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December, 2014/January, 2015

Blue Light Bingo benefits Chatham Social Health Council

If you enjoy a good game of bingo, or would frequent the bingo parlors with your grandmother, then you will truly enjoy Chatham Social Health Council’s, Blue Light Bingo Fundraising events beginning this January. Blue Light Bingo is a unique fundraising event that not only involves bingo games, but the talents of local drag performers, that will dazzle crowds with their humor, wit and costumes.

Although Blue Light Bingo, may be new for Chatham Social Health Council as a fundraising event, bingo with Drag Queens in the Triangle has been around for over a decade. Your Blue Light emcee’s, Mary K Mart and Marilyn Merlot and all their Blue Light Beauties, for almost 12 years have helped local AIDS organizations raise in excess of a million dollars, to assist those in our community living with HIV and AIDS. These funds have helped with housing assistance, food pantry, utility bills and medications for those that would otherwise go untreated. In addition, these funds have helped with prevention and educations services that continue to make our communities safe with knowledge on how HIV is spread.

HIV continues to affect millions of people all over the world. In North Carolina alone there are over 35,000 people living with HIV and though much progress in treating this now chronic disease has been phenomenal, there is still no cure. In fact, the most “at risk” population is currently African American women and Latinos. CSHC serves over 23 counties in North Carolina, with our new condom mobile, we are able to reach people in rural areas that either would not or could not seek testing and treatment. We will meet to test you at a city park, your front porch or on the street. Our goal is to stop the spread of this horrible epidemic by first “knowing your status” and secondly, getting you access to care. If you are an individual that is sexually active, then you are at risk for contracting HIV.

Our bingo events allow you to help the community in a fun atmosphere and at the same time helping to eliminate the fear and stigma of HIV. We hope that you will support CSHC as we continue our fight to keep our community safe, so please join us as we play B I N G O until this crisis is over. For more information on our organization or upcoming events, please visit us at or you can call us at 919.742.3762.

New Partnership to Train Assistance Dogs in NC Prison

Eyes Ears Nose and Paws (EENP) announces “At Both Ends of the Leash,” a new training partnership with the NC Department of Public Safety and Franklin Correctional Center (FCC). The kick-off celebration is Friday, December 19 at 2 p.m. at Franklin CC in Bunn, NC.

EENP is a nonprofit in Carrboro that trains assistance dogs and partners them with people with disabilities. FCC is a medium-security men’s prison in Bunn, just south of Louisburg. Under “At Both Ends of the Leash,” EENP’s dogs in training will live at FCC for 12-18 months, from the time they are 5 months old until they are ready to be partnered with a client. Inmate trainers at FCC will train the dogs in both basic and advanced skills, and will be accompanied by their dogs for virtually all daily activities in the prison. Inmate trainers will benefit from the program by learning dog handling and training skills; by practicing teamwork, leadership, and communication skills; and by providing a service to the community. With the inmates’ help, EENP will be able to place assistance dogs with waiting clients much more quickly.

Inmates for the program have been selected and EENP is training them in group classes at FCC before putting dogs into the prison full-time. The first group of four dogs will begin living at FCC in February. Four inmates will be assigned as primary handlers and two will be assigned as backup handlers. More information about the celebration can be found at For additional information contact: Eyes Ears Nose and Paws, 209 Lloyd St., Suite 320, Carrboro, NC 27510; 919.408.7292;

-- Maria Ikenberry

Latest Statistics Show Chatham Is Out-Aging the State

Based on recently released reports from the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services, Chatham County continues to outpace the state with its aging population. At the same time, state and federal funding for senior services has been declining.

As of 2013, nearly three in ten Chatham residents (29 percent) were age 60 or older, as compared to 20 percent statewide. Between 2013 and 2033, Chatham’s older population is projected to grow by 80 percent, compared to North Carolina’s increase of 58 percent. Even more dramatic is the projected growth of the population aged 85 and older, because Chatham is expecting a 152 percent increase compared to 88 percent statewide. Read more...

