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


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

Return to Orange County Home Page


News Releases

September/October 2005

Click on subject to read news release

Past News Releases

BOCC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 17, 2005

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

(919)
245-2130

Orange County Board of Commissioners Meeting Calendar Update

The Joint Planning Area (JPA) meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 7:30 p.m. at the Southern Human Services Center in Chapel Hill has been canceled. 

###


EDC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 17, 2005

Contact: Noah Ranells 
Economic Development
(919)
245-2330

Orange County Farms on National Conference Tour

Orange County farmers will be hosting busloads of conference attendees on October 18 as part of the ‘The Finest Small Farm Experience You Could Ask For.’ The tour is part of the 4th National Small Farm Conference whose 2005 theme is Enhancing Opportunities for Small Farmers and Ranchers.  The conference runs from October 16 to 19, 2005, at the Sheraton Greensboro Hotel / Koury Convention Center at Four Seasons in Greensboro, NC.

Co-hosted by North Carolina A&T State University and North Carolina State University, the conference includes sessions on farm policy, risk management, marketing, organic agriculture, alternative enterprises, and program development. Workshops will address women in agriculture, grant writing and funding opportunities, international agriculture, and North Carolina Small Farmer Initiatives. The conference will conclude with a listening session on the 2007 Farm Bill.

There will be a total of 3 tour groups visiting Orange County. One busload of visitors will visit Stanley Hughes’ Pine Knot Farm. Hughes was recently recognized as the 2004 Small Farmer of the Year.  That same group of visitors will also visit Ken Dawson & Libby Outlaw’s Maple Spring Gardens farm in Cedar Grove and Annie Baggett’s Sunshine Lavender Farm in Hurdle Mills.

A second tour bus will focus on Chapel Hill Creamery in Orange County as well as Homeland Creamery in Guilford County.  A third tour will focus on vegetable, meat, and egg enterprises at Fickle Creek Farm in Efland and Cane Creek Farm in Saxapahaw.

“There is a great deal of focus on Orange County farmers as part of this national conference,” noted Noah Ranells, Orange County Agricultural Economic Development Coordinator; “it demonstrates that Orange County farming is evolving to meet the demands of niche markets.” Ranells added that niche marketing is going mainstream, as major food retailers such as Earthfare, Whole Foods, and even Harris Teeter offer large selections of organic foods. “Direct marketing through Farmers Markets, restaurants, and community supported agriculture provide important avenues for some local farmers,” Ranells said.

For additional information please contact Noah Ranells at 245-2330 or nranells@co.orange.nc.us.

# # #


TAX

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 11, 2005

Contact: Donna Dean 
Budget Director
(919)
245-2151

Orange County Holds Information Sessions on Special Tax for Orange County Schools

Orange County will hold two public information sessions on the Orange County Schools Special District Tax, which will appear on the November 8, 2005 ballot for voters in the Orange County School District. 

The sessions will be held on October 19, 2005 at the Northern Human Services Center, 5800 HWY 86 North in Cedar Grove and on November 1, 2005 at the F. Gordon Battle Courtroom, 106 E. Margaret Lane, Hillsborough.  Both sessions will begin at 7:00 p.m. 

County staff members will present basic information related to the referendum and respond to questions from the public. 

For additional information contact the Orange County Manager’s Office, (919) 245-2300 or the Budget Office, (919) 245-2151.   

# # #


AGING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 3, 2005

Contact: Jerry Passmore 
Department on Aging Director
(919)
245-2009

Orange County Breaks Ground for New Senior Center

A groundbreaking ceremony for the New Southern Orange Senior Center will be held on Friday, October 7, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. at the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.

# # #


BOCC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 27, 2005

Contact: Donna Baker 
Clerk to the Board of Commissioners
(919)
245-2300

Orange County Hosts Final Listening Session

There is only one more “listening session”.  

The final session will be on Wednesday, October 5, 2005 at 7:00 pm, at the Government Services Center, 200 South Cameron St., Hillsborough.     

The sessions, hosted by the Orange County Board of Commissioners, provided an informal and relaxed opportunity for residents to share their concerns and thoughts related to county government.  As many as 70 and as few as 2 members of the public attended past sessions. 

Sessions were arranged for residents who did not feel comfortable making a presentation to the Board in a public.  They were able to share their issues in a more casual setting near local neighborhoods.  With a wide range of the topics, the public was able to share their thoughts and concerns with the Chair and at times, one other Commissioner. 

