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News Releases

Orange County, North Carolina

For additional information contact David Hunt, Information Specialist, (919) 245-2126. 

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July / August 2011

Past Orange County News Releases  Solid Waste News



Release Date: August 29, 2011

Contact:  Tom Altieri, Orange County Planning, 919-245-2579 or

Tina Love, 919-245-2575


Transportation Planning Workshop

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Orange County along with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), the Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization (TARPO) and in coordination with the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC MPO) will host a public workshop to present and receive comments on the Orange County Draft Comprehensive Transportation Plan for rural Orange County.  The public workshop will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday September 14, 2011, at the John Link Government Services Center, 200 S. Cameron Street, Hillsborough.

The Draft Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) proposes transportation improvements for highways, bicycle, pedestrian access, and transit needed over the next 30 years and beyond to address identified existing and future problem areas for congestion and safety. Projects funded by federal and state transportation programs will be selected from the Comprehensive Transportation Plan recommendations.

Citizens are asked to review the four maps displaying the draft recommendations for highways, bicycle access, pedestrian access, and transit routes and submit comments.   The CTP Steering Committee will use the comments in preparing the final Comprehensive Transportation Plan for Orange County.

Additional information and maps may be found on the NCDOT webpage below.  



Emergency Services


Release Date: August 25, 2011

Contact:  Darshan Patel, Orange County Emergency Services, 919-245-6100


Pre-Planning Saves Lives, Be Prepared

ORANGE COUNTY, NC –  As hazardous weather conditions associated with Hurricane Irene approach, we need to be prepared. A key survival tool for all households is a 72-hour kit. During natural disasters, emergency responders may not be able to assist as quickly as they do under normal conditions due to hazardous travel conditions and/or increased call volume. We must be ready to take care of our families and ourselves.

“Now is the best time to make sure that you have at least a three-day supply of essential items as well as crucial information ready for immediate use or transport if needed,” said Colonel Frank Montes de Oca, Director of Orange County Emergency Services.

To be prepared, consider storing the following items in your home. Some of the same items should also be stored in your vehicle.


Prepare a minimum three-day supply of essential items for each person and any pets in your home. Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. The kit should be in containers or bags (such as backpacks) that are durable, waterproof and portable for possible evacuation or relocation to an emergency shelter if necessary.

  • Battery-operated radio
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Drinking water (1 gallon per person per day), stored in clean plastic containers with tight-fitting screw-cap lids, and other beverages
  • Canned food, manual can opener, and cooking fuel such as sterno
  • Medications and prescriptions and contact information for family physicians
  • Special food and supplies for infants, elderly people, diabetics, etc.
  • First-aid kit and first-aid manual
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Bedding supplies, sanitary supplies (toilet paper, feminine supplies)
  • Cards, books, small games, road maps
  • Clothing, rain gear, sturdy shoes, extra glasses or contacts
  • Credit cards and cash, extra set of car keys, insurance policy numbers
  • Picture ID
  • List of important family information, style and serial numbers of medical devices, such as pacemakers
  • Food, water, medications, toys and carriers for all household pets

Monitor local media outlets for critical news and advisories. Additional preparation and disaster information can be found on the Orange County Emergency Services Web site: . A recording of emergency status updates is available by calling (919) 245-6111. 

The American Red Cross, local power companies and state and federal emergency agencies also provide preparedness and survival information.  Check their websites for additional information. 


Emergency Services


Release Date: August 23, 2011

Contact:  Darshan Patel, Orange County Emergency Services, 919-245-6100


Orange County Tremor Follow-up

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – The recent tremor felt in Orange County was the result of a 5.9 earthquake with an epicenter close to Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Residents are urged not to call Orange County 9-1-1 unless there are life safety issues. 

As of 2:30 p.m. today, no damage had been reported within Orange County due to the earthquake. 


Human Relations


Release Date: August 22, 2011

Contact:  James Spivey, Orange County Housing, Human Rights and Community Development, 919-245-2488


Orange County Seeks Nominations for the 2011 Pauli Murray Human Relations Award

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – The Orange County Human Relations Commission is currently soliciting nominations for the 2011 Pauli Murray Human Relations Awards.  The Pauli Murray Award is presented annually by the Human Relations Commission to an Orange County youth, an Orange County adult and an Orange County business that have served the community with distinction in the pursuit of equality, justice and human rights for all residents.

Deadline for submitting nominations is Monday, October 31, 2011.   For applications or more information please visit the website at:  or contact the Human Relations Commission at 919 245-2489.  Nomination information is also available at Orange County public libraries; and the Town Halls of Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and Hillsborough.

