NEWS BRIEFS for April 5, 2019

Posted 4/5/19

SILER CITY — The Siler City Board of Commissioners heard a list of recommendations Monday to help improve the experience of Hispanic residents in the community.

The town’s Building Integrated …

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NEWS BRIEFS for April 5, 2019

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Siler City engages with Hispanic community

SILER CITY — The Siler City Board of Commissioners heard a list of recommendations Monday to help improve the experience of Hispanic residents in the community.

The town’s Building Integrated Communities project, created in conjunction with UNC-Chapel Hill, produced an action plan with 43 different items on eight key issue areas including communication, parks and recreation, law enforcement and youth mental health. The plan is the result of a two-year process, including in-depth research, community meetings and interviews with professionals. Members of the town’s staff were also active in formulating the recommendations.

Specific suggestions included prioritizing the hiring of Spanish-speaking employees for the town, creating online material in Spanish and building trust between the Hispanic community and law enforcement.

Siler City Interim Police Chief Jeanne Miller said her department is already working toward implementing the six recommendations in the report for law enforcement, including hiring more Spanish-speaking officers, creating communications and disaster relief plans for Spanish-speaking residents, sharing traffic stop data including demographics and conducting annual bias training for officers.

The Board of Commissioners decided Monday to hold a yet-to-be-scheduled special workshop for thoroughly reviewing the material and recommendations. The board would also utilize the workshop time to establish timelines for fulfilling the suggestions.

State superintendent opposes timing of teacher rally

RALEIGH — Mark Johnson, state superintendent of public instruction, said in a statement March 28 that he is against the chosen date of the May 1 “Day of Action for public education,” as initiated by the N.C. Association of Educators.

Johnson instead suggested educators choose a non-school day — May 1 is a Wednesday — so as to keep schools operating during normal hours.

“Protesting is a right that can be just as effective during non-school hours,” he said. “Closing schools affects not only students’ learning and nutrition, but also parents, other school employees and other teachers...We support teachers and are championing the changes our educations system needs, but I cannot support protests that force schools to close.”

During last year’s “March for Respect,” also organized by the NCAE, 42 of the state’s 115 public school districts were forced to cancel classes. Chatham County Schools had a teacher workday. The district has not announced any plans for May 1.

Goldston library to host opioid awareness event

GOLDSTON — Chatham County Libraries is hosting its second in a series of events designed to raise community awareness over the opioid crisis in Chatham County.

The event will he held at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Goldston Town Hall at 40 Coral Ave. in Goldston. Titled “It Started with a Script: Prescription Drug Misuse, Addiction and the Opioid Crisis,” the event will address “the science of addiction and the health impact of opioids on our community,” according to a release from Chatham County.

Featured speakers include Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson, county health department Director Layton Long, retired medical doctor and addiction expert Dr. Joe Mancini, county residents Julie and Elly Cummins and Anna Stanley of Chatham Recovery. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, call the Goldston Public Library at 919-898-4522 or email sbrewer@chathamlibraries.org.

Chatham County seeking input on two park redevelopments

As part of the Chatham County government’s recently-approved Comprehensive Master Plan for Parks, Recreation, Greenways and Blueways, Earl Thompson Park in Pittsboro and Southwest District Park in Bear Creek are going to be improved, and public input sessions for each will be held this month.

Tracy Burnett, the county’s parks and recreation director, said in a press release Tuesday that planning for these improvements will “consider extensive community input, existing site conditions and recreational needs in producing recommended concept designs for each park.”

Individuals wishing to provide their input can attend one of two sessions. For Earl Thompson Park, the meeting is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, at the Bynum Ruritan Club, 28 Charlie Fields Road, Pittsboro. Community members wanting to add their comments about Southwest District Park should attend a meeting from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, April 29, at the Chatham Central High School cafeteria, 14950 N.C. Highway 902 W, Bear Creek.

