Main Menu

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017


Students Graduate Sheriff’s Office Youth Leadership, G.R.E.A.T. Programs

Great Program

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office wants to congratulate each of the 206 students who successfully completed the Sheriff’s Office Youth Leadership Program and Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program during the first semester of the 2016-2017 school year.

 The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office Youth Leadership Program, inspired by Sheriff Mike Roberson, is a program based upon the core values of the Sheriff’s Office, including: Fairness, Integrity, Teamwork, Leadership, Community, and Professionalism. The program emphasizes building strong communication and decision-making skills to help prepare today’s youth for future success. The 14-week program currently targets 7th graders within the Chatham County School System before they reach the prime age range for introduction into gangs and delinquent behavior.

The Youth Leadership Program also incorporates the G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) Program, which is an effective, evidence-based gang and violence prevention program built around school-based classroom curricula. G.R.E.A.T. is intended as immunization against delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership before they become at-risk. In Chatham County, each Youth Leadership and G.R.E.A.T. class is personally instructed by a Sheriff’s Office deputy, which also helps build positive relationships between students and law enforcement personnel.

 Participating schools include Chatham Charter School, Bonlee Elementary School, Silk Hope Elementary School, J.S. Waters Elementary School, Moncure Elementary School, and Bennett Elementary School.

A New Partnership Brings Joy to Child Victims


For the last 20 years, the North Carolina Firefighters’ Burned Children Fund (NC FFBCF) has been collecting donations on behalf of the children and families served by the NC Jaycee Burn Center. The proceeds earned are used to provide non-medical assistance to child burn victims as well as develop and implement burn prevention programs.

Last month, NC FFBCF and Lee County FFBCF President David Nance reached out to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office with a unique request.

“I asked if Sheriff Roberson would like to donate stress balls for the children to use during physical therapy,” Nance explained. “He immediately arranged a meeting with us.”

“The partnership was meant to be,” said Sheriff Mike Roberson. “David Nance saw us handing out our popular Sheriff’s Office ‘Stress Stars’ at a local Christmas parade and the pieces began falling into place. We are excited to be a part of this outreach.”

Nance’s team visited the NC Jaycee Burn Center the following week to provide a meal for patients, family, and staff. They also delivered donations and sang songs to patients.

“The most rewarding part of it all is seeing the smiling faces of children and their family members who are going through such a hard time,” added Nance. “It means a lot to us that we are able to make their day special.”

Oliver Smithies, Carolina’s First Nobel Laureate, Passes Away At 91

The Nobel Prize medals of Dr. Aziz Sancar (2015, Chemistry) and Dr.Oliver Smithies (2007, Physiology or Medicine) will be on display in the Walter Royal Davis Library  April 13, 2016
Chancellor Carol Folt, Dr. Sancar, Dr. Smithies, and University Librarian Sarah Michalak celebrate the achievements of Carolinaís Nobel Laureates and to inaugurate this special one-year exhibit.
(Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dr. Oliver Smithies, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s first full-time faculty member to win a Nobel Prize and a world-renowned giant in the field of gene targeting, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 10, at UNC Hospitals after a short illness. He was 91.
Smithies, the School of Medicine’s Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2007 for his development of a technique called homologous recombination that introduced targeted genetic modifications to cells. He shared the prize with Mario Capecchi of the University of Utah’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Sir Martin Evans of the United Kingdom.

Smithies is survived by his wife, Dr. Nobuyo Maeda, Robert H. Wagner Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the School of Medicine. They joined the Carolina faculty in 1988.

“Oliver Smithies was such a loving, wonderful force for all things good in this world,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “Spending time with Oliver and Nobuyo has been one of the highlights of my tenure at Carolina. Every time I saw the two of them together, I was uplifted and inspired by their relationship, joyful attitude to life and generosity of spirit.”

Smithies’ work made possible the creation and use of “knockout mice,” which have contributed significantly to scientists’ understanding of how individual genes work. Knockout mice also have been used to study and model varieties of cancer, obesity, heart diseases and other diseases.  Smithies’ lab at UNC-Chapel Hill created the first animal model of cystic fibrosis in 1992.

Smithies was credited with many notable scientific achievements. Much earlier in his career, while working as a research scientist at the Connaught Medical Research Laboratory in Toronto, Canada, Smithies invented a process called starch gel electrophoresis, the immediate forerunner of polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, a method still in use today.

Carolina colleagues praised Smithies’ generous spirit, as well as his remarkable discoveries that have – and will continue to have – beneficial effects on many scientific and medical disciplines.

“Our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Smithies, was a giant and a wonderful human being. The UNC School of Medicine is much the better for his time with us,” said Dr. William L. Roper, dean and Bondurant Professor, School of Medicine, and chief executive officer of UNC Health Care.

“Oliver was a truly remarkable person with a joy for life and science. His brilliance was paired with infectious enthusiasm that inspired everyone around him,” said Dr. J. Charles Jennette, Kenneth M. Brinkhous Distinguished Professor and chair of the department of pathology and laboratory medicine.

