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

May/June 2001

Click on subject to read news release

March/April 2001
January/February 2001 | November/December 2000
September/October 2000 | July/August 2000 | May/June 2000
March/April 2000 | January/February 2000 | December 1999


County Contracts with BB&T for Tax Payments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: June 28, 2001

For more information: Jo Roberson, Revenue Collector, (919) 245-2725, jrober@co.orange.nc.us

Beginning with the July 2001 mailing, citizens will notice a Charlotte return address on their Orange County tax statements.

Orange County has contracted with BB&T to process tax payments. The Board of County Commissioners approved the contract with BB&T at its June 19 meeting.

"Over the last several years, Orange County has experienced tremendous growth, and with that growth has come a vast increase in the time spent by staff processing tax payments," said Jo Roberson, Orange County’s Revenue Collector. "After reviewing a cost analysis, we concluded that the most cost efficient decision was to outsource our mail processing."

Outsourcing the processing of real and personal property, and registered motor vehicle tax payments will free the Revenue Collections staff to more aggressively pursue delinquent taxes. Payments mailed directly to the County’s banking institution will be credited more quickly, maximizing the County’s investment income.

Roberson estimates the County will see a revenue increase of $6,400 as a result of same-day deposits of tax payments. Outsourcing should save the County nearly $9,000 in the first year.

The department has seen a 21 percent increase in registered motor vehicle billings alone since the 1995-96 fiscal year. Roberson says the Revenue Collections staff has spent approximately 1,800 hours annually processing tax payments. Eleven staff members have been involved in payment processing in some form.

The new address for tax payments will be: Orange County Tax, P.O. Box 580453, Charlotte, N.C. 28258-0453.

Taxpayers are still welcome to send their tax payments to the Revenue Collections office in Hillsborough, P.O. Box 8181, Hillsborough, N.C. 27278-8181, or pay their bills in person at the Government Services Center, 200 S. Cameron St.

"Our office is always open to assist or answer questions for the taxpayers of Orange County," Roberson said.

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Household Hazardous Waste and Latex Paint Exchange
at Landfill July 7

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: June 28, 2001

For more information: Orange Community Recycling, (919) 968-2788, recycling@co.orange.nc.us

On Saturday July 7, the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department will conduct its monthly hazardous household waste collection at the Orange County Landfill located on Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill. The event is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to residents of Chatham, Durham, Orange and Wake Counties. Citizens may bring household paints, pesticides, automotive wastes, batteries, chemicals and other hazardous materials to the collection. Wastes should not be mixed together but kept in separate, non-leaking containers.

"Our July collection event is often very crowded, so give yourself plenty of time that day to drop off your hazardous wastes." said Rob Taylor, Recycling Coordinator for the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department. "If you have only a small amount of latex paint to dispose of and no other wastes, you don’t need to come to us to dispose of it. You can safely dry the paint out at home by putting cat litter or sand in the paint can and then dispose of the can in your household trash with the paint can lid removed.

"If you are gearing up for your summer trip and changing your motor oil, you can take your old motor oil and oil filter to any of the six County Solid Waste Convenience Centers six days a week and avoid any possible wait during household hazardous waste collection day," Taylor said. "You can also take old auto batteries there. Bring all the other hazardous wastes to us"

Usable latex paint is also available free of charge. Citizens bringing in usable latex paint should separate it for the re-use program.

No commercial wastes, infectious wastes, explosives or radioactive wastes are accepted. Call (919) 968-2788 for disposal information on these materials. Future hazardous waste collection events at the Orange County Landfill will be the first Saturday of each month through November 2001. Call (919) 287-8051 or (919) 942-8158 for information about collection schedules and locations in Chatham, Durham and Wake Counties.

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School Budget Outpaces Funding for other
County Programs, and in other N.C. Counties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: June 22, 2001

For more information: John Link, County Manager, (919) 245-2300, jlink@co.orange.nc.us

As Orange County Commissioners wrap up budget deliberations for the 2001-2002 fiscal year, it is estimated that funding for education will total 49.2 percent of the County’s operating budget. This appropriation will rank Orange County at or near the top of all 100 counties in the state in educational funding.

