News Briefs

Posted 6/7/19

News Briefs

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News Briefs

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Designer Heath Smith named to JMArts Board of Directors

SILER CITY — Designer and teacher Heath Smith has been named to the JMArts board of directors, the first former Jordan-Matthews High School arts student to help lead the nonprofit educational foundation.

Smith works as a designer at Hollyfield Design, a floral and furniture specialist in Southern Pines, and is adjunct instructor for Interior Design at Randolph Community College. He also operates his own small business, H.F. Smith Interior and Floral Design, and recently published a children’s book titled “Mr. Gilmore’s Glasses.”

While at JM, Smith studied visual art and music, also appearing in musicals as Mr. Lundie in “Brigadoon” and Daddy Warbucks in “Annie.” His performance in “Annie” earned him a spot on the Durham Performing Arts Center stage as a finalist in the 2014 Triangle Rising Stars musical theater competition.

The JMArts board includes President Rose Pate, Vice President Matthew Fry, Secretary Rahma Mateen-Mason, Treasurer Denise Partin, Angie Brady-Andrew, Greg Burriss, Justin Harper and Smith.

JMArts, the Jordan-Matthews Arts Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization that raises money and provides expertise to help students excel.

2nd annual Juneteenth set for June 22

In keeping with its commitment to be an integral part of the community, Chatham Community Library, in partnership with Chatham Organizing for Racial Equity (CORE), is co-sponsoring the 2nd annual Juneteenth celebration from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, 2019, at the Chatham Agricultural & Conference Center (192 US Hwy 64 Business, Pittsboro).

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 NC Central University will speak on “African Civilization Before Slavery”, Chatham County Commissioner Dr. James Crawford will present on “The Origins and Trajectory of Slavery in the US”, and Dr. Arwin Smallwood of North Carolina A&T will discuss “Native Americans, Africans and Slavery in NC”. Robin Cleary from NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault will discuss “Human Trafficking in a Historical Context”.

A variety of food trucks will be on site. The first 400 guests to arrive will receive a FREE $5.00 food truck coupon.

Doors open to the free event at 10:30 AM. The event is 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.

Soul band ‘Chairmen of the Board’ to play June 12 in Sanford

SANFORD — Soul music band Chairmen of the Board will be appearing at The Mann Center of NC in Sanford next week.

The venue will host the Music Hall of Fame Group on June 12, with the concert kicking off at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $10, and all profits will benefit the renovation of the Mann Center. Tickets are available at the venue, located at 507 N. Steele Street, Sanford, or online at

With one of Soul Music’s all-time great group names, the Chairmen of the Board has pleased music lovers for over 30 years. Formed in Detroit, the Chairmen were one of the first acts signed by songwriting legends Holland/Dozier/Holland for their Invictus label following H/D/H’s messy divorce from Motown. The group came out of the box strong in 1970 with the wonderful “Give Me Just A Little More Time,” a classic early 70’s radio smash highlighted by lead singer General Johnson’s emotive, plaintive vocals. “Give Me” was the foundation of the group’s excellent debut album, which also featured the infectious “(You’ve Got Me) Dangling on a String,”.

Over the years, the Chairmen of the Board were among Soul Music’s most consistent hit-makers, scoring big with “Pay to the Piper,” “Finders Keepers,” “Chairman of the Board” and the blissful “Everything’s Tuesday.” The Chairmen continued to record with moderate success, scoring a surprise hit in Europe in the early 2000’s with the joyous “Bless Your Heart,” a great tune and performance that sounds like it was plucked from their early 70s catalog.

Group leader General Johnson died on October 13, 2010 at age 67. At the request of General Johnson to keep the group’s legacy strong, 38-year member Ken Knox continues to lead the group touring with members Thomas Hunter and Brandon Stevens and 6 musicians. Two years later, Swiffer Jet used the group’s timeless hit “Give Me Just a Little More Time” in a popular commercial for the company. The group also released their first single post-General Johnson titled “You.” 2015, the group scored a No. 5 record on the UK Soul Charts with “Reach Out 2 Me,” written by Thomas Hunter and Ken Knox with Production from famed UK Producer Nigel Lewis.

