Week of Feb. 2, 2023


Big Night In for the Arts 2023 set for March

RALEIGH — On March 9, local arts agencies from Wake, Durham, Chatham and Orange counties will once again partner with WRAL to present Big Night In for the Arts, a regional fundraising initiative with a superstar lineup, including locally and nationally known artists with ties to the Triangle. 

Born from the pandemic, this event was a way to stay connected, while staying apart, and raise much-needed funds for the arts in the Triangle, who were among the hardest hit by social distancing measures. Over the last two years, Big Night In has raised more than $615,000 to ensure that arts and culture will continue to thrive and remain a part of what makes our region a unique place to live.

Now that our communities are able to enjoy the arts in person, Big Night In for the Arts 2023 will include a Triangle-wide watch party in addition to the WRAL broadcast. Big Night In sponsors at all levels will be invited to the in-person watch party to celebrate the arts in our region with live performances, drinks, food and more at The Mayton in Downtown Cary, North Carolina.  Everyone is invited to tune in to WRAL to watch the show at 7 pm on March 9. 

“WRAL is incredibly proud to partner with the Big Night In for the Arts teams for the third year. We know our arts community has been profoundly impacted by the pandemic in recent years and we are thrilled to share the message that arts performances are back in person and ready for our viewers,” Joel Davis, vice president and general manager of WRAL-TV & FOX 50, said. “We know that support of local arts is critical to our community, to our neighborhoods and to our schools.”

“We are thrilled to once again be a part of this region-wide effort,” Cheryl Chamblee of Chatham Arts Council said. “Big Night In’s success over the last two years has shown just how committed folks in this area are to a vibrant arts community. We’re celebrating 40 years of nurturing creative thinkers here in Chatham, so it is such a joy to partner with other like-minded organizations in the region, to make sure the arts are not only supported, but thriving in our communities.” 

Tune in to WRAL on March 9, 2023, at 7 p.m. and show your support of the arts! For more information visit  


Conference to offer continuing education landscape, green industry pros

PITTSBORO — The annual Chatham Landscape and Green Industry Conference will return to an in-person format for 2023, to be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center in Pittsboro. 

Facilitated by the N.C. Cooperative Extension - Chatham County Center, the conference targets landscapers, landscape contractors, arborists, homeowners and gardeners interested in the latest recommendations from N.C. State Extension and other subject matter experts. 

Topics include underutilized native plant species, tree selection in the context of climate change, pruning techniques and methods, root-rot resistance annuals and perennials, business succession planning, and responsibilities as a pesticide applicator. N.C. Landscape Contractor, NCDA Pesticide Applicator, and International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Arborist Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be offered. 

There is a $20 fee which includes a lunch catered by Angelina’s Kitchen. For more information, including a complete schedule and registration, individuals may visit


Chatham Artists Guild Partners with Smelt Art Gallery

PITTSBORO — Chatham Artists Guild is thrilled to join Smelt Art Gallery in the presentation of work by talented Guild artists. The first in the series of 3D and 2D exhibits will open with a reception from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5. 

“Love is in the Air! — Jewelry for Your Special Someone” showcases the distinctive work of three artists. “Landscapes, Real & Imagined — Paintings and Drawings for Your Special Spaces” displays the visions of fourteen artists. 

Reception goers will enjoy an Open Mic music session hosted by Michael Brennan from 2 to 6 p.m. The exhibits are on view from Feb. 2 to March 28.

The exhibits will be the first of several that the Chatham Artists Guild will hold at the Smelt Art Gallery over the course of 2023. 

Smelt Art Gallery is a non-traditional art gallery that provides exhibition and event space for multicultural, multi-discipline art exhibitions and events. 

Each Guild exhibit will run for two months and will host an opening reception on the first Sunday of the opening month. Exhibits will have a select mix of art forms, including paintings, photographs, pottery, ceramics, woodwork, sculpture, mixed media, glass and fiber, and will feature a variety of themes. 


CCL to host PlayMakers Mobile’s ‘The Tempest’

PITTSBORO — Chatham Community Library will host PlayMakers Mobile’s production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” on Thursday, Feb. 23, in the Holmes Family Meeting Room in Chatham Community Library. This program is free and open to the public.

Utilizing music, puppets, clowning, fabric and only six actors, the PlayMakers Mobile unit will bring “The Tempest” to life in an intimate and imaginative way on a tiny square of space, reminding people that “we are such stuff as dreams are made on.”

As the premiere professional theatre company of North Carolina, PlayMakers Repertory Company strives to produce entertaining, relevant, and courageous work that tells stories from and for a multiplicity of perspectives and creates transformational impact in communities.

