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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Interesting morning in Chapel Hill! Four arrested in protest of Margaret Spellings

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 11:52 AM

Margaret Spellings doesn't even start as UNC system president until March, but calls for her head continue apace.  Why all the Spellings hate?  "Faculty are dissatisfied with the current state at UNC and have no confidence that Spellings will move the system in the right direction,” says Zach Robinson, a faculty member at East Carolina University and a member of the Faculty Forward Network. “Her past actions have shown that she does not have the leadership to lead a world class public system facing a diverse student body, decreased funding and skyrocketing tuition." Spellings' past actions include serving as secretary of...

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools: Now a living-wage employer

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 3:34 PM

Sometimes, a little peer pressure is a good thing. Just two months ago, protesters gathered outside Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools' Chapel Hill offices to protest negligent treatment of of minority students and workers. One thing CHCCS neglected to do was pay some of its workers — such as 72-year-old custodian Eugene Farrar, featured in a November story in The INDY — sufficient wages to live in the towns where they work.  Fortunately for him, and others in his situation, the grassroots Orange County Living Wage Project launched around that time. The organization uses public approval as an incentive, by...

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

In Chapel Hill, a big night for the challengers

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 9:51 PM

A bitterly contested race for the mayor's seat and the Town Council in Chapel Hill, as well as the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, came to a bitterly close ending Tuesday night. After a campaign marked by a clamor of anti-incumbent fervor, much of it drummed up with a strong push by the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (CHALT) political action committee, it was the challengers who won the night in all three elections. Pam Hemminger, a former Orange County commissioner and school board member, defeated incumbent Mark Kleinschmidt in the race for mayor, picking up...

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chapel Hill polling shows the challengers taking over

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 11:47 AM

Chapelboro is reporting a major shift in the polling for this year's hotly-contested races in Chapel Hill. Read the Indy's endorsements for these races here.  Courtesy of Public Policy Polling, a new survey shows challenger Pam Hemminger has taken the lead over incumbent Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, with Hemminger leading 43 to 37 percent. Second challenger Gary Kahn has pulled in 2 percent.  In the Town Council contest, while the race remains nail-bitingly close, three of the four front-runners at this point are challengers, Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town-endorsed candidates who have been critical of the direction of the...

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Sierra Club endorses the incumbents in Chapel Hill, plus Michael Parker

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 4:34 PM

Here's a key, late-breaking endorsement from last week in Chapel Hill's oh-so-contested race for the Town Council and the mayor's spot. The Sierra Club of N.C. is siding mostly with the incumbents—Lee Storrow, Donna Bell and Jim Ward—in addition to town Planning Commission member Michael Parker, in the race for four seats on the Town Council. Meanwhile, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt also picked up the group's endorsement in this fall's race against former county commissioner and school board member Pam Hemminger. The Indy's endorsements will be released this Wednesday, one day before one-stop and early voting begins.  According to the...

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Chapel Hill mayoral candidate Gary Kahn calls Indy profile on him a "great work of fiction."

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 1:20 PM

I don't normally do this (I know, great way to begin any conversation), but I felt compelled.  On Oct. 3, Chapel Hill mayoral candidate Gary Kahn stated in the N&O that our September profile on the candidate, in which he used the words "ching, ching, ching" to describe the sound of Asians speaking, was a "great work of fiction." Kahn was being questioned about this statement:  “I was walking around one day, and I realized that no one around me was speaking English. They were all Asians. I heard nothing but ‘ching, ching, ching,’ not a word of English.”...

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Campaign spending on the rise in Chapel Hill

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 1:30 PM

If it feels like this year's municipal election in Chapel Hill has been far more contentious, you're not imagining things.  According to the most recent campaign finance reports filed for town races, this year's crowded roster of hopefuls has already outspent candidates in the 2011 municipal election. Since that year also included a mayoral contest on the ballot with four seats up for grabs on the Town Council, it's a relatively fair comparison.  Total spending reported in that election for the Town Council and mayor was about $31,417. This year's crop, including the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable...

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Report touts the housing benefits of inclusionary zoning

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 1:24 PM

We've written extensively in these pages about the Triangle's affordable housing struggles. Chapel Hill is still waiting for the fruits of its 2008 inclusionary zoning ordinance, a policy that requires new developments to include affordable housing components or make a payment in lieu. Durham doesn't seem quite sure how it will approach this issue. Leaders in Raleigh have been cool to the idea of an inclusionary zoning policy from the start. But a recent report from the Massachusetts-based Lincoln Institute of Land Policy throws the thinktank's support behind Chapel Hill. The report, released Thursday, argues that the zoning policy has...

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Early polling shows Mark Kleinschmidt with a sizable lead in Chapel Hill mayoral race

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 at 1:51 PM

We're in for a treat. Rarely do you get the chance for some real insight into local municipal races.  Per Chapelboro's Blake Hodge, a recently-commissioned Chapel Hill survey by Public Policy Polling found Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt with a somewhat comfortable spot atop the candidates. Of course, we're still seven weeks out from the election, but Kleinschmidt tweeted some relief.  According to Chapelboro, Kleinschmidt leads all candidates with 37 percent supporting his re-election. Another 25 percent back Pam Hemminger, the candidate endorsed earlier this week by Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town, and 5 percent support Gary Kahn. It's much...

