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

March/April 2000

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January/February 2000 Press Releases | December 1999 Press Releases

The Place to be on Election Night is
www.co.orange.nc.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 26, 2000

For more information: Dick Taylor, Information Systems Director, (919) 245-2276; Carolyn Thomas, Elections Director, (919) 245-2351

Orange County will again post up-to-the-minute results of the May 2 primary elections at it’s website, http://www.co.orange.nc.us.

Elections officials will post balloting results directly to the web site as they are totaled. The vote tallies will be available to anyone with Internet access on election night simply by clicking a link on the County’s "Hot Topics" page, or directly at:
http://www.co.orange.nc.us/elect/primary2000.htm.

Election returns will be updated every five minutes as ballots from individual precincts are counted and the results entered into the computer system.

For those without Internet access on election night, the Board of Elections will provide two computer terminals and paper printouts of the election returns at its offices in the Court Street Annex, 110 E. King St.

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Orange County Census Response Rate
Exceeds National Average

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: April 26, 2000

For more information, contact: Daniel Newman, Orange County Complete Count Committee, Orange County Board of County Commissioners, (919) 245-2132.

For the past two months, citizens across the country have mailed back their census forms. Orange County residents have performed this task at a rate surpassing the national average and at one of the highest rates in the state. As of April 25, 66% of Orange County residents have returned their form, the 7th best response rate among the 100 North Carolina counties. Camden County was the state’s leader with a 70% response. The 66% response rate for Orange County is the same rate that the county’s citizens returned their forms in the 1990 Census.

All three municipalities within the county returned their forms at rates surpassing 60%. Hillsborough was one of the 17% of jurisdictions across the country that exceeded their target rate (Hillsborough’s target rate was 56%, 5% greater than their 1990 response). Chapel Hill’s rate of 67% was one of the highest in the state. Carrboro’s initial response was 64%.

Beginning in the middle of May, enumerators will begin visiting those households that did not return their census form. Cooperation with these individuals is just as important as mailing the form back.

With the efforts of the county’s citizens, Orange County is well on its way in receiving an accurate count in the 2000 Census, ensuring that the county will receive the resources it is deserving.

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World Asthma Day is May 3rd

April 25, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ron Holdway (919) 245-2360

Wednesday, May 3rd is World Asthma Day. The major purpose of World Asthma Day is to increase awareness of asthma so that all patients can have access to diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and education to help them control their condition. The theme for World Asthma Day is ‘Let Every Person Breathe’.

World Asthma Day is being coordinated by the Global Initiative for Asthma (a collaborative effort of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Over 150 million people in the world are diagnosed with asthma, including almost 15 million people in the United States. The prevalence of asthma has increased by more than 100% over the past 20 years. Nearly 5 million children in the United States have asthma and the fastest growing group is preschool children.

Children with asthma miss more than 10 million days of school each year and their symptoms may limit their ability to participate in sports and play activities. Children with asthma have over 500,000 hospitalizations and 3 million physician office visits each year. Because of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and days missed from school and work, poorly controlled asthma is costly!

Also, many children with asthma are not correctly diagnosed. Asthma should be considered when there is a history of recurrent coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest tightness. Young children with frequent viral respiratory infections may have asthma; however, only a physician should diagnose asthma.

The good news for patients with asthma is that:

  • Asthma can be controlled
  • Symptoms can be controlled
  • Activity limitations are usually not necessary.

The goal of World Asthma Day is to highlight the need for every person with asthma to:

  • Have a timely diagnosis
  • Receive appropriate treatment
  • Learn to manage their asthma in partnership with a health professional
  • Reduce exposure to environmental factors that make their asthma worse

Many organizations in North Carolina are working to improve asthma care and control including:

  • Orange County Asthma Coalition
  • UNC Health Care
  • UNC School of Public Health (ISAAC Study)
  • North Carolina Chapter of the American Lung Association

These organizations can be contacted for further information.

In Orange County, the Coalition is made up of representatives from the Health Department, Chapel Hill/Carrboro and Orange County School systems, UNC Hospital, community groups, health care providers, parents, businesses and others. The coalition is open to all interested county residents. For more information contact Ron Holdway at the Health Department 919-245-2360.

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UNC Women’s Soccer Coach to Speak at
Soccer Symposium
April 26

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: April 18, 2000

For more information: Bob Jones, Recreation and Parks Director, (919) 245-2661

Anson Dorrance, head coach of the North Carolina’s 14-time, NCAA Division I national champion women’s soccer team, will headline Orange County’s Soccer Symposium Wednesday, April 26. The symposium will be held at the A.L. Stanback Middle School, 3700 N.C. 86 S. in Hillsborough, beginning at 7 p.m.

