Election Day is approaching! Come learn about the candidates at a pair of forums on Thursday, September 24, both hosted by the League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham, and Chatham Counties.
The first is for Pittsboro voters: the LWV is hosting a forum for Pittsboro mayoral and town council candidates from 6-8 pm in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building at 65 East Chatham Street. (You’l be able to register to vote at the forum too.)
The second is for Chapel Hill/Carrboro voters: a forum for CHCCS school board candidates from 6:30-8:00 pm at the Chapel Hill Public Library.
LWV Voter Services chair Krishna Mondal joined Aaron Keck on WCHL Monday to discuss the two forums.
For more information on the two forums or on the League of Women Voters, visit LWVODC.org.http://chapelboro.com/news/election/meet-pittsboro-chccs-candidates-in-forums-thursday/
About a hundred people turned out in Pittsboro on Tuesday as officials broke ground on UNC Health Care’s new Hospice Home.
“We’re glad to be celebrating UNC Health Care’s newest opportunity to serve the people of North Carolina,” said Brian Goldstein, chief operating officer of the UNC Health Care System, as he welcomed onlookers to the site.
The hospice home is set to open in February. When it opens, Goldstein said, it will be a major addition for hospice care – Chatham County’s first inpatient hospice facility.
“In total, (it will have) 11,000 square feet,” he said, “complete with kitchen, dining room, meditation space, family visiting areas, and ten private rooms, each with an individual outdoor patio.”
In addition to serving as a boost for medical care, the building will also serve as a boost for the town of Pittsboro. It’s the second building to start construction in Chatham Park, Pittsboro’s new mega-development – the first, already under way, will open in December.
“We are pleased to partner with UNC Health Care,” said Chatham Park developer Tim Smith, who was on hand for the groundbreaking. “This hospice will provide end-of-life care options not previously available to local residents.”
Pittsboro town commissioner Pamela Baldwin – also present for the ceremony – agreed. “This is an honor, as well as an unparalleled privilege, to participate in the groundbreaking,” she said.
Officially, the building will be named the SECU Jim and Betsy Bryan Hospice Home of UNC Health Care. (Jim Johnson of the SECU Foundation was on hand to provide a major donation to the project – a $1 million challenge grant.) Dr. James Bryan, the building’s namesake, has been with the UNC Department of Internal Medicine since 1964; in the 1970s he introduced the modern hospice care movement to North Carolina.
That movement began in England with a physician named Cicely Saunders – and an idea that began to grow in the 1940s, when she was a nurse treating a Polish refugee who was terminally ill.
“There he was, undertaking this terminal course, and they became very close,” said Bryan at Tuesday’s ceremony. “And they talked about how ideal it would be to be at a home…with a window overlooking a park, with music, with friends and with family…
“And so when he died, he left a legacy to her – and said, ‘I want you to build a window.'”
That “window” eventually became St. Christopher’s in London, which opened in 1967 as the first modern facility devoted to hospice care. Today, there are “windows” like St. Christopher’s around the world – and come February, there will be another new “window” in Chatham Park.
Community leaders in Pittsboro are rallying together to help out a family after they suffered a major loss in early March.
Melody Bailey is the Head Custodian at North Chatham Elementary School and, on Tuesday March 3, her house burned down.
Rex Whilloughby owns and operates a McDonalds in the area and has two children at North Chatham. He says this really hit home when he heard the news.
“Melody, she’s one of those polite people that, every time you pass her in the hallways when you’re dropping kids off in the morning,” he says, “she’s always one to smile and speak, say ‘Hello.’”
Whilloughby says he and his wife knew they had to act when they were reading the notice about the incident from the school.
So, tonight if you are traveling through Pittsboro you can stop in the McDonald’s at 36 Lowes Drive, contribute to the cause, and help a family in need.
“From 4-8 PM, we’re going to donate 50 percent of all sales to Ms. Bailey,” Whilloughby says.
He adds if you want to donate more than that, they will also have donation boxes to collect funds for Bailey and her family.
And if you are not in the area, but would like to help, you can donate here.http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/community-rallies-to-help-pittsboro-family/
UNC Health Care broke ground Tuesday on the first project in the controversial Chatham Park development near Pittsboro.
The 25,000-square-foot medical office building will be at the intersection of U.S. 64 Bypass and U.S. 15-501.
Though construction is underway, Chatham Park is still the focus of scrutiny.
The 7,000 acre mixed-use development was approved this summer after months of contentious debate.
A coalition of Pittsboro residents immediately filed suit have the rezoning overturned, alleging town officials didn’t follow state and local zoning rules.
