“Unity In The Community” Joins, Heals

More than a dozen organizations are coming together to host an event called “Unity in the Community” this Saturday, April 16, from 11 am to 4 pm at Hargraves Community Center.

It’s free and everyone’s invited to enjoy food, music, dancing, a martial arts demonstration, and more.

The idea for Unity in the Community originated with St. Paul AME Church; last year’s event took place in the Rogers Road community, where the church is in the process of building a development called St. Paul Village. This year’s event, though, takes place in Chapel Hill’s Northside neighborhood – where Maleah Williams, just 14 months old, was shot and killed on Christmas Day. Organizers say one of the themes of this year’s event will be “healing.”

Along with St. Paul AME Church, co-organizers include the Rogers Eubanks Neighborhood Association, EmPOWERment, Inc., Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, the Jackson Center, United Church of Chapel Hill, Piedmont Health Services, the Student Health Action Coalition, Faith Tabernacle Oasis of Love, Grape Arbor Development Corporation, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Partnership, the Chapel Hill Teen Center, Blue Ribbon Youth Leadership Institute, and the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. (The Student Health Action Coalition will be providing free health screenings, including blood pressure and blood sugar checks.)

Rev. Thomas Nixon of St. Paul AME Church, Delores Bailey of EmPOWERment, Inc., and Adwoa Asare of Orange Habitat discussed “Unity in the Community” with Aaron Keck on WCHL.


86-Year-Old Drowns in Orange County Pond

Orange County authorities say that an 86-year-old man has drowned in the Bingham community.

A release from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office says that deputies responded to a pond in the vicinity of Highway 54 and Gold Mine Loop Road and found the victim, who authorities say had apparently drowned in the previous 24 hours.

Authorities were alerted by family members who said they last heard from the victim on Monday evening when he told them he was going fishing. The family then became concerned when they could not reach the man on Tuesday, according to authorities.

The release says a fishing rod and other tackle were located closed to the deceased.

An investigation is ongoing, but authorities say the Sheriff’s Office believes the death was caused by an accidental drowning.


Fire Closes Rosemary Street Tuesday Afternoon

Chapel Hill Fire crews responded to a report of an “explosion and vehicle fire” in the Wallace Parking Deck on East Rosemary Street on Tuesday.

Crews were called to the scene just after 2:30 Tuesday afternoon.

Officials say firefighters found one vehicle with fire in the engine compartment, and the fire was initially threatening other vehicles and an office located in the parking structure.

Authorities say a fire extinguisher was initially deployed and may have limited the spread of the fire.

The fire did not, ultimately, cause any damage to the structure or any other vehicles and no injuries were reported.

The 100 block of East Rosemary Street was block for approximately 30 minutes, according to officials.


Chapel Hill Woman Charged with Felony Hit and Run

Chapel Hill Police have arrested a woman in connection with a hit and run involving a pedestrian.

Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore says police responded to a report of a pedestrian being struck on Fountain Ridge Road at Highview Drive at 8:25 last Tuesday night.

Maureen Patricia Rogers. Photo via Chapel Hill Police.

Maureen Patricia Rogers. Photo via Chapel Hill Police.

The pedestrian was suffering from non-life threatening injuries, according to police, and – after initially refusing – was eventually transported to the hospital for treatment of lacerations.

“There was no suspect vehicle. They fled the scene,” Mecimore says. “And then it looks like the investigating officer had given out a description of the vehicle and the damage that was expected to be on the vehicle and another officer came across that vehicle.”

Mecimore says that officers questioned the suspect when the vehicle was found on Thursday.

“She, at the very least, told him that she thought she’d hit a deer,” Mecimore says.

On Friday, police arrested 58-year-old Maureen Rogers, of Charlesberry Lane, on a felony charge of hit and run. The charge was elevated to a felony level due to the injuries sustained by the pedestrian, according to police.

Rogers appeared before a magistrate and was released on a $3,500 unsecured bon.

She was scheduled to appear in court on Monday morning.


Winter Storm Safety Tips

With our area experiencing a serious bout of winter weather, Orange County Emergency Management Coordinator Kirby Saunders, has some tips to keep you safe and warm.

“Anytime there is a significant snow storm and there is the potential for accumulation of ice, the potential is always there for power outages,” said Saunders.

If you lose power due to a downed power line, make sure you stay clear and call authorities.