In 2015, Smithies helped lead the Carolina community’s celebration of Dr. Aziz Sancar’s Nobel Prize in chemistry. “It was an honor to have Dr. Smithies as my colleague and to have collaborated with him at UNC,” said Sancar, Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics. “He was a true scholar and a gentleman, an inspiration to all of us here and to scientists around the world. I feel especially lucky to have gotten to spend so much time with him over the past year due to our connection as UNC Nobel Prize recipients. I will miss him greatly.”

Dr. Norman E. Sharpless, director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said Smithies played a critical role in the University’s evolution into a world-leading scientific juggernaut. “While many people contributed to that progress, Oliver was one of the most important, by providing the example of research excellence,” Sharpless said. “His discoveries in gel electrophoresis and gene targeting inspired a generation of biologists, including me.”

Smithies and his fraternal twin brother, Roger, were born on June 23, 1925, in Halifax, England. Smithies’ childhood was happy but uneventful, except for a bout with rheumatic fever at age 7 that left him with a heart murmur. At the time, however, the condition was regarded as serious enough that he was not permitted to play sports until he was a teenager.

Smithies filled his hours by reading, a pastime encouraged by his mother, an English teacher at the local community college, and tinkering, building telescopes and radio sets, and helping his father, an insurance salesman, maintain the family car.

In 1943, he received a scholarship to Oxford University, where he briefly studied medicine before changing the concentration of his studies to physiology. He received his bachelor’s degree in physiology in 1946, and went on to earn his master’s degree and doctorate in biochemistry from Oxford in 1951.

Smithies performed postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin before joining the Connaught Medical Research Laboratory, where he worked from 1952 until 1960. It was here that Smithies developed his starch gel electrophoresis technique. The high-resolution gels that Smithies created with his new method allowed researchers to study blood proteins much more effectively. Before this, scientists thought that blood plasma contained five different proteins. Smithies found 25 proteins in all and also determined that all people have very different mixtures of proteins in their blood.

Smithies returned to the University of Wisconsin in 1960, where he was one of the first scientists to physically separate a gene from the rest of the DNA of the human genome. In 1982, Smithies recorded in his notebook an experimental plan to modify specific genes. The method for targeted modifications in genes – gene engineering – that resulted from these experiments has become an indispensable part of the toolbox for experimental genetics, allowing researchers to understand the function of specific genes in physiology and pathology, and playing a key role in the development of new treatments for a variety of diseases.

When Smithies came to Chapel Hill, his research continued to use gene targeting to create animal models to study human diseases in order to better understand their cause and progression, and to help develop new modes of treatment. His most recent research focused on hypertension and kidney disease.

Until his passing, Smithies was still at the lab bench seven days a week, pursuing his research with the same enthusiasm that has animated his scientific career for more than 70 years. He was especially excited about a new project he planned on starting after the new year. In addition to his work, Smithies was an avid pilot and especially fond of gliding.

Last fall, the University launched the Oliver Smithies Research Archive website to make available to the world the 150-plus notebooks where Smithies meticulously recorded his notes daily. Smithies began the habit as a graduate student at Oxford, and his notebooks contain information about his research and other details of his life.

Plans to celebrate Smithies’ life are pending.

UNC-Chapel Hill Awarded $19 Million To Study Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center at Gillings School of Global Public Health’s has been awarded a five-year, $19 million contract from the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to conduct the next phase of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study.

The 30-year study, led now by Sonia Davis, professor of the practice of biostatistics, offers one of the most comprehensive looks on the causes of atherosclerosis, a growing global public health concern characterized by hardening of the arteries. In addition, the study will continue to look at cardiovascular risk factors, medical care and disease by race, gender, location and date – as well as collect new data.

“With more than three million new cases of atherosclerosis diagnosed every year in this country alone, as well as the life-changing impact of high medical costs that continue to grow, it is essential that researchers continue and expand their research studies,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “This funding will help UNC investigators extend their work that is already producing the high-quality and detailed information essential to better understanding this disease and developing new diagnosis, prevention and treatment regimens.”

In 1987, more than 15,000 participants from four communities – Forsyth County, N.C.; Jackson, Miss.; Minneapolis, Minn. and Washington County, Md. – were selected randomly and enrolled in the study. To date, the project has resulted in more than 1,800 published articles in peer-reviewed journals and continues to be a strong training ground for young investigators.

Over the next 30 years, investigators expanded research goals to characterize stages of heart failure, identify genetic and environmental factors leading to ventricular dysfunction and vascular stiffness and assessing longitudinal changes in pulmonary function, including identifying determinants of its decline.

“It’s impossible to define the center without acknowledging the atherosclerosis risk in communities study front and center,” Davis said. “It has been an honor to be the long-time data coordinating center for this highly impactful study. Now we are excited about the unprecedented opportunity the study provides us to assess prospectively mid-life risk factors of age-related conditions such as dementia.”

The sixth examination of the remaining living participants in the atherosclerosis study is currently underway and the new funding, by the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, supports a seventh examination that will begin in January 2018 and last 18 months.