"Concerned citizens have spoken out at budget hearings urging us to continue to support our schools," said County Commissioners’ Chair Steve Halkiotis. "This remains our commitment. However, some needless alarm has been raised by statements that this year’s increase in the total school budget is less than 2 percent.

"This is a misconception." Commissioner Halkiotis said. "The total increase in education funding, including capital expenditures and debt service is actually 7.5 percent over the 2000-2001 budget."

School funding is the single largest item in the County’s 2001-2002 budget, and is double the next largest category – human services.

According to the most recent statistics compiled by the Public School Forum of North Carolina in the fall of 2000, Orange County ranked first in the state in per-pupil funding at $4,167, which includes operating expenses, capital improvements and debt service. Mecklenburg County ranked second with a per-pupil average of $3,117. Orange County’s per-pupil spending is more than twice the state average and more than triple the state median.

"Historically, we have seen school spending rise 11 to 12 percent per year during the past 10 years," explained Commissioner Halkiotis. "But during the past few years, we have seen tremendous growth in new school construction and associated capital expenses. So there is no way we can continue on a pace of increasing current operating budgets 11 to 12 percent each year."

The School Facilities Task Force predicted this scenario in its report to the County Commissioners in the spring of 2000.

The task force report established a target of 48.1 percent of the total County budget to be devoted to educational funding. But the report also predicted that increases in projected capital outlay and debt service in 2001-2002 and beyond would curb budget increases available for current school expenses.

Commissioners suggest that a solution to the schools’ projected budget shortfall is to use fund balances, predicted to be $4.4 million for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools and $1.35 million for the Orange County schools at the end of the current fiscal year on June 30.

"Utilizing these fund balances is an excellent solution to the dilemma in which the school systems find themselves," Commissioner Halkiotis said. "This left-over money equals approximately 12 percent of annual local fund expenses for Chapel Hill-Carrboro and 8 percent for Orange County."

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Citizens Encouraged to Protect Animals From Rabies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 6, 2001

CONTACT: John Sauls (919) 245-2081

Orange County Animal Control officials have confirmed two incidences of rabies. The cases, both involving raccoons, occurred at opposite ends of the county – one near University Lake in Carrboro; the other near Little River, close to Durham County.

In each instance, dogs were reportedly in contact with a raccoon. Animal Control officers obtained both raccoons, which later tested positive for rabies. One pet owner elected to receive post exposure rabies treatment because she feared possible exposure when she greeted her dogs. In the other instance, there was no human exposure. However, a dog had to be euthanized because he was not properly vaccinated against the rabies virus and the owner was unable to quarantine the dog for six months, as is required by state law.

"All pet owners are strongly advised to have their dogs and cats vaccinated", said Orange County Animal Control Director, John Sauls. "It is the best protection against the disease". Even pets with proper vaccinations are required to have a booster dose within three days after suspected exposure to a rabid animal.

To encourage rabies vaccinations in the community, the Orange County Health Department is sponsoring two rabies clinics Thursday, June 7, 6:00pm, at the New Courthouse parking lot, in Hillsborough; and the Northern Human Services Center in Cedar Grove. The fee is $5.00.

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County Says Nuclear Agency Fails Public,
Files Federal Appeal

Senator John Edwards asked to conduct Senate hearing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: June 5, 2001

For more information: Paul Thames, (919) 245-2300, pthames@co.orange.nc.us; Diane Curran, (202) 328-3500

Declaring that a federal agency’s review of Carolina Power & Light’s planned nuclear waste expansion has failed the public and has dangerous ramifications for people across the nation, Orange County has filed a federal court appeal against the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and joined other regional elected officials in calling for emergency action by U.S. Sen. John Edwards.

