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Knife Wielder Committed To UNC Hospitals

Authorities say the man who was arrested for pulling a knife on a UNC student Sunday afternoon has been involuntarily committed to UNC hospitals.

According to the Daily Tar Heel, Chapel Hill resident and 31-year-old UNC graduate, Jesse Alan Kister was committed in UNC Department of Public Safety’s custody on Sunday. When he’s released, he will be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Chapel Hill Police and DPS coordinated the search for Kister. CHPD found him in The Chapel of the Cross on East Franklin Street. He was taken to the Chapel Hill Police Station and quickly turned over to DPS since the crime took place on campus.

Kister was found in possession of four knives valued at $100, according to the incident report.

Alert Carolina issued an emergency warning shortly after 4:00 p.m., when the incident first took place. Buildings on campus were locked down—including Carmichael Arena, where the UNC women’s basketball team was playing its first-round NCAA tournament game.

Alert Carolina issued the all-clear at 5:18 p.m. Sunday afternoon. There were no injuries.

The DTH interviewed one of Kister’s former professors who said he only knew Kister in the classroom and didn’t know him on a personal level.

Kister received his bachelor’s degree in information science from UNC in 2005. He also earned a master’s in health care administration in 2008 and information science in 2011.

DTH Article

Four New Flu Deaths In NC Last Week, Three Additional Found

Four people died from the flu last week and three additional flu deaths from previous weeks have been discovered, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

At the last report, 74 people had been killed by the flu in North Carolina this flu season. The total is now up to 81, which is 22 more than last season’s total of 59.

Four deaths is the lowest reported total since the first full week in January showing a continued downward trend since the peak of 12 in late January. This time period also marked just the second week since January 12 that a pediatric death has not been reported.

To see more statistics of flu-reported deaths in North Carolina, click here.

Road Safety In 2014; World Book Night; Home For The Holidays

ORANGE COUNT – The Town of Chapel Hill is kicking off 2014 by asking you to make a resolution to drive with care and pay attention when walking or biking.

Chapel Hill continues to try to be a walk- and bike-friendly town with the promotion of safety at crosswalks and on roadways.

The Town is hosting three crosswalk education outreach sessions for motorist, pedestrians and drivers:

• January 8 – 10 to 11 a.m. on Pittsboro Street near SECU and McCauley Street
• January 22 – 5 to 6 p.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
• January 28 – 8 to 9 a.m. on Franklin Street near Granville Towers and E. Franklin Street at Elizabeth Street (Stroud Hill)


You still have time to register as a Book Giver for World Book Night.

World Book Night is an annual celebration in which people spread the love of reading by going out into their communities and give out paperbacks to light and non-readers.

Each Book Giver receives 20 World Book Night paperbacks to give out, and OrangeCounty’s main library will be one of the pickup sites for the givers. The library will also hold a reception for the givers the week before World Book Night.

World Book Night is April 23 this year. Tens of thousands are expected to participate again.

You have until January 5 to register to be a Book Giver.

For more information, click here.


Take a trip to the Orange County main library and you’ll see the Orange County Animal Services decorations of shelter pets in need of adoption.

Photos of animals that need a new home and some who have already gotten one will be on display until January 11 as part of the “Home for the Holidays” annual campaign to raise awareness for the shelter.

Animal Services is also giving a special deal for adoptions with dogs available for $60 and cats available for $50.

If you want to help Orange County Animal Services—even if it’s just to donate food—you can find more information by clicking here.

Securing Your Home During The Holidays

CHAPEL HILL - The Chapel Hill Police Department is stepping up patrol over the holiday season and warning homeowners and renters to make sure your possessions are secure.

Public Information Sgt. Bryan Walker says it’s even more important now to make sure all doors and windows are locked. And, he says having alarms and signs in the yard can be a major deterrent.

“Alarm systems, even if they aren’t connected to a central alarm company, can deter theft or can deter someone from breaking into your house, they don’t necessarily prevent it, but just seeing the alarm sign in front of the house, some criminals will move on” Walker states.

Toward the end of the holiday season as you take out your trash and recycling, Sgt. Walker says you should be cautious about advertising what new items you have.

“A bad guy can ride by your house, or walk by your house, and see the empty cardboard boxes that you’ve left out in recycling and know the types of items that you have just gotten for Christmas and that are sitting there in your house waiting to be stolen” Walker states.

Some of the ways to hide what new items are in the house are to turn the cardboard boxes inside out or take them to a recycling drop-off.

For more information on ways to keep your home safe in the Holiday Season click here.

Securing Your New Purchases During The Holidays

CHAPEL HILL - Chapel Hill Police are increasing patrol and warning shoppers to always be prepared when returning to your car and home with merchandise.