The awards will be presented during the Annual Pauli Murray Awards Ceremony on Sunday, February 27, 2012.




Release Date: August 19, 2011

Contact:  Tracy Reams, Director - Orange County Board of Elections, 919-245-2350


Orange County Board of Elections to Open Four One-Stop Early Voting Sites

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Orange County residents who wish to vote early in the November 8, 2011 Municipal, Chapel-Hill Carrboro School Board and Countywide Referendum election can choose one of four sites.  At a meeting held on Tuesday, August 16, the Orange County Board of Elections approved four early voting sites: University Square on W. Franklin St. (Suite 133-G) in Chapel Hill, the Seymour Senior Center in Chapel Hill, Carrboro Town Hall, and the Board of Elections Office in Hillsborough. 


University Square and Carrboro Town Hall will be open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

              October 20 and 21, October 24 to October 28, October 31 to November 4.

Board of Elections Office will be open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

              October 20 and 21, October 24 to October 28, October 31 to November 4.

Seymour Senior Center will be open from 12 noon – 7 p.m.

              October 20 and 21, October 24 to October 28, October 31 to November 4.

All four early voting sites will be open for two Saturdays – October 29 and November 5 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Town of Chapel Hill and the Board of Elections worked together to secure the University Square site near campus when informed that the Morehead Planetarium would no longer be able to accommodate early voting.  The Town of Chapel Hill and the Board of Elections hope that having two locations within Chapel Hill and the extended voting hours at Seymour Senior Center will accommodate both students and residents of the County.

Orange County residents may choose any of the one-stop early voting sites to vote.

On Election Day, November 8, all polling sites will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

(With the countywide referendum on the ballot, all county precinct voting sites will be open on Election Day.) 

Please contact Tracy Reams, Director at (919) 245-2350 with any questions.


Economic Development


Release Date: August 9, 2011

Contact:  Dottie Schmitt, Orange County Economic Development Office, 919-245-2327


Orange County Approves Small Business Loans

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Orange County’s Small Business Loan Program recently approved loans to two area small businesses. 

Hillsborough’s Skram Furniture Company was awarded a loan to support their continued growth in the high volume hospitality client base.   Skram has been in business since 2001 creating custom-designed furniture for residential, commercial, and hospitality clients.  As provided on Skram’s website (, “… skram furniture is dedicated to redefining american craft in the context of modern design.”  These carefully crafted products reflect the company’s commitment to authentic materials, innovative design, and sustainable practices. 

A loan was also awarded to the newly opened The Depot at Hillsborough Station, a ‘vintage’ general store (and much more!) located in newly revitalized West Hillsborough.  The Depot offers a wide variety of local goods, including the “Depot Dog”, a locally raised beef hotdog and served from an onsite hot dog cart, hand-dipped MapleView ice cream as well as an extensive assortment of locally–produced craft items.  The West End Depot will utilize the loan funds to expand the store’s inventory of local goods.  The Depot also serves as an evening venue for area bands and art films – more information on upcoming events can be found at

The Loan Program is a revolving loan fund designed to foster small business development and expansion of local companies that  may have limited access to conventional financing.  This program is open to small businesses located in Orange County with gross revenues of less than $3 million annually.  The program is managed through the County’s Economic Development office and administered by a volunteer board of directors composed of local business owners, bankers and staff representing several Orange County departments.  For more information on this program contact Dottie Schmitt at Orange County Economic Development, 919-245-2327 (




Release Date: August 8, 2011

Contact:  Donna Baker, Clerk to the Board of Orange County Commissioners, 919-245-2130


Orange County Seeks Applicants for Boards and Commissions

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – One major way citizens can have a positive impact on the future of Orange County is to volunteer to serve on the various County advisory boards and commissions.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners is recruiting citizen volunteers for the following advisory boards. 

  • Adult Care Home Community Advisory Comm.        Three (3) At-Large Vacancies
  • Advisory Board on Aging                                           Two (2) At-Large Vacancies
  • Affordable Housing Advisory Board                          Four (4) At-Large Vacancies
  • Animal Services Advisory Board                                Three (3) Vacancies: One (1) Town of Hillsborough and Two (2) Animal Advocacy
  • Arts Commission                                                        Four (4) At- Large Vacancies
  • Carrboro Board of Adjustment                                  One (1)  County Appointee ETJ
  • Carrboro Northern Transition Area Adv. Comm.      Two (2) Northern Transition Area Vacancies
  • Carrboro Recreation and Parks Commission            Two (2) County Appointees
  • Commission for the Environment                              Two (2) At- Large Vacancies
  • Human Relations Commission                                   Nine (9) Vacancies:  Six (6) At- Large, One (1) Town of Chapel Hill,  and Two (2) Town of Hillsborough
  • Joint Orange Chatham Community Action Agency            One (1)  County Appointee
  • Mebane Board of Adjustment                                   One (1) Mebane (Orange County) ETA Vacancy
  • Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee      Three (3) Nursing Home Admin. Vacancies
  • Orange County Board of Adjustment                        One (1) Orange County Vacancy
  • Orange County Parks and Recreation Council          Three (3) Vacancies: One (1) Chapel Hill Township, One (1) Little River Township, and One (1) Hillsborough Township
  • Orange Unified Transportation Board                      Two vacancies:  One (1) Cheeks, and One (1) Little River township.
  • Solid Waste Advisory Board                                       One (1) Vacancy: At Large



