Friday, October 30, 2009

Volleyball update; Fairview Park groundbreaking

From various sources:

• Orange's volleyball playoff run ended last night in a 3-0 loss at Cardinal Gibbons.

Cedar Ridge defeated Bunn 3-1 and will host another playoff game on Saturday, this time Sectionals. If they win, they will move on to Regionals next week and would be a step away from the state finals. We'll update as we know more.

• Also, if you're looking for something to do tonight or tomorrow, here's our compilation of Halloween-themed events around the area. There will be plenty of family-friendly events over the next few days, and supposedly it will dry up by this evening.

• One final note, also added to the Web site: A groundbreaking date has been set for Fairview Park's phase I expansion - 4:30 p.m. next Wednesday, Nov. 4. It's obviously a momentous day for the northern Hillsborough communities and for residents throughout the area to see this closer to a reality, and when built, the town's accessible greenspace count will have gone from small pocket parks to two major attractions in about two years.

Things are being built at a rapid pace around town. Look for more information in the next week or so about what has moved where.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

next week

As Josh mentioned, I voted yesterday at the Board of Elections. Being the 65th person to drop in a ballot was a little bit sad. I know Hillsborough's race may not necessarily be as exciting as a presidential election, but it's still important. Alright, I'll come down off my soapbox, but I do hope everyone goes out and votes.

It was nice having part of the Education Page be in colour this week; I don't think it's happened before in the year I've been here, so it was great to be able to show off some of the colourful photos I took and received. Big thanks to the Central PTSA for providing me with some really lovely photos of the fire safety presentation by Billy Nicholson, too. If you've got photos you'd like to see in the paper, by all means, e-mail them to me or drop them off at our office on King Street.

Anyway, this upcoming week is a bit up in the air for what I'll have, but here's what I'm working on:

• Halloween event photos from Friday;

• Maybe an Educator of the Week, if I can get a good enough backlog going. (On that note, if you know someone who's doing a great job in area schools, let me know!)

• A social-ish piece on a local water walking class;

• I'm going to next week's Board of Education meeting;

• And a few other things, like FEMMES, awards and a local company whose toy invention is taking off.

If you've got anything else, drop me a line at v(dot)shortley(at)newsoforange(dot)com or give me a shout at 732-2171.

Volleyball teams playing tonight

Orange and Cedar Ridge's volleyball teams will play in the third round of the state playoffs tonight, with each team on the road.

Orange faces familiar foe Cardinal Gibbons at 6 p.m. The admission cost is $5.

Cedar Ridge plays at Bunn at 7 p.m. The admission cost is $6.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A trickle ...

Vanessa told me she was the 65th voter at the Board of Elections office when she voted today. Not to confuse you — she wasn't the 65th person utilizing early or one-stop voting services at the Hillsborough location. She was 65th in the 13 days that location has been open.

Maybe folks are being traditional and holding back until election day (currently projected as temperatures of 62/42 and sunny). Maybe this is the post-Big Election Year malaise. In 2005, the last local election after a U.S. presidential race, 1,925 votes were cast (total, with each voter having the option of checking two names). In 2001, the number was 8,336, though it was a more contested race (more candidates) than in recent elections.

These are based off of a quick look at day-after numbers from our pages. Check your local Board of Elections for official numbers.

The big figure to watch, though, is that of 2007, the last town board race. That year, 1,482 votes were made, with voters choosing any three of four candidates. We can't assume everybody voted for three people here, but that's less than 500 voters from more than 4,000 registered. Does this year's election come close?

Three candidates are seeking two seats. Two are multiple-term incumbents and a third is a familiar face on local advisory boards and in local elections. The mayor is running unopposed. There are no local referendums. How do these factors contribute to the final turnout, and how does the turnout affect the result?

Needless to say, we'll have election coverage next week, some business news and some pictures from everybody's favorite holiday for crazy visuals.

Lastly, to prosthelytize from the Church of Civic Involvement: Early voting can be done through Saturday down on King Street at the Board of Elections. Polls open again Tuesday for Election Day. Look for results next week.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Check out Handmade Parade photos

All I could think about when I saw this was how curious I am to see the film adaptation of "Where the Wild Things Are."

This is pre-Handmade Parade on Saturday, Oct. 17. We have 200+ pictures, which are being uploaded to our MyNewsPhotos site in the next hour. Just go to and click on the large button asking you to see or buy photos or follow this link.

