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Carrboro employees earning the lowest permissible hourly pay might see wage increases for the next fiscal year.The town’s Board of Aldermen motioned staff to look into restructuring the wages of town employees at Tuesday’s meeting.Carrboro’s salary ranges are below the market rate, a government consulting firm found.John Anzivino, senior vice president of Springsted Inc., said 28 employees, or 18.42 percent of the town’s workforce are paid less than the firm’s suggested minimum salary requirements.After researching the town’s working environment, Anzivino said the hourly wage should be $11.78.Ingrid Schmidt, spokeswoman for Orange County Justice United, an inter-faith nonprofit organization seeking increases in wages, requested the board increase its current living wage floor from $10.12 to $13 per hour.The current minimum hourly wage was established in 2001 and needs to be increased after inflation, Schmidt said.Improving low-wage employee salary would cost the town $26,191 annually, Anzivino said.His proposed raise in salary would increase the town’s payroll 0.5 percent.But an increase in the entire Carrboro payroll would be more expensive, he said.The suggested overall salary increase would cost the town $380,785, or 5.5 percent of the total payroll.For example, the town’s lowest pay grade ranges from $19,000 to $33,000 annually, but the recommended changes would increase that to $24,000 and $37,000, Anzivino said.Some aldermen would also like to see salary improvements from the private sector.Alderman Jacquie Gist said she did not want town payroll increases to impact taxpayers if private companies continue to pay employees lower wages.But whether private sector wages move, Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton said government workers deserve to earn a living wage.“Police, fire and trash collection are the three most essential functions of town government,” Chilton said.Town Manager Steve Stewart will give a proposal regarding wage changes May 4, when the aldermen meet to discuss the budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year.Contact the City Editor at email@example.com.
The towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro are looking to channel citizen concern for UNC’s energy practices into a shorter time line for reducing its coal consumption.The Chapel Hill Town Council and the Carrboro Board of Aldermen are acting on a petition from a group of 25 residents requesting that the University eliminate its coal use by 2015, 35 years sooner than the University’s current deadline of 2050.The Carrboro Board of Aldermen passed the petition as a resolution in Tuesday’s board meeting but did not plan for any future action.
After the bars closed early Sunday morning, someone punched the co-owner of B-Ski’s restaurant in the face.The victim, Brad Smith, knows that whether it’s a violent punch, a broken window or a spill of vomit, it’s just a cost of operating a late-night restaurant.And he’s willing to take the risk.Restaurants like B-Ski’s and Qdoba hire security guards and pay liability insurance to curb the risks of after-hours damage.But despite potential damage costs, at Qdoba, where at least one significant incident with a rowdy customer occurs each week, general manager Chuy Butchart said the late-night hours are the most profitable.“Staying open late is good for business,” he said. “Whether it’s to call the police or calm the customers down, we try to choose the safest ways to solve any issues.”After North Carolina defeated Villanova in a 2009 Final Four game, a drunken customer broke the window near the North Columbia Street entrance to Qdoba, Butchart said.That cost about $500 to fix, he said. But each weekend night, that blow is softened by a seemingly endless line for burritos and quesadillas.“If the owner is open to keeping the store open late, we are willing to do it,” he said.Smith said the fight at B-Ski’s Sunday stemmed from a group of rowdy men who were arguing near the bathroom when one of them locked himself in.He said the others in the group began to try to kick down the bathroom door, at which point the owners asked the intoxicated men to leave the restaurant.“They weren’t exactly cooperative when we confronted them,” he said. Smith and his brother were both punched, he said.Smith said fights like this at B-Ski’s, which occur two or three times a year, aren’t enough to shorten his business hours — yet.