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News Releases

Orange County, North Carolina

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

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September / October 2011

Past Orange County News Releases  Solid Waste News




Release Date: October 31, 2011

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


Groundbreaking for the Efland Buckhorn Sewer Project

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – The public is invited to a groundbreaking ceremony for the Central Efland Phase II and North Buckhorn Sanitary Sewer System on Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 10:30 a.m.  The ceremony will be held at the Efland Ruritan Club, 3106 Highway 70 West in Efland, NC.

These systems in total include over 4 ½  miles of gravity system and a sewage lift station with approximately ½ mile of sewer force main that can provide service to hundreds of  residents, current businesses and future businesses. 

Bernadette Pelissier, Chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners is excited to see the project moving forward.  “The Board of Commissioners is very pleased to begin work on the long-awaited sewer project for the Efland community,” Pelissier said. 

The $4.0 million project has been funded and supported by the following groups. 

Environment Protection Agency

North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Orange County Board of Commissioners

City of Mebane Town Council

Voters of Orange County

For additional information contact Donna Baker at 919-245-2130. 






Release Date: October 27, 2011

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


Orange County Announces Appointments to Advisory Boards and Commissions

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – On October 18, 2011 the Orange County Board of Commissioners appointed the following citizen volunteers to County advisory boards and commissions:

Volunteer Name                                                     Board Name

Mr. Brian Decker                         Carrboro Northern Transition Area Advisory Committee

Ms. Mary Musacchia                     Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Commission

Mrs. Suzanne Haff                       Chapel Hill Planning Board

Ms. Verna Dunn                           Orange County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee

Ms. JonZella Bailey-Pridham          Orange County Housing Authority Board

Ms. Audra Marotta                        Orange County Arts Commission

Dr. Jeff Charles                            Orange Unified Transportation Board             


Congratulations!  The Board of Commissioners appreciates your willingness to serve your community.

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

For additional opportunities check online at or call Donna Baker (919) 245-2130 or Jeanette Jones (919) 245-2125.



Animal Services



Release Date: October 27, 2011

Contact:  Robert A. Marotto , Director, Orange County Animal Services, 919-968-2287


Orange County Provides Information on Deer Hunting with Dogs

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – As the hunting season for deer with guns nears, Orange County Animal Services has put together information on the legal requirements and responsibilities of using dogs to hunt deer. County staff is initiating public outreach to mitigate health and safety concerns at the direction of the Board of County Commissioners.

An informational brochure is now available that provides general information about hunting deer with dogs in Orange County, which is lawful in northern Orange County--specifically, the portion of the County north of Interstate 85.  The brochure also describes the process for reporting concerns or making complaints. 

 An important part of this outreach is that hunters, residents, and landowners all have rights and responsibilities.  Responsible conduct by all parties can minimize community conflicts and ensure public health and safety during the upcoming gun hunting season.

One responsibility is that written permission must be obtained to hunt someone else’s private property.  In Orange County, written permission is required whether or not private property is posted “No hunting.”   This differs from other counties in North Carolina which requires written permission only when hunting posted property.

A sample written permission form is available from the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission at .

Information about deer hunting with dogs in Orange County is available online at






Release Date: October 24, 2011

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


Orange County Board of Commissioners Meeting Notice

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute, the Board of County Commissioners provides notice of the following meeting.  A majority of the Orange County Commissioners may attend this event making the event subject to open meetings laws.

Members of the Orange County Board of Commissioners have been invited by Senator Ellie Kinnaird to attend a discussion with the N.C. Biofuels Center on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. at the Orange County Solid Waste Management office at 1207 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill. 

Also, this is a reminder that the previously scheduled Assembly of Governments meeting on Thursday, October 27, 2011 has been canceled. 





Release Date: October 18, 2011

Contact:  Donna S. Baker, Clerk to the Orange County Board of Commissioners, 919-245-2130 or Jeanette Jones 919-245-2125


Orange County Seeking Applicants for Parks and Recreation Council

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

Orange County is currently seeking applicants to serve as an Orange County representative on the Parks and Recreation Council (PARC). 

