High School Football Preview: Week 2

Football is back across our community again tonight.

WCHL will broadcast the game Friday night between Carrboro High School and East Chapel Hill High School. The game will start at 7:30

East is looking to avenge a 42-12 loss to the Jaguars last year. Both East and Carrboro are coming off of a loss in their first games of the season last week.

Carrboro lost to Cedar Ridge 56-15. The Jaguars were torched by Cedar Ridge QB Peyton Pappas, who went 8-9 for 103 yards and three touchdowns, and RB Shemar Miles, who ran for 161 yards and also scored three touchdowns.

In their first game of the season the Wildcats fell to Northern Vance by a score of 26-15.

As both teams look to right the ship and get back on track with a victory on Friday night, WCHL will have all of the coverage you are looking for.

In other action this week, Chapel Hill travels to South Granville, Cedar Ridge takes on Jordan Matthews, Orange defends their home field against Northern Durham and Northwood is up against Charlotte Latin at home.

You can see the full schedule here.


Light Rail Project Clears Hurdle

The light rail project connecting Chapel Hill and Durham has cleared a major hurdle.

Natalie Murdock is the spokesperson on the project for GoTriangle. She says the Federal Transit Administration signed off on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement last Thursday.

“Essentially, this allows us to go forward and show the public everything that we’ve been working on at a very intense pace,” she says, “taking a four-year process and really trying to whittle that down into two years.”

Murdock says this draft statement focused on potential environmental impacts along the pathway from Chapel Hill to Durham.

“Throughout those 17 miles, we did have a number of environmentally-sensitive areas,” she says. “In this document, you will see our recommendation as to how we can offset some of those environmental impacts.

“And also ways that we can try to avoid impacts to communities and institutions.”

Murdock adds work has narrowed down on the potential path of the tracks.

The funding for the project is coming from local, state, and federal funds. Murdock says that will follow a 25-25-50 format, with 25 percent from the local level through a sales tax increase already approved by Orange and Durham County voters, 25 percent from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and 50 percent to come from the federal government.

A public comment period will open for 45 days after the formal FTA approval, which is expected on Friday.

Murdock says that will set off the next chain of events on the timeline.

“That final document will be finalized around February 2016,” she says. The final environmental-impact document approval will lead to additional authorization being sought from the FTA regarding engineering. “At that time, if the federal government allows us to proceed with the engineering, then in 2019 we will pursue 50 percent funding from the federal government and begin construction in 2019.”

The public comment period will include two public information sessions and two public hearings. The Friday Center will host an information session on September 15 and a public hearing on September 29.

“We need to hear from the public how they think the project will help their community,” Murdock says, “what concerns they have about how it will impact their community; if they think it will impact their access to work; if it will impact the access that customers will have to a business owner’s business.

“Those are the types of comments that we do need to hear from the public.”

You can view the draft proposal here.


Orange County EMS Urges Citizens to Check Emergency Kit Tourniquets

Some devices that are used by emergency responders in life-threatening situations may be counterfeit.

The use of tourniquets by first responders across the country has grown in recent years but now scammers have been selling counterfeit brand-name tourniquets. And the counterfeits are showing up in the United States, according to a recent CBS News investigation.

“The tourniquets are used by our EMS staff and also our law enforcement staff, to include the university public safety,” says Orange County Emergency Services Director Jim Groves. “If something goes wrong with the officer they can have some self protection.

“But they really came into fruition with our active-assailant planning.”

The tourniquets are used as a compression device to control the flow of blood to a specific area of a victim who suffered a traumatic injury.

Groves says tactics have changed in recent years on how to respond to situations where a large number of victims are in a life-threatening incident and use of tourniquets has grown rapidly.

“A lot of the data comes over from our war activity,” he says, “and fighting over in the Middle East.

“They save a lot of soldiers’ lives just by stopping the bleeding.”

It appears the counterfeit tourniquets are being sold through secondary online markets, including e-bay and Amazon. Groves says Orange County Emergency Services purchases tourniquets directly from a reputable manufacturer.

