OCV Newsletter, February 2015     
Dear Neighbor:

Orange County joins the greater Orange County community in mourning the loss of Chris Nutter of Maple View Farm.  In honor of Chris and her inspirational legacy of community service, this newsletter is dedicated to the spirit of volunteer service and goodwill that has strong roots in rural Orange County, and continues to grow.  In this issue, we will provide contact information for a handful of community organizations dependent on volunteer help, and update you on OCV's current initiatives.  
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
In Memorium: Aubrey Chris Nutter
An Opportunity to Give Back
Help Rural Fire Departments Help Communities
Help the Grady Brown PTA Recover Embezzled Funds
The Efland Community Sets a Future Course
Rural Road Safety: A Shared Responsibility
Questions Raised About a Possible Bond Referendum

Upcoming Events     



  • Efland Educational Series on Economic Development and Affordable Housing: Two remaining sessions will be held to help the Efland community learn how community visioning, zoning, and public policy work together to bring about economic development and affordable housing.  The session planned for Tuesday, February 24, will provide an update on Orange County's investment in infrastructure and economic development in Efland.  The Tuesday, March 3 session will focus on the issue of affordable housing.  Both sessions will be held from 7:00-8:30 PM in the Gravelly Middle School Auditorium, 4801 West 10 Road.  For more, click here.
  • Justice United Assembly for Affordable Communities: Sunday, March 1, from 3:00-5:00 PM, at Binkley Baptist Church, 1712 Willow Drive, Chapel Hill.  A celebration of progress in our effort to improve tenants' rights and provide affordable housing opportunities. 
  • Project Engage: Faith and Aging Symposium:  Thursday, March 5, from 2:00-5:30 PM, at the Central Orange Senior Center.  An opportunity for faith leaders to meet with Project Engage volunteers to discuss ways to bring resources and services to seniors and caregivers.  Workshops and sessions will cover memory loss, aging in place, depression and social isolation, transportation, senior hunger, and healthcare/exercise/fall prevention.  For more, contact Gail Alberti.  To register, click here

  • Schley Grange Breakfast:  Saturday, March 7, from 6:30-10:00 AM.  Country Ham, Sausage and Egg Breakfast Fundraiser for the Grange.  Adults $7, Children 10 and under $4.50.  At Schley Grange, 4616 Schley Road, off Hwy 57, six miles north of Hillsborough.

  • McTeacher Night for Efland Cheeks Elementary School: 

    Tuesday, April 14, from 5:00-8:00 PM, at the McDonalds in Mebane (on Mebane Oaks Road, off I-85).  McDonalds will donate 15% of all sales to Efland Cheeks Elementary School.  Teachers will be working the shift.
  • Central Piedmont Junior Livestock Show and Auction: Wednesday, April 15 and Thursday, April 16, at the Holstein Barn on Orange Grove Road.  An annual tri-county event, where FFA and 4H members get a chance to show and auction off their livestock.  Proceeds are used to fund scholarships.  For more, click here.
  • 19th Annual Piedmont Farm Tour:  Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26, from 2:00-6:00 PM.  An opportunity to visit local farms and learn about sustainable agriculture.  For more, click here.

For the Orange County Visitor's Bureau list of upcoming events, including the Hillsborough Spring Garden Tour, performances by Paperhand Puppets, and the Automobile Racers and Car Reunion, click here

In Memorium: Aubrey Chris Nutter



Aubrey Chris Nutter, the heart of Maple View Farm and a warm and generous soul within our community, passed away at home on February 7, 2015, at the age of 87.  Chris is survived by her husband Robert and their blended family.  For more about Chris, click here.

Chris was an avid supporter of Orange County Voice and our work in behalf of rural Orange County; it complemented her tireless advocacy for families in need.  With a Master's in Public Health from UNC, Chris founded Orange County Friends of Social Services, and helped anywhere she could to assure that families had the food and resources they needed.  All of this was in addition to the work she did to make Maple View Farm a wellspring of community service.

Donations in memory of Chris can be made to Orange County Friends of Social Services, Orange Congregations in Mission, or the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Our deepest condolences to Bob Nutter and the entire Waddell/Cannon/Maple View family.
An Opportunity to Give Back


The strong, reliable, and resilient fabric of rural Orange County is woven to a large extent through the dedication of volunteers.   Volunteer fire departments; neighborhood, faith, and civic groups; school and youth programs; tutoring and scholarship programs all benefit from the support and invaluable services offered by volunteers.  Merely keeping a keen and caring eye on a neighbor is an act of community service.