PARC consults with and advises the Parks and Recreation Department and the Board of County Commissioners on matters affecting recreation policies, programs, personnel, finances, and the acquisition and disposal of lands and properties related to the total community recreation program, and to its long-range planning for recreation.  Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Recreation Center. 

Special representation vacancies include the following locations.  

  • Chapel Hill Township
  • Little River Township
  • Chapel Hill City Limits
  • Carrboro City Limits


If interested, you may apply online at .

Select "Orange County Parks and Recreation Council" under "Boards and Commissions Listing" for additional information or call Donna Baker (919) 245-2130 or Jeanette Jones (919) 245-2125.

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





Release Date: October 13, 2011

Contact:  Tracy Reams, Orange County Elections Director, 919-245-2351


Orange County Board of Elections Update

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Voters participating in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education election will have a choice of voting for FIVE candidates.  The fifth place winner will serve the 2-year term of a seat vacated by former school board member Joe Green. 

The Orange County Board of Elections was notified by a staff attorney with the General Assembly this week that the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Board of Education contest vacated by Joe Green was listed incorrectly on the absentee and sample ballots.  The 2-year unexpired term was listed separately with one unopposed candidate.  A local bill enacted in 1975 states that “if any election for members of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Board of Education vacancies have occurred and there are both regular four-year terms and two-year unexpired terms to be filled by election, the candidates elected with the greatest numbers of votes shall be elected for regular four-year terms, and the candidates elected with the lowest numbers of votes shall be elected to fill the remainder of the unexpired terms.”

The Board of Elections Office and others were not aware of this 35-year old unique act pertaining to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Board of Education until this week.  The Elections Office has corrected sample ballots which are posted on their website

Fortunately, Election Day ballots have not been printed yet.  Twenty absentee ballots were mailed containing the school board contest.  The Board of Elections has already contacted all but 2 absentee voters to inform them that they will be receiving a new ballot with the school board contest merged.  All absentee ballots emailed overseas have already received their corrected ballot. 

Tracey Reams, Director of Elections has apologized to the candidates for any inconvenience or confusion that this may have caused.  “I can assure you we are taking every action to correct this matter and will do anything I can to ensure voters are aware that for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Board of Education contest that voters have a choice of voting for FIVE candidates whose names will be listed in alphabetical order,” Reams stated in an email to the candidates.   

Link to local bill:






Release Date: October 6, 2011

Contact:  Matthew Roybal, Manager - Piedmont Food & Ag Processing Center, Orange County Economic Development, 919-245-2336


Piedmont Food & Ag Processing Center Grand Opening

HILLSBOROUGH, NC – The Piedmont Region of North Carolina takes a major step towards a local farm to fork food system with the grand opening of the Piedmont Food & Agricultural Processing Center on Friday, October 21, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. 

The $1.4 million facility, located at 500 Valley Forge Road in Hillsborough, NC, offers 10,400 square feet containing food production equipment, refrigerated and frozen storage, as well as office work space for farmers and food entrepreneurs within the Piedmont Region.  Matthew Roybal, facility manager, said “We’re here to help local farmers and food entrepreneurs establish and grow their businesses.”

This shared-use, value-added, food business incubator allows clients to lease food production equipment by the hour and storage area by the month. Local farmers, food entrepreneurs, and food brokers can use the vegetable and fruit processing room to wash, grade, and pack local farm produce for further marketing. Three additional production rooms have been equipped for preparing and packaging baked goods, jams, jellies, and sauces, and other specialty foods.  Clients are planning to begin using the facility on October 10th. 

The Piedmont Food & Ag Processing Center will be managed by Orange County under the guidance of an Inter-local Cooperative Agreement between Alamance, Chatham, Durham, and Orange Counties.  Chair of the center’s Steering Committee and longtime advocate for local farmers, Orange County Commissioner Barry Jacobs is “extremely pleased to see this great and creative collaborative effort come to fruition.”  He added, “The center builds resilience and capacity into our local food system and serves as an incubator for innovative, agriculture-related small business entrepreneurship throughout our region.” In the coming two years, management of the center will transition from the local governments to a non-profit entity.

Support for this project was provided by the NC Agricultural Development & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, the Tobacco Trust Fund, the Golden Leaf Foundation, the US Housing & Urban Development Economic Initiative Program, the RAFI-USA Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Program, the NC Department of Agricultural & Consumer Services Specialty Crop Program, and the NC Energy Office.

