News Briefs

Posted 5/31/19

News Briefs

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News Briefs

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News Briefs

Wren Library hosting third event in opioid awareness series

SILER CITY — Wren Memorial Library will be the site of the third in a series of Community Awareness Events addressing the opioid crisis in Chatham County.

The event, “It Started with a Script: Prescription Drug Misuse, Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, will go from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, June 3, at Wren Library, 500 N. 2nd Ave., and will focus on the current opioid crisis, the science of addiction, and the impact of opioids on Chatham County.

Guest speakers include Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson; Casey Hilliard, Health Policy Analyst, Chatham County Health Department; Chatham County residents Julie Cummins and Mary O’Donnell; Dr. Joe Mancini, retired medical doctor and addiction expert; Kyle Smith, Insight Human Services; and Tammy Kirkman and Ronnie Miller of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department

Community Awareness Events are a series of facilitated and respectful dialogues on serious and difficult topics. They are designed to educate and inform the community and to promote understanding. 

This event is free and open to the public.

For additional information please contact Mike Cowell, Branch Manager for the Wren Memorial Library, at 919-742-2016.

Chatham Community Library, CORE co-sponsoring Juneteenth celebration

PITTSBORO — The Chatham Community Library and Chatham Organizing for Racial Equity (CORE) have joined forces to host the second annual Juneteenth celebration from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, at the Chatham County Agricultural & Conference Center, 192 U.S. Hwy. 64 Business.

Juneteenth increases understanding and unity concerning slavery and the historic efforts required to abolish it. It brings a strong sense of pride about the commitment that African Americans have made to the betterment of life for their children and grandchildren. The observance will also draw attention to modern-day slavery, such as unlawful child labor and human trafficking, and provide information on how we may work together as a community toward eliminating it.

The 2019 Juneteenth celebration will feature informative talks by historians from three North Carolina universities. Dr. Charles Johnson of N.C. Central University will speak on “African Civilization Before Slavery”, Chatham County Commissioner Dr. Jim Crawford will present on “The Origins and Trajectory of Slavery in the U.S.,” and Dr. Arwin Smallwood of North Carolina A&T will discuss “Native Americans, Africans and Slavery in NC.” Robin Cleary from the N.C. Coalition Against Sexual Assault will discuss “Human Trafficking in a Historical Context.”

The event will also showcase engaging performance artists, such as the Tryon Palace Jonkonnu Drummers and award-winning actor and author Mitch Capel. These artists will be joined by poets, storytellers, musicians and others whose work demonstrates the depth of the African American heritage and the wide range of important contributions that African Americans have made to the state and country. 

Health screenings, information on nutrition, family fitness activities, displays and exhibits will be offered. Additionally, “A Child’s World” exhibit will provide learning experiences, crafts and storytelling specifically geared to younger audiences.

A variety of food trucks will be on site. The first 400 guests to arrive will receive a free $5 food truck coupon. Doors open to the event at 10:30 a.m.

The event is free and open to the public and is made possible with partial funding from the Friends of the Chatham Community Library.

For more information, please visit or call the Library at (919) 545-8084.

Excellence honored at CCCC awards program

SANFORD — Central Carolina Community College honored approximately 100 outstanding students May 8 at its Annual Academic Excellence Awards program at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic & Conference Center in Sanford.

Instructors selected the students who were recognized for academic excellence or for overall outstanding achievement.

Justin Pedley, of Lee County, was recognized as the CCCC recipient of the North Carolina Community College System’s “Great Within the 58” Academic Excellence Award. Only one student from each of the state’s 58 community colleges is selected for the award each year.

Erica Bell, of Harnett County, was recognized as CCCC’s nominee for the NCCCS Dallas Herring Achievement Award. Madison Bullard, of Lee County, was recognized as CCCC’s nominee for the NCCCS Gov. Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award.

Chatham County residents honored at the Academic Excellence Award program, listed by award and the program for which they received:

Academic Excellence Awards: Adrianna James-Rizzi, Associate in Science; Abigail Kraska, Information Technology; Roxanne McDonough, Sustainability Technologies; Cade McIntryre, Industrial Systems Technology; Kristine Paul, Associate in Arts – Chatham; Crystal Vanderford, Health Information Technology; James Williams, Information Technology.