“It’s a very robust tourniquet,” he says. “It’s actually got a metal bar, if you will, versus a plastic or synthetic type of bar.”

Groves adds the devices are “not cheap” and some departments that have faced budget cuts may be looking to save money with the cheaper alternatives.

It is not only first responders that purchase tourniquets. Citizens are allowed to own the potentially life-saving devices for emergency kits. Groves says hunters are a large segment of civilian purchasers.

Groves says, while the emergency services department purchased its tourniquets from the manufacturer, a message has been passed along to everyone in the department to encourage them to ensure any additional devices purchased individually are legitimate.

He says citizens should go through the proper channels of purchasing.

“My suggestion would be, if they choose to do that, to go directly from the manufacturer,” he says, “and not go through a second or third party. Because they can’t guarantee the authenticity of what the device is.

“It’s going to cost you a couple of extra bucks, but you’re going to know it’s going to work when you need it.”

In a joint press release, North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin say none of the fake devices have been found in North Carolina at this time. Secretary of State Marshall requests anyone in North Carolina finding a counterfeit tourniquet call her Department’s Trademark Tipline with details so that state law enforcement agents can pursue the matter.


Football Season Is Back!

It’s that time of the year again! As we close out the month of August and kids head back to school that can only mean one thing – high school football season is here.

Check in regularly to WCHL and Chapelboro for all of your local coverage.

For a complete schedule for all local high school teams and to find out which games we will be covering throughout the season, click here.


New WCHL Owner on Station’s Future

Leslie Rudd is a Colorado-based entrepreneur and philanthropist with Chapel Hill ties, who will also be the new owner of WCHL and Chapelboro.com, once the final administrative hurdles are cleared.

WCHL has a history of serving Orange County that dates back to 1953.

READ MORE: New Owner Announced for WCHL and Chapelboro

Rudd says he is excited to continue the work of WCHL and Chapelboro, as one of the few remaining commercial radio stations in the country with a mission of serving the local community.

“We are very excited about owning WCHL and Chapelboro.com in a community that is near and dear to my heart. There have been some questions about the new ownership, and what we plan to do with the station and website, which are unique properties in a vibrant college town. Although we do not officially take over until the FCC license transfer is complete and the actual sale closes, our plans are to continue to serve the community with informative, entertaining and educational programming and content, much like it has in the past.

“Our business model when acquiring an existing company is to keep the operation in place and help the staff get even better at what they are doing as we go along. In some cases, we have brought in partners that make up a local ownership group, and we are exploring that option with WCHL. Of course, we will continue to carry the Tar Heel games and cover high school sports and have Ron Stutts in the morning and Aaron Keck in the afternoon. In my years having a home in Chapel Hill, I met so many wonderful people and still have great friends there. I know how much having their own dedicated radio station means to them, and that is what they will continue to have.”

READ MORE: New Bidders Vie for WCHL


1953 Roland “Sandy” McClamroch begins WCHL as a daytime operation with 1,000 watts at 1360 AM

1958 Jim Heavner joins WCHL as a part time summer announcer

1967 Heavner purchases first interest in WCHL from then Mayor McClamroch

1978 Heavner purchases McClamroch remaining ownership, owns 100%

1993 Curtis Media purchases WCHL

2002 Heavner buys WCHL back from Curtis

2009 Barry Leffler buys controlling interest in WCHL from Heavner

2011 WCHL establishes Chapelboro.com, a community news and feature website

2012 WCHL adds FM translator at 97.9FM

2014 Heavner repurchases Leffler interest when he leaves for Dallas role with Tenet Health Care, places it in VilCom.  WCHL is offered for sale.

2015 Leslie Rudd purchases WCHL


One Killed in I-85 Crash in Orange County

The State Highway Patrol has identified the driver killed in the fatal accident on I-85 Wednesday afternoon as 76-year-old Julius Edward Ellen, of Virginia.

