Chatham County Line - Where all voices are heard

November 2017

Breitbart "News" spreads some bright lies
By Julian Sereno

I never understood why Breitbart News wasn't thoroughly discredited a few years back, when it posted a video that had been edited to put words in the mouth of an African American civil servant to make it appear she made a racist anti-white statement when she had said no such thing.

In 2010, Shirley Sherrod, Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave a speech to the National NAACP about the importance of overcoming racism. Andrew Brietbart, since deceased, excerpted her remarks to make it sound like she said the opposite, and posted it on his eponymous website.

President Obama bit and swallowed it hook, line and sinker, as did Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who fired Sherrod. It wasn't until the entire tape of her speech was examined that the truth came out and Breitbart’s big lie was exposed. Obama and Vilsack apologized and offered her a better job at the USDA, which she declined. In 2014 she sued Breitbart and co-defendant Larry O'Connor for defamation. They settled before trial in 2015; terms were not disclosed.

After that, knowing them to be willful liars, I stopped reading anything they posted. Breitbart's credibility should have been in tatters, but instead of withering away, it metastasized. Robert Mercer, an American oligarch, endowed it with $11 million. Steve Bannon, eminence gris of the Alt. Right, took over after Breitbart died in 2012.


Chatham Park plans Mosaic as arts and entertainment hub

Mosaic is the name for a planned commercial component of Chatham Park that is envisioned as an arts and entertainment district. Inspired by Chatham's vibrant arts community and rural heritage, it designed to appeal to Chatham Park’s affluent, rapidly growing populace.

The 350-acre, $800 million mixed-use project is intended to be the gateway to Chatham Park, the 7,100 acre development that is transforming Pittsboro and Chatham County.

John Fugo of Eco Group met with community groups for six months after being hired to do the commercial portion of the park by Preston Development.

"There was a lot of trepidation about how this massive development surrounding Pittsboro would change the culture," Fugo told the Raleigh News and Observer. "What we found was a very deep, real artistic, very creative culture of genuine humanity, is the best way I could put it. We looked to model our commercial center to that, and complement what was already there rather than come in and give the impression that we were going to build what we thought the people needed. We wanted to build what people wanted."

The first phase, on 44 acres near the intersection of U.S. 15-501 and U.S. Route 64, is scheduled to break ground in 2018. All three phases of the remaining 300 acres are set to begin by 2020. The entire Chatham Park project aims for 22,000 residences and 22 million square feet of office, retail, research, education and community space. Its first homes are scheduled to be available in spring 2019.


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Bluegrass Experience Concert Gives Back to the Arts
Supports Chatham Artists-in-Schools Initiative via Chatham Arts Council

Chatham County's own musical legends Tommy Edwards and The Bluegrass Experience are set to celebrate their 46th year of making music together. The Chatham Arts Council will raise the barn roof in their honor with a special anniversary concert sponsored by Opus Financial Advisors on Sunday, November 19 at 3 p.m. at the Barn in Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, N.C. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Chatham Arts Council's Artists-in-Schools Initiative. Tickets are available now at McIntyre's Books and online at

The band includes local bluegrass legends Tommy Edwards on lead guitar, Mike Aldridge on mandolin, Stan Brown on banjo, Snuffy Smith on bass, and Keith Thomas on fiddle. Past members Jimmy Cameron, Leroy Savage, and Fiddlin' Al McCanless will join in the anniversary fun, and Bland Simpson, local author and Red Clay Rambler, will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

It all started in 1971 with six friends coming together to play some tunes, and by 1972, they were named World's Championship Bluegrass Band at The Union Grove Fiddler's Convention. They were on to something, and that something has continued for 46 years.

Chatham Arts Council's Executive Director, Cheryl Chamblee, holds that artistic longevity in high regard. "Forty-six years is a long time for artists to work together and still be friends. It’s a huge accomplishment, and you can hear it when they play. It just feels like coming home."

"Chatham County is particularly rich in traditional string music, and we're pleased that our arts council recognizes and appreciates that aspect of our county's arts history," says Edwards. "This is a chance for us to recreate some music that’s been an important part of each band member's artistic life over the past nearly half-century—and to celebrate this way with our neighbors and friends is a great honor."