In a letter sent Friday to Edwards, Orange Commission Chairman Steve Halkiotis and Commissioner Margaret Brown told the senator: "It’s now or never: Central North Carolina needs your help!" They and other state and local officials are seeking an urgent meeting with Edwards as a follow-up to an April 30 conference call with him. "The NRC protected CP&L’s interests instead of the public," Halkiotis said today. "I cannot find a more palpable example of the federal government providing uncritical advocacy of an industry since its promotion of the railroads in the 1800’s." The NRC’s Inspector General is currently investigating the actions of the NRC staff and licensing board in the Harris case.

Pointing to Bush administration efforts to revive the nuclear power industry, the commissioners said the lack of a disposal plan for irradiated fuel generated by existing plants leaves the public at risk, especially because the NRC has avoided addressing the potential for devastating fires in high-density waste cooling pools used for interim storage. They said the NRC neglected an opportunity in the Harris case to deal with new scientific understanding that a pool fire with a catastrophic release of radiation is more likely than previously thought. A safer storage plan used in Germany and at several U.S. utilities was never considered in the Harris case, even though the National Environmental Policy Act requires consideration of safer alternatives.

"It is imperative that we get the federal government to consider the use of a safer storage method," Commissioner Alice Gordon said.

The letter from Halkiotis and Brown asked for Edwards to conduct a Senate field hearing on CP&L’s expansion plan, saying this could provide for something approaching the formal scientific debate long sought by the County but opposed by the NRC and CP&L. Next, they asked the senator to introduce legislation requiring Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for high-density pool storage, including the CP&L project. Such studies have been required for twenty years for nuclear reactors but not for waste pools, even though pools can contain much more radioactive material.

They also urged Edwards to insist that the NRC postpone use of Harris’s new pools until the NRC Inspector General’s investigation is completed. Finally, the officials encouraged the senator to block the nuclear industry’s attempts to undermine an NRC security assessment program for the nation’s nuclear plants, which has revealed a disturbing level of vulnerability of nuclear plants to terrorist attack.

The legal appeal, filed Friday in the D.C. circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, is being funded by money from foundations and individuals. The appeal centers on the fact that although the NRC and CP&L had the burden to prove that an EIS is not required, the NRC did not provide Orange County with a chance to respond to any of NRC/CP&L’s evidence. Attorney Diane Curran said, "The NRC accepted the unsupported claims of CP&L and NRC staff at face value, without giving Orange County a fair chance to show those claims wouldn’t hold water." Curran noted that while the County’s widely respected expert, Dr. Gordon Thompson, has found gaping holes in the studies used by CP&L and the NRC to argue that the high-density storage plan is safe, he was prevented from testifying regarding his views.

Chairman Halkiotis explained, "We’ve spent the last two and a half years trying to get the NRC to give us a hearing, and we're not going to give up until we get a chance for a fair and even-handed debate on our very serious safety concerns. Now we’re going to federal court to protect and preserve our hearing rights."

Commissioner Brown explained, "With recent changes in the Senate, John Edwards has the ability to protect North Carolina, and the nation, from unnecessary risks at nuclear waste pools." She expressed confidence in Orange County’s legal case, but noted that if the federal appeals court does not act in a timely manner, CP&L will open its new pools by early July. She and Halkiotis told Edwards in the letter: "For that to happen, given the cloud over the NRC’s process and actions, would be an injustice of the highest order."

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FACT SHEET:

WHY ORANGE COUNTY IS FIGHTING NRC’S APPROVAL OF CP&L’S NUCLEAR WASTE STORAGE EXPANSION PLAN

June 4, 2001

  • At the Harris nuclear plant, CP&L uses pools to store spent fuel generated at Harris and two other CP&L reactors, Brunswick and Robinson. Spent fuel is stored in pools A and B in high-density racks. Pools A and B have a capacity of 3,669 fuel assemblies. In December 2000, NRC approved CP&L’s proposal to put previously unused pools C and D into service, for storage of 4,715 additional spent fuel assemblies in high-density racks. This will make Harris one of the largest spent fuel storage facilities in the U.S.
  • Due to close spacing of fuel assemblies and the design of the storage racks, high-density spent pool storage poses a hazard of a serious fire that could lead to a massive radiological release requiring relocation of populations from an area the size of North Carolina. CP&L and the NRC concede that a fire of this nature would occur if water were lost from any of the Harris pools. The effects of a release from the Harris pools would be substantially more severe than the effects of the 1986 Chernobyl accident. Alternative storage technologies involving "dry" storage of the fuel are available, and would eliminate this risk. They are not widely used because they are more costly.
  • The National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") requires federal agencies to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS") for any major federal action that could have a significant effect on the human environment. An EIS must closely examine the environmental impacts of the proposed action and discuss alternatives for avoiding or mitigating those impacts. The last time the NRC prepared an EIS that addressed spent pool storage was in 1979. That EIS was a generic study that examined a range of spent fuel storage technologies, but did not address the potential for a fire in a spent fuel pool. The NRC has never addressed this potential in any EIS. Moreover, the NRC has never done a study that examined whether a severe accident in a reactor could cause or contribute to a pool fire, although a number of EIS’s have addressed the potential for severe reactor accidents.
  • Studies conducted since the 1979 EIS show that the hazards of pool fires are significant and have been consistently underestimated by the NRC. For example, for two decades the NRC thought that aged fuel would not burn, but it now recognizes that fuel will burn at any age. The NRC also acknowledges that a fire in one pool will cause fires in nearby pools. Orange County commissioned a study by Dr. Gordon Thompson, a highly qualified expert on safety and environmental issues relating to nuclear facilities, regarding the potential for a pool fire at Harris. His work shows that an accident in the Harris reactor with a release from containment and simultaneous loss of pool cooling functions could lead to a fire in the Harris pools, and that the likelihood of such a fire is at least 10-5 per reactor year. This is a degree of likelihood comparable to industry and NRC estimates of the probability of a severe reactor accident, which is considered to warrant the preparation of an EIS.
  • Orange County requested and was granted the right to challenge the Harris license amendment on the ground that it must be accompanied by an EIS. In March 2001, following a summary legal proceeding, the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board ("ASLB") upheld the NRC Staff’s refusal to prepare an EIS, and denied Orange County an opportunity for a full trial-type hearing. Despite the fact that the NRC Staff and CP&L had the burden of proof, the ASLB credited the NRC Staff’s finding that a pool fire is extremely unlikely, without acknowledging serious deficiencies in the NRC Staff’s technical analysis or permitting any form of rebuttal testimony by Orange County. The NRC Commissioners upheld the ASLB. Orange County has appealed the NRC’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals, on grounds that the NRC unlawfully shifted the burden of proof from the NRC Staff to Orange County, denied Orange County a meaningful opportunity for a hearing, and violated NEPA by refusing to prepare an EIS.

# # #


Nancy Coston Appointed Orange County
Social Services Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 5, 2001

Contact: Dorothy "Dee" Gamble, Chair, Orange County Board of Social Services, 962-6446

The Orange County Board of Social Services has appointed Nancy Coston as Orange County Social Services Director. Coston will begin work Monday, July 30, 2001.

Coston currently serves as Deputy Director in the North Carolina Division of Social Services where she assists in all aspects of the management of social services at the State level. Prior to her current position, Coston served for over 11 years as Director of Social Services for Craven County, North Carolina. Coston has over 22 years of social services experience.

Coston has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology also from UNC-CH.

The Board of Social Services formed an assessment panel made up of the five Board members as well as three advisory representatives from County staff and the community to conduct the recruitment and selection process. The search process included national recruitment. It yielded a strong group of 23 candidates.

Dee Gamble, Chair of the Orange County Board of Social Services said: "We had an excellent search process that yielded outstanding candidates. I believe the Board has made an excellent decision in selecting Nancy Coston. Coston is a creative thinker and an exceptional manager. She’s very capable in working with complicated social services budgets and has proven leadership skills."

Gamble noted: "Coston has a strong sense of social justice and believes that the county is where social services can really happen. Coston has a deeply held conviction in the strengthening of families and children."