Residents may visit the libraries’ website, or contact the library at 919-545-8084 for more information on this and other events and programs.


Virtual Film Screening: ‘Fannie Lou Hamer’s America’

PITTSBORO — In recognition of Black History Month in February, Chatham Community Library will host a virtual film screening of “Fannie Lou Hamer’s America” from Thursday, Feb. 16 to Thursday, Feb. 23. This program is free and open to the public.

“Fannie Lou Hamer’s America,” a documentary produced by Hamer’s grand-niece Monica Land, is a portrait of a civil rights activist and the injustices in America that made her work essential. Through public speeches, personal interviews and powerful songs of the fearless Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human-rights-activist, “Fannie Lou Hamer’s America” explores and celebrates the lesser-known life of one of the civil rights movement’s greatest leaders.

The film won Best TV Feature Documentary or miniseries at the IDA Awards.

Access to the virtual screening will be available beginning Thursday, Feb.16, by visiting:

A password is required at the time of viewing. Those who are interested may contact to request the password or for additional information. The library has purchased a hard copy of the film if residents who wish to see the film miss the virtual screening window.

Residents may also visit the libraries’ website, or contact the Library at 919-545-8084 or for more information on this and other events and programs.


U.S. 421 to be Resurfaced in two Piedmont Counties

A $6.2 million contract awarded recently by the N.C. Dept. of Transportation will bring improvements to nearly 15 miles of U.S. 421 in Chatham and Randolph counties.

The contract includes milling, resurfacing and shoulder reconstruction along both directions of U.S. 421 S. between the Chatham County line and U.S. 64.

Northbound and southbound ramps at exits 180 (Piney Grove Church Road), 181 (N.C. 49) and 183 (Old Liberty Road) will also be improved under the project.

Work can start as soon as March 1, wrapping up in the fall of 2024.  


Pittsboro seeks input on fee update document

The town of Pittsboro is proposing a System Development Fee Update for new development. The proposed System Development Fee Update document can be found by visiting

The System Development Fee Update Report is open to public comment. The public comment period will last for 45 days.

Please submit comments by March 9 by completing the form found by visiting


Congresswoman Foushee gets seat on House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 

WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Valerie Foushee (D, N.C.-Dist. 4) was appointed to serve on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in the 118th Congress. 

“I am honored to serve on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,” Congresswoman Foushee said. “As a Member of Congress who represents a rapidly growing district, I understand the growing pains that many communities across the country are feeling and know how critical it is for our country to have robust and resilient infrastructure, and accessible and reliable transportation systems. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Committee to address our nation’s transportation and infrastructure needs for the American people.” 

“Congresswoman Valerie Foushee was elected as a champion for economic opportunities for her community, and building a cleaner, greener and more accessible transportation system is a key part of creating the kind of good jobs that build a thriving middle class,” said Ranking Member Rick Larsen (WA-02). “With years of experience representing the people of North Carolina at the state and local level, Congresswoman Foushee knows what it takes to deliver for her constituents, and I look forward to helping her do just that on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.” 

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation: aviation, maritime and waterborne transportation, highways, bridges, mass transit and railroads. The Committee also has jurisdiction over other aspects of our national infrastructure, such as clean water and wastewater management, the transport of resources by pipeline, flood damage reduction, the management of federally owned real estate and public buildings, the development of economically depressed rural and urban areas, disaster preparedness and response, and hazardous materials transportation. 


VinFast slashes EV prices, following Tesla’s lead

After Tesla cut prices by as much as 20%, VinFast knew it had to respond to keep up in the burgeoning electric vehicle market. 

“As a new brand entering the market, when other brands reduce their prices we have to come up with promotions to ensure VinFast’s competitiveness,” a spokesperson told Axios Raleigh in a statement.

VinFast’s first models, the VF 8 and VF 9, have U.S. starting prices of $59,000 and $83,000, respectively. Meanwhile, Tesla’s basic Model Y is now $52,990, down from $65,990. Furthering VinFast’s troubles, the cars VinFast imports to the U.S. from Vietnam don’t qualify for a $7,500 U.S. federal EV tax credit. Tesla cars do qualify.

The Vietnamese EV company is building a more than 1,700-acre plant in Chatham County that promises to employ 7,500 people and invest more than $4 billion. North Carolina has put a big bet in the success of the company, offering them more than $1 billion in tax incentives, provided they hit job creation goals. 

None of that will happen, however, if there’s no demand for VinFast’s cars.

In December, the first 999 vehicles shipped from Vietnam to the Bay Area in California. Many early reservation holders were disappointed, judging by discussions on VinFast’s official community website and other forums. 

News Briefs, VinFast, Foushee, Playmakers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Chatham County Community Library


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