RSVP for this event at . For additional information visit or contact Yvonne Scarlett at 919-245-2325. 






Release Date: September 30, 2011

Contact:  Frank Clifton, Orange County Manager, 919-245-2300


Bridger Named Health Director for Orange County

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Colleen M. Bridger, PhD has been named as the new Director for the Orange County Health Department starting October 31, 2011.

As the Health Director, Bridger will be responsible for strategic leadership among health, human service and environmental providers countywide to assure that the public’s health is protected and community health needs are identified and met.  The Director leads and oversees the activities of the department that includes 95 experienced, highly skilled staff members and a $7 million budget.  The Director reports to the Orange County Board of Health.   

“After a rigorous interview process, we are pleased to have Dr. Bridger as Orange County's Health Director,” said Anissa Vines, Chair of the Orange County Board of Health.  “We are fortunate to have identified a highly qualified and experienced public health leader.” 

Bridger has a solid foundation of experience having served as Director of Health Departments in Stokes County for 4 ½ years and Gaston County for 8 years. 

Her educational background includes a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Health Services Research from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, a Master of Public Health degree in the Maternal and Child Health program from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of International Studies from The School for International Training, World Learning Inc., Brattleboro, VT. 

“We are pleased the Orange County Board of Health selected an individual with extensive experience as a Public Health Director within North Carolina.  Dr. Bridger will be an asset to Orange County,” Clifton said. 

For the past year, Bridger has served as the Executive Director of South Carolina Institute for Child Success in Greenville, S.C. 

“I'm looking forward to returning to public health especially in Orange County where the expertise among the Health Department staff and our partners is second to none,” Bridger said.  “On a personal note my husband and I both graduated from Chapel Hill and our daughter is currently a student there. We love the area and are excited about moving to Orange County,” she added. 

Dorothy Cilenti has been serving as Interim Health Department Director since June of this year after the retirement of Dr. Rosemary Summers. 





Release Date: September 30, 2011

Contact:  Frank Clifton, Orange County Manager, 919-245-2300


Willie Best Retires as Assistant Manager of Orange County

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Orange County Manager Frank Clifton has announced the retirement of Willie Best as Assistant County Manager.  Best’s last day with Orange County is Friday, September 30, 2011.

Starting in June of 2007, Best assisted the County Manager in directing departments and programs in Orange County Government.  An immediate focus for Best as Assistant County Manager was to oversee progress towards the County Commissioners’ adopted goal on economic development, particularly in implementing the Five-Year Strategic Plan “Investing in Innovation”.  Best also provided leadership and guidance to multiple County departments.

Best said that he was especially pleased with helping Orange County turn the corner in taking a more aggressive approach to economic development, including offering incentives for the first time for business expansion.  He has also helped guide Emergency Services with the increase of ambulances on the road providing additional emergency medical services to the residents and guests of Orange County.  One project Best is happy to see approach fruition is the soon to open Piedmont Food and Agricultural Processing Center.  “It was a challenge with multiple regional jurisdictions, State agencies and Federal Government support,” Best said.  “But the hard work has paid off now that the doors are opening for clients.” 

Best came to Orange County with nearly two decades of local government management experience in North Carolina and Virginia.   Following five years of work at the outset of his career with regional and North Carolina State government, Best had successive positions as assistant manager or manager with a number of county and city governments.  In 1987, he was appointed Assistant County Manager for Wilson County.  He served from 1995 into 1998 as Robeson County Manager.  Moving to the Washington DC area, he served for nearly four years as Assistant City Manager and Acting City Manager in Falls Church, Virginia.  He returned to North Carolina in 2003, with a three-year stint as Guilford County Manager prior to joining Orange County Government.

“Willie has been an asset to Orange County.  While we will miss him, Willie will have much more free time and no more night meetings,” Clifton said.

 “I am excited about this new chapter in my life and I look forward to more time with family.  The future offers a time to follow my passions,” Best said.  “I also want to thank the citizens of Orange County for this opportunity to serve,” he added. 

