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Posted 5/24/19

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Chatham residents invited to provide feedback on two park concepts

PITTSBORO — Chatham County Parks & Recreation is in the final stages of developing long-term master park plans for two county parks, Earl Thompson Park in Bynum and Southwest Park in Bear Creek, and the public is invited to attend final open houses in early June to provide feedback on the concept design plan for each park.

The county’s new Comprehensive Master Plan for Parks, Recreation, Greenways and Blueways calls for developing park master plans for all county parks. Earl Thompson Park and Southwest Park are the first to go through this planning process. 

The concept design plans for each park were drafted after public input meetings in April. Residents can provide feedback on the concept plans at open houses on the following dates:

• Southwest Park Concept Plan: Tuesday, June 4, Chatham Central High School, 14950 NC Highway 902, Bear Creek. Stop by anytime between 6-8 p.m.

• Earl Thompson Park Concept Plan: Thursday, June 6, Bynum Ruritan Club, 28 Charlie Fields Road, Pittsboro. Stop by anytime between 6-8 p.m.

U.S. Navy member from Siler City earns American citizenship

SILVERDALE, Washington — Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest is proud to share the news that one of its active duty members, Utilityman Cesar Castro, became an American citizen in April.

“My parents and I immigrated from Honduras to America when I was 11-years-old. They wanted a brighter future for me,” said Castro. “I grew up in Siler City with family and friends nearby. I attended Jordan Matthews High School where the teachers and staff were very supportive of my family. Specifically, Ms. Vicky Tabor who helped my mom learn about American culture and traditions, and soccer coach Mr. Paul Cuardos. Coach Cuardos was and continues to be a great mentor to students and I am grateful for the guidance and support he gave to me.”

Castro graduated in 2008.

“My family and I were grateful to the American people for sharing their country with us and the only way I knew to repay them was to join the U.S. Navy, specifically the Seabees,” he said. “But I wanted more for myself, I wanted to fulfill my mothers’ dream, I wanted to become an American citizen. After lots of studying, my Navy command learned of my dream, stepped in to help me and today I am happy to share the news that I am an American citizen.

“It was my mothers’ dream that someday she would see me become an American citizen, unfortunately my mother died a couple of months before my swearing in ceremony. But I was not alone, the Seabees that I work with everyday were in the audience cheering me on as I took my oath of allegiance.”

Today, Seabees are deployed around the world, from the Philippines and Palau to Timor Leste and South Korea. Seabees provide real-world responses from the plane crash at Chuuk International Airport to emergent repairs near Wake Island.

Chatham Community Library hosting Pride Month film series

PITTSBORO — Chatham Community Library is celebrating Pride Month with a four-part film series beginning June 6 in the Holmes Meeting Room.

Films in the series, which begin showing at 6 p.m., include:

• 6/6: Stonewall (2015). The plot of this film revolves around the 1969 Stonewall riots, the violent clash that kicked off the gay rights movement in New York City. Stonewall was nominated for the 2017 ACTRA Awards for Outstanding Performance (Male) and for the Most Valuable Movie of the Year at the 2016 Cinema for Peace Awards.

• 6/13: Milk (2008). “Milk” is the story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California’s first openly gay elected official. This film won two Oscars in 2009; Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Sean Penn) and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Dustin Lance Black).

• 6/20: Love, Simon (2018). In this film, Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity. “Love, Simon” won the 2018 Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie: Comedy.

• 6/27: The Pearl (2016). “The Pearl” is a cinematic and intimate profile of four transgender women who come out in their senior years. Set in logging towns in the Pacific NW the visceral, observational story explores what it means to leave behind living as a man. This film was nominated for the Spotlight Award at the 2017 Cinema Eye Honors Awards.

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month. The month has been recognized since 1970, one year after the Stonewall riots which took place on June 28, 1969, commemorating the impact the riots had on society. The riots are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. 

These events are free and open to the public.

CCCC holds College and Career Readiness graduation

SANFORD — Central Carolina Community College’s College and Career Readiness Commencement Exercise was held May 14 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic & Conference Center, honoring the achievements of more than 160 students.

CCCC President Dr. Lisa M. Chapman welcomed the audience.

Dr. Nutan Varma, CCCC College and Career Readiness Coordinator in Harnett County, introduced the commencement student speaker.

Student Speaker Ashli Overby, of Harnett County, said, “I want to start this off by expressing how truly proud I am of everyone sitting in the rows before me. You guys did it! All by yourself, and now nobody can take that from you. I feel honored to be in the graduating class with such intelligent and kind people.”

Overby noted: “Education and wisdom is something that can never be taken away from you. Even when you feel stripped of everything, your mind is the one thing that they can’t take from you. This is your own. You worked hard for this. It does not matter how you got there, as long as you did. … So, I am asking you all to take risks and work hard for your dreams. You can do anything you put your mind to, and that is evident by you receiving your diploma today. Remember that you are in control of your future.”

Sandra M. Thompson, CCCC Associate Dean of College and Career Readiness, recognized the honor graduates.

Several students received CCCC Foundation scholarships to continue their education. The students are Taylor Simmons, Patrice Bethea, Hannah Paige Allen, Jalen Austin, Saira Rodriguez and Evan Alexander Lucas. Jeffrey Minter was recipient of the W.B. Wicker Memorial Scholarship.

