Chapel Hill 2014: “I Believe We’re Going To Reap Great Reward”

CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill Town Council has concluded its 2013 business, and Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt says 2014 will likely be defined by some challenging decisions that need to be made.

“I think there are going to be several, and many of them are going to be budget-related,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “When you think of 2014 as the year when we finally make some big decisions that have major budget ramifications like solid waste, Rogers Road, and leveraging state and federal resources for other projects like the Ephesus-Fordham district. Those are going to be difficult, challenging questions.”

But, he says he’s confident the council will get to some good solutions.

The year 2013 already faced some tough budget decisions including finding money in the budget to get the newly rebuilt Chapel Hill Public Library back to full-time hours.

“The culmination of that decades-long work by people in our community, advocates of the library, the citizens of our town, and a series of leaders on the Town Council,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “Being able to open that library and bring in a new director with a great vision for our future, I think it’s one of the most visible and exciting things the happen this year.”

He says another defining moment of 2013 in Chapel Hill was the completion of a major development downtown that provides housing, a place for new businesses, and still allows room for parking.

“We also saw 140 West really get going and filled up and our downtown realizing a lot of the promise that that project was designed to create come to fruition,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says.

Mayor Kleinschmidt says he believes the completion of plans for the eastern part of town—the Ephesus/Fordham corridor—could revolutionize the community.

“Not just by being able to establish standards for redevelopment that have been vetted through the community that provide for a more streamline process for redevelopment in an area that we already know—or we already believe, at lease—can tolerate a much more intense commercial environment,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says.

And he says the process in which the redevelopment is achieved is also revolutionary.

“Within town government, things have changed so much in the way we have approached some of these challenges,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “The best example is the product of this district at Ephesus Church and Fordham. We have an economic development and planning team that have worked together in ways that they weren’t allowed to in years past. I believe we’re going to reap great reward.”

Check back with and WCHL Wednesday for part two of a look ahead to 2014 for Chapel Hill from the thoughts of its mayor, Mark Kleinschmidt.

Parents, Students Wear Red, Support Teachers

CHAPEL HILL – Parents, students, and Chapel Hill’s mayor, Mark Kleinschmidt, lined the sidewalk outside Estes Hills Elementary School Monday morning to praise the teachers at the start of American Education Week.


Teachers of Estes Hills walked by the students and parents who were cheering them on and saying thank you for all they do.

Mayor Kleinschmidt told a group that stuck around after the teacher parade that he got a bit choked up looking on.

“As a former teacher myself and someone who cares deeply about education, particularly that of our children here in Chapel Hill, it’s very heart-warming and celebratory, and it’s such a stark contrast to the way so many folks in North Carolina seem to be engaging with education today,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says.

In 1921, the Nation Education Association and the American Legion came together to create the American Education Week after finding out that 25 percent of the country’s World War I draftees were illiterate.

PTA President Courtney Limerick says with the current need of support around education in the state, this was a good time to start an outward show of support.

“The way things are in the state today, this was a great time to be able to show our appreciation throughout the year instead of just on Teacher Appreciation Week,” Limerick says.

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6-10 this school year.

Mayor Kleinschmidt adds that the amount of work is only going up while the financial and other support is dwindling.

“These teachers haven’t had a raise in six years,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “The support has been dwindling; teachers’ aids have been cut. They’re working harder than they ever had before and are being rewarded less.”

Estes Hills Principal Drew Ware says support from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district continues to be strong, but it’s on the state level where he and others would like to see a change.

“Certainly paying our teachers more, paying our staff more is incredibly important,” Ware says. “It has an impact on students, but there are a number of other things that have a negative impact on students. Our district has done an amazing job of helping to, kind of, protect and build up around our students so they’re getting the best education they possibly can.”

American Education Week continues through Friday:

Monday, November 18: Kickoff Day

Nationwide Kickoff. Across the country, schools will celebrate excellence in education by hosting kickoff events and activities.


Tuesday, November 19: Parents Day

Schools will invite parents into the classroom for a firsthand look at what the school day is like for their children.


Wednesday, November 20: Education Support Professionals Day

Education Support Professionals keep schools running and students safe, healthy and ready to learn. Check out these charts to see how hard ESPs work to serve students in public schools and how committed ESPs are to both their jobs and their communities. Also watch the “It’s More Than Just a Job” videos below to learn more about ESP careers.

Raise Your Hand for Student Success: Education Support Professional Appreciation Radio Spot By 2013 ESP of the Year Donna Schulze


Thursday, November 21: Educator for a Day

Community leaders will be invited to experience the day as educators and experience the challenges of teaching and the needs of students. Learn more about this program through the Educator for a Day Promotional Kit.


