News Briefs: Week of March 17

Posted 3/17/21

Virtual mini youth expo

The Systems of Care Collaborative in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Orange and Person counties — in partnership with the AOCOP JJBH Team and the JCPC — …

The News + Record is worth reading!

We’re all about Chatham County, and we welcome you to our site. You can view up to 3 stories each month, then registration is required.

Please sign in below if you have an account. If not, please register here to get an account and an additional 7 stories each month. It’s easy and takes just a minute.

Our staff works hard to bring good journalism, writing and story-telling to Chatham County. HELP US! You can get the News + Record mailed to you weekly by subscribing here.

Please log in to continue

Log in

News Briefs: Week of March 17

Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Making high quality community journalism isn’t free — please consider supporting our journalism by subscribing to the News + Record today.

Unlimited Digital Access: $3.99 for 1 month, $39 for 1 year.


Virtual mini youth expo

The Systems of Care Collaborative in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Orange and Person counties — in partnership with the AOCOP JJBH Team and the JCPC — invites you to register for their upcoming virtual Mini Youth Expo. This is an opportunity for young adults ages 14-18 to receive valuable information from speakers and resources, along with youth engagement and more. Participants will receive $25 upon completion.

Space is limited, so registration will be required. For more information, contact Chandrika Brown at

Former Chatham County educator wins national award

Dr. Darlene Ryan has won the Outstanding Administrative Support Award from the National Science Education Leadership Association for demonstrated exemplary support for science education at the school, district, higher education, and/or county level. This award honors an administrator whose primary responsibility is outside the area of science instruction.

Dr. Ryan serves as Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Schools for Durham Public Schools. She has been a teacher leader, STEM coach, district-level science/math coordinator, principal, and executive director for curriculum/instruction. She was previously recognized as North Chatham School Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School. She has received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching at UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as the NCSLA Herman Gatling Award for Outstanding Science Education Leadership.

Dr. Ryan will be recognized at the NSELA Leadership Summit in May and its Summer Leadership Institute in July.

Changes coming to the Chatham County website

PITTSBORO — Chatham County Government announces that big changes are coming to its website with a new location and a fresh look that is easier to navigate. The Chatham County website (previously is now located at

In addition to a new location, the Chatham County website is getting a makeover. Over the next several months, will undergo a redesign process.

Feedback from the community is very important as the redesign process moves forward. The public is encouraged to take a few minutes to share comments and suggestions in an online survey found at this link:

Chatham County’s redesigned website is expected to be complete in late 2021.

— CN+R staff reports

Volunteers needed for statewide litter sweep

RALEIGH — The N.C. Dept. of Transportation needs volunteers to help clean up trash along roads during the Adopt-A-Highway Spring Litter Sweep from April 10-24.

Volunteers are provided with clean-up supplies such as trash bags, gloves and safety vests from local NCDOT County Maintenance Yard offices.

In addition, all volunteers are encouraged to follow proper COVID-19 safety guidance. This includes wearing a mask and gloves at all times and keeping six feet apart from other volunteers. In addition, anyone that has been diagnosed with or recently exposed to COVID-19 should refrain from participating.

To sign up and get more information, visit the Litter Sweep web page or call 919-707-2970.

Blood donation remains essential amid COVID-19 pandemic

A year ago, many things in the world paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the need for blood never stopped. Today blood donations are just as essential, and the American Red Cross urges individuals who are healthy to make an appointment to donate blood.

Upcoming donating opportunities include:

• 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on March 22 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Pittsboro located at 151 Old Rock Spring Cemetery Road.

— CN+R staff reports

Leadership Triangle launches its annual leadership summit virtually

RALEIGH — Leadership Triangle today announced the 2021 THRiVE Virtual Leadership Summit, N.C.’s most powerful and engaging leadership summit. 2021 THRiVE is an event created to develop leaders and offers a new way for engaged community members within the Triangle to collaborate. The 2021 THRiVE Virtual Leadership Summit will be from April 7- 8. Tickets are on sale at $109.

