Chatham County Line - Where all voices are heard

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November, 2014

Chatham County Board of Commissioners
candidates make their pitch to voters
Pam Stewart

Serving as Chatham County Commissioner for the past four years has been a privilege. When we took office almost four years ago we had a vision and a plan. We brought with us a desire to improve the quality of life for all Chatham County Citizens and a determination to be true to our word.

Like so many counties throughout the state, Chatham County was faced with some very turbulent times however we were able to show positive results given the series of devastating plant closings and real estate market collapse. We’ve became customer focused in our county offices by helping applicants navigate through regulations creating a positive attitude in the business community. We strengthened environmental protection rules around Jordan Lake and widened stream buffers to protect watersheds. We’ve worked with citizens to develop a conceptual land use plan as a first step to creating a more overarching plan to guide future development. We have North Carolina’s first certified mega site near economically devastated Siler City that will have a positive regional impact and working to certify a second site in Moncure. School operations were funded and much needed repairs made to our facilities. We added a teacher supplement and bonus program. In partnership with CCCC we implemented a new program in our high schools allowing students to become certified in a number of job related fields prior to graduation at no cost.

Economic growth is vital to the future. In difficult times we started turning the ship around and set our course toward a better future for all citizens. We must keep the momentum going in the right direction. I hope you will allow Brian Bock, Walter Petty and I to continue to serve you. Our futures depend on it.
Jim Crawford

I am Jim Crawford, Democratic candidate for County Commissioner.

I grew up working on a family farm and was the first person in my family to go to college, eventually earning a PhD. I have taught history at UNC-Greensboro and North Carolina A & T.

I am running because I believe that Chatham needs leaders who cultivate citizen input and who will make policy in public view. Our county is better served by those who regard government as a positive force to create a higher quality of life for all citizens rather than a necessary evil.

Now is not the time for minimalist leadership because Chatham is facing explosive growth. I am currently a member of the county planning board, which has been busy reviewing numerous sub-divisions that will transform our land and future. We must revise our 2001 land use plan, something the current board refuses to do. We need a road map for balanced growth that preserves our farms while also attracting quality businesses.

I oppose fracking in the Cape Fear watershed. I have seen first-hand the troubles it has brought to people in the Marcellus region. Contaminated drinking wells, damaged roads, and very few local jobs are what the people have to show for their experience with gas extraction.

I support raising teacher pay, improving existing school facilities and building new schools for our growing population. I support expanding Smart Start. The county’s aging population is growing. I have visited many seniors while volunteering as a carpenter for the Council on Aging. Seniors who rely on the county for transportation and the bookmobile were dealt hard blows by the current board. I want to closely examine these and other cuts in services, particularly those that adversely affect this vulnerable population.

Please visit my website:

Brian Bock

Soon Chatham will have the opportunity to select who they want to help lead the county for the next four years. Commissioners Petty, Stewart, and I have had the privilege to serve and would be honored to serve another term.

As incumbents, we can’t hide behind platitudes or party affiliation. Chatham citizens tell us they want commissioners who are focused on Chatham County, not national talking points or hollow promises. Our record shows we have remained focused on Chatham and delivered on our promises.

We have kept our promise to put policies in place to ensure Chatham is a leader in job creation and education. Since implementing our policies we’ve seen almost $300,000,000 of new capital investment and almost 1200 jobs created. We’ve increased support for our school system, increased the local supplement for teachers, and funded a unique incentive plan to pay educators more. Hundreds of our students are now taking advantage of a new program we’ve funded to provide a trade certification through CCCC upon high school graduation.

These are just a few of the outcomes of our commonsense approach to governing. More exciting are the opportunities we have as a result of these policies. Chatham has NC’s only certified site capable of attracting an auto manufacturer now being marketed internationally by the NC Secretary of Commerce. We now have a real opportunity to attract billions of dollars of capital investment, thousands of jobs, and millions in payroll. We haven’t gotten this far by accident and we won’t be able to fully realize the potential by accident. We need to keep the policies that have gotten us this far and continue to work to improve our outlook. Walter, Pam and I have built the right relationships and are fully committed to bringing this and other opportunities to fruition.

Diana Hales

As Chatham County Commissioner for District 3 I will engage grassroots democracy at the local level, where it counts.