“If you are experiencing a power outage, and if you don’t have down trees or down power lines but your power’s out, you should contact your utility provider unless there is an emergency such as fire or sparking or arcing,” said Saunders.

Even if your power goes out, avoid the temptation to bring in that gas grill from the porch to warm you up.

“Never try to bring in anything that uses fuel to produce heat so a gas grill or even a charcoal grill, anything that uses some type of fuel to burn, to generate heat, that’s a bad thing to do to bring it inside because the carbon monoxide can get you pretty quickly,” said Saunders.

With temperatures below freezing it is also important to make sure your pipes don’t freeze. Keep the faucet dripping or open your cabinets to allow heat to reach the pipes.

Saunders says the best idea is to play it safe, with icy conditions even your front steps can become a hazard.

“So the best course of action is to stay indoors during the store and immediately afterwards. Even just trying to walk to on snowy or icy walkways can be dangerous so if you don’t have to be out the best course is to stay inside,” said Saunders.

But if you have to venture outside, make sure to use caution.

“Another thing that is often overlooked is to limit your time outside but mainly don’t overexert yourself if your shoving snow, especially if your elderly or young or if you have medical problems,” said Saunders.


Holiday Safety Tips

The Chapel Hill Police Department has some tips to share this holiday season to keep you and your home safe.

Chapel Hill Police say they experience higher rates of property crime during the holiday season and are increasing patrols in residential areas. The following holiday safety tips will assure you have a safe and happy holiday:

– Never leave any packages in your vehicle in plain sight. Always take them with you or lock them in your trunk.

– Never leave any personal items in your vehicle in plain sight. This includes money, credit cards, cell phones, purses and GPS Units. Take these items with you when you leave your vehicle.

– Always lock and secure all doors and windows on your home and vehicles.

-Leave a radio or TV on to give the impression that someone is home. Another good idea is to place lights on a timer and utilize motion activated lights on the outside of your home.

– If you receive an expensive or large gift, such as a TV, don’t leave the box in front of your house as an invitation to thieves. Rather dispose of the box in another container or turn the box inside out.

– When you leave, turn your heat down low but don’t shut it off completely to avoid the pipes freezing.

– The Chapel Hill Police Department is offering house checks while you’re gone. Go to Chapel Hill Police House Checks to sign up.


Pedestrian Struck in Chapel Hill

A pedestrian was struck near Chapel Hill Town Hall on Monday evening.

Chapel Hill Police officials confirmed that a 26-year-old graduate student at UNC was struck while in the crosswalk.

The driver in the incident was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian.

The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to officials.


Police Make Arrest In July Sexual Assault Case

Local police on Wednesday made an arrest in a sexual assault case dating back to July.

Chapel Hill police had been looking for 26-year-old David Michael Edwards, Jr., for several weeks. On September 29, they issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of second-degree rape.

Wednesday at 6:00 pm, authorities finally caught up with Edwards coming out of a building at 300 East Main Street in Carrboro. He was taken into custody without incident; he’s currently being held in Orange County Jail.

The reported assault took place on July 11, downtown near 100 East Franklin Street. The female victim was transported to UNC Hospitals.


UNC Chancellor Carol Folt on SACS, NOA, Silent Sam and more

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt has just started her third academic year at the helm of UNC. She spoke with WCHL’s Blake Hodge about a number of campus-related topics.

You can hear the different segments of the discussion below:

Folt discusses her major priorities for the new year and a self-evaluation of her first two years on the job:


Folt on what she is hearing from the Carolina community in the wake of the ongoing NCAA investigation and accreditation review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Folt on the recent spray paintings of Silent Sam and the renaming of Saunders Hall.


Folt on campus issues including underage drinking, sexual assault, and overall campus safety.


Folt on college affordability and accessibility as well as her vision of the future of the university.


Cyclist Hit at Franklin-Columbia Intersection on Tuesday

A female cyclist was transported to UNC Hospitals on Tuesday afternoon after being struck by a vehicle, Chapel Hill Police confirmed on Wednesday.

WCHL first reported the collision based off of eye-witness reports that the crash occurred around 4:30 Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Franklin and Columbia streets.

A police official says the cyclist suffered “serious but not life-threatening” injuries.

The spokesperson adds the driver of the vehicle stopped and was cooperating with the investigation, which is ongoing.

No further information is available at this time concerning the status of the cyclist.