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


Contact: Buck Tredway
Information Specialist
(919) 245-2126
Fax: (919) 644-0246
e-mail:
btredway@co.orange.nc.us



News Release

July/August 2000

Click on subject to read news release

May/June 2000 | March/April 2000 | January/February 2000 | December 1999


Orange County Establishes Animal Response Team

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 25, 2000

Contact: John Sauls, (919) 245-2081

The citizens of Orange County have always been concerned for their animals. A procedure has been in place to care for dogs, cats and other small animals at the Orange County Animal Shelter during times of disaster, which force residents to leave their homes. However, after the ravages of Hurricane Floyd and the extent that the entire animal population was affected, the State realized that comprehensive plans to protect all animals in disasters should be put in place in every county throughout North Carolina. There was a realization that pets left behind may perish or create dangerous rescue situations for humans, and that farm animals can be better protected when disaster management plans are in place.

The state’s Emergency Management Division formed SART (State Animal Rescue Team) to help develop protocols that would provide organizational templates and training for individual counties, and a state plan to coordinate disasters on a large scale. This would assure that communications and rescue work would be efficient and effective. SART is a joint effort among the State Emergency Response Team and the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the Cooperative Extension Service, industry groups, the Farm Bureau, veterinary associations, animal control agencies and humane associations.

Dr. Rosemary Summers, Orange County Health Director, has appointed John Sauls, Animal Control Director; Pat Sanford, APS Director; Karen McAdams and Royce Hardin, Cooperative Extension Agents; to a committee called OCART (Orange County Animal Rescue Team). They are charged to research, develop, and coordinate an organized response to county disasters. This response is intended to collect, shelter, feed and give emergency and veterinary care to lost animals during disasters, to rescue and hold animals for their owners when needed during disasters, and to identify owners and animals in order to help reunite animals with their owners and to assist affected farmers who need help caring for animals that remain in place.

The OCART has looked at the animal population as a whole and has grouped the needs of animals into several categories: Livestock and Dairy; Veterinarians; Resources; Shelters/Kennels/Pets; and Horses. Volunteers and professionals will work together to help develop individual plans of action for these groups and an overall system to deal with rescue in the midst of disasters. The group plans to put together "how to" manuals. Such plans can prevent losses and reduce the risk of injury or death to people and animals. Even suggestions like marking farm animals and pets with a unique identification number before an impending disaster can make a difference of whether the animal may be recovered after the event is over.

Dr. Jim Hamilton, a large animal veterinarian from Southern Pines, recently talked to local veterinarians on the need for a disaster plan. Dr. Hamilton, known for being the force behind developing the first horse ambulance in the United States, is also active in animal disaster response on the federal level. The group also held a briefing and organizational meeting for a wide range of interested parties on August 22. These groups will be contributing to the overall plan. Another meeting, to include all interested and affected parties, will be held in September.

OCART will have organizational and training sessions for those who want to become involved in this extraordinary endeavor. If you may be interested, OCART strongly encourages your participation. For more information, call the Animal Protection Society at 967-8323; Orange County Animal Control at 245-2075; or Cooperative Extension at 245-2050.

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Orange and Durham Counties Poised to Receive Grant
to Develop Little River Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

08/15/00

Contacts: David Stancil 245-2590, Rich Shaw 245-2591

(Durham County contact – Jane Korest 560-4137, ext 263; LWCF contact: Robin Munger 919/715-2661)

Governor Hunt has informed Orange County that the State of North Carolina is recommending to the National Park Service that the County receive a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The recommended amount of the grant is $262,000 to be shared with Durham County for the proposed Little River Regional Park and Natural Area.

Orange County (in partnership with Durham County, the Triangle Land Conservancy and the Eno River Association) is working on the joint acquisition and preservation of 391 acres along the North Fork of the Little River for the new park. Most of the land is expected to be purchased this Fall. The property is owned by the Triangle Community Foundation and straddles the county line, with 136 acres in Orange County and 255 acres in Durham.

