News Briefs: Week of June 24



Chatham County Public Libraries release needs assessment final report

PITTSBORO — Results from the 2020 Chatham County Public Libraries Needs Assessment Survey are now available online for public review at

The assessment process, which began in July 2020, was conducted by Karen Dash Consulting.

The Needs Assessment was supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

With more than 800 survey respondents, the final report includes data on the assessment methodology, community feedback and priorities, and potential actions or recommendations for the future of Chatham County Public Libraries.

“We appreciate all of the valuable feedback from Chatham County residents who took time to respond to the Needs Assessment Survey,” said Chatham County Public Libraries Director Linda Clarke. “Results from the final report will be used to develop targeted strategic planning for the libraries within the next three to five years which will be critical as our county continues to grow.”

Originally designed to be conducted in a variety of in-person forums and locations, the onset of COVID-19 forced all related activities to the needs assessment to take place virtually. Additionally, the scope of the assessment was expanded to collect data on both pre-COVID services as well as those needed during the pandemic.

For questions or comments about the final report, residents may contact Clarke

Town of Siler City seeks volunteers for board and committees

SILER CITY — The town of Siler City has vacancies on the following boards and committees:

Airport Authority

The Airport Authority will have a vacancy for one member with no residential requirements as of July 1, 2021. The Airport Authority serves as an advisory board to the board of commissioners concerning operating, regulating and promoting the Siler City Municipal Airport and to establish a framework to be utilized in coordinating local, state and federal efforts toward this end. Major emphasis shall be placed on providing the basic facilities essential for attracting and encouraging sound growth of the Siler City Municipal Airport, as a tool for overall economic growth. The authority meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 1 pm at the airport.

Parks & Recreation Committee

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee has a vacancy for one member with no residential requirements. The committee makes recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for the establishment of a system of supervised recreation for the town.

All positions are advisory in nature and are unpaid.

Persons interested should submit a letter of interest to the Town Clerk Jenifer Johnson Town of Siler City, Post Office Box 769, Siler City, N.C., 311 N. Second Avenue, or no later than July 31.

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.

— CN+R staff reports

Cárdenas to share experiences

Dr. Virginia Cárdenas will discuss her personal walk as a Latina teacher, principal and administrator of public schools in a virtual lecture at 6 p.m. Friday.

Entitled “Tracing the Latino Experience in Chatham County Schools: The Personal Journey of a Latina Educator,” the presentation will cover the successes, the failures, the barriers to equivalent education, and the lessons learned allowing Chatham and other counties to improve educational opportunities for Latino students.

Cárdenas began her career as a teacher in Chatham County Schools, and later served as the director of the Magnet School Assistance Program for Wake County Public Schools. As a teacher, principal and school administrator, she has worked to provide all children with a quality education that lays the foundation for success and global citizenship.

Cárdenas is now a retired educator who holds a master’s degree in school administration and a doctoral degree in school leadership from UNC-Chapel Hill. She is the Chair of UNC’s Alumni Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity, and former Chair of the ACRED Latina/o subcommittee.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required and is available at

RAFI-USA announces ‘Come To The Table’ conference speakers

PITTSBORO — The Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA) announced that Natalie Baszile and Dr. Norbert Wilson will give the keynote addresses at the 2022 Come to the Table (CTTT) Conference.

With funding support from The Duke Endowment, the conference will be held March 15-16 in Greenville, N.C., at the Greenville Convention Center. Along with presentations from Baszile and Norbert Wilson, the conference will feature workshops, panels, networking sessions and a farmers market.

Edna Rodriguez, RAFI-USA’s Executive Director said that for nearly 15 years, Come to the Table has brought together faith leaders, farmers, and food system advocates to learn together and inspire one another to action.

“We are excited about the perspectives that Natalie Baszile and Dr. Norbert Wilson will bring to the CTTT community at this upcoming conference,” she said.

Baszile is the award-winning author of “We Are Each Other’s Harvest” and “Queen Sugar,” the latter of which has been adapted for television and was produced by Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay. Her non-fiction work has appeared in The Bitter Southerner, Lenny Letter, The Best Women’s Travel Writing and other anthologies. The Southern California native is also a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.

Wilson serves as the Professor of Food, Economics, and Community at Duke Divinity School and is an ordained vocational deacon in the Episcopal Church USA. His research touches on issues of food waste, access and choice, and his work has been featured in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and the Journal of Public Health, among other publications. Prior to coming to Duke, Wilson was a professor of agricultural economics at Auburn University from 1999-2016.

The 2022 conference theme is “Spirit, Power, and Connection: Owning Our Food Future.” Throughout the conference, participants will explore the role of connection and agency as crucial steps in building a just and sustainable food system. The conference strives to bring together a diverse collection of faith leaders and laypeople, farmers and farmers market managers, and community organizers and advocates.

Registration for the conference will open on Wednesday, Dec. 1, and a request for workshop proposals will be announced on Wednesday, July 14. To receive future announcements regarding the 2022 CTTT conference, join our mailing list at

Chatham County 4-H offers virtual summer camps

PITTSBORO — Chatham County 4-H is offering two free virtual youth programs this summer. The first event, Food Around the World, will be held July 6 -10. The next event, Cloverbud Puppet Masters, will be held on August 4th.

Food Around the World is a virtual camp designed for K-12 youth to learn about foods and cultures from around the world. Youth with intermediate experience in the kitchen will get to virtually visit Greece, India, South America, Japan and Italy from the comfort of their own kitchen.

Cloverbud Puppet Masters is a virtual camp for ages 5-7. Campers will need tape, glue, scissors, markers, crayons, pencils and pens for this activity. All other materials will be provided to participants for them to craft their own puppet. Participants should wear clothes they do not mind getting crafty in. Web cameras must be turned on to verify that an adult is present, and those found not following the requirements will be removed from the activity.

Adult supervision is required for both programs. To register for these events, individuals may sign up online at Those with questions or needing assistance may contact Liz Mauney at 919-542-8257 or

4-H is the largest youth development organization in North Carolina, educating hundreds of thousands of young people each year. N.C. Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program is growing the next generation of leaders and equipping youth with the skills to succeed.

Compadres Mexican Restaurant to hold meet-and-greet with Franklin Gomez Flores Tuesday

SILER CITY — The Hispanic Liaison plans to offer “Latinxs” the opportunity to meet Chatham County’s first Latino commissioner in Compadres Mexican Restaurant on Tuesday, June 29.

The event — or “Latinx Social Network” gathering — will begin at 6 p.m. Free appetizers will be provided to those who attend. Compadres Mexican Restaurant is located at 115 Siler Crossing.

“Come meet other Latinxs who call Siler City and Chatham County home,” staff wrote on the Hispanic Liaison’s Facebook page in a post about the event. “Getting to meet each other is a great way to build your network and build our community. Invite your friends and come enjoy time with other Latinx community members.”

The gathering’s also the “perfect opportunity” to learn more about what influence county commissioners’ decisions have on residents’ lives, staff wrote. Chatham’s first Latino commissioner, Franklin Gomez Flores will attend. Sworn in just last December, Gomez Flores represents District 5, which includes part of Siler City.

“Don’t feel intimidated by him being a commissioner,” staff wrote. “He is just a Latino community member who grew up in Siler City!”

The event will be held outdoors, though the Liaison advises all attendees to follow CDC guidelines. For more information, call the Hispanic Liaison at 919-742-1448 and ask for Maria Gomez Flores, the nonprofit’s Advocacy and Civic Engagement Program Manager.