News Briefs

Posted 5/3/19

News Briefs

Chatham hospital leaders meet Gov. Cooper, talk Medicaid expansion

RALEIGH — Chatham Hospital Interim President Jeffrey Stickler and board Chairman Mary Beck met last week with …

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News Briefs

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News Briefs

Chatham hospital leaders meet Gov. Cooper, talk Medicaid expansion

RALEIGH — Chatham Hospital Interim President Jeffrey Stickler and board Chairman Mary Beck met last week with chief executives from other rural hospitals, N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen and Gov. Roy Cooper to discuss expanding Medicaid.

The roundtable, which also included leaders from hospitals in Murphy, Southport, Asheboro, Mount Airy, Faeyetteville and Rocky Mount, “focused on the challenges and opportunities in providing health care to rural communities and how expanding Medicaid can help.”

Stickler and Beck presented Cooper with a resolution in support of Medicaid expansion and other improvements to the healthcare system.

“We believe that protecting the health of communities such as Chatham County and the surrounding area and our state as a whole means protecting all hospitals and the citizens they serve,” the resolution read in part. “This requires a focus on chief health care initiatives such as closing the insurance coverage gap, maintaining the integrity of Certificate of Need laws, maintaining and expanding Medicaid supplemental payments to critical health care providers and protecting one of our state’s strongest assets: affordable and accessible health insurance for our state employees and retirees.”

The resolution was passed by Chatham Hospital’s Board of Directors on April 16.

In a statement, Cooper praised the possibilities that would come with expanding Medicaid,.

“Closing the health care coverage gap would be a boost for rural communities,” he said. “Expanding Medicaid will help thousands of North Carolinians get access to affordable health care, invest billions of dollars in our economy and create thousands of good-paying jobs.”

Siler City names interim town manager

SILER CITY — The Siler City Board of Commissioners, following a closed session during its budget work session last week, named town Finance Director Roy Lynch to serve as Interim Town Manager.

Lynch’s Interim Manager post is scheduled to begin July 15, the day Bryan Thompson, Siler City’s current town manager, is set to begin his new duties as the Chatham County Assistant County Manager.

“It is the hope of Mayor (John) Grimes and the Board of Commissioners that this decision will represent a clear sense of continuity and stability for the organization while the selection process for permanently filling this position vacancy is concluded,” Thompson said.

Thompson noted that Lynch will become more involved in the various day-to-day activities of the manager’s office leading up to the date that he assumes his interim responsibilities. Lynch had previously served as the town manager of Liberty before taking the job as Finance Director for Siler City.

“I would like to...thank Roy for his willingness to take on this additional role during the upcoming period of transition, as I know he will serve us all well in this capacity,” Thompson said.

Two Chatham County churches earn Earth Care Congregation status

PITTSBORO — Two Chatham County churches — Chapel in the Pines and Pittsboro Presbyterian — have been certified as Earth Care Congregations by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

According to Jessica Maudlin, Associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care Concerns for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), “Pittsboro Presbyterian Church and Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church are two of the 233 churches that chose to dedicate themselves to intentional care of God’s earth this year. The congregations’ activities and commitment will inspire others to respond intentionally to God’s call to care for the earth.”

The Earth Care Congregation certification is designed to recognize churches that make the commitment to take seriously God’s charge to “till and keep” the garden.

To become an Earth Care Congregation these congregations affirmed an Earth Care Pledge to integrate environmental practices and thinking into all facets of their church life and completed projects and activities in the fields of worship, education, facilities and outreach.

Started in 2010 by PC (U.S.A.) Environmental Ministries, the goal of this program is to inspire churches to care for God’s earth in a holistic way through integrating earth care into all aspects of their church life. The certification honors churches that make that commitment and encourages others to follow their example.

As an example of their environmental stewardship, Pittsboro Presbyterian Church in the autumn of 2017 had solar panels installed on their building. Chapel in the Pines is currently in the process of doing likewise.

For more information on the Earth Care Congregations program visit

Chatham’s tourism director selected as “Meetings Mean Business” Ambassador

PITTSBORO — The Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC) has announced its 2019 Ambassadors, an elite group of meeting and event professionals who will serve as advocates for MMBC and the broader meetings industry. The selective list includes Neha Shah, director of the Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau, which promotes tourism, conferences and meetings county-wide.

MMBC is an industry-wide coalition that showcases the value that business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences and conventions bring to people, businesses and communities. The 2019 ambassadors list features 41 industry professionals across the nation from 15 states, Canada and Poland.

