News Briefs: Week of April 7

Posted 4/7/21

News Briefs

Farmers: enroll in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

Are you a farmer interested in being paid to protect water quality? The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program …

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News Briefs: Week of April 7

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Farmers: enroll in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

Are you a farmer interested in being paid to protect water quality? The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) works with landowners to convert low-yield cropland and marginal pastureland into riparian forests that protect water quality, create wildlife habitat, and provide an additional source of income for farmers.

Participating farmers enroll eligible fields into conservation easements — written agreements between the landowner and the state of North Carolina. The landowner agrees to carry out conservation practices (such as tree planting) and to restrict future cropping and development on the land but retains private ownership.

To compensate landowners for enrolling in the program, CREP pays landowners 15 years of per-acre payments, a one-time bonus ($250 per acre for 30-year easements or $1,000 per acre for permanent easements), and cost shares to reimburse the landowner for the cost of establishing conservation practices. Conservation easements last 30-years or permanently, depending on the landowner’s choice.

CREP is accepting enrollments in Chatham County. To be eligible, the land must have been owned for one year, have been farmed for at least four years between 2012 and 2018, and border a qualifying water body. Qualifying water bodies include agricultural ditches, streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. See if your land is eligible and contact CREP staff using our interactive map at

Siler City Parks and Recreation Department reopening plans for indoor facilities

SILER CITY — While the Siler City Parks and Recreation Department’s outdoor facilities have been open to the public, the department will begin accepting indoor reservations beginning this week for Ernest Ramsey Gym.

Users of town facilities must comply with gathering limits issued under North Carolina Executive Order 204: indoor gathering limit of 50 people with 6-foot social distancing and face mask are required.

Paul Braxton Gym and the Earl B. Fitts Community center will be available for indoor reservations at a later date due to scheduled maintenance.

For more information regarding indoor reservations, programs, athletic leagues, and events contact Siler City Parks and Recreation at 919-742-2699 or visit

Chatham Artists Guild announces new member artists

The Chatham Artists Guild (CAG) is pleased to welcome 10 Chatham County artists as new members for 2021. A jury of peer artist members made their selections from submitted applications based on the quality, technical proficiency, consistency, originality and presentation of artworks.

New members include:

• Chris Campbell, Ceramics

• William “Buck” Dickgraber, Painting

• Timothy Dowdall, Photography

• Lynn Flyer, Ceramics

• Ric Harber, Leatherwork

• Anna Julian, Ceramics/Mixed Media

• Kathleen Millikan, Painting

• Steevie Parks, Painting

• Boots Quimby, Painting

• Hamidou Sissoko, Sculpture

The addition of these 10 artists brings CAG to a total of 63 talented members representing a wide variety of medium and style. View the work of all our members in their online galleries available in the CAG Artist Directory.

The Chatham Artists Guild (CAG) is an organization of artists whose purpose is to maintain artistic excellence among our members. Their mission is to raise awareness and appreciation for the visual arts, including the cultural and economic contribution it makes to the community, and connect member artists with art patrons. Visit CAG to learn more.

— CN+R staff reports

More than 3 million pounds of roadside litter collected this year

RALEIGH — As part of its litter removal efforts, N.C. Dept. of Transportation crews, contractors and volunteers have now collected more than 3 million pounds of litter from roadsides this year.

“This is great progress towards making North Carolina cleaner and safer,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “But the real challenge will be sustaining these litter-free roadways. We must all work towards stopping litter at its source.”

NCDOT reports that the agency and its partners have removed 3.1 million pounds of litter since Jan. 1.

North Carolinians who wish to help keep roads clean can volunteer for the upcoming Spring Litter Sweep from April 10-24.

NCDOT’s litter management programs are multifaceted. The department makes use of state-owned forces and contract services statewide. NCDOT’s Sponsor-A-Highway Program allows businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor litter removal along roadsides. NCDOT is also proud to partner with the more than 120,000 participants in the Adopt-A-Highway Program, where volunteers pledge to clean a section of our highways at least four times a year.

Litter is unsightly, costs millions of dollars to clean up and can hurt the environment, tourism and the state’s quality of life.

Everyone should do their part by:

• Securing their loads before driving. Unsecured trash can fly from a vehicle and end up as roadside litter.

• Holding onto trash until it can be disposed of properly. Keep a litter bag in your vehicle so you can properly dispose of trash later.

• Recycling when possible. Recycling protects the environment, saves landfill space and keeps the community clean.

