendment

Renee Price is a co-founder of Free Spirit Freedom.

The marker at Coachman’s Quarters in Hillsborough reads “December 5 ’65.”

That’s not the day the 13th Amendment was ratified, not officially, but it was still a day of celebration for Orange County residents, former slaves, who were finally about to win their permanent legal emancipation.

North Carolina voted on December 4, 1865, to ratify the 13th Amendment, which enshrined a ban on slavery in the U.S. Constitution. (News of the vote reached Orange County the next day – hence “December 5” on the marker.) The amendment officially became part of the Constitution on December 6, when Georgia voted to ratify.

On Friday, December 4, and Saturday, December 5, the local organization Free Spirit Freedom is holding a pair of events in Hillsborough to commemorate the 150th anniversary of  the 13th Amendment.  There will be a program on Friday evening from 5-7 in the Whitted Building on West Tryon Street: local historians Peter Wood and Freddie Parker will speak; there will be music from Wanda Crisp; and Joseph McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project will deliver remarks as well. McGill will stay overnight in Coachman’s Quarters, a former slave dwelling on South Cameron Street; then on Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm the public will be invited to tour the building and hear from McGill.

Free Spirit Freedom co-founder (and Orange County Commissioner) Renee Price spoke Friday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.


If you’d like to tour Coachman’s Quarters on Saturday, December 5, first go to the Hillsborough Visitors Center at 150 E. King Street to receive directions.


Health, Safety, Schools, Libraries, And Hillsborough

If you still haven’t signed up for health insurance, the Chapel Hill Public Library is holding an all-day Affordable Care Act enrollment session on Monday, March 24, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The library is holding the session in partnership with UNC Healthcare, the League of Women Voters, Planned Parenthood, and UNC’s Student Health Action Coalition.

The deadline to sign up for health insurance in 2014 is March 31.

For more information or to reserve a time, call the Chapel Hill Public Library at 919-968-2780.


Are you a veteran or connected to the military? Orange County’s Department of Social Services is inviting you to a new event called “Military Monday,” geared especially toward veterans to make sure they have access to benefits and other federal, state, and local resources.

The first Military Monday event will take place on March 24, from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Hillsborough Commons on Mayo Street. It will be a Career/Resource Fair, with benefit assistance, career assessments, education resources, the Mobile Vet Center and more.

For more information, contact Betsy Corbett at 919-245-2890.


Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens will deliver his annual State of the Town address on Monday, March 24, at 7:00 p.m. in the Orange County Public Library.

Among other things, the address will include an update on the town’s Riverwalk project as well as a discussion of Hillsborough’s future population boom. The town is expected to grow by 31 percent in the next four years.

Members of the public are invited to attend. Before the speech, from 5:30-6:30, planning staff will host a public information meeting on the status of downtown access improvements.


If you’re a parent in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and you’d like more information on the district’s dual language program, the district is offering four information sessions this spring, beginning later this month and running through May.

The Dual Language program gives students the chance to become proficient in two languages, English and either Spanish or Mandarin Chinese. The district says Dual Language students, on average, outperform their peers on standardized tests and other student growth measures.

The first information session will be for the Spanish program on Thursday, March 20, at Frank Porter Graham Elementary School. The session will be offered in Spanish from 6-7 p.m. and in English from 7-8 p.m. Two more sessions on the Spanish program will take place—at the same times of day—on Thursday, April 24 at Carrboro Elementary and on Thursday, May 22, again at FPG.

There will also be an info session on the Mandarin Chinese program on Tuesday, March 25, from 6-7 p.m. at Glenwood Elementary.


Are you excited about the proposed new Southern Branch Library in Carrboro? What do you want to see there? What do you NOT want to see there?

If you have thoughts and ideas about the library, come out to a Community Engagement Meeting hosted by Orange County. The county is actually holding two meetings: the first is Tuesday, March 25, at 6:00 at Hickory Tavern; the second is on Saturday, April 12, at noon in Carrboro Town Hall. The first 50 participants at the March 25 meeting will receive gift certificates to Hickory Tavern.


The Hillsborough Arts Council has announced a partnership with a new charter school coming to Hillsborough this August.

The Expedition School will be taking part in the Art Council’s ArtCycle program, a program that collects new and used art supplies to be used in local schools.

The Expedition School is scheduled to open its doors in August. It’s a STEM-focused school for grades K-8.


Driving around this month, you might see some new signs on the road – all part of a local campaign to remind people to pull over if they see emergency vehicles coming their way.

The campaign is called “See the Light, Pull to the Right.” The idea came from a town employee, Fire Equipment Operator Luis Rodrigues. Six new signs are being installed near major intersections in Chapel Hill.

