Friday, May 29, 2009

Last Fridays update

Last Fridays will start a little later tonight because of impending showers.

Elizabeth Read of the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough told us the music and other events on and around the courthouse square will begin at 7 p.m., not 6, because downtown Hillsborough is expected to be hit by a brief onslaught of rain. It's expected to be over shortly after 6. Adjust your evening plans accordingly.

Quick hits

Somehow, it's already the P.M. This is one of those days where I run around the office all afternoon and still don't actually finish stories. Some quick notes:

Athlete of the Week
I just finished our weekly high school athlete feature (picked by the athletic directors — there has been some confusion) for the school year, and ended with what is probably one of my favorites from this year. Teenagers who speak their mind can by fun interviews. I'll just say that this week's featured athlete from Cedar Ridge gave some very unique off-the-cuff responses. She was a delight to speak to, and ended her high school career on a high note.

There has been a second confirmed case involving an Orange County resident. Information is limited, but Orange County now has two of the state's 21 confirmed cases. We'll try to have more by next week.

Again? Yep. Municipal seats are up again this fall, and filing officially starts July 6. Down south, there have already been announcements and rumblings, but I don't hear much about Hillsborough. Two town board members — Frances Dancy and Michael Gering — are up this year, as is Mayor Tom Stevens. Does anybody know of challengers, or will the town stay the course? We're always up for a good rumor or two.
Judging from the turnout at the town budget public hearing last night (zero people), it doesn't seem like there are many rumblings. If there are, let us know.

This weekend
Tonight (rain or shine) is Last Friday, which I'll be hanging around for a little while to get some shots. There is also an alumni basketball game between Hillsborough high school alums and Chapel Hill high school alums benefiting the Central Community Band (Vanessa will be there). Tomorrow morning, there is a K-9 demonstration at Gold Park to raise money for police dog protection (specifically, Hillsborough's own Talon and Sampson). Our interns, Miles and Marnie, will be there for that.
Also, the Friends of the Library will hold their spring book sale Friday to Sunday.
See the calendar here.
Have a good (and hopefully dry) weekend.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

ohs marching band

Orange High School's marching band played in the Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

Here's some video of them in D.C. (they're shown about a minute in):

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Locals on 'Throwdown'

No, it's not one of those shows like "Smackdown" (I never watched pro wrestling — is that still the name?). The Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber sent out a notice yesterday that Jeff Woods of Carolina Game and Fish will have a cameo appearance on the Food Network's "Throwdown with Bobby Flay," which airs tonight at 8:30 p.m.

Woods will be assisting Raleigh's Ed Mitchell, who squares off against the aforementioned TV host at Mitchell's barbecue restaurant. According to the Chamber, other locals include Harold Wagner. Mitchell will be a judge at this year's Hog Day, fittingly.

The program also airs at 3:30 a.m. Thursday morning (for all of you Food Network die-hards) and 4:30 p.m. June 6.

Mistake in print and next week

Last week, I mindlessly inserted "Cedar Ridge" into a breakout box on track state qualifiers where there should not have been one. This week, trying to finish the paper to run out the door to a town budget meeting (I was the audience; who's jealous?), I made some page edits that actually cut off one line of a photo caption and kept an incorrect spelling. The story? It was about track.

I have nothing against the track programs, however consecutive sloppy edits might make it look so. Please consider this a mea culpa.

This week
Now that the Web site is up (mostly, because we can't get the PDF to change over), it's officially next week, in which last week's positives and negatives are pretty much a moot point. Here's some things I know of so far:

• The residents in the Colonial Park Water Association will be able to have connections to town water subsidized. Last fall, we reported on well contaminations in the community, and I'll have a follow-up next week.

• The public hearing on the town budget is at 7 p.m. Thursday, and I'll have a story next week with budget facts and figures. There are some gems in the 400-page document, but I'll try not to bore you too much. Once I can confirm this, I'll let you know about the town paying copyright fees for music it doesn't actually use (board members actually brought this up Tuesday night).
UPDATE: The town has budgeted $625 for copyright contracts with ASCAP and BMI fees, something town staff said many towns in the state are advised to do to prevent a lawsuit. This covers any songs played at town events, in town offices or over the phones when people are holding on town services. What songs would you like to hear playing, if the town is already paying for them?