“The meetings industry is a significant part of our work in tourism,” said Shah. “Meetings generate local spending and increased tax revenues in the county. This is huge benefit for local businesses, including vendors that support meetings and related events. Chatham County has numerous meeting venues of varying capacity, each involving local vendors that provide food and other meeting services. Organization meetings, conferences, retreats, and related events not only generate significant venue revenue, they help the organizations increase productivity and efficiency and provide opportunities for building stronger work relationships that ignite more business. I am honored to be selected for this important role. We have many opportunities for collaboration and sharing ideas about challenges, successes, etc., in our respective areas. Meetings happen in all sizes. We look forward to hosting more groups here as Chatham County continues to grow.”

The MMBC list of ambassadors includes professionals in the broader meetings industry.

Trina Camacho-London, MMBC co-chair and vice president of Global Group Sales at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, said, “Together with our board members, partners and network of supporters, MMBC Ambassadors will help spread the industry’s value story in priority markets, with a focus on policymakers, business leaders and the media.”

Ambassadors’ activities in 2019 will include sharing statistics, case studies and personal stories about the industry’s value and other activities that get out the word about the return on investment of meetings and conferences.

“We are delighted to have a strong, driven group of individuals joining our 2019 cohort,” said Julie Coker Graham, MMBC co-chair and president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB). “The Ambassadors have been critical to our success as a coalition, including our ability to reach key decision makers effectively. They bring a front-line perspective and remarkable passion for advocating the industry’s value to people, businesses and the economy.”

Discussion to explore how African-Americans, European-Americans shaped American music

PITTSBORO — The Chatham County Library will host an afternoon discussion on “Sincere Forms of Flattery: Blacks, Whites, and American Popular Music,” an in-depth look at how historic interactions between African Americans and European Americans shaped the evolution of American popular music. The event will take place from 1-3 p.m. on May 11 at the Chatham Community Library, 197 N.C. Highway 87 N, in Pittsboro.

Using musical instruments as well as rare recordings, North Carolina Humanities Council Road Scholar Billy Stevens will help the audience understand the relationship between jazz and blues, ragtime and gospel, and how the first distinctly American musical genre, blackface minstrelsy, has influenced country musicians up to the present day. With its roots in slavery and the fusion of musical traditions brought from both Africa and Europe, American music is a natural outgrowth of the unique culture of the American South. From rap stars to rock ‘n’ rollers, gospel shouters to big band crooners, from Stephen Foster to Elvis Presley, a pattern of contact and conflict between white and black cultures fueled the creation of confluent musical forms recognized worldwide as distinctly American.

The result is a better understanding of how our music reflects America’s social fabric, affirming the contributions of performers both famous and forgotten, while empowering minority communities often relegated to obscurity

This event is free and open to the public and is made possible with funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council.

Free Scene X Scene acting showcase highlights JM actors and their training

SILER CITY — What happens in an acting class?

If you’d like to see for yourself — and be entertained by high school actors — be sure to attend the free performance showcase for Jordan-Matthews High School’s Scene X Scene Acting Intensive. The 45-minute showcase will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, in the JM Auditorium.

Students will perform scenes, monologues and acting exercises to provide a window into how actors begin training for the stage. A reception for the audience and cast follows in the JM Media Center, where guests can speak with the actors and talk with creatives involved in creating the annual fall musical — including director Jessica Nunn, musical director Matt Fry and producer Rose Pate.

Fry said he encourages anyone interested in drama to attend, especially elementary through high school students who might want to venture onto the stage.

Weekly evening sessions in Scene X Scene acting intensive began in February and were conducted by Nunn, who is founder of The Phoenix Theatre Company, a theatrical company based in Chatham County that performs mystery dinner-shows throughout central North Carolina.

Nunn is pleased with the enthusiasm and growth of the almost 20 participants in the program.

“The students have been all in — even the more reserved ones have jumped in and given everything a good go,” she said. “They are beginning to realize that the more initial work they put into a character, the more they get back in ease of performance.”

Studying acting can develop more than stage skills.

“I’ve tried to link what they’re learning to ‘real life’ in terms of how our own memories can make it possible to relate to a character and, ultimately, other people,” said Nunn. “Any sort of character study, even in the small ways we’ve been able to do with this workshop, can be translated into the way we think about our own lives and the characters we encounter.”

Pate, who also is president of JMArts, the Jordan-Matthews Arts Foundation, is delighted with the students’ response to the workshop.

“We have a thriving musical program, but we get to spend very little rehearsal time building basic acting skills,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the showcase and seeing what our students have learned about performing on stage.”

