Chapel Hill

The Chapel Hill town council failed to approve a cell phone ban on motorists at last night’s meeting.

Leoneda Inge:  The vote was four-to-four, one council member was absent.  This was the first reading of the controversial ordinance that would ban motorists from talking on cell phones except in an emergency.  Councilwoman Penny Rich introduced the ordinance.  She says she’s glad there will be another vote.

Town of Chapel Hill officials are scheduled to vote tonight on banning the use of cell phones while driving.

Leoneda Inge:  Members of the Chapel Hill town council have heard all sides of the cell-phone-while-driving debate.   An emotional Karen Turner came down from Asheville to speak at last month’s public hearing.   Her brother Joel Severson was killed on I-40 in an accident triggered by a driver who was texting.

Katie Ricks
Church of Reconciliation

One of the first openly gay ministers in the Presbyterian church will soon be ordained at a Chapel Hill church. Katie Ricks is the first openly lesbian pastor in the nation to gain approval since the Presbyterian Church began allowing homosexuals to serve last year. She met with the church's local governing body before its vote last weekend. She says she addressed some members' concerns that same-sex relationships are not accepted by God.

A new charter school may open in Chapel Hill next year. If approved by the State Board of Education, The Howard and Lillian Lee Scholars Academy would open in a new building and serve students in kindergarten through fifth grade with possible expansion into middle school down the road. Its stated mission is to close the achievement gap to help African-American students raise their performance on standardized tests. That will, in turn, improve graduation rates, and lead to greater college readiness.

Drivers in Chapel Hill may soon have to refrain from talking on their cell phones. A proposed ban on the practice is being considered in a public hearing tonight. Penny Rich serves on the town council. She says a second draft makes the proposal more enforceable by making it a second offense rather than a primary offense. She says that means drivers won't be pulled over for speaking on cell phones, but if they commit another violation while using the device, they would be written up for both offenses.

The tents that have been at Peace and Justice Plaza in downtown Chapel Hill since mid-October will be packed up today. Occupy Chapel Hill-Carrboro organizers say a press conference, potluck dinner and dance party will mark the end of this phase of the occupation. Katya Roytburd is involved with planning today's activities. She says the Occupy Chapel Hill-Carrboro movement has a busy agenda.

Chapel Hill's Town Council is scheduled to discuss a new report on a police raid on protesters occupying a vacant downtown car dealership. Town Manager Roger Stancil found the action "appropriate."

Architects view the world through a much different lens than most of us. What we see as the squares and rectangles of ordinary buildings, they see as proportion used artfully and skillful design conforming to the needs of modern life. The Triangle chapter of the American Institute of Architects hopes to share this passion for design with its second tour of well-designed residences this weekend.

An eclectic mix of art pieces come together in Chapel Hill in the exhibition"Local Histories: The Ground We Walk On." Building on the idea that "place can not be global," more than 50 artists from across the United States created works about communities around the world. The exhibit includes artists’ perspectives on a UFO hunter in Puerto Rico, the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, and Michael Jordan’s childhood home. Host Frank Stasio talks with Elin O'Hara Slavick, curator of the exhibition, and Cici Stevens, a local artist with a piece in the show.