Michael Talbert, Deputy Finance Director, serves as Interim Assistant County Manager.





Release Date: September 23, 2011

Contact:  Gwen Harvey, Orange County, Assistant County Manager, 919-245-2307


Proposed Orange County Quarter-Cent Sales Tax to Support Schools and Jobs

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – On Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, registered voters in Orange County will have the opportunity to vote for or against the 1/4 ¢ sales and use tax.  If approved, every $100 spent by shoppers Orange County will generate 25¢ for education and economic development.  Around $2.5 million would be generated in one year based on current projections. The proposed sales tax would not apply to groceries, gasoline and prescription medicines. 

If approved, one half of the revenues will be distributed to county and city schools on a per pupil basis for facility improvement of older schools and the purchase of technology.  The other half of the revenues will help grow business through a sustainable and well-managed economic development plan that fits the unique and diverse Orange County community. The blueprint for attracting and expanding strong business in Orange County would include funds for entrepreneurs, small business loans, innovation centers for new businesses and support for agriculture businesses. Funds will also be used to improve vital County infrastructure that underpin a robust business environment such as utilities, water and sewer. The focus on directing funds for schools and jobs is a 10-year commitment by the Orange County Commissioners.             

The proposed sales tax would apply to people who shop in Orange County including visitors, tourists and temporary residents.  Annually, visitors to Orange County generate nearly 20% of the sales tax revenue.  The proposed sales tax will help diversify the tax base and share some of the tax burden currently shouldered by home-owners paying property taxes.  If approved, 1/4 ¢ sales tax is targeted to begin April 1, 2012.   

The wording for the proposed 1/4 ¢ sales tax on the Tuesday, November 8 ballot will be: 

 - For or Against -

Local sales and use tax at the rate of one-quarter percent (0.25%) in addition to all other State and local sales and use taxes.

Voters are encouraged to learn more by going to the county web site: Or, call the County office at 919-245-2307.





Release Date: September 20, 2011

Contact:  Rich Shaw, Orange County Land Conservation Manager, 919-245-2514


Orange County Pick Up and Play Day

HILLSBOROUGH, NC – Orange County Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks & Recreation in conjunction with Play Every Day are sponsoring Pick Up and Play Day as part of the National Public Lands Day, Saturday September 24th at Fairview Park. Fairview Park is located at 195 Torain St in Hillsborough. 

National Public Lands Day is in its 18th year and is the nation’s largest annual volunteer effort to benefit public lands.   Planned events include trail maintenance, planting trees, litter removal, and clearing paths around the community garden from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.   Please bring a picnic lunch to enjoy.  A member of Orange County’s Little River Park staff will lead a Bug Safari nature program for kids.  Explorers will search through the “bug-infested jungle” of the park observing the wild and weird world of insects.  Children’s play event for NC Play Daze, an initiative by the NC Early Childhood Active Play Alliance and Be Active Kids, will round out the day’s activities from 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 

The new and improved Fairview Park opened in May 2011 with an assortment of new facilities.  This workday will enable volunteers to be involved with making further enhancements to the park. Registration begins at the Fairview Park Picnic Shelter at 8:30 a.m. 

For additional information please contact: 
Rich Shaw, 919-245-2514 or
Anne Clark, 919-260-0940 


Emergency Services



Release Date: September 8, 2011

Contact:  Frank Montes de Oca, Orange County Emergency Services Director, 919-245-6100


Orange County Holds 9/11 Memorial Service

HILLSBOROUGH, NC – Orange County Emergency Services in conjunction with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Hillsborough Police Department and Orange Rural Fire Department will hold a brief memorial service on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.  The event will be held on Sunday, September 11, 2011 in front of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at 106 East Margaret Lane in Hillsborough. 

At 10:00 a.m. there will be a brief flag ceremony and radio transmission in honor of the emergency responders and civilians who perished. Attendees will also share a moment of silence in memorial to the sacrifices experienced that fateful day. 

Directly following the commemorative ceremony, Orange County Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass will award Medals of Valor to two deputies to recognize their recent meritorious efforts in the line of duty.

All emergency responders in the fire, rescue, medical, and law enforcement community are welcome to participate.  Members of the community are encouraged to attend. 