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Monday, September 21, 2015

With the election looming, Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town shuns incumbents in its endorsements

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 4:06 PM

No big surprises today, as the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town, better known as CHALT, announced its formal endorsements in the town's races this fall.  The grassroots group, which has hinged its platform on criticism of the Town Council and Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, endorsed a spate of challengers for the November election, shunning incumbents altogether.  The organization chose Pam Hemminger, a former county commissioner and school board member, in the race for mayor. Hemminger is running against Kleinschmidt and challenger Gary Kahn, who the Indy profiled this month, for the mayor's seat. CHALT has focused its outreach on...

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Chapel Hill Councilman Lee Storrow pledges to stay in this fall's race for re-election, despite DWI arrest last month.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 11:27 AM

Chapel Hill Town Councilman Lee Storrow hears the calls for him to stay out of this fall's race for re-election following last month's arrest for driving while impaired. He chooses not to heed them however. In an exclusive interview Tuesday with the Indy, Storrow said he will continue his campaign, less than a week after pleading guilty to DWI in an Orange County courtroom. Police said Storrow registered a BAC of .16, twice the legal limit, after he was stopped by police in the early morning hours of Aug. 26. Storrow was stopped for driving 63 mph in a 35-mph-zone...

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Chapel Hill Councilman Lee Storrow pleads guilty to DWI

Posted By on Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 3:40 PM

There's still no word on whether Chapel Hill Town Councilman Lee Storrow plans to remain in this fall's race following last week's arrest for driving while impaired, but he's facing the legal consequences this week. Storrow pled guilty to DWI Thursday in an Orange County courtroom after Chapel Hill police stopped him Aug. 26 for driving 63 mph in a 35-mph-zone on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. He is set for a sentencing hearing Nov. 17. Police said Storrow's blood-alcohol content was .16, twice the legal limit in North Carolina. Last week, Storrow apologized, but did not comment on whether...

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Here's your chance to have coffee with today's Indy profile star, Gary Kahn

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 12:54 PM

Here's your chance to have coffee with Chapel Hill's dueling mayoral candidates, including today's Indy star Gary Kahn.  La Vita Dolce, a cafe in Chapel Hill's Southern Village, is hosting "Coffee with a Candidate" later this month, in which the three mayoral candidates—incumbent Mark Kleinschmidt, Pam Hemminger and Kahn—will share their vision for Chapel Hill and chat with voters.  We profiled Kahn, a former Republican turned Democrat, and his taste for straight talk. Included in the profile, Kahn had some choice words for Asians in explaining why he moved from his native New York to North Carolina more than...

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Chapel Hill Councilman Lee Storrow arrested for DWI, speeding

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 11:33 AM

Chapel Hill's 2015 election just became a little murkier. Councilman Lee Storrow, 26, who is running for re-election this fall, was arrested early Wednesday for driving while impaired and speeding in the Orange County town. A police report obtained by the Indy shows that Storrow was driving 63 mph in a 35-mph-zone on Martin Luther King Boulevard and Municipal Drive in Chapel Hill. The officer reported suspicion that Storrow was impaired. When tested, he had a blood-alcohol content of .16, twice the legal limit in North Carolina.  When he was elected at the age of 22 in 2011, he...

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chapel Hill library to hold public forum on gay children's book

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 11:33 AM

Photo by Alex BoernerFormer Orange County teacher Omar Currie resigned last month after reading a gay children's book in class.While Orange County Schools squirmed over third-grade teacher Omar Currie's reading of the gay children's book "King & King," the Chapel Hill Public Library saw a spike in the number of checkouts and holds placed on the controversial Dutch fable. Fittingly, library leaders say, they will hold a public forum on the book next week, part of a new event called "Between the Lines," in which local leaders and residents gather at the library to discuss hot topics in the news....

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Chapel Hill, Carrboro municipal races filling up fast

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 12:03 PM

Creative Commons LicenseThe good/bad thing about politics: Just when you think you're done with them, filing season begins anew. Filing begins July 6 for a full slate of local races in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. On Monday, Carrboro Alderman Damon Seils became the latest entry into the race when he announced his intention to seek re-election. Three seats on the Carrboro board—held by Seils, Bethany Chaney and Michelle Johnson—will be up for election in 2015, along with the mayor's seat. Mayor Lydia Lavelle and Johnson have already announced their intentions to run again. No word from Chaney, who won her...

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

UNC will rename Saunders Hall

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2015 at 11:17 AM

UNC-Chapel HIllAs expected, UNC-Chapel Hill announced Thursday morning that the university would rename controversial Saunders Hall, a 1922 building named after a former KKK leader in North Carolina. Members of the school's board of trustees voted to change the building's name to Carolina Hall, the university said, also enacting a 16-year freeze on the renaming of historic buildings. The university's Twitter account said that the freeze would allow time for "education" and "curation" efforts. The school's former history building was named for William Lawrence Saunders, a UNC graduate who fought in the Civil War and went on to serve as...