Sessions were open to the public.   

Results of the sessions are posted at the website below.

http://www.co.orange.nc.us/OCCLERKS/ListeningSessions05.htm

# # #


BOCC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 26, 2005

Contact: Monica Evans  
Orange County Board of Commissioners' Office

(919)
245-2125

Outstanding Volunteers Honored at Reception

The Orange County Key Volunteer Awards and the North Carolina Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service were presented in a local event on September 22, 2005 at the Chapel Hill Senior Center.

Each year Orange County recognizes its most outstanding community volunteers in an awards ceremony. Individuals and groups were nominated by the agency at which they volunteer. 

All the volunteers nominated were recognized at the event.  A panel of judges selected the top five volunteers (individuals and groups) as Orange County recipients of the N.C. Outstanding Volunteer Awards, formerly the “Governor’s Awards.” Each county in North Carolina is allowed to select five volunteers for this prestigious honor. The five winners of the NC Award will also be honored on Tuesday, October 25th, in Lexington NC with a reception hosted by the N.C. Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.  

North Carolina Outstanding Volunteer Award Recipients representing Orange County:

Margaret Ricki Hudson-Orange County Department on Aging

Heather Jenkins-Orange County American Red Cross

Lisa Stifler- Family Violence Prevention Center

Education Committee of Chapel Hill Museum-Chapel Hill Museum

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, INC- Citizens of Orange and Chatham Counties

 

Susan Gravely, CEO of Vietri Inc was the guest speaker at the event.

# # #


BOCC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 16, 2005

Contact: Todd Jones  
Director, Information Systems

(919)
245-2285

Orange County Adds Wireless Access

Orange County now offers wireless network access at Board of County Commissioners’ meeting locations.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners alternate meetings between the F. Gordon Battle Courtroom in Hillsborough and the Southern Human Services Center in Chapel Hill.  On occasions the Commissioners may hold work sessions in the Government Services Center in Hillsborough.   As of this month, all three locations offer wireless network access to the public. 

Wireless network connectivity allows the public access to the Internet.  For years, the agenda with detail information on items has been posted to the Internet.  Now individuals attending Board meetings can access the agenda and details during meetings. 

Members of the media have already used the network, writing up to the last minute of a deadline, to share meeting news with the public.  

In addition, the Whitted Library also has wireless network access. 

###


BOCC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 15, 2005

Contact: Monica Evans  
Orange County Board of Commissioners' Office

(919)
245-2125

Orange County Boards and Commissions - Recent Appointments

At its September 13, 2005 meeting, the Orange County Board of Commissioners appointed the following citizen volunteers to County Advisory Boards and Commissions.

Volunteer Name

Advisory Board

Expiration Date

Cary Cornette

Advisory Board on Aging

6/30/2008

Florence G. Soltys

Advisory Board on Aging

6/30/2007

Amy Lawson

Arts Commission

3/31/2007

Sally McKenzie

Arts Commission

3/31/2007

Susan Poulton

Carrboro Northern Transition Area Advisory Committee

1/30/2008

Bernie Bean

Economic Development Commission

6/30/2007

Tom Allison

Historic Preservation Commission

3/31/2006

Bernadette Pelissier

Orange County Planning Board

3/31/2006

Michelle Kempinski

Orange County Planning Board

3/31/2007

Floyd Bridgwater

Recreation and  Parks Advisory Council

3/31/2008

Denise Dickinson

Recreation and  Parks Advisory Council

3/31/2007

###


BOCC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 15, 2005

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

(919)
245-2130

Orange County Board of Commissioners Meeting Calendar Update

Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 153A-40, the Board of County Commissioners provides notice of the following changes in the 2005 meeting schedule.   

A Work Session has been added for Monday, October 3, 2005 at 5:30 p.m. at the Government Services Center, 200 South Cameron Street in Hillsborough. The work session is prior to the scheduled 7:30 p.m. regular meeting at the F. Gordon Battle Courtroom in Hillsborough.

The Board also changed the October 25, 2005 Work Session to Monday, October 17, 2005 at 7:30 p.m. at the Government Services Center, 200 South Cameron Street in Hillsborough.   

###


PERSONNEL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 13, 2005

Contact: John Link  
County Manager, Orange County

(919)
245-2300

Orange County Personnel Director Retiring

County Manager John Link has announced the retirement of Orange County Personnel Director Elaine Holmes effective March 1, 2006.  Holmes has served as Personnel Director for the past 15 years. In that capacity, she has managed a comprehensive human resources program for the County, including employee recruitment, selection, pay, benefits, training, and employee relations.