We were only able to place a few photos in the print edition, but the parade appeared to be a huge hit with participants and folks watching from the street. It culminated with a large gathering on the Burwell School lawn, something resembling, I imagine, a New Orleans-style parade Tinka Jordy and Mark Donley said they tried to recreate with Handmade.


h1n1 vaccine update

From the Orange County Health Department:
The Orange County Health Department will hold 2 H1N1 vaccination clinics on Friday, October 23, 2009. The walk-in clinics will begin at 1:30 pm, last until the vaccine supplies are exhausted and will be held at both health department locations:
• 300 West Tryon Street , Hillsborough
• 2501 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill
Injectable vaccine will be available and will be free. (Injectable vaccine is made with inactivated or 'killed' virus and is injected into the muscle, like the seasonal flu shot.)

These clinics are for persons identified as members of priority groups for vaccination due to being at increased risk for complications from flu. These groups are:
• Pregnant women
• Persons 6 months - 24 years of age
• Close contacts to and caregivers of children <6 months of age
• Persons 25-64 years of age with conditions placing them at increased risk for complications from flu
• Healthcare workers

Monitor H1N1 vaccine availability by calling the health department's Flu Line at 245-2479 or visiting the department's website at

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I saw this release this morning and thought it might interest some of you:
You are invited to attend the first chartered meeting of the
Orange County Special Education Parent Teacher Association

Date: Thursday, October 22
Time: 6:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Location: AL Stanback Middle School Media Center
3700 NC 86 South, Hillsborough

We’ll introduce our organization and discuss membership. If you cannot attend the meeting and wish to become a member, please contact one of the individuals listed on the bottom of this message. This meeting will be immediately followed by a Parent Information Session:

6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Public Health Funding Programs: Accessing Federal, State & Local Funding for Special Needs Children
Teach parents of severe and persistent special needs children how to access funding from public resources.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact:

Pam Scism, SEPTA President
Susan Wingate, SEPTA Vice President
Barbara Moto, SEPTA Treasurer
Ingrid Branigan, SEPTA Secretary

Here's an article I wrote about the group back at the end of March.

This week

You can read the basics of downtown parking caused by the Handmade Parade changes here. The town released official details today:
"Traffic will be rerouted around downtown Hillsborough on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 17, to allow for the Hillsborough Handmade Parade.
At 1 p.m., the Hillsborough Police Department will close South Cameron Street between East King Street and Burnside Drive as well as East Margaret Lane between South Cameron Street and the Orange County Courthouse. This will allow parade participants to line up.
Beginning at 2:20 p.m. until about 3:45 p.m., Churton Street from Margaret Lane to Union Street will be closed for the parade, which starts at 2:30 p.m.
The parade will head west on East Margaret Lane to Churton Street. It then will continue north on Churton Street to Union Street, where a grand finale will take place on the lawn of Burwell School Historic Site.
During the parade, southbound traffic on Churton Street should use U.S. 70 or Corbin Street as detours around the downtown. Northbound traffic should use U.S. 70-A or Eno Mountain Road as detours.
No on-street parking will be allowed along South or North Churton Street from noon until the parade is completed. Anyone wishing to park downtown should use the free parking that is available on King Street or in various lots, including two off King Street. Parking also is available in the Eno River Parking Deck, which charges a fee. The parking deck is located in the Gateway Center campus off Churton Street.
A map of public parking options in downtown Hillsborough is available on
the town’s Web site at under the “About Hillsborough” section.
Vehicles parked along shoulders of road or in places that are not properly marked and designated for parking may be ticketed.
For more information on the parade or to participate, contact the Arts Council at 643-2500 or visit its Web site at"
You can expect to see pictures from the event in next week's edition. You can also expect

• Candidate interview responses — I sat down with Frances Dancy, Michael Gering and Bryant Warren this month to ask general questions on five subjects of debate in town. We'll print their answers in next week's issue and put more from the interviews online.

• Two of the three candidates attended a Northern Orange Black Voters Alliance forum this week, and I'll have a report from there as well.

• I'll have a recap of this week's town board discussions on access to Gold Park and potential sidewalks along Margaret Lane.

• The Myers House story will run. Seriously this time.

Provided we have good weather, there will be pictures from football, volleyball and tennis games.

