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Year in Review: 2008 by the month

A look at 2008 with more than 100 top stories from the pages of The Citizen.

Read the list after the jump.
In January

A major squabble between groups of farmers and vendors erupts over the organization of the new Hillsborough Farmers Market.

Adam Sapikowski agrees to plead guilty to two counts of second-degree murder for killing his parents in 2005.

After an anonymous complaint to the town, warning letters are sent to property owners who allow taco trucks to use their property. The town later revises its mobile-vendor rules to accommodate the trucks.
A 1.1-million-square-foot retail and mixed-use development is proposed for the Buckhorn Road area.
A fight among students at Carrboro High School sparked by racial epithets leaves one student in the hospital, others charged with assault and the school on edge.

Orange County is notified by the federal Environmental Protection Agency that an administrative complaint alleging environmental racism over the decision to site a waste transfer station at Eubanks Road and other actions was under review.

A rousing debate on the subject of impeaching President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney is held before an audience of several hundred at the Carrboro Century Center.

Sarah Blacklin is named the new manager of the Carrboro Farmers’ Market.

After complaints about a rooster on Pine Street, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen reviews its noisy-fowl ordinance.

Orange County resident John Edwards ends his run for the Democratic nomination for president.

In February

Filing opens for the May 6 primary elections for state Senate and county commissioner.
Hugh Harrington is elected to the Pittsboro Town Board of Commissioners in a special election.

Harrington finished six votes ahead of Michele Berger in the November election, but 17 voters received incorrect ballots and the state board of elections authorized the new election.

Caring Family Network – the primary provider of mental health treatment in Orange, Person and Chatham counties – announces it will be discontinuing most of its services.

UNC Law School announces plans to move to Carolina North.

The Orange County Farmers’ Market opens for the first time. The market is at The Public Market House at 120 East Margaret Lane, Hillsborough (behind the sheriff’s department).

Due to a dispute over who would manage the new market, county government creates a leadership committee.

Orange County School Board member Dennis Whitling resigns following his arrest several days prior. Whitling, 52, was charged with embezzlement, false pretense, obstruction of justice and corporate malfeasance.

With reservoirs at about 40 percent of capacity, the board of the Orange Water and Sewer Authority declares a Stage Three Water Shortage, limiting water use countywide.

Four Chapel Hill High students are suspended and others implicated in a cheating scandal.
Carrboro approves Roberson Square, a five-story office, retail and condominium project on South Greensboro Street.

In March

Student body president Eve Carson is shot to death in front of her home in downtown Chapel Hill. ATM photos show suspects using her car and driving her SUV. Two suspects, Demario James Atwater and Laurence Alvin Lovette are arrested and charged with her murder and kidnapping.

Carson is remembered in tearful memorials held across campus. Her killing and its impact on UNC draws national attention.

Residents of the Cameron-McCauley historic district convey their opposition to plans by UNC’s Wesley Foundation to build a 70,000-square-foot five-story Methodist dorm on Pittsboro Street.

The Carrboro Citizen celebrates its first year in business.

St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church had purchased more than 20 acres of land on the corner of Rogers and Purefoy roads and plans to build not only new worship facilities but housing, athletic facilities and a wellness center.

The Barack Obama presidential campaign opens an office on West Franklin Street.

In April

A Southern Season-sponsored South Estes Farmers’ Market, operated by the group Farmers of Orange, opens at University Mall.

Former President Bill Clinton visits Hillsborough to campaign for his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who is seeking the democratic nomination for president.

Grubb Properties files a plan with Chapel Hill to demolish Glen Lennox and replace it with a more-than 1.8-million-square-foot residential, retail, hotel and office development.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners votes unanimously to move forward with an agreement with UNC for a gas-recovery project at the Orange County Landfill.

Police investigate a recent string of armed robberies in Carrboro and Chapel Hill that targeted Latino citizens.

The smell of smoked pastrami is noticed in downtown Carrboro as Shelia and Matt Neal open Neal’s Deli on South Greensboro.

Reacting to a proposal for redevelopment, the Chapel Hill Town Council allows residents in the Glen Lennox area to pursue a neighborhood conservation district.

In May

A Friday afternoon rock show with Superchunk and Arcade Fire draws thousands to an early-vote rally for Obama.

The Pressure Boys reunite for two benefit shows for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at the Cat’s Cradle.

An agreement between the Inter-Faith Council, UNC and the Town of Chapel Hill is reached on moving
the Community House men’s shelter on Rosemary Street to the corner of Homestead Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

State Sen. Ellie Kinnaird fends off a primary challenge from Orange County commissioner Moses Carey.

The State Employees Association of North Carolina votes to join the Service Employees International Union.

