News Briefs

Posted 7/12/19


Willow Oak Montessori School announces groundbreaking for $7 million campus

CHAPEL HILL — Willow Oak Montessori Public Charter School and Children’s House is on the verge of a large …

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News Briefs

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Willow Oak Montessori School announces groundbreaking for $7 million campus

CHAPEL HILL — Willow Oak Montessori Public Charter School and Children’s House is on the verge of a large new construction process.

Located in northern Chatham County, Willow Oak is beginning construction on a 30,000 square-foot campus to house up to 330 students from preschool to eighth grade. The campus is expected to be open during the 2020 school year.

“I am honored and excited to work with all invested parties through the final stages of this project and to leverage our increased visibility in the community to create an even more diverse school environment,” said Dr. Ayize Sabater, Willow Oak’s head of school, in a press release. Taylor Hobbs of Hobbs Architects in Pittsboro, and an alumni parent of the Children’s House, has been working with Willow Oak to design a beautiful, functional and on-budget campus featuring three separate buildings filled with light and easy access to the outdoors. “It has been an adventure working on this unique project, and we are so pleased to partner with Resolute builders and add this educational option to the ‘school district’ on Andrew’s Store Road.”

The school is working with Hobbs Architects of Pittsboro on three separate buildings designed to provide easy access to the outdoors. The project will receive permanent financing from the USDA Rural Community Facilities Direct Loan Grant Program and, according to the press release, “significant financial support” from current and former Willow Oak community members.

In addition to the new site, the school has created a scholarship fund “to subsidize tuition for low-income and working families to attend the...private preschool program,” the press release stated.

Chatham Parks & Recreation increases fees

PITTSBORO — The new Chatham County budget starting July 1 includes fee increases for several recreation program and park facility rentals. The increases will bring fees more in line with surrounding communities and help recoup actual department costs, said Tracy Burnett, director of Chatham County Parks & Recreation.

As of July 1, the new fees will be:

• Youth basketball: Registrant fee is $40 for county residents and $45 for non-residents

• Youth softball: Registrant fee is $35 for county residents and $45 for non-residents

• Park shelter rental: $30 for a three-hour rental of a shelter

• Park field rental: $20 for a three-hour reservation of a field with no lights provided; if lighting is needed, the fee is $35 for a three-hour reservation

If you have questions, please call the Parks & Recreation Department at 919-545-8555.

Carolina Farm Credit photo contest voting now open

STATESVILLE — Voting to select the top three photos for the 2020 Carolina Farm Credit Calendar will be open to the public at until July 31.

More than 900 photos were submitted by Carolina Farm Credit members, employees and friends for the contest by the May 31 deadline. The photos included children on farms, farm animals, equipment, machinery and scenery. The 36 finalists are displayed on the Carolina Farm Credit website. Visitors will be able to vote once a day for their favorite pictures through July 31.

Following the completion of voting, the three photos with the most votes will be awarded first, second and third place and receive cash prizes. The additional calendar photos will be selected from the remaining finalists. This is the eighth year that the public has been able to vote for the Carolina Farm Credit photo contest finalists online.

Carolina Farm Credit is a stockholder-owned cooperative providing financing to full and part-time farmers and agricultural-related businesses and also provides financing for the construction and purchase of homes in 54 counties through 31 branch offices. Other financial services available are credit life insurance, appraisal services, leasing programs and financial planning.

For 100 years Farm Credit has been supporting rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. The organization serves over 10,000 members with loans outstanding totaling more than $1.5 billion. The association’s territory covers the western half of North Carolina, with branch offices located in Siler City as well as Albemarle, Asheboro, Asheville, Browns Summit, Burnsville, Carthage, Concord, Conover, Ellerbe, Graham, Hendersonville, Jefferson, Lenoir, Lexington, Lincolnton, Monroe, Murphy, Pilot Mountain, Roxboro, Rural Hall, Salisbury, Shelby, Sparta, Spindale, Statesville, Taylorsville, Waynesville, Wilkesboro, Yadkinville and Yanceyville

Chapel-Hill Carrboro Chamber sponsoring trip to China

CHAPEL HILL — The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro is sponsoring a nine-day trip to China scheduled for October 4-12.

At $2,999 per person, the expedition includes roundtrip airfare, four- and five-star hotel accommodations; three full meals per day; bus tours; fluent and knowledgeable, English-speaking tour guides; and entrance fees for tourist attractions and sightseeing. The group will travel to Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. Travelers will experience a roasted Beijing duck dinner, a morning boat cruise, and a traditional Chinese music show; and will visit sites including Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the National Embroidery Institute.

Learn more about the trip, download registration forms, and register online at Registration closes July 15.

Tips for safe barbecues as the summer heats up

RALEIGH — According to the National Fire Protection Agency, July is the peak month for grill fires, even after the Fourth of July, so the N.C. State Fire Marshal has released some tips for grilling safely.

“A sizzling grill is a welcome sight and smell during Independence Day celebrations with families and friends, but it is important to make safety a priority,” Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey said in a press release. “I want all North Carolinians to follow our safety tips in order to prevent fires and injuries that can result from firing up the grill.

Seven out of 10 adults in the U.S. have a grill or smoker and according to the NFPA, between 2013-2017, an average of 19,000 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills. During that same time frame, fire departments across the United States responded to an annual average of 10,200 home fires involving grills or hibachis.

To prevent such fires and keep residents safe while cooking outdoors, Causey recommends the following tips:

• Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.

• The grill should be placed far away from the home and deck railings.

• Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.

• Never leave your grill unattended.

• Always open the gas grill lid before lighting it.

• If using starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.

• Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children.

• When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

• If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

Public meeting on proposed U.S. 220 Business widening

RANDLEMAN — Plans to widen U.S. 220 Business/South Main Street at the border of Randleman and Asheboro will be on display at a public meeting this week.

The N.C. Dept. of Transportation intends to widen the .7-mile stretch between U.S. 311 Extension and Caudle Road from two to three lanes to reduce congestion and improve safety. The project also calls for wider outside travel lanes and sidewalks to allow for bicycles and pedestrian accommodations.

Other proposed modifications include realigning Caudle Road to match Southern Drive; closure of the Norfolk Southern railroad crossing at Wesleyan Road; a new traffic signal at Wesleyan Road, Stout Road and U.S. 311 Extension; improving the intersection of U.S. 311 Extension at South Main Street; and widening existing travel lanes along Wesleyan Road.

The open house-style meeting will take place from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, at the Randleman Civic Center, 122 Commerce Square Park. People may stop by anytime during those hours.

Maps and other project information can be found on the NCDOT public meeting webpage.

Comments may also be submitted by phone or email by July 26 by contacting NCDOT Project Engineer Gregory S. Davis at 910-773-8022 or


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