News Briefs

Posted 7/5/19

SCOTUS rules state courts must decide partisan gerrymandering claims

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision last week that North Carolina’s Congressional maps, previously …

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SCOTUS rules state courts must decide partisan gerrymandering claims

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision last week that North Carolina’s Congressional maps, previously ruled unconstitutional by lower federal courts, were not within its authority to evaluate.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, which fell along ideological lines.

“We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts,” Roberts wrote. “Federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between the two major political parties, with no plausible grant of authority in the Constitution, and no legal standards to limit and direct their decisions.”

North Carolina’s Congressional maps were drawn by the GOP-led majority. In 2018, 50.3 percent of voters cast their ballots for a Democratic Congressional candidate, but Republicans won 10 of the 13 Congressional seats. While Roberts noted in his opinion that results from the districts may “reasonably seem unjust,” the Court determined that it wasn’t within its authority to resolve the problem.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the “partisan gerrymanders,” including North Carolina’s, “deprived citizens” of the “rights to participate equally in the political process, to join with others to advance political beliefs, and to choose their political representatives.”

“In so doing, the partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people,” she wrote.

The left-leaning groups that filed the lawsuit have vowed to continue the fight to invalidate the partisan gerrymandered maps in state court.

“We are confident that justice will prevail in the North Carolina courts,” said Bob Phillips of North Carolina Common Cause, which is one of the parties that filed the suit. “And we will continue to work with state lawmakers to reform our broken redistricting system that has left far too many without a voice in Raleigh.”

Chatham Community Players presenting ‘The Miss Firecracker Contest’

A new performance is coming to Sweet Bee Theater starting Friday from the Chatham Community Players.

“The Miss Firecracker Contest,” running from July 5-14, explores, according to a new release, “a dysfunctional southern family hell-bent on wriggling out of  their checkered past - they aim, scheme and blunder their way to proving they’re really something by coaching  their trashy cousin into the beauty-talent pageant at the summer festival in their small Southern town.”

The Chatham Community Players is a group of local actors who rehearse and perform in the Sweet Bee. The show is rated PG-13 and performances will be Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. Tickets are $12 and available at pittsboroyouththeater.com/online-store or at the door. All of the proceeds go toward supporting the Sweet Bee, which is located at 18A E. Salisbury Street, Pittsboro, behind SunTrust.

Siler City Rotary awards 11 scholarships

The Siler City Rotary Club has awarded 11 scholarships, totaling $13,500, to graduating seniors from Jordan-Matthews, Chatham Central and Chatham Charter.

Funding for the scholarships was raised though the Rotary Club’s Spring Cash Raffle and the Fall Radiothon, BBQ & Auction. Selection criteria included academic achievement, demonstrated financial need and extra-curricular experience. Students were asked to describe how they exhibited leadership through work ethic, attitude and community services, as well as how they are making a difference in the community. This year’s recipients:

Jordan-Matthews: Baylee Fox, Jennifer Henderson, Emery Moore, Aaron Partin, Alexander Ramirez-Tinoco, Janet Solano Ortiz

Chatham Central: Hannah Bates, Amara Brower, Lauren Collins

Chatham Charter: Ashton Bristow, Miranda Griffin

NC DMV offering new license plate option

RALEIGH — Beginning July 1, North Carolina motorists can choose a new standard state license plate.

The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles will introduce a national/state motto license plate in addition to the “First in Flight” and “First in Freedom” plates, currently the state’s only other standard-issue plates. 

The national/state motto registration plate will include the United States motto, “In God We Trust” printed at the top of the plate above all other letters and numbers and the State motto, “To Be Rather Than To Seem.”

“We are excited to offer this new additional plate to customers as part of our continued effort to maintain the highest level of customer service,” said NCDMV Commissioner Torre J. Jessup. “This plate will allow our customers more options to choose from.” 

The new national/state motto standard plate will not replace the “In God We Trust” specialty plate, which will still be available with additional fees associated with the plate.

To apply for a national/state motto license plate at no additional charge, vehicle owners can request the plate at the time of their registration renewal. A standard charge will be due if the vehicle owner applies for the plate at non-renewal times. 

Vehicle owners may visit the division’s website at www.ncdot.gov/dmv to find the location of license plate agencies. 

Chatham Reads hosting Summer Learning Day

Chatham County parents will have the opportunity Saturday to celebrate summer reading.

Chatham Reads and the Chatham County Public Libraries are hosting Summer Learning Day, scheduled for 2-4 p.m. on July 6 at Virginia Cross Elementary School in Siler City. Located in the school’s gym, the event will include a performance from Rags to Riches Theater, craft and STEM activities and information from local agencies focused on keeping kids learning, safe and health all year round.

For more information, contact the Library’s Children’s Desk at 919-545-8085.

Chatham youth places in oratory contest

Brianna Reives won second place last month in the Prepatory Division of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina held in Wilmington.

Reives competed in the contest for the first time. She is the daughter of N.C. Rep. Robert and Cynthia Reives and a member of Roberts Chapel Missionary Church in Goldston. She represented the Deep River Missionary Baptist Association.

Chatham health board, Siler City Airport Authority seeking members

Both the Chatham County Board of Health and Siler City Airport Authority are seeking a member to fill out their respective rosters.

The health board vacancy is for a veterinarian who lives in the county. Applicants must have a current license to practice veterinary medicine in North Carolina and should submit applications no later than 5 p.m. on July 19. The appointment would be approved by the Chatham County Board of Commissioners and would initially serve until Feb. 20, 2020.

The board of health serves as the policymaking, rule-making and deliberative body for the Chatham County Public Health Department, and meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month except July and December.

For more information, call 919-545-8391. To apply, visit https://chathamnc.seamlessdocs.com/f/CommitteeForm, or contact Lindsay Ray at 919-542-8200 or lindsay.ray@chathamnc.org to get an email version or printed copy.

The Siler City Airport Authority’s vacancy has no residential requirements. The authority serves as an advisory board to the town’s board of commissioners in the operation, regulation and promotion of the Siler City Municipal Airport. Major emphasis for board members is placed on providing facilities needed for attracting and encouraging growth of the airport with the goal of stimulating economic growth.

To apply, submit a letter of interested to Town Clerk Jenifer Johnson, Town of Siler City, Post Office Box 769, Siler City, N.C., 311 N. Second Ave., or jjohnson@silercity.org no later than July 10, 2019.

The letter of interest should include: home address, phone number, email address, educational background, current employment, civic involvement, why you wish to serve, and any other information you feel pertinent.

Boys & Girls Club of Central Carolina expanding to Harnett County

LILLINGTON — The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Carolina (BGCCC) announced last month that it would be opening its newest operating site in Harnett County.

The new Club Site will be located inside the old Shawtown School in Lillington. The goal is to provide world-class out-of-school time activities for 100 students per day during the school year as well as a summer camp.

The new location will grow BGCCC’s impact by reaching 100 youth each day with innovative and diverse programs. The site will offer the organization’s signature educational enrichment programs such as Power Hour where Club staff and local volunteers work to make sure that kids have the support to complete their homework every day. The Club will also offer Triple Play, BGCA’s first comprehensive health and wellness program, developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which strives to improve the overall health of Club members by increasing their daily physical activity; teaching them good nutrition and helping develop healthy and positive relationships.

Members will also have the opportunity to participate in BGCCC’s STEAM programs. STEAM, is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are kids who engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. Club members between the ages of 13 and 18 will also have the opportunity to participate in Youth of the Year.

The BGCCC currently has operations in Lee and Chatham counties.

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