The proposed park will preserve areas along the North Fork of the Little River, and feature low-impact recreation areas. The LWCF grant is expected to provide funds for developing park facilities for public use, such as a parking area, picnic shelter, bathrooms, playground, and hiking trails. A park advisory committee will convene beginning this Fall to help decide on allowed parkland uses and the specific locations of future park amenities. The property will be managed jointly by Orange and Durham counties.

Orange County Commissioner Chair Moses Carey, Jr. said, "This grant allows us to develop a legacy of cooperation that will pay dividends for the community and this area for years to come."

Last May, Orange County and Durham County signed purchase agreements to purchase the property from the Triangle Community Foundation for $1,014,000. Two other grants from the State will be used to purchase the land— $250,000 from the NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and $377,000 from the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund. A fundraising campaign to complete this project is being conducted by the Triangle Land Conservancy and Eno River Association.

In all, the State received 46 applications for funds from LWCF with requests totaling over $5.6 million. Six local government projects have been recommended to receive grants for land acquisition or development of public outdoor recreation areas. A total of $865,426 is available to North Carolina this year from LWCF. For the first time since 1995, Congress included funding in the 1999/2000 budget for the states’ portion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Congress is now considering a bill that could to dedicate $900 million to the Fund each year from offshore oil drilling revenues. In total, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA), HR 701, could devote $3 billion a year into a variety of conservation programs. As much as $47 million of that funds could be earmarked for projects in North Carolina.

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Visitors Bureau Publishes Updated
Orange County Visitors Guide

For Immediate Release

August 18, 2000

Contact: Patty Griffin, Communications Manager, (919) 968-2060

The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau has published a new Official Visitors Guide for Orange County.

This 56-page guide is a comprehensive listing of accommodations, attractions, dining & nightlife, shopping, visual & performing arts, recreation, transportation offerings and other areas of interest to travelers and visitors coming to Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough. The four-color guide also features a pullout map and a listing of major annual events. The purpose of the publication is to assist travelers in planning their visit to Orange County.

For information about this fourth edition of the Official Visitors Guide, please visit the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau web site at http://www.chocvb.org or call (919) 968-2060.

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Commissioners to Hold Solid Waste
Public Hearing August 15

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: August 9, 2000

For more information: Orange County Solid Waste Management Department, 968-2788

The Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing August 15 to update Orange County’s solid waste management plan. The hearing is part of the regular Board of Commissioners meeting to be held at the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Commissioners will take public comment from residents and businesses in any jurisdiction in Orange County on how the County can meet its stated solid waste management goals of a 45 percent per person reduction by 2001 and a 61 percent reduction by 2006. A draft plan report is available for review in public libraries in Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough. Copies may also be reviewed at the Solid Waste Management Office at 1099 Airport Road, Chapel Hill.

The currently proposed plan update does not change the waste reduction goals adopted by all local governments in 1997 nor does it change the original approaches to meeting those goals. The approaches include a materials recovery facility for processing recyclables, expansion of commercial and residential recycling, additional education and consideration of incentives such as volume-based-fees or mandatory recycling by each of the four individual governments. Adopting the plan update as it stands would reaffirm the reduction goals and the approaches to meeting them.

The County has achieved an estimated 39 percent reduction per person in solid waste for 1999-2000. Compared to our base year of 1991-92 when 1.36 tons of waste per person were landfilled, in 1999-2000, it is close to 0.86 tons. To achieve 45 percent by next year and 61 percent by 2006, it would be necessary to adopt a more aggressive and comprehensive approach such as is laid out in the plan. Citizens who cannot attend the hearing may email their comments to bpollock@co.orange.nc.us or write to Solid Waste Management Department at P.O. Box 17177, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.

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Orange County to begin Accepting
Tax Payments by Credit Card

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: August 3, 2000

For more information: Jo Roberson, (919) 245-2725

When Orange County tax notices begin arriving in mailboxes next week, citizens will have more payment options than ever before, thanks to a partnership between Orange County and Official Payments Corporation.

For the first time, taxpayers have the option of paying their tax bills with their credit or debit cards using their telephone or Internet connection.

Orange County is one of approximately 20 counties in the state that accept credit cards for tax payments, but one of only a few counties that allow citizens to pay over the Internet.

