CHAPEL HILL - A new Orange County Flood Insurance Study will be held in meeting room A at the Chapel Hill Public Library from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on December 18.
Residents and businesses are invited to review the flood hazard and flood risk data. Beginning at 4:00 p.m., data will be presented on computers and layered over the County’s parcel. At 5:00 p.m. a brief presentation will be given by the NC Floodplain Risk Mapping Program and from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. the public may ask questions.
For more information click here.
On December 27, OWASA will hold an American Red Cross Blood Drive from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00p.m. and needs your support.
The blood drive will be in the community room on the lower floor of OWASA’s AdministrationBuilding. People who come out to donate will receive a free Red Cross long sleeve shirt.
Appointments are recommended to move through quickly, but walk-ins are welcome after noon.
The Human Services Advisory Board is accepting applications from outside agencies and non-profits for funding during the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
Forms are available online for non-profits human service agencies serving Chapel Hill. All applications should be electronically submitted or delivered to Chapel Hill Human Services Coordinator Jackie Thompson by 5:00 p.m. January 24.
For more information call Jackie Thomson at 919-968-2760.http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/flood-insurance-study-owasa-blood-drive-non-profit-funding/
ORANGE COUNTY – Orange County Commissioners will likely approve $10.5 million dollars worth of financing to pay for capital projects when the board meets Tuesday.
About half of that will go to build a new science wing at CulbrethMiddle School. Another $1.7 million will be used to renovate one floor of the HistoricWhittedBuilding to create a meeting space for local government.
Other investments include $1.4 million in technology upgrades and $1.2 million to improve the VIPER radio system used by emergency personnel.
The board will also discuss how to fund rural curb-side recycling and consider hiring a consultant to evaluate alternative sentencing programs.
The board meets Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at the Southern Human Services Center on Homestead Road.
HILLSBOROUGH - Former UNC African and Afro-American Studies chair Julius Nyang’oro faces one felony charge placed by an OrangeCounty grand jury Monday morning.
Orange and Chatham County District Attorney Jim Woodall says hundreds of thousands of documents were part of the investigation that concluded about a month ago and lasted nearly a year and a half. He says, from the beginning, he said that he didn’t believe there would be many if any criminal charges against anyone involved, and he couldn’t justify continuing the investigation.
“Quite frankly, we could have continued the investigation, because there are always avenues, more people that could be interviewed,” Woodall says. “But the agent and I decided the active investigation needed to be shut down because we had taken it as far as we felt we should.”
Woodall alleges Nyang’oro accepted $12,000 for a summer class he did not teach. If convicted, that charge will likely not result in time in prison.
“Whenever this investigation started, I told media outlets that I doubted there would be criminal charges,” Woodall says. “If there were criminal charges, I felt like they would be relatively minor. Now this is a felony charge which is a serious charge, but in the scheme of things, it’s one of the lower-level felony charges.”
He says the legality of the issue has been somewhat overblown.
“I felt that this was primarily an issue of academic integrity with the University,” Woodall says. “People have referred to this as academic fraud which is not a good thing obviously, but it’s not necessarily illegal.”
Woodall says while the investigation has concluded, there could be additional charges.
“There’s the potential for at least one other person to be charged,” Woodall says. “If that person is charged, that would probably happen in January. There are no current UNC employees who are the subjects of any investigation.”
Woodall did not name any names, but those charges could come against longtime AFAM department manager Deborah Crowder.
UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said in a statement, ““The action described in today’s indictment is completely inconsistent with the standards and aspirations of this great institution. This has been a difficult chapter in the University’s history, and we have learned many lessons. I am confident, because of effective processes already put in place, we are moving ahead as a stronger institution with more transparent academic policies, procedures and safeguards.”
Click here to read the full statement.
An external review by former North Carolina governor, Jim Martin found abnormalities in classes in the AFAM department dating back to 1997. The UNC administration says procedures have been put in place to make sure problems like these don’t happen again.
