Chatham County Line - Where all voices are heard

September 2017

When stones speak -- Confederate statues come alive
By Julian Sereno

Silent Sam The silver lining in the current controversy over Confederate monuments is the spotlight that it is shining on history. History is a good place to start when discussing them.

Confederate monuments were built by the children and grandchildren of Confederate soldiers, to honor them and their terrible sacrifice. Those who built them also built and sustained Jim Crow, born with the Supreme Court's 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson decision legalizing racial segregation. Jim Crow meant the disenfranchisement of African-Americans. It meant state sanctioned oppression, including lynching, enforced by a powerful Ku Klux Klan. It was responsible for a lot more lynchings than rebel monuments.

Jim Crow died with the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling outlawing racial segregation, followed by non-violent civil rights protests led by the Rev. Martin Luther King. Jim Crow’s death knell was the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act a little more than 50 years ago.

The Confederate officers in their monuments and the rebel troopers in front of courthouses looked out over a changing South, one where African Americans could vote and win elective office, where integration was the law of the land, and where lynchings came to an end.


Chatham County tops state in voter turnout
by Randy Voller

The Chatham County Board of Elections has done an excellent job administering elections in Chatham County and ensuring open and convenient access to the ballot box for the citizens.

Their stewardship combined with the prevalent community spirit in Chatham County have yielded impressive results: Chatham County has consistently led or been a leader in voter turnout in North Carolina over the past decade with 2016 being a banner year as the county once again led the entire state with a turnout of 78.1 percent of its registered voters.

This Chatham-wide democratic spirit has even crossed over to off-year municipal elections. In Pittsboro voter turnout has consistently exceeded long term national trends that indicate voter turnout for local elections, which are typically held in off-cycle years, consistently lag behind state and federal races.

In fact according to a 2014 article in Governing magazine which utilized data from 144 large US cities "26.6 percent of the cities' voting-age population cast ballots in 2001, while less than 21 percent did so in 2011."

As researchers dug into the data over much longer periods they found that "turnout for primary and general local elections fluctuate from year to year, but long-term trends in many larger cities suggest voter interest has waned."

This unfortunate trend is happening in the Triangle as well where aggregate municipal turnout in Wake County has gone from 21.16 percent in 2011, to 13.99 percent in 2013, to 12.51 percent in 2015. In Chatham County the trend is similar although the general turnout percentages are higher: In 2011 the overall municipal turnout in Chatham County was 27.5 percent, in 2013 it was 22 percent and in 2015 it was 22.8 percent.

If Siler City could increase its turnout, Chatham County could really buck the trend and be a shining beacon of local democratic participation.

Here are the turnout results for the last three municipal elections for Pittsboro (PITT) and Siler City (SC):

2011 turnout: 36.90 percent (PITT) and 21.1 percent (SC)
2013 turnout: 26.78 percent (PITT) and 20.0 percent (SC)
2015 turnout: 31.40 percent (PITT) and 19.1. percent (SC)

Randy Voller is the former Mayor of Pittsboro, a consultant, business owner and Democratic/progressive political activist. He served as delegate for Bernie Sanders at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

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After You've Given it All Away – Your Digital Afterlife
by Jeff Davidson

During an average week, 8,000 Facebook users die. It sounds shocking, as if Facebook is somehow contributing to mass death. This is not the case: with 500 million users worldwide over the course of a year, actuarial tables predict that about 400,000 users will pass away over the course of a year.

Each departed Facebook user leaves a digital trail, some quite extensive. A regular user might have made 100 posts and received 100 comments or more in the last several months. One does not have to be a regular Facebook devotee, however, to leave a significant digital trail. Every day, thousands of new YouTube videos appear. Flickr has now exceeded 5 billion photos and images. LinkedIn counts more than 50 million members, many with extensive profiles. The blogosphere boasts 21 million blogs, more than 3 million of which are extensive.