• I'll be taking pictures at Last Friday, and hopefully we'll be able to publish contest winners and goings-on in next week's edition. Our papers (at least my copy) are a little darker than I would have hoped they'd be.

There will be more ... Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

busy busy tuesday

Hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day weekend — and didn't have to spend it working!

Josh and I are, as always, putting the paper out today. It is bursting at the seams and is chock full of great stories, from school board decisions to the waste transfer station controversy and a great feature Josh wrote about a church with two ministries in it.

Also, just a reminder that the Project House open house is tonight, despite the rain and gloomy skies. I went out there earlier today, and the house looks great! (To see a picture of it, check out tomorrow's paper.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Efland Cheeks sewer rates bring a crowd

Maybe it was the upcoming holiday.

Last night, I was expecting to be at the senior center in Hillsborough until 10:30 p.m., maybe midnight, for the budget public hearing. From my count, less than 100 people were in attendance, less than 70 if you take away county employees (though one spoke against some budget cuts).

Many of the speakers argued against the delay in funding for Carrboro High School's arts wing, against the closing of the Carrboro McDougle and Cedar Grove library branches or the lack of commercial tax revenue in Orange County. But the largest contingent in the crowd — close to 40 people — came to speak about the Efland sewer system, which serves slightly more than 200 people in the Efland Cheeks area of the county, many of them in affordable housing. Specifically, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County's Richmond Hills community is on the system.

As we reported in January, residents will see substantial increases in water and sewer rates, eventually close to 300 percent of their current bills, according to some homeowners. These fees are not exactly part of the current budget crunch; commissioners decided last year to delay the implementation of fees from Jan. 1 to July 1.

The current sewer rates are $15.20 for all customers using 3,000 gallons or less per month. In July, only customers using 1,000 gallons or less per month will see a lower monthly charge.

Base charges will increase from $7.25 in July to $19.62 by July 2012. The per-1,000 gallon fee will also increase during the 4 years.

A minimum bill under the current rates is $15.20. By July 2012, the minimum will would be $36.66.

You can read more about their reactions in next week's edition.

• We'll also be sure to keep tabs on the Millhouse Road transfer station idea, which Vanessa has a follow-up on next week. Some readers were concerned we were overlooking Tuesday's meeting; because of our production schedule, the paper is put to bed by the time these meetings start (or shortly afterward) about 90 percent of the time. The 10 percent includes election coverage and major board votes — the projected final decision on the long, winding station search saga is supposed to be Aug. 18, a Tuesday. As of right now, that's something for which we'd hold production.

Now, Millhouse Road is in Chapel Hill, no doubt about it. The Bingham Township sites have Chapel Hill postal addresses, but they are in the rural community we consider part of our coverage zone. Typically, Chapel Hill and Carrboro are not our areas. However, this is a universal issue involving the county's trash, and based on the response we've been receiving about it, readers continue to seek details in our pages. So, we'll keep following it.

Hope everybody has a nice Memorial Day weekend. We'll be back in on Monday, and I'll take my day off sometime this summer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Through the roof

CORRECTION: The town meeting on May 26 is going to be a town board workshop. The public hearing portion will be held May 28. People wishing to speak probably aren't going to be able to do that on May 26. Sorry for the confusion.

Today was another Woodcroft Wednesday, so everything was a little behind. Anyways, apparently the underground art museum story or something else in last week's paper made it very appealing. Our unique online visitors cracked 6,300 (up by a few hundred) for the week, and our paper sales went up considerably, too. So, that's good news for us and satisfying because it's an indicator we're giving you good stuff. Thanks for reading and keep it up.

Also, several things came in late to the paper-making process yesterday, so here's a rundown of public hearings where you can make yourself heard on the town and county's budgets:

Hillsborough — 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 26: hearing on the general fund budget at the Town Barn (but not a public hearing).
— 7 p.m. Thursday, May 28: hearing on the water/sewer fund budget. I'll be at both of those, as well as ...

Orange County — 7 p.m. Thursday, May 21: hearing at the Central Orange Senior Center.
— 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 26: hearing at the Southern Human Services Center in Chapel Hill.

