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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 2012

 

Solid Waste News Releases

Health Department News Releases

 

Past Orange County News Releases 

 


BOCC

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: October 19, 2012

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

Orange County BOCC Meeting Change Notice November 19

 

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Pursuant to North Carolina General Statutes, the Orange County Board of Commissioners provides notice of the following change in their 2012 meeting calendar. 

The Orange County Board of Commissioners’ Quarterly Public Hearing on Monday, November 19, 2012 that was previously scheduled to be held at the Department of Social Services will be held at the Central Orange Senior Center, 103 Meadowlands Drive in Hillsborough.  The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. 

Please note the BOCC Joint Meeting with the Orange County Planning Board will still be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, November 19, 2012 at the Link Government Services Center, 200 S. Cameron Street in Hillsborough. 

A listing of all BOCC meetings can be found on the Orange County website.

http://www.co.orange.nc.us/OCCLERKS/bocc2012.asp

 

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Recreation

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: October 12, 2012

Contact: Molly Fitzsimons, Recreation Program Supervisor,

Orange County Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks & Recreation

Phone: 919.245.2663

Or

Beth Young, Communications Manager,

Orange County Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks & Recreation

Phone: 919.245.2518

Orange County to Host Annual Halloween Spooktacular

 

ORANGE COUNTY, NC (October 12, 2012)— The Orange County Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks & Recreation will host the annual Halloween Spooktacular Saturday October 27 at the Central Recreation Center, 300 West Tryon Street in Hillsborough.   

The Recreation Division invites everyone to put on their best Halloween Costume and join the fun at Spooktacular from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Free activities include a Costume Contest and Kids Arts and Crafts.  Tickets will be sold for other activities with prices ranging from $.50 to $3.  Face painting, Carnival Games, Cake Walks, and Pumpkin Decorating are just a few of the activities for the whole family to enjoy.  For the brave ones there will be a Haunted Hospital ($2) and Bounce Houses ($2) for the younger set. 

There will be hot dogs, popcorn, and drinks available to purchase.  

 

For more information about Spooktacular and other recreation events, please call 919.245.2660

 

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Emergerncy Services

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: October 5, 2012

Contact: Doris Cecil, Office Assistant II Orange County Emergency Services, (919) 245-6129

Orange County EMS Employees Wear Pink for the Cure

 

ORANGE COUNTY, NC (October 5, 2012)—The Orange County Department of Emergency Services (EMS) is joining firefighters and EMS employees across the country in recognizing and raising money for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This marks the fourth year the County has participated in the awareness campaign.

During the month of October, Orange County EMS will show its support by allowing its employees to wear pink T-shirts, featuring a logo, which was custom designed for the department. In addition to the T-shirts, the logo is also displayed on the EMS vehicles.

Orange County EMS is prominently displaying the values outlined in its mission, "Care – Service – Survive," by bringing both cancer and breast cancer awareness to the community—wearing the pink T-shirts while on duty.

“Each of us has been touched one way or another by this disease. We want to rally the community and bring continued awareness, so we can work together to find a cure,” said Colonel Frank Montes de Oca, director of Orange County EMS.

The department views this as an excellent way to honor those who are fighting the battle, while remembering others who have lost the fight.

For more information about the Pink T-shirt Campaign, please call Doris Cecil at the Orange County Department of Emergency Services at 919.245.6129.

 

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BOCC

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: October 4, 2012

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

Orange County BOCC Special Meeting Notice

 

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners provides notice of the following additions in their meeting calendar. 

Notice is hereby given that a quorum of the Orange County Board of Commissioners may be present during a tour of the Southern Human Services Center grounds, 2501 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill, scheduled for Friday, October 12, 2012 at 1:00 p.m.  While this will be a “grounds tour” the presence of a quorum of the County Commissioners would constitute a Special Meeting of the Board of Commissioners, subject to the open meetings, public records and public notice laws of the State of North Carolina. 

Members of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, along with other elected officials, have been invited to attend a Community Leader Forum on “Smoke-Free Public Places” hosted by the Orange County Health Department and Board of Health.  The forum will be held on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.  A majority of the Orange County Commissioners may attend this event making the event subject to open meetings laws.

 

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BOCC

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: October 4, 2012

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

Orange County BOCC Meeting Change Notice November 8

 

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners provides notice of the following change in their meeting calendar. 

