OC Early Voting Sees Small End-Of-Week Boost

ORANGE COUNTY – One-stop early voting ended its first full week with by far the highest totals yet, but still isn’t getting a strong turnout.

On Friday, 147 people cast their ballots. The Seymour Senior Center remains the most popular location; 81 voters cast their ballot on Friday.

A total of 779 people have voted in Orange County for the Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough municipal elections and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education. However, WCHL reported last week that just more than 4,000 people participated in the 2011 early voting period.

This is the final week for early voting in Orange County. The polls will also be open on Saturday.

For a list of polling locations and their hours, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/oc-early-voting-sees-small-end-of-week-boost/

2013 BoC Candidate Profile: Meighan Carmichael

HILLSBOROUGH – Hillsborough Board of Commissioners candidate, Meighan Carmichael says while development is one of the top priorities on which Hillsborough will be focusing, she says, if elected, she will fight for smart growth.

“Hillsborough is a dynamic and great small town,” Carmichael says. “It’s thriving, and it’s a prosperous place. But, it has a very different feel than other areas in the Triangle. I think that everyone in Hillsborough is interested in keeping the charm of Hillsborough while making sure that we’re growing in a smart way.”

WCHL’s Ran Northam spoke with Carmichael about her seeking election to the Board of Commissioners and how she believes she’ll best serve you.

***Listen to the Interview***

Three candidates are contending for two seats on the Board of Commissioners.

Carmichael says she’s not going to use the commissioner seat as a platform to push her own agenda, but as a place to be a voice for the people.

“I want to hear their voices,” Carmichael says. “I want them to be a part of the conversation. I think it’s important for the town for us to actively seek those voices out.”

Between now and Election Day, we’ll be previewing each of the candidates one-on-one.

For more on Carmichael, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/2013-boc-candidate-profile-meighan-carmichael/

Environmental Protection In Carrboro, State Vs. Local Authority & More

CHAPEL HILL – Carrboro is known for pushing policies that protect the environment, but this past legislative session, the North Carolina General Assembly passed laws which some have said cut back on key regulations meant to protect the environment.

At the Carrboro Board of Aldermen Candidates Forum Monday, moderator Aaron Keck asked hopefuls what they viewed the biggest environmental problem facing the Town.

The five candidates competing for three open seats include incumbents Sammy Slade, Jacquelyn Gist and Randee Haven-O’Donnell. The challengers are Kurt Stolka, Vice-Chair of Carrboro’s Transportation Advisory Board, and Al Vickers, a former member of the Solid Waste Advisory Board with a Ph. D. in environmental science. Vickers was absent from the Forum Monday due to a prior engagement out of the country.

***Listen to WCHL’s 2013 Carrboro Board of Aldermen Candidates Forum***

 

 

Gist said she was concerned about the General Assembly impugning the Board’s authority to pass tighter environmental regulations.

­­­­­­­­­­­

“The General Assembly is gutting our ability to have environmental regulations that are stronger than the State or the Feds,” Gist said. “We are talking about our creek buffers; we are talking about the University Lake protection [regulations]; we are talking about storm water flow. So what Carrboro is doing right now, under the leadership of Damon [Alderman Damon Seils], is looking at all of our environmental regulations and making them as tight as possible before the 2014 session.”

Haven-O’Donnell said that the flash floods of June 30, which swept through the area dumping more than five inches of rain in just a few hours, show the necessity to update the town’s infrastructure for extreme weather events.

“We really need to create a better infrastructure to deal with storm water,” Haven-O’Donnell said. “I think that we have aging infrastructure. We need to re-pipe, and we need to make the storm water issue one that is not going to create flooding and get folks out of their homes.”

Stolka said he believed the Town should deter the community from using cars as the main mode of transportation, and encourage walking and biking.

“Carrboro should not stand for cars,” Stolka said. “That is the biggest impact on climate change—with our C02 emissions from our driving. [It’s] not where we live or the energy efficiency of our buildings, but it is how much people use gas and pollute our environment.”

Slade said the Board is doing a balancing act between development moving into Downtown and the increased traffic and congestion that more activity creates.

