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In The News, July 24, 2017

NC police chief helps addicts beat opioid addiction

He's only 24 years old, but he struggled with addiction for more than a decade. Thomas Spikes now owes his sobriety to none other than to the chief of police in this small eastern North Carolina town. "He saved my life for sure," he said. "I owe a lot to him and the program." That program, called the HOPE initiative, is a collaboration between Nashville's town manager, Hank Raper, and Chief Thomas Bashore. As deaths from opioids continue to dramatically rise across America, topping the list for unintentional deaths at a higher rate than car accidents, North Carolina saw more than a 340% increase from 2010 to 2016. "There's no clear characteristic of what a heroin or opioid addiction looks like. It's not a white problem, it's not a black problem, it's not a Hispanic problem, middle class, working class, upper class. It affects all peoples of all walks of life," Raper told CNN.

Finishing touches being put on Garner’s new town hall

With just a few finishing touches left, staff in Garner are moving into their new town hall. As of Friday morning, residents can pay bills there. On Aug. 7, they’ll have their first town council meeting. This building is something town officials believe is necessary. “We had people literally using storage closets as offices. We were completely maxed out for space, so really a new building was somewhat of a necessity to be able to provide services to support a growing community,” assistant town manager John Hodges said.

Big upgrades planned for Raleigh park

One of the most historic parks in Raleigh is getting a lot of love in the coming year. John Chavis Memorial Park right outside of downtown has been around since the 1930s. It is a very popular park for people around the area. You can find someone here almost all day long. “It’s important because a lot of kids come out here and play. This place is for the kids to come to, the men to come work out. Women, they have a lot of things going on out here in the evening for them to work out and do things,” said Calvin Rogers, who works out at Chavis Park every day. Rogers is excited to hear the city is investing in the park, and in effect the surrounding community. “Change is good, though, sometime change is for the better. You know, if this is about helping the community and building up, then I would say yes,” said Rogers.

Town manager shares revitalization progress

Since its inception in 2012, Revitalize Downtown Richlands has made major improvements to the downtown area – and their president has some ideas on what to do next. In addition to Tail Spinner, Danny’s Barber Shop, and Red Door Games improving their storefronts, Venter’s Park had the addition of the Wishing Tree, which allows people to write their wishes on biodegradable ribbons and tie them to the metal tree structure, said RDR’s president, Gregg Whitehead. A picnic shelter was also added and there are plans in the works to potentially add a restroom facility, Whitehead said. The streetlights around downtown have also been upgraded to brighter teardrop-looking lights to help with safety and aesthetics.