On a separate note, our two high school interns, Miles and Marnie, are working on a few projects during their few weeks here. They are investigating summer activities — camps, volunteer opportunities and anything else — for young people, people with children and seniors. If there is a summer activity (ongoing or on specific dates) happening in Orange County, we'd love to include it. Send your ideas/insight to

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

An early Memorial Day notice

We'll post more schedules as we receive them, since some will likely come after we go to press (they go on the Web site as well).

Curbside recycling will be collected on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, as regularly scheduled. If this is a customer’s regularly scheduled recycling day, they should have their bin at the curb by 7 a.m. or put it out the night before.
The Orange County Landfill will be closed on Monday, May 25 in observance of the Memorial Day Holiday. All services associated with the landfill, such as the household hazardous waste collection and mulch sales, will also be closed. All landfill services will resume normal hours of operation on Tuesday, May 26.
The staffed Orange County Solid Waste Convenience Centers will be closed on Monday, May 25.
They will re-open for normal hours of operation, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26.
Questions? Contact the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department at 968-2788 or e-mail

Friday, May 15, 2009

Trash update; do it for the dogs

At last night's BOCC work session, Mayor Tom Stevens proposed something that might not come up again unless there is a "worst-case scenario" with the transfer station siting process.

One of the proposals county staff floated to commissioners last month, in case an advanced boondoggle prevented a waste transfer station from being built by the mid-2012 deadline (when the landfill will be full, based on current inflow), was to cut off all non-Interlocal agreement partners from depositing waste on Eubanks Road. The partners — Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough, account for only about 83 percent of waste deposited at the landfill. Various private companies' waste account for the rest; under this proposal, non-residential construction site waste could still be landfilled.
But that idea, combined with the fact that Hillsborough could actually save a nominal amount of money by sending its trash to a Durham waste transfer station, led to a proposal from Stevens — Hillsborough could stop sending trash to Orange County's landfill, though recycling would still be sent to Eubanks Road. This, of course, was only a brainstorming session. Read more about the transfer site developments next week.

Do it for the dogs
If you read the print edition, you already know about the garden tour and related events, but here's one from next weekend for a worthy cause:

Three Hillsborough neighborhood watch groups will hold a live demonstration from the Hillsborough Police Department’s two K-9 officers and handlers next weekend to raise funds for bullet- and stab-resistant vests for the dogs.
The fundraiser will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 30, in Gold Park, 415 Dimmocks Mill Road
Items will be sold during a silent auction, including a Triangle Sportsplex membership, a watercolor painting by artist Chris Kanoy, a teddy bear and assorted vases, pottery and serving bowls from local businesses and artisans.
A bake sale will also be held to raise funds.
All donations are tax-deductible, and receipts will be given on site. Checks should be made payable to the Town of Hillsborough.
Any funds in excess of the vest cost — approximately $1,600 — will be reserved to assist with the purchase of a new dog upon retirement.
For more information, call 732-1692 or send an e-mail to

Have a good weekend.

bureaucracy and coming up

Well, as Josh said, I was out of the office Wednesday. I went down to Charlotte, where I was supposed to have my naturalization interview and take my citizenship (and English language) test.

That didn't happen.

I waited at the INS office in Charlotte for about 3 hours (my poor husband waited at a nearby Starbuck's with a Tom Clancy novel) before finding out my appointment had been canceled and rescheduled for Raleigh, since I live so close to the immigration centre there. Apparently, my attorney should have let me know. So, I've been trying to find out when my new appointment is so I can get this rolling.

So, that's where I was Wednesday.

Now, on to what I'm working on for the upcoming week.

• I went over to Gold Park to see Terry Hackett (with the county), some Boy Scouts and other community volunteers put together some stormwater features in the new park.

• Some Saudi Arabian professors from a teacher's college came to Hillsborough Elementary to find out how the year-round school runs.

• Partnership Academy has an animal lovers club that volunteers over at the Orange County Animal Shelter.

• A Partnership student won a poetry contest out of 5,000 entries in the state.

• The Board of Education has a meeting Monday.

• The Orange High School Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsored a 3-on-3 basketball tournament that featured a former Tar Heel and NBA player and current ESPN host as a speaker.