Randy Dodd, environmental planner for the Town of Carrboro, receives the 2008 Mobile CARE (clean air, renewable energy) Award. Dodd wins the “Special Citizen” honor.

Carrboro resident Holden Thorp is chosen to become Carolina’s new chancellor.

A large hive of honeybees flies down Greensboro Street and temporarily nests in a holly bush in front of the Carrboro Century Center.

Residents, joined by officials from Orange County, question the spraying of biosolids on farmlands throughout the county.

Chapel Hill native and longtime city schools assistant superintendent Steve Scroggs retires after 35 years in education.

Carrboro Elementary School teacher Briana Corke is named Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Teacher of the Year at the district’s annual recognition banquet.

The Chatham County Board of Commissioners approves a six-month extension to the development moratorium to complete several major land-use ordinances.

In June

Orange County attorney Geoff Gledhill announces his retirement.

The Chapel Hill Town Council passes a voter-owned elections law setting up public financing for mayor and council candidates.

An early-June heat wave sees temperature topping 100 degrees.

University and town officials announce a deal by the UNC-Chapel Hill Foundation to purchase Granville Towers and University Square in a deal valued at $45.75 million.

The Chapel Hill Town Council rescinds its vote authorizing access to the town’s health care plan for former council members who have served eight years or more.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools announce that Carrboro High School Principal Jeff Thomas is reassigned to the district’s central office. Rodney Trice, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, serves as interim principal.

Hillsborough lawyer and land surveyor Steve Yuhasz beats Leo Allison in a Democratic primary runoff for the new District 2 seat on the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

In July

Polarizing political figure and former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, who as a television commentator often editorialized against UNC students and administration, dies.

Town of Chapel Hill employees targeted by racist graffiti demand action by town officials.

Under pressure from residents, the Town of Carrboro agrees to move up the pace on a sidewalk project for James Street.

Proposed cuts in hours and staff at the Carrboro Branch Library at McDougle Middle School lead to protests and the resignation of the library’s longtime director Jake Leher. County officials later reinstate funding to roll back part of the cuts.

Provisions authorizing the creation of a joint university- and UNC Health Care-run airport authority to site and build an airport to replace Horace Williams are added to a UNC capital projects bill and passed by the General Assembly. An amendment offered by Rep. William Faison requires the airport to be built in Orange County.

School officials reinstate advanced-placement and honors courses at Carrboro High after complaints.
Weaver Street Market celebrates its 20th anniversary.

A series of heavy weekend thunderstorms downs trees and clogs stormwater systems throughout southern Orange County.

Thieves stealing catalytic converters hit local park-and-ride lots.

Towing of cars by the owners of Abbey Court leads to mass protests by residents, charges of discrimination against Latinos, appeals by town leaders and a forum at Town Hall.

Residents and town officials complain that new fence along the perimeter of Estes Park Apartments blocks a path used by pedestrians and bikers to get downtown.

Police arrest a suspect who is reported to be toting a shotgun during a series of daytime armed robberies.

In August

Partly in response to towing at Abbey Court, Carrboro passes a limit on towing fees.

John Edwards admits to an affair. His wife, Elizabeth Edwards, asks that the family’s privacy be respected.

Kelly Batten, an assistant principal at Leesville Road High School in Wake County, is named principal of Carrboro High School.

Mohammed Taheri-Azar, who drove a rented SUV into a crowd of people in the Pit on the UNC campus in March 2006, pleads guilty to nine counts of attempted first-degree murder.

District Attorney Jim Woodall announces the state will seek the death penalty against Demario James Atwater, one of two suspects in the murder of Eve Carson. An Orange County jury has not sentenced anyone to death since 1973.

Atlas Fraley, a star football player and a rising senior at Chapel Hill High School, dies in his home after playing in two scrimmages.

After she wins an award from the N.C. Council on Developmental Disabilities, Carrboro declares Aug. 7 Ellen Perry Day.

Morris Grove Elementary, named in honor of a school for black students founded by former slave Morris Hogan in the 1880s, opens.

Carrboro approves The Butler, a five story condominium complex planned for the former Butler’s Garage site near the Libba Cotton bike path and Brewer Lane.

Tropical Storm Fay brings heavy rain and causes flooding.

In September

Kevin FitzGerald, executive associate dean for finance and administration in the UNC School of Medicine, is appointed by Chancellor Holden Thorp and School of Medicine Dean Bill Roper to lay the groundwork for a 15-member airport authority that will be charged with locating, constructing and managing a new airport.

Tropical Storm Hanna dumps rain on the area, causing localized flooding in spots around the community.

A chicken pox outbreak at Carrboro Elementary prompts school officials to ask parents of unvaccinated children to keep them home from school.

Southern Village developers meet with residents about a new five-story building with a hotel proposed for a spot in the commercial center of the development.

