BREAKING: UNC Receives NCAA Notice of Allegations – More To Follow

Chatham Park Breaks Ground Amid Controversy

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.

Cystic Fibrosis Risks Increase with Mucins

Researchers from the UNC School of Medicine have found evidence to suggest that patients with cystic fibrosis possess a much greater number of the proteins that forms mucus, known as mucins.

Associate professor at the department of pathology and laboratory medicine, Dr. Mehmet Kesimer, explains what cystic fibrosis, or CF, is and what it can do.

“Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system,” says Dr. Kesimer. “People with CF have a defective gene, and its protein product causes the body to produce abnormally thick and sticky mucus. That is a problem in the lungs; they cannot clear the mucus very well. That is the life-threatening part of the cystic fibrosis.”

With over 70 thousand people across the globe suffering from this disease, UNC researchers have found that the increased amount of mucins the body produces within patients with cystic fibrosis prevents the mucus from clearing through the lungs, which builds and creates inflammation infection, and lung failure. However, if this increased amount of mucins can be reduced, then there is a greater opportunity for better treatments.

“Our study offers simple therapeutic strategies for treating CF lung disease,” explains Kesimer, “for instance, diluting mucins in the mucus layer by simply hydrating agents.”

Using “nebulized hypertonic saline,” a type of sterile salty water, can improve the hydration of the CF airways in order to help in the patient’s mucus clearance to increase lung function. Utilizing these sorts of solutions for patients can provide a much better means of treatment to reduce risk of the mucus build-up.

UNC Med. Mourns Loss Of Two Respected Collegues

Dr. Keith Amos; Courtesy UNC Health

CHAPEL HILL – The UNC Health Care System is morning the loss of two respected and cherished doctors this week. Dr. Keith Amos, assistant professor of surgery, and surgical oncologist, died unexpectedly while traveling as a visiting scholar in Scotland. Dr. George Sheldon, who chaired the UNC Department of Surgery from 1984 to 2001, died due to illness at UNC Hospitals Sunday. He was 78 year old.

Dr. Amos is survived by his wife, Ahaji, and their three young daughters.

Dr. William Roper, Dean of the School of Medicine, Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Chief Executive Officer of the UNC Health Care System, said this in his blog regarding the loss of his colleagues:

“George and Keith were very different people in many ways, and they were at very different places in their careers – one near the end his, the other in the most productive period of his. But they both were passionate surgeons, dedicated to serving others. We will miss them very, very much.”

Dr. Sheldon was awarded the lifetime achievement award by the American College of Surgeons in 2012. Dr. Amos was recruited to UNC in 2007, and during his career in Chapel Hill, focused on the UNC Breast Center.

News Around Town: Teen Tech Week; Il Palio’s Chef Serves The Sick

CHAPEL HILL – The Orange County Library is hosting Teen Tech Week March 10-17 and will involve a meme contest and a special gaming event.

Participants in the meme contest are asked to design a funny, catchy image that says something about the library and are to submit memes between March 1 and March 17. The winner will receive a $25 Visa Gift Card.

The special gaming event is an invitation for everyone ranging from ages 11-18 to come play Wii, Xbox 360 Kinect, board games, cards, and more on Wednesday March, 13 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Attendees can bring games as well.

The Teen Book Club will meet Sunday March, 17 at 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and is open to ages 11-18.

For more information on the meme contest, visit


The executive Chef of Il Palio Italian restaurant Adam Rose has been invited to help lead UNC’s Health Care industry in supplying restaurant quality food to patients and guests.

Chef Rose will work with Food Services Director Angelo Mojica in this innovative effort.

In the lobby of the Children’s Hospital on Tuesday March, 26 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., Chef Rose will collaborate with UNC’s Executive Chef Shawn Dolan to cook an Il Palio lunch special that will be featured for patients at the hospital’s Terrace Café.

UNC Nausea Outbreak Linked To Norovirus, Limited To Students

CHAPEL HILL – Results are in for the cause of the outbreak of nausea on UNC’s campus late last week that affected more than 80 students.

“Of the five samples we sent in, three of them did come back positive for norovirus,” Orange County Health Department’s Public Information Officer Stacy Shelp says.

Norovirus is fecal-based but can be transferred through touch as well as food. Shelp says symptoms are often like those of the flu.

“It does call gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, etc.,” Shelp says.

And despite investigation into the source of the cause, Shelp says they were not able to find it.

“We worked very closely with campus Health Services on UNC’s campus and surveyed the students who had come in with the illness,” Shelp says. “Out of the 85 that we surveyed, 50 responded, and we did not have a single source, no single meal or venue that indicated as being the likely source of the exposures.”

She says the patients were limited to college students. It affected 85 people that they know of, but luckily only lasted about 24 hours.

UNC Health Care Begins Construction On Facility In Former Border’s Building

CHAPEL HILL-UNC Health Care is preparing for several new endeavors over the course of the coming year—and they’ve just begun construction on the new Comprehensive Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center in Chapel Hill’s former Border’s building on Fordham Boulevard.

Vice President For Facilities Planning and Development Ray Lafrenaye says the facility is slated to be used for research on brain injuries.

“Just in the past few days, we learned that we were awarded part of the NFL Research for Brain Injuries Award,” he says. “We were one of four finalists for that award.”

In the spring of 2011, the Border’s location on Fordham Boulevard permanently shut its doors. About a year later, UNC Health Care officials announced that they were in the final stages of leasing the building.

UNC Health Care is also working on opening a medical office building in Hillsborough, a wellness center in Cary, and an ophthalmology development at the corner of Farrington Road and Highway 54.

“That’s going to be an exciting development,” says Lafrenaye. “That’s about 24,000 square feet on the second and third floor of that building.”

In the meantime, the Comprehensive Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center is set to begin operations over the next few months.