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January 2019

Chatham County Public Health Wins 2 Statewide Awards

At the North Carolina Public Health Association’s Fall Education Conference last week, the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation recognized the Chatham County Public Health Department and staff member Dorothy Rawleigh with two prestigious awards.

Rawleigh, child care health consultant, received the Public Health Staff Award, which recognizes a public health professional from North Carolina for excellence and innovation in child health care. The award came with a $1,000 prize.

"Dorothy has always been one to go above and beyond," said Genevieve Megginson, executive director for the Chatham County Partnership for Children. The Partnership is responsible for Smart Start programming in Chatham County, which includes Rawleigh's work at the Public Health Department.

"I am very pleased to see her good work recognized in this way. Smart Start and the Chatham County Partnership for Children appreciate Dorothy."

In announcing the award, the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation noted that Rawleigh is "viewed as a model public health professional and an inspiration to all who work with her," adding that her colleagues "consider her the best child care health consultant in the state."

The Chatham County Public Health Department was also one of three health departments in the state to receive a Local Health Department Recognition Award for its efforts to increase immunization rates for young children, which are consistently among the highest in the state. These efforts are led by Rawleigh and Marsha Andrews, immunization tracking coordinator, who jointly work diligently to protect the health of Chatham's youngest residents.

Chatham County regularly ranks first in the state in immunizations rates for children age 0 to 3 years old. In addition, all children were up-to-date on vaccinations in 96 percent of child care facilities in the county this year. The Local Health Department Recognition Award comes with a $5,000 prize.

"Marsha and Dorothy are shining examples of what dedicated public health workers can accomplish," said Chatham County Health Director Layton Long. "Protecting children from preventable disease through immunizations is core public health work and we are grateful for the hard work that Dorothy and Marsha accomplish every day toward this effort."

Long added, "Chatham’s high immunization rates can only be accomplished through the dedication of staff like Dorothy and Marsha combined with the support of our partners like the Chatham County Partnership for Children and our local childcare center operators."

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation presents Child Health Recognition Awards annually. Health Promotion and Policy Division Director Mike Zelek was elected vice president of the North Carolina Public Health Association at the conference.

It's Miller Mueller Time: November 8 @ 5 p.m.

It was going on 5 p.m., two days after the mid-term elections, when I settled in and leaned back against the sign post in the pedestrian triangle in front of the historic Chatham County Courthouse. I was checking the white balance and ISO on my camera, preparing to capture a digital documentation of this unfolding historic moment, when from the base of the Confederate Soldier monument I heard a familiar voice shouting my name. It was my across-the-street neighbor, Candace, holding a large sign and sporting a T shirt that read: "It's Mueller Time."


Support the Veterans Administration
by Barry L. Reece

During the 2016 presidential campaign one bumper sticker grabbed my attention: "If you can't afford to take care of our veterans, don't go to war." Bernie Sanders gets credit for these words of wisdom.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs is a full-service healthcare system that provides all types of care to selected groups of veterans. It delivers clinical care (medical, mental health and rehabilitation) to 230,000 people every day. As America's largest healthcare system it has become a tempting target to corporate medicine and insurance industry personnel who see all those dollar signs and want to get their share.


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DAR present Good Citizens Awards

The Davie Poplar Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in Chapel Hill honored seven Good Citizens Award recipients and their parents at a luncheon at the Chapel Hill Country Club on 8 December. The DAR Good Citizens Award and Scholarship contest is a nationwide program recognizing students at public and private schools who display dependability, commitment to service, leadership and patriotism. Each school selects one senior who demonstrates the qualities of a good citizen at home, in school and in the community.

Although they are waiting for responses to their college applications, each young woman shared her interests, her plans, and her aspirations for the future. Students read their essays on Our American Heritage and our Responsibility for Preserving It to the group. The focus of this year's essays was "new challenges that America will face as we move forward into the future". Their treatment of the subject was varied, and all were well thought out. Members were impressed by their vision of both the issues and potential remedies.

Each school winner received a Good Citizens pin and Certificate as well as a cash award. This year's recipients were Kathryn Leah Benedict (daughter of Gregory and Carolyn Benedict) from Cedar Ridge High School, Sophie Elizabeth Gilliam (Byron and Angela Gilliam) from Carrboro High School, Zia Midori Cuthbertson (Mayhew and Christie Cuthbertson) from East Chapel Hill High School, Corrina Simone Johnson (Michael Jihad and Marie Johnson-Jihad) from Chapel Hill High School, Shayla Michelle Baldwin (Angelo Baldwin and Sarah Allen) from Northwood High School, Hannah Joy Doucet (Scott and Kristen Doucet) from Orange High School, and Cheynie Jo Wray (K. Joe and Suzanne Wray) from Woods Charter School. Hannah Doucet was chosen by an independent panel from among the individual high school awardees as the Davie Poplar Chapter winner. She will compete with other chapter Good Citizens winners for recognition at DAR District VI. The top student at each level progresses and ultimately vies for the National Good Citizens Scholarship.

Free Computer Classes at Chatham Community Library

Chatham Community Library is offering a series of free computer classes in January and February. The names, dates and times of the classes are listed below. You can find a full description of each class, including topics covered and prerequisites for attending, by visiting

Drop-in Computer Assistance: January 9, Wednesday, 4 – 5 p.m.
eBook Assistance: January 15, Tuesday, 3, 3:30, & 4:30 p.m.
(30-minute, one-on-one sessions)
Find Your Next Favorite Book!: January 23, Wednesday, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Microsoft Word Basics, Part 1: February 5, Tuesday, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Microsoft Word Basics, Part 2: February 12, Tuesday, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Drop-in Computer Assistance: February 13, Wednesday, 4 – 5 p.m.
Genealogy 101: February 20, Wednesday, 3 – 4:30 p.m.

Drop-In Computer Assistance sessions (January 9 and February 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 address above. For more information, call 919.545.8086 or email

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.

CORA breaks ground for new building

Chatham Outreach Alliance hosted its groundbreaking ceremony for their new building on November 27. This event brought together community leaders, organizational partners, and valued supporters to celebrate this important milestone in their organization's history. Speakers included Melissa Driver Beard, CORA's Executive Director, Linda Todd, CORA's Board President, and Chatham County Commissioner, Diana Hales.

In 2015, CORA's Board of Directors presented the County with the need for CORA's expansion due to the increase in demand for services. In 2007, CORA served 216,867 meals. Compare this to 2018, more than 500,000 meals were provided to families across Chatham County. And research indicates that there are at least 7,000 more people facing food insecurity in Chatham County who have not yet received assistance. Thanks to the County’s support and vision for a healthy and vibrant community, they committed to helping CORA meet the need through a new building. In 2019, CORA will be opening the doors to a 2,800 square foot facility that will serve as the Food Pantry and as much needed warehouse space for their operations.

"We at CORA are overjoyed that our partnership with Chatham County will support this growth so that we – together – can continue to address food insecurity in Chatham County. We continue to see an increase in demand and this new facility will help us meet that demand," said Melissa Driver Beard, CORA's Executive Director. The existing building will undergo upgrades and serve as the family reception area, administrative offices, and community space.

CORA serves any Chatham County resident who needs emergency food. They are open five days a week, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (excluding state holidays). Clients can receive a week’s worth of groceries up to six times in a 12-month period. These weekly food allotments are selected to provide 21 nutritious meals for each family member. However, when additional assistance is needed beyond six visits, CORA makes sure each client gets the help they need. The pantry is a place of hope and comfort for many in our community, a respite from their struggles where there is always an empathetic ear, supportive smile, and shelves of food to help meet their needs.


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