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Chapel Hill Councilman Lee Storrow begins re-election campaign

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 2:35 PM

It's early, but what's expected to be a busy campaign season in Chapel Hill is underway. On Tuesday, incumbent Chapel Hill Town Councilman Lee Storrow announced the launch of his re-election campaign. At the age of 22, Storrow was the youngest person on the Council (and still is) upon his election in 2011. “Serving this community for the past four years has been an enormous privilege,” Storrow said in a statement. “While we’ve accomplished a lot, I hear from residents every day about how we can improve our town. I look forward to working with folks from across Orange County...

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In Chapel Hill, university and town announce $3 million loan for affordable housing

Posted By on Tue, Mar 10, 2015 at 10:42 AM

Town and university leaders in Chapel Hill on Monday announced the latest step in preserving affordable housing in the town's historic Northside neighborhood. UNC-Chapel Hill will grant a $3 million, no-interest, 10-year loan to help buy and resell properties in Northside, a historic black community that has become a rental destination for university students over the last two decades. Durham-based Self-Help will manage the loan, in partnership with the Jackson Center, a neighborhood nonprofit, and the town. "This is a historic day for the Northside neighborhood," said Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt in a release. "We have worked to address...

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Orange County seeks input on affordable housing

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 2:18 PM

Affordable housing is on our minds for many reasons, not the least of which being the ongoing planning for Durham and Chapel Hill's 17-mile light-rail system. The light rail is expected to bring massive hikes in land values along the track, forcing local government leaders to make housing preservation plans now. Next week is your latest chance to weigh in on the subject in Orange County. County commissioners will hold a public hearing Tuesday regarding housing needs in the county, Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough. Commissioners are prepping a five-year strategic plan for addressing the county's housing problem. The plan...

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Carrboro to consider $12 milion home for ArtsCenter, Kidzu

Posted By on Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 1:28 PM

For 40 years, Carrboro's ArtsCenter has been a hub for performing arts and arts education in Orange County. Over the next two weeks, they may have to prove they’ll be around for another 40 to land an unprecedented deal with the town for a new downtown home. On Jan. 20, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen will hold a public hearing to consider partnering with the ArtsCenter and Chapel Hill children’s museum Kidzu for a new $12.1 million center. Additional informational meetings are scheduled for tonight and Wednesday. Under the proposal, Carrboro would fund more than a third of the cost—$4.5...

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Investigation pins UNC-CH academic scandal on a pair of academic administrators

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Coaches, academic advisers, administrators in the university's African and Afro-American Studies Department and the university itself are all the culprits in a long-awaited report released Wednesday into UNC-Chapel Hill's ongoing academic scandal. The 136-page report from former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein delves deeper than any previous probe into the scandal, which unfolded after the NCAA began looking into benefits received by former football players in 2010 and expanded to include many other sports at the university. The report primarily points the finger at former department director Julius Nyang’oro and a manager, Deborah Crowder, for offering hundreds of irregular classes between...

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Chapel Hill Town Councilman Lee Storrow takes a new title

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Chapel Hill Town Councilman Lee Storrow has a new title. Storrow has been named executive director of the N.C. Aids Action Network, an influential nonprofit that helps to promote advocacy and policy about the disease. At 22 years old, Storrow was the youngest town councilman in two decades when he was elected in Chapel Hill in 2011. He'll assume leadership of an organization that, like many healthcare advocacy organizations in the state, has fought its fair share of legislative battles in recent years. Last year, the organization was one of the loudest in the state in decrying Republican lawmakers' $8...

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

DOJ to would-be Meadowmont and Durham frackers: Cease and desist

Posted By on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 2:25 PM

It would appear the Pennsylvania company behind a number of bizarre mineral rights leasing offers in Durham and Chapel Hill has gotten on N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper's bad side. In a sharply worded letter mailed Monday, Cooper's office ordered Crimson Holdings Corporation—and its affiliated real estate firm Campbell Development LLC—to stop offering oil and gas leases in North Carolina. DOJ also demanded the prospective drillers, who sought to buy the mineral rights for nature preserves in Durham and the park at Meadowmont in Chapel Hill, reject and return any accepted lease offers from landowners. "Until you can demonstrate that...

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

DENR investigating landman behind Triangle fracking bids

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Reps for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) say they are investigating the Pennsylvania agent behind a handful of likely doomed offers to buy mineral rights in the Triangle. As the Indy reported Wednesday, state law requires representatives for gas and oil companies, otherwise known as "landmen," to register with DENR or risk a civil penalty. Frank Sides, the agent named on the mineral rights offers of Crimson Holdings Incorporated, does not appear to be registered in the state, based on DENR's online registry. DENR spokesman Jamie Kritzer said his agency was only recently informed of Sides'...

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