Durham County

Orange County is North Carolina's Healthiest County according to a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. The study evaluates every county in America based on factors like premature death, child poverty and crime. The report listed Wake County as the state's second healthiest.

HIV microscope image, virus, disease
Duke University

In the last year, Durham County has seen about 100 new cases of HIV reported. It's also seen about 20 new cases of syphilis.

Generally speaking, that's on par with other metro areas in the state, which are seeing more cases of STDs, while North Carolina's rural areas are seeing a decline.

It's hard to know what is accounting for the rise. The most obvious possibility is an increase in unsafe sexual activity. But there's also a chance that, as screening becomes more commonplace and more effective, we're simply identifying more cases that were there to begin with.

Light rail transit with Amtrak visualization of area near Durham Station Transportation Center.
Triangle Transit Authority

An advisory committee is set to meet for the first time to make recommendations for the next steps in building a light rail line in Orange and Durham counties. 

The group of government representatives, university officials, and business leaders convenes Friday morning in Chapel Hill.  Triangle Transit Authority plans to build a 17-mile line from UNC Hospitals to downtown Durham. 

Bubba the ram has been spotted several times in Durham in the past week. He's still on the run.
Steve Sbraccia, WNCN News

There’s a ram on the loose in Durham County whose escape tactics have outsmarted capture attempts by the Durham County Sheriff’s Office, a man with a tranquilizer gun and a local veterinarian with a lasso. The animal was first spotted near Odyssey Drive in Durham on Monday afternoon, August 25, and is thought to be a either a Barbados/Mouflon sheep or a Toggenburg goat. Deputy Paul Sherwin with the Durham County Sheriff’s Office was one of the officers who responded to Monday's call.

A bus participating in the Bus on Shoulder System (BOSS) program.
NCDOT

After a year of success in Durham County, the state's first Bus on Shoulder System (BOSS) is ready to expand into Wake County. The North Carolina Department of Transportation allows transit buses to travel on the shoulders of designated stretches of roadways to bypass congested traffic, but only when speeds drop below 35 miles per hour.

Several feet of flood waters trap cars on West Franklin St. in Chapel Hill Sunday afternoon.
Bart Smith / Facebook

Residents of Orange and Durham counties are cleaning up after torrential rain led to flood waters several feet deep. 

Officials in Chapel Hill say rescuers evacuated at least 40 people Sunday from flooded homes and vehicles.  They were taken to a Red Cross shelter at Smith Middle School. 

Falls Lake as seen from above Durham County
Travis S / Flickr

Durham County Commissioners have approved a plan to buy 260 acres of land near Falls Lake.  The board voted 3-2 this week to purchase the property in east Durham for $650,000.

Commissioner Ellen Reckhow says the deal will allow Durham County to comply with a state mandate that says all local governments in the Falls Lake watershed must help clean up the polluted lake.

"It has Falls Lake frontage and so many creeks and streams such that 93 percent of the acreage is within 300 feet of water," Reckhow said during this week's meeting.

Laura Candler

The new $119 million Durham County Courthouse opens this month on South Dillard Street in Durham. In addition to its location beside the jail, the 11-story building incorporates an array of new features, many focusing on efficient design and energy use. The building’s internal layout includes three separate areas of circulation - one for the public, one for courthouse staff, and a secured circulation area for transporting inmates. The only place that all three can converge is in one of its 20 courtrooms.

Several Durham County groups are partnering to fight a high rate of diabetes in adults. The Durham Diabetes Coalition brings together health groups, churches and government to teach people about the dangers of the disease. County statistics show that 12 percent of Durham County adults live with diabetes. The statewide average is nine percent. Health educator Chasity Newkirk says the challenge is getting people screened, especially African Americans.

Durham and Orange county residents will get a closer look today and tomorrow at a proposed light rail transit plan.

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