Daniela Ocampo

Orange County Schools Superintendent Receives National Leadership Award

Orange County Schools superintendent Todd Wirt has been awarded a Top 30 spot for this year’s John C. Maxwell Transformational Leadership Awards for his work in education. According to the organization’s website, awards are given all around the country in different categories to transformational leaders who are making a positive difference in their community, careers and daily lives. Wirt has been superintendent of Orange County Schools since July 2015 and previously worked as assistant superintendent for academics in the Wake County Public School System. Wirt also served as executive director of secondary education and high school principal in the...

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Local NAACP Holding Forum on “Tax Cut and Jobs Act”

Are you among the 400,000 North Carolinians who advocates say will lose health insurance if the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act” passes? The Chapel Hill- Carrboro NAACP branch is holding an informational forum on Tuesday at the Chapel Hill Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m. about the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act,” where you can find out. According to the branch’s president Anna Richards, the forum will have expert panelists who will bring the most up-to-date information regarding the bill as well as strategies to oppose it. “We’ve got Samuel Gunter who is the director for Public Advocacy for...

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Local Governing Bodies Swear in and Welcome Elected Members

Local governing bodies have taken recent meetings to swear in and welcome new and returning elected members. The Orange County Board of Commissioners re-elected Mark Dorosin as chair at their meeting last Monday. “Thank you all, I really appreciate that vote of confidence. I will continue to do my best and appreciate your guidance and feedback on how to do that,” said Dorosin. Vice Chair Penny Rich was also re-elected and said she hopes to continue to be a good partner to Dorosin. The Chapel Hill Town Council swore in four new members as well as re-elected Mayor Pam...

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Orange County Passes Resolution Supporting Medicaid Expansion in North Carolina

The Orange County Board of Commissioners met Monday night and voted unanimously on a resolution to support putting the option to expand Medicaid in North Carolina to low-income residents before voters across the state. The support follows a referendum that the state of Maine put on their ballot that successfully passed. According to the resolution, putting Medicaid expansion on the ballot would allow North Carolina voters to decide whether to expand health care coverage to residents who are in a coverage gap and otherwise do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act subsidies or Medicaid. The resolution states that...

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Abolition Day Kicks Off Year-Long Campaign to Commemorate Frederick Douglass

Orange County government bodies declared December 6 as Abolition Day, recognizing the anniversary of the ratification of the thirteenth amendment abolishing slavery. This day served as an opportunity for the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Planning Committee to announce several 2018 events to celebrate and commemorate the heralded abolitionist. According to head of the effort, former public defender James Williams, the events are being planned because next year is the 200th anniversary of Douglass’ birth. “What we hope to do, what we plan to do and what we will do, I think, is to bring to the community some exciting programs...

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Chapel Hill Expands Conditional Zoning, Working to Rewrite Land Use Policy

The Chapel Hill Town Council voted last week to amend the Land Use Management Ordinance to allow Conditional Zoning. Mayor Pam Hemminger says conditional zoning will allow for more conversations with stakeholders and the public during development projects. “It gives the council more latitude for turning something down just because they don’t like it, or for asking for more conditions – that’s what conditional zoning means,” said Hemminger. The current structure is quasi-judicial and legally prevents Hemminger and council members from discussing or making changes to development projects once the Special Use Permit, or SUP, process begins. “You really...

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Chapel Hill Considering Selling Rosemary St Parking Lot to Local Business

The Town of Chapel Hill has called a public hearing regarding possibly selling a small property located at 127 West Rosemary Street, that currently serves as a surface-level parking lot, to Investors Title Company. The town and Investors Title would enter into an economic development agreement, under a proposal, which would include the sale of the land to Investors Title for $300,000. Under the agreement, Investors Title, which is located on the adjacent property, would then use the two plots to “provide a larger, improved and reconfigured parking lot,” which would contain no less than 75 spaces and would...

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Chapel Hill Authorizes Sale of Ladder Truck to Help Cover Additional $260,000 Cost of Fire Station 2

Construction of the site of Chapel Hill’s Fire Station 2, on Hamilton Road, has faced unforeseen ground problems. According to Deputy Folice Chief and manager for the project Matthew Lawrence a geological assessment was taken of the property prior to excavation, but it did not identify the unsuitable soils and overflow of groundwater on the site. “The soil was so poor in that area that we had to excavate down another six to eight feet on the corner of this building just to get to solid ground and then fill that entire compartment up with concrete,” said Lawrence. “Any...

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Giving Tuesday Offers Chance to Give Back Locally

Today is Giving Tuesday, an international day of giving. Two collaborative partnerships in Orange County, the Family Success Alliance and Making Connections: Orange County Comprehensive Early Childhood Initiative, are encouraging residents to donate to their campaign to help struggling families in the area. Family Success Alliance communications manager Kristin Prelipp says bringing awareness to local issues is important. “If you’re somebody who lives in a certain neighborhood and goes to your school and lives in your neighborhood, you may not be aware of the fact that so many people are impoverished,” Prelipp said. “Almost 30 percent of Orange County...

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Donation Allowing Hillsborough Police to Replace Retiring K-9

The Hillsborough Police Department received $11,000 from the Durham Kennel Club and its parent organization, the American Kennel Club, to fund the purchase of a new police dog. Durham Kennel Club Director Bob Wisniewski, member Joyce McHenry and delegate Linda Wozniak recently presented a check to Hillsborough Police chief Duane Hampton and Mayor Tom Stevens. Hampton calls the Kennel Club’s donation generous and says that they are, “very proud” of their K-9 program and their ability to “continue it and make it stronger.” The donation is provided through the American Kennel Club’s Canine Support and Relief Fund, which helps...

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