Penny Shoun, Chief GED Examiner, introduced the candidates for graduation, who each received congratulations from Dr. Lisa M. Chapman, CCCC President, and Julian Philpott, Chairman of the CCCC Board of Trustees.

Following the commencement exercises, family and friends celebrated with the graduates.

Memorial Day travel: stay safe on roadways

RALEIGH — One of the busiest travel times of the year is coming up with the Memorial Day weekend, and the N.C. Department of Transportation wants your trip to be safe.

NCDOT will pause most road construction activities that require lane closures on interstate, U.S. and N.C. routes from early Friday morning, May 24, through Tuesday evening, May 28. The actual times depend on the projects.

Lane closures will remain in place for safety reasons in some locations where conditions do not allow for lanes or roads to be re-opened, such as many bridge replacement projects or where there is no pavement or shoulder. In addition, work that does not interfere with the travel lanes can still take place over the extended weekend.

Travelers can check ahead on the status of the routes they plan to use by going to DriveNC.gov, where conditions can be checked by route number, county or region.

Here are some additional tips for safely navigating the highways during the holiday weekend:

• Buckle Up. Every seat, every time. The Governor’s Highway Safety Program and the Highway Patrol will be conducting their annual Click It or Ticket campaign, enforcing passenger safety laws.

• Stay alert when going through work zones, as even if work is suspended, you may encounter narrowed lanes and traffic shifts.

• Be patient and obey the posted speed limit.

• Avoid distracted driving.

• Don’t tailgate. Give yourself space in case traffic in front of you suddenly stops or slows down.

• Travel at non-peak hours when possible, and leave early to allow extra time to reach your destination.

• Consider using alternate routes to avoid usual traffic congestion locations such as near a major city.

• Obey the “Move Over Law” – which requires motorists to move over one lane, if possible, or reduce speed when emergency and construction vehicles with flashing lights are on the shoulder of the highway.

Additionally, drivers who choose to use the Monroe Expressway or Triangle Expressway are reminded they can save money on tolls using a prepaid NC Quick Pass transponder. NC Quick Pass is the North Carolina Turnpike Authority’s toll collection program. It offers drivers two ways to pay for tolls: a prepaid transponder account or the Bill by Mail program. Transponders automatically deduct tolls from a prepaid balance and provide drivers up to a 35 percent savings, including on the future express lanes on Interstate 77. The NC Quick Pass E-ZPass transponder can also be used for toll facilities in Florida (SunPass), Georgia (Peach Pass) and states where E-ZPass is accepted.

Chatham Board of Elections hosts recruitment sessions for election officials

Every election, including primaries and general elections, the Chatham County Board of Elections seeks out hard-working, dedicated people to serve as precinct officials to assist in making elections run as smoothly and fairly as possible. All of these workers are registered county voters who work during the 17 days of early voting and 12 hours or more on Election Day.

All precinct officials are required to receive a substantial amount of paid training and service. Workers can serve in several election roles, which may include setting up supplies and voting equipment, assisting voters, verifying voter registrations, issuing ballots and managing long lines.

To find out more about what is involved in serving as a precinct official, stop by the Chatham County Board of Elections Office, located at 984 Thompson Street, Suite D, Pittsboro, the week of June 10-14, 2019. Drop by between 9-11:30 a.m. or 1:30-4 p.m.

Staff will provide an overview of what is involved with various precinct worker duties and the training required. They also will answer any questions you might have.

All Chatham County precinct workers must meet these requirements:

• Must be registered to vote in Chatham County.

• Must not be a candidate or related to a candidate in the election.

• Must not be an elected official, hold an office with a political party, or be a manager or treasurer for a candidate or political party.

• Must not serve at the same polling location as a spouse, child, a child’s spouse, sister, or brother.

• Must have reliable transportation to and from the polling place.

• Must be able to work long hours on Election Day (5:45 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.).

• Must assist with the setup of election supplies and voting equipment on the Monday evening before Election Day.

• Must remain non-partisan while employed by the Board of Elections.

• Must attend all required training classes before each election.

• Must work on Election Day to receive payments for training prior to the election.

Central Carolina Community College receives CUPA-HR’s HR Excellence Award

Central Carolina Community College’s human resources department has received the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) 2019 HR Excellence Award. This award honors transformative HR work in higher education, recognizing teams or individuals who have provided HR leadership resulting in significant and ongoing organizational change within their institutions. Thanks to the generous support of AIG, CUPA-HR is pleased to offer a $3,000 contribution to Central Carolina Community College’s scholarship fund.

Over the past three years, the newly organized and energized human resources department at Central Carolina Community College has led several efforts to make HR processes, and the institution, more effective. Outcomes of their efforts include:

• The implementation of a new user-friendly software management system and hiring procedures that have decreased the amount of time to fill positions at the college from an average of 90 days to an average of 25 days.

• The creation of a salary method and classification plan that ensures that a fair, equitable and legally defensible pay system is in place. Within the salary administration process, all positions were reviewed to ensure appropriate salary range, and job descriptions were updated.

• The implementation of an improved electronic performance appraisal method.

• The promotion of the employee assistance program, which has doubled usage in recent years, as well as the expansion of the existing employee wellness program.

The HR department’s changes resulted in significantly improved employee satisfaction ratings, increasing from 69 percent of college faculty and staff reporting to be satisfied with HR in 2012 to 91 percent in 2017. Employee relations have improved, and HR is now actively involved in conflict resolution and intervention related to performance misconduct.

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