Scene X Scene is produced by JMArts and made possible by a Grassroots Grant from the Chatham Arts Council. The project was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

CORA summer program aiming to serve more than 1,500 children this summer

PITTSBORO — This summer, the Chatham Outreach Alliance (CORA) is planning to resume SNACK! (Summer Nutritional Assistance for Chatham Kids), the organization’s summer program that distributes much needed food to Chatham County children who normally receive subsidized meals at school during the academic year.

In 2018, over 1,400 children participated in SNACK!, and CORA will expand SNACK! to serve more than 1,500 kids during summer 2019.

In Chatham County, 50 percent of public school children receive free or low-cost meals through the federal school lunch program because their family income is at or near poverty level. That is more than 4,300 Chatham County school children who likely will experience hunger this summer. The SNACK! Program will provide 21 healthy breakfasts, 21 lunches, 21 dinners and snacks for each week of summer vacation. Twenty sites across Chatham County, including churches, libraries, and community organizations, are partnering with CORA to distribute this food bi-weekly. Countless volunteers are working to make SNACK! run smoothly this summer and get nutritional assistance to families who need it.

To learn more about registering and how the program works, please visit or contact Catherine Machanic at or 919-542-5020.

If you are interested in supporting this important program this summer, please consider becoming a SNACK! Champion! It costs $150 to provide these meals for one child for the entire summer. If you want to make a donation to SNACK!, please visit or contact Rebecca Hankins at 919-491-5896.

CCCC’s Phi Theta Kappa holds induction ceremony

SANFORD — Academic achievement and service were celebrated April 11 as Central Carolina Community College’s Beta Sigma Phi Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society held its spring induction ceremony.

Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in American higher education. In 1929, the American Association of Community Colleges recognized PTK as the official honor society for two-year colleges. The CCCC chapter sets a higher standard for membership eligibility than the national organization: a 3.7 grade point average rather than the 3.5 GPA that national requires.

Nicole Thompson, Phi Theta Kappa Alumna, was the speaker for the event held at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic & Conference Center.

“You have accomplished something great; you have shown the dedication and promise that this honor society desires,” she told the inductees. “Be immensely proud of how hard you’ve worked to get to this point.”

Thompson talked about the PTK family.

“Most of all, I’ll never forget all the happiness and joy this organization gave to me,” she said. “Because of this family, I now have a network of people I can lean on through thick and thin. Because of this family, I have become the strong, dedicated, confident woman that I am today. So, on this amazing day, I just have one last thing to say to you: Welcome to our family.”

Dr. Rodney Powell, Chapter Advisor, gave the welcome and introduction of guests. CCCC President Dr. Lisa M. Chapman offered her congratulations to the new PTK inductees.

Phi Theta Kappa is composed of Greek words symbolizing wisdom, aspiration, and purity. A white rose on the table symbolizes purity, beauty of life, and intellectual associations, while the oak and laurel leaves on the PTK emblem represent stability, character, achievement, and success. CCCC had its own honor society, Alpha Theta Tau, from 1986 until the chartering of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter in 2010. Phi Theta Kappa officers – Daniel Painter (President), Paula Funes (Vice President), and Karmisha Hernandez Luciano (Secretary) -- conducted the induction ceremony.

In its years of existence, the college’s Beta Sigma Phi Chapter has garnered a number of prestigious recognitions from PTK. These include the Five-Star ranking — the highest ranking a chapter can receive for excellence, and awards at regional PTK conferences. It has also reached out to the community with service projects, such as assisting food banks and shelters.

The 2019 spring inductees are:

Bear Creek: Crystal Johnston, Tanner Whitt, Jamie Wilson

Sanford: Bryan Aguirre, Evan Aldridge, Taylor Baile, Tonya Bourgeois, Christopher Bowen, Suzy Brito, Bertha Brown, Megan Bullard, Sheila Chamblee, Bailey Coffer, Jasmine Coney, Jordan Coney, Starlene Cooner, Matthew Cottrill, Angela Crowder, Rebecca Dominic, Megan Duhon, Emily Hare, Emily Harrison, John Hill, Samuel Hill, Mackenzie Hulsey, Jennifer Huynh, Ryan Janis, Cassidy Kellam, Kaitlyn Kelly, Mia Knecht, Crystal Kohli, Lauren Love, Daniel Matangira, Diana Mattson, Kayla McCorrison, Damian Pearson, Lisa Ryan, Taylor Schwab, David Smoak, Marleeah Stackhouse, Angel Uy, Kathleen Windley

Siler City: Caroline Clapp, Bella Ocampo, Dania Rosales Santos

For more information about Phi Theta Kappa at CCCC, visit the college’s Web site,, click on “Site A-Z,” then “P” for “Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.”


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