News Briefs

Posted 9/6/19


Chatham receives $2.3 million grant for 911 radio system upgrade

RALEIGH — Chatham County received a $2,339,608 grant last month to help with an upgrade to the county’s radio …

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Chatham receives $2.3 million grant for 911 radio system upgrade

RALEIGH — Chatham County received a $2,339,608 grant last month to help with an upgrade to the county’s radio system for emergency response personnel.

The funds were part of $10.5 million in grants from the North Carolina 911 Fund.

The county government approved $18,909,295 in the fiscal year 2019-2020 budget for a new radio system. Mike Reitz, Chatham’s emergency communications director, told the News + Record in May that the county’s current 30-year-old system has “reached the end-of-life regarding hardware, infrastructure and overall design,” and the upgraded system will “ensure” public safety agencies’ ability to communicate “effectively and reliably.”

Chatham joined Cumberland, Currituck, Davie, Franklin and Pender counties, along with the N.C. State Highway Patrol, in receiving money from the fund. Other projects include relocation of a 911 communications center and a new public service access point for emergency communications.

“The board is proud to support the state’s PSAPs and to improve the state’s 911 capabilities,” said Pokey Harris, executive director of the North Carolina 911 Board. “It’s through grant programs such as this that we keep North Carolina’s 911 centers on the forefront of technology to better serve and protect our residents.”

Chatham Central teacher named finalist for National History Teacher of the Year

NEW YORK — Amy King, a history teacher at Chatham Central High School in Bear Creek, was named one of 10 finalists for the 2019 National History Teacher of the Year Award last month.

The award is given annually by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which describes itself as “the nation’s leading organization dedicated to K-12 American history education.” King was the organization’s recipient of the 2019 Most Innovative Digital Lesson Design Award and was selected as the 2017-18 Teacher of the Year. She was also the 2008-09 Teacher of the Year at Randolph County Schools and the 2006-07 Teacher of the Year at Eastern Randolph High School.

“The very best history teachers transform textbooks and primary sources into gateways to our country’s past, engaging students and prompting critical thinking about the events and facts that define our nation,” said James G. Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “We are thrilled to recognize these dedicated educators who have exceeded these standards and inspired classrooms across the country.”

The national award will be selected from a pool of 10 finalists on September 10, and will be given, along with a $10,000 prize, at a ceremony in New York City on Oct. 2.

Tri-County Ruritan hosting 22nd annual Flatwoods Festival this weekend

The Tri-County Ruritan Club is hosting the 22nd Annual Flatwoods Festival this Friday and Saturday.

The festival starts at 5 p.m. Friday on Raleigh Street in Bennett with hamburgers and hot dogs, followed by an old-fashioned country auction at 7 p.m. Items will include a wide range of works from potters and woodwrights along with antiques, collectibles, and gift certificates from local sponsors.

Kicking off festivities Saturday morning at 10 is the Flatwoods Parade, described in a news release as “one of the largest tractor parades in North Carolina.” Food and drinks will be available, and participants wishing to be in the parade should plan to arrive and register for free before 9 a.m. Saturday.

The next stage of the festival is a smorgasbord of food, entertainment and music. Hamburgers and hotdogs will be available for sale at the Bennett Fire Department and other food vendors including homemade BBQ and ice cream, as well as sno-cones and kettle corn, will be on site. Live entertainment kicks off with the Quicksilver Cloggers at 11:15 a.m. followed by the Hindsight Bluegrass Band at noon. Parade awards and the raffle drawing will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Club President Leslie Hayes said she was very thankful for volunteers and sponsorships that helped make the festival and everything that goes with it possible.

“We are deeply moved by the continued support of our Festival and our club,” she said. “We look forward to continuing to provide scholarships in area schools and funding for families in need. It is the volunteers and the sponsors that make this all possible.”

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Tri-County Ruritan Club.

New voting equipment to be showcased in Chatham County

The Chatham County Board of Elections is inviting the public to view the county’s new voting equipment on Sept. 11 at the Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center in Pittsboro.

The purpose of the demonstration is to showcase new voting equipment being considered by the Chatham County Board of Elections for recommendation to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners. Vendors will give presentations of equipment certified by the State Board of Elections and will be available to answer questions from the public. Vendor presentations will take place between 9 a.m. and noon, and vendors will be available for questions beteween 1:30-7:30 p.m.

For additional information, please contact the Chatham County Board of Elections office at 919-545-8500.

4-H livestock show headed to Chatham Ag Center on Saturday

Chatham County residents are invited to the 2019 4-H Farm Credit Carolina Showmanship Circuit, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. this Saturday at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center.

The event, which starts in the livestock arena on the west side of the conference center, will feature 4-H participants showing sheep and cattle. Food vendors will be available throughout the day.

Chatham County organizations to host events

A couple of Chatham County organizations are hosting significant events in the coming months.

The Chatham County 4-H is hosting a fundraising one-day trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.

The Biltmore day trip — which is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 13 — includes motorcoach transportation, a ticket to the Biltmore and lunch at the Deerpark Restaurant. Cost of the trip is $180 and proceeds will be used to support 4-H school enrichment opportunities, camps and community club programs. The trip will take off at 7 a.m. and return around 10:30 p.m.