There are some other stories I am working on, but time will tell how much typing I have in me this week.

UPDATE: I received word from members of Orange County Voice, who said they were removed from county property last weekend while distributing a survey, that the county now has a legal waiver they will provide to anybody distributing materials at solid waste convenience centers to ensure their safety. I also received a copy of said waiver, if anyone wants me to post it.
OCV folks tell me they are getting hundreds of responses to their survey. We'll let you know the results once the survey is complete.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

FYI: OHS Fields of Faith postponed

I just got off the phone with Coach Bobby Shriner from Orange High who said the Fellowship of Christian Athlete's Fields of Faith, originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m. tonight, will be postponed to a date to be announced because of the inclement weather.

"I just don't want the kids to get rained on," he said.

I'll post it when it's rescheduled.

what's next?

Here's some stuff that's coming up for next week's paper:

• I talked with the directors of the Little School, who gave me a tour around their new campus.

• Middle schools are now engaging in clubs — one of them, with a literacy twist.

• The eco classroom is making some great progress.

• I'll be at the Board of Education meeting Monday.

• A local bus driver was nominated by a 5-year-old who rides his bus for an award.

• Something interesting from Durham Tech.

• And some photo ops from local elementary and middle schools.

That's what I've got for now. As always, let me know if anything interesting is going on in any area schools, not just the county schools.

Attn: Grammar dorks

"That word is misspelled," the General Manager said last night once we were proofing pages for this week's edition.

He was pointing to the plural of drive-thru in a headline on the front page which, admittedly, is an awkward word (it no longer appears in the headline). This led to a search for any rules governing the word, either in English or AP Style (which are not always the same thing).

The AP Stylebook was of little help. County documents refer to a "drive-thru," though the grammar dork in me really wants to write "drive-through."

Then there's the plural — "drive-thrus" is not a gem of a word, especially in a banner headline. A survey of regional media showed that most erred on "drive-thru," though the plural rarely surfaces.

In the end, it was "drive-thru," and I avoided using the plural like the Plague. My question is, what is the definitive spelling of this word? It will surface again, but the jury is out on which word we should use or whether the commonly-used word is actually a word.

If the above post was not clear, I have had a few late nights in a row, and these are the things I try to figure out. I welcome your thoughts.

The weekly look-ahead is forthcoming.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Communication issues

I have not been receiving e-mails since about noon yesterday, with the exception of 3-4 people with the word "Orange" in their e-mail address. Not even our friendly neighborhood spammers have sent anything; rather, I haven't been receiving 150 blank "letter to the editor" e-mails like I would on a typical Monday.

Needless to say, on a deadline day this is a problem.

If you have sent us an e-mail and haven't received a response, it might have been lost in cyberspace (we're working on recovery). If you are sending something for this week's issue, please call the editorial department at (919) 732-2171 and ask for Josh or Vanessa.

Friday, October 9, 2009

FYI: Stanford field day canceled

This just came across my e-mail:
C.W. Stanford Middle School - Field & Maintenance Workday – (which was originally scheduled for tomorrow, Sat., Oct. 10th) is CANCELLED for tomorrow, Due to the Treatment of the playing fields. We will reschedule at a later date!

coming up this week

Here's what I've got on my plate and what you can expect to see (more or less) in this week's paper from moi:
• The McKee CornField Maze is up and running. I'll have a feature on this perennial local favourite.
• An EcoEternity forest is opening up at Camp Chestnut Ridge. Don't know what that is? Find out next week.
• The middle schools have started organizing clubs this year, and A.L. Stanback's selection is literacy-based.
• I participated and photographer International Walk to School Day (as mentioned in a previous post).

There's a few other things I'm working on, but we'll see if they pan out for this week.

I'm also trying to resurrect the Educator of the Week feature, and I would love nominations from the public. Is there a teacher in your child's school that is especially talented? A media assistant or assistant principal that deserves recognition? What about a teacher assistant or custodian? Let me know! Drop me a line at v (dot) shortley (at) newsoforange (dot) com or give me a ring at 732-2171.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This week

Here's what I am working on. Items will likely be added, subtracted or replaced, but here's where we sit on Thursday:
• I'll have a story on the county commissioners' discussion of drive-thrus and what they want to do about them. There's no true consensus on their views as a group, so this discussion will continue.