Citizens who use the service will be charged a convenience fee ranging from $3 for tax bills up to $99.99 to $2,499 for tax bills up to $100,000. The average homeowner with a tax bill of $1,500 would pay a $49 convenience fee to use the service. This convenience fee is paid directly to Official Payments Corp. It is not a part of the tax, and Orange County does not receive the fee.

Taxpayers may log on to the County’s Internet site at http://www.co.orange.nc.us, and click on the "Pay Your Property Taxes" link to access the secure payment system. Residents wishing to use their credit or debit cards to pay by telephone should call 1-888-2-PAYTAX (1-888-272-9829). Enter the jurisdiction code 4311, and follow the instructions. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cards are accepted.

For more information, access the County’s web site, or call the Revenue Department, (919) 245-2725.

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Monthly Household Hazardous Waste
Collection is Saturday, August 5

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: July 25, 2000

For more information: Orange Community Recycling, (919) 968-2788

Orange Community Recycling will hold its monthly hazardous household waste collection on Saturday August 5, from 9am to 3pm at the Orange County Landfill, Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill.

Residents take advantage of these monthly collection days to safely dispose of paints, pesticides, household batteries, chemicals, and other hazardous materials from homes or apartments.

Free latex paint, as well as a "waste swap," where still-usable household chemicals are free for the taking, also will available at the Orange County Landfill.

Orange Community Recycling cannot accept business or commercial wastes, radioactive, explosive or infectious materials.

Residents are asked not to bring cans containing very small amounts of paint. Small amounts of usable paint should be combined with other paint of the same type in one can. Please do not mix oil based and water based paints.

Small amounts of non-usable paint should be dried out with cat litter and the can deposited in the regular trash with the lid off. Empty paint cans also may be disposed of with the lid off in household trash.

Motor oil, oil filters and auto batteries may be dropped off at any of the six solid waste convenience centers.

For further information about waste reduction and alternatives to use of hazardous wastes, call 968-2788.

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Mosquito Bite Prevention

July 19, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Ron Holdway (919) 245-2360

In light of the recently confirmed case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Dare County, the Orange County Health Department has received a number of inquiries from county residents regarding mosquito bites. There have been no cases of mosquito-borne viruses reported in Orange County in the past year; however, residents can take self-protection measures that are effective. The EEE virus is one of a group known as arboviral encephalitis viruses. These are chiefly mosquito-borne viruses and are transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito that has been infected by biting a wild animal that harbors the virus.

Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain and can be caused by viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. Different species of mosquitoes carry different viruses; for example, the EEE virus is commonly carried by a mosquito that inhabits the coastal areas of the state. North Carolina is home to 56 species of mosquitoes. North Carolina, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Division of Environmental Health, maintains a number of monitoring stations throughout the eastern part of the state that detects mosquito-borne diseases before they reach human population centers. This is done by regularly testing blood from specially maintained chicken flocks that allow for early detection before it spreads to humans.

There are several measures that state mosquito control experts recommend to cut down on the risk of disease and discomfort from mosquitoes.

Reduce or eliminate sources where mosquitoes breed:

  • Empty flower pot saucers that have standing water
  • Empty or clean gutters and downspouts around the house to eliminate standing water
  • Check any old tires or other sources that may hold reservoirs of water and empty them
  • Empty bird baths at least once a week
  • Empty kiddie pools regularly and turn over or prop so water cannot collect when not in use
  • Cover boats or make sure water drains well from bottom of boat
  • Maintain proper chlorine levels in swimming pools
  • Fill ditches or provide for proper run-off to eliminate standing water

Take appropriate personal protective measures:

  • Make sure screens in houses are free of holes and cover windows tightly
  • Avoid being outdoors during peak mosquito times (dawn, dusk, and early evening)
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors
  • Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain 35% DEET. Avoid eyes and mouth.
  • Spray the outside of clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET, as mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.
  • Follow manufacturer’s DIRECTIONS FOR USE as printed on the insect repellent product.

While these measures may not avoid all mosquito bites, they can effectively cut down on a person’s exposure.