Nyang’oro was the department’s first chairman and took the position in 1992. He held the position until August 2011 when internal investigations into the department began at which time he stepped down. He retired from teaching in June 2012 amid ongoing investigations.
Governor Martin’s review stated the issue was not athletic in nature as non-athletes had equal access to the benefits.
The Martin Report found that the academic fraud included in excess of 200 lecture classes that never met and more than 500 grade changes, averaging B+.
State Bureau of Investigations probes have identified both Nyang’oro and his department manager, Deborah Crowder, as the two mainly responsible for no-show classes. Crowder retired from UNC in September 2009.
Five people were recently indicted by Secretary of State Elaine Marshal for breaking the Unified Athlete Agent Act. Former UNC tutor Jennifer Wiley Thompson was among those charged with athlete-agent inducement in connection with Georgia-based sports agent, Terry Watson. Watson was also indicted as he is accused of luring athletes to use him as an agent once they decided to go pro.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/former-unc-afam-chair-indicted-oc-grand-jury/
Okay, I need your help. I’ll keep this short.
There’s a lot that goes on in Orange County that gets reported in the news. We’re lucky to have multiple news outlets around the area, so our aggregate coverage is fairly comprehensive. Beyond that, we’ve got several good outlets for discussion and debate, where people can raise the bigger-picture issues that don’t necessarily fit into the daily news. Between all of those, we collectively do a good job covering most of what’s important in Chapel Hill-Carrboro.
But that “most” is the operative word. So here’s my question:
What is the biggest issue in Orange County that ISN’T being talked about, in any way, in any news outlet?
Any answer is acceptable here. I’m talking about issues that affect people’s lives here in Orange County in a real and direct way, but that aren’t getting any discussion on WCHL or the Chapel Hill News or the Daily Tar Heel or the Chapel Hill Weekly or the News of Orange County or Orange Politics or Chapel Hill Watch or any other major news outlet that covers our community.
(To give an example of what I’m thinking about: domestic violence. There are several advocacy groups in the Chapel Hill area who work directly with this issue, but it’s not a problem you see much discussed in our local media. There were articles written last year, after Chahnaz Kebaier’s murder, but this year there’s been very little; DC Swinton tried to raise the issue of a domestic violence shelter during the Town Council race, but his campaign never really took off and no other candidate picked up the issue.)
I don’t mean this to be an indictment of the local media, by the way. With so many issues worth discussing, there’s always going to be something that gets left out. That’s how it is.
But let’s do what we can to bring those issues back in. I’ve got this space here on Chapelboro; let’s put it to good use.
What is the biggest issue or hidden problem in Orange County that isn’t being talked about?
Reply in the comment section below, or email me at email@example.com, or send me a tweet @AaronKeck, and tell me what you think and why. I’ll talk about the responses I get* in a later column—and I’ll take at least one of those issues and delve into it further down the road.
* If I get no responses at all, I’ll write a column about how everything in Chapel Hill is A-OK and everyone in town is perfectly happy, and it’ll be your own fault.http://chapelboro.com/columns/aaron-keck/what-is-orange-countys-biggest-hidden-issue/
ORANGE COUNTY – County Commissioners will consider design options for the Cedar Grove Community Center and hear an update on a plan to launch an Orange County Fair when the board meets Tuesday.
The Cedar Grove Community Center project is estimated to cost approximately $2 million dollars and would renovate portions of a former school site to provide space for community meetings, recreation and internet access.
The board will also discuss a plan to host a weekend fair in the spring of 2015 showcasing Orange County art, agriculture, history and music.
The board meets at 7:00 p.m. at the Link Government Services Center in Hillsborough.
RALEIGH — A blast of colder air is expected to move into Central North Carolina Tuesday night. As this cold air replaces the warmer temperatures of today, there is also a storm system moving toward our state from the Northwest bringing with it the chance of some precipitation.