Feel free to send me anything else you hear of that's going on to or 732-2171.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Next week's paper

Here's what I am working on for next week (subject to changes, additions and deletions):

— I'll follow up a bit more on the town budget and address some of where the town manager thinks the town is going, revenue-wise, in the coming years. Plus, there are a few other cost-cutting moves being considered.

— The county released its proposed budget this week, with a revenue-neutral ad valorem rate of 85.8 cents. The total budget is more than $5 million under last year's total. I'll have some fast facts on what's being proposed. Considering I am sitting on both town and county budgets (not literally, but the town's paper copy is quite fat), county information is likely to come in installments as work sessions occur. The public hearing in Hillsborough is at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 21.

— The church story will be coming now that I settled a background research issue that was bugging me (and town staff). Apparently, the church at its current address did not exist in town records. But that's a story for another day ...

— We'll have some pictures from this weekend's garden tour, Faulkner's opening and lots of other goodies.

We will also have two interns from Carolina Friends School joining us for two weeks beginning next Tuesday. We've done some brainstorming on a project they can work on while here, but as always, we're open to suggestions.

One last note — the Burwell School is having a Pet Appreciation Night during Last Fridays, and they are currently accepting cute pet photos as part of a contest. Photos in any form — digital, 35 mm, old-timey sepia tone — can be submitted by May 28, with judging to take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 29.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Looking forward ....

I am working on what exactly I will have for next week, but several items are in the works. We're going to have a very hectic Tuesday, May 19, and some stories may not fully materialize until that afternoon.

We were put in touch with Balazs Szabo a few weeks ago, and he's got big plans for Hillsborough's arts scene. Here's Vanessa's story. This could really change the landscape of downtown space being used as art galleries (though we're not sure yet where the museum would be sited).

This weekend, the big downtown event is the garden tour, and they need volunteers. From the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough:
"As spring approaches it is time to begin thinking about this year’s Garden Tour, scheduled for Saturday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, May 17, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Alliance for Historic Hillsborough expects to have many lovely gardens on this year’s tour, including Helen’s Garden at the Alexander Dickson House (tour headquarters), the Spurgeon Garden at the Burwell School Historic Site, the Dannehower Garden and the gardens at 'Horseshoe in the Dogwood.'
In order to make this event a success, the Alliance is looking for volunteers to donate their time. As in the past, volunteers are only asked to help in shifts and each volunteer will receive one complementary ticket for their time given. If you or someone you know might be interested in helping please let us know. Please contact Sarah Parris at 732-7741 or by email at"

I'll be back tomorrow with some planning for this week and a question about some of our regular items in the print edition. Vanessa is out today (you'll probably see a column or blog soon as to why), but we'll all be back tomorrow.

Friday, May 8, 2009

severe weather pictures

UPDATE: The photos below should be credited to Josh DiPaulo.

We got some more pictures of the funnel cloud spotted in Orange County. This time, the pictures come to us from Robbin at Taylor-Hall, whose sister took them at 4123 Schley Road, further north than the other photos.

As always, if you've got interesting photos, send them along to me at, Josh at or the general editorial e-mail at

coming up

Well, I'm sorry it took me longer than usual to post this up here, but better late than never, eh?

Here's what I'm working on for the next edition of the paper:

• I met with an internationally-renowned artist who is moving to the area (he calls it "Shangri-La") and wants to build an environmentally-friendly art museum.

• Local news anchor John Clark spoke to students at Partnership Academy about the news industry and overcoming obstacles.

• A local colonel got an Elite Hillsborough Award this morning. I'll tell you who next week.

• A story out of last week's Board of Education meeting about pre-K programs.

More may come up (as it often does!) between now and Tuesday. If you've got any ideas, send them my way:

Hope everyone has a great weekend and a happy Mother's Day.

Friday grab bag

To follow up on yesterday's post, we received another photo from Sheila Wilkinson, an employee at Cedar Ridge High School, who sent us what appears to be a cell phone photo from a Cedar Ridge teacher about 10 minutes prior to the photo in the prior post.

Given the distance between Cedar Ridge and St. Mary's Road (west to east), my amateur meteorology skills tell me that's the same funnel cloud.

