National LGBT Ground Endorses Storrow for Town Council

A national LGBT organization is endorsing Lee Storrow in his re-election campaign for the Chapel Hill Town Council.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund called Storrow a “dynamic, young leader who has a track record of standing up for policies that promote diversity.”

In a prepared statement, Storrow said, “given the recent passage of Senate Bill 2 by the North Carolina General Assembly, it is more important than ever that we elect openly-gay and pro-equality candidates to public office.”

Storrow announced in March that he would be running for re-election this fall.

He was first elected to the Town Council in 2011.

Honors, Tours, And Curiosities!

Congratulations to Desaray Rockett, Judith Blau, and Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe–winners of this year’s Pauli Murray Awards.

The Orange County Human Relations Commission gives out the Pauli Murray Awards each year to a youth, an adult, and a business in Orange County “who serve the community with distinction in the pursuit of equality, justice, and human rights for all residents.”

This year’s winners were honored at a ceremony on Sunday, February 23, at 3:00 in the Central Orange Senior Center. Also honored were Judah Kalb and Nathan Bell – both students at Smith Middle School, and both winners of the Orange County Human Relations Commission’s 2013 Student Essay Contest.

As part of a class on African American Studies, Kalb and Bell wrote about the lasting impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Kalb won first place in the essay contest; Bell took second.


UNC has honored Roberto G. Quercia, chair of the City and Regional Planning department, with the university’s 2013 C. Felix Harvey Award.

Awarded by the Provost’s office, the honor recognizes “exemplary faculty scholarship that reflects one of UNC’s top priorities and addresses a real-world challenge.” It includes a $75,000 prize, which Quercia will use to develop the Bridges2Success Scholar Athlete Support Program, an academy that trains middle and high school coaches to promote academic success among male athletes of color.

To learn more about the program, visit


You’re invited to the annual meeting of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, Wednesday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Carolina Inn.

Speakers will include Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue and Al Bowers, the owner of Al’s Burger Shack.


Before there were art museums and science museums, there were “Cabinets of Curiosities”: densely packed rooms where scholars and nobles displayed rare and fascinating items from shells to gems to old relics and bizarre devices.

Now, UNC’s Wilson Library is celebrating those old exhibits with an exhibit of its own, “Rooms of Wonder,” on display through April 20. The exhibit features rare books and catalogs from the old rooms–as well as items from the UNC Rare Book Collection’s own “cabinet of curiosities,” including ancient Babylonian tablets, an Egyptian papyrus roll, and an “Incan record-keeping device consisting of intricately knotted threads.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public.


Wednesday, March 5, you’re invited to campus for a free screening of the documentary “Breaking Through,” chronicling the stories of LGBT elected officials across the country–including Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay U.S. Senator.

The film begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Nelson Mandela Auditorium in UNC’s FedEx Global Education Center. Director/producer Cindy Abel and editor Michael Bruno will be on hand, and the film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring North Carolina’s LGBT elected officials–including Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, Town Council member Lee Storrow, Alderman Damon Seils, and State Representative Marcus Brandon.

You can watch the trailer online at


Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center just completed a successful canned food drive, collecting nearly 1,000 cans of food for the IFC by offering customers a $10 discount on oil changes if they brought in four cans of food.

IFC officials say those cans will be used to help about 450 different families in the area.

To learn how you can donate, visit


Chatham Habitat for Humanity is teaming up with the MassMutual Life Insurance Company to give away free $50,000 term life insurance policies to benefit children of working families in Pittsboro.

You are eligible to apply if you’re a permanent legal U.S. resident of good health between the ages of 19 and 42, with a total family income between $10,000 and $40,000, and a parent or legal guardian of a child under 18.

You can apply at a one-day public event on Saturday, March 8, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Chatham Habitat for Humanity office at 467 West Street in Pittsboro.


You’re invited to explore the history of Hillsborough on Saturday, March 8, with a one-hour guided walking tour hosted by the Alliance of Historic Hillsborough.

The tour begins at 11:00 a.m. at the Hillsborough Visitors Center and winds through the center of the Piedmont’s oldest town, visiting schoolhouses, old homes and cemeteries along the way.

Tickets are $5 per person; children under 12 are free.

Mayor K Asks To Sever Ties With Anti-LGBT Russia

CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, together with Council Member Lee Storrow, is asking the council to approve dissolving the relationship with sister-city Saratov, Russia.

“Some of them would have LGBT people erased from the planet,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “Now we have to decide, what’s the best way to help create that change.”

***Listen to the Interview***

*Part 1*

*Part 2*

The Russian government has illegalized propaganda of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) people or “nontraditional sexual relations around minors.”

The law was signed last week and eliminated discussion of gay rights and relationships anywhere children might hear it. The law has been condemned by many, including rights groups in Russian and internationally saying it’s highly discriminatory.

“When we’re talking about a country whose legislature unanimously passed these bills and there has been an international outcry against this—the closest analogy was the international outcry against apartheid in South Africa, for example,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “Not that these two issues are the same. But, I think what you have here is a country that’s decided something that the rest of the world thinks is improper, and we need to figure out how to handle it. In that instance, it was about isolating South Africa. I think in this instance on LGBT issues, it’s about isolating Russia.”

Mayor Kleinschmidt says the sister-city relationship hasn’t really meant anything in the past decade or so. He said it’s never even come up in all his time on the Council dating back to 2001 and that this act can serve as a strong statement.

The relationship was formed after the Cold War when, as Mayor Kleinschmidt describes, similarities were realized.

“It was about understanding that there were human beings living in towns and cities that were just like us and that the Cold War politics—it was a different kind of experience, you know, that was a national, geo-political conflict—but at the bottom of it, at the end of the day, they were ordinary people, trying to make a living and taking care of their families,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says.

He says now it’s become clear just who those people are.

Mayor Kleinschmidt says if he were to visit Chapel Hill’s sister-city now, he’s concerned for how he’d be received.

“If the headline is, ‘here comes Chapel Hill’s mayor with his gay boyfriend’ am I going to be arrested for propagandizing in Russia?” Mayor Kleinschmidt asks. “Because my understanding is that might just be enough.”

He says he hopes the Council will swiftly act on the resolution he and Storrow presented.

“I’d like to get it done on the ninth of September in the consent agenda and move right on,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says.


Statement from Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Council Member Lee Storrow on Chapel Hill’s Sister City Relationship with Saratov Russia
As openly LGBT politicians, the visuals and news stories coming out of Russia since the enactment of Russia’s new anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) law banning “homosexual propaganda” have been heartbreaking.  
Innocent individuals and families face persecution, violence and detainment for expressing themselves openly and non-violently in the public square.  These laws are deplorable and do nothing but create hardship, suffering, and in some cases death, for innocent people.  
It is in light of these laws that we will be petitioning the Chapel Hill Town Council to sever our Sister City Relationship with Saratov, Russia.

Created decades ago, the relationship has been inactive as long as we have served on Council.  The Town of Chapel Hill currently has no communication or active relationship with Saratov, Russia, and due to the enactment of Russia’s anti-LGBT policies, we see no reason to keep the relationship even in name.

We hope soon Russian society – as well as all societies foreign and domestic- will recognize that LGBT people deserve equal protection and freedom under the law.  The law Russian’s passed against LGBT citizens is a law designed to address a problem that does not exist.  LGBT citizens in all societies represent a great source of talent and value, able to contribute immeasurably to the betterment of a nation and a people.  Until Russian society is able to come to this basic truth, we see no ability to move forward in a productive sister city relationship with a Russian city or town.