The NFL’s Carolina Panthers recently featured the group in a video and a halftime performance and continues to play their music during home games. Chairmen of the Board are members of the NC Music Hall of Fame.

Chatham Libraries receive Teens’ Top Ten book giveaway from YALSA

Chatham County Public Libraries has been named the recipient of a set of 25 Young Adult books nominated for the 2019 Teens’ Top Ten list from YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association.

The nominee list is comprised of 25 teen acclaimed young adult titles ranging from a multitude of different genres.

Youth Services Librarian Katy Henderson applied for the giveaway on behalf of the Wren Memorial Library in Siler City, to bolster the Young Adult collection with the hope of attracting more teen users to the branch during the summer months. In a statement released by YALSA, Chatham County Public Libraries was included among 60 recipients of the giveaway, which was funded by The Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. Teens everywhere can nominate their favorite titles to become the official nominees of the upcoming Teens’ Top Ten. Nominations are posted in April during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year between August 15 and the third week in October.

For more information about the titles, or about the Teens’ Top Ten, contact Youth Services at (919) 545-8085 or

Jordan-Matthews students receive art honors

Six artists received music, theater and visual arts awards in May at JM Awards Night, an annual presentation highlighting top students across all disciplines at Jordan-Matthews High School.

Corrine Collison, a senior, received the 2019 Outstanding Graduate in Theater Award. A two-time JMArts Scholar, she capped off her JM theatre career with an unforgettable performance as Ursula in “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” last fall, and received a superior rating at Musical Performance Adjudication assessments this spring. Collison will attend East Carolina University this fall to study music education.

Jocelyn Lopez Mejia, a freshman, received the 2019 Underclassman Student Artist of the Year Award. A student in the AVID college preparation curriculum, her intuitive use of advanced techniques and willingness to experiment artistically are evidence of her natural talent. Lopez Mejia will return to JM this fall.

Oliver Mitchum, a senior, received the 2019 Outstanding Jazz Award. A four-year band veteran, his outstanding musicianship is evident not only with his saxophone, but piano as well; he will play his own arrangements for the processional and recessional at the JM Baccalaureate service on June 2. Mitchum will attend North Carolina State University this fall.

Aaron Partin, a senior, received the 2019 Outstanding Musician Award for instrumentalists. A JMArts Scholar, his four-year leadership and dedication in the marching, concert and jazz bands have prepared him well for a future as a school band director. Partin will continue that preparation this fall as a music education major at Greensboro College.

Joseph Richardson, a senior, received the 2019 Student Artist of the Year Award. His portfolio is ready to fill a gallery for a solo show, and his identity studies have received compliments from viewers on social media in the United States, Australia and Dubai. Richardson plans to begin college at Central Carolina Community College, and transfer to the UNC School of the Arts to pursue a major in visual arts.

Samantha Zarate, a senior, received the 2019 Outstanding Graduate in Vocal Music Award. A two-time JMArts Scholar, her stellar vocal performances in three musicals, soulful solos at concerts and events, and superior rating at Musical Performance Adjudication assessments are highlights in her record of excellence. Zarate will study music next fall at Guilford Technical Community College.

From JMArts

Extension Service offers Forestry Pest workshop

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a Forestry Pest Management Workshop as part of its Enhancing Sustainability Series from 3-5 p.m. on June 20 at the Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center in Pittsboro.

The workshop will be presented by Dr. Kelly Oten, Forest Health Monitoring Coordinator with the N.C. Forest Service. As part of her duties, Dr. Oten surveys for and tracks invasive pests, manages the Ash Protection Program, partners with universities and government agencies in research, and does field diagnostics of forest health issues. She is also adjunct faculty at N.C. State University where she teaches Forest Entomology.

Agenda topics include:

• Native Forest Pest Insects (e.g., defoliators, pine bark beetles)

• Invasive Forest Pest Insects (e.g., emerald ash borer, walnut twig beetle/thousand cankers disease, spotted lanternfly)

Dr. Oten will discuss pest identification, life cycle, range, and integrated pest management.

This workshop will provide 2 continuing certification credits for private and commercial pesticide applicators in classes G, N, D, and X.