For further information, please contact the Orange County Health Department at (919) 245-2360 or visit the state website: www.deh.enr.state.nc.us/phpm/pages/control.htm.

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Tick Season is Here

July 18, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information: John Sauls (919) 245-2081

As warm weather arrives, so does tick season. State and local public health officials want to remind you to be careful when spending time outside since ticks carry several diseases.

North Carolina usually has more cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever each summer than any other state. Two other diseases ticks cause are ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease. Orange County Health Department reported two cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and one case of Lyme disease from the period July 1, 1999 through June 30, 2000. These tick-borne diseases first cause flu-like symptoms and are easily treated with antibiotics if caught early. If left untreated, these diseases can become serious and even fatal in some cases.

To prevent tick bites, wear long pants and long sleeves when in wooded areas. Tuck pants legs into socks and shirts into pants. Wear light-colored clothes so you can see ticks more easily, and use insect repellants to keep ticks from biting. Once you are back inside, check yourself and any children for ticks immediately, paying particular attention to the scalp. It is unlikely disease will get into your blood in the first few hours after a tick bites, so it is important to remove ticks as soon as possible. Some ticks are very tiny and difficult to see (about the size of a sesame seed), so look carefully.

If you find a tick, grasp it with tweezers or a tissue close to the skin and pull straight out slowly until the tick lets go. If tick parts stay in the skin, remove them with a sterile needle. (Nail polish, petroleum jelly or hot matches will not make a tick let go of skin). Save the tick in a small jar with alcohol and label the jar with the date found and the location on the body. Take the tick with you to the doctor if you develop any symptoms of disease.

Wash your hands and the bite area with soap and water, then clean the bite with disinfectant. Watch for rashes in the area of the bite and note any flu-like symptoms for three weeks.

According to John Sauls, Orange County Animal Control Director, "During this time of the year, we want people to really place an emphasis on three things: (1) how to properly remove ticks from your body; (2) storing the tick in a jar and keeping it in case symptoms develop; and (3) paying close attention to the onset of any flu-like symptoms, which may occur within 2 – 3 weeks after a bite."

For more information, call John Sauls at (919) 245-2081.

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Rubella Concern Continues with Report
of Four Additional Cases

July 12, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information: Rosemary Summers, Health Director, (919) 245-2412

The fight to prevent further outbreaks of rubella is continuing around the state. Orange County Health Department has confirmed four additional cases, one on July 10 and three more on July 11. All four confirmed cases are contacts of a rubella case in Alamance County. The statewide total as of July 11 is 83. Local health departments, in partnership with local Hispanic and Latino groups, have mounted vaccination campaigns in all counties with confirmed rubella cases. The Orange County Health Department will be conducting special vaccination clinics in the Mebane area beginning July 13.

Most people in the United States born after 1956 have received the rubella (commonly known as German measles) vaccine. People from areas outside the United States, such as Mexico or some Central American countries, may not have had the vaccine and should receive it. Children entering day care or school and students entering college are required by law to have an MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) before attending classes. The health department is encouraging all individuals to receive the vaccine if they have not previously received it. This is an opportunity for the entire Orange County community to raise its vaccination rates.

The greatest concern is for pregnant women who have not been vaccinated. Rubella may cause serious birth defects or even fetal death if the mother is not immunized and gets the disease. Pregnant women should contact their doctor or the health department immediately if they feel that they have been exposed. Pregnant women cannot receive the vaccine.

The symptoms of rubella include: fever, rash, muscle and joint pain, headache, red and watery eyes and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Sometimes people may not experience all of the symptoms and approximately half do not have the rash. There is no treatment for rubella and usually people fully recover without complications.

The goal established by the Orange County Health Department is to achieve a 90% vaccination rate for all susceptible individuals. While the focus has been on the Hispanic and Latino populations since vaccine is not routinely available in their home countries, all individuals that have not been immunized for rubella are considered a susceptible individual.

The Orange County Health Department, Piedmont Health Services and the newly formed El Centro Latino have joined forces to bring awareness to this issue and to track progress towards immunizing Orange County residents against rubella. The latest figures indicate that an additional 1047 individuals have been immunized since March 2 as a direct result of community-wide efforts to increase rubella vaccination rates.