Everyone serves in their own way, and periodically it helps to reaffirm your commitment to volunteering, donating, or offering support in some form.  Yes, it can be a big commitment, but there is much to do - and community support makes all the difference.


Here are some local initiatives that OCV leaders encourage you to become aware of and consider supporting or becoming involved in:


Project Engage:  Seniors working to assure that seniors throughout Orange County have access to county and community resources that provide food, healthcare and, most of all, a sense of community.  For more information about Project Engage programs and how to volunteer, contact Alex Castro


Schley Grange:  Schley Grange is the largest Grange community in North Carolina.  Originally founded as a network for farmers, the Grange now supports schools, youth athletics, and youth farming.  On the second Tuesday of every month, Grange members get together at 6:30 PM for a meal and a dose of community.  Programs featuring people, music, or events impacting our community often follow dinner.

March 10, 2015, the Grange will "drape their charter" in memory of Chris Nutter, and give community members an opportunity to share their tributes.  Draping the charter is a Grange tradition for members who pass.  Grange officers place black fabric over the framed Grange Charter and open the floor for tributes.

Grange membership is $20 a year, plus a little volunteer time to help with events and fundraisers.  For more, contact Kat Cheek.        

Initiative on Poverty in Northern Orange:  An assembly of Northern Orange churches, non-profits and community agencies, and county government agencies have been meeting for the past nine months to learn about and understand the issues and needs of people living in poverty, and work collaboratively in addressing those needs.

At the invitation of Hillsborough's St. Matthews Episcopal Church, the group initiative began June of 2014.  Its meetings take place on the second Saturday of each month, from 9:00-10:30 AM, preceded by a light social breakfast that begins at 8:30 AM.  Participating churches and the Orange County Public Library have hosted these monthly meetings.  The next meeting will be at Holy Family Church, located at Governor Burke Road and NC 57.

Recently, the group discussed the issue of senior poverty.  In northern Orange County, 15% of residents over 65 years of age live below the poverty level.  The group has discussed housing, jobs, healthcare, education, as well as a host of other issues which impact residents living in northern Orange County.

The group is focused on building trust through personal contacts, and is reaching out to community and civic leaders who can help.  To learn more, contact Ellen Weig.

Community Emergency Response Training:  Orange County Emergency Services regularly offers free classes in Community Emergency Response Training (CERT), to provide neighbors with basic skills needed in the first 72 hours following a disaster.  The next nine-week training session will take place on Tuesdays, beginning March 3, 2015, from 6:00-8:30 PM.  The registration deadline for this training session is Wednesday, February 25.  Custom CERT classes are available to community groups who would like to train together.

For more information, please contact Josh Hollingsworth.

Volunteer/Agency Matching:  Many non-profits seek volunteers through an online service called Hands on the Triangle.  It helps match volunteers with opportunities.  Check it out at www.handsontriangle.org.
Help Rural Fire Departments Help Communities

Orange County's eight rural fire departments rely on volunteers to help as first responders and fire fighters, and to maintain fire stations throughout the rural community.  In addition to their core responsibilities, our fire chiefs and volunteers have been working overtime to improve insurance ratings and contain homeowner insurance premiums for all residents.  Most recently, the Orange Grove and Eno volunteer fire departments received ISO protection upgrades, and homeowners within 5 miles of one of their fire stations are seeing substantial reductions in homeowners insurance.

Every local fire department needs more volunteers.  That need includes fire fighters and first responders, as well as volunteers willing and able to serve on company boards, help with grants and bookkeeping, and keep the fire station in good order and repair.

Please call your local fire chief to learn more about volunteer opportunities and insurance ratings.  For a list of fire chiefs by department, click here.
Help the Grady Brown PTA Recover Embezzled Funds 


The entire Orange County community is helping the Grady Brown PTA in recovering over $20,000 embezzled by their past president.  For the whole story, including a link to the donation website, click here.
The Efland Community Sets a Future Course


The Efland community has begun a conversation centered around bringing economic development and affordable housing to Efland.  The first of three educational sessions, open to all community members, was held on Tuesday, February 10, and led by Jeff Michael of Charlotte's Urban Institute.  During this session, participants learned that Efland sits squarely in the fastest growing corridor in North Carolina.  Efland will be impacted by growth, and members of its community have a voice in the role they want to play during this anticipated time of change.