The funding will allow investigators to collect data and new specimens and fund continued storage of all study specimens at three labs across the country: Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the universities of Minnesota and Texas Health Science Center at Houston. It also provides resources for a pilot study comparing the current manual surveillance process to a computerized process involving extraction of data from electronic health records.

“We’ve been part of valuable research that has continued over a long period and the study is still producing high-quality research, even after all this time,” said David Couper, clinical professor of biostatistics at the Gillings School, deputy director of the center and principal investigator of the coordinating center. “The cohort is such a valuable resource.”

Dates Revealed For Chatham County Training Academy For Residents


Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson has announced official dates for the new Sheriff’s Training Academy for Residents (S.T.A.R.) Program. The STAR Program is a 7-week, interactive program designed for citizens throughout Chatham County to learn more about the daily functions of the Sheriff’s Office. Participants will enjoy hands-on activities and relationship-building opportunities throughout the program.

 Each Tuesday from March 7 to April 18, STAR Program participants will meet in Pittsboro for classes from 6-9PM. Orientation will be held on March 7 at the Chatham County Justice Center located at 40 E Chatham Street, Pittsboro. A graduation ceremony will be held on April 18, 2017.

 “The STAR Program is a great way to meet and connect with Chatham County Sheriff’s Office command staff, unit supervisors, and fellow residents. It is also a window to learn more about the programs and services provided to citizens by the Sheriff’s Office,” says Sheriff Mike Roberson. “Participants will have the opportunity to ride along with a deputy, ask questions, explore law enforcement topics, and gain valuable experience. They will receive behind-the-scenes facility tours as well as practice crime scene processing and scenario-based training exercises in a safe, supportive environment.”

 Applicants must be at least 18 years old, consent to a criminal background check, and be in reasonably good health to take the optional walking tours. Interested individuals may pick up applications at the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office during regular business hours or email to receive an electronic version. Downloadable forms are also available online at and

 Each class will consist of no more than 25 participants, so completed applications must be submitted as soon as possible. All applications will undergo a brief screening process and any application received beyond maximum capacity will be added to a waiting list.

 “We are looking forward to working closely with residents during this training program,” adds Sheriff Roberson. “I expect everyone involved to thoroughly enjoy this informative, interactive experience.”


Suspect In Asheboro Double Homicide Found In New Jersey, One Still Missing

Murder scene

On Sunday, January 01, 2017, at approximately 2:00 AM, officers with the Asheboro Police Department responded to 1211 Shana Lane in reference to a shooting. Officers arrived and found two victims at the scene suffering from gunshot wounds. Both victims, Quanta Guan McRae and Tony Lashuan McRae, were pronounced dead. A female also suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound and was treated at Randolph Hospital and released.

Detectives with the Asheboro Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division responded and assumed the investigation. Information gathered during the investigation led detectives to obtain arrest warrants for Rodney Jontae Patterson and Curtis E. Little for the offense of 1st Degree Murder. Both subjects remain at large.

Curtis Little has been arrested by the East Orange Police in New Jersey. There is no further information regarding extradition at this time.

Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to contact Det. Lorie Johnson at 336-626-1300, extension 312. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Rodney Patterson or Curtis Little should call 911.

Chatham Charter DECA Student Receives State Recognition

Carrington Tyson

Chatham Charter junior Carrington Tyson has been selected as a North Carolina DECA Diamond Student of the Month. Chatham Charter DECA advisor Ashley Wood nominated Tyson because of her hard work and dedication to the chapter. Tyson is also a chapter officer.

DECA is an association of marketing students that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools around the globe.

“North Carolina DECA is excited to recognize these outstanding members and all that they do for the program,” commented Pamela O’Brien, North Carolina DECA Advisor.

“Carrington has stepped up to the plate by organizing our first annual holiday bazaar. She has stepped out of her comfort zone contacting vendors, attending street fairs seeking vendors, and creating various advertisements to promote the event. Carrington has also encouraged others to join DECA, which has led to an increased membership this year. She is very passionate about DECA and wants everyone around her to know the benefits of DECA,” explained Wood.

Chatham County Couple Arrested for Child Abuse, Sexual Battery


In October 2015, the Chatham County Department of Social Services contacted the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office regarding allegations that Regis Leon Lindsey, 31, of 4112 Bay Doe Street, Ramseur, had sexually assaulted two children under the age of 12. The case was originally closed as unfounded, but new information led to the reopening of the case in 2016.

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office has since charged Regis Leon Lindsey, 31, of 4112 Bay Doe Street, Ramseur, with two counts of assault on a child under 12, two counts of misdemeanor child abuse, and two counts of sexual battery. Investigators have also charged Lindsey’s girlfriend, Thomasine Meshell Taylor, 35, of 13015 NC HWY 902, Bear Creek, with two counts of misdemeanor child abuse.

\Taylor was arrested on December 9, 2016, and given a $5,000 unsecured bond. Lindsey was arrested on December 28, 2016, and given a $2,000 secured bond. They are each scheduled to appear in Chatham County District Court in Pittsboro on January 23, 2017.


Regis Leon Lindsey, 31


Thomason Meshell Taylor, 35