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I will soon become a third-generation graduate of Orange County Schools. My mother graduated in 1996 and my grandmother in 1972. I have grown up hearing stories that detail the troubling circumstances they had to endure while attending school here because of a lack of attention towards the l…

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Charles Whitson Stanford was a dairy farmer and my grandfather.  His daughter Jean Stanford Mann lives at the home place now.  I am his first grandchild, and therefore the oldest in my generation of his 14 grandchildren, 10 of whom still live in Orange County.  His last 18 years were my firs…

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I served on the Orange County Board of Commissioners during the years of 1983 through 1986.  During that time I was always a proponent of attracting good, clean, high-paying, low water using commercial and industrial economic growth that would provide good jobs along with the taxes they woul…

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The devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is catastrophic. Gov. Cooper and his team have taken many necessary, if difficult, steps to slow the spread of the virus. And the roll out of vaccines gives us all hope for a return to some semblance of normality later this year. Still, many of…

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On Jan. 19, the Orange County Board of Commissioners met with Buc-ee’s representatives Beth Trahos and Stan Beard to consider Buc-ee’s rezoning request for their proposed Efland Station development. Board members voiced significant concerns over several aspects of Buc-ee’s proposal, one of t…

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Have you ever been to Efland? Probably not. That’s why it’s surprising that people from all over showed up to oppose Efland Station, a project that advances community goals that we have been working on decades. We strongly support it. 

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I was 13-years-old and on a family vacation to Disney World when I first realized that access to health care was a privilege and not a right. That when disaster strikes, when you’re the most vulnerable you’ve ever been, when your life could be at stake, you could be turned away.

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To say 2020 was a challenging year would be a bit of an understatement. And to add insult to injury, as the year wrapped up and we begin another, we see a pandemic that is getting worse, not better, after ten long months and even as vaccines begin. We see our neighbors and beloved local busi…

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January 6 marks one year for me as Managing Editor at the News of Orange County. In the 12 months prior to my arrival, the paper had seen four different editors, although one of them — Adam Powell — was keeping the ship afloat until I started. He returned to his duties as Editor at the Meban…

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If you enjoy a good understatement, how’s this one? This year has been difficult.  However, despite the pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, and in many ways because of them, there have been upsides. For example, we are working with other components of the justice system and involved s…

Note: A Word From the Youth is a monthly feature in the News of Orange that will provide a forum for Orange County high school students to express opinions and thoughts, and interact with the community.

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Nothing says “Fall” like piles of fragrant, colorful leaves that are so inviting for kids and dogs to jump into. As days grow shorter, homeowners get the urge to do a fall cleanup, cutting back spent flower stalks and bagging or blowing leaves to the curb awaiting the giant truck vacuum. Man…

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I’ve spoken before in this column about musician James Taylor who said, “You actually have to really defend your time in order to have a long thought.” As Sheriff of this vibrant and engaged community, I’m a busy guy. Time for the valuable long thought is not always easy to come by, but I tr…

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These are difficult times. We are in a global pandemic, a time of social unrest, and in the middle of a contentious election season. Social media is an amazing vehicle for sharing information and connecting with others, but it has its downsides. People often post in anger or haste, and other…

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In the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protests erupted across the country, including here in Hillsborough. This summer saw one of the most widespread, sustained uprisings and outcries against racial injustice in our nation’s history. At the forefront of this movement hav…

You might be surprised to see a doctor writing a prescription for healthy voting,  but you shouldn’t be. The COVID pandemic has made voting itself a health issue in 2020.  Just as doctors are expected to give advice on how to prevent injuries and illness by wearing seatbelts and eating healt…

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I’m 16. For the past month, I’ve organized protests, created media graphics, and drafted local government speeches in between submitting college essays and studying for the SAT. Why? The residential future, safety, and health of my family, neighbors, and community hinges on the Sept. 15th Bo…

One week. That’s how long the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill remained open for in-person classes before it was forced to shut down and move to virtual classes due to multiple coronavirus outbreaks on campus. The sudden change disrupted the lives of students, university staff, and O…

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When in need of immediate assistance for themselves or someone else, people call 911, and in that moment, they are the most important person in the crisis. The caller possesses the information necessary for an appropriate emergency response. However, the time it takes for help to arrive can …

