9/11 Memorial Scheduled in Downtown Hillsborough

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 will be remembered at a ceremony hosted by Orange County on Thursday, on the front lawn of the Historic Courthouse in Downtown Hillsborough.

State Senator Valerie Foushee of District 23 will deliver the keynote address, and representatives of law enforcement and fire agencies from Hillsborough, Chapel Hill and Carrboro will also attend.

Elected officials from all three of the towns, and from all levels of Orange County government have also been invited, according to an Orange County news release.

The event is open to the public, and attendees will be provided with remembrance cards to share their reflections about that tragic day.

A 9/11 Memorial Ceremony in Orange County is planned to take place every year.

This year’s event begins at 8:30 a.m.


Love Bluegrass? Head To Moorefields

On Saturday, September 6, Hillsborough’s Historic Moorefields will play host to an afternoon of bluegrass music.

“Bluegrass at Moorefields” will run from 2-7 p.m., featuring music from four area bluegrass bands: the Nash Street Ramblers (based in Hillsborough); Cagle Family and Friends (from Efland); the Bethesda Bluegrass Band (from Durham); and Constant Change (from Raleigh). Food trucks will be on hand, and beer and wine will be available too.

Clifton Preddy of Constant Change joined WCHL’s Aaron Keck on the air last week.

Listen to two songs by Constant Change, “Mountain Man” and “A Song for Marie.”

And the Bethesda Bluegrass Band stopped by this past week for a chat with Aaron – and they brought all their instruments for a live performance of “Twister”!

Tickets for Bluegrass at Moorefields are $20 – free for children 12 and under. Buy them online, at the Hillsborough Visitors Center at 150 E. King Street, or at the gate on the day of the festival.

For more information – and for tickets – visit this link.


Colonial Inn Demolition Request: Denied

With one member recused, the Hillsborough Historic District Commission unanimously denied the Colonial Inn’s owner the approval he sought to demolish the building.

The crowd gathered on the lawn of the Town Hall Campus (SP Murray)

The crowd gathered on the lawn of the Town Hall Campus (SP Murray)

Citizen opposition to losing the 176-year-old building was overwhelming at Wednesday night’s cramped meeting in the tiny Town Barn – and that was expressed by about 100 folks outside on the lawn, too.

“I grew up in Hillsborough,” said Kay Stagner, whose family now lives in Efland. “And I grew up going to the Inn – The Colonial Inn on Sundays for dinner. And I had my wedding reception at The Colonial Inn. I’ve been to Christmas parties and retirement parties, and it’s a part of my past, and my experience, just like, probably, most people here.”

The Stagners regularly visit Hillsborough for shopping and dining. On Wednesday evening, Kay and her 13-year-old daughter Hannah sat together on a blanket on the lawn of Hillsborough’s Town Hall, to join a demonstration of around 100 people opposed to the demolition of the Colonial Inn at 153 West King Street.

Some of the young children running and playing on the lawn were even dressed in 19th-century-style clothes for the occasion.

The rally began an hour before a meeting in the Town Barn, where members of the Historic District Commission would decide whether the dilapidated building would be spared against the current owner’s wishes.

Hillsborough insurance broker Chip Millard organized the rally quickly, on Facebook.

“Well I saw – I want to say on [chapelboro.com] – an article where there was a certificate of appropriateness to tear the Colonial Inn down,” said Millard. And you know, I’ve been following this story for the last 12 years, and it’s made me really mad.”

Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens addresses the crowd at a Town Hall rally to save the Colonial Inn. (SP Murray)

Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens addresses the crowd at a Town Hall rally to save the Colonial Inn. (SP Murray)

Right before the 7 p.m. meeting started, Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens greeted the rallyers with a bullhorn.

“As a Town Board member – and I think I speak for the entire Town Board – we do have tremendous confidence in the ability of our Historic District Commission,” he assured the crowd.

Inside the Town Barn, there’s only enough room for about 20-to-30 spectators, and it was packed. Some of the citizens who were there to speak against Colonial Inn owner Francis Henry’s application to tear the building down were actually called in from outside when it was their turn.

With the exception of Henry, who purchased the Inn 13 years ago, nobody spoke up for his request. Citizens have long complained about the run-down condition of the building since Henry bought it, and the Town of Hillsborough has taken several actions against Henry for non-compliance with repair orders.

Henry spoke first at Wednesday’s meeting. After requesting that a TV camera be moved to the other side of the room, away from him, and asking Hillsborough Planner Stephanie Trueblood to explain the evening’s proceedings, Henry said that he was only asking for the right to demolish the Colonial Inn.

That didn’t mean he would actually do it, he said. He framed it as a matter of principle.

“This application is based on my belief that a homeowner has certain rights,” said Henry. “I always believed that.”

Eighteen people stepped up to the podium to express their disagreement with Henry’s position. One of them was Hillsborough District Commission Chair Mark Bell, who had recused himself from deliberating and voting on the Colonial Inn matter, because he’d been involved in four out of six unsuccessful offers, that he knew of, to buy the Colonial Inn from Henry.

Bell, like others, insisted that the run-down building is “redeemable.”

“I encourage the HDC to deny the application to demolish this historic structure,” said Bell. “A grassy lot means nothing to Hillsborough. The preservation of the Colonial Inn means everything.”

The remaining four voting members of the Commission agreed. Henry’s application was denied unanimously. Members said that Henry had failed to find a “viable alternative” to demolition.


In H’boro, “National Night Out” Promotes Small-Town Vibe

This Tuesday is “National Night Out” in your local community.