Chatham Park Investors, which shares management with Preston Development, filed a motion to dismiss the suit, saying members of Pittsboro Matters don’t have a legal stake in the case.
While the lawsuit plays out in court, Pittsboro Commissioners are considering a request to add 46 acres to the project’s master plan, a move that would require the re-approval of the entire development.
Even if commissioners don’t approve the new plan, the initial approval would still stand.
The full project is slated to take 30 years to build. Once complete it would increase Pittsboro’s population by 1,900 percent, growing from 3,000 to 60,000.http://chapelboro.com/news/development/chatham-park-breaks-ground-amid-controversy/
A group of citizens has filed a lawsuit challenging Pittsboro’s approval of the Chatham Park development project.
The suit filed by members of Pittsboro Matters alleges that the Town Board violated state statutes, town zoning rules and the state constitution when it voted in June to rezone 7,000 acres on the outskirts of town.
The controversial proposal would increase Pittsboro’s population from 4,000 to nearly 60,000. Opponents say the project lacks adequate environmental protections and should incorporate more public input in the design process.
Members of Pittsboro Matters say while they are ready and willing to litigate the issue, they would also be open to negotiating with town leaders and Chatham Park investors.
You can find the full text of the complaint here.http://chapelboro.com/news/development/lawsuit-challenges-chatham-park-project/
Harvey Harman stands behind his students. Photo via ChathamHabitat.org.
It’s 512 square feet in size, it costs only $36,000 to build – and Chatham Habitat for Humanity officials say it could help address the affordable-housing crunch in our area.
Chatham Habitat Construction Director Harvey Harman is leading the build: he’s teaching a class on small-house construction this summer at Central Carolina, and his students are building the house with the help of Habitat volunteers.
In addition to being about half the cost to build than a typical Habitat house, Harman and Chatham Habitat executive director Jerry Whortan say a cluster of “small houses” could better serve some of the people in need of affordable housing – like seniors, singles, or young couples – who aren’t really in the market for a single-family home. (They also say the house is designed to be easily expanded if necessary.)
Whortan and Harman joined Aaron Keck earlier this month on the WCHL Afternoon News.
Construction is already under way on the small house at Chatham Habitat’s campus on 467 West Street in Pittsboro. Visit ChathamHabitat.org for more details or to arrange a tour.http://chapelboro.com/news/non-profit-news/small-house-comes-chatham-habitat/
National Weather Service Senior Forecaster Scott Sharp says once the cold front moves through the Triangle between 7:00 and 7:30 Monday morning, we should expect rain to switch to sleet at about midday.
WCHL’s Ron Stutts spoke with Sharp during the WCHL Monday Morning News.
***Listen to the Interview***http://chapelboro.com/news/weather/cold-front-bring-frozen-precipitation/
ORANGE COUNTY – Activists here in Orange County and across North Carolina are gearing up for the annual Historic Thousands on Jones St. (HKonJ) rally happening this Saturday in Raleigh. This year, the event is expected to bigger than ever, combining forces with the Moral Monday protest movement.
Former Mayor of Carrboro, Mark Chilton, has participated in several HKonJ marches. He was arrested last year on June 3rd during the demonstration dubbed “Mega Moral Monday,” protesting against what he called the “regressive policies” of the North Carolina General Assembly.
“This is the most enthusiasm, the most serious organizing effort I have ever seen going into it. It is definitely going to be the biggest HKonJ ever,” Chilton said.
Formed in 2006, HKonJ is an N.C. NAACP-affiliated group, and a march takes place each year on the second Saturday in February. The Moral Monday protests were also organized by the NAACP.
Activities kick off at 9:30 a.m. on Shaw University’s campus.
“The Moral March on Raleigh” begins around 10:30 a.m. when the group departs for the State Capitol Building for a mass assembly.
“We are all terribly concerned about what the state legislature is doing to North Carolina right now, and that is the single biggest motivator,” Chilton said.
Randy Voller, Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party and Former Mayor of Pittsboro, attended many Moral Monday protests during the summer of 2013, as well as several past HKonJ marches.
He watched as close to a thousand people were arrested inside the General Assembly, protesting against legislation which they believed hurt the poor and minority groups, and negatively impacted women’s rights and education, among other issues.
“You’ve got to have a point for people to organize and that is what Moral Mondays became. It was a chance for people to express their displeasure and to essentially show that we care about our community and our state and to show these elected officials that these decisions have consequence,” Voller said.
Called “a fusion movement,” a diverse group advocacy organizations plan to share their message Saturday.
”You will feel that people are concerned, and you are going to get a strong feeling that this energy will translate into action,” Voller said.
Chilton added that his fellow members of “The Orange County Five” are attending the Moral March on Raleigh.