Outstanding Student Awards: Wendy Bacilio Vico, Medical Assisting (Chatham); Anthony Borelli, Sustainability Technologies; Nelson Cruz, Electronics Engineering Technology; Malique Farrar, Culinary Arts; Adrianna James-Rizzi, Associate in Science – Chatham County; Nathan Lamont, Computer-Aided Drafting Technology; Ashley Smith, Health & Fitness Science; Amanda Usary, Building Construction Technology; Sarah White, Health Information Technology.

UNC professor to speak on community water testing results

A scientist from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who led the testing of wells in Chatham County will speak on the results in the coming weeks.

Andrew George, an assistant professor with the college’s environment, ecology and energy program, will offer residents assistance on learning more about their water quality, system maintenance and water treatment. Attendees will learn more about understanding their water test results and get information about water treatment options to address quality problems and concerns.

There are two events:

• Friday, June 7: 6:30-7:30 p.m., Wesley Samuels Annex, next to Liberty Chapel Church, 1915 Old U.S. Highway 1, Moncure.

• Tuesday, June 11: 6-7 p.m., Central Carolina Community College, Multipurpose Room (Building No. 42), 764 West Street, Pittsboro.

NCDOT reminds drone pilots to fly safely, legally this summer

RALEIGH – With summer right around the corner, residents and visitors in North Carolina will be taking to the skies in record numbers with their personal drones.

Around 30,000 North Carolinians now own and operate drones for personal and recreational use. As this number grows, the N.C. Department of Transportation is reminding drone pilots to follow safety precautions because drones can be dangerous to others if they are not operated properly.

“Drones are an amazing new technology, and the applications are almost limitless,” said NCDOT Director of Aviation Bobby Walston. “But with something so new comes a lot of challenges. We need to make sure people don’t treat these as just a toy, and know how to operate them in a safe manner.” 

As such, NCDOT’s Division of Aviation has provided the following eight tips to help pilots make sure they’re flying safely and legally:

• Always fly below 400 feet above ground level,

• Never fly near airports,

• Avoid flying over events or crowds,

• Don’t fly at night, even if your drone has lights,

• Never fly directly over people,

• Don’t fly near or above prisons,

• Respect people’s privacy, and

• Always keep the drone within your visual line of sight.

By following these guidelines, drone pilots can be more confident that their flights are safe and legal. Pilots should also take the time to learn about the state and federal laws governing drones, as well as local restrictions in their area, before taking off.

North Carolinians interested in flying a drone for commercial or government operations must obtain a permit from the N.C. Division of Aviation. Before applying, prospective users must pass NCDOT’s UAS Knowledge Test. The permitting system began in 2016 and is designed to help drone owners better understand restrictions on drone use through a simple and efficient online process.

Carolina Core hosts state economic development leaders for tour of assets

GREENSBORO — Partners in the Carolina Core hosted a delegation of the state’s top economic development officials, including leaders from the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), on May 21 for a familiarization tour highlighting the globally competitive assets in the Carolina Core.

“Today we had the valuable opportunity to give our state’s top economic development officials a first-hand look at all the Carolina Core has to offer, better equipping them to sell our collective region to prospective companies and identify opportunities that match our strengths,” said Stan Kelly, President and CEO of the Piedmont Triad Partnership. “EDPNC and other state economic development leaders have been strong partners in shaping the vision for the Carolina Core and we are excited to continue our work together to help North Carolina and this region win.”

The day-long event kicked off with a breakfast and briefings in the Bailey Power Plant at Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. The tour then included visits to downtown Greensboro, BB&T Point Stadium in High Point and each of the four megasites along the U.S. 421 Corridor.

“The Carolina Core is a strategic approach to economic development that erases traditional borders and focuses on the region’s cumulative competitive assets that are desirable to prospective businesses,” said Christopher Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. “Today’s tour and meetings with local partners helped further bring the Carolina Core vision to life, providing a valuable opportunity for our sales and marketing teams. This helps us at EDPNC to better promote the Core in our interactions with prospective businesses.”

The visiting delegation included members from the EDPNC business recruitment, business development and research and marketing teams. Other partners for the program included Chatham Economic Development Corporation, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, High Point Economic Development Corporation, Winston-Salem Business Inc. and Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.