According to the press release, the planning phase for each park will produce cost estimates, followed by effort to secure funds and produce construction drawings for each park. Additionally, Burnett said a countywide trails master plan is on the Parks & Recreation department’s “radar,” but “several other steps must happen before we can begin that work.”

In related news, the department is exploring other strategies for raising funds for these projects, particularly in naming rights and a “friends of the parks” foundation.

“Both ideas are in the concept phrase, but please contact us if you have any interest in donating funds for facilities or want to be involved in a new friends group for county parks,” Burnett said.

Those interested can call 919-545-8550 for more information.

Free recycling bins available at Chatham County Collection Centers

Chatham County Solid Waste & Recycling (SW&R) has free recycling bins for residents available at each of the county’s 12 collection centers. The recycling bins are 22 gallons in size and include a lid and can be used either inside or outside the home.

SW&R received a grant to purchase the recycling bins to help make it easier for residents to separate and bring their recycling to the centers.

To receive a recycling bin, residents must have a current decal to use the collection center and complete a two-question survey. Each household is only able to receive one recycling container, so residents will also be asked to provide their address. The bins will be available while supplies last.

Recycling bins are available at collection centers and the SW&R main facility. Visit our website for addresses and hours, go to chathamnc.org/recycle.

March for Meals event helped by Chatham leaders

PITTSBORO — Chatham County’s Council on Aging asked elected and other public officials to join the organization to help deliver meals on its Meals on Wheels routes and to help serve lunch at its two Centers to bring awareness to senior hunger insecurities during the month of March.

State Rep. Robert Reives II, Chatham Clerk of Superior Court Dana Hackney, Chatham County Manager Dan LaMontagne, Chatham Safety & Risk Manager Marilyn Grant, Chatham County Board of Commissioners Vice-Chairman Diana Hales and Siler City Town Manager Bryan Thompson participated in honor of the 2019 March for Meals Community Champions Week.

Across the country during the week of March 18-22, Meals on Wheels programs enlisted elected officials, local celebrities and other prominent figures to deliver meals, speak out for seniors and raise awareness for the power of the program.

“Food insecurity and social isolation are both serious issues facing many older adults,” said Dennis W. Streets, director of the Chatham County Council on Aging. “It was wonderful to have our public officials and community leaders join us to experience firsthand the importance of our nutrition program. I would also like to thank our local restaurants who have supported our March for Meals campaign this month.”

The annual March for Meals commemorates the historic day in March 1972 when President Nixon signed into law a measure that amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 and established a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older. Since 2002, Meals on Wheels programs from across the country have joined forces for the annual awareness campaign to celebrate this successful public-private partnership and garner the support needed to fill the gap between the seniors served and those still in need.

“We commend all of our 2019 Community Champions for stepping up in support of Meals on Wheels,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “With 12,000 Americans turning 60 each day, now is the time to invest in these vital programs so that we can provide every senior in need with the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that will enable them to live healthier and independent in their own homes.”

If you would like to volunteer at the Council on Aging, please contact Allison Andrews at 919-542-4512 or allison.andrews@chathamcouncilonaging.org. The Council especially needs volunteers to help serve in the Bennett, Bear Creek and Goldston areas.

Siler City Farmers’ Market launches season Saturday

SILER CITY — The Siler City Farmers’ Market will open for the 2019 season on Saturday, April 6 at the Oasis Open Air Market, 117 S. Chatham Ave.

Market hours this year will be 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday.

Opening day will feature landscaping plants, vegetable plant starts, baked goods and possibly a limited amount of produce.

Local producers looking for a place to market their products are invited to call for information on joining the market. Contact Joan Thompson at (919)-742-5442.