The Orange County Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Thursday, November 8, 2012 that was previously scheduled to be held at the Department of Social Services will be held at the Central Orange Senior Center, 103 Meadowlands Drive in Hillsborough.  The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. 

A listing of all BOCC meetings can be found on the Orange County website.

http://www.co.orange.nc.us/OCCLERKS/bocc2012.asp

 

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DEAPR

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: September 27, 2012

Contact: David Stancil, Director - Orange County Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks and Recreation, (919) 245-2510

Orange County Parks and Recreation Master Plan Survey

 

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Orange County residents are invited to participate in a random sample survey for the Parks and Recreation Master Plan update.

The County is in the process of creating a new Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan, with the assistance of consulting professors at UNC-Greensboro (UNC-G). As part of this effort, a Community Needs Assessment Survey has been mailed by UNC-G to more than 4,000 County households, scheduled to arrive in mailboxes this week.

Residents are asked to take a moment to respond and return surveys to UNC-G (the back page of the survey includes a postage-paid return address). If you do not receive the random-sample survey, this will not be the only opportunity to provide input on the new Master Plan. Several other options will be offered in the coming months, including public input sessions and a non-scientific electronic survey.

The Community Needs Assessment Survey (and cover letter) has been developed by the consultants, the Orange County Parks and Recreation Council (a County advisory board) and County staff. Based on County population and other sampling factors, a sample size of 4,200 households was determined for the survey.

Once the survey results are received by the consultants at UNC-G, they will begin the process of collecting and analyzing the results. Participation in the survey is voluntary, and individual results will be strictly confidential. A follow-up postcard will go the each household two weeks after the mailing as a reminder to return the completed survey (if they have not already done so).

Implementing a community needs assessment survey is a primary component in updating the Master Plan. Soliciting statistically-valid feedback on facilities and programs is an important part of the planning process. As such, all residents who receive a survey are encouraged to complete and return the survey. The process is estimated to take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

A final report and survey findings from the consultant is expected by mid-January 2013. A parallel effort to survey the County’s youth on parks and recreation needs – to be incorporated into the Plan - is also underway. Initial public input sessions are tentatively planned for November, and a draft master plan is expected for Spring 2013.

For more information about the Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan, please visit www.orangecountync.gov/deapr and click on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update link in the breaking news section.

 

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Health

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: September 27, 2012

Contact: Stacy Shelp, Orange County Health Department Public Information Officer, (919) 245-2462

Orange County Board of Health Seeks Public Input on Proposed Smoke-Free Rule

 

ORANGE COUNTY, NC –  During its meeting on Wednesday night, the Orange County Board of Health spent time reviewing results from a survey of elected officials and other key community stakeholders on a proposed Smoke-Free Public Places rule.

Eighty-eight people responded to the survey including mayors, city council members, human resource directors, police officers, town managers, and others.

Of those surveyed, more than 90 percent support a comprehensive county-wide smoke-free public places rule. The most significant discord relates to sidewalks and government grounds, but only with 21.8% and 15.9% respectively saying they do not support a smoking ban in those locations. There is overwhelming support of a smoking ban in Government vehicles (100%), Elevators (98.8%), and Child care facilities (97.7%).

The survey includes open-ended questions in regards to perceived benefits and drawbacks to a Smoke-Free Public Places Rule. Most respondents agree that improved general health and avoiding secondhand smoke are the biggest benefits however; a few respondents mention the economic benefits of increasing visitors to Orange County, due to a smoke-free status.

“I think that this policy, along with other tobacco control measures, help to make everyone healthier and encourage current smokers to quit,” commented one respondent.

Related to drawbacks, the most common response is that respondents do not foresee any drawbacks to the rule. Of those that identifying drawbacks, the majority cite concerns about enforcement and infringing on personal freedoms of smokers.

“Un-enforceable, and restrictive to the point it will be counterproductive,” commented another respondent.

Upon reviewing the survey results, Board of Health members agree to move forward with slight modifications including clarification of the exemption of the university and the extent of the sidewalk regulation. Now they are seeking public opinion from County residents and those who work in Orange County.

“We want to hear from as many people as possible when it comes to this rule,” said Board of Health Chair, Tony Whitaker.

