February 2012 Newsletter
Dear Neighbor:

If you've been following the local news, you're aware that the landfill is set to close in 2013-- even though the towns remain uncertain about what they will do with their trash.  Additionally, Orange Grove Fire Company has taken important steps to help rural families in the wake of changes to fire insurance underwriting.  These developments and more provide the content for our first newsletter of the year.
In This Issue
Orange County Landfill to Close in 2013
Orange Grove Extinguishes Insurance Firestorm
Redistricting Maps Contribute to Political Drama in Orange County
Group Forming to Improve Safety for Motorists & Cyclists Alike
Chestnut Ridge Community Garden Welcomes Members
A Watershed Event in Orange County
Orange County Landfill to Close in 2013                                                                                                                   We are pleased to report that both town and county officials agree that the landfill will close in 2013, and that alternatives to dumping trash near Rogers Road will be found.  The County and Hillsborough are prepared to send their trash to a transfer station in Durham.  Chapel Hill and Carrboro officials are still reviewing alternatives.  

The Assembly of Governments supported the county's decision to use landfill reserves to both provide water service and clean up illegal dump sites within the Rogers Road community.  They also agreed  to create a task force to set parameters, including funding, for a community center that will fulfill a long-awaited promise made to the Rogers Road community in 1972, the year the landfill was first sited.  Once the work on the community center is complete, the task force will consider options for providing sewer service.   For more, click here.

Carrboro officials, led by Mayor Mark Chilton, recently lobbied for a county-operated transfer station to be sited in the rural buffer at the northwest corner of I-40 and NC-86.  While other leaders did not dismiss this idea, they acknowledged that there were other options, and that important policies regarding use of the rural buffer would first have to be reviewed.  Neighbors have begun to mobilize to oppose the site. 

Our team--including our partners from Justice United and RENA--agrees that a small transfer station might make sense for the short term, if it is sited within the town limits of Chapel Hill or Carrboro--and not in anyone's backyard!  Town and UNC leaders are aware that workable sites adjacent to commercial or retail centers do exist, and bring with them the important advantage of water and sewer access, with minimal environmental impact.

We applaud Chapel Hill's decision to consider options to best manage the entire solid waste system for both the short and long term.  The town is looking at trash, recycling, yard waste and other services, with an eye toward creating energy from waste in the long term picture.  They have invited Carrboro to join their effort.

The Assembly of Governments appears committed to keeping waste facilities close to where the bulk of the county's trash is generated--rather than placing a landfill or other waste facility in the rural community!
Orange Grove Extinguishes Insurance Firestorm

Orange Grove Fire Company, led by Chief Tommy Holmes and President Bill Waddell, announced a rapid response aimed at addressing changes to insurance underwriting which left nearly 1,000 homes with no or overpriced homeowners insurance.  As a result, most households within the Orange Grove Fire District are expected to see a 20-30% reduction in their homeowners insurance by the end of 2013.  Some households will find their premiums cut in half!

The first critical action, a new fire substation on Rocky Ridge Road, will restore affordable insurance rates to most homes impacted by the changes in insurance practices.  Neighbors near Jo Mac Road and others along the eastern end of the fire district will benefit from savings as large as 40%.  For a look at Orange Grove's substation plan, click here.

The new substation will be completed by July, and will cost less than $50,000.  The project is possible due to the generosity of Bob Nutter of Maple View Farm, who is leasing land for the building at no charge.  Bryant and Kim Dodson also offered space on their farm.  Orange Grove, Maple View, and the Dodsons were recognized and offered "roses" by the Chapel Hill News.  To view the article, click here

Did you know that Orange Grove's main fire station sits on land donated by Charles Snipes of Anilorac Farm?

Orange Grove is exploring options to help homeowners in the western end of the district who may be impacted by the changes in insurance practices. They are prepared to build a substation on Nicks Road--but, first, are looking at the option of teaming with nearby fire departments.