I have watched the “conservative” majority of this Board of Commissioners follow the Tea Party agenda that thinks government should operate as a profit/loss business, rather than serve community needs. I am compelled to challenge their lack of engagement and vision to lead Chatham County. Our public schools and infrastructure, public health and safety, parks and open space, clean water and air, and community satisfaction are the responsibility of local government. They are the keys to attracting new business and jobs. Everyone benefits from investments in Chatham. The penny-pinching Tea Party national agenda squashes opportunity, and is wrong for Chatham. We must invest to grow.

I will work cooperatively to solve problems in partnership with our towns. Renewed county committees will grapple with community issues, such as the Land Use Plan. Unlike the current Board, we welcome expert advice from citizens. Chatham is facing resource challenges from both the Siler City megasite and Chatham Park in Pittsboro. We need commissioners and citizens willing to do the dedicated work of planning for our future.

After extensive research and more than a hundred hours in Mining and Energy Commission meetings, I know fracking destroys communities. There is no local economic benefit and zero local tax dollars. Instead, there is proven harm to human health, permanent environmental degradation, serious potential for groundwater contamination, no local controls over this industry and its pollution, and loss of property rights. I promise to fight this travesty.

I have the background and passion to deal with these issues. I am part of the Democratic team committed to building a brighter, sustainable future for Chatham County. Please vote for me, Diana Hales.

Karen Howard

I’m Chair, Chatham County Schools Board of Education; Member, Chatham Arts Council; Member, North Carolina School Boards Association, Legislative Committee.

As a former attorney and mother of six, I am prepared for the hard work of representing the people of Chatham County as Commissioner. I believe that local government is an invaluable resource to the members of the community, and in that spirit, I look forward to working for you.

Chatham is at a crossroads and right now we have a unique opportunity to shape and inform growth, industry and investment in a way that respects and preserves the natural resources that sustain us all.

However, we cannot expect to achieve true economic success and opportunity without substantial investment in human capital, nor can we expect to raise productivity and promote entrepreneurship and creativity without meaningful expenditure at the K-12 and community college levels. Our financial commitment to educating the next generation is an investment in the sustainability and productivity of our community. This is how we secure economic and social progress and it is how we address inequalities in income distribution.

As we move forward with the promise of historic growth I am committed to open government and to public deliberation on the issues that affect us all. As an African-American woman, and as a first generation American I am acutely aware of the need to ensure a diversity of ideas, opinions, experiences, cultures, races and ethnicities in our leadership and in our local governmental offices.

Qualified residents must be given the opportunity to serve on local boards and committees; we have a wealth of experience and expertise in this county that has not been tapped by the current leadership and that must change.

Support our Democratic team. Vote for me, Karen Howard.

Walter Petty

Thank you citizens of Chatham for the opportunity to serve you, it has been an honor. Chatham is a very diverse place and a challenge to govern exactly as everyone would like. However I think our balanced approach has appealed to the majority of the people as defined by democracy. Reorganizing and prioritizing expenses allowed us to prevent tax increases and time to grow our commercial tax base to cover the services we fund. We have been able to develop a business friendly atmosphere so companies will invest in job creation for Chatham citizens.

We have also increased funding for education, implemented environment and water protections plans such as the Jordan Lake rules, and more, all without putting undue burden on the tax payer. The beginning stages of our land use map will direct industry and housing to concentrated areas where infrastructure exists or can be added preventing sprawl and preserving our rural areas. The map shows our widened stream buffers laid out to protect our watershed.

All this didn't happen by accident, it was leadership with clear direction. Once reelected we will continue these successful practices guided by the voices of the majority. The input of public sessions, town hall, emails and phone calls are equally valued in our decision making process. You can reelect Bock, Petty, Stewart with confidence of integrity and proven leadership performance to guide the future of Chatham County.
Candidates for Chatham School Board make their pitch to voters
Del Turner - District 3

I have been honored to serve Chatham County families and other citizens on the Board of Education and I am running for re-election because I believe in public education as the right course for our county and country. Having been educated in both private and public schools in New York and North Carolina, I feel that I bring a well-rounded perspective to the Board of Education that informs my input into policy decisions we make about our students, teachers and staff.

My unwavering support for public education is grounded in the recognition that although private schooling advantaged my intellect, public schooling shaped my character. Public schools instilled in me a profound respect and consideration of all humanity irrespective of race, ethnicity, socio-economic class or religion. In that respect, public schools are the cornerstone of our democracy; they are in fact, the truest representation of who we say we are.

