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Council member: Bike deaths should never happen again

The hit-and-run deaths of two Carrboro cyclists on U.S. 15-501 near Southern Village came up briefly Monday at the beginning of the Town Council's meeting.

Council member Ed Harrison said he had been answering calls and questions since learning about the accident Friday.

You can’t say enough about what a tragedy it was to have that happen, he said. It should never happen again.

“These were people that were just trying to make it around and make a go of it in Chapel Hill. They didn’t have much, but their own persons,” Harrison said. “But there a criminal out there and … I hope that our police department and others can find this person.”

Harrison also used the opportunity to tell people about two bike-related events coming up in October.

The first will be the N.C. Bike Summit at the Hampton Inn in Carrboro from Oct. 18-20, he said. The second will be a community review on Oct. 24 of the draft Chapel Hill Bike Plan.

Commissioners appoint interim county manager

The Orange County Board of Commissioners appointed a two-year assistant manager Tuesday to serve as interim manager while the county seeks a permanent leader.

County Manager Frank Clifton retires Sept. 29 after nearly five years in the job.

Talbert was promoted to assistant county manager in 2011. He has worked closely with Clifton on many issues and taken the lead on others, including the closing of the county landfill, the Emergency Services upgrade and the Rogers Road sewer and community center projects.

He also has served as the county’s deputy financial services director and was first hired in December 2009 for a temporary Financial Services position. Previously, Talbert was the county manager in Polk County and finance director for Catawba County.

He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics from Elon College.

Tar Heels to host Ontario for free baseball exhibition

Defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion and College World Series participant North Carolina will host the Ontario Blue Jays in a free exhibition contest at 3 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, UNC head coach Mike Fox announced Friday.
The Blue Jays are an 18-and-under team from Toronto that competes in the Premier Baseball League of Ontario.
"I think this will be a fun opportunity for our team to play against some outside competition in the fall," Fox said of the game, which is exempt from Carolina's 56-game allotment due to the Blue Jays' international status. "Our players will be excited to face another team after scrimmaging against each other all month."
The exhibition matchup with Ontario is open to all spectators and admission is free.
Carolina also will host its annual Fall World Series on Oct. 4-6, 11-13 and 15 (if necessary).
Details on the FWS will be available on in September.

Chapel Hill could break with Russian city over anti-gay laws

Anti-gay laws should mark the end of Chapel Hill’s relationship with its estranged Russian sister city, two openly gay local leaders said Thursday.

In a news release, Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Town Council member Lee Storrow called for the Town Council to sever its relationship with Saratov, a port city located about 450 miles southeast of Moscow on Russia’s Volga River. The cities have been linked through the Sister Cities program since 1992, but Kleinschmidt and Storrow said the relationship has gone dormant.

In light of Russia’s “heartbreaking” persecution of homosexuals and the recent enactment of a new anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender law banning “homosexual propaganda,” the men said it is time to call it quits.

“Innocent individuals and families face persecution, violence and detainment for expressing themselves openly and non-violently in the public square. These laws are deplorable and do nothing but create hardship, suffering, and in some cases death, for innocent people,” the release said.

Until Russian society changes, there is no way the cities can maintain a productive relationship, Kleinschmidt and Storrow said.

Carrboro also is Saratov’s sister city. There is no word yet whether that town’s leaders, which include openly gay Alderwoman and mayoral candidate Lydia Lavelle, will follow Chapel Hill’s example.

Viv Taylor, Chapel Hill News/Durham News columnist, named exec director of Integrity

Integrity USA, a nonprofit working for full LGBT inclusion in the Episcopal Church, has named Viv Taylor, an Iraq war veteran and columnist for The Chapel Hill News, its new executive director.

Taylor is among the first transgender women to enter the Episcopal ordination process and will be the first openly trans woman to lead a major mainline Protestant denominational organization in the U.S., according to an Integrity news release. Integrity has been the leading grassroots voice for LGBT persons in the Episcopal Church and for equal access to its rites since its founding in rural Georgia in 1974.

