Board of County Commissioners
200 South Cameron St.
P.O. Box 8181
North Carolina 27278
(919) 245-2130
Fax: (919) 644-0246

Contact: David Hunt
Information Specialist
(919) 245-2126
Fax: (919) 644-0246

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News Releases

January/February 2006

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Past News Releases




February 20, 2006

Contact: John Link, Orange County Manager, (919) 245-2300  

Director of Elections Announces Retirement

HILLSBOROUGH – Carolyn L. Cates, Director of the Orange County Board of Elections will retire after 35 years of service.

Cates will retire on May 31, 2006 at the completion of the May 2, 2006 primary election. 

During her eight years as Director, Cates has improved the voting process in Orange County with several new and creative initiatives.  One-stop voting has been implemented for citizens to cast a ballot prior to Election Day.  Election results are available to the public on election night in real time on the Internet.  And, while some may glide through their last few months before retirement, Cates will be scrambling to implement new voting equipment in each precinct. 

“Carolyn has been a major asset to the County management team,” said John Link, Orange County Manager.  “She not only knows the election laws, but also the process, down to the smallest detail, of making an election day a gratifying experience for the voting citizen,” Link added. 

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February 17, 2006

Contact: Brent Bogue or Gail Hughes, Orange Soil and Water, (919) 245-2750  

Stillhouse Creek Restoration Project

HILLSBOROUGH – Stillhouse Creek, behind the County Government offices on South Cameron Street, is evolving back to a natural state with a little help from lots of friends. 

Orange County along with The Orange Soil and Water Conservation District, The Natural Resources Conservation Service, The N.C. Division of Soil and Water Conservation and The Environment and Resource Conservation Department are joining forces with North Carolina’s Ecosystem Enhancement Program to restore a 1,200 foot section of Stillhouse Creek.  From Margaret Lane, next to the Sheriff’s Office, to The Eno River, this degraded stretch of stream suffers from extreme bank erosion and poor water quality. Restoration will employ natural channel design techniques to stabilize the banks, reduce erosion, and improve conditions for aquatic life and other wildlife. Downstream waterways will also benefit from the improved water quality. Stillhouse Creek is part of the Neuse River Basin that is threatened by nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous which may be transported by eroded sediments.

Native trees and shrubs will be planted along the restored stream as part of the project. This vegetated buffer will help stabilize the stream banks and will also filter out pollutants from stormwater runoff and shallow groundwater before they reach the creek. In addition, small vernal pools will be created along the stream to enhance aquatic habitat. 

The restored stream will be protected in perpetuity through a conservation easement (50 feet each side of the stream) held by the State of North Carolina. The Ecosystem Enhancement Program, part of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, is providing 100% of the funding for this project. The design, construction, and implementation is being done by staff from the Orange Soil and Water Conservation District, The N.C. Division of Soil and Water Conservation and The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Project management for the first five years will be carried out by The Ecosystem Enhancement Program, after which Orange County will assume maintenance responsibility. The construction phase of the project is expected to take approximately three months to complete.

For additional information, contact Brent Bogue or Gail Hughes with Orange Soil and Water at (919) 245- 2750.

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February 15, 2006

Contact: Donna Baker, Clerk to the Board of Commissioners  (919) 245-2130  

Meeting Updates for the Orange County Board of Commissioners

Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 153A-40, the Board of County Commissioners provides notice of the following changes in the 2006 meeting schedule.   

A Closed Session has been added for Thursday, February 23, 2006 at 6:00 p.m. at the Government Services Center, 200 South Cameron Street in Hillsborough. The closed session is prior to the scheduled 7:30 p.m. joint meeting with the Town of Hillsborough at the Government Services Center.

The Board also changed the April 20, 2006 Closed Session for the County Attorney’s Annual Evaluation to Monday, May 22, 2006 at 5:30 p.m. at the Government Services Center, 200 South Cameron Street in Hillsborough.  This session is prior to the 7:30 p.m. Quarterly Public Hearing at F. Gordon Battle Courtroom in Hillsborough. 