It was a publicly educated workforce that made our country the top economic, military and moral superpower in the world. Today still, 90 percent of our workforce is publicly educated. Yet, despite the proven legacy of free public education for the masses in this country, there are people who would seek to undermine it, transform it into something it was never meant to be and even sell it to the highest bidder. Education is an entity unto itself. It is not driven by anything; it drives EVERYthing. The perception that public schools are not educating our children is a myth, a lie much like the ‘weapons of mass destruction,’. I humbly ask that you re-elect me to the BOE for another term so I can continue to protect the interests of our children and teachers while they continue to excel.
Mia Munn - District 3

I have been involved with Chatham County Schools for almost 30 years as a parent of students in the system and a concerned community member. For six years, I have attended school board meetings and shared what I learned through social media. I have been an informal advocate for parents, students, school staff, and community members who have concerns about the schools. Now I want the opportunity to sit on the other side of the table, and serve the county more directly as a school board member. I believe my background provides a valuable perspective that no one on the current board possesses.

Early in my career, I was a social studies teacher, but for 25 years, I have worked in finance, project management, and data analysis. I spend my days working with and understanding the meaning of data. Much of the board’s time is focused on the $88 million budget. I have built budgets, reported on budget performance, analyzed budgets, and asked questions about budgets; I understand financial information. The board also deals with data concerning the district results on tests and other measures. Part of my job is to look at data, ensure it says what people say it says, and use that data to make decisions. My experience will help the board to make decisions to improve the education we provide to our students. I will focus on three things:

    • Teaching, not bureaucracy
    • Investment in the best programs
    • A coherent curriculum that builds informed, engaged American citizens

My husband and I have lived in Chatham County for 30 years. We know Chatham County is a wonderful, unique place. I want to help make our county even better, by ensuring that every student gets an excellence education. My website is I ask for your vote. Thank you.

Jane Allen Wilson - District 4

I am a native and life-long resident of Chatham County, the youngest of six children, born to civic-minded parents who reared us in our public schools. I have many vivid and fond memories of our schools. I carry an immense sense of gratitude for the many teachers who worked hard to provide a strong foundation for us, who opened our minds to a vast and opportunity-filled world, and who inspired us to explore and strive so that we would find our place in the world. I want for all of our county’s children to feel that inspiration, to discover their unique talents and the joy of learning, to be welcome and feel safe, and to delve into their futures secure in that fact that we have given them the foundation and the skills to create their futures.

I am currently the director of our local shelter for women and children. For 15 years, I have worked diligently for families from diverse backgrounds, listening, supporting, and advocating, so that children live in peace. I collaborated with the Partnership for Children, Childcare Networks, DSS, Hispanic Liaison, law enforcement, the courts, and our schools. I am bilingual, with experience in the Latino community.

While still living in Chatham, I worked for U.S. Senator Terry Sanford and for the state legislature’s House Committee on Finance under Representatives George Miller and Joe Hackney. I later worked on state policy to address the needs of rural communities, teenagers, and people with disabilities.

I have worked with children of all ages. I was an ESL teacher and an assistant teacher at a multi-cultural elementary school. I have worked on bullying prevention projects.

Public education is our state’s most important investment. Teachers are our most important asset. I will fully support our teachers and honor their longevity and commitment.

Angela Millsaps - District 4

I have a passion for Chatham County schools. I have lived in Siler City for 45 years. My husband, our 15-year-old son and I have all been educated in District 4 schools. Working in Siler City keeps us connected to the community. My volunteer service includes Classroom/School Volunteer (10 years); PTA president (7 years in 2 schools); School Improvement Team (3 years) and volunteer to several district committees; regularly attend School Board meetings; Chatham Education Foundation Board and Siler City Lions Club (25 years) working closely with our School Nurses providing vision screenings and with the JM Leo Club.

I believe in the best possible education for all students. I believe the job will be two-fold: first representing District 4 and then taking my knowledge/experiences in the schools and community to the Board where as a team the best decisions can be made for all our great county schools. Having lived in Siler City most of my life and volunteering for 10 years in the schools, has allowed me to connect with students, parents, teachers and county leaders. Because of these connections, they are confident that I will hear them; help find answers to concerns and defend what is best for our children.