Please visit the Orange County Web Site at to see a complete list of Advisory Boards and vacancies.  You may complete an application online or download an application. 

For additional information, contact the office of the Clerk to the Board, Jeanette Jones at (919) 245-2125, ( or Donna Baker at 245-2130, ( .

With over 30 different boards and commissions, volunteers appointed by the Board of County Commissioners have an opportunity to influence the way of life in Orange County.


Emergency Preparedness


Release Date: July 21, 2011

Contact:  Darshan Patel, Emergency Services, 919-245-6100 or

Lindsey Shewmaker, Social Services, 919-245-2817

Surviving the Heat - Guidelines from Orange County

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – In recent years, excessive heat has caused more weather related deaths than tornadoes, hurricanes or floods.  As the high temperatures predicted for this week continue, Orange County would like to provide heat survival tips and suggestions for enduring this weather challenge. 

The Orange County Department of Social Services and Department on Aging can provide assistance to help low-income elderly or medically fragile residents cope with the heat.  A limited number of fans and air conditioners are available for those who qualify. 

Additional heat related and emergency assistance information can be found on Orange County departmental websites for Emergency Services, Animal Services, Aging, Health, and the Department of Social Services.

Be Prepared

  • Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Stay indoors, slow down and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • If you must work outdoors, take frequent breaks.
  • The elderly, young or medically fragile are more likely to become victims of excessive heat.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, choose places you could go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (public buildings, libraries, theaters, malls).
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Leave pets at home. (Don’t even take animals out in a vehicle if you may have to leave them locked inside.) 
  • Ensure that your animals’ needs for water and shade are met. 
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.

Medical Care

Recognize the signs of heat related illnesses. 

Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen caused by exposure to high heat and humidity and loss of fluids and electrolytes. Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat.

  • Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. Lightly stretch the affected muscle and replenish fluids.
  • Give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes.

Heat exhaustion typically involves the loss of body fluids through heavy sweating during strenuous exercise or physical labor in high heat and humidity.

  • Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion.
  • Move the person to a cooler place. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition.
  • If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1.

Heat stroke (also known as sunstroke) is a life-threatening condition in which a person’s temperature control system stops working and the body is unable to cool itself.

  • Signs of heat stroke include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature.
  • Heat stroke is life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by giving care as you would for heat exhaustion. If needed, continue rapid cooling by applying ice or cold packs wrapped in a cloth to the wrists, ankles, groin, neck and armpits.





Release Date: July 18, 2011

Contact:  Karen Lincoln, Orange County Planning, 919-245-2575

Bicycle Roadside Signs Installed in Orange County

HILLSBOROUGH – New roadside signs are popping up across Orange County. 

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is installing signage for bicycle friendly routes across the county.  Routes were introduced last year in the new Orange County bicycle map, “Bicycling Orange County”.  The project was funded through the NCDOT Transportation Improvement Program. 

A committee made up of Orange County volunteers and staff from Orange County, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, Mebane, and NCDOT Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation developed the comprehensive system of bicycle routes.   The bicycle routes are designed to serve Orange County communities, provide connections to bicycle routes in adjacent counties, and accommodate average bicyclists’ abilities, not overly challenging for the average rider.  

The “Bicycling Orange County” map was produced in conjunction with the Orange County Planning Department.  In addition to showing bike routes, the map includes points of interest, safety tips and bicycle laws.

Maps are available at Orange County Government offices including the Link Government Services Center, West Campus Office (Planning Department), Central Parks and Recreation Center and the Southern Human Services Center.  The maps are also available at the Hillsborough Planning Department, Carrboro Town Hall, Chapel Hill Planning Department and area visitors’ centers.  Business locations including Maple View Farms Ice Cream, the Clean Machine Bicycle Shop in Carrboro and Performance Cycle in Chapel Hill also carry the map. 

Organizations or businesses interested in obtaining maps may contact the Orange County Planning Department, telephone 919 245-2575.