Link said, “Elaine has served Orange County with great distinction.  Her professionalism and superior work ethic have been the benchmarks by which we are measured as Orange County employees.  She has created a personnel system that is admired and emulated throughout North Carolina.  Elaine has truly earned a long and fulfilling retirement and she has all of our best wishes.”

Elaine’s accomplishments include:

·        Building the Personnel Department’s services and programs to a comprehensive level and developing the well qualified, experienced staff that will continue these programs.

·        Working through innumerable employee personnel issues with professionalism and empathy, while at the same time recognizing the needs of the organization.  This has built a working relationship of trust and confidence that has served both employees and the organization well.

·        Developing an excellent benefits package for County employees.

·        Completing a Countywide job classification and pay study of all County positions to update the County’s job structure and support an equitable pay plan.

·        Successfully transitioning Town of Chapel Hill Solid Waste employees, Orange County Rescue Squad emergency transportation employees, and Orange County Animal Shelter employees into Orange County government.

Holmes said, “I have enjoyed my years with Orange County.  I’ll miss the day-to-day work with the employees and department heads.  They are talented, committed and care deeply about serving the citizens of this County.  At the same time, I’m excited and looking forward to the new opportunities and experiences offered by retirement.  I’m planning to travel, spend more time with my family and pursue activities at home and in the community.”

“I’ve had a 36-year career in human resources management.  I’m fortunate to have found early in my career the work that I love to do and the opportunity to do it.  As I look back on my years with Orange County, I’m particularly proud of the Personnel staff.  They have built strong human resources support for Orange County employees and departments,“ Holmes added.   

###


EDC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 9, 2005

Contact: Dianne Reid  
Director Economic Development

(919)
245-2325

Enhancing Agriculture and Opportunities for Farmers in Orange County

Noah Ranells joined the Orange County Economic Development Commission as the Agricultural Economic Development Coordinator.  His job will focus on opportunities to: 1) encourage new agricultural businesses; 2) enhance the viability of existing agricultural enterprises; and 3) raise awareness of the agricultural economy and its benefits to local communities.  He will also work with other county staff to simplify regulations for local agricultural enterprises.  This is a 20 hour per week position. 

Ranells is enthusiastic about opportunities for agriculture in Orange County. “If you look around North Carolina and the United States, there are exciting new opportunities for farmers,” Ranells said.  Many former tobacco farmers are considering new farming ventures and it is important to have options available for farm families who want to keep their farms viable and productive. “There will be some difficult decisions to be made, but many options exist,” Ranells added. 

Dianne Reid, Economic Development Director, notes that the position is an excellent match for Ranells’ skills and interests.  His active participation as a volunteer on various Orange County boards and committees have made him aware of issues important to both farming and non-farming communities.  “Sometimes those concerns are shared interests among the two constituencies and at times the priorities are different,” Reid notes.  It is all about open communications.  “As long as folks are willing to talk about what is important to them, their families, and the farming community, this can only improve the agricultural future for Orange County,” Ranells concluded.  

If you have ideas for agricultural initiatives or concerns you wish to share, please contact Ranells at 245-2330 or nranells@co.orange.nc.us.

###


ERCD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 8, 2005

Contact: David Stancil 
Orange County
Environment and Resource Conservation Director
(919)
245-2598

Conservation Easement to Protect Arboretum

The Orange County Board of Commissioners approved the acquisition of a conservation easement for 36 acres of land owned by Dr. Charles Keith during the September 7, 2005 board meeting.

The easement is located in the Pickard’s Mountain area of southwestern Orange County, which has been a priority for the County’s Lands Legacy Program and other land trusts for many years. Dr. Keith owns 81 acres of land adjacent to Pickard’s Mountain - including the headwaters of Morgan Creek, which is part of the University Lake protected watershed. The new easement adjoins land previously protected by conservation easement with Triangle Land Conservancy.

In the early 1980’s, Dr. Keith and his late wife Barbara began an ongoing arboretum with a remarkable variety of trees and shrubs from around the country and other parts of the world.  Today, it is said to be one of the largest arboretums east of the Mississippi River, with an estimated 5,000 different species.  Dr. Keith hosts visitors locally and from around the country to tour the collection.  The conservation easement would help protect the Keith Arboretum, the undeveloped woodlands, and the Morgan Creek headwater streams located on the property.  All future development rights would be relinquished, with the exception of potential walking trails, new maintenance structures for the Arboretum, and a possible future visitor center.  Two tracts would remain entirely undeveloped.