That group includes Carrboro Alderpersons Damon Seils, Michelle Johnson and Sammy Slade, and Chapel Hill Town Council member Donna Bell. They were arrested on June 3rd along with Chilton.
“We are all going to be there, and we are definitely feeling a lot of solidarity hanging together,” Chilton said.
This event is special for Chilton for another reason. With out his prompting, he said his son decided to rally his fellow high schoolers to make the trek to Raleigh. Chilton said he is carpooling the young activists Saturday morning.
Thirteen Moral Mondays were held in Raleigh from late May until the end of July in 2013, and 24 local Moral Mondays were held across the state.
Georgia held its own Moral Monday in January, inspired by the movement happening in North Carolina.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP transportation information.
West Chatham County NAACP transportation information.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-news/orange-county-gears-moral-march-raleigh/
BURLINGTON- Officials say 3.5 million gallons of wastewater has spilled into the Haw River after a break in a line at a treatment plant in Burlington.
City officials said the sewage reached the river Monday night and was not stopped until Wednesday afternoon.
Eric Davis with the water and sewer system says officials notified the water resources division of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources about the spill.
Davis says state officials told him to make the spill public after the overflow had stopped.
Officials brought in a bypass pump. Officials say the snow delayed delivery of parts and personnel traveling from Raleigh and Wilmington.
The city has notified Pittsboro, which gets its drinking water from the Haw River. Davis says Pittsboro has not seen any problems yet.http://chapelboro.com/news/health/3-5-million-gallons-sewage-spills-haw-river/
PITTSBORO – Preston Development INC. is planning a new project for Pittsboro called Chatham Park.
The new project would be a long process taking 30-40 years, but could bring many new aspects to the town like medical facilities, parks, trails, houses, and businesses. Consulting Planner for Chatham Park, Philip Culpepper, says that Pittsboro and the people there will not be left out of the project.
“We will be a part of Pittsboro,” Culpepper says. “We’ve already annexed portions of the property into Pittsboro. We consider Pittsboro, its historic downtown, and the people of Pittsboro an integral part of what we are trying to do.” Culpepper said.
Several developments in Chatham County like Briar Chapel, Powell Place, and Westmoore have tried to blend businesses with housing, but have had little success. Culpepper says that they have a different plan to bring in business and that they will not focus on retail like these other developments.
“We’re looking at more of broader range, of not only retail, but medical facilities, light industries, office parks, things like that,” says Culpepper. “So it’s a much broader range and we’re already seeing the demand. We anticipate building a medical office facility here very shortly.”
Currently Preston has several projects ranging across the state. When asked why Pittsboro, Culpepper says it seemed like the next big area for the Triangle.
“Seeing it as the next logical location for development to occur,” Culpepper says. “Wake County, a lot of development has taken place to the west side of Wake County. Jordan Lake comes in, realizing the demand was going to be there, realizing that we wanted to put a quality project there so that the demand could come into a quality development rather than being scattered across the county.”
Culpepper has worked with Pittsboro commissioners for the past eight years on planning this project and has faced almost no opposition. A few people have complained that the town will have to provide the infrastructure for the development. One of the owners of Preston Development, Tim Smith, says that this will not be a problem because the company is planning on building the entire infrastructure themselves and possibly giving it over to the Town in the future.
“We’re not asking the citizens to pay for anything,” Smith says. “We’re going to pay for our own water lines, our own sewers, own sewer plants, and we going to generate enough tax revenue to go back to pay for anything that the Town would require to give us like fire, police, and all that; so we’re paying for everything. This project will not cost the citizen of Pittsboro one cent, not one cent.”
Preston development is also a member of the “Clean Tech” cluster, a world-leading user of energy saving devices. Smith says that as a member of the “Clean Tech” cluster the developers plan on using the green technology from the RTP area to make the development as new and modern as possible.
“Everything that we can possibly do, everything that’s new we want to use it,” Smith says. “If something comes out next year that’s better, we intend to use it. So we intend to use everything that’s available to us that’s why we’re a member of this Clean Tech cluster. They’re going to provide us with all their expertise and use our project as a model demonstration project for the world, so we’ll be a world demonstration project for all the newest things that come out.”
The Chatham Park development may grow past the current 7,120 acres of land that are already owned. Smith says he hopes that in 40 years he can look at the development and be proud of everything that they achieved. Smith also says they want to work with local contractors and businesses when developing Chatham Park to include the community in the development.
Below is a map of the proposed site for Chatham Park in relation to Pittsboro. On Saturday, the Town Commissioners are having a meeting to discuss some aspects of Chatham Park with their staff.