What a great year for Orange County Voice and the rural community! OCV's work is growing in new and exciting ways and, as always, your support is making all the difference.
As 2012 draws to a close, we find ourselves most proud of our work with emergency services. Credit is due to our rural fire chiefs for their rapid response to improve insurance ratings (click here for more), and to the groundbreaking work of the Emergency Services Workgroup.
Under the leadership of Commissioner Earl McKee, fire chiefs, sheriff, emergency medical, county staff, and citizens worked in an inclusive and participative manner to find ways to improve the county's emergency response and agency working relationships. As a result, ambulance response times are improving and millions of taxpayer dollars have been saved. OCV has enjoyed being part of what promises to be a new model for inclusive, cooperative decision-making.
Other important accomplishments include:
- Working with the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association and Justice United to secure a hard close date for the county landfill and mitigate its impact on the Rogers Road community. We also helped block attempts to site a transfer station in the rural buffer. The county and towns are preparing to use commercial transfer stations, and no future waste facilities are planned in rural Orange County! OCV leaders will continue to research long term alternatives to rural landfills.
- Clarifying state and county policies on the Mountain to Sea Trail so that rural residents are informed of their rights and liabilities if/as they consider allowing the trail to run on their private property.
- Finalizing Rural Road Safety Guidelines, which have now been endorsed by the county, the towns, and leading community, faith, and cycling organizations. The formal launch, funded by a grant from Carolina Tarwheels, will be announced shortly.
- Informing the countywide discussion on the transit plan, taxes and fees, which we hope you found useful in informing your vote.
On the community front, we introduced NC Century Farms and Big Brothers and Big Sisters to rural Orange County. We started planning ways to work with rural seniors. For all these initiatives, we are exploring options to create a community network to match volunteers with needs. To us, this kind of neighbor-to-neighbor support is a rural community tradition. We welcome your input to make this a reality.
We are thrilled to announce that Alex Castro Jr, and Nick Davis have joined our board of directors. Alex will lead our efforts with rural seniors and coordinate with the county's Advisory Council on Aging which he vice-chairs. To contact Alex, click here . Nick will lead our advocacy opposing landfills, fracking and other environmetal burdens placed on rural communities. Nick led the effort to stop the Chatham County landfill. To contact Nick, click here.
As a priority, OCV's board has decided to create an advisory council to inform our work, and to actively engage our rural communities in local issues and happenings. It is more important than ever for our communities to be aware of important issues as they occur, and to assure that every rural voice is heard in important discussions among neighbors and with governments. We are also working to strengthen our relationships with town and university leaders. To learn more about our advisory council, please contact Bonnie.
We remain a volunteer organization, and your generosity helps to fund our communications, programs and services. Please consider a small, tax-deductible donation to show your support for your work. To donate, click here.
Of course, there are many ways to show your support. We welcome help with any of our initiatives. Or just send a note and let us know how we're doing. To get in touch, please contact Bonnie.
We end the year with special thanks to our county commissioners and other elected officials, rural fire chiefs, and the many citizens who take the time to care about rural Orange County.
Our best wishes to you and your family for the holiday season and the coming year.
Board of Directors, Orange County Voice
Bonnie Hauser (email me)
Alex Castro (email me)
Stan Cheren (email me)
Nick Davis (email me)
Tish Galu (email me)
Mike Hughes (email me)
Bob Nutter (email me)
Norma White (email me)