News Briefs

Posted 7/26/19

News Briefs

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News Briefs

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CCS working on installation of fiber-optic internet improvements

PITTSBORO — Digital teaching and learning in Chatham County Schools is positioned to move further and faster.

The district received approval to contract with Conterra Networks for 88 miles of fiber-optic networking that will increase bandwidth tenfold while connecting all of the school system’s campuses under a single internet provider.

“Prior to this, we had contracts with three separate internet service providers, and it was increasingly apparent that they couldn’t meet our needs,” CCS Chief Information and Technology Officer Keith Medlin said.

The dedicated lines of optical fiber from Conterra will give the school system greater control over how fast information is delivered to devices used for teaching and learning throughout the district. The installation is scheduled to begin later this year and, barring regulatory or weather-related delays, is expected to wrap up this time next summer.

“This is a game-changing project that has been 18 months in the making, and we are excited to ensure that our schools remain on the cutting edge,” Medlin said. 

Medlin secured discounts from the federal government and picked up contributions from the state of North Carolina that will deliver at no charge to CCS what would have amounted to a $2.4 million fiber installation. The upgrade will not significantly increase the district’s monthly expense for fiber-optic networking, Medlin said. 

While the new network will serve the district’s schools, one of the reasons CCS partnered with Conterra had to do with the company’s commitment to increasing the availability of high-speed internet throughout the county for both residential and business use. Medlin has been collaborating toward that end with Darlene Yudell, who oversees information technology for Chatham County.  

“The project remains in the engineering phase right now as the final permitting and pre-construction tasks are completed,” Medlin said.

Central Electric board selects next CEO

SANFORD — The Central Electric Board of Directors is calling on Edward Oldham as the co-op’s next chief executive officer and general manager. Oldham is taking the reins from Morris McClelion, who retired from the post after serving 16 years as the co-op’s leader. Oldham’s first official day was July 6. McClelion will remain as a general advisor through Sept. 15 during the transition.

“Eddie is a perfect fit for this position due to his proven track record of leadership within the co-op and our community,” said McClelion. “For the past several years, Eddie has been a primary catalyst behind strengthening the co-op’s system and has been leadership-tested through storm restoration efforts following Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. The board could not have selected a finer individual to guide this co-op into the future.”

Oldham has been with CEMC since 1999, first serving as a field engineer before later being promoted to assistant general manager and vice president of operations and engineering. He holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from N.C. State University, and is a licensed professional engineer.

“I am very honored and humbled to have been selected by the board as the new CEO and general manager for this great organization,” said Oldham. “I look forward to building on the strong history of our co-op and working closely with the board and our excellent group of employees to continue providing the outstanding service our members deserve.”

Central Electric, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative based in Sanford, is a not-for-profit electric utility serving more than 23,000 members in Chatham, Harnett, Lee, Moore and Randolph counties.

New Hope Valley Railway hosting Brew ‘n’ Choo event

BONSAL — The New Hope Valley Railway is planning a “cool sendoff for the sizzling month of July.”

The railway is hosting a Brew ‘n’ Choo event on Saturday. Train departures are at 2:30, 4 and 5:30 p.m., with barbecue, beer and ice cream also available. Food and beverage providers for the Brew ‘n’ Choo are the Bombshell Beer Company of Holly Springs, the Humble Pig of Cary and Jam Ice Cream of Rolesville.

Tickets may be purchased online at or at the Bonsal ticket office. Food and drinks are not included in the ticket price.

Bonsal is located on Old U.S. 1 west of Apex and near the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant. It’s less than and hour’s drive from many points in the Triangle region.

Chatham Community Library hosts afternoon activities for kids

The Chatham Community Library hosts monthly events for children in kindergarten through fifth grade each Thursday from 4-5 p.m.

The first Thursday of the month is Chess Club, while the second Thursday is Book Club. Book titles can be found by Contacting Youth Services at (919) 545-8085.

The third Thursday features board games, the fourth Thursday is Coding Club using SCRATCH and the fifth Thursday, if applicable, is a Book Paty.

Bridge repair prompts detour in Randolph County

ASHEBORO – A section of a Randolph County road will close next week so N.C. Dept. of Transportation contract crews can repair a bridge over Interstate 73/74.

Southmont Drive will be closed between just east of Good Luck Road and just west of U.S. 220 Business starting earlier this week. The span is expected to remain closed until Aug. 19.

Signs will direct traffic on a 3-mile detour following Southmont Drive, Mack Road and McDowell Road back to Business 220.

Drivers should slow down near the work zone and allow extra time to safely reach their destinations while the detour is in place.

For real-time travel information, visit or follow NCDOT on social media.

DAV, RecruitMilitary hosting Raleigh vets job fair

DAV and RecruitMilitary are partnering to attract, hire and retain military veterans and spouses in the Raleigh area.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on August 15 at the Vaughn Towers at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. The event is free and designed for veterans, transitioning military personnel, National Guard members, Reserve members and military spouses.