Coal ash dumps in Chatham and Lee topic of Duke Energy community information events

Duke Energy, in conjunction with ash management contractor Charah Inc., will hold community information events in Lee and Chatham counties next week. The events will provide citizens with updates on Duke Energy’s coal ash management plans and details on beneficial reuse projects proposed in those counties. Experts from both companies will be on hand to share information and answer questions in an informal open-house setting. Read more...

Chatham Park, plans open, breaks ground

Plans for Chatham Park, the enormous mixed-use development planned for Pittsboro, is open for revision after the developers put it before the Town Commissioners at the November 25 meeting requesting to add 47 acres and make a a few revisions to the master plan. As planned Chatham Park would encompass more than 7,000 acres and would take more than 40 years to complete. Read more...

New BOC takes office
New Chatham County Board of Commissioners sworn in

On Dec. 1, 2014, Superior Court Judge Carl Fox administered the oath of office to four members of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners who successfully won election or reelection in November. The full board is shown here from left to right: Mike Cross, elected vice chairman; Karen Howard; Jim Crawford, the newly elected chairman; Diana Hales; and Walter Petty.

-- Debra Henzy, Chatham County Government

New Chatham County Schools Board Members Sworn In

Board Members Swearing In At the December 1, 2014 Board of Education meeting, new member Jane Allen Wilson was sworn in to service along with Gary Leonard and Del Turner, returning board members. District Court Judge Beverly Scarlett conducted the ceremony. Afterward, the Board reorganized to reflect the departure of former chair, Karen Howard, who is now a County Commissioner. Gary Leonard was named Chair and Jane Allen Wilson was named Vice Chair.

-- Sarah Campbell, Chatham County Schools

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 from Brandy: "Do you ever have spirit contact you and push you to reach out to us? Say if someone is really struggling with a life decision will their loved ones come to you to send them a message or do you only get that when you are in the moment with your clients? Are some loved ones really determined to get messages through?"

Answer: Good question! I sure do. Just as there are those in the physical who will cross boundaries, there are the same in the spirit world. Read more

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    Page 1 - Four Studio Tour artists tell their stories * Reversing osteoporosis with yoga * Need begets a local creative venture - Page 2 - Dispatches & Briefs - Page 3 - Cuddle up with a book for the Holidays * Book Review: This River: An Epic Love Poem - Page 4 - the “Duplin Insurrection” and beyond * discover your roots at the Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market - Page 5 - Insects to liven up winter days - Page 6 - AD HD in dogs * “HOME” for the holidays * Winter Twilight - Page 7 - A Christmas message – finding joy in this world and the next - Page 8 - Finding ways to appreciate all of nature’s treasures * Yoga (cont. from page 1) * Joy (cont. from page 7) - Page 9 - Remembering Connie Sharman, my mum - Page 10 - Tania Thomas — a medium’s visions * Twenty Little Birds * Studio Tour (cont. from page 1) * Venture (cont. from page 1) * Journeys (cont. from page 12) - Page 11 - Chatham Opinion Line - Page 12 - Chatham Comunidad - Pedacitos de nuestros caminos: 2 parte * Pieces of our journeys: part 2

    Recycle Your Real Christmas Tree

    Chatham County is offering free “treecycling” for a limited time. The Chatham County Solid Waste & Recycling Division is offering free Christmas Tree Recycling at the Main Facility for a limited time. County residents may bring their real trees on the following dates at no charge:

    DECEMBER 29, 30, 31, JANUARY 2, JANUARY 5 - 9, JANUARY 12 - 16 - 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

    The Main Facility is located at 28 County Services Road off Hwy. 64, six miles west of Pittsboro. After January 16, Christmas trees will be accepted Monday – Friday for regular yard debris rates ($20 per ton with a $2 minimum). IMPORTANT! Please be sure to remove ALL decorations, tinsel, bulbs, wire, bolts, stands, and pots. Do not bring artificial trees, which you should consider donating to an organization or place them in the Swap Shops at the Collection Centers if they are still in good condition.

