bee installation at Harry's
OCV Newsletter - 2nd Q 2010
Dear Neighbor:

As the scent of new-mown hay fills the air and lemon-yellow wildflowers light up roadside meadows, we are more committed than ever to safeguarding this treasured landscape we call home.  So, in addition to the projects underway, OCV is switching to a quarterly newsletter and is adding important and fun information to our website.

  • Orange County Shout Out:  the latest on what's happening with people, places and things in rural Orange County.  To view Orange County Shout Out, click here.
  • Community Calendar: interesting activities and events, along with links to other calendars.  Since the Herb Nerds have taken charge of the calendar, they promise to keep us informed of native plants and wildflowers common to our woodlands and fields.  To view the calendar, click here.  For more on the Herb Nerds, click here.
  • Photo Gallery:  an online gallery of amusing, historic, and/or picturesque photos of rural Orange County.  If you have photos you'd like to share, please send them to photos@orangecountyvoice.org.
We welcome your feedback and suggestions concerning our new format and hope that you will enjoy contributing to the interactive features within our website. 

In addition to the revamped website and newsletter, keep an eye on your inbox for action and information alerts concerning issues and events that impact our rural community.

And speaking of information alerts, here's the latest news from OCV:


Burglaries Place Rural Communities on High Alert

A rash of burglaries throughout rural Orange County have captured the attention of rural communities, as well as the county sheriff's department.  The burglaries generally occur during the day, when no one is home.

Several communities have reported suspicious vendors claiming to sell everything from vacuums to aerial photos.  They neither carry business cards nor have the appearance of a service professional. Their intention is to check out your house and plan a burglary.  They return later, sometimes through the woods on rainy days -- wet leaves make less noise.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department is on high alert and working closely with local communities to apprehend these criminals.  They ask that you call 911 if you notice any suspicious activity involving unfamiliar vehicles, loitering, or non-credible solicitors.  Try to note vehicle and license plate information.  All information of this kind may be of help, so don't hesitate to call.

Communication is our strongest defense.  The sheriff's department suggests activating Community Watch groups in neighborhoods where they do not currently exist.  Click here for information on setting up a Community Watch group with the help of the sheriff's department.  Also, please contact Butch Clark of the Sheriff's Department to receive emails on recent burglaries.

Click here for information prepared by community groups and the sheriff's department on how to protect yourself, your community, and others.

OCV will send crime alerts and updates related to this issue.  If you have information to share, please contact Phil.



Runoff Elections Planned for June 22

Results of the local primary elections have been posted to the OCV website.  Click here to view. 

Runoff elections will be held on Tuesday, June 22, to decide the fourth Orange County School Board seat and the Democratic Party's candidate for the U.S. Senate.  Anne Medenblik and Laura Nicholson are in the running for the fourth school board seat.  Elaine Marshall and Cal Cunningham will compete for the opportunity to challenge Richard Burr in November of 2010.

For information about locations, dates, and hours for Early Voting for the second primary, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.


Please vote on June 22!
Cedar Grove Library to Close

The 2010-2011 Orange County budget includes plans to close the Cedar Grove Library this summer.  Maintenance costs, security concerns, and the high cost of service per customer compared with other library locations are all factors in this decision.


Because of the age and size of the building where the library is housed, the annual cost just to keep the doors open was $107,384.  Maintaining the Internet connection added, at bare minimum, an additional $5,000.


Due to limited funding, branch employees were frequently required to work alone at this remote location.  There were incidents of theft and patron/staff harassment.


Cost per registered user (those with a library card) was $214.15 per year, compared to $49.77 at the main branch of the library.  The cost per user rose to $497.70 when the county included only those who actually used their Cedar Grove library card.


The county commissioners are discussing options that would allow rural residents of the northern part of the county to have library access if and when the Cedar Grove Branch is closed.  If you have ideas, please contact Lucinda Munger, Orange County Library Director.

Sales Tax Discussions Underway

To avoid a property tax increase, Orange County is considering adding a cent sales tax to the November 2010 ballot.  The revenues would be used to fund the county's debt and economic development.

In addition, the county is considering a cent sales tax, slated for the 2011 ballot.  It would fund the long-range transportation plan, which includes a light rail to UNC.

Please watch local papers for information on public hearings and opinion regarding these proposals.

Project Lifesaver Helps Families with Special Needs

The Orange County Sheriff's Department has acquired GPS bracelets for families with special needs.  These bracelets will help locate special needs children, seniors with memory loss, or other family members who are at risk of wandering off or getting lost.


To learn more, contact Butch Clark of the Sheriff's Department.

 
Efland Community Seeks Fair Sewer Rate

Efland communities have organized in response to a proposed 300% increase in sewer rates.  Roughly 300 Efland families have accepted a 200% rate increase which sets their sewer rates at par with other systems in Orange County and North Carolina.  Orange County operates the Efland sewer system and has subsidized it since its inception in 1984.  The Efland customer base never grew as expected and is too small to cover the costs of the system.

While officials have made no commitments, the county is looking at options, including transitioning the system to Mebane, where the larger customer base promises affordable rates.  The 2010 rate increase should cover the costs of the system for the short term.

OCV applauds the Efland Community and Justice United for finding workable solutions to fund the sewer system without burdening taxpayers.

For more information, click here.
  
Thank you for your help and support in creating a strong and resounding voice for the rural community.  We hope that you feel inspired to "shout out" occasionally and to contribute to the OCV calendar, photo gallery, and other features as they come online.

Sincerely,

Bonnie                  
Bonnie Hauser                               
Email Me                                                 
                                                
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.  - Margaret Mead
 
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In This Issue
Burglaries Place Communities on High Alert
Runoff Elections Planned for June 22
Cedar Grove Library Set to Close
Sales Tax Discussions Underway
Project Lifesaver Helps Families with Special Needs
Efland Community Seeks Fair Sewer Rate
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