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Recovery continues from April 19 tornado

Orange County residents continue to clean up from a confirmed tornado that blew through the county on Friday, April 19, damaging many structures but causing no reported injuries or fatalities. Orange County Emergency Management officials estimated the total damage to property is close to $1 million.

The storms caused significant damage to Maple View Farms, and many trees were reported down in the area south of Exit 261 off Interstate 40 (Old NC 86). One unoccupied house was destroyed. The area around the Sportsplex also received considerable damage, as did a parking lot at Durham Tech in the Waterstone area and a neighborhood in the southern part of the county.

Governor Roy Cooper toured the damage at Maple View Farms on Saturday afternoon and met with affected residents on Leslie Drive, which lost many trees and had several residences damaged.

Orange County Emergency Management would like to remind residents to be cautious when dealing with contractors for debris removal. Vet them properly and make sure they are bonded and insured. Do not pay for services in advance.

Residents should also be cautious when clearing debris, as many storm-related injuries occur during the clean-up stage.

According to the Tornado History Project website, it was the first confirmed tornado to strike Orange County since Oct. 27, 2010, and only the ninth to hit the county since 1975.

Fees waived by county

The County Manager has authorized a waiver of permitting and inspections fees for any structures that sustained damage related to the April 19 storm.

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Chapel Hill Shred-a-Thon on Saturday

Orange County Solid Waste Management will host a Shred-A-Thon in Chapel Hill on Saturday at the Eubanks Road Park and Ride Lot in Chapel Hill.

The Chapel Hill event will be “drive-through” this time when it has been ‘walk-up’ in the recent past.  Residents drive up to the shredding point, and staff will help them unload and shred.

The event begins at 10 a.m. ands at 2 p.m. and is free to residents and small business in Orange County and the part of Chapel Hill in Durham County as well as employees of the Towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough and Orange County government. There is a four box or bag limit per household or business.

Please keep out any plastics, metal or other non-paper materials. Plastic bags and cardboard boxes will be returned to you for separate recycling. The shredded paper is recycled into paper toweling and toilet tissue in North Carolina.

Sheriff’s Office co-hosts Prescription Drug Take Back Day

The Orange County Sheriff's Office, the Carrboro Police Department, and Safekids Orange County will participate in National Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, April 27, at the Harris Teeter in Carrboro from 10 a.m. until noon.
Safekids Orange County (NC) is one of more than 400 coalition members of Safekids Worldwide, a non-profit dedicated to keeping kids safe from preventable injuries, the No. 1 killer of children in the United States. Drug Take Back Day provides a free, convenient, no-questions asked way for people to discard expired, unwanted or excess medication.

Young children often consume prescription or over-the-counter medication. Safekids Worldwide reports 52,000 children under the age of six were seen in emergency rooms in 2017 in the US for medication poisoning.
“The community’s participation in Medication Take Back Day goes a long way toward avoiding medication being accidentally taken,” said Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood. “It is simply not safe to store any excess medication once it is no longer needed.”
Addictive prescription drugs, often painkillers, remaining after a person recovers from a surgery or illness are another problem. “Unfortunately, this kind of medicine is often stolen from our homes, or it is abused or sold by family members or visitors,” said Blackwood. “We are participating in this collection on Saturday to provide a convenient option for the community, especially those in the southern part of the county, to make their homes safer.”
The Sheriff’s Office held a similar event in March in the northern part of the county at the Schley Grange. The office also has a free, permanent, no-questions-asked drop box in the lobby of the agency at 106 E. Margaret Lane in Hillsborough. It is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Wednesday, the office is open until 7 p.m.
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Chair Penny Rich and Commissioner Mark Marcoplos discuss climate change with fifth graders.

Fifth graders host commissioners to discuss county's commitment to fighting climate change

What began as a class assignment in Ms. Cindy Sinicrope's fifth grade enrichment reading class at Hillsborough Elementary School turned into an hour-long discussion on climate change with county commissioners Penny Rich and Mark Marcoplos on Thursday.

Ms. Sinicrope assigned her students to research climate change and write letters to the Board of Commissioners asking how the county is working to mitigate the impacts of climate change and encouraging the board to protect the environment. Both commissioners thanked students for raising the issue and encouraged them to continue their advocacy.

"Take it to the next level," said Commissioner Marcoplos. "Write a resolution and come to a county commissioners meeting. Talk to your state legislators. Write your Congressman. It's your world."

Students asked questions about what it is like to be a county commissioner, what the county is doing to encourage businesses and industries to reduce reliance on coal and fossil fuels and about transportation-related issues.

"Think about what you can do in your daily life to make things change," said Rich. "Talk to your friends in other schools and spread the word about these issues."

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Animal Services to hold Spay-Neuter Day

Orange County Animal Services is working to combat pet overpopulation by hosting another “Spay Neuter Day.”The event will take place on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. The purpose is to raise awareness and help to eliminate the need for euthanasia as a means of population control.

For the event, Animal Services has partnered with Spay Neuter Assistance Program of North Carolina (SNAP-NC) to offer no-cost spay and neuter surgeries to pets of households that receive services from the Orange County Department of Social Services or who qualify by their combined income.

Thanks to a substantial grant from the Margo T. Petrie Foundation, Animal Services is continuing to expand this Spay and Neuter Program to include more households in Orange County than ever before. Another initiative that helps to fund spay and neuter programs in our state is the Animal Lovers’ "I Care" license plate program. $20 from each plate goes directly toward supporting sterilization procedure reimbursements and educational initiatives. More information about this program can be found at

Qualifying Orange County residents must sign up by May 1, 2019. To register or determine if you qualify, please call Cooper Hatch at 919.932.4965.

Parkinson’s Player’ Inaugural Performance

Join us for the inaugural season of the Parkinson's Players -- a voice, movement and theater-based program for people living with Parkinson's disease.

The performance is made possible, in part, by the generosity of the Orange County Department on Aging and is presented FREE of charge by a community grant from the Parkinson's Foundation.

For more information,  email or call 984-974-2107.

Date: Saturday, April 27, 2 p.m. 
Location: Seymour Center, 2551 Homestead Rd, Chapel Hill, NC, 27516

Volunteers Needed for Community Health Assessment Survey

Every four years Healthy Carolinians of Orange County and the Orange County Health Department conduct a community health assessment (CHA). Regular assessment of Orange County’s health enables public health officials to monitor trends in health status and determine priorities among health issues. The overall goal of the CHA is to address health disparities and identify needs of populations who are most disadvantaged.

In May and June teams of volunteers wearing orange Healthy Carolinians t-shirts will go door-to-door to survey randomly selected census blocks. The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete. Volunteers are needed throughout Orange County to gather community input.

Individuals are asked to volunteer for four-hour shifts that will include one hour of just-in-time training and three hours for door-to-door surveying. Individuals are allowed to volunteer for multiple shifts, if their time permits. All volunteers must be 18 years of age or older.

The volunteer sign-up link:
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