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Franklin Street Merchants Board Up for Student Storm

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CHAPEL HILL — The Tar Heels are just two games away from the National Championship title. And already, Chapel Hill is gearing up for a big celebration if UNC wins. That has some businesses boarding up to keep their stores from being painted Carolina Blue.

It looks more like hurricane season than basketball season on Franklin Street. Business owners are boarding up their windows to protect against the exuberant Tar Heel fans. Most merchants say they'd rather be safe than sorry.

Chaos could break out this weekend in Chapel Hill, and many merchants are preparing for the worst. It's a scene that strikes fear into the hearts of many business owners-- Tar Heel fans hanging from the trees, breaking glass and spraying Carolina blue everywhere.

Betty Maultsby is about to spend her first Final Four as a business on Franklin Street. She opened the Lucky Stars boutique last year. Maultsby has heard tales of broken windows and other damage, but she has no plans to board up. Instead, she'll be minding the store.

"After we win the game, I'll come up town and just be in the store," Maultsby says. "I don't expect any damage. I think there is a possibility of a window getting broken. Then my alarm is going to go off, and I'll have to come up town anyway."

Police are asking businesses to remove awnings and signs from their storefronts. They are also recommending businesses board up plate glass windows.

Bartenders will be selling drinks in paper cups rather than in glasses or bottles to prevent things from being broken. Stores are also removing Carolina blue paint from their shelves so fans won't be able to "paint the town."

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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