Chapel Hill News

Hillsborough Town Board honors retiring police officer

The Hillsborough Town Board of Commissioners on Monday recognized the retirement of Senior Cpl. Michael Foushee who served the town more than 15 years, including as a K9 handler for K9 officers Sampson and Viper.

Police Chief Duane Hampton and Mayor Tom Stevens presented Foushee with a plaque, and the chief presented a photo book created by Foushee’s squad. The chief called Foushee one of the best and well-known officers to downtown merchants and noted that Foushee has served as mentor to him and other officers.

The Police Department has received numerous letters of appreciation and commendation for Foushee’s community interactions. Those interactions were part of what the corporal liked best about his job.

“I enjoyed walking the beat downtown, speaking to the business people as you walked past,” he said. “I told the chief I would have done that full time.”

Foushee also enjoyed visiting the elementary schools, helping to direct school traffic in the mornings and working with kindergartners throughout the year on learning their addresses and how to make 911 calls.

“Usually I would challenge the older boys to a foot race or to a basketball game just to get them riled up and talking,” he said. Helping to mentor students and seeing them in high school and beyond — including one young man now working his way through Navy SEALs training — has been dear to him, he said.

Foushee will continue to serve as a reserve officer for the town.

“He’ll still be a part of our department and community for as long as he wants to be around,” Hampton said.

In other business, the board

▪ Recognized Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Russell Bateman for receiving the 2015 Outstanding Operator of the Year Award from the N.C. Waterworks Operators Association. Association Second Vice President Ken Loflin presented the award, noting that it is the association’s highest award. “It is an honor to receive this award and to be nominated for it,” Bateman told the board.

▪ Authorized staff to enter into a contract not to exceed $105,000 with engineering consultant Davenport to investigate the feasibility of installing sidewalks or walkways along the portion of North Churton Street from Corbin Street to U.S. 70 and along U.S. 70 Bypass from Lakeshore Drive to N.C. 86. The town will use $80,000 of Surface Transportation Program – Direct Allocation funds provided by the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization, along with a $25,000 match, for the work, which is expected to be complete by June 30.

▪ Held a public hearing regarding a voluntary annexation request for 16 lots on Odie Street and adopted an ordinance to annex these parcels. The lots were previously in the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and are under contract to be acquired by Habitat for Humanity in 2017 for redevelopment. The board directed staff to extend an invitation for annexation to other residents of the street, making them aware of the benefits of annexation: in-town water and sewer rates and other services.

▪ Accepted the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce’s request for town sponsorship of the holiday parade. The parade will start at about 4:45 p.m. Dec. 5 and will last about two hours, with traffic stopped on downtown Churton Street for about 45 minutes to one hour. The chamber will provide additional portable lighting between the downtown and Corbin Street, and floats will be encouraged to include lighting to match this year’s “Light Up the Night” theme.

▪ Continued discussion of formulating an affordable housing policy. The board directed staff to investigate a study that would include how to arrive at sound affordable housing targets for Hillsborough and the exploration of development code amendments for existing neighborhoods to allow the construction of additional units as infill. The board would like to see an ordinance proposed by mid-2016

▪ Directed staff to study and make a recommendation regarding possible changes to on-street parking by the U.S. Post Office on King Street. The study would address a safety concern for motorists exiting the Post Office’s parking lot, ensuring adequate sighting of oncoming traffic.

▪ Commissioner Kathleen Ferguson encouraged participation in a survey by Orange Partnership for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth. The survey is intended to help the partnership learn about Orange County residents’ opinions regarding marijuana use.