Thousands turn out on a hot Saturday for the 27th Annual Hillsborough Hog Day.
Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens announced today he will seek a third term.
In an open letter posted on his website, Stevens said he wanted to “continue to be a passionate spokesperson for our town and community, and offer seasoned leadership aimed at bringing the efforts of many people together.”
“Mayors across the Triangle are letting their citizens know whether they are running again,” said Stevens. “I wanted to let people in Hillsborough know I am ready to stay on the job.”
Here is the text of his letter:
Dear Friends & Fellow Citizens,
It is a privilege to serve as Mayor of Hillsborough, and I am pleased to announce I will run for a third term.
In my initial 2005 campaign for office, I pledged “to be a passionate spokesperson for this town that is my home,” and to offer “strong leadership so our town board and citizens together can create a vision and action plan for Hillsborough’s future.” I wrote about our town’s potential to be a “showcase of what is right about small town America.”
We are moving in the right direction. I believe a widely shared vision of our town has emerged, a vision that emphasizes small-town character, celebrating our heritage, sustainable prosperity for folks from all walks of life, and community vitality you can feel walking down the street. As a community we are taking action to fulfill that vision, as evidenced by new parks, new businesses, new events, and new neighborhoods that contribute to the community. No less important is the growing interest in celebrating and preserving our natural and cultural heritage. A steady stream of local, state, and national attention highlight great things that are “happening” in Hillsborough. Our small town gives us much to be proud of and enjoy.
While we can point to many achievements, we can’t afford to be complacent. Especially in these current times, our decisions have far-reaching impact in shaping our quality of life both in the near future and for generations to come.
It takes many heads, hands, and hearts to preserve the Hillsborough we love while shaping the Hillsborough we envision. As your mayor I will continue to be a passionate spokesperson for our town and community, and offer seasoned leadership aimed at bringing the efforts of many people together for the benefit of our town.
About the only thing less popular than City Manager Russell Allen's raise at Tuesday night's budget hearing was the Hillsborough Street roundabout project. One speaker told the City Council that instead of spending $11 million installing roundabouts on Hillsborough it should have used that money for something more useful, like beefing of city employees pay. The comment drew a standing ovation from much of the crowd, something even the most strenuous condemnations of Allen's raise couldn't do.
It will be interesting to see whether the Hillsborough Street project becomes an issue during this fall's election. The result of more than a decade of dialogue, the redevelopment plan for the street has its supporters. But it's clear the project has its critics. And many of those critics are likely to become more vocal as the street gets torn up and inconveniences drivers.
Of course, the completed project may end up being a smashing success. But that success won't reveal itself until long after the election.
The Hillsborough Town Board will consider lowering the posted speed limit for five residential streets in the Historic District during its regular board meeting Monday.
In two proposed amendments to the ordinance on motor vehicles and traffic, town staff recommend lowering the posted speed limit on the five streets from 35 mph to 25 or 20 mph. The affected streets would be:
• Caine Street, from Union Street to St. Mary’s Road
• Mitchell Street, from Corbin Street to Queen Street
• Cameron Street, from Corbin Street to King Street
• East Corbin Street, from Churton Street to the end of the town limit
• East Tryon Street, from Churton Street to St. Mary’s Road
Other streets in the Historic District have a posted limit of 25 mph, such as Union Street from Nash Street to Cameron Street and Orange Street from North Cameron Street to Occoneechee Street.
A few streets, such as the main Historic District sections of King and Churton streets, are 20 mph. These streets include Margaret Lane from Cameron Street to Nash Street; South Cameron Street from East King Street to its dead end; and West Tryon Street from Churton Street to Wake Street.
A Historic District resident requested that the speed limits on Caine and Cameron streets be reduced to 20 mph because of what the resident believes is speeding and cut-through traffic through the neighborhood to and from Cameron Park Elementary School, Orange County government offices and the courthouse. The posted speed limit for the Cameron Park school zone is 25 mph.
Staff from Hillsborough Public Works and Police departments suggested reducing the speed limit on the additional nearby residential streets.
The expected cost for materials, without labor costs, will be about $500 for new signs.
The Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. in the Town Barn, located in the Town Hall complex at 101 E. Orange St
The town of Hillsborough, like Chapel Hill, is aiming for no increase in the effective tax rate. But if there has to be a tax increase, the Town Board wants to keep it below the inflation rate.
Staff recently presented cost-containment ideas to the Town Board. Ideas the board might pursue include:
• Reorganizing the Police Department structure — Under the proposal, positions would be transferred from the community policing division to the patrol division. The change from a two-squad to a four-squad patrol structure would help contain overtime costs while also increasing officer safety and police presence as more backup police officers would be available. The restructuring also would help expand the community policing philosophy throughout the department, increasing officer engagement with the community.