Last Fall, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners appointed a task force to organize and host a soccer symposium designed to assess public interest in soccer and soccer facilities. The task force includes representatives from the various soccer leagues, town and county recreation boards, the Orange County Economic Development Commission, the Orange County School Board, the Chapel Hill/Carrboro School Board, several elected officials, and citizens-at-large.

Among the issues to be explored are what facilities are currently available, what is needed, what are the possibilities of diverse soccer leagues working together, what sorts of arrangements are required to share usage of fields, and what private and public funding sources are available.

Other speakers will include County Commissioner Barry Jacobs, Carrboro Alderman Diana McDuffee, Chapel Hill Town Councilman Jim Ward, and Hillsborough Town Commissioner Mark Sheridan.

In addition, representatives of the various soccer leagues operating in the county – Rainbow Soccer, the Strikers, Carolina United – and a representative of informal Hispanic soccer teams will participate in a panel discussion of the demand for soccer programs, barriers faced in meeting that demand, and resources and facilities available in the county. Audience members will be encouraged to participate via an open-mike segment of the program.

Members of the task force are charged to summarize the presentations and discussions at the Soccer Symposium, and make a report to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners. For more information, contact Bob Jones, Orange County Recreation and Parks Director, (919) 245-2661.

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Public Hearing for Capital Investment Plan
is Monday, April 17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: April 14, 2000

For more information: John Link, 245-2300

Orange County Manager John Link, Jr. will unveils his 10-year, $224.8 million capital investment plan at a public hearing Monday night.

The public hearing will take place during the regular Board of County Commissioners meeting on April 17. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Rd., Chapel Hill.

The public is encouraged to attend the meeting and comment on the 2000-2010 Capital Investment Program.

Citizens may preview the plan at the county’s web site: http://www.co.orange.nc.us/budget/cip.htm.

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission Study Confirms
Commissioners’ Concerns

Study Suggests Environmental Impact Statement Needed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: April 10, 2000

For more information: Paul Thames, County Engineer, (919) 245-2300

A recent Nuclear Regulatory Commission study confirms that a severe accident in the spent fuel storage pools at the Shearon Harris nuclear facility could have catastrophic effects over a huge geographic area – and that such an accident could be completely avoided by the use of dry casks for spent fuel storage, according to Diane Curran, Orange County’s legal consultant in its intervention into the Carolina Power and Light Company permit modification process.

In a written presentation filed last week with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, Curran commented on a recent NRC technical study regarding the risks of severe accidents posed by spent fuel pool storage of reactor fuel during the decommissioning of nuclear power plants.

The study adds weight to Orange County’s request for a hearing on the environmental impacts of CP&L’s proposal to activate two dormant spent fuel pools for the purpose of storing an additional 4,715 spent fuel assemblies at Shearon Harris.

If the CP&L proposal is approved, Harris would become the largest spent nuclear power plant fuel storage facility east of the Mississippi River.

The NRC study, entitled "NRC Staff’s Draft Final Technical Study of Spent Fuel Accident Risk at Decommissioning Plants," was issued in February, 2000, shortly after Orange County submitted its hearing request.

Despite some significant limitations and shortcomings, the study serves to confirm the County’s view that CP&L should not be allowed to proceed with the proposed expansion of high-density spent fuel pool storage at Harris until the NRC has prepared a complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that closely examines the accident risks of expanded spent fuel pool storage and weighs the costs and benefits of alternative technologies such as dry cask storage.

County Commission Chair Moses Carey also noted that the County is deeply troubled by the study’s admission that numerous aspects of spent fuel pool accident behavior have yet to be properly investigated.

"The NRC has refused to prepare an EIS for the Harris spent fuel pool expansion on the grounds that the risk of a severe spent fuel pool accident is very small. How can the NRC be so confident about the safety of the Harris proposal when its own study admits that so much remains unknown about the risk of a very severe accident in spent fuel pools?" asked Carey.

Most important, Carey noted, is the study’s finding that the risks of a severe spent fuel pool accident could be completely avoided by storing the spent fuel in dry casks.

"We have yet to hear an explanation as to why the dry cask storage technology has been rejected out of hand," Carey said. "We are asking for an EIS to get this issue out on the table and have a fair public debate about how CP&L can meet its goals without subjecting the public to unnecessary risks. We cannot afford to allow CP&L to take chances with the future of our citizens and our environment."