In 2018, DAV RecruitMilitary hosted 139 veteran hiring events across the United States with nearly 6,750 exhibitors engaging with more 32,000 military-trained job candidates.

“We are pleased to provide these companies with access to the widest network of highly qualified veteran job candidates who are looking for meaningful civilian career opportunities,” says Tim Best, CEO of Bradley-Morris & RecruitMiltiary.

For more information, visit

Governor Cooper proclaims Probation, Parole, and Community Supervision Officers’ Week

RALEIGH — In recognition of the important public service provided by the state’s probation/parole officers, Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed July 21-27 as Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Officers’ Week in North Carolina. 

“Every day, our probation and parole officers provide valuable services to the people of North Carolina,” said Gov. Cooper. “Helping those re-entering society to successfully complete their probation or parole requirements, keeping citizens safe and helping to build stronger communities are all in a day’s work for these dedicated public servants.” 

Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks added, “Our probation and parole officers are a critical part of North Carolina’s criminal justice community. Sometimes their accomplishments go unseen, but they are always greatly appreciated. They play an important role in the overall public safety mission.”

More than 2,000 probation and parole officers supervise almost 90,000 individuals in North Carolina who are serving probation, parole or post-release supervision.  They also work with community agencies and local reentry councils to provide services and support to formerly incarcerated individuals. 

“The dedication displayed by our officers is second to none,” said Division of Community Corrections Director Tracy K. Lee.  “They wear many hats and juggle many duties, all while providing supervision, case management and intervention services for those they supervise.” 

For more information about the work of probation/parole officers visit

Pittsboro Toastmasters announces achievement of President’s Distinguished Club Status

PITTSBORO — The Pittsboro Toastmasters club announced earlier this month that it is now a President’s Distinguished club.

When a Toastmasters club reaches certain milestones, including membership, education, and training, the club achieves increased status and standing within Toastmasters International. President’s Distinguished is the highest mark a club can achieve and is a sign of member commitment on an ongoing basis.

“Attaining President’s Distinguished club status is an honor and will help our club continue to grow during its upcoming third year,” said club president Paul Kehle. “With the continuing increase in new residents moving to Chatham County, we believe Pittsboro Toastmasters can make a positive impact on the community through its mission to empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.”

Founding club member and Distinguished Toastmaster David Fernandez, Ph.D., and 2018-2019 District Area Director Bob Johnson both commented about achieving the new status level and growth in club membership.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to play a positive role and make a difference in the Pittsboro community through our weekly meetings,” they said. “Come join us on Monday nights, and you can even get your dinner in one stop.”

Pittsboro Toastmasters meets every Monday night at 6:30 pm. at Greek Kouzina Restaurant, 964 East Street, Pittsboro, adjourning by 7:30 pm. First time visitors and prospective members from all walks of life are encouraged to join.

Pittsboro Toastmasters is a member club of Toastmasters International, which has grown to 16,600 clubs with more than 357,000 members in 143 countries worldwide. Their mission is to empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.

Farm Service Agency county committee nominations end Aug. 1

Nominations for the Chatham County Farm Service Agency County Committee continue through Aug. 1, with elections taking place this November. The 2019 election for Chatham County will be held in Local Administrative Area (LAA) 2 and is comprised of Center, Gulf, Hadley, and Hickory Mountain townships, which is roughly the middle part of the county.

County committees are an important link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and give landowners, farmers and ranchers a better chance of having their opinions and ideas heard.

To be eligible to serve on a Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate and that area must be the one holding the election.

Producers may nominate themselves or others, and organizations representing minorities and women may also nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available online at: Nomination forms for the 2019 election must be postmarked or received in the Chatham County FSA Office by close of business on Aug. 1, 2019.

FSA strongly encourages beginning farmers, women, and underserved farmers to actively seek a position on the county committee.

FSA will mail ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 4. The voted ballots are due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by Dec. 2. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office Jan. 1, 2020.

Local FFA Members Selected to Compete Nationally

SILER CITY — The Jordan-Matthews Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter will send members to Indianapolis as they vie for national honors in the agricultural communications area.

The FFA members who competed at the state level include Baylee Fox, Molli Lambert and Samantha Ritch. To compete on the national level, a fourth member, Kelsey Justice, will be added. Marguerite Fields is the chapter advisor.

Agricultural communications is one of the 25 career/leadership development event areas, covering job skills in everything from communication to mechanics. The four-member team is challenged in all areas of the agricultural communications field.

Participants will attend a press conference, utilize information gathered in a team activity and complete individual practicums in design, electronic media and writing. Students are also tested on editing and other communication skills.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, person growth and career success training through agricultural education to 669,989 student members who belong to one of 8,630 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


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