“We’re all tired of virtual events, where the most engagement we seem to get is through chat. THRiVE is different — it’s a virtual event designed for reconnection - for reigniting our professional networks and our loose ties,” says Kristine Sloan, executive director of Leadership Triangle.

For more information on THRiVE, visit

Parks and Recreation presents Hunt at Home: The Easter Egg Drive-Thru

PITTSBORO — The Chatham County community is invited to spring into the season with the Chatham County Parks and Recreation Department’s Hunt at Home: The Easter Egg Drive-Thru.

This event will take place from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center in Pittsboro. Modified due to COVID-19, this year’s event will take place as a drive-thru, where participants will be asked to stay in their cars while in attendance. During the event, families will be able to collect 10 free Easter eggs per child, a spring-themed craft, bubbles, and additional items from other County departments and community partners that will be joining Chatham County Parks and Recreation.

For more information, visit the Hunt at Home Facebook event at, or contact Mallory Peterson at 919-545-8553 or at

— CN+R staff reports

This Week at NCDOT: Drone bridge inspection, new rail tool, severe weather preparedness

NCDOT has another new tool to help make state roadways safer: drones. Using drones to help conduct bridge inspections means they can be completed faster than a traditional visual inspection, saving money and reducing the need for lane closures. While drones will not replace a traditional visual inspection in most instances, they will be used to supplement traditional inspections and add great benefit by being able to inspect areas of the bridge that are difficult to reach during a traditional inspection.

A state railroad safety study could save lives by giving officials a better tool to prevent people from getting hit by trains. The four-year study used thermal cameras to develop a more complete understanding of the extent of pedestrian trespassing on North Carolina’s rail network.

The data will be used to further the NCDOT Rail Division’s efforts in education, supporting enforcement and providing engineering solutions that will help improve safety along the state’s rail corridors.

Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina begins Sunday. North Carolinians are asked to learn about severe weather safety and implement a safety plan to minimize the risk of injuries and deaths.

For more information about NCDOT Now, contact the NCDOT Communications Office at (919) 707-2660. Additional news stories from throughout the week can be found on

Robust interest for superintendent vacancy in Chatham County Schools

PITTSBORO — The Chatham County Board of Education received applications from 45 individuals interested in becoming the next superintendent of Chatham County Schools. The applicants are from 18 states and U.S. territories.

The school board will consider the applicants based, in part, on the qualities and characteristics community members indicated they desire in the school system’s next superintendent. A survey captured that insight.

The school board meets March 22 to begin narrowing down candidates for interviews.

Dr. Randy Bridges is the school system’s interim superintendent tentatively through the end of June.

— CN+R staff reports

New Hope Valley Railway begins 2021 season, celebrates spring with new event

BONSAL — After canceling most of its season last year due to the pandemic, the North Carolina Railway Museum, which operates New Hope Valley Railway (NHVR), begins its 2021 season early with a new event.

On Saturday, March 27, and Sunday, March 28, the all-volunteer, nonprofit railway will host its inaugural Hop into Spring train rides. The new event will feature socially distant photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny and a visual egg hunt along the train route, where riders can search for hidden eggs from their seats.

Model trains will be operating in the Garden Railway, but the Birthday Party caboose and museum exhibit cars will be closed.

Round-trip excursions depart from NHVR’s rail yard located at 3900 Bonsal Rd. in New Hill, at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on both days. Visitors are encouraged to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to their departure time.

Individual tickets cost $14 for all ages and currently can only be purchased in advance online. Children under 2 are free. Train capacity will be limited to less than 50% to allow for socially distanced seating, and all guests, passengers and volunteers are required to wear a face covering while in the rail yard and when riding the train. Visit to see dates, departure times and tickets for all of NHVR’s 2021 rides except for Track or Treat Halloween Express rides and Santa’s Reindeer Roundup Express rides, which will go on sale later this year.