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Triangle Area's Second Annual
Regional Fair Housing Conference is April 20

For Immediate Release

April 4, 2000

For more information, contact: Pamela C. Pagan, Civil Rights Specialist, Department of Human Rights & Relations, (919) 245-2250

In recognition of Fair Housing Month, the Orange County Department of Human Rights and Relations, the Durham Human Rights and Relations Department, and the Raleigh Community Relations Department are sponsoring the Triangle Area’s 2nd Annual Regional Fair Housing Conference. The conference will take place at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Research Triangle Park on April 20, 2000 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In commemoration of the 32nd Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, and Fair Housing Month, the conference will offer workshops on a variety of housing issues including: Hispanic/Latino Fair Housing Issues; Predatory Lending; Accessibility/Mental Disability Housing Issues; Section 8 Fair Housing Issues; Fair Housing Seminar for Realtors "A House is not a Home"; and Landlord/Tenant Rights and Responsibilities.

The keynote speaker is Bob Kucab, Executive Director of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA). NCHFA is a self-supporting agency that has provided more than $5 billion to finance homes and apartments to help over 100,000 low and moderate-income families.

The registration fee is $15.00, which includes lunch, and the last date to register is April 14, 2000. For more information or a registration form, contact the Orange County Department of Human Rights and Relations at (919) 245-2250 or the Durham Human Rights and Relations Department at (919) 560-4107.

Orange County Achieves “AAA” Bond Rating

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 29, 2000

For more information: Ken Chavious, Finance Director, (919) 245-2453

When Orange County markets more than $40 million in general obligation bonds early next month, the county should receive the lowest interest rates available thanks to a “AAA” bond rating by Fitch International Bank Credit Analysis (IBCA).

In its first rating by the international bond rating agency, Orange County’s bonds achieved the highest credit-worthiness rating a local government can receive. The County also has received a “AAA” rating on its $52.7 million in outstanding general obligation bonds.

According to Fitch, the exemplary rating is based on the county’s very strong, stable economy, strong financial position and moderate debt levels. Orange County has strong debt, capital and financial policies. The county’s annual 10-year capital investment plan, identification of projects and funding sources, also figured prominently in the strong bond rating.

Orange County’s unemployment rate, which ranks among the lowest in the nation, was also a consideration. Last year, the county unemployment rate was 1.0 percent. Income levels are well above state levels and above the national average, according to Fitch.

“We are gratified and delighted with the AAA designation that Fitch has awarded to Orange County’s Series 2000 bonds”, said County Manager John Link. “A combination of our robust local economy, the prudent fiscal policies established by the Orange County Board of Commissioners, and the exceptional financial management practices of County staff have enabled the county to achieve a milestone of creditworthiness that few other local governments across North Carolina and the nation can match.”

Orange County’s financial management is strong and its reserves are sizable, according to the rating agency. The county uses the state’s recommended undesignated fund balance as a guide, but has well exceeded it in the last several years.

Also contributing to the excellent bond rating is the county’s use of a portion of its tax revenue, sales tax proceeds and impact fees for debt service and pay-as-you-go capital spending.

County Finance Director, Ken Chavious noted that “The AAA rating assures Orange County taxpayers that the cost of borrowing money in April for essential functions like building schools will be as low as it can possibly be.”

Orange County’s series 2000A and 2000B general obligation bonds for public improvements are scheduled to be marketed competitively beginning April 4.

For more information, please contact Ken Chavious at (919) 245-2453 or Fitch representatives: Amy Laskey (212-908-0568) or Brian Ruddy (212-908-0514).

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Rubella Update for Orange County

For Immediate Release: March 14, 2000

Contact: Rosemary Summers, MPH, DrPH, Health Director (919) 245-2411

As of today, March 14, 2000, there are four confirmed cases of rubella in Orange County. Children entering day care or school and students entering college are required by law to have an MMR before attending classes. Most people in the United States have received the vaccine if born after 1956. If born before 1956 most people have developed immunity. People from areas outside the United States, such as Mexico or Guatemala, may not have had the vaccine and should receive it. The health department is encouraging all Hispanic and Latino 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. 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 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.

Vaccinations will be available at the following locations this week:

Carrboro Community Health Center
MALES ONLY
  Wednesday March 15, 2000
6:00pm – 9:00pm
Orange County Health Department Special Clinics:    
1. OWASA Community Room, Jones Ferry Road, Carrboro   Thursday March 16 and Friday March 17
6:00pm – 9:00pm
2. Iglesia Unida UCC Church, 211 Cameron Avenue Chapel Hill   Sunday, March 19, 2000
7:30pm -9:00pm

For more information contact Judy Butler, RN, Communicable Disease Nurse at the Orange County Health Department at 245-2400 and tell them you are calling regarding rubella.

