National Weather Service Senior Forecaster Scott Sharp says once the cold front moves through the Triangle between 7:00 and 7:30 Monday morning, we should expect rain to switch to sleet at about midday.
WCHL’s Ron Stutts spoke with Sharp during the WCHL Monday Morning News.
***Listen to the Interview***http://chapelboro.com/news/weather/cold-front-bring-frozen-precipitation/
UPDATE: Chatham County has cancelled the boil advisory, confirming that no leak occurred. Here is the county’s full statement, released at 3:04 p.m. Thursday:
“Chatham County Water Utilities has announced that residents in sections of North Chatham no longer have to boil county water before using it for consumption. The State Division of Water Quality has verified that the water supply meets state standards and does not have to be boiled.
“A boil water notice was issued yesterday due to an unexpected drop in water pressure affecting specific parts of north Chatham. Utilities staff found no leaks or technical problems in the water system, but water pressure returned to normal levels. This points to the possibility that a private contractor doing utility work in the area may have impacted a water valve.”
Chatham County Public works director David Hughes says Wednesday’s advisory to residents in northern Chatham County was strickly precautionary and that he doesn’t believe there was every a break in the line.
“We don’t believe it was a break,” Huges says. “We suspect it was a contractor who closed some valves and shut off supply, so there was never a break in the line. Our tanks never dropped. We didn’t do anything particular, and the system regained pressure and went back to normal operating. So, the potential for contamination is very low. It’s possible but unlikely.”
Hughes says any time there is a drop in water pressure, water samples are taken to check for contaminants and safety measures are taken ensure no one consumes what is potentially hazardous.
While it takes just a few minutes more, he says the best course of action is to follow the safety instructions when they’re handed our—even when danger is not suspected and it’s just a precautionary step.
“They should boil the water for a minute to two minutes until we get the results back,” Hughes says.
In Orange County, Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) Board of Directors Chair, Alan Rimer says there are processes in place to protect from such an event.
“We have a number of storage tanks that contain several million gallons of water, and those tanks are managed by…a system of intercommunication between the treatment plant and these tanks,” Rimer says. “So, we can control the rate at which that water is put into the system at a pressure which would never allow for it to drop below a particular pressure level that would require a boil order.”
In fact, Rimer says it could be up to a day before the water system’s pressure drops below a safe level.
“We might ask folks to conserve, but certainly not to boil,” Rimer says.http://chapelboro.com/news/health/owasa-protected-n-chatham-water-woes/
Duke Energy Spokesperson Megan Musgrave
Chapel Hill Transit Director Brian Litchfield
Orange County Public Affairs Director Carla Banks
Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue
Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle
Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens
Carrboro Police Chief Walter Hortonhttp://chapelboro.com/news/weather/checking-community/
RALEIGH – Another winter storm is heading for the Triangle, but its severity is still unknown.
WCHL’s Aaron Keck spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Barrett Smith about when the winter weather will start and how long it will last.
***Listen to the Interview***
A hazardous weather outlook is in place for the area through mid-week. Click here for more details.http://chapelboro.com/news/weather/another-dose-winter-weather-aiming-triangle/
ORANGE COUNTY – More than 4,600 children in Orange County were living in poverty in 2001, according to census data. That was almost 18 percent of the total number of children living in the County at the time. A decade later, more than 2,300 additional children were living in poverty.
Dr. Colleen Bridger, Director of the Orange County Health Department, said poverty remains one of the biggest, yet least acknowledged issues in our area.
She discussed possible ways to reduce child poverty at a County Board of Health meeting Wednesday night. Bridger explained that Orange County’s child poverty rate is on trend with the majority of other counties.
“Like in a lot of aggregate statistics, we look better than the State average. The challenge is that we still have families who are living in abject poverty in Orange County, and sometimes aggregate statistics can mask that,” Bridger said.
She added, “When you go back to the stereotype for Orange County, you hear that for example we have the lowest unemployment rate. So people, I think, make the next logical step to say ‘Well, if we have the lowest unemployment rate, then our poverty numbers must not be matching other areas in the State.’ That is just not the case.”
The Health Department’s analysis indicated that there are six prevalent pockets of poverty throughout our area, encompassing 21 of the 29 schools in Orange County.
Many poverty indicators, such as the number of children enrolled in Medicaid and the number of students on free or reduced lunch, have increased in the last five years, both countywide and also in both Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and Orange County schools.
As of 2011, more than 7,000 children in the county, or 25 percent, were enrolled in Medicaid. More than 30 percent of students enrolled in both school districts received free or reduced lunch.
Long-term Impacts of Child Poverty
Children living in poverty, Bridger explained, are much more likely to experience “adverse childhood events.” Examples include abuse, neglect or a general category of household dysfunction.
“The reason that this is important is because when children are exposed to an adverse childhood event, it structurally affects their brain,” Bridger said.
Research shows that the more adverse events a child experiences will increase the likelihood for chronic diseases, mental health problems, and behaviors that lead to teen pregnancy or the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.
“Those adverse childhood events are extremely linked to adult public health outcomes that we really want to see changed,” she said.
While poverty cannot be eliminated immediately, Bridger said that there are ways to address the problem now and prevent future difficulties in our local children’s lives.
“A county government cannot fix poverty. What we can do, however, is mitigate the effects of poverty on children. The only way to do that is through an extremely comprehensive holistic approach.”
The Harlem Children’s Zone Project was launched in New York City and promotes positive environments for area children. Bridger said she hopes to launch a program like that here in Orange County.
“One of the biggest successes that it [the Harlem Children’s Zone Project] showed relatively quickly is that it literally eliminated the racial disparity in math and reading for children in elementary school,” Bridger said.
Durham has a similar program already up and running, called the East Durham Children’s Initiative
As part of her larger goal to implement a program like the Harlem’s Children’s Zone project in Orange County, Bridger will recommend several initiatives at next month’s Board of Health meeting.
A component of her proposal is to create a new program manager position to focus on a community dealing with childhood poverty in our area.http://chapelboro.com/news/health/ways-reduce-oc-child-poverty-comprehensive-holistic-approach/
CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools board member Mia Burroughs is hopeful to make a move to the County Commissioners, and she says she’s not going to stop working for schools if she gets there.
“I think that a little bit less than half of the county’s budget goes to our public schools—both the Orange County school district as well as Chapel Hill-Carrboro,” Burroughs says. “I really think it’s important to have someone on the commission who has really close experience with how those are spent.”
She says she also wants to make sure the budget benefits from diversity in the tax base.
***Listen to the Full Interview***http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/burroughs-still-schools-mind-looking-bocc-seat/
ORANGE COUNTY – Hillsborough resident Bonnie Hauser is the latest to announce she will seek a seat on the Orange County Board of Commissioners.
Hauser told WCHL she was not available for an interview until Wednesday. She says she will seek Commissioners Chair Barry Jacobs’ at-large seat. Jacobs has not announced whether or not he will seek a fifth term.
One of Hauser’s major projects in the county was the formation of Orange Voice in 2008, which opposed the construction of an airport and waste transfer station in the county. She has also been involved with the local social justice group, Justice United, and is a strong proponent of improved transit between Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Durham.
Tune in to the WCHL Morning News on Thursday to hear comments from Hauser on her intention to seek the County Commissioner seat.http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/bonnie-hauser-seek-county-commissioner-seat/
ORANGE COUNTY – Rural Orange County resident, Mark Marcoplos says he will seek a seat on the Orange County Board of Commissioners.
“We’re facing really challenging times with budget issues, pressure from the state—the state legislature’s making it difficult for municipalities,” Marcoplos says. “So, we’re going to have to make some really tough decisions.”
***Listen to the Interview with Ron Stutts on the WCHL Wednesday Morning News***
Marcoplos previously announced on WCHL that he would seek the next vacant seat after his supporters asked if he was interested in the North Carolina House 50 seat previously held by Valerie Foushee. Just before going on WCHL, he shared on Facebook that he was more interested in helping the county on the local government level.
Marcoplos lives in Bingham Township west of Chapel Hill and Carrboro and owns and operates a small residential construction company. He has served on the Orange County Economic Development Commission, the Orange County Planning Board, and he served twice as chair of the Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) Board of Directors. He has also had his hand in multiple other community activities, which he outlines in his press release.
The Orange County landfill closed this past summer, and now the county’s solid waste is shipped to neighboring counties. Marcoplos says that’s one of his biggest concerns for the future of the county.
“The commissioners have just kicked the can down the road for the last couple of decades, and now we’re sort of beholden to Durham, we’re beholden to a waste company—you know, out of sight, out of mind,” Marcoplos says.
He says he wants to focus on making sure this doesn’t become a financial burden for the county and its residents.
“We don’t know how much it’s going to cost when fuel prices go up, when contracts with waste companies are renegotiated,” Marcoplos says. “We really need to have an end game for our solid waste management that includes us having as much control as we possibly can of our waste stream.”
Marcoplos passed on the opportunity to throw his hat into the ring for the North Carolina House 50 seat when it came up last fall. Valerie Foushee left the seat to become the State Senator for District 23.
He says he wants to focus on the county he’s grown to love in the 40-plus years he’s been here on a local level.
Click here to read his press release.http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/mark-marcoplos-seek-bocc-seat/
CHAPEL HILL- A recent court ruling means Orange County will have to find a new way to fund curbside recycling pick-up for rural residents, but commissioners say they aren’t sure what is the most equitable way to pay for the program.
At their last meeting of 2013, Orange County Commissioners debated whether to create a new service tax district to pay for rural recycling pick-up or give residents the option to sign up for the service.
Some on the board, including Penny Rich, worried that switching to a subscription service could lead as many as 20 percent of participants to opt out.
“The subscription service just doesn’t sit right with me,” said Rich. “If we’re a county that is encouraging recycling and we have a program, it should be a program that everyone should use.”
Currently the county provides curbside recycling pick-up to 13,700 rural homes, but county leaders want to expand the service in the future. Pick-up is estimated to cost $630,000 annually and officials say they’ll need an additional $1.3 million to buy 96-gallon roll-out carts and two new trucks this year.
The proposed subscription service would cost homeowners approximately $58 yearly, while a service district tax could add as much as 1.5 cents per $100 of valuation to property tax bills.
Under the subscription model, only those using the service would pay the fee, but if commissioners approve a county-wide service district, all property owners in the unincorporated areas would be charged, including those who own undeveloped land or live outside the bounds of the pick-up routes.
Though she said it’s not a perfect solution, Commissioner Bernadette Pelissier favored the service district plan. She said because increased recycling is a community goal, it is appropriate to fund the program using tax dollars.
“If you think about our taxes in general, we pay for the whole array of services and we don’t necessarily use them all,” said Pelissier. “We have made a commitment to recycling in this community and I want to maintain that commitment.”
But Commissioner Mark Dorosin said he’s concerned about the impact a new tax might have on rural residents.
“I think the argument about the value of recycling as a value of the county is counterbalanced by trying to maintain affordability in the county,” said Dorosin. “We’re talking about a 1.5 cent tax on rural areas of the county. That’s troubling.”
Board Chair Barry Jacobs said that if the county adopts the service district plan, officials would need to act quickly to expand the program.
“I see no equity in charging people for something, then having a minimalist or gradual approach to expanding the services,” said Jacobs. “For all these discussions about tax equity, if I’m paying for it, I should get it.”
Commissioner Earl McKee was not convinced. He argued that Orange County residents have prioritized recycling in the past and they aren’t likely to give that up.
“I’m still more comfortable with trusting our citizens to do what they are already doing,” said McKee. “I’m much more comfortable with providing an option that will allow folks to do it for a fee rather than do it under what I view as a system of coercion.”
The board voted 6-1 to get detailed information and hold a series of public hearings about the service district plan. McKee opposed, saying while he’s a strong supporter of recycling, he couldn’t support a plan that doesn’t offer residents the option of opting out.
The board will discuss the issue again on January 23, and public hearings on the service district tax plan will be held in the spring. If approved, the service district would be put in place by July 1.http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/bocc-eyes-rural-recycling-district-tax-plan/
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/