A public comment period will be open from Thursday, September 27 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012. The public is encouraged to provide input, using one of the following options:

 

  • An online survey can be accessed at www.surveymonkey.com/s/OCSFPP
  • A telephone comment line, 919.245.2480, allows people to leave their comments if they do not have access to the Internet and/or will not be able to attend the public hearing. 
  • Written comments can be sent by e-mail to SFPP@OrangeCountyNC.gov or via U.S. mail to Orange County Health Department, c/o Smoke-Free Public Places, 300 W. Tryon Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278.
  • A public hearing will be held as part of the Board of Health meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, in the Main Library Conference Room located at 137 W. Margaret Lane; Hillsborough, NC 27278. Interpreters will be available.

 

After the public hearing on October 24, 2012, the Board of Health will discuss and vote on the proposed rule. If the Board of Health adopts the rule, it will then be sent to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners to vote and adopt by ordinance at a future meeting.

Background

The 2010 NC Smoke-free Restaurants and Bars Law (N.C. Gen. Stat. 130A-498) allows local governments to adopt and enforce smoke-free ordinances that are more comprehensive than State law in local government buildings, on local government grounds, in local vehicles, or in public places.

The proposed Orange County Board of Health rule would prohibit smoking in County and Town buildings, vehicles and government grounds and in public places in Orange County, the Towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and those parts of Mebane within the County limits.

Secondhand smoke is known to increase the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, heart attack and lung disease in nonsmokers and according to the Surgeon General; there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. As the second healthiest county in North Carolina, the Board of Health feels it is in the best interest of our citizens and those who visit Orange County to be provided with a healthy and smoke-free environment.

Resources and Data:

Overview of the Rule

http://orangecountync.gov/health/index.asp

Secondhand Smoke Exposure (Source: NC Division of Health and Human Services): http://www.tobaccopreventionandcontrol.ncdhhs.gov/shs/index.htm

Smoking (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm

 

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Social Services

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Lindsey Shewmaker
Orange County Department of Social Services,
919.245.2817

Orange County to Implement New Software Program

HILLSBOROUGH, NC (September 17, 2012)--In an effort to better serve the residents of Orange County, the Department of Social Services will begin implementing a new software system this week called NC FAST to administer the Food and Nutrition Services Program (formerly known as Food Stamps).

 

The NC FAST system — which stands for North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology — introduces technological tools that will allow workers to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time assisting families.

The NC FAST program improves workers’ ability to track cases, share information and coordinate services across programs. The program will provide comprehensive data for evaluating outcomes and ensuring accountability across programs once it’s fully implemented.

Clients will benefit significantly from the NC FAST system once it is fully implemented. When the system is fully functional, families only need to tell their story once, and a social services staff member will be able to determine their eligibility for all available benefits. The new system does not affect eligibility guidelines for client services.

 

The NC FAST system is currently being implemented in social service departments across the state. The Orange County Department of Social Services will begin transitioning to the new program on Monday, September 17, and NC FAST officials expect that it will take eight to 12 weeks until the NC FAST transition is complete. NC FAST should be installed and operational in all 100 county departments of social services by March 2013.

Counties that have already begun transitioning to NC FAST have experienced some slowness in benefit processing as staff learn how to navigate the new system. Clients may experience some delays initially as workers learn and adapt to the new system.

 

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Emergency Services

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: September 12, 2012

Contact: Michael Talbert, Orange County Assistant Manager, (919) 245-2308

Orange County Emergency Services Study Review

 

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Orange County is hosting an informational meeting on Thursday, September 27 to provide the public with an opportunity to review a draft assessment of Emergency Medical Services and 911/Communications Center Operations. The meeting will be held at the Southern Human Services Center at 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. A presentation starts at 7:00 p.m., followed by a question and answer session. 

Orange County has initiated the development of long-range strategies to improve both Emergency Medical Services and 911/Communications for current and future residents. 

The objective of the study is to evaluate the service delivery system, with the development of a long-range plan that outlines recommended improvements and associated costs. The study has solicited input and incorporated suggestions from all stakeholders who are a part of the Emergency Services System. The County’s goal is to incorporate the recommendations into the Fiscal Year 2013/14 Annual Budget & Capital Investment Plan which will make significant improvements in both Emergency Medical Services and the 911/Communications Center.

A preview of the draft plan is available at the following link: http://orangecountync.gov/OCCLERKS/120830.pdf

For more information about the draft Comprehensive Assessment of Emergency Medical Services and 911/Communications Center Operations Study, please contact Assistant County Manager, Michael Talbert (919) 245-2308.