For additional information, contact Doris Cecil with Orange County Emergency Services at 919-245-6129.





Release Date: September 7, 2011

Contact:  Frank Clifton, Orange County Manager, 919-245-2300


Brantley Named Director of Economic Development for Orange County

HILLSBOROUGH, NC – Frank Clifton, Orange County Manager, announced the appointment of Mark Steven (Steve) Brantley as Economic Development Director for Orange County starting September 19, 2011.

As the Economic Development Director, Brantley will be responsible for creating and implementing strategies to enhance and promote the economic well-being of Orange County.  He will also coordinate with the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitor’s Bureau. 

Brantley has an established track record with over 20 years with the North Carolina Department of Commerce.  As a Senior International Economic Developer, Brantley was responsible for recruiting new business and industrial facilities, research and development laboratories, distribution centers and office headquarters.  Targeted industries included pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, ceramics, textiles, electronics and green technology.  He served as the lead contact for the State of North Carolina with Far East clients including Japan, Korea and China.  Brantley has collaborated with universities to help develop innovation centers and new start-ups. 

His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Economics with a minor in Asian/Japanese Studies.  In the private sector, Brantley worked with Credit Suisse on Wall Street with specialized training in managerial and cost accounting, financial statement analysis, international economics and foreign currency trading.  He worked frequently with corporate clients in the central and eastern area of the U.S.  Brantley also worked with Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T) as a Commercial Lending Officer assisting companies with corporate loans. 

“Steve was our top choice among the several qualified applicants for Economic Director,” Clifton said.  “His wide range of experience from home-grown university start-ups to international clients will be an excellent fit to tackle our challenges.” 

Brantley, who has lived in Orange County for the last 25 years, is excited about the future.  “I’m looking forward to new challenges and implementing creative solutions to nurture economic growth in Orange County,” Brantley said. 



The news item below was released by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. 


Release Date: September 1, 2011

Contact:  Todd McGee, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, 919-715-7336


Orange County Commissioner Appointed to Association Board

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Orange County Commissioner Valerie Foushee has been appointed to a one-year term on the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners’ Board of Directors by NCACC President Kenneth Edge, a Cumberland County Commissioner. Foushee will serve as chair of the NCACC’s Healthy Living Task Force.

The Task Force is charged with studying ways that counties can help encourage citizens and county employees to engage in healthy living practices to help counties reduce tax dollars spent providing public health services to citizens and group health benefits for county employees.

Foushee served as a member of two NCACC Task Forces in 2010-11 – the Youth Involvement Task Force and the Building Human Capital Task Force. She also served as Vice Chair of the NCACC’s Health and Human Services Steering Committee in 2010-11.

The Association’s Board is comprised of five officers, 18 district directors, county commissioners who are members of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Counties and several presidential appointees who either chair Association steering committees or serve as at-large members. The Board of Directors meets several times throughout the year to develop statewide policy goals in such areas as taxation and finance, agriculture, environment, justice and public safety, health and human services and public education.



The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) is the official voice of all 100 counties on issues being considered by the General Assembly, Congress and federal and state agencies. The Association provides expertise to counties in the areas of lobbying, fiscal and legal research, communications, intergovernmental relations, information technology, field visits and risk management services.

Animal Services


Release Date: September 1, 2011

Contact:  Robert A. Marotto, Orange County Animal Services Director, 919-968-2287


Animal Services Offers New Online Features

CHAPEL HILL, NC – Pet owners in Orange County will now find licensing their pets even easier.  Orange County Animal Services, in coordination Information Technology, has added licensing to the growing list of online services now available to the public. 

The starting point for the service officially came in early August but September will be the first month that residents receiving a license renewal mailing will be directed online as a payment option.  Animal Services hopes that this new feature will make renewing pet licenses and registering new pets more convenient and accessible for County residents. 

This is the second new service to expand to the web from the Animal Services Department this year.  Earlier in the summer, it became possible to make donations to Animal Services online.  Donors can choose to give a general care donation or a donation toward a specific fund for spay/neuter projects.  There is even an option that allows citizens to directly order commonly used products for the shelter animals.  

Visit the department at to find these new online services, as well as pictures of animals available for adoption or those recently found.