Katie Roussy is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh. She says parts of Northwestern North Carolina could get some snow, but don’t expect any here in the Triangle.
“It’s still going to be really cold when the system comes down Tuesday into Wednesday, but it looks like there’s not going to be a whole lot of moisture to work with,” Roussy says. “Across at least central North Carolina we’re not expecting any wintery precip with this.”
She says the system is strong enough to bring some accumulation to the mountains.
“They would have the best chance at seeing some measurable snow in those regions,” Roussy says.
Roussy also explains a Nor’easter could form off the Tar Heel coast and head up the Atlantic.
“There does look like there could be a storm that develops offshore, and at least for Central North Carolina, it’s going to be far enough off shore to where it’s not going to affect us,” Roussy says.
Stayed tuned to WCHL and Chapelboro.com for all the latest weather, especially as we enter into the winter season when these storms from the Northwest could catch us by surprise.http://chapelboro.com/news/weather/cold-temps-coming-but-no-snow-yet/
ORANGE COUNTY – The community is rallying behind a group bringing the roaring 1920’s to you in the form of a fundraiser.
***Listen to the Story***
The Friends of the Seymour Center and the Orange County RSVP 55 plus Volunteer Advisory Council are bringing the 1920s back to life by hosting the Glitz and Glamour Gatsby Gala.
Co-Chairs Angie Learner and Mary Joe Stone hope all local sheiks and dolls will attend the fundraising event.
“This is of the Gatsby era in the 20s,” Learner says, “It was a very romantic era. People were very into costumes and dancing.”
If you live in Orange County, Stone says you’ve probably seen the Friends of the Seymour Center or the Advisory Council doing something good for your community.
“Since 2012 through ’13 we had 468 RSVP volunteers that served about 45,000 hours across 62 local non-profit agencies and programs,” Stone says.
The list of programs includes Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools, Meals on Wheels, the Public Library, the Orange County Literacy Council, and the list goes on.
If that doesn’t convince you join in the fun, Stone thinks a few 1920s throwbacks will do the trick.
“We’re going to have one room which will be a speakeasy, which will be where we have our silent auction items,” Stone says, “And we will be running a silent DVD in there.”
And Learner says you should prepare yourself for a feast. She says 19 restaurants and food providers in the community are donating food for guests to munch on.
But most importantly, Learner says you’ll leave full of satisfaction from helping a good cause.
“A Feeling of the Bees Knees,” Learner says, “Guests will leave knowing that they’ve attended and helped sponsor something that is needed and a definite service to our adults in Orange County.”
The Glitz Glamour Gatsby Gala will be held at the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. Saturday November 16.
Click here for more information about the event.http://chapelboro.com/news/entertainment/glitz-glamour-and-gatsby-gala-to-be-held-saturday/
ORANGE COUNTY – Early voting for the municipal and school board elections in Orange County is on pace to net 1,300 votes with the daily average at just more than 100.
On Monday, 103 voters turned in their ballots taking the total up to 309. The Seymour Senior Center remains the most popular location gathering 54 of the 103 on the first day of week two.
The total from the early voting period could well surpass the 1,300 mark as the final day is on Saturday, November 2 allowing those who can’t get away from work to cast their ballot early.
You can find the latest poll numbers as well as interviews with each of the candidates and WCHL’s candidate forums by clicking here.http://chapelboro.com/news/election/oc-early-voting-low-but-steady/
ORANGE COUNTY – The Department of Commerce says tourism reached an all-time high in Orange County last year.
***Listen to the Story***
Executive Director of the Orange County Visitors Bureau, Laurie Paolicelli says the industry generated about 161 million dollars last calendar year.
Paolicelli says the spending trend has continued this year.
“We’ve seen almost double digit increases,” Paolicelli says. “We’re right at about nine percent. This past June we were astounded that we were close to 85 percent occupancy rates in Orange County.”