One of Efland's major assets is its location.  Efland sits at the intersection of two major interstate highways, and near two leading university centers.  Efland has many options, such as adding density, protecting its rural character - and more.  Its interstate corridor is well-suited for industrial development, which now embraces both the  high-tech and advanced manufacturing sectors. 

Participants were encouraged to develop a long-term vision that will serve in guiding future growth, development, and changes in zoning.  They were asked to consider the consequences of growth and economic development, including needed services and, perhaps, incorporation.  Mr. Michael added that building trust is key, and made clear that a vision for the future need not be bogged down in experiences of the past.

Two more educational sessions are planned:  On Tuesday, February 24, county leaders Craig Benedict and Steve Brantley will update the community on the status of infrastructure and economic development.  On Tuesday, March 3, Ann Joyner of the Cedar Grove Institute for Sustainable Communities will talk about public policy and affordable housing.  All sessions will be held from 7:00-8:30 PM, in the Gravelly Hill Middle School Auditorium, 4801 West 10 Road, Efland.
Rural Road Safety: A Shared Responsibility

OCV's coalition of motorists and cyclists is making good progress with the  NCDOT and State Highway Patrol on improving rural road safety.  Our goal is to work with local and state leaders to improve road infrastructure and recreational resources for cyclists and motorists.  Here's what we have been doing: 
  • Working together to update cycling maps to provide cyclist-friendly routes and encourage cyclists to ride on less-traveled roads.  If you would like to help, please contact Alex Castro.
  • Providing the DOT with an initial list of road segments in need of safety shoulders.  Wider shoulders on blind hills and curves will make it easier for cyclists to pull over and allow cars to pass.  DOT engineers will look at the following sections of road, to see whether safety shoulders are feasible.  Note:  If you have additional suggestions please contact Bonnie Hauser.
    • Orange Grove Road at Sugar Ridge Road  
    • Dairyland Road "S" curves between Bethel Hickory and Union Grove Church Road and Green Rise Road to gas line
    • Old Greensboro Road between Niche Gardens and Collins Creek and between Phil's Creek and Jones Ferry Road
    • Borland Road between Kimbro and just above the bridge
  • Asking the State Highway Patrol to help enforce road safety laws.  This includes ticketing speeding motorists, as well as motorists and cyclists who fail to obey stop signs and do not pull over for emergency vehicles.

There is additional work to be done to clean up ambiguity and contradictions between motor vehicle and cycling statutes.  We also plan to meet with Orange County recreational leaders to explore options to create multi-modal greenways like the American Tobacco Trail and select trails at Umstead Park that encourage hiking, biking, and equestrain uses that are off-road.


If you are interested in learning more or working with our coalition, please contact Gail Alberti or Bonnie Hauser. 

Questions Raised About a Possible Bond Referendum

County commissioners are considering the possibility of adding a bond referendum to the ballot in 2016.  If approved by voters, it would authorize the county to increase its debt limit by $125 million and increase taxes to pay for it.  Based on current interest rates, adding $125 million in debt equates to a 4.76 point tax increase.

During their most recent retreat, commissioners learned that a bond referendum is not required to issue debt or raise taxes.  Commissioners have the option of funding school repairs and other priorities through their own capital planning and financing.  If they wait for a bond referendum, school repairs will be delayed two years more, while lower-priority projects such as county offices and parks are approved and funded. 

There are additional concerns about the combined impact of a bond referendum followed by a property revaluation.  Orange County's real estate market is still recovering from the recession, and a bond and sanctioned tax increase is likely going to hurt real estate values.

OCV has begun meeting with community leaders from the towns and the county to explore options to reprioritize spending and accelerate funding to school repairs without a ballot referendum.  If you are interested in this topic, please contact Bonnie Hauser.
We close this newsletter with a well-deserved "THANK YOU" to all who serve Orange County, be it professionally, in the capacity of volunteer, or as a good neighbor.  Each of us serves in our own unique and personal way, while collectively celebrating the spirit of community service and good will.

As always, thank you for your support of Orange County Voice and the rural community.


The OCV Board
Alex Castro, Jr., Chair, alexcastrojr@hotmail.com 
Nick Davis, Vice-Chair, Nickdavis33@yahoo.com 
Tish Galu, Treasurer,  galump@centurylink.net 
Norma White, Secretary, n.b.white@embarqmail.com 
Bonnie Hauser, bahauser@aol.com
Mike Hughes, mmh@mmhpe.com 
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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