Apply now for Bright Ideas Education Grants

ASHEBORO — Randolph Electric Membership Corporation is accepting applications for the 2019 Bright Ideas Education Grant Program. Educators can apply for up to $2,000 in grants to fund creative, hands-on classroom projects in K-12 classrooms. Teachers can apply individually or as a team, and grants are available for all subjects.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Bright Ideas. Grants are awarded by each of North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives, including Randolph EMC, and are open to teachers in all 100 counties. Approximately 600 grants are awarded statewide to teachers each year for projects that engage students in new and innovative ways. Since the program began in 1994 at Brunswick EMC in Shallotte, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives collectively have awarded more than $12.2 million in Bright Ideas grants to fund more than 11,600 projects, reaching more than 2.3 million students in subjects including math, reading, science, technology, music and the arts.

To learn more about grant eligibility or questions on how to apply contact Randolph Electric’s Communication and Outreach Specialist, Kathleen Duckworth, at 336.625.8187 or Kathleen.Duckworth@RandolphEMC.com.

Applications are accepted April 1 through Sept. 23. To apply for a 2019 Bright Ideas grant, visit www.ncbrightideas.com.

N.C. strawberry season under way

RALEIGH — April signals the start of strawberry season in North Carolina, and local growers are expecting a very good crop that should last through Memorial Day.

“There should be plenty of berries this year despite a wet and cold first quarter in 2019,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We encourage consumers to visit a pick-your-own farm, go to a farmers market or stop by a roadside stand to get the freshest berries available.”

Consumers also can find locally grown strawberries in grocery stores and restaurants by looking for the Got to Be NC logo. The Got to Be NC program is the official state identity program for N.C. agricultural products, and lets consumers know they are buying a product grown, raised, caught or made in North Carolina.

North Carolina is the fourth-largest producer of strawberries in the nation, with about 1,100 acres harvested across the state. Growers have already started picking in Eastern North Carolina. Piedmont growers will begin picking in mid-April and growers in the mountains should start by the first of May. The peak of the season is traditionally Mother’s Day.

More information about the strawberry industry is available at www.ncstrawberry.com. Consumers interested in finding a you-pick strawberry farm near them, can go to www.gottobenc.com.

Duke Energy and county officials to test sirens around Harris Nuclear Plant

NEW HILL — The outdoor warning sirens around Harris Nuclear Plant will be tested between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 10.

The 83 sirens within 10 miles of Harris Nuclear Plant will sound from five to 30 seconds. This test is performed in cooperation with emergency officials in Chatham, Harnett, Lee and Wake counties, who are responsible for sounding the sirens.

Because this is a test, local broadcasting stations will not interrupt regular programming to broadcast Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages. If there were ever a real emergency at the plant requiring the sirens to be sounded, local radio and television stations would broadcast information and instructions to the public. For more information about the outdoor warning sirens, residents can refer to information available at duke-energy.com/NuclearEP.

Pancake fund-raiser to help local non-profit

PITTSBORO — A local organization that helps local residents could use a little help itself this Saturday.

Son Shine and Blessings (SS&B), a Chatham County non-profit organization that helps county residents in various states of need, is sponsoring a fund-raising pancake and bacon breakfast that day from 7 until 10 a.m. at Highway 55 Restaurant on US 64 East.

Tickets are $5 and are available by calling SS&B at 919-542-5436. Don’t have a ticket? Don’t worry; just walk into Highway 55 that morning for the same deal.

SS&B is a faith-based ministry concentrating on care for the elderly and needy population of Chatham County by providing transportation, shopping trips, respite care and similar services regardless of ethnic or religious background. Clients are served without charge.

In addition to those services, SS&B also offers music lessons to underprivileged and home-schooled children, as well as to adults. Lessons are currently offered in piano, guitar, flute and banjo.

SS&B was incorporated in 2003 as a 501( c )(3) organization, meaning gifts are fully tax-deductible. The mailing address is 298 Lindo Johnson Rd., Pittsboro, NC 27312. More information is also available through email at joyce@sonshineandblessings.com.

“SS&B is always seeking more volunteers and more clients,” says executive director Joyce Frank. “If you have a desire to serve your community, consider becoming a part of the effort and use the gifts God has given you.

“The rewards are truly amazing and you’ll get more out of your gift of time than you give.”

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