It has been a great year for Orange County Voice and the rural community. This year comes to an end with the satisfaction in knowing that we made a difference in the effort to address issues with 911 emergency services. Rural service issues have been brought to the forefront, and the important role that rural fire departments play in our community is better understood.
This was accomplished without petitions, protests, signs of anger, or feelings of disenfranchisement. Instead, we facilitated discussions among elected officials, rural fire departments, local experts, and citizens. A genuinely collaborative effort led to the formation of an Emergency Services Work Group, which is poised to resolve service issues at a reasonable cost to taxpayers. Click here for more
Increasingly, our work is enabled through a growing network of local and state leaders--including county, town, and UNC officials; local media; and environmental and citizen groups. Working together, we are making real progress toward raising awareness of our rich rural community and how it complements our urban neighbors.
In addition to emergency services, OCV's accomplishments in 2011 include:
- Keeping commercial and industrial zoning out of the rural community, through our work on the Unified Development Ordinance.
- Partnering with Justice United and the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association to keep landfills and sludge out of the rural community. Together, we are working to close the county landfill and provide long-awaited amenities to the Rogers Road community. Durham and Chatham county groups have joined with us in pursuing progressive and environmentally-sound alternatives to waste and sludge.
- Spreading the word on crime prevention. With the help of the Sheriff's Department, we have raised awareness of crime within the rural community. Crime rates are down, and nearly every rural neighborhood has an eye peeled for suspicious activity.
- Making progress in protecting Northern Orange property owners from trespassing deer-hunting dogs, a cause that will continue into the new year
- Reinstating Sunday hours at county convenience centers. We are still working for reasonable service fees, and remain concerned about the flawed design for the Walnut Grove Convenience Center.
- Encouraging OWASA to place its forestry plans on hold. OWASA has been silent on logging in the Cane Creek Reservoir watershed since last spring.
We hope that you enjoy our monthly newsletters and alerts, and find that they help you stay up-to-date on our work, as well as on issues affecting the rural community. Please share them with your neighbors. We'll do our best to throw in some fun, along with reminding readers of events that both set rural Orange County apart and enhance our quality of life.
In 2012, county issues take on a renewed focus. The May primary elections will decide four commisioner seats, as well as positions on the Orange County School Board. And, of course, there are state and national issues which will impact our rural community and its critical natural resources.
Orange County Voice relies on the generosity of every one of you. Your service to the community is invaluable, whatever form it may take. Normally, we would ask for donations, but this year, with so many families in need, we merely ask that you support local community and faith-based organizations whose work assures that those without don't go without.
As we enter our fourth year, we continue to welcome your input and suggestions. You inspire our commitment and service, and we are grateful for your continued encouragement and support. Please contact me to learn more about how you can become involved in our plans for 2012.
Our best wishes for the holiday season
and the coming new year.