Chatham County’s Board of Social Services seeks new member

PITTSBORO — The Chatham County Department of Social Services (DSS) seeks applications for one vacancy on the county’s Board of Social Services. The deadline to apply to serve is Friday, April 16.

Applicants for the Board of Social Services must be willing to do the following:

• Serve as an advocate for the interests of the Department of Social Services and its employees and clients

• Promote better public understanding and support of social services programs and serving as a liaison between DSS, public officials and the general public

• Promote closer working relationships between the Social Services Board and the Board of County Commissioners

• Provide the time and effort needed to actively participate and constructively fulfil board duties

• Attend board meetings and other related meetings as needed. The Social Services Board typically meets the third Wednesday of the month at 3 p.m. at the County Social Services office in Pittsboro. During the COVID-19 pandemic, board meetings are conducted virtually. The county can provide space for members to attend the virtual meeting should they not have adequate broadband access.

This appointment will fulfil the remainder of a term ending June 30th and will be eligible for reappointment. The appointment will be made by the DSS Board.

Individuals must be residents of Chatham County to serve on the Board of Social Services. To complete an online application, residents may visit Applicants may also contact Lindsay Ray, Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners, at 919-542-8200 or to obtain a printed copy.

Any questions may be directed to Jennie Kristiansen, Social Services Director, at 919-642-6976 or

— CN+R staff reports

Soil and Water Conservation District announces new no-till drill available for rent

PITTSBORO — Spring planting season is here, and the Chatham Soil and Water Conservation District is excited to announce that its new no-till drill is available for rent. The new Haybuster 77C is available for rent by Chatham County residents at a cost of $10 per acre with a minimum $75 charge.

There are many benefits to using the no-till drill including:

• reduces soil erosion by establishing living ground cover

• improves germination of seed compared to broadcasting

• reduces labor required per acre

• decreases soil disturbance, which means healthier soil and has additional benefits:

• increases water infiltration

• decreases soil moisture evaporation

• conserves and improves organic matter

• improves soil structure

• promotes biological activity

• reduces nutrient losses

What to know before renting:

• 35 horsepower minimum is needed to operate the drill.

• Rear hydraulic hook-up is needed on the tractor.

• The drill is small enough (7.6 feet wide) to access smaller acreage but can still handle the big jobs.

• The drill can be used to seed cool and warm season grasses, legumes, small grains, wildflowers, soybeans and more.

The Chatham Soil and Water Conservation District’s older TruAx no-till drill is still available for rent as well. Those who are interested may reach out to the Chatham Soil and Water Conservation District Office to schedule a rental.

Chatham Community Library to host N.C. Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green

PITTSBORO — Chatham Community Library will commemorate National Poetry Month in April with a presentation by NC Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green. The virtual event entitled “An Evening with the North Carolina Poet Laureate,” will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 24.

Jaki Shelton Green is the first African American and third woman to be appointed as the North Carolina Poet Laureate. She is a 2019 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, 2014 N.C. Literary Hall of Fame Inductee, 2009 N.C. Piedmont Laureate appointee, and 2003 recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature. Green, a professor of Documentary Poetry at Duke University Center for Documentary Studies, has been named the 2021 Frank B. Hanes Writer in Residence at UNC Chapel Hill.

Her publications include Dead on Arrival, Masks, Dead on Arrival and New Poems, Conjure Blues, singing a tree into dance, breath of the song, Feeding the Light, and i want to undie you. On Juneteenth 2020, she released her first LP, poetry album, The River Speaks of Thirst.

Owner of SistaWRITE, Green provides retreats for women writers in Sedona, Arizona; Martha’s Vineyard; Ocracoke; Northern Morocco; and Tullamore, Ireland.

National Poetry Month was introduced in 1996 and was inspired by the success of Black History Month, held each February, and Women’s History Month, held in March. In 1995, the Academy of American Poets convened a group of publishers, booksellers, librarians, literary organizations, poets, and teachers to discuss the need and usefulness of a similar monthlong holiday to celebrate poetry.

To register for this event and to receive virtual meeting instructions, individuals may contact Chatham Community Library Branch Manager Rita Van Duinen at

This event is free and open to the public and made possible with the generous support of the Friends of the Chatham Community Library.

— CN+R staff reports

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 and 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 14.

The 83 sirens within 10 miles of the Harris Nuclear Plant will sound for five to 30 seconds. To ensure they are functioning properly, it may be necessary to test some sirens more than once. Testing is performed in cooperation with emergency officials in Chatham, Harnett, Lee and Wake counties, who are responsible for sounding the sirens.