This workshop has also been approved for Society of American Foresters 2 hours Category 1 CFE credits. The workshop is free but advance registration is required. The deadline to register is June 14. Call 919-542-8244 to register.

Chatham Libraries’ 2019 Summer Reading Program kicking off

Chatham County Public Libraries invite children and teens to participate in the Summer Reading Program “A Universe of Stories” at all Chatham County Public Libraries branches from June 8 through August 17, 2019.

The Summer Reading Program, sponsored by the Friends of the Chatham Community Library, is open to children and teens, ages 2 and up. Readers participate by picking up a reading or activity log at their local library branch and completing 10 activities (for preschoolers) or 10 hours of reading (K-12). All readers who reach the goal will earn a free book and will be entered into a Grand Prize drawing for a $50 Gift Certificate to a local or online bookseller.

The Summer Reading Program kicks off at the Chatham Community Library at 2 p.m. on June 8, with a performance of “Aliens: Escape From Earth!” by Science Tellers. This is a family friendly show for children of all ages.

Special events will be presented at all Chatham County Public Libraries branches throughout the summer. Be sure to visit our website,, or contact your local library branch for schedules and program information.

All special summer programs are free of charge.

For further information about the Summer Reading Program, contact Youth Services at 919-545-8085 or

Briar Chapel announces ‘life-sciences corridor’ in neighborhood

CHAPEL HILL — The Briar Chapel community in northeast Chatham County has announced two new facilities coming to the area to serve seniors.

As part of its “life-sciences corridor,” located on U.S. Hwy. 15-501, Briar Chapel will soon be home to senior apartments and an assisted living/skilled nursing facility, both operated by Liberty Healthcare Management. The institutions will join the soon-to-be-opened Health Sciences campus of Central Carolina Community College.

“Briar Chapel’s new offerings will help to fill a growing need along the 15-501 corridor for health sciences education and healthcare services,” Mike Scisciani, vice president of operations for Newland, Briar Chapel’s developer, said in a press release. “These new projects with Liberty and Central Carolina Community College now equip Briar Chapel to provide offerings for every age and stage of life.”

The apartment complex will offer approximately 150 age-qualified units for adults aged 55 and up. It is slated to break ground later this year and feature “a large proportion of two-bedroom options” with “tailored design features,” a wellness facility, salon and art program. Residents will also have the option of in-home care.

The skilled nursing/assisted living facility will get under construction in 2020 and offer approximately 105 nursing facility beds and 36 assisted care beds. It will be located adjacent to the apartment complex.

“Liberty and Central Carolina Community College provide a seamless cycle in Chatham’s healthcare and health services,” Dan Klausner, vice president of commercial real estate for Newland, said in the release. “Briar Chapel will now become a hub for educating and training healthcare professionals who can then provide care for residents in their own backyard.”

NCDOT promoting Hot Weather Safety

RALEIGH – In 2018, 52 children died from heatstroke in cars, either because they were left or became trapped. More than half of these cases were because an adult forgot about the child in the back seat.

To help avoid this catastrophe:

• Put a bag or phone next to the child’s car seat so you’ll always check the back before leaving the car.

• Keep a stuffed animal or memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty. Move it to the front as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.

Making a habit of checking your vehicle before getting out could save a life.

100 Deadliest Days

Don’t forget about your teen drivers as school lets out for the summer, either. The period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is called the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer due to the increase in crashes among teen drivers. What can you do to help keep your teen safe?

Educate yourself and your teen about risky driving behavior.

• Talk with teens early and often about the dangers of risky driving situations.

• Teach by example and minimize behaviors such as speeding or texting on the phone when behind the wheel.

• Encourage them to call a parent if they’re in a potentially bad driving situation and let them know they’ll be picked up without consequences.

Summer Drone Safety

With summer right around the corner, people will be taking to the skies in record numbers with their personal drones. While the technology is fun, it’s important to fly safely and legally.

Remember to not fly above 400 feet; never fly near airports; avoid flying over people or events; and always keep the drone within your visual line of sight.

To register a drone or get more safety tips, visit the Division of Aviation’s website at


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