Sara Isaacson, the former UNC ROTC cadet who was told to repay $79,285.14 in federal scholarship money after she informed her commanding officer that she is a lesbian, said she is relieved that the wait is complete and she is ready to re-enroll after Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed Tuesday.
Isaacson plans to return as a student in the spring semester to finish her last ROTC course, ARMY 402 “Officership,” before commissioning in May.
“I hope I'll be able to get right back in swing of things,” she said. “I will have been out almost two years by the time I actually get back in, so I'm sure I’m a little bit rusty on some of the things that used to be very natural to me.”
Candidates for Chapel Hill Town Council and mayor were smitten with affinity for downtown Thursday during the first forum of campaign season.
Sponsored by the Friends of Downtown, a nonprofit advocacy group led by former Town Councilwoman Pat Evans, the debate at the Franklin Hotel focused on parking, panhandling and creating and maintaining local businesses in the Town Center.
Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt engaged in an interesting debate with Tim Sookram in the battle for the mayor's office.
Read on to hear it straight from the horses (err, candidates) mouths, in the order that they stumped:
If Chapel Hill were a restaurant, it would be dawdling in the kitchen while diners impatiently waited for their meals.
After 11 months of deliberation, town officials still may not decide on legalization of food trucks until an Oct. 17 public hearing, at the earliest.
On Monday, 20 food truck vendors, citizens and politicians attended an informational session during which Chapel Hill Principal Planner Kendal Brown rolled out proposed regulations to govern the eateries on wheels.
Among the key stipulations:
-Trucks would be allowed only on paved, private, commercially zoned parking lots that have at least 10 designated spaces; vendors must have the landowner’s permission.
-Trucks could operate only when the business that regularly uses the lot is closed, and they must be parked 200 feet from the customer entrance of any restaurant.
-In addition, in some districts outside downtown, there could be only one vendor per 100 parking spaces or per acre, with a maximum of two vendors per lot.
Tim Sookram heard about a month ago than an election was coming up in November.
Never mind that he moved here just last summer, that this is his first bid for any office or that he’s never attended a Chapel Hill Town Council meeting, Sookram is running for the mayor’s office.
Sookram moved to town from Austin, Texas with his fiance, who got a job at UNC Hospitals. He says he’s “always whining to her about how things could be better.”
Among his critiques are that the community should be better connected with bus service that runs later in the evening. He says he can get downtown for dinner from his University Mall-area abode, but that the buses stop running while he’s eating, leaving him stranded.
He wants development that’s “more central, more connected, less suburban-anywhere-America kind of look.”
“Chapel Hill is kind of in a bit of an urban crossroads here where we’ve built up a lot of stuff and we’re not really sure where to go,” he says.
Admittedly a novice on the local government scene, the Gentle Robot guitarist says he’s open to new ideas and wants to hear from voters.
“I’ll do my best. Mayor Kleinschmidt, I spoke to him, and he seems like a really nice guy, but you never know. It’s just the two of us in the race so far; the filing period ends Friday,” he says. “If it’s just me and him, hey, I’ll look at it as 50-50. … Stranger things have happened.”
He’s already won something. He owns the chapelhillmayor.com URL and Twitter handle.
The candidate-filing period opened with a flourish Friday in Orange County as mayors from Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough all signed up to defend their seats and challengers emerged in the Chapel Hill Town Council and Board of Alderman races.
In Chapel Hill, Lee Storrow and August Cho filed as expected, and Laney Dale, a tech entrepreneur who moved to town four years ago, joined the race for the four open positions on the nine- member, including the mayor, council.
He is the CEO and founder of two start-up companies, Appuware and Appubater, which create computer and mobile applications. Appuwhere allows customers to be developers. Appubater accepts ideas from clients and partners to realize them.
Both businesses are located in Durham, and Dale says Chapel Hill needs to work to make it easier for businesses to establish offices there.
