WCHL Community Forum


Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 8:00am to 6:00pm


1360 AM

This year, WCHL tried something different and involved a panel of community members (including myself) in developing the ideas for what topics to cover and what guests to invite for the annual Community Forum. I haven't seen a full list of what is proposed, but I think it was a useful process and I applaud WCHL for taking a step toward a more participatory Forum.


I found this info on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=219153271432857

-8am -- "Town and Gown: Building Partnerships"Moderator: Jim Heavner-9am -- Franklin and Main: Many Visions, One RealityModerator: Walter Storholt-10am -- Living and Working: The Road To ProsperityModerator: Hampton Dellinger-11am -- Building (And Waiting): Cutting Through the Red TapeModerator: Fred Black-12pm -- Teaching And Learning: Doing More With LessModerator: Kristin Hiemstra-1pm -- Local Media Eco-Systems: Objectivity, Bias, AccessModerator: Barry Leffler-2pm -- A Lot On Our Palette: Keeping the Arts Alive In Hard TimesModerator: Molly Buckley-3pm -- Community Pride: Under A Carolina Blue SkyModerator: Ron Stutts-4pm -- Downtown’s Future: Old Traditions, New LooksModerator: DG Martin-5pm -- The Art of Collaboration: Bringing our communities togetherModerator: Aaron Keck


and well worth listening to. I'm hoping that next year, some of the profound, fundamental issues of sustainability that are so important will get serious attention. Our water future and the current radical change proposed that would bring Jordan Lake water to OWASA and the county, the ongoing saga of solid waste that continues to sit there like festering unfinished business, traffic and other pollution that creats unhealthy high ozone days, and energy policy in an age of global climate change and general uncertainty.

I just got an e-mail from Barry Leffler with much more detail about each session and who the guests will be on each forum:

8am- Town and Gown: Building Partnerships  
    Moderator    Jim Heavner

Our communities and our university all have different missions, but we all share the same future. How can we utilize the relationships between the towns and UNC to build toward a better future together? How should we grade the current overall level of cooperation between us? Of course, Carolina North will be key to the discussion. A WCHL Community Forum staple; the Town and Gown panel seeks to evaluate the bond shared by our county’s largest employer and life-force with the rest of the community.


Mark Chilton            Mayor of Carrboro

Mark Kleinschmidt        Mayor of Chapel Hill

Bernadette Pelissier        Chair of Orange County Commissioners

Tom Stevens            Mayor of Hillsborough

Holden Thorp        Chancellor of UNC-CH

9am- Franklin and Main: Many Visions, One Reality
    Moderator    Walter Storholt

From Franklin Street to Weaver Street; our towns boast eclectic shops, delicious restaurants and active entertainment spots. But the vision of downtown is sometimes marred by safety fears and the ever-pestering parking problem. How can downtown be improved to foster a more “Main Street” feel? Is that what we all still want? How critical should we be of ourselves? This panel strives to match our vision of the future to current realities to see where we can go from here.


    Jason Baker            Chapel Hill Planning Board

    Scott Cox            Owner, Carolina Coffee Shop

Mark Chilton            Mayor of Carrboro

Mark Kleinschmidt        Mayor of Chapel Hill

Dana McMahan        The Laughing Turtle

Leo Vereen            Assistant Chief of Operations Chapel Hill Police Department

10am- Living and Working: The Road To Prosperity
    Moderator     Hampton Dellinger

Despite boasting one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state we all know the need to better our workforce and the importance of attracting the best minds to come work in our community. So what is our community’s grade in developing an attractive work landscape? Will our future projects (ie: Carolina North) be the job booms we’re hoping for? Do we all agree on what kinds of jobs and businesses we want to bring to the community? What can we do better to attract them? As the economy slowly recovers it serves as the perfect time for Orange County to rebound strong and surge ahead of our neighbors. How can we make it happen?


    Loryn Clark        Neighborhood & Community Services Manager, Town of Chapel Hill

    Augustus Cho    Chapel Hill Transportation Board

    Scott Maitland    Owner, Top of the Hill Restaurant

    Carlo Robustelli    Director of Orange County Operations, Durham Tech

    Brian Russell        Carrboro Co-Working

11am- Building (And Waiting): Cutting Through the Red Tape
    Moderator        Fred Black
  • In order to attract the best businesses and developments to Chapel Hill we need thorough, but efficient processes. Where does Chapel Hill rank along those gradients? Are there too many hoops to jump through or is a longer, arduous process better for all the intensive thought and discussion it invokes? Could more standardization apply to some of our ordinances and rules and would that be better for the community? In this panel we’ll seek to consider whether we’re on the right track when it comes to putting the processes in place for attracting new businesses and we’ll use recent issues, like the IFC Men’s Shelter and Costco, as examples.