Paolicelli attributes the increase to businesses reopening their pocket books after a recession hit wallets hard in 2009.
“When we see more business travel, when we see the governor, and the chancellor, and education saying that it’s okay to travel again, all of that has greatly contributed to our success,” Paolicelli says.
Orange County continued to advertise and remained on businesses’ radars when money was tight. Paolicelli says this made it memorable when businesses were ready to spend again.
“The key for us is that when the economy is down, that’s when you really advertise; because you know when the economy comes back, people remember all that you advertised,” Paolicelli says.
Paolicelli says she collaborates with the local hotel industry to focus on bringing in tourists during the work week.
“An area like a college town will generally do well on weekends,” Paolicelli says. “But then you have to fill those properties Sunday through Thursday, and we have over 1500 rooms here. That’s when you want to look at your medical business, and your business travel. That is a big part of any hotel’s budget.”
Paolicelli says she is already thinking about the future. She says she plans to continue reaching out to businesses and organizations. There are several groups on the checklist, but she emphasizes one in particular:
“I think LGBT holds very strong potential for Orange County, and I don’t believe we’re tapping into that,” Paolicelli says. “We have an openly gay mayor in Chapel Hill, and we are not attracting that growing segment nationally to the degree that we could.”
Paolicelli says hotels are filling up without needing to offer discounted prices. That’s one of many reasons spending has reached record highs.
“We had to discount during the recession, but we’re starting to see our rate come back now. Everything from our streets, to our trees, to our paths… it’s a special experience here, and people are willing to pay for it.”http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/orange-county-tourism-increases-in-wake-of-recession/
CHAPEL HILL – If you’re an avid recycler, or even just a casual one, you’ve contributed to Orange County reaching a state high in waste reduction of 59 percent, nearing its goal of 61 percent.
In the 1991-92 fiscal year, Orange County set a goal to reduce the amount of waste people produced. At the time, the average amount of waste created per person was 1.36 metric tons.
“59 percent waste reduction means that in 2011-2012, as a whole, we had a waste reduction of 59% against that initial 1.36 tons per person,” says county solid waste planner Blair Pollock. “(We) measure what’s not there, if you will.”
Orange County offers an abundance of recycling options for households, schools, and businesses. Pollock says composting food and vegetative waste is also an alternative form of recycling that saves space in landfills.
In 1995, when Orange County conducted its second waste characterization study, they found that still over half of the county’s waste was recyclable. Pollock says that in the past 16 years Orange County has made big strides at improving recycling.
“Not only did we really step the rate of recycling in Orange County, but we also stepped up the overall rate of waste reduction,” Pollock says. “We’ve done things like mak(ing) compost bins available to people on an ongoing basis from our office and conduct(ing) backyard composting education along with that, and we’ve set up a whole variety of recycling programs.”
In the 2011-12 year, Orange County recycled about 31 percent of its total waste. However, this number does not include commonly recycled cardboard and a few other items that are often disposed of through outside measures.
Pollock says the future of recycling in Orange County may change soon: “Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough just received several proposals from other recycling companies,” he says, “so they are evaluating those and making a determination whether they will continue with the collective program that has been pretty successful for the last 26 years or whether they will decide to strike out in a different direction.”
Still, the success of recycling programs in Orange County have made recycling and efficient waste management a taken-for-granted way of life. At events like the Carrboro Music Festival, Pollock says, readily-available recycling reduced the amount of waste produced by up to 90 percent. And Pollock says UNC also holds high standards when it comes to waste to management and making recycling easy for people on campus, helping the county set a high standard of consciousness around recycling.
“Let me just add a shout-out to our stall work recycling friends over at UNC,” he says. “For as long as we have been managing recycling in the part of the county that’s not affiliated with the university, they’ve been doing, as a parallel track, a terrific job.”
For more information on Orange County Recycling click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/community-forum/orange-county-leads-nc-in-recycling/