Does it seem like people are drinking more than usual during this time? If it does, then you are right. While we have all been accustomed now to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are underlying effects of the stay-at-home orders. One of these is the take-out and delivery of alcohol. Because of th…

Orange County continues to offer mulch for sale at the landfill/disposal center on Eubanks Road at half price of only $12.50 per three cubic yard scoop.  We are now also selling compost for $30 per cubic yard. We load, you tarp. Delivery of mulch or compost in any quantity is available for $…

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In the midst of 2020’s tumult, I was brought to tears by the inspiring essay Congressman John Lewis wrote just before his death. I encourage you to read it. And, I feel compelled to help share his clarion call to our Nation. Indeed, we do need to “Redeem the Soul of our Nation.”

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In our front page story about Harold Russell, the Hillsborough-born scientist expresses dismay at the growing loss of trust the general public has in science and scientists. As is the case with everything today, the coronavirus is right in the thick of it. 

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Law enforcement agencies operate on federal, state, and local levels of government. They also operate in specialty areas, as is the case with park rangers; Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents; and officers with the Transportation Security Administration. All are important, but the law enfo…

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The North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) adjourned on July 11, to reconvene on Sept. 2, 2020. Since convening in April of this year, the legislature has devoted most of its attention to addressing the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on all aspects of our daily lives, rightfully so. But as …

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Woody Durham used to say, “Go where you go and do what you do.” I love this phrase and use it often. We “go” in lots of directions and we “do” lots of things as we collectively carry out the mission of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. 

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As a journalist, I’m considered an essential employee. Early every weekday morning, I hit the highway to travel from Greensboro to Hillsborough. The traffic is thinner thanks to the state’s shelter-in-place rule.

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On our family walk last weekend, we crouched down to the forest floor to catch the clean scent of the mayapple flowers just beginning to bloom along the Eno River. Near those mayapples, a United States Geological Survey river gauge transmits online data so you can monitor the river’s rise, p…

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In the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, I have been thinking a lot about sacrifice. At a scale we haven’t seen in decades, people are putting their lives on the line and placing their futures on hold to benefit the public good. How does that sacrifice change us?

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The novel coronavirus is causing a novel upheaval in our lives. Even Ben Franklin’s statement “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” no longer holds true. April 15th will roll around and taxes will not be due, neither state nor federal taxes. They’ve both b…

Recently I found myself at a high school basketball game, shooting pictures for one of our newspapers. It’s not my job, per se, but I’ve volunteered to do it when one of our sports writers has a conflict and can’t make the game.

It is a story of corruption that will stay secret, politicians who will need fewer votes to win, even dangerous communicable diseases that will spread faster as our best scientists struggle to fight them.

Data collection. Hit the snooze button, right? But let’s take a moment to consider how we make decisions. Is it based on feelings? Perceptions? If we want to have real insight and to make the best possible decisions, we must turn to facts and real evidence. That’s what data is. So, knowing t…

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IRAs can be an important tool in your retirement savings belt, and whichever you choose to open could have a significant impact on how those accounts might grow.

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I recently broke down and purchased a new vacuum cleaner. The one I had and cherished for over 20 years still worked, but was heavy and cumbersome to use.

Effective for cases heard after Jan. 1, 2019, the N.C. Child Support Guidelines have changed. The Guidelines are revised every four years by the N.C. Conference of Chief District Court Judges. You may know that for about the last 20 years, N.C. law has had Guidelines in place to set and modi…

All four local governments in Orange County have declared March 2019 as “Skip the Straw Month,” joining a growing movement across the country to reduce single use plastics of all kinds. To celebrate those resolutions and promote the effort to ”Skip the Straw,” Orange County Solid Waste Depar…

The rules of the General Assembly dictate that most bills for our biennial session be introduced before mid-April of 2019. I am ready to get to work and I would like to share a little bit about what my legislative agenda will be for 2019-2020. I will share a few ideas related to the five Hou…

Outdoor cats threaten birds and other wildlife and disrupt ecosystems, according to the American Bird Conservancy, the Western Hemisphere’s bird conservation specialist. Outdoor domestic cats have contributed to the extinction of 63 species of birds, mammals and reptiles in the wild. The Int…