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Page 1 - When Stones Speak: Confederate Statues Come Alive * Pets and Women’s Safety (PAWS) Act * Are we engineering the extinction of our own species? - Page 2 - Tiger Rescue Wins $25,000 N.C. Science Museums Grant * The Center Is Not Holding –Name and Origins of Our Political Divide * Come Out and Play * 2017 Parade of Homes - Page 3 - Friendship and the Fickleness of Cancer - Page 4 - The Power of Menopause * EXTINCTION (cont. from page 1) - Page 5 - Uncle Hu Hu - Page 6 - Satyrs on the Wing - Page 7 - What is the Future of Our Civilization and Planet? - Page 8 - Sanford’s Hotel Wilrik — Once a Major Stopover for Trains - Page 9 - Nearby * Ramble * Suggestions for Being and Judging America's President * Satyrs (cont. from page 6) - Page 10 - No Siler City Early Voting Site for 2017 Municipal Elections * Chatham Joins Nationwide Grade-Level Reading Campaign - Page 11 - Chatham Opinion Line - Page 12 - BILINGUAL NEWS ~ NOTICIAS BILINGÜES Chatham Comunidad: Fiesta de la Herencia Hispana en Siler City

Free Computer Classes at Chatham Community Library

Chatham Community Library is offering a series of free computer classes in September and October. 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

Computer Basics, Part 2: September 26, Tuesday, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Drop-in Computer Assistance: October 11, Wednesday, 4 – 5 p.m.
Internet Basics, Part 1: October 16, Monday, 2 – 3:30 PM
Internet Basics, Part 2: October 30, Monday, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.

The Drop-In Computer Assistance sessions (October 11) 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.

Chatham Reads joins national reading campaign

Chatham County, via a county-wide collaboration Chatham Reads, is taking a big step toward improving student success by joining the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR Campaign). The Campaign is a collaborative effort to improve reading proficiency, early learning, and early school success for children from low-income families.

"We are excited to join this National Campaign," announced Krista Millard, Program Coordinator for Chatham Reads. "Chatham County has so many inspiring and remarkable organizations aligned to focus on the importance of early literacy. Helping all of our children read on grade-level by the end of third-grade is truly a community effort. We must engage families, local businesses, non-profit organizations, and community leaders to assist in this endeavor."

Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and future success as it marks the transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." Students who have not mastered reading by the end of third grade are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.

Currently, 56 percent of Chatham County third-graders are reading at grade-level and for economically-disadvantaged students, only 36 percent. While these statistics are similar to neighboring counties, we know together we can improve outcomes. In regard to Kindergarten readiness, only 46 percent of Chatham County children entering Kindergarten are meeting early literacy benchmarks. Chatham Reads intends to build upon achievements already being made by the Chatham County School System and community groups with regard to School Readiness, K-3 Literacy, and Summer Learning. The overarching vision of Chatham Reads is that by 2022, 80 percent of Chatham County Schools 3rd grade students will score at or above grade-level.

In Chatham County, the GLR Campaign is supported by The Triangle Community Foundation. Over 10 local nonprofits collaborated and have developed a three year implementation plan.

About Chatham Reads

Chatham Reads is a county-wide collaborative led by two backbone organizations: the Chatham County Public School System and the Chatham Education Foundation. The mission of Chatham Reads is to foster community partnerships that are dedicated to ensuring that literacy and reading resources are accessible to all Chatham County residents. The collaborative includes a wonderful and diverse coalition of community partners including Chatham Literacy, Communities In Schools of Chatham County, Chatham County Partnership for Children, YMCA of the Triangle, Chatham County Health Department, Reach Out and Read, Uplift Chatham, the Chatham County Library, The Learning Trail and other organizations. Visit us online at and follow us on twitter , facebook , and Instagram @chathamreads

Come Out and Play

For the 16th year in a row, sculptors will display their creations at the Come Out and Play sculpture show at JimGin farm just outside Carrboro. Many of the works will be for sale. Artists, who range in age from 8 to 90, keep 100% of the proceeds.

There are free picnic receptions on Saturday, September 9, 16, and 23 beginning at 3 p.m. and going until dark. There is no admission, and all are welcome, including dogs if they are on leashes. We know how much dogs love art! On opening day, there is a free shuttle running from Storybook Farm, 231 Storybook Lane, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.

