Newsletter header graphic
Photo of Eno the Emu
Photo courtesy Chevy Peake.

Evasive emu becomes international sensation

A wandering emu has eluded capture for weeks in Orange County, staying steps ahead of efforts to corral the flightless bird.

Orange County Animal Services Director Bob Marotto says Animal Control officers respond to sightings of the emu as they are reported. He encourages any resident who sees the bird to report it to animal control at 919-942-7387 between the hours of 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If a resident sees the bird during the day on Saturday or Sunday and can provide a precise location, Marotto said to call 911, which will relay the information to the Animal Control Officer on duty.

Marotto warns residents not to approach or try to capture the bird. Emus have sharp claws and can kick very hard, which could cause serious injury or even death. Marotto said if the bird wanders into an area where he can be contained, i.e. a pasture with fencing, residents should try to keep him there but should not approach the bird and should call animal control immediately.

An emu can run up to 30 mph and can make turns up to 180 degrees, making it very difficult to capture. Marotto said the county may enlist the aid of outside experts on any capture attempt. Because the animal is out of its normal habitat and alone, it is likely frightened and under duress, which will make catching it even harder, he said. If the county captures the emu, Marotto said they are working to find someone to adopt the animal.

"We are identifying some emu handlers through Cooperative Extension and other networks to assist with the capture if and when we have the opportunity," Marotto said.

The emu has already had two incidents with automobiles, and the concern is it could turn into a public safety hazard if he nears more populous areas of the county. He was seen on Davis Road near N.C. 54 on Tuesday, July 30, Marotto said, but appeared to have moved back to the South by later in the week. Animal Control Officers responded to a sighting on Aug. 1 and approached the bird, but he ran away.

The first reported sighting occurred in late June, said Animal Services spokesperson Tenille Fox. The emu's plight has drawn national and international attention, with stories in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Fox News, CNN and local outlets throughout the state as well as international outlets as far away as India and Australia.

So far, no one has claimed ownership of the emu.

Photo of Criminal Justice Resource Department team
On July 10th, an Orange County team of court stakeholders travelled to Denver, Colorado to attend the Pretrial Justice Institute's Pi-Con 2019 Conference. Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour, District Court Judge Samantha Cabe, CJRD Pretrial Services Case Manager Ted Dorsi and CJRD Director Cait Fenhagen joined criminal justice system stakeholders, reform advocates, and scholars from around the country to discuss important issues to bail reform. On the final day of the PJI Conference, the Orange County team competed against teams from other jurisdictions in the Pretrial Challenge: Re-engineering Local Pretrial Systems. The Orange County team's innovation plan won the top prize, which included an Egg trophy and free technical assistance from PJI during 2019-20.
Baby wearing dance party graphic
Orange County Senior Games Logo

Local athletes win at National Senior Games

Fifteen local athletes participated in the National Senior Games competition held in Albuquerque, N.M., on June 14-25, 2019. They were 15 of 492 North Carolina athletes to attend Nationals, which had nearly 14,000 athletes from across the country.
Athletes in North Carolina qualified at the North Carolina Senior Games (NCSG) State Finals in the fall of 2018 to earn the opportunity to attend the Nationals. The delegation of Orange County Senior Games participants competed against qualifiers from 49 other states, the District of Columbia and Canada.
The National Games competition is a biennial event and is held in different sites across the United States. We are honored to have this special group of winners represent Orange County at the National Senior Games!
National Senior Games - Orange County Delegation:
Beetham, J (Archery); Clayton, J (Badminton – DD: 3rd place, Badminton – S: 4th place); Doolittle, S (Cycling – 5K, 10K: 10th place); Friend, C (Basketball Team); Green, A (Table Tennis); Howald, G (Basketball Team); Kirk, K (Tennis); McNamara, D (Badminton – MD: 6th place);  Morse, J (Table Tennis); Pinkerton, R (Swimming – 200 Y Back: 2nd place, 100 Y Back: 2nd place, 50 Y Back: 3rd place, and 50 Y Free: 3rd place); Schimmelfing, L (Badminton); Spackman, C (Badminton – MD: 6th place, S – 1st place); Wade, T (Table Tennis); Wallace, V (Badminton – MD: 5th place, S – 5th place); White, K (Basketball Team)
For more information on a Senior Games program in your area, please contact North Carolina Senior Games at (919) 851-5456 or visit their website at
For more information about how to be a participant, sponsor or volunteer at your Orange County Senior Games, call or email the local Senior Games Co-coordinators: Lee Schimmelfing,, 919-606-2598; or Myra Austin, 919-245-2020.   
Orange County Senior Games is sponsored by: The Orange County Department on Aging, Carrboro Recreation and Parks, and Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation.

River Park public art project graphic

Raleigh Artist Chosen to Create New Public Art Piece in Hillsborough

The Hillsborough Arts Council (HAC) and the Orange County Arts Commission (OCAC) along with representatives from the Town of Hillsborough and Orange County are pleased to announce the final artist for the River Park Public Art Project. Jonathan Brilliant, a Raleigh-based installation artist, was chosen following extensive jurying to install his design at the southern entrance of downtown Hillsborough, just inside River Park. Brilliant’s site-specific artwork titled River Park Arch was chosen from 32 initial applicants and three finalists.

The River Park Public Art project was initiated when the nearly 250 years old, venerable red oak tree on Calvin Street in West Hillsborough fell during Hurricane Florence. Brilliant will use wood from the fallen tree to create a public art installation to serve the community for years to come.

  • Click here for more information.
Passport graphic
Job openings graphic
Recreational activities graphic
Orange County logo
Powered by
CivicSend - A product of CivicPlus