Friday, November 22: Substitute Educators Day

Substitute educators play a vital role in the maintenance and continuity of daily education. Learn more about these professionals and take a look at resources and tips for substitute educators.

2013 Mayoral Candidate Profile: Tom Stevens

HILLSBOROUGH – Hillsborough Mayor and candidate for re-election, Tom Stevens says growth is inevitable, and he’s happy with the processes that are in place to help keep the authentic small-town character of Hillsborough going forward.

“We have a strategic plan; we have a good infrastructure in place; we have a sense of the big things that we know that are enduring about Hillsborough,” Mayor Stevens says. “That’s our history; that’s our arts; that’s our diversity; it’s the connectivity; it’s the sense of identification; it’s our neighborhoods.”

WCHL’s Ran Northam spoke with Mayor Stevens about his seeking re-election and how he believes he’ll best serve you.

***Listen to the Interview***

Mayor Stevens is running unopposed.

He says including the town’s voice will continue to be one of his top priorities as mayor.

“I really think that is the mayor’s job as much as it is anybody else,” Mayor Stevens says. “You know, I’m a professional facilitator, and I think probably the thing that I’ve contributed most already to the Town Board, to public hearings, is including many voices.”

Between now and Election Day, we’ll be previewing each of the candidates one-on-one.

For more on Mayor Stevens, click here.

2013 Mayoral Candidate Profile: Lydia Lavelle

CARRBORO – Carrboro Alderman and mayoral candidate, Lydia Lavelle says it’s not news to anyone that development is one of the major issues with which Carrboro is dealing. She says she will make sure the town continues to focus on the best ways make construction and people’s day-to-day lives work hand-in-hand.

“We’ll have continued construction along Main Street,” Lavelle says. “So we’re going to have a lot of traffic issues downtown. Part of what the Board has been looking at is learning from some of the experiences we’ve had with the hotel in terms of construction management, for example. So, we have some challenges in place to figure out how to route people through our town as those other constructions are occurring.”

WCHL’s Ran Northam spoke with Lavelle about her seeking election as mayor and how she believes she’ll best serve you.

***Listen to the Interview***

Lavelle is running unopposed.

She says her availability isn’t going to change from what it’s been in her nearly six years on the board.

“I’ll be available to meet with them, talk to them,” Lavelle says. “They’ll get good responses from me. I’m also getting ready to set up regular kind of meetings with our town manager in an effort to make certain that the concerns of all of our citizens are going to be heard as they have been, but it’ll just be a different kind of flow with the administration change, if you will, from Mayor Chilton to myself.”

Between now and Election Day, we’ll be previewing each of the candidates one-on-one.

For more on Lavelle, click here.

2013 Mayoral Candidate Profile: Mark Kleinschmidt

CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill Mayor and candidate for re-election, Mark Kleinschmidt says, as mayor, he’s going to work to make sure the town thoughtfully implements the Chapel Hill 2020 plan in an important time for development.

“We began the process with an idea of how things might work, but it’s going to be an involving process,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “So, that’s going to be a challenge for many people.”

WCHL’s Rachel Nash spoke with Mayor Kleinschmidt about his seeking re-election and how he believes he’ll best serve you.

***Listen to the Interview***

Mayor Kleinschmidt is running unopposed.

He says the best way the town is going to grow and continue moving forward is by feeding off the education community.

“If we can resist the urge to be attracted just to conflict and remember that we are a learned community; we are a community that can take lessons from the past and apply them to our challenges in the future and be respectful of each other’s opinions,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “You know, with 55,000 to 60,000 people, we’re not going to have unanimity on every decision that we have to make as a community.”

Between now and Election Day, we’ll be previewing each of the candidates one-on-one.

For more on Mayor Kleinschmidt, click here.

Chapel Hill Mayor Declares State Of Emergency

Photo by Ernie Rogers – CHTC parking lot.

CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt issued a proclamation Monday declaring Chapel Hill in a state of emergency.

The proclamation gives Town Manager, Roger Stancil, the ability to take any necessary actions to ensure the safety of the Town’s citizens, including opening any shelters that are needed. It also authorizes him to modify or require any regulations and fees necessary to ensure public safety. Mayor Kleinschmidt also formally ordered that all citizens and emergency management personnel to comply with the emergency action plan.

The proclamation was put into effect immediately and will expire 30 days from its inception, unless another proclamation withdraws it or modifies it.

The Mayor’s memo came a week after flood waters greatly damages homes and businesses in Chapel Hill.

To read the full proclamation by Mayor Kleinschmidt of the state of emergency in Chapel Hill, click here.

Chapel Hill Public Library Celebration

Hundreds of local residents gathered Saturday afternoon at the site of the Chapel Hill Public Library off Estes Drive to celebrate the opening of its newly renovated facility— a project that’s been about a decade in the making.