This project increases the protected farm and forestlands associated with the Pickard’s Mountain area – one of the more significant natural areas in the County - from 479 to 515 acres, including an Orange County Lands Legacy easement of 2003 with Lewis and Everett Cheek of Lemola Ayrshire Farm. Other protected lands are held in easement by Triangle Land Conservancy (Maple View Farm, William Burlingame) and the Conservation Trust for NC (Tim Toben).

The Keith property includes the Keith residence (a restored 1830s log cabin), undeveloped woodlands, Morgan Creek headwater streams, and the arboretum.

Dr. Keith has agreed to convey the conservation easement to Orange County at a bargain price of $108,000 ($3,000 per acre), which is well below the $406,800 appraised value of the development rights that will be removed from the property ($11,300 per acre). The purchase amount would help fund a stewardship endowment for a nonprofit foundation that Dr. Keith has established for the long-term care of the Arboretum. 

“Thanks to the vision of Dr. Charles Keith and other nearby landowners, over 500 acres of natural areas and important farmlands have now been protected in the Pickard’s Mountain area,” stated County Commissioners Chair Moses Carey. “These conservation easements will allow these families to retain private ownership and control of their property and to help preserve their quality of life, yet assure protection of their sensitive land resources from future development pressures and other degradation. This is another success for our Lands Legacy Program, which leverages local funds with Federal and State dollars to extend the cost-effective benefits that serve the conservation interests of our entire County,” added Carey.

The County’s funding for this bargain-sale easement comes from the Lands Legacy Opportunities Fund, funding appropriated by the Board of Commissioners annually to help acquire high-priority natural and cultural resource lands for future generations.

With this project, Orange County has protected 1,615 acres since the inception of its Lands Legacy Program five years ago in April 2000.  Lands Legacy seeks to conserve the County’s most critical natural and cultural resource lands, including prime farmland, prime forests, natural areas/wildlife habitat, watershed riparian buffers, parks and historic/cultural sites.

For more information about the Lands Legacy Program, contact David Stancil at 245-2590 or Rich Shaw at 245-2591.

###


Social Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 8, 2005

Contact: Nancy Coston 
Orange County
Social Services Director
(919)
245-2800

Orange County Expands Childcare Support

There is a growing need for affordable childcare for families who live in Orange County. 

The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 to provide $50,000 to the Social Services Department to provide subsidies for additional families on the day care waiting list.

In June of this year, there were 391 Orange County children on the waiting list for childcare subsidies.  During the budget deliberations in that same month, the Board of Commissioners identified $50,000 from the Critical Needs Reserve Account to provide additional support to the waiting families. 

During fiscal year 2004 - 2005, a day care task force was formed by Orange County Social Services.  The task force represented day care providers, the Orange County Partnership for Young Children, the Social Services Board, Child Care Services Association, the Board of County Commissioners, the County Manager’s Office, and Social Services staff.  The task force assisted with the effective distribution and use of funds provided by the Board of Commissioners from the Social Safety Net. 

This year, Social Services plans to seek matching sponsors in the community, increasing the number of children to be served.  Employers and the faith community will be targeted as potential sponsors.  The Social Services Board will monitor the effectiveness of the sponsorships and will oversee the use of the County funds. 

###


EMERGENCY SERVICES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 7, 2005

Contact: Jack Ball 
Orange County
Emergency Services Director
(919)
968-2050

Orange County Responds to Katrina

Orange County is actively participating in the recovery effort both locally and in the disaster area by supporting federal, state, and non-profit relief efforts. 

Orange County EMS is providing support to the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), having dispatched ambulances and paramedics to Raleigh-Durham International Airport this past weekend to provide medical care and transportation for potentially injured victims.  Orange County EMS remains on standby in the event flights with patients arrive in the future.

Orange County Emergency Management 9-1-1 Division has sent two telecommunicators, Steve Newton and Mike Reitz, to St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana as part of the Telecommunicator Emergency Response Team. They arrived Monday afternoon, September 5 and are stationed at the parish’s Emergency Operations Center taking calls from the public on requests for resources and notifications of emergencies.