“If it ever got to the point where we didn’t think it was safe for customers, we wouldn’t stay open,” he said. “We just need to develop tactics to deal with the small percentage of people that cause problems.”Other business owners aren’t as open to dealing with this clientele.Trent Reisberger, a co-owner of Cold Stone Creamery on Franklin Street, said the incidents at other late night restaurants are good enough reasons for his place to close before downtown bars do.“We thought about staying open late, but we thought people wouldn’t want ice cream. They probably want more greasy food,” Reisberger said.“If business ever got to the point where we were struggling, we would consider staying open late, despite all of the headaches.”Senior Daniel Thornton said it must be hard for restaurant owners to stay open late.“But it’s probably good for business,” he said. “I guess every rose has its thorn.”Freshman Lauren McKenna said that drunk customers can take away from her late-night dining experiences.“It can be very obnoxious to other people who are not intoxicated,” she said. “I think it can reflect negatively on the businesses.”Contact the City Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Carrboro Board of Aldermen is making strides to improve the town’s pedestrian walkways after two residents complained at its Tuesday meeting about the safety of downtown crosswalks.The board unanimously decided Tuesday to look further into the problem after resident Tom Henry notified the board of several dangerous situations near North Greensboro Street.Henry, who lives on Mulberry Street near North Greensboro Street, said his life has been put in danger.“I have been in situations where I’ve lunged my body into the crosswalk while waving my arms, but cars will still drive through, attempting to beat me through the crosswalk,” Henry said.Alderman Jacquie Gist said the town needs to increase its traffic law enforcement.“I once almost got hit near the Century Center,” Gist said. “The board could ask for more attention on the subject.”Board member Dan Coleman said Carrboro’s Transportation Advisory Board is using video cameras in a study to determine where pedestrian walkways need improvements.Alderman Sammy Slade added that the advisory board has taken footage of the area near North Greensboro Street and will continue to work with the N.C. Department of Transportation to improve pedestrian safety.Henry suggested the town work with the Department of Transportation and the Carrboro Police Department to improve areas that see a large number of pedestrian crossings.Carrboro resident Virginia Guidry said she sees arguments between drivers and pedestrians near the North Greensboro Street and Shelton Street intersection.“It’s an interesting contradiction that Carrboro promotes itself as pedestrian-friendly with all of these altercations,” she said.The board did not offer a timetable for implementing the safety improvements.Contact the City Editor at email@example.com.
CLARIFICATION (5:08 p.m., Feb. 12, 2010): An earlier headline on this story made it appear that UNC representatives were not present at any of the police department's community meetings, but two more remain that University representatives could attend.
Many residents in the historically black and low-income community bordering the county landfill don’t receive drinking water from county water lines. Soon they might receive help with well repair.The Orange County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night considering healthy water options for the residents who live within 3,000 feet of the Orange County landfill, which is located in the Rogers-Eubanks neighborhood.The goal of the resolution is to initiate the process of improving the water supply and to eventually give the plan some formality, County Manager Frank Clifton said Tuesday.He said the commission’s resolution suggests three options to improve drinkisng conditions that include repairing and replacing wells and extending the water supply to residents who do not receive public water.But county-funded well repair won’t solve the whole problem — residents want public water lines.The Rev. Robert Campbell, a resident of the Rogers Road community, said he knows a resident who paid $6,000 for a well system due to a lack of water supply.