To register, visit

The Chatham County Cooperative Extension is hosting its annual Farm and Industry Tour next month.

The tour is scheduled for Oct. 1 and will include visits to Hunt Forest Resources, Rocky Branch Hay and Cattle Company, Orchid Gallery and Triangle Brick. The tour will kick off at 8 a.m. at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center and conclude at 4 p.m. and cost $35 per person. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the Cooperative Extension’s office.

Council on Aging hosting caregiver groups, classes

The Chatham Council on Aging announced that it is still hosting two monthly caregiver support groups as part of its Family Caregiver Support Program.

The two monthly group meetings and the free “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” classes are offered for free by trained teachers.

The group meetings are aimed at providing support for caregivers, as well as providing caregiver respite by placing in-home aides in the home to give the caregiver a break to care of themselves for a few hours a week. The classes help caregivers better equip themselves for self-care.

The classes are kicking off again on September 9, and interested participants are asked to RSVP to Beth Moran at 919-742-3975 or by Friday. The 90-minute classes will last for six weeks and are co-facilitated with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service of Chatham at the Eastern Chatham Senior Center, 365 N.C. Highway 87 N, Pittsboro.

Chatham 4-H’er attends NCACC Youth Summit

Media: gallery

Riley Pankow from Chatham County attended the 10th annual North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Youth Summit last month in Greensboro.

North Carolina 4-H and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service partnered for the tenth year with the NCACC on a multi-year initiative to increase youth involvement in county government. This initiative helps youth learn more about county government as well as how to become more involved in local decision making.

Seventy-seven youth and adults from 66 counties participated in this event. The event is sponsored and supported by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.

Chatham COA receives grant from Duke Energy Foundation for Meals on Wheels

PITTSBORO – The Chatham County Council on Aging has received a $5,000 grant from Duke Energy Foundation.

The Council on Aging is celebrating its 45th year serving Chatham seniors and their families. The grant monies will go towards the Council’s frozen and shelf-stable meal programs. Frozen meals are provided to seniors who cannot be served on one of the Council’s current 12 Meals on Wheels routes. Its shelf-stable meals help those for whom a frozen meal is not appropriate and during adverse weather conditions when Meals on Wheels volunteers cannot deliver and there is a risk of a power outage.

“This support will be vital to our efforts to serve Chatham’s growing older population,” said Dennis Streets, the COA’s director. “It will be especially timely if we have to respond to the effect of any hurricanes affecting our community. We really appreciate the support of the Duke Energy Foundation.”

Insurance companies request rate increase for dwelling policies, public comment available through Sept. 26

The North Carolina Department of Insurance received a Dwelling insurance rate filing from the N.C. Rate Bureau on Aug. 14. The N.C. Rate Bureau, which is not part of the Department of Insurance, represents all companies writing property insurance in the state. The NCRB requested a statewide average rate increase of 19.2 percent, varying by territory, with a requested effective date of July 1, 2020.

The filing includes a requested increase of 24.3 percent in extended (wind) coverage and an increase of 4.6 percent in fire coverage. The proposed rate increases are capped by territory at 30 percent for extended coverage and 5 percent for fire coverage.

Dwelling insurance policies are not homeowners’ insurance policies. Dwelling policies are offered to non-owner-occupied residences of no more than four units, including rental properties, investment properties and other properties that are not occupied full time by the property owner.

The filing will be reviewed by Department of Insurance experts to determine what, if any, rate adjustments are warranted. If NCDOI and the Rate Bureau do not initially agree on the proposed rate changes, a public hearing will be called in which both parties would present their cases to a hearing officer, who would then determine the appropriate rate level.

The filing is available for public review on the Department of Insurance website ( People who want to comment on the rate request may do so in one of two ways:

• By email sent to: Comments will be accepted through Sept. 26, 2019.

• By U.S. mail sent to: N.C. Department of Insurance, Attn. Mary Faulkner, Legal Division, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1201.

N.C. Piedmont Laureates scheduled for song and poetry program in Pittsboro


The Chatham Community Library will host a program featuring the 2019 and 2017 N.C. Piedmont Laureates and a singer-songwriter next week about the craft of writing songs and poetry.

The event, which starts at 2 p.m. on Sept. 14, will feature a discussion between poet and 2017 Laureate Mimi Herman and singer-songwriter Wes Collins moderated by 2019 N.C. Piedmont Laureate David Menconi.

Menconi is a former music critic and arts reporter for the Raleigh News & Observer and has also written for Rolling Stone, Spin, Billboard, The New York Times and Herman is a Kennedy Center Teacher Artist, director of the UAC Arts Integration Institute and co-director of Writeaways workshops in France, Italy, New Mexico and North Carolina. Collins was the 2015 winner of the Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Competition for Emerging Songwriters and took second at the Moravia Texas’ Songwriter Serenade, as well as a librarian at the Chatham Community Library in Pittsboro.

The event is free to the public and will be in the Chatham Community Library’s Holmes Meeting Room at 197 N.C. Highway 87, Pittsboro.


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