Public Information Officer Sgt. Bryan Walker says one of easiest ways to avoid a confrontation with a robber on the way to your car is to keep your eyes up and a hand free so you don’t fumble around getting into the car.

“Most bad guys don’t tend to go after someone that appears confident, and that they believe is going to look at them, remember them, and possibly identify them later on” Walker states.

Some citizens choose to carry deterrents like mace with them to feel more comfortable and prepared. Sgt. Walker says tools like mace and pepper spray may not make the attacker stop, and that it is safer to leave your items and get away.

“It’s not going to prevent someone from completing an attack on you or carrying out an attack on you, it’s more designed to allow you to get away” Walker claims.

Some other common thefts that occur especially around the holiday season are thefts from cars.  When items are left in visible sight, your car can become a common target for a theft according to Sgt. Walker.

“Most of the breaking and enterings for vehicles that we have, the item that was taken, whether it be a laptop and a laptop bag, or a purse, or Christmas presents, or this kind of thing, are left out on the seat and obvious where someone can walk by and see them” Walker says.

There are several ways to prevent a person from breaking and entering into your car, and it can be as easy as locking the doors or putting your items in the trunk. Sgt. Walker says most of these thefts are crimes of opportunity.

“They don’t want to go to the effort to break that glass or pry open that car door, not only because it just takes more effort on their part, but it also creates noise and they spend more time in a car if they’re doing that, and a lot of them just aren’t willing to do that, so lock your car” Walker states.

These tips may not prevent a theft from occurring, but they could reduce the chances of it happening.

For more information on how to stay safe during the holidays, click here.

Staying Safe While Setting Up Holiday Decorations

ORANGE COUNTY - With Christmas right around the corner and trees going up in homes, Orange County Fire Marshal, Jason Shepherd says it is important to keep Christmas trees from drying out and creating a fire hazard.

“If you can, cut about an inch off the bottom to insure that when you stick the tree in the stand that it can absorb the adequate amount of water needed in the hole.  You don’t want to place it in a room with a wood stove, cause it’ll dry it out a whole lot quicker, you want to put that tree in a room that typically don’t have a direct heating source in it” Shepherd says.

As Christmas trees dry out, needles will fall and can create another fire hazard if decorations are not set up correctly.  Shepherd says to avoid using candles for decorations and to always use safe lights.

“When you decorate the tree with lights, you want to make sure that the lights UL listed and that you use proper grounding when plug them in; don’t use an extension cord, preferably use a power strip so it will kill the power to it, and by all means don’t have any candles around the vicinity or put them on the tree for decoration” Shepherd says.

Making sure that you do not overload an outlet is another tip that can help reduce the risk of fire hazards.  This can be especially important when setting up lawn decorations or putting lights on a house.  Shepherd recommends using outside junction boxes when setting up lawn and house decorations.

“It’s preferable that you have listed, outside junction boxes to accommodate such wiring, and that you don’t use drop cord that could possibly cause a fire or have bad circuits, or things like that” Shepherd states.

Shepherd says using the 12 days of Christmas rule is one of the safest ways to set up a holiday tree, but with many people already about to get their trees, using some of these tips will help prevent a holiday fire.

For more information on fire safety during the holidays, click here.

CHTC Candidates Talk Safety, Solid Waste And Working With OC

CHAPEL HILL- The nine candidates vying for four seats on the Chapel Hill Town Council weighed in on a variety of issues at Monday’s WCHL candidate forum, but a question from a listener about dealing with the homeless population downtown sparked the evening’s most heated debate.

***Listen to the forum***

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A woman wrote in via twitter to say she’s tired of being harassed by homeless people when she’s downtown. She asked the candidates what could be done to improve the perception of safety.

Though he sympathized with her complaint, D.C. Swinton said the idea that homeless people pose a threat is based on misperception, not reality.

“The frequency of a homeless person being the perpetrator of some sort of violence is very small, so we need to take away some of the stigma of homelessness,” said Swinton.

But Gary Kahn disagreed.

“I come from a city and there are a lot of homeless people there,” said Kahn. “They have attacked people walking on the street, so I think your attitude on the homeless people is totally off-base.”

Council member Sally Greene, who’s served on Orange County’s Partnership to End Homelessness said that’s not the case in Chapel Hill.

“The statistics on who is attacking whom, in Chapel Hill and other places, is that they are more often the victims than the perpetrators,” said Greene. “There are numbers that can prove that.”

Amy Ryan suggested an education campaign.

“I think more education for the public into things like panhandling ordinances and what is allowed might be a good idea,” said Ryan.

George Cianciolo introduced the idea of “Downtown Ambassadors.”

“I think a lot of the problems with homeless people, they become sometimes harsh because people ignore them, they act like they don’t exist there. I think having people strolling the downtown as ambassadors, both to visitors and the people on the street might soften the situation,” said Cianciolo.