This information is reflected in the 2021 Harris Nuclear Emergency Preparedness booklets sent to residents living within the 10-mile Harris Nuclear Plant emergency planning zone.

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

Elections Board combats misinformation with new webpage

RALEIGH — Continuing its efforts against mis- and disinformation, the State Board of Elections has launched a special webpage to combat myths and falsehoods that spread quickly about elections.

The state board will use the webpage to debunk conspiracy theories and false claims about elections, provide facts, and explain how you can help slow the spread of mis- and disinformation.

The state board’s initiative against misinformation builds off the voter confidence campaign launched in late 2019. By combatting false claims, the board continues to ensure that #YourVoteCountsNC.

“Election officials across the United States agree that misinformation is a top threat to our elections today. It is harmful to the elections process, eroding public trust in the hard work election officials do every day,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the state board. “The webpage is another way we can provide voters the truth about elections.”

Along with the new webpage, the state board office is offering a new way for the public to report suspected mis- and disinformation. If you see something about elections that’s confusing or does not seem accurate, please email the state board at Board staff will research the claims or posts and respond accordingly.

The state board already responds to falsehoods about elections through press releases and social media. Each Monday, the board publishes a Mythbuster Monday post on Twitter that reveals the truth about one tidbit of election misinformation.

— CN+R staff reports

N.C. film grant recipients fuel strong start to 2021

RALEIGH — After pressing pause in 2020, film production has resumed in North Carolina with six recent grant recipients. With production levels at a six-year high so far this year, the latest productions to be announced as North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grant recipients will have a combined spend of more than $134.8 million in the state while creating in excess of 5,700 job opportunities, including 1,681 well-paying crew positions for the state’s highly skilled film professionals.

“The film industry has been able to safely resume production and we are pleased to see more productions coming to our state,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “Film activity provides good jobs and opportunities for local businesses, while also providing a compelling global showcase for North Carolina and its abundant natural beauty.”

LD Entertainment, whose N.C.-filmed production “Words on Bathroom Walls” was recently released, returns to the Tar Heel State with a new feature-length film “I.S.S.” The thriller features six astronauts living aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and follows their actions after receiving distressing information from Earth that threatens their missions and their lives. Filmed in Wilmington at EUE/Screen Gems Studios, this project has been approved for a rebate up to $3.6 million.

The second grantee, which has been approved for a rebate of up to $8 million, is the Lionsgate Television series “This Country.” The series is set to air on FOX, and recently wrapped filming with location shoots taking place throughout New Hanover and Pender counties.

Blumhouse Entertainment also returns to the state with the feature “Static”, a story about a young boy who fights to escape the clutches of a serial killer with the help of past victims through a magic phone. The production is approved for a rebate up to $4.7 million after filming in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Columbus counties.

Also returning to the state for filming is Lionsgate’s project “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” a film based on Judy Blume’s best-selling novel. Production begins this Spring in the greater Charlotte area and has been approved for a grant rebate up to $7 million.

Finally, the Charlotte area is the backdrop for the independent feature “Evolution.” Approved for a film rebate of up to $3 million, the feature tells the story of a mom determined to find a way forward for her family when her daredevil teenage son suffers a freak accident, finding hope from the most unexpected source.

In addition to the five projects currently in production or that recently completed production, a grant award has also been extended to another Blumhouse feature-film production. This yet-to-be-named project has been approved for a grant of up to $7 million and will begin production in the second half of 2021 after being pushed from 2020 due to COVID-19.

“Despite some setbacks last year, it’s great to see filming in the state finish strong in 2020 with projects to help kickstart what is expected to be a very successful 2021,” added North Carolina Film Office director Guy Gaster. “As our film professionals follow proper safety protocols and guidance, the industry is able to help create substantial economic opportunities in the communities in which they film.”

In addition to the announced grant recipients, production continues with two other grantees, “Virginia Cold Case” and the second season of the television series “Hightown,” and recently wrapped on grant-receiving series “Delilah.” Several non-grant recipient productions for national commercials and reality series as well as work done by local filmmakers have also been taking place since the industry’s restart.

The N.C. Film and Entertainment Grant provides financial assistance to attract feature film and television productions that will stimulate economic activity and create jobs in the state. Production companies receive no money up front and must meet direct in-state spending requirements to qualify for grant funds. The program is administered by the N.C. Dept. of Commerce and promoted by the North Carolina Film Office, part of VisitNC and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.


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