Finally, Orange Grove and other rural fire departments are taking steps to upgrade their overall insurance (ISO) rating, something that would benefit nearly every rural household.  As mentioned above, these improvements are expected to be in place by the end of 2013, at which time most households in the fire district can expect 20-30% reductions in their homeowners insurance premiums.  Orange Rural and White Cross fire districts have already completed these upgrades.

Many thanks to Orange Grove and all the rural fire districts for taking rapid and decisive action that greatly benefits homeowners.  This exemplifies their commitment to high quality service while, at the same time, remaining sensitive to the changing business practices of insurers.
Redistricting Maps Contribute to Political Drama in Orange County


Political redistricting by the state legislature will effect many Orange County voters and is predicted to have an impact on the 2012 elections.  State District 50, which covers most of rural Orange County, will change dramatically.  The district now wraps around the town centers of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, and Durham.  It no longer includes Hillsborough or Caswell County, but now includes White Cross and parts of Chapel Hill.  For a detailed map, click here.

Bill Faison currently represents District 50.  Given Mr. Faison's plans to run for governor, expect an interesting and important race for his House seat.

District 56, represented by Verla Insko (who is running for re-election), now includes most of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and stretches north, through Hillsborough.  For a detailed map, click here.

State Senator Ellie Kinnaird will continue to represent Orange County.  Her district now includes Chatham County, but drops Person County.  Senator Kinnaird is running for re-election.

U.S. Congressman David Price's district has changed as well, but continues to include Orange County.  Representative Price is also running for re-election in 2012. 

State Representative Joe Hackney recently announced that he will be retiring at the end of his term.

Four county commissioner seats, as well as Orange County School Board seats, are up for grabs in the May 2012 primary.  We will keep you informed as these important races take shape. 
Group Forming to Improve Safety for Motorists & Cyclists Alike
A group is forming to look at ways to improve safety for motorists and cyclists on rural roads.  As you're well aware, our rural landscape attracts cyclists from all over.  Increased bicycle and automobile traffic is a concern to many.

This group intends to develop a cooperative list of "rules of the road" so that motorists and cyclists--as well as wildlife--can travel and enjoy rural Orange County safely.

If you are interested in joining the discussion, please contact Gail
Chestnut Ridge Community Garden Welcomes Members

The Chestnut Ridge Community Garden is on Mt. Willing Road, in Efland.  Membership is $10 per year, along with a commitment to participate in the work at the Community Farm at least once a month, in exchange for a share of the harvests.  All ages are welcome.  Aside from the benefits of fresh organic produce, spring through fall, caring for farm animals brings both education and enjoyment.  The first "farm day" is Saturday, March 3, 2012, from 9am-12noon.  Contact Farm Manager Chris Burtner by email or call 919-338-2820 (office) or 919-414-3273 (mobile).  For more information, click here.
A Watershed Event in Orange County

"Can We Heal Our Local Waterways?" (http://bolincreek.org/blog/), a symposium and community exchange, will be held Saturday, February 11, 2012, from 9am-1:30pm, at the North Carolina Botanical Garden.  Creek lovers will hear about current water quality issues and actions needed to restore streams in the urban Piedmont.  Case studies from Chapel Hill and Carrboro will be presented.  A Community Exchange, a feature of the program, will allow you to connect with organizations that are making a difference through efforts to protect and improve local water quality and the lands bordering our local waterways.

Please register here:  http://bolincreek.org/blog/symposium-2/symposium/.
This watershed event is organized by Friends of Bolin Creek and the UNC Institute for the Environment, and is co-sponsored by the North Carolina Botanical Garden. 
This new year brings fresh ideas for strengthening our rural community--featuring a heritage that is centuries old and tightly knit, even in this high-tech age.  The heritage is built on the county's underlying geology, appealing landscape, and precious natural and human resources.  Important announcements are forthcoming.  We continue to welcome your ideas and feedback.

Happy Valentine's Day! 



Bonnie Hauser, President 
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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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