    Old Christmas tree lights can be recycled at any of the County’s E-Cycle stations. E-Cycle stations are located at all 12 Collection Centers (decal required) and the Main Facility (no decal required). Working lights also can be placed in the Swap Shop at the Collection Centers.

    Real Christmas trees are a renewable, recyclable resource and North Carolina is one of the top producers in the country. By recycling your real tree at the end of the holiday season, you are extending your tree’s useful life. All trees collected will be ground into mulch and sold in the spring.

    Don’t forget about other holiday recycling options. Wrapping paper, gift bags, gift boxes, and greeting cards can be recycled in the mixed paper bin, but remove all ribbons, bows and foil. Aseptic and gable top containers (cartons from milk, broth, soup, juice, etc.) can also be recycled in the mixed paper bin. Residents should save used vegetable oil from holiday cooking and pour it into the cooking oil recycling tank at any of our 12 Collection Centers (decal required) or the Main Facility (no decal required). Used cooking oil is recycled locally into biodiesel.

    Electronics of all sizes can be recycled at the Main Facility, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. (no decal required). Smaller electronics (TVs smaller than 25” and other electronics weighing less than 50 pounds) can be recycled at any of the 12 Collection Centers (decal required). For additional information on holiday recycling, contact the Chatham County Solid Waste & Recycling Division at 919.542.5516.

    -- Debra Henzey, Chatham County Government


    Chatham Mills Farmers' Market seeks vendors for 2015 season

    The Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market is pleased to announce the fifth season of our Saturday farmers’ market in downtown Pittsboro. Founded by local farmers with the support of NC Cooperative Extension, Chatham Mills and Chatham Marketplace, the producers-only market will be held Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 4 – October 31, 2015 followed by our winter market November 7, 2015 – January 30, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    The Market is currently accepting vendor applications for the 2015 market season. Interested vendors should read market rules before applying. Market rules and a vendor application are available online. Applications for returning vendors are due January 12, 2015, and for new vendors, January 26, 2015. Producer-run market looking for vendors in all areas. Must be local to Pittsboro, NC; all vendors are also producers. For more details and application, see our website.

    Looking for 9 more tax prep volunteers

    The Orange County RSVP 55+ Volunteer Program is in need of nine more volunteers who want to assist low to middle-income clients with preparing their tax returns, in turn making a difference in their lives. If the volunteer openings are not filled, appointment slots will be closed and fewer people will be assisted with preparing their tax returns. Last year, more than 1,800 residents in Orange and Chatham counties were served by this program.

    VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) is a free IRS service for eligible clients offered at sites in Orange and Chatham counties. Individuals interested in learning more about the program should attend this FREE orientation session or contact the RSVP office Thursday, December 4, from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m., Seymour Center, 2551 Homestead Rd., Chapel Hill.

    Volunteer Opportunities

    • IRS-trained and tested volunteers serve as tax preparers to electronically prepare and file tax returns at no charge
    • Telephone operators schedule appointments using software
    • Site support coordinators assist with checking clients in/out
    • Computer assistants handle minor troubleshooting

    RSVP will provide FREE training starting on Monday, January 5, for all VITA volunteer assignments. For more information or to volunteer, please call the RSVP 55+ Volunteer Program at 919.245.4240 or 919.245.4243.

    Save the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm

    Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm As many of you know, we launched an all-or-nothing fundraising campaign to save the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm in Concord, North Carolina: We need to reach at least $25,000 in order to reach our goal.

    Lomax Farm, which opened in 2009 in response to a county-wide call to support young and beginning farmers, has graduated 10 new farmers since its inception. Located in Cabarrus County, it is the only certified organic incubator farm in the Southeast. The campaign platform we're using to raise $25,000 by December 12, 2014 is Barnraiser, a relatively new crowd-funding tool worth knowing. There are rewards for every level of giving, from our public thanks for a $5 donation, to a CFSA membership, and dinner with Scott Avett for a $1000 pledge and we've just added some new rewards. Please help us do two things: Give any amount you can to help save Lomax Farm and then spread the word among your networks about this project.


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