Former Educator and Chapel Hill Alderman R.D. Smith Passes Away

Former Chapel Hill Board of Aldermen member and local educator R.D. Smith has passed away.

Smith served as a teacher and assistant principal in the Chapel Hill – Carrboro City School System for more than 30 years, in addition to his more than 20 years of service on the municipal board.

Smith Middle School is named in honor of R.D. and his wife Euzelle.

Smith recently turned 98 years old and was honored as a Hometown Hero.

The family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the R. D. Smith fund c/o the Chapel Hill – Carrboro Public School Foundation, P.O. Box 877, Carrboro, NC, 27510.

Services will be held at two o’clock on Saturday, April 9, at First Baptist Church

Smith Middle Assistant Principal In Need Of Kidney Transplant

The assistant principal of Smith Middle School said he’s grateful for the community support he’s received since being diagnosed with end-stage renal disease.

The support has included fundraising for a kidney transplant next year.

“It’s almost like when you’re trying to run in very humid weather,” says Assistant Principal Stephon Goode. “You know, it’s like that all the time – very labored breathing. And then, just muscle fatigue. You know, you feel like you’ve run a marathon after walking up and down the hall one time.”

A huge part of Smith Middle School Assistant Principal Stephon Goode’s job involves visiting classrooms, and observing hallway activity. It’s become a lot harder lately.

A few years ago, Smith Middle School Assistant Principal Stephon Goode was diagnosed with kidney function at around 28 percent.

He began feeling the symptoms he described about two years ago.

“I found out I had tubular necrosis,” said Goode. “The tubes that lead to the kidneys had started to die, and they couldn’t understand why.”

He has other health issues, including diabetes, and he doesn’t rule that out as a contributing factor.

But the onset of the disease happened so fast, and the fluctuation of kidney function was so erratic, that doctors were baffled, according to Goode. He’s been treated by 15 doctors, so far.

“Right now, we’re at about 16 percent kidney function,” said Goode, “and pretty close to the doctors wanting to do dialysis.”

Now 41, he hopes to get a transplant before dialysis becomes necessary. With eight siblings, his chances for finding a donor were pretty good. And sure enough, his oldest sister Donna Ledbetter tested as a match.

He and his wife, Brenda Goode, have two daughters, ages 17 and 2. Goode said he’s not scared so much for himself, but mostly for them.

“I’m really close with my daughters,” said Goode, “and we spend tons of time together. And, you know, as a parent, you don’t ever want them to hurt. You don’t want them to feel fearful. You want to try to keep them from as much of that stuff as possible.

“And it’s kind of a scary situation, in a lot of ways. You know, the little one doesn’t really understand everything. She’s two. But what she’s going to understand is that, pretty much, for almost two months, she won’t get to climb up on me, or I won’t be able to pick her up. You know – those kinds of things.”

Still, his family lifts his spirits. And so does that extended family at Smith Middle School, including the staff, as well as hundreds of his “other kids.”

“Yeah, I have a lot of kids, I really do,” said Goode. “And I wouldn’t have it any other way. You know, I found my niche. And this is where I think I make the biggest impact.

“And the kids here are awesome. The staff is awesome. It’s just a great place to be.”

The school’s football team had its final game a few weeks ago, against McDougle. The opposing coaches got together before the game and decided to dedicate the game to fundraising for Goode’s upcoming surgery, which will likely happen in June, after his older daughter graduates from Chapel Hill High.

“They had food trucks that came out,” said Goode. “They had concessions. They did a bake sale. They also did a really fun activity at halftime, where a lot of our teachers volunteered to get a pie in the face.”

Goode said that the positive side of all this is seeing the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools community come together to supprt him, and he’s grateful.

His surgery will cost between $100,000 and $180,000. He’s also looking at a lifetime of expensive medication, and a lot of post-surgery doctor visits.

Insurance will pay for a lot of it, but not all. So, he took the advice of friends and started a GoFundMe page, with a goal of raising $25,000.

He’s raised $18,633 as of Monday.

If you’d like to help out Smith Middle School Assistant Principal Stephon Goode with his medical expenses,  you can find out more on his GoFundMe page.