• Anyways, this is on the Web site as well, but in addition to the Bellevue Mill public hearing and an initial budget proposal from Town Manager Eric Peterson, next week's town board meeting also includes the second request in a few months to lower speed limits on residential streets. From the town:

"In a proposed amendment to the ordinance on motor vehicles and traffic, town staff recommend lowering the posted speed limit on four streets in the Kenion Grove and Granview neighborhoods from 35 mph to 25 mph. The affected streets would be:
— Childsberg Way, from Revere Road to Constitution Way
— Regulators Way, from Childsberg Way to Constitution Way
— Constitution Way, from Regulators Way to Cornelius Street
— Summit Drive, from Beckett’s Ridge Drive to its end
Granview shares an entrance point from N.C. 86 South with the Beckett’s Ridge neighborhood, which has a posted speed limit of 25 mph. Lowering the speed limit within Granview and Kenion Grove would bring the two neighborhoods in line with other neighborhoods in town.
Also included in the proposed amendment is a recommendation to install stop signs on three streets in Kenion Grove. The neighborhood has no stop signs installed, which creates a pedestrian and motor vehicle safety hazard. The affected streets would be:
— Constitution Way as it approaches Cornelius Street from the north
— Childsberg Way as it approaches Constitution Way from the north
— Childsberg Way as it approaches Revere Road from the south
— Regulators Way as it approaches Constitution Way from the north
— Regulators Way as it approaches Childsberg Way from the south"
Is 25 mph the right speed for traffic through town (OK, these streets aren't cutting through town like the streets affected by the most recent changes). Should the town impose a standard speed limit throughout town? I'd like to know your thoughts.

• Also, the Town of Hillsborough is still happy to accept applications from residents for volunteer boards. How do I know? Well, there's this.

When you start seeing that image posted on telephone polls around town, you'll know they're really serious.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It got a little windy last night

While I have not heard of any tornado touchdowns in recent days in Orange County (please let us know if you did, though), Jim and Vera Shanley of Secondwind Farm, located off of St. Mary's Road, sent us the image to the left taken Wednesday night.

Having grown up in Nashville, Tenn., which seemed to become Tornado Alley in the late 1990s (I remember my father's ninth-floor office window was blown out when a particularly bad one came through downtown Nashville in 1997), I can say from experience these are not welcome sights.

A town where I worked previously, Martinsville, Indiana, apparently is 142 percent more prone to tornadoes then the rest of the United States. It got hit by one bad tornado in 2008 (and a flood that covered much of the city) and a really, really bad one in 2002.

Anyways, you can send us storm photos at

We're on TV! and other notes

Here are a few items that came in after we went to press and are relevant for the weekend.

• Hillsborough part of 'North Carolina Weekend' — The town will be featured in a segment on UNC-TV's "North Carolina Weekend" program, which airs tonight at 9 p.m. and is re-run on Fridays and Saturdays (check local listings for the channel). The program will tour Historic Hillsborough and will also make stops in Washington, Southport and Pilot Mountain. Recent editions of the program online at

• Or do it yourself — The Second Saturday Hillsborough Guided Walking Tour is held this week at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Come to the Alexander Dickson House, 150 E. King St., and explore Hillsborough's history on a 90-minute guided walking tour through its historic district. The cost is $5. For more information, call 732-7741 or visit

• If it involves trash and Orange County, I'm probably spending my evening there — The Orange County Board of Commissioners has added a work session at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 14, at the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill. They will be discussing solid waste issues, and have invited town governments to participate. This is not, to my knowledge, a decision item but a long-term planning talk outside of the current site search process.

• Town opening another park — Hillsborough officials will cut the ribbon on King's Highway Park, 1001 Ben Johnston Road, this Saturday at 10 a.m.

This will take the place of my weekly Friday "this weekend" post because I'll be out after noon tomorrow, FYI.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This week; just FYI

UPDATE: Oops. Now with a functioning link, I hope ...

Before I launch into what we're working on for this week, a quick update:

A few weeks ago, I mentioned there would be a map showing revaluation of properties within Hillsborough. These are county numbers (percent change) for properties in town. It's not going to help people living outside of town limits, and there hasn't been much above-the-board discussion about what to do with the numbers. They just are what they are — a way for property-owners to compare their revalued property to the rest of their neighborhood or the other side of town. The request for the map came from town board member and Mayo Pro Tem Michael Gering.