Troopers say law enforcement was dispatched to a two-vehicle collision just before one o’clock. Both vehicles were traveling North on I-85 in the right lane when traffic slowed, reportedly due to a guardrail repair crew working just ahead of the crash which had closed the left lane to perform maintenance work.

The 2011 GMC Terrain driven by Ellen struck the rear end of a 1987 Chevrolet Utility truck, driven by 57-year-old Paul May, of South Carolina.

According to troopers, May was transported to Duke University Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.


Get to Know Who is Running for Chapel Hill Town Council

Nine candidates will be on the ballot for four spots on the Chapel Hill Town Council this fall.

Donna Bell, Lee Storrow, and Jim Ward will be running for re-election. Earlier this year, Matt Czajkowski resigned his seat on the Town Council that was up for election this November to work for a non-profit in Rwanda.

WCHL has compiled introductions from each of the Town Council hopefuls.

Jessica Anderson:


Donna Bell:


Adam Jones:


Paul Neebe:


Nancy Oates:


Michael Parker:


David Schwartz:


Lee Storrow:


Jim Ward:


WCHL and Chapelboro will have candidate introductions for Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools and Hillsborough Town Commissioners later this month.

Early voting begins on October 22. Election day is Tuesday, November 3.


Orange County Weathered Recession Better Than Most

An advocacy group’s analysis shows more North Carolinians are out of work now than before the recession.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate has dropped sharply since the darkest days of the recession. But the state still has more people looking for work than it did before the start of the Great Recession in 2007, according to Patrick McHugh, an economist for the North Carolina Justice Center, a left-leaning advocacy group.

“There are 100 counties in North Carolina and over 60 of them still have fewer jobs than existed before the recession hit,” McHugh said.

This statistic may have you scratching your head if you know that North Carolina as a whole has gained jobs since 2007. But McHugh says those job gains are concentrated in a few counties in the state.

And in the metropolitan areas where there has been job growth, McHugh says employment hasn’t kept up with the rise in population.

“Even if you only look at metropolitan areas—the 15 metropolitan areas that exist in the state—every single one of them actually has seen more growth in unemployed people than in employed people,” McHugh said.

Economists measure Chapel Hill and Durham together as one of the state’s metropolitan areas, and its residents did not escape the overall trend.

“The Chapel Hill – Durham area, if you compare back to 2007, has seen about an 8 percent increase in the number of people who are employed and almost 50 percent growth in the number of people who are unemployed.”

Orange County had a 5 percent unemployment rate for June, which is still higher than it was before the recession. But McHugh says compared to most of the state, Orange County has it pretty good.

“Orange County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, and has seen decent job growth since the start of the recession.”

McHugh says the university presence and the county’s proximity to Research Triangle Park had a lot to do with its ability to weather the recession. McHugh says those employers also kept Chapel Hill and Durham’s wages up, even as wages have fallen in other metropolitan areas.

“If we adjust for inflation and we compare back to 2007, the average hourly wage in Raleigh has gone down by about two dollars, the average hourly wage in Charlotte has gone down just slightly by about 30 cents.  In fact, about half of the metropolitan areas in the state have seen wages not keep up with inflation.”

Chapel Hill and Durham have the highest wage growth in the state, with an increase of $4.50 per hour.

McHugh says he believes raising the state’s minimum wage would boost earnings and employment. June was the fourth straight month unemployment has increased in the state.



Hundreds Gather in Hillsborough to Support Confederate Flag

Several hundred confederate flag supporters gathered in downtown Hillsborough Saturday for a ‘Southern Heritage Ride and Rally.’

It was pitched as an educational event to learn more about the history of the flag and other Confederate memorials. WCHL’s Jess Clark was there, listen below:


Last Thursday, on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, NC NAACP leaders held a press conference aimed to “promote the accurate history of ugly racist policies and symbols of hatred.”



Kleinschmidt: Sanctuary Status can “Create a Safer Community”

So-called “Sanctuary Cities” have been drawing renewed attention across the country.

