October 2012 Newsletter
Dear Neighbor:   


Before we put the election completely behind us, how about a quick look at local election results, plus other news in rural Orange County.  

In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Orange County Votes
County Commissioners to Take Seats On Dec 3rd
Foushee Wins NC House Seat
Transit Tax Passes Despite Rural Opposition
Assembly of Governments to Discuss Rogers Road
Mountain to Sea Trail Roles Clarified
Buckhorn Economic Development Moves Forward
Community Center Planned for Cedar Grove
Grange Donates Dictionaries to OCS
Holmes Sr Retires; Holmes Jr Excels

Upcoming Events


Please try to enjoy local events of the season, including these traditional holiday delights:

  • Hayrides with Santa and Toys for Tots - Maple View's 2nd annual holiday event featuring storytelling and an evening tour of the farm decorated for Christmas.  Reservations required 919 942-6122. Dec 1/2; 8/9; 15/16 at 5:30,6:30, 7:30.  $6 per person ($5 for before Nov 30th). Bring donations for Toys for Tots.  For more, click here
  • Hillsborough Christmas Events (for details click here):  
    • November 30th. 6:30 PM, Tree lighting ceremony with carols and shopping
    • December 1, Christmas Parade From Corbin Street to Margaret Lane 10 AM - Noon 
    • December 2, Candlelight Home Tour. noon-6:00
  • Saxpahaw Christmas Parade, December 8th, 3:00 PM

Orange County Votes


Nearly 69% of Orange County's 111,851 registered voters turned out for the November election.  Over 70% of the voters took advantage of early voting with one stop and mail ballots totaling 54,642 out of a total of 77,050 voters.  UNC Students vote in local elections and are included in the totals.

  • For election results by contest, click here.   (Note: precinct reports do not include early voting totals,  so complete data is not available on rural voter turnout.)   
  • For early voting statistics , including voter age, race and political affiliation, click here.  
  • For voter registration trends, click here

A full election report will be provided to the county commissioners at their regular meeting on Monday, December 3rd, at the Orange County Senior Center in Hillsborough.  The meeting can be viewed online.

County Commissioners To Take Seats on Dec 3rd


New county commissioners Renee Price (District 2),  Mark Dorosin and Penny Rich ( District 1), and incumbent Bernadette Pelissier (at-large) will be inaugurated at the county commissioner meeting on Dec 3rd at the Hillsborough Senior Center.   Judges, bibles and families take part in our incoming commissioners important oath of office. All are welcome.


Congratulations and best wishes to our new commissioners, and to Commissioner Pelissier on her re-election.

Foushee Wins NC House Seat;  Kinnaird/Insko Retain Seats


Outgoing County Commissioner Valerie Foushee (D) will become the District 50 Representative for the NC House, replacing Bill Faison.  Representative Foushee will serve most of rural Orange and rural Durham counties and northern section of Chapel Hill.  


Senator Kinnaird and Representative Insko retained their seats serving Orange County.


Congratulations to Representative Foushee, Senator Kinnaird and Representative Insko and best wishes in their continued service to Orange County.  

Transit Tax Passes Despite Rural Opposition


The cent sales tax for transit passed 58.9 to 41.1 percent, with all rural precincts opposing it.  


The county commissioners will next decide when to levy the % sales tax increase and $10 increase vehicle registration fees.  The vehicle fee increase goes into effect 6 months after it's levied.  The sales tax takes 4-6 months.


The light rail, Amtrak station and other portions of the transit plan rely on grant funding from the federal and state government.  These projects compete with other federal and state funding priorities, and transit funding requests from larger communities.  Plans may be impacted by newly announced plans for redevelopment of RTP 


For more on next steps, click here 

Assembly of Governments to Discuss Rogers Road Mitigation 


Advocates and supporters of the Rogers Road Community may soon chant: "Promises Finally Kept".  On December 6th, the Assembly of Governments (AOG) will finalize details for a new community center to mitigate the impact of the Orange County landfill on the Rogers Road community. The AOG will also explore options to provide sewer service, the costliest feature of the mitigation plan.  


The Orange County landfill is closing on June 30th, 2013. The county has already agreed to provide OWASA water service, clean up the illegal dumpsites, and fund the community center. The AOG will clarify the roles of the towns and approaches to provide sewer service.