“[We] need to reconcile those two values that we have for out Town: how to manage the amount of parking that higher density, mixed-use calls for as our planning and zoning calls for,” Slade said. “And the fact that we don’t have the capacity to bring that many cars into our downtown.”

 

http://chapelboro.com/2013-election-central/2013-election-candidate-forums/environmental-protection-in-carrboro-state-vs-local-authority-more/

Fostering A Locally Driven Economy In Carrboro

CHAPEL HILL – Carrboro prides itself on having a locally driven economy, “big box” stores which are moving into Orange County could threaten the prosperity of small business.

At WCHL’s Carrboro Board of Aldermen Candidate Forum Monday, hopefuls were asked what they think the Town should do to support local businesses over the course of the next two years.

The five candidates competing for three open seats on the Board include incumbents Sammy Slade, Jacquelyn Gist and Randee Haven-O’Donnell. The challengers are Kurt Stolka, Vice-Chair of Carrboro’s Transportation Advisory Board, and Al Vickers, a former member of the Solid Waste Advisory Board with a Ph. D. in environmental science. Vickers was absent from the Forum Monday due to a prior engagement out of the country.

***Listen to WCHL’s 2013 Carrboro Board of Aldermen Candidates Forum***

 

 

Slade said the Board should push to raise awareness that investment in local businesses is beneficial through the re-circulation of money in the community.  He explained that the quarter-cent sales tax would prove to play a key role in funding economic development incentives.

“We have a huge opportunity with the recent passing through a bond referendum of the quarter-cent sales tax that’s going toward economic development,” Slade said. “It is a significant amount of money that we need to, and I have been constantly asking the county to put toward supporting locally-owned businesses and import substitution.”

Stolka echoed a comment made by Slade during the forum that Carrboro’s locally-grown food products and cycling tourism were opportunities to boost the economy and should be encouraged.

“The amount we drive has a huge impact on how much money stays locally. Eighty-five percent of every dollar we spend leaves the local economy,” Stolka said. “I think really investing in a plan to start charging for parking, to get people to reduce their driving and [promote] walking or cycling will really keep more dollars local.”

Gist said it was a great achievement that the Board formulated a creative solution to incentivize Fleet Feet to keep its Corporate Headquarters in Carrboro. She also maintained that free parking is a way to attract people downtown.

“I also think that we need to keep parking free as we continue to push for more alternative transportation—better bikes and buses,” Gist said. “We also need to make sure that when people come downtown, they can afford to park and spend their money down there.”

Haven-O’Donnell said the arts were a thriving part of Carrboro’s economy and played a pivotal role of attracting people Downtown.

“Some of the plans that are unfolding for Carrboro’s downtown  will take advantage of the broadband and the entrepreneurial and professional services in arts and innovation potential that we have,” Haven-O’Donnell said. “We are really at the threshold right now of a very new look and feel to business downtown.”

 

http://chapelboro.com/2013-election-central/2013-election-candidate-forums/keeping-a-locally-driven-economy-in-carrboro/

Early Voting Dips On Day 6

ORANGE COUNTY – Early voting saw a dip again on Thursday matching the lowest number of votes in a day for the municipal and school board elections.

Only 97 people turned out on day six keeping the average at just more than 100 per day. The Seymour Senior Center remained the location with the most votes, but the numbers were cut in half as only 37 people cast their ballots there.

Next week is the final week of early voting with the polls open Monday through Saturday.

To see a list of polling locations and the times they’ll be open, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/early-voting-dips-on-day-6/

2013 BoC Candidate Profile: Kathleen Ferguson

HILLSBOROUGH – Hillsborough Board of Commissioners candidate, Kathleen Ferguson says, if elected, she’ll work on balancing growth while working to improve the lives of those living in poverty. However, she says she’s afraid of what the North Carolina legislature might do to municipal abilities.

“All of those together I think will potentially give us opportunity for change, opportunity for creativity and innovation, but on the other hand quite a few challenges,” Ferguson says.

WCHL’s Ron Stutts spoke with Ferguson about her seeking election to the Board of Commissioners and how she believes she’ll best serve you.

***Listen to the Interview***

Three candidates are contending for two seats on the Board of Commissioners.

Ferguson says she sees herself as a change she’s like to see on the board because of her connection to the Hillsborough community.