Chapel Hill and Carrboro have been sanctuary cities for nearly a decade.

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt was a member of the Town Council when the town adopted the policy.

“Back in 2007, a woman here in our community went to the police station in order to get a permit in order to sell her art,” he recalls. “When they put her name into the database, it revealed that her Student Visa had expired a long time prior to her pursuit of this permit.

“She was taken into custody and sent to Charlotte to be readied for deportation. That’s not the kind of policy that tends to advance our public safety goals and other important law enforcement goals.”

Kleinschmidt says that incident led the town to adopt a new policy.

“With a growing immigrant population,” he says, “we want to be a welcoming community, number one. But we also want to protect everyone who is living here in our community.

“We have very important law enforcement goals that demand that we protect the citizens, as well as any residents of Chapel Hill.”

Sanctuary Cities have been drawing attention after a woman in San Francisco was allegedly murdered by a seven-time felon who had been deported to Mexico five times, according to immigration officials.

Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement last week opposing sanctuary cities saying “there is no place for them in North Carolina.”

The governor ended his comments at the Annual Training Conference of the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association with, “We cannot allow any sanctuary for drug traffickers, human traffickers or violent criminals in our state.”

Kleinschmidt says, on this note, he is in complete agreement with McCrory.

“I think that every elected official and citizen of every community in this state,” he says, “agree that there is no tolerance for providing a safe haven for drug cartel members or violent criminals.

“And, in fact, the policies that we have in place express that lack of tolerance. None of us would support policies that would do such a thing.”

Kleinschmidt says by calling for the removal of sanctuary cities due to drug cartels, McCrory is missing the bigger picture.

“We have found that if we don’t report people to immigration when they have no history of violence [and] they have no history of being a deported criminal,” he says, “that it actually enhances our ability to create a safer community.”

Kleinschmidt adds if residents living in our town illegally are scared to go to law enforcement with concerns, then it will create more of an underground criminal presence.

Kleinschmidt says the situation in San Francisco highlights a breakdown in the federal immigration system and that this renewed focus on municipalities shifts the federal responsibility to local law enforcement.

“In that situation, you had someone who was actually being released from prison without having immigration informed,” he says. “And that’s not something that would happen here.

“And I don’t think it would happen there if you had people in place who were actually following the policy.”

Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue says immigration status can put strain on law enforcement.

“I think if you talked to most law enforcement leaders, at the local level,” he says, “they will express concern about the conflicted position that immigration issues can put law enforcement in.”

Blue says Chapel Hill police have adopted policies in an effort to protect all residents of the town.

“It doesn’t mean that, local law enforcement, we don’t want to be good partners,” he says. “But the fact of the matter is, often times, the kinds of things that we learn may have resulted in an immigration detainer on someone are administrative kinds of issues.

“Local law enforcement, I think it’s fair to say, is not interested in detaining someone and turning them over to immigration officials because of some administrative mix-up that could be managed without having to take someone into custody.”

Blue is quick to point out this policy does not provide a safe haven for violent criminals.

“If we encounter someone and there’s some kind of federal immigration detainer on them that’s resulted from some violent act or some felonious act on the part of that person,” he says, “of course we would detain them and share that information with federal authorities.”

Blue adds if a resident has overstayed a Visa or has another administrative fault calling for their deportation, law enforcement will alert that person of the situation but will not take them into custody.

“We want people in our community, at the local level, to feel comfortable and confident that when they call law enforcement to some emergency,” he says, “that when we get there and after we resolve the emergency we’re not going to start checking people’s immigration status.”

An e-mail from McCrory’s press office told WCHL the governor is just voicing his opposition to sanctuary cities at this time and McCrory was making no enforcement demands.

Meanwhile at the federal level, US House Republicans have passed a bill that would remove the opportunity for local law enforcement from sanctuary cities to receive federal grant funds.

The White House has threatened to veto the proposed legislation.