Candidates also turned their attention to the question of what to do with the town’s waste and recyclables.

Maria Palmer said she’d support investment in some kind of clean waste-incineration technology, even if that technology is not immediately available.

“We don’t plan and build things for right now, we’re talking about what is going to work ten years down the road, 15 years down the road,” said Palmer. “We have a responsibility to our children and the future residents of Chapel Hill to invest in infrastructure that is clean and serves the town for many years.”

But Loren Hintz, who currently serves on Orange County’s Commission for the Environment, said it could be tough to make that work on a local level.

“There’s a conflict between incineration and recycling because if you increase the amount of recycling you have less waste that can be burned,” said Hintz. “I think the economics of incineration, even if it was to use clean technology, is that Orange County by itself cannot produce enough for that to be economically viable.”

When asked if they’d support collaborating with Orange County, most agreed, but with a few caveats. Incumbent Ed Harrison said it comes down to the fiscal bottom line.

“Your primary fiduciary responsibility is to the town, and any of these agreements in this collaboration has to work well for Chapel Hill before it works well for anybody else,” said Harrison. “We hope we collaborate well enough that it works for everybody.”

Harrison and others noted that the recent change in county management would likely help smooth the way for new cooperation between local governments.

Paul Neebe summed up a strategy all candidates could endorse: “I think we all want what is best for the county and the city and we just need to get together and talk.”

Early voting starts October 17 and runs through November 2. Election Day is November 5.

Fire Prevention Week; Book Making for Students; Shred-A-Thon

CHAPEL HILL - The Chapel Hill Fire Department began Fire Prevention Week at Festifall on Sunday and will continue to raise awareness throughout the week.

This year, the theme for fire prevention week is prevent kitchen fires.  According to the National Fire Protection Association’s latest research, cooking is the leading cause of home fires.

The Chapel Hill Fire Department has scheduled many events for Fire Prevention Week.  Some of these events include: station tours, workshops on fire safety, and a premier puppet show “Johnny Joins the Fire Department.”

For more information you can call Chapel Hill Fire Department Life Safety at 919-969-2006.


The Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough invites students ages ten to 18 to attend a two day workshop on book making.

The workshops take place October 16 and 17 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. In cooperation with the Orange County Historical Museum, the bookmaking workshop will allow for students to create their own hardcover book from start to finish.

Part of the OCPL’s TeensMake series, each month teens are invited to create, build, or make something new at the library.

For more information, click here.


The Orange County Solid Waste Management Department is sponsoring two free Shred-A-Thons.

The Shred-A-Thon allows your to securely destroy up to five banker boxes of personal documents at no cost.  The first Shred-A-Thon takes place Thursday at University Mall. The second is on Saturday at the Hampton Pointe Shopping Center in Hillsborough at the 24-recycling drop off site.  Both events take place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Pedestrian Killed At Estes Drive Intersection

CHAPEL HILL- A woman died Wednesday night after being hit by a car near the intersection of Fordham Boulevard and South Estes Drive. Chapel Hill police say Lisa Renee Baldwin, 41, of Chapel Hill, was walking when she was hit shortly before 8:30 p.m. Baldwin died at the scene of injuries related to the accident.

WCHL will have more on this story as details become available.

UNC Provides New Mobile-Phone Safety App

CHAPEL HILL - UNC says safety has always been a priority, but now it’s as easy as the touch of a button.

A new mobile phone application called Rave Guardian will offer a service called Smart911 that gives any UNC students, administrators, and faculty a direct connection with campus police whenever and wherever they need it.

The provider of the app, Rave Mobile Safety, claims itself as the most trusted software partner for campus and public safety, with a lengthy list of college and university clients nationwide.  Rave Guardian is a phone-accessed application that, when triggered, automatically sends the user’s picture, mobile number and personal information to campus police.

UNC student government has been working for months to assess the best means to improve campus safety, especially in light of the controversies surrounding sexual assault.  Student Body President Christy Lambden and other student representatives brainstormed ideas for a new safety app in May, and now Lambden says that app will be available to students in the coming fall semester.

“As a result of these meetings, I found that we currently have a mobile app which students, administrators, and faculty all support,”  Lambden says. “The university will also help students register for this app in the coming fall by automatically registering their phone numbers for the app.”

Rave Guardian works on any Smartphone from any provider in the US, and the service is free for anyone with an Onyen–the UNC system that allows students and staff to access their email and other campus processes.  Students and staff can register online and complete a profile that includes a photo of their choice and any personal or important medical information.  Lambden says he hopes to help implement the app during the school year to as many people as possible.

“During the year, I hope to support the university in a campaign to promote the use of this application, which is called Rave Guardian,” Lamden says.

If you’re a qualified UNC candidate to use the app and you’d like to register now, visit the link