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Emu on the lam brings worldwide attention to Orange County

An emu running loose in southern Orange County has received international attention. Orange County Animal Services spokesperson Tenille Fox has been interviewed by several local media outlets and national media outlets like The New York Times, Huffington Post and NPR. Stories have appeared in newspapers as far away as Australia.

Fox's message is simple: Don't try to catch the elusive bird. Emu's can travel as fast as 30 miles per hour and weigh as much as 100 pounds. Trapping such an animal will be difficult, she said.

"What we really need is for this emu to wander into an area that provides some sort of containment – such as natural barriers, a pasture, or some sort of fenced area," she said. "If the emu is in an area like that, an Animal Control team can try to block the animal off even more and hopefully corral the animal without causing further stress. We worry about causing more stress in this heat."

The emu was first spotted in early July near the border with Chatham County, Fox said, adding that OCAS has not received any more reports of sightings since July 18.

Fox said any resident who spots the elusive bird should call Orange County Animal Control at (919) 942-PETS (7387) Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. For emergencies, dial 9-1-1, and the dispatcher will relay the information to the on-call Animal Control Officer.

Board approves incentive package for ABB expansion

The Orange County Board of Commissioners approved an incentive package for ABB's planned expansion of its Mebane plant at a special meeting on Tuesday.

The value of Orange County's performance-based incentive is estimated at more than $972,000 paid out over five years. The company must meet outlined job creation and capital investment targets. The board voted unanimously to approve the project.

The company intends to invest $39.9 million and plans to create 403 jobs with an average annual salary of more than $70,000 per year plus benefits.

ABB will expand its operations by 200,000 square feet and made improvements to an existing 400,000 square foot building.

About ABB, Inc.
ABB, Inc. is a pioneering technology leader with a comprehensive offering for digital industries. With a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB is today a leader in digital industries with four customer-focused, globally leading businesses: Electrification, Industrial Automation, Motion, and Robotics & Discrete Automation, supported by its common ABB Ability™ digital platform. ABB's market-leading Power Grids business will be divested to Hitachi in 2020. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees. ABB employs over 3,000 across North Carolina, more than in any other state.
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Seymour Center Program and Operations Manager Cydneè Sims, left, receives award from Maureen O’Leary, NCOA National Institute of Senior Centers Program Manager.

Orange County's Seymour Center receives national award for excellence in technology

The Orange County Department on Aging’s Seymour Center earned an award for excellence in technology at the National Council on Aging (NCOA) Annual Conference.
The Seymour Center’s program, Making Technology Easier for Seniors Expo, won first place in NCOA’s National Institute of Senior Centers 2018 Programs of Excellence for technology. Awards were presented at the conference on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Members of the Seymour Program Advisory Committee, spearheaded by Ceresa Clarke, Ann Wilkerson, and Seymour Programs and Operations Manager, Cydnee Sims, created the program to educate and empower older adults to use devices and applications, which are now a part of everyday life, helping to bridge the gap between technology and older adults.

“We are proud of all of our programs” said Department on Aging Director Janice Tyler. “It’s especially nice to be recognized on a national level for our innovative work.”
To read about the 2018 Programs of Excellence Award Winners, visit: For more information about the Department on Aging’s senior centers and programs, go to or stop by the Seymour Center at 2551 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.

Update on waiting list status for applicants for new local voucher program

The Orange County Housing Authority (OCHA) recently completed the application process for the new Local Rent Supplement Program Waiting List. During the Waiting List open period, June 17-24, 2019, the Housing Authority received more than six hundred (600) applications. Note that the County’s federal Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List is also not currently open.

A random lottery process was utilized to select two hundred (200) applicants to be placed on the OC-LRSP Waiting List. This selection was NOT based on a first-come, first served basis. Applicants who were randomly selected to be on the lottery Waiting List are called prospects. Selections from the Waiting List are based on the prospect’s Waiting List position (which in turn are determined by the date and time of their application) and preferences chosen at the time of the initial application. If the prospect is selected, the Housing Authority will notify them by mail and/or email to attend an initial eligibility appointment. 

Waiting List Lottery Status Letters were mailed to all applicants that received a confirmation number at the time the Waiting List application was submitted via online. Please remember your application for the Waiting List did not guarantee a spot on the Waiting List.   

If you were selected for the OC-LRSP Waiting List and need to update your mailing address or phone number, you are required to update this information via the OCHA Applicant Portal. If your application was not selected in the lottery process, you do not need to update your application information.
  • Click here for more information about the OC-LRSP.
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Orange County to host Dementia Basics series

The Department on Aging invites family caregivers and persons with dementia to attend What Can We Expect: Dementia Basics, a four-part series focusing on brain health, types and stages of dementia, communication, and preparation for the journey ahead.
The series will be held on Mondays in August ( Aug. 5, 12, 19 and 26) from 1-3 p.m. at the Orange County Public Library located at 137 W. Margaret Lane in Hillsborough.  
The series is free. Participants are asked to register by Friday, August 2.
For more information or to register, please contact Marie Dagger at 919-245-4279 or
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