Technology

Building the "Chapel Hill" Brand

This commentary, written by me and fellow OP editor Molly De Marco, originally appeared in the Chapel Hill News on July 26, 2015.

Chapel Hill has a branding problem. There, we said it – and we said it because it’s time for us to have a frank and honest discussion about just exactly what Chapel Hill is and who we are as Chapel Hillians.

Far too often these days, it’s common for people to compare Chapel Hill to Durham or even Raleigh. But the fact is that we’re not Durham and we’re not Raleigh – and more importantly, we’re not competing with Durham or Raleigh.

Rather, as one of the nation’s leading and most desirable college towns, we’re competing with towns and cities across the country with major research universities, like Ann Arbor, Bloomington, Athens, and Austin.

Acknowledging this is the first step toward developing a Chapel Hill brand and using it to attract the individuals, businesses, and opportunities that will make Chapel Hill a unique regional and national leader.

Technology and Training: High Priorities

I firmly believe that having a sheriff’s office that is up to speed with standard training and technology is a huge priority.  This is because an office that has an under-trained staff under performs.  It also puts the lives of the deputies and the public at risk.  As it presently stands, the deputies at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office do not have adequate training.   There may be individuals who are more trained than others, but as a group they must have more and better training all-around.  I worked for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and I now work for Carrboro Police Department, and let me say that the difference is night and day. 

Seven Questions for the Register of Deeds Candidates

This election year, Orange County voters will select a register of deeds from 3 candidates: Deborah Brooks, the current register of deeds; Mark Chilton, former mayor of Carrboro; and Sara Stephens, former deputy register of deeds. The register of deeds is the custodian of many of the county’s public records, including those relating to births, deaths, military discharges, marriage, and property transfers.

In lieu of holding a candidate forum for the register of deeds race, we sent the candidates 7 questions and asked them to respond to each question in 200 words or less. The answers we received from them appear below. They have not been edited in any way.

Take this survey to help the Town of Carrboro build a better web site.

Carrboro, Chapel Hill may get Google Fiber

Google just announced that it's inviting 34 cities to "explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber." Carrboro and Chapel Hill are among those 34 cities as a part of the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area. Other area cities invited as part of the metro area include Cary, Durham, Garner, Morrisville, and Raleigh.

Google Fiber is the next generation of Internet access — Internet that is up to 100 times faster that current basic broadband access.

From Google's official blog:

We aim to provide updates by the end of the year about which cities will be getting Google Fiber. Between now and then, we’ll work closely with each city’s leaders on a joint planning process that will not only map out a Google Fiber network in detail, but also assess what unique local challenges we might face. These are such big jobs that advance planning goes a long way toward helping us stick to schedules and minimize disruption for residents.

We’re going to work on a detailed study of local factors that could affect construction, like topography (e.g., hills, flood zones), housing density and the condition of local infrastructure. Meanwhile, cities will complete a checklist of items that will help them get ready for a project of this scale and speed. For example, they’ll provide us with maps of existing conduit, water, gas and electricity lines so that we can plan where to place fiber. They’ll also help us find ways to access existing infrastructure—like utility poles—so we don’t unnecessarily dig up streets or have to put up a new pole next to an existing one.

You can read more about what could potentially be coming to Carrboro and Chapel Hill at Google Fiber's website.

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