Bruce Ballentine    Developer

Dwight Bassett    Economic Development Officer, Town of Chapel Hill

JB Culpepper    Director of Planning Department, Town of Chapel Hill

Aaron Nelson    CEO, Chapel Hill Carrboro Chamber of Commerce

Scott Radway    Radway Designs

Matt Czajkowski    Chapel Hill Town Council

12pm- Teaching And Learning: Doing More With Less
    Moderator        Kristin Hiemstra
  • With a new superintendent in the pipeline for one school system and difficult budget decisions facing both, keeping our schools operating at the highest level will be a tough task, but also an essential one. How tough will the leadership transition be for CHCCS and how bleak is the budget plight? What’s the best way to close the achievement gap while not hampering accelerated students? And are we testing to gauge learning or just learning how to test? This panel seeks to discover how we can build momentum for our school systems in the challenging times to come.


Jamezetta Bedford        Chair, CHCCS School Board

Susan Denman        El Centro Hispano

Graig Meyer            Coordinator, Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate

Michelle Laws        President, NAACP of Chapel Hill

Christine Lee            Parent

Patrick Rhodes        Superintendent, Orange County Schools

1pm- Local Media Eco-Systems:  Objectivity, Bias, Access 
    Moderator            Barry Leffler
  • As the ways we get our news and information constantly transforms we must find a way to separate truth from rumor. From analyzing which forms of media have the biggest impact on our daily lives to drawing the line between blogger and journalist, this panel seeks to consider the way we absorb information and how to best use information technology in a community setting.


Chad Johnston        Executive Director, The Peoples Channel

Catherine Lazorko        Public Information Officer, Town of Chapel Hill

Fiona Morgan        New America Foundation Master of Public Policy candidate

Nancy Oates            Chapel Hill Watch

Carlo Robustelli        Director, Orange County Operations Durham Tech

Kirk Ross            The Carrboro Citizen

Ruby Sinreich        Founder, orangepolitics.com

2pm- A Lot On Our Palette: Keeping the Arts Alive In Hard Times
    Moderator            Molly Buckley
  • The importance of the arts to our quality of life can’t be understated. But helping our local talent thrive during challenging times is sometimes a big hurdle. How can we help our local artists and musicians thrive in tough economic times? What are the biggest challenges facing the arts community in our area? Do we provide enough outlets/resources for them to succeed? What can be done to take the arts in Orange County to the next level? In this panel we’ll strive to elevate our knowledge of the opportunities available to artists and musicians and brainstorm how to create an artistic environment that can be celebrated in our community.


Emily Kass            Director, Ackland Art Museum

Elin O’Hara Slavick        UNC CH Art Department

Jeri Lynne Schulke        Artistic Director, ArtsCenter Stage, The ArtsCenter

CJ Suitt            Sacrificial Poets

Jeffrey York            Public Arts Administrator, Town of Chapel Hill

3pm- Community Pride: Under A Carolina Blue Sky
    Moderator            Ron Stutts
  • There is a lot to be proud of in our community. But what are some of the things in which we’re falling short? Do our citizens feel full of pride to say they’re from Chapel Hill? What influences pride and morale in our community? What aspects of life in Orange County are most important for us to improve? Or are we being too critical of ourselves?


Mary Cooper            UNC CH Student Body President

Winston Crisp        Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UNC CH

Julie McClintock        Concerned Citizen

Chris Moran            Executive Director, Interfaith Council

Laurie Paolicelli        Executive Director, Chapel Hill OC Visitors Bureau

4pm- Downtown’s Future: Old Traditions, New Looks
    Moderator            DG Martin
  • 140 West is in the works, University Square is next and down the line there are more major changes in store for downtown. The comprehensive plan will establish new roads and bring a whole new set of complications along with it. How will the long term plan change the way we use downtown? What are the real concerns of citizens and what fears can we dismiss? Not everyone has the same vision for the expansion of the downtown areas, so how can we streamline development efforts while preserving individuality?


Anita Badrock        Operations Manager, Community Home Trust

George Draper        Chair, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership

Jacquie Gist            Carrboro Board of Aldermen

Gordon Merklein        Executive Director, Real Estate Development UNC CH

Penny Rich            Chapel Hill Town Council

Damon Seils            Carrboro Planning Board

5pm- The Art of Collaboration: Bringing our communities together
    Moderator            Aaron Keck
  • Three heads are better than one, but what about when each one wants something different? How can we better work together to advance our communities while preserving our individual characteristics and personalities? Is there a point when collaboration becomes too much and slows us down, or can it only accelerate our growth? In this panel we seek to define what collaboration means to our community and explore its possibilities.


Dan Coleman        Carrboro Board of Aldermen

Laurin Easthom        Chapel Hill Town Council

Joal Hall Broun        Carrboro Board of Aldermen

Earl McKee            Orange County Commissioner

Gary Shope            Orange County Economic Development

Roger Stancil        Chapel Hill Town Manager


While previous forums benefited from the multiple views and ideas presented by larger panels, there was less opportunity to go deeper into topics.

Why do you call him the former owner?

Because he sold it to Barry Leffler in 2009. http://www.orangepolitics.org/2009/10/nbc17-manager-taking-over-wchl

WCHL has sold minority ownership in the company to Barry Leffler,

Leffler will assume the roles of CEO and Managing Partner with Heavner continuing as Chairman.

"Partner" is key here; does not mean he is the only "owner."

WCHL has posted summaries and audio of each of the panels. (Fast!)Here's the one about local media: http://www.wchl1360.com/detailswide.html?id=18269


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