Coston said: "I’m very excited about the opportunity to serve as Orange County’s Social Services Director. I look forward to working with the employees in the Social Services Department who I know provide critical services to our most vulnerable families. We’ll be working together to continue to meet the expectations and needs of the community. "

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Affordable Housing Advisory Board Created

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: May 31, 2001

For more information: Tara Fikes, Director, Orange County Housing and Community Development

The Orange County Board of Commissioners recently decided to refine its approach to promoting decent and affordable housing. In doing so, the Affordable Housing Advisory Board has been created to prioritize affordable housing needs in Orange County and help implement the strategies recommended by the Commissioners’ Affordable Housing Task Force.

In March of 2000, the Board of County Commissioners convened an Affordable Housing Summit attended by more than 100 citizens, including elected officials and housing providers, to discuss housing needs and to clarify the policies and strategies that could be used to alleviate housing needs. Following the Summit, the Board formed the Commissioners Affordable Housing Task Force, or CAHTF, to investigate and analyze information and problems, recommend strategies and policies, and assist the County Commissioners in formulating long-range vision of decent and affordable housing in Orange County.

The Task Force met June 2000 - February 2001, convening monthly. The material gathered by the Task Force built on previous local government and private efforts to ensure that all families have affordable housing options, particularly those with limited incomes, the homeless and other special need populations. The results of the work of the Task Force were presented to the County Commissioners in April 2001 in its final report.

Perhaps the most critical recommendation of the Report is the establishment of an Affordable Housing Advisory Board to assist with implementation of the strategies contained in the Report and advise the Board of Commissioners regarding other affordable housing issues. The Report also refers to the need for the County and Town leaders, University of North Carolina officials, the State Legislature, Non-Profit and for-profit organizations, and interested Citizens to become involved in addressing the affordable housing needs of the community.

As a result of the work of the CAHTF, the Affordable Housing Advisory Board was created and volunteers are now being recruited to serve on this important Advisory Board.

Orange County citizens are encouraged to apply or request further information by contacting the office of the Clerk to the Board at (919) 245-2125 or by email to bblythe@co.orange.nc.us. An application will be sent immediately. Citizens may also complete an application online, or download one in Adobe®.pdf format, by visiting the County's Web Site, http://www.co.orange.nc.us and clicking on the "Volunteer Boards" icon.

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Quarterly Public Hearing Adjourned to
Thursday, May 31, 7 p.m.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: May 30, 2001

For more information: Beverly Blythe, (919) 245-2130, bblythe@co.orange.nc.us

The Orange County Board of Commission and Planning Board adjourned last night’s quarterly public hearing until Thursday evening to hear two items that could not be addressed because of the lateness of the hour.

The continued public hearing will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 31, at the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Rd., Chapel Hill, immediately before the scheduled budget public hearing on Thursday, May 31.

Commissioners and Planning Board members will hear item 5, Orange County Subdivision Amendments, and item 6, Orange County Zoning Text Amendments, from the May 29 meeting agenda.

Access the agenda online at: http://www.co.orange.nc.us/OCCLERKS/010529.htm

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End-of-Year Recycling of UNC Students’
Discards is a Success

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: May 30, 2001

For more information: Orange Community Recycling, (919) 968-2788, recycling@co.orange.nc.us

During April and May, Orange Community Recycling teamed up with the UNC Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling, PTA Thrift Shop, Interfaith Council, volunteers and students to collect over 80 rolling carts full of clothing, school supplies, books, blankets, canned goods and other reusable items from the students’ end-of-year waste.

The usable goods were collected by PTA for resale, by the UNC Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling for next year’s incoming students, and by the Interfaith Council for use at the community shelter and their other aid programs for local needy people.

During the last week in April, before the students moved out for 2001, four south campus high-rise residence halls were each provided with four 90-gallon carts from Orange Community Recycling. These carts were set up in the dormitory lobbies by the UNC Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling to be used as donation stations. Two carts collected clothes and shoes, one cart collected food and one cart collected school/office supplies.