Being connected to the community, the school system and county agencies has allowed me to connect many people to the wonderful but often unknown resources in our community and schools. I believe that I bring many talents such as managing budgets; staff/volunteer training; marketing/public relations; and building upkeep/maintenance to the table but most importantly I will bring the interests/concerns of students, parents, teachers and community. I look forward to serving on the School Board because I am "Connected to the Present.... and Concerned for the Future."

A Medium’s Visions
Tania Thomas – Author, Spiritual Medium, Motivational Speaker, and Sometimes Comedian

TaniaThomas Within my Facebook fan page, Visions and Voices, I receive an abundance of questions from inquisitive minds regarding what I do for a living. I would like to share with you some of questions that have topped the list as the most unusual and thought provoking, and perhaps you can relate to them too.

Question: "People who commit suicide, are they free, is their pain gone now that they have passed?"

Answer: This is a true concern for many people facing the loss of a loved one due to a suicidal act. I once heard of a medium that refused to bring suicide victims across because she did not want "that kind of energy around me.” How sad is that remark. I am not sure what kind of energy this person was referring to, but it sure does make it sound all kinds of awful doesn't it? One thing you must always remember is that suicide, for the most part, is not committed by someone who is necessarily thinking clearly. Often times depression, great loneliness, loss, or anger will precipitate the act. There are the few who choose to end their life after they were diagnosed with a terminal illness. Regardless of how the suicide occurs, it is a sad time for family leaving those behind to wonder, to question, and to grieve in an undefinable way. Read more

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    Page 1 - Taking the 22nd Chatham Studio Tour – myths and realities * Economic development and the Rocky River * Fair Game Beverage comes to town - Page 2 - Dispatches & Briefs - Page 3 - Studio tour (cont. from page 1) * Five ways artists can promote their artwork this holiday season - Page 4 - Edward Dickson Pearsall, William theophilus Dortch, et al. - Page 5 - Looking for the right Christmas present? - Page 6 - Difficult dogs at the vet * Coming home - Page 7 - Where have all the flowers gone? - Page 8 - Honoring the towering lives of great old beings * Making home, business, family and community in Chatham - Page 9 - Economic (cont. from page 1) - Page 10 - A proper downtown * Fair Game (cont. from page 1) * Flowers (cont. from page 7) * The forever war - Page 11 - Chatham Opinion Line - Page 12 - Chatham Comunidad - Pedacitos de nuestros caminos: 1 parte * Pieces of our journeys: part I

    29th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference

    CFSA’s annual conference, to be held Nov. 10-12, in Greenville, SC, has long been a place where like-minded farmers and food advocates gather to find new ways to collaborate and learn from the experts. Whether you are a beginning farmer or a tenured leader in the sustainable foods movement, the Sustainable Ag Conference is an unparalleled opportunity to grow partnerships and make connections. Get inspired and reenergized and fuel your success in the year to come. For all the details and to register, visit or call 919.542.2402.


    Pesticide Collection Day

    Don't miss this free opportunity to get rid of old or unwanted pesticides. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in cooperation with Chatham County Cooperative Extension, will be offering a Pesticide Collection Day for residents of Chatham and surrounding counties. Collection will be Wednesday, November 12, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Southern States in Siler City, located at 117 N. Dogwood Ave.

    Nearly all pesticide products (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, including 'weed and feed' products, but not fertilizers alone) will be accepted, including banned and out-dated pesticides. This free event is open to all NC residents. For pesticides with unreadable or missing labels, contact the Cooperative Extension office at 919.542.8202 for instructions. Participants are asked to save any portion of the label to help identify the material to be disposed of. Unknown materials cannot be accepted.

    For pressurized pesticide gas cylinders or containers greater than five gallons in size and for tips on transporting pesticides safely to the collection event, contact the Extension office at (919) 542-8202 or email before the collection day for special instructions and information.

    Each year the Pesticide Disposal Assistance Program ( visits between 40-50 counties to collect unwanted and unused pesticides through this NON-regulatory amnesty Program. This means that a Collection Day of this kind only happens about once every other year in each county.

    NOTE: This is NOT a household hazardous waste collection event. The final household hazardous waste collection day for Chatham County in 2014 will be held Saturday, November 15, 9am – 3pm, at the Chatham County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center, located at 28 County Services Road, 6 miles west of Pittsboro, off Hwy 64. Household hazardous waste accepted at the HHW Collection Center include pesticides, gasoline, motor oil, car batteries, and antifreeze. Learn more:


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