“I also know one resident who dug four wells,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be reasonable to extend the water line to the houses that aren’t connected?”Campbell said the county should consider measuring the distances from where the water lines stop to the houses that do not reach.Campbell also said many wells residents install do not provide drinkable water. He said the water in the community does not meet Environmental Protection Agency standards.Some wells are located near faulty septic tanks, which may threaten water quality in the neighborhood, Clifton said.It has been difficult for county health department officials to determine how drinkable the neighborhood water is.Orange County Health Director Rosemary Summers said officials cannot pinpoint which houses need assistance.“We tested very few wells out there because the residents have not participated in the survey,” Summers said.The health department is still in the process of gathering data and analysis for drinkable water in the county, Summers said.Commissioner Barry Jacobs suggested other improvement options for the community, which is located just north of Chapel Hill.He suggested pumping septic tanks or requiring residents to connect to Orange Water and Sewer Authority water lines.Private well protection could be an interim solution aimed for residences as well, Jacobs said.One of the three options will be selected after the town of Chapel Hill reviews the resolution and offers feedback.Clifton said he thinks the town will accept the resolution.The commissioners did not offer a time frame for well or water supply repair.Summers said a report on county EPA water quality will be released within a year.Contact the City Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carrboro is considering adding bike paths to run by local creeks, but some residents worry it will negatively affect the ecosystem.About 180 Carrboro and Chapel Hill residents have signed a petition by a new group, Save Bolin Creek, a grassroots organization that opposes a paved bike path, or greenway, that would run along the creek.Save Bolin CreekRob Crook, the spokesman for Save Bolin Creek, said the group is not opposed to the entire plan, just the parts that they believe will have a negative impact on the creek.He recognizes one portion of the plan, a path from Estes Drive Extension to Seawell School Road, that could use a greenway path.But when it comes to the proposed path near Bolin Creek, Crook said concrete path construction, which requites heavy digging along the creek, would have a negative impact on the Jordan Lake watershed.“When you construct concrete, you have to dig down into the earth, cut tree roots, and the probability of tree mortality increases, which would decrease the shade over the water,” Crook said.Without shade, the water temperature could increase, in turn killing macroinvertebrates necessary for a healthy watershed and eventually lead to making Jordan Lake water undrinkable, he said.History of the greenwaysCarrboro has considered greenway construction in the area since the mid-1990s, said Jeff Brubaker, the town transportation planner. But it wasn’t until 2007 that the town formed an advisory board called the Carrboro Greenways Commission.The commission focuses mainly on the construction of the Bolin and Morgan Creek greenways.Brubaker said Bolin Creek’s wildlife would be mildly affected since there is a dirt trail at the potential greenway construction site.In search of a construction plan, Carrboro hired Greenways Inc., a greenway consulting firm. The firm released plans in December.The consultants recommended a path to run along Bolin Creek for a number of reasons. One included its access to Orange Water and Sewer Authority pipes.That’s when the Save Bolin Creek group formed.Carrboro’s next moveThe Carrboro Board of Aldermen will not take action on building greenways until they receive community feedback, Brubaker said.Residents can comment at public hearings in the spring, he said.Morgan Martin, resident of Hanna Street near Bolin Creek, questioned the necessity of building paths on established dirt trails.“I like to go back in those woods,” he said. “It doesn’t seem that necessary because it’s wide enough back there as is.”Contact the City Editor at email@example.com.