“National Night Out” is an annual event, now in its 31st year, co-sponsored by police departments across the country to promote close, friendly neighborhoods – the better to prevent drug abuse and crime.

From 6-8 pm, you’re invited to turn on your outside lights, lock your doors, and spend the evening outside with your neighbors. Many neighborhoods in the area are hosting special events, and police officers will be there to meet with residents as well.

In Hillsborough, National Night Out is another example of the town’s commitment to its close-knit, small-town character. Mayor Tom Stevens joined WCHL’s Aaron Keck on the Monday afternoon news to discuss both National Night Out and the town’s efforts in general to preserve its character in the face of development and growth.


Fate Of Colonial Inn At Stake Wednesday

The fate of Hillsborough’s Colonial Inn could be decided on Wednesday.

That’s when the town’s Historic District Commission meets to consider a request for demolition from the building’s owner, Francis Henry.

The building at 153 West King Street is 175 years old, but it’s sat in disrepair for years. Henry bought the property in 2001.

The meeting will take place at 7:00 Wednesday evening at the Town Barn. Some residents are planning to gather on the lawn in front at 6:30 for a “lawn party” in support of the building.

Hillsborough mayor Tom Stevens joined WCHL’s Aaron Keck on the Monday afternoon news to discuss the issue – as well as the procedure that the commission will use to make its decision.


Hillsborough’s National Night Out

Hillsborough police are inviting residents to come together on August 5 for the 31st annual “National Night Out.”

Sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, National Night Out is designed to bring neighbors together – the better to prevent neighborhood crime. From 6-9 p.m., residents are invited to turn on their outside lights, lock their doors, and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police officers.

For more on National Night Out in Hillsborough or to organize a neighborhood party, contact community services officers Tereasa King or Tashia Mayo at 919-732-2441, ext. 26.


Carrboro Police To Citizens; Orangetheory Fitness; Hillsborough Tractor Supply

The Carrboro Police Department has launched a new online service that lets you see incident reports, arrest reports, and traffic crash reports.

It’s called “Police to Citizen,” or P2C. Chapel Hill Police have a P2C program in place as well.

To see it for yourself, head online and visit P2C.TownOfCarrboro.org.

A new fitness program called “Orangetheory Fitness” is coming to Meadowmont this fall as part of a nationwide expansion.

“Orangetheory Fitness” is a “group interval fitness concept” that focuses on interval training and short bursts of exercise; advocates say that focus enables the body to keep burning calories for up to 36 hours after the workout.

The program opened its first North Carolina location in Morrisville earlier this year; the Meadowmont location will be the Triangle’s second. Visit OrangeTheoryFitness.com to learn more.

Hillsborough mayor Tom Stevens will be on hand Saturday, July 26, to cut the ribbon on Hillsborough’s new Tractor Supply Company store on NC-86.

The store actually opens on Saturday, July 19, but the grand opening celebration on the 26th. It’s the 64th Tractor Supply store in North Carolina, employing 15 people.

The store is located at 1701 NC-86 South, just north of the I-85 bridge. The ceremony will begin at 9:00 a.m. on the 26th.


Early Voting For Sheriff Concludes

Early voting is closed for Orange County’s next sheriff as 298 residents cast their ballots on Friday, and 282 voted on Saturday taking the total to 1,519 for early voting.

Saturday, Orange County Commissioner Mark Dorosin told WCHL that he organized about 100 citizens to join him in voting early, and led the caravan from Chapel Hill to Hillsborough.

Charles Blackwood and David Caldwell are in the runoff for the position after the two were separated by just more than 60 votes in the May 6 Primary. Since neither received more than 40 percent of the vote, the second-place finisher—Caldwell—was able to call for the runoff.

Only the Board of Elections Headquarters took votes in the early voting process because of the historically low turnout for runoffs. However, all 44 precincts open on Election Day, Tuesday, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Candidate Profiles

Charles Blackwood

David Caldwell


Early Voting Thursday Check-In

Voting numbers remained flat Thursday as 156 Orange County residents cast their ballots early for the next sheriff.

Charles Blackwood and David Caldwell are in a runoff for the position after the two were separated by just more than 60 votes in the May 6 Primary. Since neither received more than 40 percent of the vote, the second-place finisher—Caldwell—was able to call for the runoff.

Only the Board of Elections Headquarters is taking votes in the early voting process because of the historically low turnout for runoffs. All 44 precincts will be open on Election Day, July 15.

The polls open each day this week from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Election Day is July 15, and all the polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Orange County Board of Elections is located at 208 South Cameron Street in Hillsborough next to Orange County Financial Services.


Hillsborough Mayor Is Featured Artist

Perhaps best known these days as Hillsborough’s mayor, Tom Stevens is also an accomplished artist – and it’s in that vein that he’s being featured this month at Hillsborough’s Cup-A-Joe coffee shop.

Through the end of July, the Cup-A-Joe will be displaying “Around the Corner,” a collection of landscapes by Stevens. The title, “Around the Corner,” is meant to be taken literally: all the paintings depict locations in Hillsborough, within a couple blocks of the Cup-A-Joe itself.

On Monday, Stevens joined Aaron Keck on the WCHL Afternoon News to discuss the exhibit – as well as the state of the arts in Hillsborough generally.

On Wednesday, July 9, there will be an artist’s reception from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Everyone’s welcome to attend.

Cup-A-Joe is located at 120 W. King Street in downtown Hillsborough.

See more of Stevens’ art here, including pieces from “Around the Corner.”