"Everyone has put forth remarkable efforts to achieve these numbers," says Rosemary Summers, the Orange County Health Director, "but we have a long way to go to reach our goal of 90%." That number would mean that an additional 4,000 persons from Hispanic or Latino countries without benefit of vaccine would need to be immunized in Orange County. Dr. Summers says that number is only an estimate since the count of Hispanics in the county is not certain, nor does the health department know what the actual immunization rates are among this population.

A number of efforts have already been mounted by a dedicated group of community and agency volunteers. Early in the outbreak, door-to-door information was distributed to apartment complexes, businesses, and restaurants. Vaccination clinics have been held in a variety of community sites, including churches such as St. Thomas More and La Iglesia Unida, El Mercado, Buckhorn flea market, and Don Jose Tienda. Letters and offers of on-site vaccinations for more than ten persons were distributed to major employers in the county, including construction and painting companies, as well as restaurants. Medical providers receive regular phone calls and updates from the Communicable Disease Program Nurse, Judy Butler, in an effort to track suspicious rashes and vaccination efforts by private providers.

The North Carolina Communicable Disease Program’s Immunization Branch has authorized the use of rubella vaccine for susceptible populations by the health department and community health centers through the end of December 2000. This has enabled all local health departments with either a confirmed case, or in a county next to a confirmed case, to vaccinate any person defined as susceptible. During non-outbreak situations, only women of childbearing age and children through age 18 are eligible for the state supplied vaccine. The state has assisted local efforts by providing educational materials in both Spanish and English and in coordinating the development of media messages that can be used locally.

Future plans for continuing to boost vaccination levels in Orange County include repeat sessions at Buckhorn flea market, contacting churches for additional sessions, perhaps offering vaccinations at soccer games, grocery stores and working with El Pueblo as they plan for La Fiesta in September. For more information on upcoming community vaccination sites, please call the Orange County Health Department at 245-2400.

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Two County Programs Win NACo
Achievement Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: July 11, 2000

For more information: Jerry Passmore, Department on Aging Director, (919) 245-2009; Nick Waters, EMS Director, (919) 968-2050

Two Orange County programs have received the National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award to recognize responsible, responsive and effective county government.

The Department on Aging’s Friend-to-Friend Volunteer Program won in the Volunteer category and Emergency Management’s Paramedic Initial Response Program won in the Emergency Management and Response (Police, Fire and EMS) category.

The Friend-to-Friend Volunteer Program began in August 1998. It consists of a corps of volunteers assist individuals age 60 and over with non-medical care needs. It seeks to maximize seniors’ independence, prolong the time older adults may remain living at home, decrease their sense of isolation and improve the quality of life for the County’s older adults.

The Paramedic Initial Response Program seeks to focus limited resources to provide thorough patient assessment and medical treatment while reducing unnecessary patient transportation by separating the treatment and transportation functions of EMS. EMS telecommunicators prioritized calls for service. They dispatch an EMT to every call, and if warranted, an ambulance and/or First Responders.

Orange County will receive the awards at a special reception on Saturday, July 16 at the 65th NACo Annual Conference in Charlotte.

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Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau
Receives Award for Web Site

For Immediate Release

July 6, 2000

Contact: Patty Griffin, Communications Manager, (919) 968-2060

The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau’s Web Site was honored at the North Carolina Association of Convention and Visitor Bureau’s first annual Awards Ceremony and Banquet held recently in Greensboro, NC.

The Bureau’s Web Site http://www.chocvb.org won a Destination Marketing Achievement Award and was recognized with a Gold Award for Best Web Site.

Visitors to the web site will find information on Orange County attractions, accommodations, restaurants, shopping, sports and recreation, tours, transportation, and visual and performing arts. There is also a calendar of annual events. Additionally, the site features area resources, as well as details tailored for meeting and event planners.

The NCACVB Destination Marketing Achievement Awards were created to honor and showcase the best in destination marketing efforts by convention and visitor bureaus across North Carolina.

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