If an emergency vehicle is approaching you from behind, take your foot off the accelerator, merge to the outside lane if possible, and pull off the side of the road to allow the vehicle to pass.



This Weekend In OC: Arts! Concerts! Tax Relief?

With tax season officially upon us, Orange County is once again offering the RSVP-VITA tax preparation service for low- to middle-income residents in need of assistance this year.

“VITA” is short for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. It’s a free program sponsored by the IRS. It begins in February in Orange and Chatham Counties.

You can find out if you’re eligible and make appointments either online or by phone. Visit OrangeCountyNC.gov/aging/VITA.asp, or to make an appointment by phone, call:

Orange County: 919.245.4242 (English)
Orange County:  919.245.2010 (Spanish)
Compass Center for Women and Families: 919.968.4610 (English only)
Chatham County: 919.542.4512 (Angel Dennison)
Chatham County: 919.742.1448 (Spanish)


From now through March, the Hillsborough Arts Council is offering walking tours of the town’s sculptures. The guided tour is called “Take A Closer Look”; it will focus on four of the six sculptures that have been on display since last April.

Tours begin at the Hillsborough Arts Council Gallery on N. Churton Street, at 1:00 p.m. every Friday and Saturday. The tours are free (though donations are accepted), and they last one to one and a half hours.


This weekend brings the third annual “Mixed Concrete” art auction to Chapel Hill, with proceeds to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Featuring local artists working with a variety of materials, the show runs from Friday to Sunday, January 24-26, at TRU Deli + Wine Bar on the corner of Rosemary and Henderson. There will be an opening reception on Friday at 7:00 p.m.

To see some of the art online or to donate to the cause, visit MixedConcrete.org.


If you’re still unsure about the new federal Health Insurance Marketplace, UNC Family Medicine is holding a “Health Insurance Enroll-A-Thon” on Saturday, January 25, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Officials will be on hand to answer questions and help you enroll.

The event will take place in the UNC Family Medicine Center at 590 Manning Drive. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit UNCFamilyMedicine.org.


The Orange County main library in Hillsborough is hosting an exhibition of folk art from January 24-March 24. It’s called “Road Trip: Folk Art from Mike’s Art Truck”—and it’s comprised of 20 pieces all created by self-taught artists.

Curators Greg and Karen Mack of Hillsborough will be on hand for a reception at the library on Saturday, February 1, from 2-5 p.m.


Orange County’s Department on Aging and the Friends of the Seymour Center are inviting you to attend a Celebration Concert honoring the memory of Pearl Seymour on Saturday, January 25.

The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. at the Seymour Center on Homestead Road; admission is free. Immediately following the concert, there will be a reception and a silent auction, with proceeds going to benefit the Department on Aging and the Friends of the Seymour Center.

For more information about the concert, visit FriendsSeymourCenter.org.


Saturday, January 25, you’re invited to a free performance of actor Mike Wiley’s “Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till” at 2:00 p.m. in the Chapel Hill Public Library. The performance is co-presented by the library and the UNC Program in the Humanities, part of a community dialogue on the legacy of Jim Crow and its impact today.

There will be an audience discussion following the performance.


Time To Dig Into Reading, Hillsborough Arts Council Accepting Last Fridays Applications

ORANGE COUNTY-The Orange County Public Library is welcoming local residents of all ages to use the summer months to dive into a new book.

On June 1, the library will begin registration for its “Dig Into Reading” summer program. Different literary selections are available for childrens, teens, and adults. All participants must have a current Orange County Public Library card, and any OC resident can obtain one free of charge. The program will also include the opportunity for its younger readers to earn prizes such as bookmarks and stickers. Teens and adults will also be able to enter drawings for prizes, such as gift certificates and Kindle Fire e-reader tablets.

Registration for “Dig Into Reading” will run through the end of July. For more information, click here.


Members of the Hillsborough Arts Council would like to remind local residents that their meetings are open to the public. During the meetings, local residents have the opportunity to learn about what the Council does, give feedback on its current programs, or suggest new programs. The Council meets on the first Tuesday of each month, and the next meeting is set for the evening of June 4 beginning at 6:30 at 102 N Churton Street in Hillsborough.


The Hillsborough Arts Council members would also like to announce that they are accepting applications for those who would like to set up vendor booths during this season’s Last Fridays events. On the last Friday of each month from April to September, the Council hosts a gala event on the front lawn of Hillsborough’s historic Old Courthouse, including a different local band each week. Non-profit organizations are eligible to participate as vendors, along with local artists. All applications for a particular month’s Last Friday event must be submitted by the 21st of that month. To fill out an application, click here.