The Carrboro Board of Aldermen took a step forward Tuesday night in potentially criminalizing employment violations against day laborers.The board unanimously approved a motion calling for the town’s staff to look into options to crack down on employers who don’t compensate day laborers.Federal and state statutes do not criminalize wage theft, which might provide a loophole for employers to withhold payment to laborers, according to attorney Robert Hornik, who stood in for town attorney Michael Brough on Tuesday.“The goal is to make employers apprehensive,” said Rafael Gallegos, assistant director for the Chapel Hill and Carrboro Human Rights Center, in a post-meeting interview.Carrboro’s day laborers often gather across from Abbey Court Condominiums, Gallegos said.“One of the things they keep talking about is that sometimes they don’t get paid for anything, even after working for a month,” he said. “It’s hard for them to call the Department of Labor because of a sense of fear.”Gallegos said the demographic of Carrboro’s day laborers, who are primarily Hispanic, is becoming more diverse because of the economic recession.“Carrboro is doing much more than most places. That’s why we are confident here,” he said. “This is a great first step. It’s very difficult to have cities that are supportive. It’s a big problem nationwide.”Mayor Mark Chilton said labor violations are even more important as the amount of wages lost increases.“Amounts of money at stake can sometimes be very large. The labor section should prioritize the cases,” he said.Alderman Joal Hall Broun suggested the board refer the issue to the town staff for further consideration.Judith Blau, director of the Human Rights Center, said Chapel Hill and Carrboro are two of five U.S. cities to adopt a human rights doctrine.Gallegos said it is especially difficult when day laborers are withheld pay after working in extreme weather conditions.“A lot of people ask me, ‘Why don’t I get treated like a human?’” Gallegos said.Alderman Jacquie Gist said it is not fair to have the town’s police profile employers that hire day laborers when the police do not check immigration status.“It sends a negative message about our police department,” she said. “I think we want to help. We just have to structure things so we can help.”Hornik suggested that the board go into closed session before moving forward. But the board did not offer a timeline for any formal action at the meeting.Contact the City Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to budget constraints, the Board of Alderman is downsizing its grand plans for building sidewalks in an Estes Drive neighborhood.Instead of a large-scale project near a Carrboro park, new plans are to focus on the Estes Park Apartments.The board passed a resolution Tuesday to consider alternative solutions to the original Sidewalk Bonds Project. In a meeting last November, the aldermen considered constructing a 10-foot wide concrete trail between the ball fields at Wilson Park, which would continue the trail along the sewer property to Estes Drive. This would provide a pedestrian walkway leading to a trail to Estes Park Apartments. With the 2009 plan becoming unaffordable, the aldermen considered bike paths for the Estes Drive area.One option would be to construct a smaller sidewalk from Hillcrest Avenue to N. Greensboro Street, said George Seiz, Carrboro public works director.The Hillcrest Avenue alternative would cost around $55,000 less than the 2009 plan, Seiz said.Town Manager Steve Stewart said if Carrboro did not use the first alternative, the aldermen would consider several of four cheaper alternatives to the sidewalk connecting Hillcrest Avenue to North Greensboro Street. Carrboro Transportation Planner Jeff Brubaker presented these alternatives.The first is a Wilson Park multi-use, or bicycle and pedestrian, path which Brubaker said would allow for a safe passage to Estes Drive. Other options include a multiuse path on Pleasant Drive, a multiuse path on Hillcrest Avenue or a path connecting Crest Drive to Estes Park Apartments.All of these alternatives will provide safe pedestrian and bicycle access to the apartments, Brubaker said.The aldermen also discussed the transportation opportunities with each option.The Crest Drive option may take pedestrians and bicyclists safely to a bus stop.But some aldermen expressed concern about the Pleasant Drive alternative. Alderman Jacquie Gist said children living in Estes Park Apartments, who attend Carrboro Elementary School, would no longer be eligible for school busing.Gist said she was concerned with working parents having to drive their children to school.“Families may not want their children walking to school alone,” she said.Mayor Mark Chilton said formalized paths would improve the apartments.“It obviously makes Estes Park Apartments more valuable to owners,” Chilton said.Aldermen will seek further feedback from residents in the area before they take action on building paths.Seiz and Brubaker said there was no timeline available for the building of the paths. Aldermen said the town may meet with residents at a church in the neighborhood.Contact the City Editor at email@example.com.