Jason Baker announced today his run for Chapel Hill Town Council and is the first candidate thus far to opt in to the Voter-Owned Elections public financing in this campaign. He joins Augustus Cho, Jon DeHart and Lee Storrow in seeking one of four seats on the line in the November election.
Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt is expected to announce his re-election bid at a supporters’s event at 7 p.m. tonight at the Crunkleton on Franklin Street. Challengers are yet to surface. Filing starts Friday at noon and runs until July 15.
He says environmentally sensitive growth, economic development that helps preserve the town’s aesthetic appeal and using technology to improve communications will highlight his campaign.
“In general I think the direction of the majority of our council has been fairly aligned with what I hope they will continue to do and what I hope to drive,” Baker said.
One week before the candidate-filing period officially opens for municipal elections contenders for Chapel Hill Town Council are lining up for the campaign season.
Four council seats are up for grabs: Donna Bell, Sally Greene, Matt Czajkowski and Jim Ward all must defend or give up their slots. Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt also is up for re-election.
Among the challengers thus far, former mayoral and congressional candidate and Transportation Board Chairman Augustus Cho has announced a run for council, and past candidate Jon DeHart is gearing up for another campaign.Chapel Hill Citizens Police Academy.
“I’m going to work harder and meet more people. I’ve developed more relationships,” he says. “Nobody knew who I was two years ago.”
Newcomer to the field Lee Storrow, who graduated from UNC this spring and who serves on the town’s Initiating Committee for the Comprehensive Plan says he plans to knock on 1,000 doors in July and 1,000 more in August.
“I expect to be the most hard-working candidate and reach out to the most people” said Storrow, 22, managing director of the N.C. Alliance for Health. “I will be hot and sweaty all summer long.”
Bank of America has indefinitely postponed the auction for Greenbridge, a prominent mixed-use development at 601 W. Rosemary St. in Chapel Hill that is facing foreclosure, Bank of America spokeswoman Shirley Norton confirmed. The auction was previously scheduled for June 27.
Bank of America postponed the foreclosure auction to give potential investors time to negotiate the purchase of more than $29 million in outstanding debt on the project, according to a Saturday story in The News & Observer. There have been three formal offers to buy the debt, which totals over $29 million, Toben told The N&O. Toben could not be reached Thursday for comment.
Greenbridge Development took out a $43 million loan from Bank of America in 2008, but had problems filling the pair of 10- and seven-story buildings offering energy-efficient retail space and condominiums. Currently only 37 of the 97 condos are occupied. After Greenbridge Development failed to make payments on the loan from December 2010 to March 2011, Bank of America filed for foreclosure in April.
Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Economic Development Officer Dwight Bassett have met with potential investors to answer questions about investing in Chapel Hill and the community, Bassett confirmed this week. However, he said that he and Kleinschmidt have had no direct role in the negotiations.
Bassett said he hopes that by avoiding foreclosure, the stalled Greenbridge project could change hands and begin contributing to the community and local economy.
“It certainly isn’t good for any market to have foreclosures period,” he said.
In related news, a lobby at the Greenbridge condos was the site of protest and vandalism Saturday. According to news reports, an estimated 15 to 20 people sprayed Silly String, broke furniture and moved couches to block the elevators. Chapel Hill Police arrested three people, charging each with one count of felony rioting and two counts of misdemeanor damage to real property.
As promised, the Chapel Hill Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to enact a six-month moratorium on residential development in Northside and Pine Knolls, the town's two historically African-American downtown neighborhoods.
It allows exemptions for homeowners seeking to repair foundations or catastrophic damage, correct code or zoning violations or to remove an existing structure and to replace it with a structure of the same or smaller size.
Charles Brown, the black business owner whose complaint against the Chapel Hill Police Department helped reignite the campaign for a civilian police review board in Chapel Hill, has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Chapel Hill and the Chapel Hill police officers accused of falsely detaining him in 2009. The complaints against the Town and police officers claim violations of the N.C. Constitution, false imprisonment and assault and battery.