Homeownership, Scholarship, Taxes And Snow Days

Are you thinking about buying a home? Wondering how you can afford it?

Chatham Habitat for Humanity and EmPOWERment are co-hosting a two-part Home Buyer’s Education Workshop in Pittsboro, on Thursday, March 6 and Thursday, March 13 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. You’ll learn tips for shopping for homes and mortgages, how to financially prepare, and how to maintain your home after you’ve bought it.

The workshop takes place at 467 West Street in Pittsboro. It’s free and open to the public; dinner, door prizes and child care will be provided. To RSVP, contact Amanda Stancil at EmPOWERment by calling 967-8779, or Anna Schmalz Rodriguez at Chatham Habitat by calling 542-0794.


Congratulations to Casey Rimland, a medical and doctoral student in the UNC School of Medicine who was recently named as a Gates Cambridge Scholar.

Created with a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship provides students with a three-year full scholarship to study at Cambridge University in England. Between 80 and 100 Gates Scholarships are awarded annually; Rimland is the second honoree from UNC.

Casey Rimland is originally from Charlotte and graduated from UNC-Charlotte in 2011. She’s also a thyroid cancer survivor, having been diagnosed in her first year of medical school.


To compensate for all the snow days, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board has updated the district’s class schedule for the rest of the school year.

There were three remaining days on the district’s calendar that were set aside as delayed-opening days, but all three have now been changed to regular school days. Those three days are March 13, April 10 and May 8 – all originally delayed opening, but now functioning as regular, full school days. Students should report to school at the regular time.


Congratulations to the AVID students from Smith Middle School, winners of this year’s sixth annual Black History Knowledge Bowl!

The event is sponsored every year by the Mu Omicron Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. It’s a competition between students at Culbreth, McDougle and Smith Middle Schools who participate in the AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination). This year’s Knowledge Bowl took place at Culbreth Middle School on February 22; Smith took first and Culbreth took second.


Results are in for the Town of Chapel Hill’s Community Survey, and the numbers indicate that—for the most part—residents are extremely happy with the town’s services.

More than 90 percent of residents who responded say they’re satisfied with the town’s fire department, library, and trash collection services; more than 80 percent say they’re satisfied with Chapel Hill’s park maintenance and police department. Those numbers are “well above regional and national benchmarks,” according to a release from the Town.

On the down side, residents said they were most concerned with traffic congestion and “how well the Town is preparing for the future,” and also said the Town could do a better job providing affordable housing and “access to quality shopping.”

You can check out the full results at


It’s tax season—and if you need tax forms, the Orange County Public Library is offering select forms for free. Those forms include the 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, Schedule A, Schedule B and Schedule SE.

In addition, the Orange County Department on Aging is offering its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program—VITA for short—which provides free income tax preparation for qualifying individuals with low- to middle-incomes, regardless of age or county of residence.

For more information or to find out if you qualify, visit


UNC has received a grant of more than $40 million from the National Institutes of Health, to fund a global clinical trials unit working to treat and prevent the spread of HIV.

The grant will fund five clinical research sites through the year 2021. Three of those sites are located in North Carolina; the other two are located in Africa, in Malawi and Zambia.

UNC received $430 million in external funding for HIV research between 2008 and 2012. The university is ranked as one of the top 10 programs in America for HIV/AIDS research.


Flood Recovery Center Moves From Smith MS To U-Mall

CHAPEL HILL – With the recovery from last weekend’s flood entering a new phase, the Red Cross has closed its emergency shelter at Smith Middle School and opened an Assistance Center at University Mall.

Beginning on Saturday, residents displaced or otherwise affected by the flood can receive aid at the new Assistance Center, which will remain open as long as it’s needed. It will be open seven days a week: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 1:00-6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Chapel Hill and Carrboro were hit with massive flooding in a torrential downpour last Sunday afternoon. Since then, the Red Cross has provided 770 meals, more than 2000 snacks, and more than a hundred overnight stays at the emergency shelter at Smith.

In addition to the Assistance Center, the Red Cross has also set up a 24-hour help line for people in need of assistance or information. That number is 919-489-6541, extension 4141.

You can also call the Assistance Center directly at any of four numbers: 903-0676, 903-0677, 903-0678, or 903-0679.