 

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Manager

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: September 5, 2012

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

Director of Orange County Emergency Services to Retire

 

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Orange County Manager Frank Clifton has announced the retirement of Frank Montes de Oca as Director of Emergency Services.  Montes de Oca will work through late January 2013.

As the Director of Emergency Services, Montes de Oca was responsible for 9-1-1 Communications, Emergency Medical Services and the office of the Fire Marshal. 

Frank Montes de Oca has served as Director of Emergency Services since April 2008.  After five years of leading the Emergency Services Department, he is pleased with the accomplishments of the department and the forward progress of many of his goals.  “When I arrived, I said I would give the department and community five years.  In that time we have increased resources and become a forward-thinking progressive department staffed by caring, dedicated professionals,” Montes de Oca said.  “Now on the horizon are several more possibilities, including enhanced equipment and technologies to protect first responders and serve the public quicker, and an emergency management capacity that is all-inclusive,” he added. 

Montes de Oca complemented his staff.  “My successes have been directly related to the hard work and courage of the staff and members of Orange County Emergency Services,” he said. 

Orange County Manager Frank Clifton commented on future plans for the County’s Emergency Services Department.  “We wish Frank the best in his future endeavors.  His notice gives us plenty of time to identify and hire a new Director and to create a smooth transition to enable further progress with these important services,” Clifton said. 

Montes de Oca arrived from Florida following a successful career as a firefighter, paramedic, emergency manager and fire chief.  Throughout his career he has been an avid teacher and trainer, working with many community colleges, universities and the federal government.  “During the next chapter of my career, I hope to share what I’ve learned to help shape future leaders and become more active in my community,” Montes de Oca said.

 

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BOCC

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: September 4, 2012

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

Applicants Needed for Orange County Planning Board

 

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.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners is currently recruiting volunteers for the Orange County Planning Board for individuals to serve as an At Large representative.

 

The Orange County Planning Board is a 12-member board.  This board:

  • Makes studies of Orange County and surrounding areas;
  • Determines objectives to be sought in the development of Orange County;
  • Prepares and recommends plans for achieving these objectives;
  • Develops and recommends to the Board of Commissioners policies, ordinances, administrative procedures and other means for carrying out these plans in a coordinated and efficient manner;
  • Reviews development applications and makes recommendations to the Board of Commissioners.
  • Exercises such functions in the administration and enforcement of various means for carrying out plans as may be assigned by this or other ordinances of the County.

The County is always looking for new applicants for the Planning Board; however, the Board of Commissioners is focusing currently on one vacant seat for the At Large position.  The Board is especially seeking individuals who are interested in planning and development issues.  General planning knowledge is preferred, but not required. 

If interested, please apply at http://www.co.orange.nc.us/boards .

 

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

With over 20 different boards and commissions, volunteers appointed by the Board of County Commissioners have an opportunity to influence the way of life in Orange County.

 

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BOCC

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: September 4, 2012

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

Orange County Needs Applicants for Orange Unified Transportation Board

 

ORANGE COUNTY , NC – Many opportunities exist for volunteer citizens who have a desire to become more involved with issues that affect the future of Orange County. 

There are currently openings on the Orange Unified Transportation Board.  The OUT Board will advise the Board of County Commissioners and provide information and comments on major transportation issues; and will also provide the commissioners with recommendations regarding the overall planning and programming of transportation improvements in the County, including:

  • Identify and prioritize the County’s roadway and transit needs along with associated costs and specific sources of funding
  • Assist in recommendations to the Board regarding Federal and State legislation affecting transportation in Orange County; and
  • Explore and make recommendations on innovative techniques and methods to improve the efficiency and capacity of existing and future transportation systems.

 

Applicants are needed to represent the following areas:

  • Cheeks Township
  • Hillsborough Township
  • Cedar Grove Township
  • Little River Township
  • Bingham Township
  • Chapel Hill Township

 

If interested, please apply at http://www.co.orange.nc.us/boards .

For additional information look under “Boards and Commissions Listing” select "Orange Unified Transportation Board" or call Donna Baker (919) 245-2130 or Jeanette Jones (919) 245-2125.

With over 20 different boards and commissions, volunteers appointed by the Board of County Commissioners have an opportunity to influence the way of life in Orange County.

 

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