11:20 p.m. Dec. 8 - Due to a reporting error, this story incorrectly stated that county commissioners were considering a second site off Millhouse Road for a waste transfer station. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
The town of Chapel Hill is actively working to combat racism through the justice in action committee, mayor-elect Mark Kleinschmidt said at a meeting Tuesday.The meeting was held at the Hargraves Center with the aim of helping the community identify paths for racial healing.“I know this committee well. They are going to take what they have heard tonight and put things into action in creating recommendations for the town,” Kleinschmidt said.Emily Kelahan, spokeswoman for the committee, said it was the committee’s third meeting about race relations of the year. “I think the goal of all of our meetings is to sort of take people out of their comfort zones and expose them to some of their own prejudices and biases,” Kelahan said.“We’re kind of operating on the assumption that racism is a real problem, and we need to make solutions for moving forward.” Race relations in Chapel Hill have recently been discussed after police mistakenly detained local barber Charles Brown, who is black, thinking he was a criminal they were looking for.Committee member André Wesson said the Brown incident provides an opportunity for the town to solve any racial issues.“I know Mr. Brown personally, and he feels the incident was a matter of racism,” Wesson said. “This incident allows for Chapel Hill to examine how law enforcement deals with its citizenry.”Kevin Hicks, an education committee member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Chapel Hill is good about promoting positive race relations, compared to other parts of the state.“Chapel Hill lives in a bubble. It is seen by the rest of the state as liberal. Here things are blue, but out east things are red.”Antonio Asión, executive director of El Pueblo, which advocates for North Carolina Latinos, said across the state, Latinos who are American citizens are racially profiled.“I get called on a daily basis, and people say the police officer stopped me and took my money.” Asión said some Latinos are pulled over by police officers for what he called silly reasons, such as forgetting to use their turn signal.Local poet CJ Suitt opened up the panel by reading a poem he wrote highlighting the racism he sees in Chapel Hill today.“I’m no racist, I have black friends, it’s just the ones I don’t know that I’m afraid of,” Suitt said in the poem about the town.Suitt said it is up to the Chapel Hill residents to solve problems relating to racism.“In answering the question, ‘How do we heal the wounds?’ I think it lies in all of us to stand up for the things that we see happening,” he said.Contact the City Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most crimes are crimes of opportunity.If you’re self-aware, you’ll be better prepared to react, said Jason Goldsmith, owner and head instructor at Goldsmith Kung-Fu.Two assaults this semester — one reported rape of a 19-year-old woman walking on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and one UNC student who was grabbed from behind while walking on Pritchard Avenue — have heightened awareness of potential danger.Freshman Ciara Moraski said that although she’s never been put in a situation in which she felt physically threatened, she believes it’s important to know self-defense.“At night or during the day, at least you know how to protect yourself if someone approaches you aggressively,” Moraski said.Fewer assaultsSince 2006, the number of forcible sex offenses and aggravated assaults have decreased in the community, both on campus and in Chapel Hill.According to the UNC Department of Public Safety 2009 Security Report, forcible sex offenses on campus have decreased from 12 in 2006 to four in 2008. Forcible sex offenses have also decreased in Chapel Hill from 24 in 2006 to 10 in 2008, according to the same report.Avoiding the situationGoldsmith said the techniques students learn in his class combine multiple disciplines of martial arts to ensure potential victims are prepared to defend themselves properly if assaulted, he said.But you don’t need to know how to take someone down to be safe. UNC Department of Public Safety spokesman Randy Young said the most efficient way to avoid becoming a victim is to educate yourself as much as possible.“A lot of what we do is pre-emptive. The big thing is to stay in groups, use mass transit and walk home in well-lit areas,” Young said.?Call 911 if you are uncomfortable. Many people think 911 is exclusively for an ongoing crisis or emergency situation and are hesitant to call, Young said.“If something doesn’t sit right, if a person looks like they don’t belong in a certain geographical location, report that and call 911,” he said. “It might not be a threat to you, but it may subsequently be a threat to others.”?Use hair spray as a replacement for mace, Goldsmith said. It has the same effect and can be carried into places like clubs, which usually confiscate mace.?On or off campus, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings.“Complacency is probably the greatest risk — the idea that we are immune from vcampus crime,” Young said.?Avoid the myths.“One of the biggest myths is that high heels are magic,” Goldsmith said. “You can’t kick someone in the balls with your heels. You kick with your toe.”Contact the City Editor at email@example.com.