“I have a great passion for our neighborhoods,” Ferguson says. “I live in Hillsborough Heights; I have been involved in the community at the neighborhood level for over ten years. And, one of the things I think have been missing in Hillsborough Town Board is representation of citizens living in neighborhoods.”

Between now and Election Day, we’ll be previewing each of the candidates one-on-one.

For more on Ferguson, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/2013-boc-candidate-profile-kathleen-ferguson/

Day 5: Early Voting Totals Remain Steady

ORANGE COUNTY – Day five of Orange County’s early voting saw the most ballots cast yet, but the numbers are still way down.

On Wednesday, 118 people went to the polls taking the total to 535. However, that’s still about half as many people as were voting at this time in 2011.

Polls are open Monday to Friday through November 1, and on Saturday November 2. To read about all the candidates running in the Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and Hillsborough municipal elections and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board election, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/day-5-early-voting-totals-remain-steady/

2013 BoC Candidate Profile: Jenn Weaver

HILLSBOROUGH – Hillsborough Board of Commissioners candidate, Jenn Weaver says she’s ready to tackle development issues so that the best interests of the individual and the town are protected.

“Those are the most difficult decisions that the Board has to make, because we have to balance our need to bring more balance to our tax base—bringing more businesses in to balance out our residential weight that’s being born there,” Weaver says.

WCHL’s Ran Northam spoke with Weaver about her seeking election to the Board of Commissioners and how she believes she’ll best serve you.

***Listen to the Interview***

Three candidates are contending for two seats on the Board of Commissioners.

Weaver says she will focus on functionality of the development if elected.

“That idea of connectivity is really important to me, and I see that as something the whole town values,” Weaver says. “People want to be able to get from one place to another in a safe and efficient way.”

Between now and Election Day, we’ll be previewing each of the candidates one-on-one.

For more on Weaver, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/2013-boc-candidate-profile-jenn-weaver/

OC Early Voting Down Compared To 2011

ORANGE COUNTY – Orange County Board of Elections director, Tracy Reams says voter turnout this year is way down compared to the last municipal and school board elections.

“The last municipal election, the first day of early voting we had 283 that voted early, and the first day for this one we only had 109,” Reams says. “The second day we had 248, and the second day (this year) we only had 97.”

Early voting totals remained steady on Tuesday with 108 voters casting their ballots. The Seymour Senior Center once again assisted 60 voters while Carrboro Town Hall again saw the second most with 27.

In 2011, just more than 4,000 voted in the early election period.

Reams says she’s hopeful that people will follow similar patterns from two years ago as people often procrastinate or use the weekend day to have their vote counted.

“On November 5—that last Saturday that we were open—we had the highest number of voters of all the days that we were open,” Reams says. “We had 580, and the next that’s closest to that, we had 529 on that Friday. We did not break above 400 on any given day except those last two days.”

She says the low numbers mean no lines at the polls. Four locations are open Monday through Friday until November 1 and Saturday November 2.

For a list of the polling locations and their hours, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/oc-early-voting-down-compared-to-2011/

2013 BoA Candidate Profile: Kurt Stolka

CARRBORO – Carrboro Board of Aldermen candidate, Kurt Stolka says, if elected, he will work to activate the Town’s public spaces better in an effort to have an outlet to get your voice out.

“We don’t have a lot of social equity in our town,” Stolka says. “You go to Weaver Street and you can see that. There’s only a certain kind of people that show up there. And it’s a great resource for people to meet at, but we’re not making it inviting to the entire community in all income levels.”

WCHL’s Ran Northam spoke with Stolka about his seeking election to the Board of Aldermen and how he believes he’ll best serve you.

***Listen to the Interview***

Five candidates are contending for three seats on the Board of Aldermen.

Stolka says he wants to be a new voice for the Board.

“There’s not a lot of representation for someone with a young family,” Stolka says. “There’s people who have been here a long time and young people, but I think there needs to be a better voice for people with families that don’t have a lot of time to care about what might affect their kids.”

Between now and Election Day, we’ll be previewing each of the candidates one-on-one.

For more on Stolka, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/2013-boa-candidate-profile-kurt-stolka/