In lieu of posting the PDF file to this site, follow the link below and download their version to see it in more detail. If you want to see the file and are having issues downloading it, leave us a comment or e-mail us and I'll see if I can post it (the map is too complex to reproduce in print).

Also, this week I am working on the following stories, among other things:

• The Board of County Commissioners heard a report from Library Director Lucinda Munger on how to keep the North Carolina Room materials in the new county facility. This issue has drawn letters to our pages from all over the country, so I know there will likely be concern over the concept of a Heritage Center, which was also discussed. Read our interview with Munger from earlier this year, which addresses some of these points, here (scroll down to the second section of the story).
Commissioners also discussed a possible solar grid and improvements to the county's public transportation system.

• A church is West Hillsborough, recently renovated and revived, serves two different ministries, and church leaders hope to serve several others. No promises on this running next week, as I think we already have a good front-page feature for May 13 (more on that from Vanessa).

• Speaking of West Hillsborough, a public hearing is being held Monday on the proposed Bellevue Mill project changes at the town board meeting (7 p.m., Town Barn).


We both have had morning appointments and I am going to be out until noon-ish, but the Web will be updated soon thereafter. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, May 1, 2009

letter regarding swine flu and schools

This letter is posted on the Orange County Schools Web site:

The State Health Department and the Department of Public Instruction have published the following letter regarding preventative measures against Swine Flu for distribution to all schools in North Carolina. Please rest assured that we are monitoring the situation very closely and will do whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of our students. Additional information is available on our website,

Dear Parents and Guardians:
This letter is to inform you that the State of North Carolina has entered a heightened surveillance stage resulting from the presence of a swine flu virus that is making people sick in several states and Mexico. Although, to date, mostly mild illness has occurred in the United States, we realize that many people are worried and we hope this letter will help address your concerns. We believe students can safely attend classes, so schools will remain open at this time. Individual schools might have to close if staff or students are diagnosed with swine flu.
At this time, the state and local health departments have advised us that students can continue to come to school, as long as they are not sick and do not think they have flu symptoms. Flu-like symptoms include: fever (over 100 degrees F.), feverishness, cough, sore throat, runny nose, or stuffy nose. Additional symptoms may be experienced with swine flu, including muscle pain, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
Flu spreads easily.
If you suspect your child is getting the flu, it is important that he/she does not
attend school or go anywhere else, such as group childcare, the mall, or sporting events, where other people would be exposed to flu germs. It is also important to teach your children how to reduce their risk of getting the flu and protect others from infection.
• Teach your children to wash their hands often. Washing with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds is ideal (That’s about as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice).
• Teach your children the proper use of hand sanitizer. Gels, rubs, and hand wipes all work well as long as they contain at least 60% alcohol. Hand wipes must be disposed of
properly. Always read and follow label instructions when using hand sanitizer.
• Teach your children to keep their hands away from their face and avoid touching their mouth, nose, and eyes.
• Teach your children to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or by coughing into the
inside of their elbow. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve—not your hands!
• Help your children to learn these healthy habits by setting a good example; always do them yourself.
If we all practice good hygiene, health officials believe we can limit the spread of swine flu in our schools at this time. We are following CDC standards regarding best cleaning practices for infection control in our buildings and classrooms.
While the current situation does not warrant school closure, if swine flu continues to spread and more students become ill, it may become necessary to close schools for a period of time. Our nursing and administrative staff are working with public health officials to monitor the situation here and all decisions will be made in consultation with them. We will inform parents immediately if the situation changes and it becomes necessary to close schools.
If schools are closed, please do not make arrangements—such as sending children to a friend’s home or group childcare—that will put them in close contact with other children. It is important to plan ahead. Have a family discussion now to consider options in advance of the event of a school closing.
Please stay informed by paying attention to media reports. You may also get information at,, or CARE LINE, the toll-free number that North Carolinians can use to get answers to their questions. The CARE LINE number is 1-800-662-7030. Information will also be available on our website,
Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our children and our schools healthy.

eco classroom update

I received word this morning that the eco classroom and stormwater retrofit project over at Stanford Middle School got some good news: The project received the Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grant for $5,000.

Congrats to everyone who's worked so hard on the project.