Carrboro is preparing for Saturday’s Halloween events on Franklin Street by increasing police patrol and regulating town parking.The police department will bring in 16 extra police officers for the holiday to ensure that out-of-towners are not using Carrboro’s parking for Halloween in Chapel Hill, police said at a meeting Tuesday.Carrboro Town Manager Steve Stewart said local businesses need their parking lots for customers, and not for those who plan on parking in Carrboro and walking to Franklin Street.“We want people to come to downtown Carrboro and spend their money, we don’t want them to just come here and park,” Stewart said.Police will be on patrol at predesignated locations throughout the town to ensure that parking spaces will be used by people shopping at local businesses, not visitors walking to the Franklin Street Halloween celebration, Stewart said.He said officers will pull over suspicious-looking cars searching for parking spaces based on the appearance of the passengers in the vehicle and ask where they are going.“If there is a family of four not dressed in Halloween costumes, it’s likely they will not be pulled over,” Stewart said.“Four college students dressed in costumes are more likely to catch the attention of a police officer.”Nathan Milian, Carr Mill Mall manager, said he will not tolerate loitering in the parking lot and said cars will be towed if they are parked at the mall for more than two hours at any point in the day Saturday. Last year four to five cars were towed at Carr Mill on Halloween, Milian said.Local businesses are hoping their regular customers are brave enough to come out on Halloween.The ArtsCenter is trying to draw some of the area’s younger party-goers into its building Saturday, said director of the acting program Jeri Lynn Schulke.The center is inviting teens to Fright Night ’09, a dance party from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. that will feature live music.But Tyler’s Restaurant & Taproom General Manager Ciara Campbell said Carrboro residents have typically been afraid to go out on the holiday because of the crowds on Franklin Street.“We’d like to see more people out and about in Carrboro,” Campbell said.“Carrboro is quiet during the prime Halloween hours. The events in Chapel Hill scare Carrboro residents to stay at home on a Saturday night.”
Carrboro mayoral and Board of Aldermen candidates spoke about tax revenue, budget cuts and residential and commercial growth when asked questions by farmers Thursday night.The forum was hosted by the Carrboro Town Hall and Hogan Farms precincts of the Orange County Democratic Party.Five candidates are running for three seats on the Board of Aldermen and three candidates are vying for mayor.Tax baseEvery candidate voiced dissatisfaction with the ratio of residential and commercial taxes. Carrboro’s current tax distribution is 90 percent from homeowners and 10 percent from local businesses.Most of the candidates agreed that the ratio should shift to 70 percent residential and 30 percent commercial. Mayoral candidate Amanda Ashley said the proliferation of small businesses would help even out the ratio.“We do need more commercial development in the northern part of the town,” incumbent Alderman Jacquie Gist said.“There is a great opportunity available right now with the Homestead Center for sale.”DevelopmentSome candidates alluded to the addition of a hotel which would also help shift the tax ratio in favor of Carrboro residents. Mayor Mark Chilton said some rural areas in Carrboro need to be reserved for future commercial development.“We’ve had more large-lot single-family developments in north Carrboro,” he said.“We don’t need more of that. We need to preserve open space in northern Carrboro for future commercial development.”Incumbent Alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnell said she would not like to see much change in development in the northern portion of the town. She said she is especially opposed to the addition of Carolina Commons, a housing development for faculty and staff working at UNC.The development is waiting for approval from Carrboro after the University proposed the development in early August.“This faculty-staff housing is a great opportunity, but I have to question why they are using 25 acres near the creek when they have space near the campus,” Aldermen candidate Sharon Cook said.BudgetTo relieve budget constraints, Board of Aldermen candidate Tim Peck proposed a partnership between Carrboro and Chapel Hill’s police forces.“Our largest budget expenditure is police and safety, perhaps some sort of combo with Chapel Hill will help cut costs,” Peck said.Every candidate except mayoral candidate Brian Voyce supported the addition of a half-cent sales tax increase intended to bolster Carrboro’s public transportation.