The tour continues the growing momentum in the Carolina Core to collectively market key assets in the region to increase economic competitiveness on the national and global stage.

Last month, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) installed new Carolina Core highway signs along the U.S. 421 corridor. Leaders in the region are also working with local, state and federal officials to designate U.S. 421 as a future Interstate. Additionally, local economic development groups are collectively enacting an aggressive marketing plan to drive leads and business investment through site selection consultant visits and a print and digital advertising campaign.

Since launching the regional initiative in 2018, economic momentum in the Carolina Core is building with more than 9,000 jobs announced. This is progress toward the goal of attracting more than 50,000 jobs to the Carolina Core over the next 20 years. 

Jordan-Matthews honors student excellence at 2019 Awards Night

SILER CITY —More than 180 students were recognized for achievements in academics and activities at Jordan-Matthews High School on May 23.

The ceremony featured the awarding of local and national scholarships, along with perfect attendance, all A’s, and summer programs recognitions.

Of the 77 honor graduates, 45 will be graduating cum laude (with honors), 28 magna cum laude (with high honors), and four summa cum laude (with highest honors).

“I am extremely proud of this senior class,” said Jordan-Matthews principal Tripp Crayton. “They have set a high bar of achievement, and are a credit to their families and the entire community.”

As of the ceremony, the class of 2019 has been offered over $3.5 million in scholarship money, much awarded by individual colleges and universities. But local organizations also make significant contributions to higher education.

“We appreciate our many family and community groups that make education a priority,” said Crayton. “A local scholarship is especially meaningful because it’s awarded by people who know you, who’ve seen first-hand your character and work ethic, as well as your GPA.”

Academic departments and student organizations also honored top performers, many presenting colorful cords and stoles to wear with their graduation robes.

“It’s become quite a tradition here at JM,” said Crayton. “We like to see students show their pride and achievements as part of the graduation ceremony.”

Graduation exercises at Jordan-Matthews are 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8 at the Phil E. Center Stadium on campus, weather permitting.

Orange County native presenting photo gallery in Pittsboro

Carrboro resident and Chapel Hill native Michael Benson will showcase some of his photography starting next week at the Smelt Art Gallery in Pittsboro.

The gallery will open with a special event from 6-9 p.m. June 8, and will continue until June 30.

Benson has lived in Thailand, Switzerland, England, France and spent several years in Washington, D.C., where he opened a gallery, “Ozonestudio.” He also built and opened two award-winning restaurants, “Café Saint-Ex” and “Bar Pilar” on the now-bustling 14th Street corridor in northwest D.C. He moved back to Chapel Hill in 2006 and built “The Southern Rail” restaurant and “The Station” music venue in the heart of Carrboro, which were fixtures on the hipster scene for ten years.

His photography and design clients have included Rolling Stone, WHFS, Icelandair, El Pais, Air France, XM Satellite Radio, USAID, Adam and Eve, Washington Post, University of North Carolina, New York Times, National Geographic, Ventana Publishing, International Committee of the Red Cross, Redeye/Yep Roc Records and much more.

He has recently refocused his attention toward photography, graphic design and radio broadcasting (WHUP every Friday from 11 a.m. to noon).

The gallery is open 5-8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 8 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. For more information contact Smelt Art Gallery Curator & Coordinator Marcela Slade at or 919-448-4888.

Meals on Wheels delivery drivers in Southwest Chatham immediately needed

The Chatham County Council on Aging has an immediate need for three volunteers for Meals on Wheels delivery routes and is seeking both regular and substitute drivers for the Goldston, Bennett and Bear Creek routes. A Meals on Wheels driver gives about an hour of time to deliver a hot meal and peace of mind to home-bound older residents.

The Council on Aging needs individuals or teams of people to handle regular delivery between 10:30 a.m. and noon during weekdays. Each route takes about an hour of time. Substitute drivers also are needed and typically are called upon once or twice a month to fill in for absent regular volunteers.

Serving as Meals on Wheels delivery volunteers allow you to meet friendly people, provide a much-needed service, and makes a critical difference in someone’s day.

If interested or if you have questions, contact Allison Andrews at the Council on Aging. Call 919-542-4512, ext. 226, or email her at


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