Ten additional collection carts and information tables were set up at the Granville Towers private dormitory in University Square during exam week and staffed for three days by PTA and IFC volunteers, and Orange Community Recycling staff. A total of 18 carts of usable discarded items were collected over the three days.

On campus, PTA received 63 carts of clothes and shoes. In addition, 45 bags of food were collected and taken to IFC. "Summer is typically a very slow time for donations, so this project is very timely for both our crisis intervention center and the community shelter, said Kristin Laverne, IFC Community Services Program Director.

Four full carts of school/office supplies were also collected. This material will be distributed to students on campus free of charge at the beginning of next semester.

The UNC Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling also recycled carpet during the spring move-out, nearly filling a tractor-trailer. They worked with Blue Ridge Recycling, a carpet recycler in Raleigh, to test the carpet to determine what was recyclable and what had to be thrown away.

UNC Waste Reduction collected four tons of recyclable carpet. "The carpet recycling alone saved the University almost $200 in landfill fees, not including hauling costs," said B.J. Tipton, UNC Recycling and Waste Reduction Coordinator.

"Next year we hope to extend the project to the whole student community, including all the dorms, and apartment complexes off campus as well," said Blair Pollock, Solid Waste Programs Manager for Orange Community Recycling. "The potential for recovery of reusable goods and recyclables, especially mixed paper, is huge, plus the added benefit of saving the management of these facilities big dollars."

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Press Briefing on County Budget Scheduled
for Wednesday, May 23

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: May 21, 2001

For more information: Donna Dean, (919) 245-2150, ddean@co.orange.nc.us

Orange County Manager John Link has scheduled a press briefing for Wednesday, May 23, to discuss his recommended budget for FY 2001 – 2002. The press briefing will begin at 4:00 p.m. in the public meeting room of the Government Services Center, 200 South Cameron Street, in Hillsborough.

After an overview of the most significant components of the recommended budget, the Manager and budget staff will be available to answer questions from the media.

Media copies of the budget will be available for review one hour prior to the press briefing, at 3:00 p.m., in the same location.

For additional information, please contact John Link, Rod Visser, or Donna Dean at 245-2300.

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Orange County Hazardous Household Waste Collection and Latex Paint Exchange at Landfill Saturday, June 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: May 17, 2001

For more information: Solid Waste Management, (919) 968-2885, recycling@co.orange.nc.us

On Saturday June 2, Orange County Solid Waste Management Department will conduct its monthly hazardous household waste collection at the Orange County landfill located on Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill. The event is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to residents of Chatham, Durham, Orange and Wake Counties. Citizens may bring paints, pesticides, automotive wastes, batteries, chemicals and other hazardous materials from their households to the collection. Wastes should not be mixed together but kept in separate, non-leaking containers.

"Events have averaged over 200 participants this year. We really feel proud of the people of Orange County for being so environmentally concerned," said Rob Taylor, Recycling Coordinator for Orange County Solid Waste. "If you have only a small amount of latex paint to dispose of and no other wastes. You don’t need to come to us to dispose of it. You can safely dry the paint out at home by putting cat litter or sand in the paint can and then dispose of the can in your household trash with the paint can lid off," Taylor said.

"If you are gearing up for your summer trip and changing your motor oil, you can take your old motor oil and oil filter to any of the six County Solid Waste Convenience Centers six days a week and avoid any possible wait during household hazardous waste collection day." Taylor added. "Bring all the other hazardous wastes to us"

Usable latex paint is also available free of charge. Citizens bringing in usable latex paint should separate it for the re-use program.

No commercial wastes, infectious wastes, explosives or radioactive wastes are accepted. Call 968-2788 for disposal information on these materials. Future hazardous waste collection events at the Orange County Landfill will be the first Saturday of each month through November 2001. Call 287-8051 or 942-8158 for information about collection schedules and locations in Chatham, Durham and Wake Counties.