“I work in Durham, I waste a lot of gas every day,” Haven-O’Donnell said. “Express buses would greatly improve the way we move from Carrboro to the Triangle and back.”But Voyce said the tax should instead be placed on gas, which would directly tax those who are using transportation. Alderman candidate Sammy Slade said he was in support of public transportation and suggested the possibility of a light rail.Contact the City Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partying in a residential neighborhood puts you at a higher risk of getting caught with alcohol. More than half of August and September alcohol citations went to drinkers in the Northside neighborhood, primarily around Church Street, police data indicates.Chapel Hill Police Lt. Jeff Clark said that area is not being specifically targeted, but increased alcohol enforcement this year has resulted in more citations in areas where long-term residents tend to call and complain about their student neighbors.Of the 181 alcohol-related citations, about 101, or 56 percent, have come from the Northside area, police data shows.For comparison, there have been 23 violations on Franklin Street, 24 on Columbia Street and Cameron Avenue and seven around Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, according to police data.Chapel Hill Police Lt. Kevin Gunter said the Church Street region receives an unusual number of loud noise complaints.Estelle Mabry, a resident of Pritchard Avenue and member of the Northside Neighborhood Association, said students often act as though they are oblivious to their neighbors, prompting many to call police for backup.“It’s incredibly inconsiderate, and I’ll tell you what my solution to it is,” she said. “I don’t want to call the police.“I want to wake your mother up at 2:30 in the morning.”Clark said the noise complaints from permanent residents living alongside students lead to police involvement.“The officers respond, and then they find there is a party that is out of control, sometimes with underage occupants, and the charges will stem from that,” he said.Tyler Gilmore, a student living off Church Street on Carver Street, said he sees at least one or two police cars on his nightly walk home.“I see police cars pretty much all day every day but especially after dark,” Gilmore said.Clark said bar crowds walking home also attract police attention. “Sometimes young people will leave with their drinks in their hands, or they will walk back to their apartments or houses which are on Church Street,” he said.Senior Matt Wohlford, who lives on Ransom Street near West Cameron Avenue, outside of the Northside area, said he doesn’t see police in his neighborhood very often.“Our street is mostly residential, and so the cops have less reason to go through there because we are the only student-inhabited house in that little vicinity.”Underage drinking citations given by Chapel Hill police have doubled since last year. From Aug. 1 to Sept. 28, 65 underage drinking citations were issued, more than twice last year’s 29 citations during the same period, according to reports from Chapel Hill Police.The department cites an increase in reported alcohol poisonings as their reason for strengthening enforcement.Fifty-one cases of student alcohol poisoning were reported last school year, up from 28 in the 2007-08 school year and three the year before, according to data collected by the Office of the Dean of Students.To combat overdoses, Chapel Hill police assigned 14 officers to the recently created Alcohol Law Enforcement Response Team, officer Mitch McKinney said.Contact the City Editor at email@example.com.
Underage drinking citations given by Chapel Hill police have more than doubled from last year as the department cracks down on alcohol violations.From Aug. 1 to Sept. 28, 65 underage drinking citations were issued, more than twice last year’s 29 citations during the same period, according to Chapel Hill Police Department data.The jump comes as officers increase the intensity of their patrols since noticing a rise in alcohol poisonings locally, officer Mitch McKinney said.He also cited a 2007 call to action from the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General for officers to combat underage drinking.Police said the pressure to crack down has not come from the University.“We are stepping up our enforcement levels from what we are seeing,” Chapel Hill police Lt. Kevin Gunter said.To combat overdoses, Chapel Hill police assigned 14 officers to the recently created Alcohol Law Enforcement Response Team, McKinney said.The team was formed in February by the Chapel Hill Police Department and the Coalition for Alcohol and Drug Free Teenagers of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.Some officers in the response team patrol out of uniform, McKinney said.The ALERT task force is different from the Alcohol Law Enforcement agency which frequently works with the Chapel Hill Police Department, Gunter said.The ALE covers the entire state and focuses on preventing the sale of alcohol to minors. ALERT focuses on issuing underage drinking citations in Orange County, Gunter said.A busy weekendThe bulk of this semester’s citations, and the time when the ALERT team was at its busiest, came during the weekend of Sept. 18 to Sept. 20, which included the UNC-East Carolina football game, Gunter said. That weekend, 15 people were cited for consuming alcoholic beverages underage, and 24 people were cited for underage possession, including eight members of The Daily Tar Heel’s staff and three members of the swimming team, reports state.Two home football games were played in the same time period this year and in 2008, but last year did not see a similar spike in citations.What brings the copsGunter said any type of 911 call will bring police to a party scene — including parked vehicle violations.