The Board scheduled a joint dinner meeting with the Affordable Housing Advisory Board on Thursday, April 20, 2006 at 5:30 p.m. at the Government Services Center, 200 South Cameron Street in Hillsborough.  This meeting is prior to the 7:30 p.m. Work Session at the same location. 

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February 13, 2006

Contact: Dr. Fletcher Barber, (919) 245-2050  
               Barry Jacobs, (919)

Orange County 8th Annual Agricultural Summit

With spring around the corner, Orange County farmers and consumers are thinking green. From North Carolina grown & processed biodiesel to emerging local markets for Asian and Latino communities, speakers at the 8th Annual Orange County Agricultural Summit will likely have an interested audience when they speak on Tuesday, February 14th at the Schley Grange Hall at the intersection of Schley Road and N.C. 57 in northern Orange County.

The Summit will begin with registration and refreshments at 8:30 a.m., and attendees will be able to feast on a catered lunch, featuring locally produced foods at 12:30 p.m.  

The 2006 Agricultural Summit will also feature Smithson Mills from the Center for Assessment and Research Alliances at Mars Hill College.  Mills will be speaking on the many value-added, shared-use centers that seek to support and encourage agricultural entrepreneurial activity in rural farming areas.

Sam Brake of Grain Growers Cooperative will be sharing his perspective on biodiesel production and use, along with Eric Henry, of T.S. Designs and Tobin Freid of Triangle Clean Cities.

Later in the morning, the Ag Center Work Group will hold an outreach session to present their progress on evaluating the need for and possible uses of a new agricultural center in Orange County. County staff will present updates on the Lands Legacy Program, with a brief presentation by Andrew Brannan of the North Carolina Farm Transition Network.

Finally, farmers can get informed about the local poultry processing cooperative, Grower’s Choice, and the possibility of certified organic dairy farms in Orange County. A new grocer in Chapel Hill, EarthFare, will be on hand to share its support of local farmers and will be prepared to sign farmers up as registered venders.

The Orange County Agricultural Summit was first started in February 1998, and has been held each February since. Previous years have seen speakers on a variety of topics and points of view, from community-supported agriculture to value-added products produced on individual farms to conservation easements.

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February 13, 2006

Contact: Noah Ranells  
Agricultural Economic Development Coordinator

Orange County Seeks Input on Future Agricultural Center

Almost a year ago, the Board of County Commissioners appointed a dedicated group of citizens to the Agricultural Center Work Group. Since then, this group of farmers, consumers, and other folks interested in agriculture in the county has met on eight occasions and taken two field trips to assess the needs of an ag center for Orange County. One field trip focused on the ag centers in Wake and Johnston counties and the second trip explored a shared-use processing center near Asheville.

During the discussions of the work group, it became apparent that there is a solid consensus that agriculture in Orange County is at the doorstep of major changes. With the recent tobacco buyout, development pressures for new homes in rural parts of the county, and changes in the next Federal Farm Bill, Orange County agriculture is noticing the writing on the wall. It is time for change!

New opportunities such as certified organic production of milk, grains, and vegetables, direct marketing at farmers markets, community supported agriculture, and on-farm stands are becoming viable enterprise options for some farmers in Orange County.  Other farmers may soon discover their own entrepreneurial spirit and identify other niche markets that will ensure the long-term economic viability of the local farm community.

The Ag Center Work Group still has more work to do and asks for your help! In an effort to encourage as much citizen input as possible, the Ag Center Work Group is holding an outreach event on 15 February 2006 from 7 to 9 pm at the Southern Human Services Center. A brief presentation will be made by members of the Ag Center Work Group followed by an open discussion on this important topic.