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County Commissioners to Consider Acquisition of Lands
for Seven Mile Creek Nature Preserve

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

5/11/01

Contact: David Stancil 245-2590 (dstancil@co.orange.nc.us)

On May 15, the Board of Commissioners will consider a contract to acquire 131 acres of land adjacent to County-owned lands in the Seven Mile Creek basin southwest of Hillsborough. The land, owned by Mayes’ Hill, Ltd., contains a portion of an identified Natural Heritage site.

The proposed acquisition, combined with 160 acres acquired by the County in 1973-74, works toward an eventual Seven Mile Creek Nature Preserve. The Seven Mile Creek area is a distinct sub-basin of the Upper Eno watershed. Because of the presence of large identified N.C. Natural Heritage sites and the generally undisturbed nature of the area, Seven Mile Creek provides a significant wildlife refuge in central Orange County.

As proposed in the County’s Lands Legacy program, the Seven Mile Creek Preserve would, over a period of many years, seek to acquire (through easement or other voluntary method of acquisition) additional adjacent lands to build a "critical mass" of lands retained in its natural state. The County’s Lands Legacy program continues to aggressively pursue a dual track acquisition policy, providing land for much-needed active recreation amenities near population centers, while seeking to purchase and otherwise protect sensitive natural areas.

The protection efforts at Seven Mile Creek Preserve are an outgrowth of more than a decade of research, based on the 1988 Inventory of Natural Areas and Wildlife Habitat (with the identified sites now included in the N.C. Natural Heritage Program). Future acquisition efforts in the Seven Mile Creek Preserve will find the County seeking grant assistance from other entities - and partnerships with other conservation organizations - as the County continues to pursue a water-quality and open-space preservation strategy in this area.

While primarily a nature preserve, portions of the lands under consideration could accommodate low-impact recreation activities, designed in concert with the land. Rustic nature trails and primitive campsites also could be sited. The land includes three tributaries that flow into Seven Mile Creek.

Over the last several months, County Environment and Resource Conservation staff have worked with the Mayes family regarding acquisition of these two connected properties. Acquisition for the Seven Mile Creek Nature Preserve is a priority in the Lands Legacy Annual Action Plan, adopted by the Board of Commissioners in May 2000.

"Seven Mile Creek is one of the special places in Orange County," noted Commission Chair Steve Halkiotis. "The acquisition of the Mayes’ property will be an important addition to what we hope will continue to be a haven for wildlife for centuries to come."

"I'm thrilled we've been able to work in a cost-effective manner with another willing, community-minded seller to further the county's goals of preserving open space, protecting the environment, and providing recreational amenities to residents for decades to come," added Commission Vice-Chair Barry Jacobs.. "Seven Mile Creek is a true natural gem, a rich, tranquil and largely unspoiled oasis at the heart of our growing county. Combined with the county's other holdings in the area, we're well on our way toward establishing a preserve worthy of the name."

"This potential acquisition offers an opportunity to protect an identified natural heritage site as part of our countywide Lands Legacy program," stated Commissioner Alice Gordon. "In addition, the acquisition of this land will help protect water quality in the Upper Eno watershed - meeting multiple goals with one acquisition."

The purchase price of the potential acquisition is $538,740, or approximately $4,100 per acre. Funding for the acquisition would come from the County’s Lands Legacy fund and recreation and open space payment-in-lieu funds.

Additional information about the potential acquisitions may be found at http://www.co.orange.nc.us/OCCLERKS/010515.htm


Orange County Organic Compost Sale Continues
Saturday at Landfill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: May 11, 2001

For more information: Solid Waste Management, (919) 968-2885, recycling@co.orange.nc.us

This weekend, Orange County is again making its high-quality organic compost available to the public.

This Saturday, May 12, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Orange County landfill will offer the compost for sale at $10 per scoop.

Each scoop is approximately one-half cubic yard and weighs approximately 700 pounds. The compost is made by Brooks Contracting of Goldston using organic feed stocks including food waste collected in from restaurants in Orange County. Brooks will provide loading services and the customer must tarp the load before leaving the landfill.