• Delaying the eligibility for longevity pay for town employees — The Town Board discussed delaying eligibility for the bonus pay to three to five years of service for the town. The bonus is given annually during the week of Thanksgiving and increases with the number of years an employee has worked for the town.
• Delaying the eligibility for retirement insurance benefits for town employees — The town currently provides medical coverage at age 55 for regular employees and at age 52 for sworn law enforcement employees who retire from the town with 20 years of continuous service. Under the proposal, the time required for new employees to become eligible for retiree health benefits would be increased to 30 years of service. The eligible age for benefits also would be increased to age 60 for regular employees and age 57 for sworn law enforcement.
• Having the Orange Rural Fire Department help with fire inspections.
• Starting a fire code self-inspection program for those facilities found non-compliant during an initial inspection by the fire marshal — The fire marshal currently re-inspects non-compliant buildings up to two additional times.
The Town Board also found the idea of adding a purchasing officer to the town as worth pursuing with additional investigation. Currently, each town department is responsible for purchasing needs with little, if any, coordination between departments.
Folks eager for a railroad station in Hillsborough will want to attend a meeting next Wednesday in the Big Barn, 388 Ja Max Drive.
The Rail Station Task Force will host an open house from 4 to 9 p.m. to discuss suggested rail station sites and the rating criteria it will use for recommending a site to the town and county boards. A presentation will be given at 5:30 p.m. and repeated at 7 p.m. The information also will be available on a drop-in basis.
An Amtrak and N.C. Department of Transportation analysis says a rail stop in Hillsborough could be financially viable. Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens had formally requested the study on the possibility of a rail stop on behalf of a number of citizens.
Based on costs at that time, construction was estimated at about $1 million for a platform with lighting and a canopy and $5 million to $6 million for a station building.
The task force is expected to report on the site selection Feb. 19 at the joint meeting of the Hillsborough Town Board and Orange County Commissioners. Its work is expected to be completed by the end of May.
At its work session tonight, the Orange County Board of Commissioners could establish a Rail Station Development Task Force to recommend potential sites, funding options and additional infrastructure that would support Amtrak service in Hillsborough. The Hillsborough Town Board has already approved the Task Force. A citizens group advocating for the station has suggested the following groups be represented on the Task Force: Alliance for Historic Hillsborough, West End Neighborhood Watch, Hillsborough Town Planning Board, Orange County Economic Development Commission, Orange County Transportation Services Board, Orange Unified Transportation Board and Walkable Hillsborough Coalition. The resolution on tonight's agenda calls for a nine-member Task Force, including two at-large citizens from Hillsborough and Orange County.
Chapel Hill Town Councilwoman Sally Greene has an interesting post on her blog, Greenespace, about a Sundance documentary about slavery coming to Hillsborough Sept. 6.
The documentary, Traces of the Trade," was made by a descendant of the DeWolf family of Rhode
Island, "the largest slave trading family in U.S. history" according to
the film. The documentary follows the steps of the filmmaker Katrina
Browne and a handful of other descendants as they retrace the paths
over which this trading took place: from Bristol, Rhode Island to Ghana
to the Caribbean. See the trailer here.
Because the family included a good number of Episcopal priests, it
has been taken up by the Episcopal Church nationally as part of the
church's ongoing work of reconciliation with its complicity with slavery and racism, Greene writes. On Sept. 6, as part of a conversation sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina at St. Matthew's
church in Hillsborough, the film will be shown. After the film, Greene will be
part of a panel discussion -- in which she'll be bringing Hillsborough's own Thomas
Ruffin to the table.
Chapel Hill diners now have another option for reading material while they wait for their chicken shawarma or cappucino.
Yes, "Coffee News" has cropped up on Franklin Street.
I've only ever seen it before in Charlottesville, Va., but colleagues tell me you can find it in Durham too. It's distributed free at restaurants, where usually the only competition is reading the menu twice.
The light-brown single-sheet weekly publication is a franchise operation started by a Canadian woman, according to information on the parent company Web site:
"Coffee News originated in 1988 in Winnipeg, Manitoba (CAN) and is the brainchild of Jean Daum, an expert in, not only advertising itself, but super-learning and subliminal techniques as well -- many of which she designed and researched herself to make Coffee News one of the most potent, yet affordable advertising publications ever produced."
The site says the Orange County franchise started in April of this year.
The local Aug. 4 issue contains trivia, offbeat news items, quotations, horoscopes and lots and lots of advertisements.
But this isn't fresh Java: One item about an English hospital banning flowers (infection risk) appeared on the BBC last September, and another one about a 59-year-old college football player (Mike Flynt, Sul Ross State) was on the Associated Press wires last August.
Staff photo by Samuel Spies
A pair of (presumably) wild turkeys on a rainy day in Hillsborough on July 14, 2008.