For more information please contact Noah Ranells, Ag Economic Development Coordinator, Orange County Economic Development Commission, 245-2330 or

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Human Resources


February 8, 2006

Contact: John Link  
County Manager, Orange County

Dr. Tyrone Jackson Appointed Orange County Human Resources Director

John Link, Orange County Manager, announced today that Dr. Tyrone Jackson has been appointed as Human Resources Director.  Dr. Jackson will begin work Monday, February 27, 2006.

As Human Resources Director, Dr. Jackson will direct the County’s human resources management program, covering about 830 permanent employees.  His responsibilities will include policy development and administration, employment, position classification, pay plan, benefits, performance management, employee relations, training and employee communications.   He also will serve as a member of the County management team.

Dr. Jackson has a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Maryland, a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from National-Louis University, and a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.  He also has received certification from the Society for Human Resource Management as a Professional in Human Resources.

Dr. Jackson has over 20 years of human resources experience.  Presently he serves as Human Resources Director for the State of Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice.  Prior to that he served as Director of Human Resources, Training and Workforce Development for the Southside Virginia Training Center and Director of Human Resources for the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute, among others. 

Dr. Jackson began his career in the US Army as a personnel specialist and progressed to increasingly responsible personnel management positions in the Army, including serving as Personnel Manager for the US Army Element at the National Reconnaissance Office.   He retired from the military after 20 years of honorable service to his country. 

County Manager John Link named an Assessment Panel to assist in the selection process.  The Panel was made up of Orange County Commissioner Moses Carey, Assistant County Managers Rod Visser and Gwen Harvey and Orange County Social Services Director Nancy Coston.  The search process included national recruitment.  It yielded over 100 candidates.

Link said:  “Tyrone’s depth of experience and energetic, “can do” approach was most impressive to the entire assessment panel.  We are very excited to welcome Tyrone to the Orange County Management Team.”  

Carey said:  “I think Tyrone will be an asset to Orange County for many years in the future.  He impressed everyone on the review team with his responses to the questions and demonstrated experience in the field of human resources.  We look forward to his leadership in Orange County.”

Jackson said:  I am grateful for the confidence the panel has shown in me by this appointment. I am mindful of the words of Sir William Osler who wrote, “The best preparation for tomorrow is to do today’s work superbly well.” It is my sincere desire to do my work well each day so that the County’s most valuable asset, its employees, will be prepared for the challenges and opportunities that tomorrow will bring.”

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February 6, 2006

Contact: Barry Jacobs  
Chair, Orange County Board of Commissions

Environmental Responsibility and Conservation

Orange County drives forward to improve environmental responsibility and conserve natural resources. 

“Orange County must meet the challenges of rising fuel and energy costs and threats to the environment by continuing to refine and expand any and all opportunities to save and protect,” said Commissioner Steve Halkiotis. 

Early in December the Orange County Board of Commissioners approved an “Environmental Responsibility Goal”.  The opening statement of the document introduces the goal, “Perform all County governmental functions, both internal and external, with a sensitivity and ethic that promotes environmental responsibility and leadership, and an understanding of the actions of government activities as they effect the natural and cultural resources of the County, region, state, nation, and world.” 

As one of the leading counties in North Carolina in waste reduction, plans will continue to aggressively pursue waste reduction through recycling efforts, including the reduction of paper within county agencies and departments.  Orange County has already established an award winning deconstruction program that reduces structural materials destined for the landfill. 

Environmental goals continue to expand as the County strives to formally adopt green building standards.  The Board also wants to implement programs to improve air quality by promoting public transportation and decrease dependence on personal vehicles.  With the rising cost of fuel, the County has already approved policies on Energy Conservation and Vehicle Fuel Conservation. 

Orange County has been recognized for its Lands Legacy Program.  Research continues into innovative technologies for protecting ground water and advancing sustainable and eco-sensitive forestry practices which are key elements in the environmental goals. 

The Board also approved a Water Conservation Policy to reduce the County’s water consumption and to improve the efficiency of use in government facilities. 

“The Energy Conservation Policy is a multi-faceted initiative to add structure and depth to the County’s approach to reducing energy consumption,” said John Link, County Manager. 