The compost will be sold again on Saturday June 9 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Orange County’s yard waste mulch product is available every Wednesday and Saturday at the landfill for $10 per scoop, weighing approximately 2,000 pounds.

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Changes Proposed to Animal Ordinances

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 4, 2001

CONTACT: John Sauls, Animal Control Director, (919) 245-2075, jsauls@co.orange.nc.us, or Pat Sanford, APS Director (919) 967-8323

Orange County Animal Control and the Orange County Animal Protection Society (APS) are jointly sponsoring two public informational meetings. The first meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 10th at 7:30 p.m. in the Planning Conference Room at the Orange County Planning and Agricultural Center, 306 Revere Road in Hillsborough. The second meeting will take place at the Orange County Animal Shelter on Tuesday, May 22nd at 7:30 p.m. The purpose of the meetings is to explain two ordinance proposals that the Board of Health has forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners.

The first ordinance is entitled, An Ordinance Prohibiting the Keeping of Wild Animals Dangerous to Persons and Property Within Orange County. This ordinance originally went into effect in April 1983, and applies to the following animals: all felines (other than the domestic house cat), non-human primates, bears, wolves, coyotes, poisonous reptiles, and giant and crushing reptiles. In 1983, there were a few such animals in the county and the ordinance contained some very detailed provisions for such then existing animals to be permitted. There was also a rather lengthy appendix that contained some very detailed and exacting specifications for confining such animals. That was eighteen years ago and all such animals that were permitted at that time have long since died, thereby making all those permitting and confinement specifications irrelevant. Therefore, it has been proposed that all those obsolete permitting and confinement provisions are dropped from the ordinance, leaving intact the original prohibition against keeping any such animals in the county. This is the only change that has been proposed to this ordinance.

The second ordinance proposal is entitled, An Ordinance Prohibiting the Display of Wild and Exotic Animals Within Orange County. This ordinance does not prohibit owning or keeping any kind of animals in Orange County. It does prohibit the "display" of wild and exotic animals for the purposes of amusement or entertainment. The ordinance is aimed at circuses and other animal shows that exploit wild and/or exotic animals for humans’ amusement, whether or not a fee is charged. The proposal prohibits the display of many different types of wild and exotic animals that are listed in the proposal but does not prohibit the ownership of these animals nor does it prohibit their display for legitimate educational purposes.

"News that these two ordinance proposals were being considered has raised a great many questions and concerns among people in the county who own or otherwise have an interest in wild and exotic animals," stated Rosemary Summers, Orange County Health Director. "At the same time there have been voiced a great many misperceptions and misunderstandings about exactly what is being proposed." "These meetings are being held so that residents may have their questions answered regarding both of the proposed ordinances," added Summers.

For more information about the ordinances, contact John Sauls, Orange County Animal Control Director at (919) 245-2075; or Pat Sanford, Executive Director of Orange County APS, at (919) 967-8323.

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Hazardous Household Waste Collection and Latex
Paint Exchange at Landfill Saturday, May 5

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: May 1, 2001

For more information: Solid Waste Management, (919) 968-2885, gwilson@co.orange.nc.us

On Saturday May 5, the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department will conduct its monthly hazardous household waste collection at the Orange County landfill, 1514 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill. The event is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to residents of Chatham, Durham, Orange and Wake Counties.

Citizens may bring paints, pesticides, automotive wastes, batteries, chemicals and other hazardous materials from their households to the collection. Wastes should not be mixed together but kept in separate, non-leaking containers.

"Save time and stay home if you have only a small amount of latex paint to dispose of. You can safely dry the paint out at home by putting kitty litter or sand in the paint can and then dispose of the can in your household trash with the paint can lid off," said Rob Taylor, recycling coordinator for Orange County.

"If you are recycling motor oil, oil filters and auto batteries, you can take them to any of the six County Solid Waste Convenience Centers six days a week and avoid any possible wait during household hazardous waste collection day." Taylor said.

Usable latex paint is also available free of charge. Citizens bringing usable latex paint for recycling should separate it for the reuse program.

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