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Is Hillsborough America’s “Coolest Small Town”?

Do you think Hillsborough is the coolest small town in America?

The website BudgetTravel.com is accepting nominations for an online “Coolest Small Towns in America” contest. Fifteen towns will be chosen to move on to the finals – and Hillsborough’s currently in first place with the most nominations. Let’s keep it there!

Head online and submit your nomination:

http://www.budgettravel.com/contest/coolest-small-towns-2015-nominations,17/

The nominating process runs through Tuesday, December 2. The contest recognizes towns with a population under 10,000 “and a certain something that no place else has.”

http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/hillsborough-americas-coolest-small-town/

Riverwalk Opens In Hillsborough

After years in the making, Hillsborough’s 1.8-mile Riverwalk trail is finally, officially open.

The town marked the opening of Riverwalk with a formal ceremony and a public celebration on Saturday afternoon. Hundreds turned out to experience the trail and hear a proclamation from Mayor Tom Stevens.

Find more information on Riverwalk here.

Located along the Eno River, Riverwalk is part of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Town officials first conceived of the idea in the late 1990s to promote active recreation, protect the town’s watershed, and generate activity downtown.

Visit this page for a Riverwalk scavenger hunt.

Mayor Stevens says it’s already working – as residents and visitors are already using the trail, not just for recreation but also as a transportation corridor.

Mayor Tom Stevens joined Aaron Keck on WCHL Monday to discuss Riverwalk and look back on Saturday’s public celebration.

http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/riverwalk-opens-hillsborough/

Hillsborough Celebrates Riverwalk

Hillsborough’s Riverwalk project is finally complete, and on Saturday, the town is marking the occasion with an opening celebration from 1-5 pm.

A formal ceremony will take place from 2:00-2;30, with remarks from Mayor Tom Stevens – then there will be three welcome stations open for the rest of the afternoon, at Gold Park, the Eno River Farmers Market, and the parking lot by Weaver Street Market.

WCHL’s Aaron Keck spoke with Mayor Stevens about Riverwalk earlier this week.

http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/hillsborough-celebrates-riverwalk/

What’s The Big WHUP in Hillsborough?

A fresh sound could hit the airwaves in Hillsborough soon, as volunteers look to bring a new community radio station to life.

“Hillsborough right now is just crawling with all kinds of creative people and there’s this amazing critical mass of creative energy in the town and we thought that a community radio station would be a good way to catalyze it and provide an outlet for some of that,” says Bob Burtman, one of the organizers hoping to launch the low-power station.

The station, known as WHUP 104.7, will take to the air next May. Burtman says the organizers chose the call letters after finding more traditional choices were not available.

“WHUP came up and people were just going ‘WHUP, whoop, that sounds pretty interesting- that sounds like fun.’ Then there’s all these permutations like ‘put a whoopin’ on you’, or ‘big whup’, or one that’s probably not appropriate for broadcast. We all just sort of gravitated towards it.”

The station will broadcast a variety of music, talk and current affairs programming, but Burtman says the signature sound will be live music.

“We’re going to have a focus on live music, which is not being done in very many places. Live in-studio, live from various venues on a weekly basis, live from special events and rebroadcasts of live music. There’s a treasure trove of that out there floating around that has never been heard.”

The station will broadcast to a small geographic area, but will be accessible outside Hillsborough through online streaming. About 70 people are already volunteering their talents to the planning effort. The group is looking to outfit studio space in January and launch the station in the spring. To make that happen, organizers hope to raise $70,000.

The organizers are hosting the first WHUP fundraiser Tuesday, September 30, at 7 p.m. at the Mystery Brewing Public House in Hillsborough. The event will feature an evening of music by Yep Roc recording artist Josh Rouse.

Tickets are $5 and are available either at the door or in advance via etix. For more information, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/entertainment/whats-big-whup-hillsborough/

The 2014 Inter-City Visit, As Told By Aaron Keck: Tuesday Evening

The second and final day of the 2014 ICV wrapped up Tuesday for nearly 100 Orange County residents, including WCHL’s Aaron Keck, who is making his second-consecutive trip with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s ICV has taken the group to Athens, Georgia, with a stop in Greenville, South Carolina on the way. Athens is a college town much like Chapel Hill-Carrboro with the campus of the University of Georgia abutting the City.

Aaron joined Ran Northam on the WCHL Tuesday Evening News to tell the latest about the trip.

***Listen to the Interview***

 

Have you missed any of Aaron’s updates from Athens?
Monday Morning | Monday Evening | Tuesday Morning | Tuesday Evening

While in Athens, Aaron has also been writing a column.
Dispatch From Athens: Part I | Part II | Part III

http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/2014-inter-city-visit-told-aaron-keck-tuesday-evening/

The 2014 Inter-City Visit, As Told By Aaron Keck: Tuesday Morning

The second and final day of the 2014 ICV is already upon the nearly 100 Orange County residents, including WCHL’s Aaron Keck, who is making his second-consecutive trip with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s ICV has taken the group to Athens, Georgia, with a stop in Greenville, South Carolina on the way. Athens is a college town much like Chapel Hill-Carrboro with the campus of the University of Georgia abutting the City.

Aaron joined Ron Stutts on the WCHL Tuesday Morning News to tell the latest about the trip.

***Listen to the Interview***

Have you missed any of Aaron’s updates from Athens?
Monday Morning | Monday Evening | Tuesday Morning | Tuesday Evening

While in Athens, Aaron has also been writing a column.
Dispatch From Athens: Part I | Part II | Part III

http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/2014-inter-city-visit-told-aaron-keck-tuesday-morning/

In Hillsborough: Riverwalk, Police, And The Colonial Inn

The latest from Hillsborough:

In August, the town’s Historic District Commission denied a request from Colonial Inn owner Francis Henry for the right to demolish the 176-year-old property – but Henry has now appealed that decision to the town’s Board of Adjustment, which will examine the case and issue a ruling at a later date. (The Board will be ruling on procedural grounds: did the HDC follow proper procedure when it made its decision?) The BOA’s next meeting is October 8.

Concerns about police militarization continue to swell, locally and nationally, particularly in the wake of recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. Earlier this month, Hillsborough police chief Duane Hampton provided a public update on the state of his department, with respect to both military-surplus equipment and community-police relations.

And on Saturday, October 11, the town will officially mark the grand opening of the much-anticipated Riverwalk trail with a ceremony and a public celebration. Riverwalk is part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which runs across the state; earlier this month, the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail met in Hillsborough for a “Trail Town Conference.”

Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens spoke on air with WCHL’s Aaron Keck about Riverwalk…

 

…and about the militarization issue, as well as the latest developments in the Colonial Inn saga. (He also talked about the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce’s upcoming Inter-City Visit to Athens, Georgia, which he’ll be attending.)

http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/hillsborough-riverwalk-police-colonial-inn/

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.

http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/911-memorial-scheduled-downtown-hillsborough/

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.

http://chapelboro.com/news/arts/love-bluegrass-head-moorefields/

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.

http://chapelboro.com/news/development/colonial-inn-demolition-request-denied/