The County has selected a team of three employees to focus and guide the conservation progress.  The Energy Conservation Team will coordinate development and implementation of the County’s energy conservation action plan. 

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February 1, 2006

Contact: Jack Ball  
Director, Orange County Emergency Management

Emergency Professionals Recognized

Six Telecommunicators with Orange County Emergency Management were recently recognized for their advanced level of professionalism.   

Lt. Teresa Howie, Lt. Marie Hopkins, Lt. Bobby Patton, Sgt. Trudy Lucas, Susan Gerringer, and Beth Sykes work as telecommunicators at the Orange County 9-1-1 Call Center.  Recently the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission awarded each of these emergency professionals the Advanced Telecommunicator Certificate.  Certification represents years of training and service by each candidate.  Requirements for Advanced Telecommunicator Certification take into consideration formal education, specialized telecommunicator training, and actual experience. 

While qualifications vary with each applicant, as an example, Lt. Bobby Patton completed over 520 hours of Commission approved training and has served with Orange County Emergency Management for over 20 years.

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January 30, 2006

Contact: Donna Baker  
Clerk to the Board of the Orange County Commissioners

Orange County Board of Commissioners' Meeting Change

The Orange County Board of Commissioners’ Work Session scheduled for Thursday, February 16, 2006 at 5:30 p.m. will now start at 4:00 p.m. and last until 6:30 p.m.  The Board will then have a dinner break before the 7:30 p.m. scheduled Work Session.  Both Work Sessions will be held at the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill. 

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Human Relations


January 25, 2006

Contact: James Spivey  
Orange County Civil Rights Specialist

Orange County Celebrates Human Relations Month

February is Human Relations Month.  The Orange County Human Relations Commission, the Orange County Department of Human Rights & Relations, and the Orange County Board of Commissioners will host a kick-off ceremony to acknowledge Human Relations Month in Orange County.  The Human Relations Month Kick-Off will take place at the Carrboro Century Center on February 05, 2006 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. 

As Orange County accepts its cultural and ethnic diversity, the ideology that all human beings should have the right and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded them by society and the environment – social justice - is celebrated.  The promotion of social justice in Orange County is the focus of this year’s Human Relations Month Kick-Off Event. 

The Kick-Off will include musical entertainment by the band, Big Much.  There will be an interpreted and translated Native American song/prayer/dance; a shortened version of the Hidden Voices show, “La Vida Local,” where a group of young Hispanic/Latino adults voice their perspectives when they find themselves straddling two cultures, two languages, and one unexpected life in the United States; and a panel discussion, “Shades of Brown and Social Justice:  Community Organizing.”  It is hoped that the performances and the panel discussion will assist in the development of transparent communication between and among the diverse cultures in Orange County.

Come and help us celebrate Orange County diverse cultures.  Local restaurants and grocery stores will donate food.  This event is free and open to the diverse public.

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January 5, 2006

Contact: Muriel Williman  
Orange County Solid Waste Management

Solid Waste Convenience Centers Closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Orange County Solid Waste Convenience Centers will be CLOSED on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 16, 2006 and will resume normal hours of operation on Tuesday January 17, 2006.

Curbside recycling will be collected according to the regular schedule.  If your recycling day falls on Monday, January 16, 2006 be sure to have your bin out to the curb by 7:00 am or bring it out the evening before to ensure prompt collection. 

The Orange County Landfill on Eubanks Road, and all associated services such as electronics recycling collection and mulch sales will maintain normal business hours, 7:00 am-4:00 pm on Monday, January 16.

Recycling is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week at Recycling Drop-off sites.  Locations are:

- Animal Shelter (on Municipal Drive)

- Carrboro Plaza (behind ABC Store)

- Cedar Falls Park (on Weaver Dairy Road)

- Meadowmont (behind Harris Teeter)

- University Mall (across from Southern Season)


Questions? Call Orange County Solid Waste Management at 968-2788 or email

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