• Only certain people can view a masked man with a knife and a camera at their home as a normal development. I'll have a follow-up on the Myers House NC, the now-completed tourist attraction in the Buckhorn community that is modeled after Michael Myers' home from the "Halloween" film franchise.

• Orange's 1978 football team had an undefeated regular season and 30 years later, they'll be honored at Orange's homecoming game. We'll have some details.

• I spent a little bit of time at Project Homeless Connect today and will have some more information about the role of that event and the turnout.

• The town board meets Monday, and I will be there.

• Also, look for more on the upcoming election, endorsements and oodles (yes, oodles) of stuff from Vanessa.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

H1N1 nasal mist

From the county Health Department: (Remember, the nasal mist is not for pregnant women or those with underlying health issues)
HILLSBOROUGH--The Orange County Health Department will receive 700 doses of H1N1 nasal mist later today. The department will follow current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and plans to distribute a portion of this first vaccine shipment to medical practices not receiving vaccine directly form the State and to Orange County Emergency Services for eligible first responders. The department will also vaccinate eligible health department clients and staff providing direct patient care.

The CDC's Vaccination Information Statement for live H1N1 explains that nasal mist is a live, attenuated intranasal vaccine (or LAIV). It is licensed for healthy, non-pregnant people from 2 through 49 years of age. The live vaccine virus is attenuated (weakened) so it will not cause illness. People should not get nasal mist if they have a severe (life-threatening) allergy to eggs. "To get the live H1N1 vaccine, a person must be healthy, 2 to 49 years of age and not pregnant. Persons in close contact to a severely immuno-compromised patient (hospitalized in a protected environment) should not receive the live vaccine formulation," says Judy Butler, RN Community Services Supervisor.

While certain groups should not get live virus vaccines – for example pregnant women, people with long-term health problems, and children from 6 months to 2 years of age – it is important that they be vaccinated. They should get the inactivated form of H1N1 (vaccine that has killed virus in it) when it becomes available. For more information on H1N1 vaccine restrictions and eligibility requirements visit the CDC's website to the review the latest H1N1 vaccination information statements at

County public health officials anticipate that local medical providers will begin receiving H1N1 vaccine shipments within the next two weeks. The health department expects future vaccine shipments, but has no delivery date. For local flu updates visit

Interim manager now new manager

Last night, Frank Clifton, the interim Orange County manager, formally removed "interim" from his job title. He's been serving in the interim since June, when Laura Blackmon left the post.

From a release from the county:
"As County Manager, Clifton will lead the day-to-day operations of Orange County government, interacting with the Board of County Commissioners, county departments and the general public. He will report directly to the Board of Commissioners.
Clifton has a long and successful career in local government, including County Manager – Onslow County, N.C., City Manager – Casselberry, Fla., County Manager – Cabarrus County, N.C. and City Manager – City of Bristol, Tenn.
His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in management and finance from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in city management from East Tennessee State University. He has also continued his education through the City-County Government Administration Program at the School of Government at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. "
He was tapped by a unanimous vote. His starting salary will be $161,200.

There's more from last night's meeting - commissioners talked about a change in the county's regulations on new drive-thrus (not sure on the plural) built in the county. Options ranged from an education campaign asking those with idling cars to curb their emissions to a complete ban on them. Commissioners voted to delay any action until the economic development commission weighs in on the options.

There was a lively discussion of the issue, which saw the emergence of some ideological differences between board members. I'll have details next week, and I'll be back either this afternoon or early tomorrow with a rundown on what else is coming for the Oct. 14 issue.

iwalk to school day

This morning myself and about 60 other people braved the drizzle to participate in the International Walk to School Day with Cameron Park Elementary School. It was a great event with some great turnout. In the picture, people are finishing the walk and heading over to the school on the crosswalk on St. Mary's Road. Look for more information about this event in next week's paper.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Web-only content

Just dropping a quick line to let our readers know there is content online not native to the print edition. They include a collection of news from local government bodies and organizations or news and events from the fringe of our coverage.

The latter could be described as something taking place outside our normal coverage area but still having some relevance. If I am holding on to something and haven't been able to find print space for it in two weeks, it will more than likely go online and might appear again in print.

A quick follow-up to the post about the Oct. 13 candidate forum - questions from the public are welcome and encouraged, we've learned. Adjust accordingly, residents of in-town voter precincts.

Have a good weekend.