Mark Kleinschmidt

Max Cooper Photography

Thirty years ago Chapel Hill Town Council member Joe Herzenberg made history when he became the first openly gay elected official in the South. Today there are 13 openly-LGBTQ individuals serving in elected office in North Carolina. The social and political climate in the state has evolved dramatically in three decades, but many argue that the heated debate around House Bill 2 shows that LGBTQ issues are still politically divisive.

A picture of a voting sign.
Tom Arthur / Wikipedia

The municipal elections are over, and some North Carolina communities are getting new leadership.

For the fifth time in three years Charlotte has a new mayor. Democrat Jennifer Roberts defeated Republican Edwin Peacock. She had topped the interim mayor in the Primary.

Meanwhile, Chapel Hill is getting a new mayor. Pam Hemminger knocked off three-term incumbent Mark Kleinschmidt in a race that was dominated by the question of whether the town is growing too fast.

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt speaks to a group of mostly UNC Muslim students during a dinner intended to promote dialogue and encourage connections.
Catherine Lazorko

Aisha Anwar remembers when she attended a campus lecture last year as a UNC-Chapel Hill sophomore. She was one of the only Muslims in the crowd. The guest speaker gave a talk about Catholicism, and then touched on Islam.

“And concluded with some really, you know, I would say intellectually irresponsible conclusions,” she says.

The town of Chapel Hill will appeal a judge's rulings that struck down new towing and cell phone ordinances.