Even as a widely traveled musician, Edwards—along with the others—has remained an integral part of the local Chatham County community. Band members have lived and worked as carpenter, pharmacist, insurance professional, and printer in this community where they have made their music over the years.

As a retired Chatham County school teacher who grew up in Siler City, Edwards is delighted that this 46th Anniversary Concert will support the arts council's Chatham Artists-in-Schools Initiative. The Initiative places professional artists in schools to open new pathways to learning standard curriculum. Now in its third year, the Initiative has reached more than 4,000 Chatham County students and teachers.

"The feedback on our Artists-in-Schools work—from principals, teachers, and students—has been overwhelmingly positive. I was in the audience for a theater arts residency at Virginia Cross Elementary last week, and it was inspiring to see," says Taylor Hobbs, the Chatham Arts Council's Board President. "And I'm proud of our business community for stepping forward to sponsor this concert and support the arts council’s work."

Opus Financial Services, Inc. is the naming sponsor for the event. Other sponsors include Chatham Homes Realty, Montgomery Development's Mosaic, Penguin Place, Silver Thread, Hobbs Architects, Cheek Electric, Deep River Mercantile, Dorrie Casey & Archie Purcell, ChemoGlo, 501 Pharmacy, Absolute Construction, Chatham Park, Dermatology and Laser Center of Chapel Hill, Edge Aveda Men's, Sanford Contracting, State Farm/Pam Herndon, StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, Webster's Pages, Workshop Orange, B&J Custom Printers, Fearrington Village, and WHCL-FM Life 103.1.

Tickets for the anniversary concert are $16 in advance/$20 at the door for adults and $8 for children ages 3-12. Doors will open at 2 p.m. Proceeds from the event will help fund the Chatham Arts Council's Chatham Artists-in-Schools Initiative.

On the day of the concert, in honor of The Bluegrass Experience and the Chatham Arts Council's artists-in-schools work, Alberello will donate 25 percent of profits and Postal Fish will donate 10 percent of sales.

For more information about The Bluegrass Experience 46th Anniversary Concert and the Chatham Arts Council, visit For more information about The Bluegrass Experience band member Snuffy Smith, see his Meet This Artist feature at the Chatham Arts Council website.

Free Computer Classes at Chatham Community Library

Chatham Community Library will offer a series of free computer classes in November and December. The names, dates and times of the classes are listed below. You can find a full description of the classes, including topics covered and prerequisites for attending, by visiting

Using the Library's Online Catalog: November 15, Wednesday, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Microsoft Excel Basics, Part 1: December 4, Monday, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Microsoft Excel Basics, Part 2: December 11, Monday, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Drop-in Computer Assistance: December 13, Wednesday, 4 – 5 p.m.

The Drop-In Computer Assistance sessions (December 13) do not require registration. For all other classes, space is limited and you must register in advance if you wish to attend. Register online at the link above. For more information, call 919.545.8086 or email

All classes take place in the computer lab at Chatham Community Library, 197 NC Hwy 87 N in Pittsboro, on the campus of Central Carolina Community College.

Reindeer Reader Program returns to McIntyre's Bookstore

Due to its incredible success last year, McIntyre's Bookstore is launching its "Reindeer Readers" program for the second time this holiday season. Generous sponsors of the program provide a $40 donation to supply an entire classroom of Chatham County elementary students with the gift of a new book this holiday season. In the true spirit of giving, McIntyre's Books hopes this program inspires community support and a love of reading.

"The gift of literacy is irreplaceable and benefits us all," says Bookstore Manager Keebe Fitch. "Sarah Carr, our children's book buyer, and I have been tinkering with the idea of how to get books into the hands of younger students in Chatham County. As Sarah always says, literacy is the best gift one can give."

Last year, the bookstore was able to provide more than 1,200 kindergarten and first grade students with a book for the holidays. This year, the bookstore wants to offer book donations to the 1500 pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade students in Chatham County. The bookstore is looking for classroom sponsors as well as volunteer wrappers to help prepare the book donations. Those interested in helping out or learning more should call McIntyre's Books at 919.542.3030.


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