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Affordable Housing Summit Scheduled

March 9, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Orange County Board of Commissioners with the support of the Towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough is sponsoring an "Affordable Housing Summit" on Monday, March 13, 2000 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Southern Human Services Center located at 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.

The purpose of the summit is to promote active community discussion regarding the following topics:

  1. The need for affordable housing in Orange County;
  2. Barriers to fulfilling those needs; and
  3. Strategies to overcome the identified barriers.

This information will be used in the development of a countywide, long-range (10-year) -strategic affordable housing plan.

In addition to the general Orange County population, other invited participants include local government elected officials and staff; interested county advisory boards and residents of assisted affordable housing; staff and board members of local non-profit organizations, university representatives, private developers, public school representatives, federal and state legislators, local Chambers of Commerce; the Board of Realtors; and the Homebuilders Association. This diverse group is invited to participate in order to ensure a broad view of affordable housing issues in the County.

County Commissioner Barry Jacobs states that "Growth presents as many problems as opportunities, including increased pressure on the housing stock available to those of modest means and even to those like teachers, university housekeepers and police officers. We see the housing summit as an opportunity to bring together those concerned about this situation, with the idea we can better coordinate our efforts, hone our vision and marshal and direct our resources."

Summit participants are invited to bring any written material regarding relevant projects and initiatives to share with others. Written comments are also accepted at the Orange County Housing and Community Development Department, P.O. Box 8181, Hillsborough, NC 27278 until Friday, March 17, 2000.

Additional information is available by contacting: Commissioner Barry Jacobs, (919) 732-4941 or Tara L. Fikes, Director, Orange County Housing and Community Development, (919)-245-2490.

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Rubella Confirmed in Orange County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 9, 2000

CONTACT: Rosemary Summers, MPH, DrPh, Health Director, (919) 245-2400

The Orange County Health Department has had a case of rubella confirmed in an Orange County resident. Four other suspected cases are being followed at this time.

Rubella is usually a mild disease caused by a virus. Symptoms may include a fever, rash, muscle and joint pain, headache, red watery eyes and swollen lymph nodes in the neck area. Sometimes persons do not have all of the symptoms and up to half of the infections occurs without the rash. There is no treatment for rubella and people usually fully recover without complications. Once a person has the illness, it has to run its course.

Most people born after 1956 in the United States have been vaccinated and are immune to rubella. People born before 1956 have usually had the infection as a child and are probably protected. Rubella vaccine is required for children in day care, school and for college attendance.

RUBELLA IS A PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERN BECAUSE OF THE IMPACT IT CAN HAVE IF A PREGNANT WOMAN BECOMES INFECTED.

Rubella can cause birth defects and fetal death if women are infected early in their pregnancy.

Because of the serious effects rubella can have on unborn babies, people who are not immune should be aware of the symptoms and call their medical provider immediately if symptoms develop. Those at greatest risk of getting rubella disease are persons born outside the United States, such as in Mexico and El Salvador, where rubella vaccine has not been readily available.

People usually receive rubella vaccine at the same time they get measles and mumps vaccine. This shot (immunization) is commonly called "MMR". If you do not think you have had an MMR shot, you should call your doctor’s office or the Health Department about getting one. Women cannot receive the vaccine if they are already pregnant.

The Orange County Health Department will give immunizations through March 24, 2000 in the Homestead Road location in Chapel Hill on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings 8:00-11:00 and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons 1:00-4:00. The phone number is 919-968-2022.

In Hillsborough, the Orange County Health Department on Tryon Street gives immunizations on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, 8:00-11:00 and Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from 1:00-4:00. The phone number is 919-245-2400.

MMR is also available at the Carrboro Community Health Center. Call (919)-942-8741 for information.

IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE SYMPTOMS OF RUBELLA, DO NOT GO TO YOUR DOCTOR’S OFFICE WITHOUT CALLING FIRST. YOU MAY EXPOSE PREGNANT WOMEN WHO MAY BE IN THE WAITING AREA.

There may be no further cases of rubella. Getting the vaccine if you need it is the best way to prevent the rubella from spreading. Also, calling your doctor if you think you have the disease or have been exposed is necessary, especially if you are pregnant.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to call the Health Department for information or contact Sam Cohen at the Carrboro Community Health Center at (919)-942-8741.

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