Sculptures of many media and form will dot the landscape of this 17-acre horse farm at 150 Wild Horse Run, Pittsboro, NC 27312.

This show began in 2002 as part of a group of shows put on by Hunter Levinsohn, Jackie Helvey, Anke Gassen, Hollie Taylor, and Debbie Meyer to honor those directly affected by the events of 9/11. Attendees, who loved seeing sculpture in an outdoor setting, and artists, who often don’t have a place to display larger sculptures, asked for it to continue. Over 2,000 people attended last year's show.

For information, contact Debbie Meyer at or at 919.357.6142. She and her husband, Eric Brantley, put on the show each year as a gift to the community. The link to the invitation is

Resolve to get involved

CHATHAM CONNECTING is an online resource designed to connect individuals in need, non-profit service agencies, and donors or volunteers in Chatham County. We provide information to connect those in need with those who can help out. We list over 100 community, non-profit organizations on our website,, and bring you information about upcoming events sponsored by area agencies as well as their current volunteer opportunities and donation needs.

In September Chatham Connecting will spotlight arts programs that provide a break from work and home responsibilities and also play a role in boosting the economy. The Chatham Arts Council, Bynum Front Porch, Shakori Hills Community Arts Center, and the Pittsboro Youth Theater offer programs to engage people of all ages in the arts -- and they all need volunteers. We also list several special events in September such as Support Literacy Events, Hispanic Heritage Festival, Learning Trail Tutors, and Tokens of Care 5K Run/Walk.

Check out our website to learn more about how you can get involved with the arts and with other service organizations in Chatham County.

Leadership Chatham Program

The Chatham Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Chatham Program is accepting applications for the 2017-18 Class Year. The Chamber is dedicated to the support and promotion of business and to helping mold Chatham into a place that everyone is proud to do business and call home. With the expected growth for Chatham County, there will be more and more opportunities that arise. The demand for effective leaders will be crucial. Leadership Chatham, a signature program of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce, is an innovative program designed to develop informed, skilled and involved community leaders.

The Leadership Chatham program will take you on a journey through the social, cultural, political and economic makeup of our community. Access to existing community experts will yield firsthand knowledge of critical issues facing Chatham County. For more information or to apply, contact the Chatham Chamber of Commerce.| 919.742.3333 |

Friends of Lower Haw win Grant for Trails Master Plan

Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area has been selected to receive a $25,000 grant from Triangle Community Foundation to support the Lower Haw Trails Master Plan project. This project is made possible with a grant from Triangle Community Foundation's Support for Places: Environmental Conservation Awareness program. Although informal use by hikers and paddlers has occurred for years, this state natural area is considered undeveloped by State Parks since there are no authorized land and paddle trails. The grant will be used to develop a trails master plan over the next year for the Lower Haw River State Natural Area to plan for future sustainable development of official hiking and paddle trails and amenities. The grant will provide funding to hire consultants to develop the trails master plan in collaboration with State Parks, Friends of Lower Haw, and other stakeholders including the general public. The planning process will include a series of stakeholder meetings and produce a final report with concept maps showing proposed trails, canoe launches, and amenities. More information about the planning process will be publicized this fall.

Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area is operating as a local chapter of Friends of State Parks, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. This state natural area consists of 1,025 acres owned by State Parks along both sides of the Haw River in Chatham County from above US 15-501 to below US 64 at Jordan Lake. It is home to a variety of wildlife and plants, beautiful rugged scenery, and the best white water paddling in the Piedmont. Visit to learn more about Friends of Lower Haw.

Chatham Chamber names Chamber Ambassador

Michael Whitman has been named Chamber Ambassador of the Quarter, for the second quarter of 2017. He joined the Chatham Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Team in August of 2015 and has been a valued asset since. Michael is full of energy, enjoys networking, is great at forming partnerships and is passionate about connecting and helping others. He was instrumental, as part of steering committee, in getting the Chamber’s first Young Professional Group on the ground.

Michael is the co-founder of Millennium Planning Group with the goal of assisting clients in making informed financial decisions. He and his wife Nicole, a professional photographer, are expecting their first child in December 2017. Michael and Nicole currently reside in Pittsboro.


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