October 2012 Newsletter
Dear Neighbor:   

 

How time flies!  It's already October and Election Day is around the corner.  Here's the scoop on rural Orange County, including progress in Fire Districts and Emergency Services coupled with fiscal challenges that appear likely to shape the discussion in the months to come.

 

Upcoming local elections, including a new tax for transit will lead our first newsletter of the season. 

In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Elections 2012
Rural Fire Departments Improve Insurance Ratings
NC DOI Approves Orange Grove Fire Station 2
Fire Chiefs Lead to Improve Emergency Services
Schools Struggle to Serve at-Risk Populations
Chancellor Thorp Steps Down
Progress on Rogers Road Mitigation
New Jail for Orange County
Hunting Reminder

Upcoming Events

  • The McKee Corn Maze and Haunted Trail is open weekends through November 4th.   For more,  click here.
  • Oktoberfest at the Farm (Saturday, Oct 27th, 2-5 PM)  Autumn festivities for Orange County Big Brothers, Big Sisters and their "Littles", and a chance for  prospective volunteers and parents to learn more about mentoring.  Come meet volunteers, staff, and even kids who are on the waitlist for mentors.   Maple View Ag Center.  To RSVP or learn more, contact Stacey.
  • Grange Breakfast (Saturday, November 3rd 6-10 AM)  Fundraiser for Schley Grange.  It's the political event of the season - casual hobnobbing with local candidates.   Schley Grange 3416 Schley Road
  • The Orange County Library is hosting community forums and an online survey during the month of October to solicit input on their three year strategic plan.  For more, click here

Elections 2012

 

Important local elections will be decided in November.  For rural Orange County, two legislative seats and two county commissioner seats are in play. Plus there's a new sales tax on the ballot.  

 

This is our first election in the revised legislative districts so you may want to see if redistricting has changed your ballot.  To see all ballots by voting precinct, click here. 

 

Here's the local elections (I indicates "Incumbent"):

 

Seat

Democrat

Republican

State Senate District 23

Ellie Kinnaird (I)

Dave Carter

House District 50

Valerie Foushee

Rod Chaney

County Commissioner at Large

Bernadette Pelissier(I)

Mary Carter

County Commissioner, District 2

Renee Price

Chris Weaver

 

District 1 (Chapel Hill/Carrboro) candidates Mark Dorosin and Chapel Hill Councilwoman Penny Rich are listed on the ballot, but are uncontested in the general election.  

 

For information on State House candidates, click here;  for State Senate, click here.

 

Voters will decide a cent sales tax increase for transit (from 7 to 7 %). If the tax is approved, $10 will be added to annual vehicle registration fees (from $33 to $43 per tag).   The tax will mostly fund a $1.4 billion light rail line from UNC hospital to Duke Medical Center and Alston Avenue.  Registration fees increases are not on the ballot.  Please take the time to understand the plan before you vote.  Keep an eye out for an OCV alert with information on the tax and the plan.

 

Election day is November 6th.  Early, one-stop voting begins on October 18th. For locations and hours, click here 

Rural Fire Departments Improve Insurance Ratings

 

Three rural fire departments have improved their insurance (ISO) ratings. This means substantially lower insurance rates for some Orange County homeowners.  These new ratings which have been years in the making are:

  • New Hope Fire - from ISO 9 to ISO 6
  • Efland -from ISO 7 to ISO 6
  • Caldwell - from ISO 9 to ISO 7

White Cross already has an ISO rating of 7; Orange Rural has a rating of 6.

Orange Grove has applied for an rating change which will be reviewed in May.

 

If you live in these districts, expect reduced insurance rates and possibly a premium refund.  Fire departments are issuing letters to inform homeowners of the change.  For more, contact your local fire department.

 

The ISO improvements apply only to households that are within 5 miles of their fire station. Homes that are 5 to 6 miles of their fire station will retain an ISO rating of 9E.  Homes that are over 6 miles from the nearest station have an ISO of 10 (not covered) and can be denied insurance or pay an exceptionally high premium. 

NC DOI Approves Orange Grove Fire Station 2

 

The NC Department of Insurance (DOI) has approved Orange Grove's Fire Station 2, which provides coverage to homeowners in the eastern portion of the district who were over 6 miles from Station 1.  According to the DOI, the new rating goes into effect on Feb 1, 2013.  Orange Grove is working on plans for Station 3 which will cover the west end of the district and possibly other fire districts.

Fire Chiefs Lead to Improve Emergency Services

 

The fire chiefs are leading the discussion to save taxpayers millions of dollars while improving emergency response times and public safety. This is one of the positive outcomes of the Emergency Services Workgroup, under the leadership of Commissioner McKee.  The fire chiefs are seeking options to share facilities with county ambulances,  and focus Emergency Services investments on communications and other essentials that truly make a difference.   For more, click here

Schools Struggle to Serve at-Risk Populations

 

Orange County and Chapel Hill/Carrboro School boards are working with the county to find space and funding for the growing population of at-risk children.  Pre-K education is considered essential to close the achievement gap, but the facility requirements compete with K-12 education and other funding demands on the county.  For more, click here.

Chancellor Thorp Steps Down

 

UNC Chancellor Thorp's decision to step down is no longer news, but OCV believes it's important to remind you of his pivotal role in stopping UNC's airport in rural Orange County and building UNC's relationship with the community.  Upcoming plans for Carolina North and Horace Williams Airport make the choice of the new Chancellor important to the rural community.  We'll keep you informed if/as news develops. 

Progress on Rogers Road Mitigation

 

The County Commissioners, led by Pam Hemminger and Valerie Foushee, have agreed to provide $500,000 to the Rogers Road community for a new community center, with or without the support of the towns.  The community center is part of a plan to mitigate the impact of living with the county landfill for 40 years.  The landfill is closing in June and the community center fulfills the original commitment to the community for a recreational space.  

 

The county's action opened the path for the towns to step up to their shared responsibility to provide sewer infrastructure to the community, a project which will cost the towns and the county roughly $5 million.  For more, click here.

New Jail for Orange County?

 

The county commissioners are exploring options and timing for a new county jail, estimated to cost $30 million. The county jail, built in 1925, is overcrowded, outdated  and expensive to maintain.   For more, click here

Hunting Reminder
 
With the hunting season in full swing,  rural residents  should remember that hunting on another's private property without written permission from the land owner is strictly prohibited in Orange County.  If you find hunters or hunting dogs trespassing on your property, please call 911. 

What do you think of OCV's new tagline   "A Voice for the Rural Community"?  (We used to say "Speaking for the Rural Community".)  We recognize that the rural community speaks with many voices.  We are proud to be among them. 

 

Thank you for your support for Orange County Voice and the rural community.   Please make the rural voice count on November 6th. 

 

Sincerely, 

Bonnie

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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