Roberson gets award for exemplary stand against cockfighting

The Humane Society of the United States is proud to honor Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson with a 2020 Humane Law Enforcement Award.

Roberson and the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office led a joint effort to shut down a cockfighting operation, rescuing dozens of animals from a gruesome death.

In February 2020, Chatham County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence regarding allegations of a suspected animal fighting operation. On arrival, deputies located a cockfighting exhibition in progress and, after obtaining a search warrant, confiscated dozens of animals, many of whom were sick or injured.

The HSUS Humane Law Enforcement Awards are presented annually to officers who have taken an exemplary stand against animal cruelty. The HSUS works diligently nationwide to enact laws that protect all animals, and this work is most effective with the support of law enforcement.

“We are proud to present a 2020 Humane Law Enforcement Award to Sheriff Roberson,” says Gail Thomssen, North Carolina state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to Chatham County Sheriff’s Office for their leadership combatting cockfighting, a violent crime that harms everyone in our communities, people and animals alike.”

2021 JMArts Scholars applications open for intensive summer study in the arts

SILER CITY — Applications are now being accepted for 2021 JMArts Scholars, a program offered by JMArts, the Jordan-Matthews Arts Foundation, to provide intensive summer study in the arts for current Jordan-Matthews High School students who will be returning to the school next year.

Since being launched in 2012, JMArts Scholars has awarded 67 scholarships to 44 students, allowing them to develop their talent, explore artistic options before making their college decisions and bring what they learn back to share with other students. Awards may vary but generally cover the full cost of attending the workshop.

Students can apply online using a link at Scholarship decisions are being made on a rolling basis, but all applications must be submitted by April 15.

Plans for many of this year’s summer workshops statewide are still in flux due to the pandemic. Some, like NC State’s Design Camp, will be held virtually, with students receiving “camp in a box” containing all of the materials they need to complete their design projects. Others, including those offered by the NC State Department of Music, will be day camps. Some are waiting a few more weeks to announce their final plans.

Scholarships are funded by individual contributions to the foundation, community fundraisers and ticket sales for the fall musical and major concerts during the academic year, most of which had to be canceled this fall.

JMArts President Rose Pate said says she understands how difficult things have been for many people during the pandemic.

“But if you’re in a position to contribute,” she said, “your generosity now would provide much-needed opportunity for student artists who have been struggling over the last year to advance their work.”

Contributions can be made online at the JMArts website,, which also includes information about the nonprofit foundation, membership information and a schedule of upcoming events.

Pittsboro Presbyterian certified as Earth Care Congregation

Pittsboro Presbyterian Church was certified as an Earth Care Congregation by Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Presbyterian Hunger Program through February 2022. This honor speaks to the great commitment that Pittsboro Presbyterian Church has made to care for God’s earth.

To become an Earth Care Congregation, this congregation affirmed an Earth Care Pledge to integrate environmental practices and thinking into their worship, education, facilities, and outreach.

The Earth Care Congregation certification is designed to recognize churches that make the commitment to take seriously God’s charge to “till and keep” the garden.

Started in 2010 by the PC(USA), the goal of this program is to inspire churches to care for God’s earth in a holistic way, through integrating earth care into all aspects of their church life. The Earth Care Congregation certification honors churches that make that commitment and encourages others to follow their example.

“It is exciting that Pittsboro Presbyterian Church is one of the 276 churches that chose to dedicate themselves to intentional care of God’s earth this year. Particularly in a time of much uncertainty and worry about the future, this congregation’s activities and commitment even in the midst of navigating limitations brought about by COVID-19 brings hope to their community. We believe that Pittsboro Presbyterian Church will inspire others to respond intentionally to God’s call to care for the earth,” says Jessica Maudlin, Associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care Concerns for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

For more information about Pittsboro Presbyterian Church’s earth care program contact Heather Gerni at or (919) 542-4702.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment