Daniela Ocampo

2017 Health Report: Cancer Leading Cause of Death in Orange County

Healthy Carolinians of Orange County recently released the 2017 State of the County Health Report, which gives an update on county health concerns and actions being taken to address them. Healthy Carolinians coordinator Ashley Rawlinson said the State of the County Health Report is published each of the three years between Community Health Assessments, which are done every four years. “It is like an annual snapshot of the health of Orange County. What we’re looking like, the causes of death and disease, and then any work that we’ve done in that past year to address any of those three...

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Chapel Hill, UNC Enter Development Agreement for Future Municipal Services Center

The Chapel Hill Town Council voted last Wednesday to authorize town staff to proceed with a joint development agreement between the town and UNC for the future home of the town’s Municipal Services Center on university-owned property. The agreement is to govern and regulate the development of the site on Estes Drive near the Elkin Hills neighborhood that the town plans to lease, according to the town’s Planning and Development Services senior planner Aaron Frank. “The first phase would be the Municipal Services Center, which is about a 72,000 square-foot building, and a total of 200,000 square feet of built...

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Chatham County Manager Announces Retirement Effective October 1

Chatham County Manager Renee Paschal announced her retirement to the Board of Commissioners and staff effective October 1, 2018. “This was such a difficult decision, because I have the honor of working with such extraordinary people in Chatham County government and across the entire county. My decision is due to growing family responsibilities that require much more of my time — being manager requires complete commitment,” Paschal said in a release. Assistant county manager Dan LaMontagne has been appointed interim county manager by the board, effective October 1, 2018. Paschal has been in state and local government for 30...

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‘Operation Firecracker’ Increasing Impaired Driving Enforcement in North Carolina

Law enforcement agencies across North Carolina will be increasing enforcement and road checkpoints until July 9 in an effort to reduce impaired drivers on the road. The efforts are part of the Booze It and Lose It: Operation Firecracker campaign announced yesterday, in part, by director of the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program Mark Ezzell. “Through July 8, this statewide campaign will include stepped up patrols and checking stations across the state cracking down on impaired drivers,” Ezzell said. “Today’s message is simple. If you drink and drive, you will get caught. Law enforcement officers across the state...

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Announcement of New Chapel Hill Town Manager Not Expected Wednesday Night

Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said the new town manager replacing Roger Stancil, who is retiring this fall, was supposed to be announced at Wednesday’s meeting, which is the last meeting until the council returns this September after summer break. “We will probably have a special meeting in July to announce our new manager,” Hemminger said. “We’re still working out details, so we’re not going to be able to do that [at Wednesday’s meeting]. “It’s the details; it takes time.” According to Hemminger, the town has narrowed the search to one candidate but can’t announce it just yet. “You’ve...

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‘Reimagining 15-501’ Public Workshop Being Held Tuesday

If you live or work in Chapel Hill or Durham you’ve probably experienced the heavy traffic on 15-501 connecting the two municipalities. According to a regional travel demand model used by the NC Department of Transportation to forecast future traffic volumes, the US 15-501 corridor between Ephesus Church Road in Chapel Hill to University Drive in Durham is over or approaching capacity. Residents of Chapel Hill and Durham can attend a ‘Reimagining 15-501’ public workshop meeting regarding making changes to 15-501 to accommodate all types of commuters. The workshop is on Tuesday, June 26, from 5 to 8 p.m....

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Chatham County Extends Moratorium on Oil and Gas Development

The Chatham County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last week to extend a moratorium on oil and gas development in the county. The vote came after a lengthy public hearing. County attorney Glenn Dunn said the county has been working on developing an ordinance regarding oil and gas exploration, but that because the impacts of exploration in other states are still emerging, the board needs more time to develop the ordinance. Residents such as Genie Ambrose spoke in support of the moratorium and in support of banning horizontal fracking in the county all together. “The Compendium of Scientific, Medical,...

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National Poor People’s Campaign Meets in DC for Moral Revival Rally on Saturday

The sixth and final week of rallies in North Carolina and around the country for Poor People’s Campaign has come to a close and has led to thousands of arrests of protesters at state capitol buildings. The campaign, which has lasted 40 days, is a call for “moral revival” and action from legislators to confront poverty, discrimination, environmental damage and the amount of government money spent on warfare. Former president of the North Carolina NAACP Rev. Dr. William Barber left that position to “revive” the Poor People’s Campaign, a movement started by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in...

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Chapel Hill Exploring Possible Kidzu Relocation

Chapel Hill is officially exploring the possibility of moving Kidzu Children’s Museum to a town-owned location near Southern Village. The Town Council unanimously entered into a non-binding good-faith agreement, a letter of intent, with Kidzu to move forward with researching the move at last week’s meeting. The land is located off of 15-501 near the park-and-ride parking lot in Southern Village and is 2.7 acre site. Kidzu museum Board Chair Melissa Cain said that the current space that Kidzu is in at University Place is temporary. “For 12 years and counting, despite its cramped quarters, Kidzu has been a...

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Chapel Hill Moving Forward Replacing Homestead Park Soccer Fields with Cork Surface

Homestead Park’s grass soccer fields will be replaced with an artificial cork surface. According to Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger, the bids for the replacement of the turf came in higher than expected. “We’re going to choose to go with cork,” Hemminger said. “It’s a little more expensive. Most of the increase in the bid was for infrastructure though, some of it was from a difference of this fill. Town staff took a trip to Gaffney, South Carolina, Hemminger said, in an effort to learn more about the cork product. “We think it’s a better opportunity,” the mayor said....

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