Phoenix Academy, the alternative high school in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools system, celebrates 10 years of operation with a move to a new facility.

A large holly tree in downtown Pittsboro, more than 100 years old, is cut down.

Triangle Transit increases the number of express routes to Durham and Raleigh.

Chapel Hill officials consider ways to reduce crowd size on Halloween, which fell on a Friday this year.

The body of Joshua McCabe Bailey, a young man missing for more than a month, is found in Chatham County. Six young men are charged with first-degree kidnapping and murder. The parents of one of those arrested are also charged with helping move the body from a site in western Orange County, where it is believed Bailey was killed.

Chapel Hill Town Council member Bill Thorpe dies. Thorpe served on the council twice and helped lead the effort to change the name of Airport Road to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

In October

Stephanie Willis, health coordinator for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, is named School Nurse Administrator of the Year by the School Nurse Association of North Carolina.

Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton’s motorized scooter is stolen.

Carrboro approves the 300 East Main development, a 507,500-square-foot project that includes a 150-room hotel, a five-story parking deck, a central pedestrian plaza, three large commercial buildings and extensive changes for Cat’s Cradle and The ArtsCenter.

New UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp kicks off a weeklong statewide tour with a visit to science classrooms at Chapel Hill High School.

Missy Julian Fox is named director of the UNC Visitor’s Center.

Cy Rawls, a beloved member of the local music community, dies.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners votes unanimously to approve a special-use permit for Buckhorn Village, a 1.1-million-square-foot development at Buckhorn Road and I-85.

Barbara Clark, the Pittsboro housekeeper accused of fatally beating her former employers, pleads guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

James Taylor plays a free concert on campus in support of presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Fourth District U.S. Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat, faces off against his Republican challenger, B.J. Lawson of Cary, in a lively debate at UNC.

The Animal Protection Society of Orange County changes its name to Paws4Ever.

A community meeting in White Cross on a proposed airport draws hundreds of concerned residents.

In a year in which record-setting numbers of new voters were registered, early voting opens with heavy turnout.

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen approves a land-use ordinance amendment to allow for the development of a day-care center in Winmore.

In an indication that a slumping economy might delay downtown development, the site for the Roberson Square project, approved earlier in the year, is put on sale.

After an extensive effort intended to reduce turnout, Halloween crowds on Franklin Street are much thinner than expected.

In November

Record turnout leads to sweeping Democratic victories in North Carolina. The state’s Electoral College votes go to Barack Obama, the first African-American to be elected president of the United States.

Bev Perdue is elected the state’s first woman governor. Sen. Kay Hagan unseats Sen. Elizabeth Dole.
Voters elect Beradette Pelissier, Pam Hemminger, Valerie Foushee and Steve Yuhaz to the expanded board of county commissioners.

A Chapel Hill Transit driver is charged with a misdemeanor in the death of a pedestrian near UNC Hospitals.

James Merritt, who was raised in Chapel Hill’s Northside neighborhood, is chosen to fill out the council term of the late Bill Thorpe.

Five cases of whooping cough are reported at Estes Hill Elementary.

Mel Rashkis, a businessman and philanthropist who with his wife Zora was an outstanding supporter of local schools, dies.

Local supporters of rights for gay and lesbian individuals join a statewide rally in Raleigh to denounce California’s passage of Proposition 8.

The Chapel Hill High community mourns the loss of another student and member of the football team, when senior Rodney Torain is killed in an early-morning crash after the car he was riding in is sideswiped. The driver of the other car has not been found.

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird confirms that she and UNC law professor Daniel Pollitt are engaged.

With state revenues down, university officials prepare for another round of budget cuts.
Gregory McElveen, a corporate market researcher at IBM and father of six, is chosen to fill the seat of Pam Hemminger, who was elected to the Orange County School Board.

In December

After winning another term, Valerie Foushee is elected chair of the board of county commissioners.

Already facing state charges in the same case, Demario James Atwater pleads not guilty to federal carjacking and firearms charges in the slaying of Eve Carson.

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen votes 5-0 to support civil marriage for same-sex couples.

Commissioners vote to approve a 147-acre parcel on N.C. 54 near Orange Grove Road as the preferred site for a new waste transfer station.

Two men are arrested and charged in the May killing of Irina Yarmolenko.

Faced with an uncertain market for bonds, Chapel Hill officials put off financing plans for a library expansion.

Furniture Follies’ owner announces plans to close the store at the end of the year.

A coalition of White Cross residents plans to mount a legal challenge to a proposed waste transfer station.

Three pedestrians in a group of seven attempting to cross N.C. 54 west of the South Columbia Street Bridge are stuck by a car, killing one.

UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp offers assurances to Orange County officials and residents that the university will abide by county zoning rules should it opt to pursue a new airport.

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