North Carolina is one of six southeastern states identified as primary relocation areas for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Orange County staff, in conjunction with nonprofits, have identified long term sheltering capabilities to facilitate receiving evacuees from the afflicted areas. Emergency Management, in conjunction with Public Health, Social Services, Department on Aging, and Animal Control are leading a committee with the Red Cross, Interfaith Council, Orange Congregations in Mission, and Orange-Person-Chatham Mental Health, to identify infrastructure and resources to support those evacuees before they arrive.  Having resources in place will make an easier transition into our area for the duration of their stay. We expect any evacuees sheltering in Orange County to remain for a number of months.

Orange County EMS has started a sign up list for internal personnel in the event EMS staff are needed in the affected area.

We are participating in daily conference calls with the state. 

###


ANIMAL SERVICES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 7, 2005

Contact: Joe Pulcinella 
Orange County
Animal Shelter Director
(919)
245-2075

Katrina's Furry Victims Need Foster Homes

While Hurricane Katrina has had tragic consequences for the human population, she also has caused untold suffering for the many pets caught in the storm’s fury. The lucky ones were able to stay with their owners but many were left behind to fend for themselves.

Agencies such as the American Humane Association and the Humane Society of the United States have sent teams to the storm stricken states and they are receiving help from local agencies. As survivors arrive in North Carolina with their pets and the number of rescued homeless animals rises, there may be a need for local support to house and care for Katrina’s furry victims.

One of the ways the Orange County Animal Services Department is preparing to help with this possibility is to identify long-term foster homes to care for these pets. Some may arrive with their owners and others may be strays, but either way many of these animals will need several months of care in homes while their owners get back on their feet or the lengthy process of finding their owners plays out.

If you can provide foster care for one or more of these pets,--whether it be a cat, a dog or a “pocket pet” such as a hamster--please contact Sarah Fallin at 919-967-7383 or sfallin@co.orange.nc.us.

###


HUMAN SERVICES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 6, 2005

Contact: Sharron Hinton 
Director Community Services
(919)
245-2302

Human Services Forum on Homelessness

The Orange County Board of Commissioners and the Orange County Human Services Advisory Commission (HSAC) will host the 17th Annual Human Services Advisory Commission Forum on Wednesday, September 14, 2005, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Traditionally, the HSAC has held the Forum at the Friday Center.  However, in a year where fiscal constraints abound, the HSAC will host this year’s Forum at the United Church of Chapel Hill, located at 1321 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in Chapel Hill.

The theme for 2005 Forum is “Welcome Home: A Bold Proposal to End Homelessness”.  Orange County, with the collaborative support of the municipalities and Triangle United Way is embarking on an exciting initiative to end homelessness in the next 10 years.  This year’s Forum will be the “kick-off” by highlighting the challenges faced in our community and identifying options for addressing the unique needs of the homeless in Orange County. 

We are fortunate to have nationally recognized speakers available to offer insight into this complex issue.  Richard Moore, NC State Treasurer will open the event; Philip Mangano, Executive Director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness will provide the keynote address; and Chris Fitzsimon, Director of NC Policy Watch will serve as the luncheon speaker. 

In an effort to demonstrate widespread community support for alleviating homelessness in Orange County, all proceeds from the registration fee of $12.50 will be donated to the two local agencies that primarily serve this population. Orange Congregations in Mission (OCIM) and Inter-Faith Council for Social Service (IFC) will share equally in the proceeds and specifically use these funds to serve chronically homeless individuals and families.

To register contact Corinthia Barber in the County Manager’s Office at (919) 245-2300.

###


BOCC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 6, 2005

Contact: Donna Baker 
Clerk to the Board of Commissioners
(919)
245-2300

Orange County Hosts Outreach Listening Sessions

Only two “listening sessions”, hosted by the Orange County Board of Commissioners, are left. 

The next session will be on Thursday, September 15, 2005 at 7:00 pm, at the Efland Community Center, 117 Richmond Road, Efland.     

The sessions provide an informal and relaxed opportunity for residents to share their concerns and thoughts related to county government. 

Residents who do not feel comfortable making a presentation to the Board in a public meeting may feel free to share their issues in a more casual setting near local neighborhoods.  Whether the topics are operations, programs, or services, here is a chance to share your thoughts with the Chair and one other Commissioner. 

Any county resident may attend any meeting. 

Results of the sessions will be shared with members of the Board and Orange County Staff. 

Remaining 2005 Orange County Listening Sessions

All meetings begin at 7:00 pm and last until 8:00 pm. 

September 15 – Efland Community Center

October 5 – Government Services Center

###