OCV strongly supports this advocacy and sincerely hopes that our leaders will move forward together to deliver sewer and the other mitigation items, with the humble thanks of every citizen in Orange County.  Special thanks to Commissioners Foushee and Hemminger who are ending their service as county commissioners, and have been instrumental in the impressive progress on this issue.  


If your schedule permits, please attend the AOG meeting. Dec 6th, 7PM at the Southern Human Services Center, (Homestead Road, Chapel Hill).

Mountain to Sea Trail Roles Clarified


Representatives from NC DENR, OWASA's Board of Directors, Orange County, and OCV participated in a conference call to clarify roles in the Mountain-to-Sea trail (MST) project and appropriate next steps in developing the trail in Bingham Township.   This discussion was a response to confusing reports and concerns raised by neighbors living near Cane Creek Reservoir.


NC DENR leaders clarified that the state is responsible for the concept plan for the MST, and for sections of the trail on state property.  Orange County is solely responsible for establishing actual trail routes, working in partnership with private property owners and others who might/will host the trail.  Actual trail routes depend on the willingness of property owners, and may or may not align with the state's concept plan.   The law that authorizes the MST does not permit the use of eminent domain to take land for the project. 


If invited, NC DENR representatives will assist the county in educating property owners about easements, insurance liability and other issues involved in allowing the trail to be placed on their property. The Friends of Mountain to Sea Trail (FMST) play an important role in providing volunteers and marketing support, but have no role in negotiating with homeowners. 


In the discussion, OWASA leaders reaffirmed their willingness to allow the trail on reservoir land, assuming that there's no risk to water quality and that the county has defined routes that will be used to access the reservoir land.   The group agreed that the county should first determine routes through private property prior to pursuing further work at Cane Creek Reservoir.  The group felt that it's best if the county staff update the county commissioners on this discussion prior to involving DENR or OWASA leaders. 


Another point worth noting.  DENR representatives mentioned a statewide effort to coordinate hiking trails with bikeways as part of the DOT planning.  It's possible that the MST in Bingham could be coordinated with the development of bikeways - which would serve multiple recreational priorities.  


For correspondence related to this discussion, click here


OCV will work with the County and the Bingham community on a meeting to learn more about hosting the trail on private property.  We are also exploring options to align the MST with rural bikeways.  Please contact Bonnie for more about this work. 

Buckhorn Economic Development Moves Forward


Plans are moving quickly to put water and sewer infrastructure in place at the economic development district (EDD) at Buckhorn Road and I-40.  The commissioners approved a $4.6 million construction project which is estimated to be completed in 2014. 


The infrastructure is considered an essential feature to attract commercial development to the area.  The county has already rezoned the area for commercial development.  


For more, click here.

Community Center Planned for Cedar Grove


Orange County will soon be developing plans for a $2 million community center to be built in 2014-15 at the site of the Cedar Grove Elementary School (aka Northern Human Services Center).  This was the site of the Cedar Grove Library that was closed 3 years ago as a cost saving measure. 

Grange Donates Dictionaries to OCS 

As part of a long-standing tradition, Schley Grange will give dictionaries to every third grader in Orange County Schools.  That's 540 dictionaries, bringing the total to 7500 dictionaries donated.  


OCS Superintendent Patrick Rhodes and Public Information Officer Michael Gilbert are presiding over giving ceremonies at each school.

Holmes Sr Retires; Holmes Jr Excels


After 40 years at the helm, Orange Grove Fire Chief Tommy Holmes retires at the end of 2012.  Assistant Chief, Steve McCauley, a 32 year Orange Grove veteran has accepted the role of Chief starting the first of the new year.


Tommy will stay on to help the department build its third station near Nicks Road and to improve insurance ratings. 


Tommy's son, Tommy Holmes Jr is being honored by the NC 911 Board for his clear-headed support from the county's 911 call center to Emily Brewer as she unexpectedly delivered a baby at a Chapel Hill Transit bus stop. For story, click here. 


Our heartfelt thanks go to Chief Holmes for his extraordinary service to the Orange Grove community.  Congratulations and best wishes to Chief McCauley and Tommy Holmes Jr.

Thanks for your support to Orange County Voice, and for your work to support the rural community. Our best wishes for a bountiful Thanksgiving holiday. 




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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