"I am thrilled to have this opportunity to serve both Integrity USA and the wider Church," Taylor says. "Working together in the love of Jesus Christ, there is nothing that can prevent us from opening the full Love of God to all people regardless of their orientation or identity."

Taylor started writing My View columns for The Chapel Hill News as Sam Taylor while stationed in Basra, Iraq as a chaplain's assistant. Upon her return, the UNC-CH grad began living openly as a transgender woman and continued writing occasional columns describing her transgender journey as Viv Taylor. Those columns are available on our website at

Weaver Street presents "Weavestock," a night of music on the lawn this Thursday

Weaver Street Market will present "Weavestock": a musical event featuring six acts composed of Weaver Street Market employees from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, July 25
, on -- where else? The 
Weaver Street Market lawn in Carrboro!

Here is a list of the bands:
- Canine Heart Sounds 
- Matt McElroy (Southern Village WSM)
 Vocal/instrumental gorp rock: 
These party boys try to put the fear back in dancing

- Radar’s Clowns of Sedation - Pete Pawsey (Hillsborough WSM)
 This is the blues kids used to sneak away from their parents to hear. 
This is the blues that used to get banned from the radio.
Three Torches - Steve Carter (Southern Village WSM)
 Junkyard Jazz, including Steve (the drummer) who has been in a hundred bands you've never heard of, and in at least one you've heard.

- Greg Sronce 
(Southern Village WSM)

- Let's Entertainment! 
Adam DeCaulp & Greg Sronce 
(Southern Village WSM)

- Geoff Gilson (Southern Village WSM) Hi-energy, interactive Beach Pop
"a cross between Jimmy Buffett live and a Richard Simmons work-out.”

More reaction to story about service dog's death


After I posted this blog entry this morning I got an email from a volunteer for Eyes Ears Nose and Paws, who thought our reporting had not been fair to program manager Deb Cunningham and also failed to stress her innocence until proven guilty.

"As a volunteer of more than three years with EENP, I have never seen or heard of Deb performing any intentionally cruel or harmful act to animals," the volunteer wrote. "Before becoming a service dog trainer, Deb worked extensively with Orange County Search and Rescue with a trained rescue dog. There were never any allegations of cruelty during her time there. In my mind, facts like these have as much bearing on the charge as the fact that Worthy was in the car for two hours. I'm concerned that even though the charge against Deb may be ultimately proven false, Deb and her wonderful small organization will never recover from the damage done to their names in the local press."

I thanked the reader and asked her to forward names of people we might speak with on the record for a possible followup. Cunningham has not returned our request for an interview.


Retired science teacher files Chapel Hill Town Council bid

Loren Hintz, a retired Chapel Hill High School science teacher, joined six others Tuesday in the race for four seats on the Chapel Hill Town Council.

Hintz unsuccessfully applied in January to replace former Council member Penny Rich. He has volunteered for many town and community boards since moving to Chapel Hill in 1992, including the town’s Transportation Board, the Bike and Pedestrian Task Force, the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee and the Orange County Commission for the Environment.

If elected, Hintz said he would be an advocate for protecting parks and open space, improving transportation and increasing affordable housing. He plans to use his campaign to encourage more people to register as voters and be active in the community, he said.

Council members Gene Pease and Laurin Easthom are not seeking re-election, so the council will have at least two new members next year. Council members Ed Harrison and Sally Greene, who was appointed to her post in January, have filed to run for office.

The Orange County Board of Elections in Hillsborough will close this year’s filing period at noon Friday.

Hillsborough commissioners race grows to 3 candidates

Certified public accountant Meighan Lela Carmichael joined the race for two vacant seats Monday on the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners.

Carmichael’s family has lived in Hillsborough since 2008 when she started work as the finance director for Orange County Habitat for Humanity. Her goal in running is to make sure the town continues to “maintains a vibrant connection to its roots and preserves its unique character” while growing through strategic investments, she said.

Carmichael joins Kathleen Ferguson and Jenn Weaver on the Nov. 5 ballot. Town Commissioners Michael Gering and Frances Dancy are not seeking re-election.

The filing period for school board and municipal races in Hillsborough, Chapel Hill and Carrboro ends at noon Friday.

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