“Other than noise complaints, if we see a lot of vehicle traffic, we will check for expired registration,” McKinney said.He said police will use the expired registration as cause to find the owner of the car, potentially coming across underage drinking.Gunter said reactions of underage students differ when they are caught drinking.“In some cases they are very cooperative,” Gunter said. “Other times they complain. Sometimes they say, ‘You are wasting your time.’ When they complain, they need to know its against the law in North Carolina, and we need to enforce it.”Gunter said the money from citations comes through the Orange County courts and goes to the state.Contact the City Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday’s rain might have washed out the town of Chapel Hill’s efforts to get people out of their cars to celebrate World Carfree Day.Chapel Hill Transit leaders hoped residents would leave their cars at home and use public transportation, but bus driver Jeremy Hall said he did not notice a difference or know what Carfree Day was.“It seemed like the same amount of people on the bus to me,” Hall said. “I think that some people probably drove anyway because of all of the rain.”Brian Litchfield, assistant director of Chapel Hill Transit, said he hoped the annual event would promote sustainable methods of transportation.“We expected there to be a slight increase in bus riders today,” Litchfield said.“While it is typically a grassroots movement, the idea is to promote other ways of transportation besides driving, including using public transportation, walking or biking.”He said every day is busy for Chapel Hill public transportation, and the bus system averages 35,000 to 36,000 trips a day during the school year.Litchfield said the town has done Carfree Day for the last two years, but the event has been promoted internationally by the World Carfree Network on Sept. 22 since 2000.The town of Chapel Hill issued a press release in an effort to promote the event, Litchfield said.Still, not much happened.Chapel Hill resident Christopher Harris said he uses the bus system daily and he did not notice an increase in riders at noon.“Around this time there are not many people on the bus, so there haven’t been any more people that I have noticed,” Harris said.“I don’t have a car, so the bus is the only form of transportation that I have.”Harris said life without a car works just fine for him. He is satisfied with Chapel Hill public transportation, although he said sometimes things can get interesting.“It’s rather unusual. Sometimes it’s late, sometimes it’s on time,” Harris said.“It’s beneficial for those who don’t have any transportation at all.”Walking instead of driving an average car for a day will remove 31.4 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to the town of Chapel Hill’s press release. Contact the City Editor at email@example.com
For two weeks, geography at Rashkis Elementary School will be taught in the gym.It’s the only room big enough to hold the school’s enormous map.Thanks to National Geographic, the Chapel Hill school will use a 41-foot-by-31-foot map to study Asian geography.National Geographic is shipping the map to a different school every two weeks. Rashkis received it last week, and will have it until next Friday.The school’s librarian, Marj Moe, said the map is an interactive way for students to learn geography.“The kids need to know that information comes in all forms,” she said. “What better way is there to teach geography than use a gigantic map?”Last spring, after searching National Geographic’s Web site for maps to use for the school’s social studies curriculum, Moe said she found the oversized topographic maps available for schools.“The ability to read a map is critical for our social studies curriculum,” she said.After applying last spring for Rashkis to use the map, Moe was notified by National Geographic in May that the school could use the map of Asia at the beginning of the 2009-10 school year.Moe said Asia was her first choice because the student population is 30 percent Asian.The map came with equipment to play educational games.It is sprawled on the gym floor, taking half the basketball court’s space. Second grade students split into teams Thursday and competed to name all the countries.Second grader Ben Huang said it was fun to see where China was on a map.“It was fun to stand on China and see where all of China’s mountains, grasslands and desserts are,” said Huang. “It’s kind of fun learning about islands, peninsulas and other countries.”The map provides a sense of welcome as children who are new to the country adapt to their surroundings, Moe said.“What better way to welcome them than with a map from where they came from so they can feel welcome and recognized?”Contact the City Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.