Chapel Hill: Opinion

August 1, 2014

Your letters, Aug. 3

How dare the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board think of reducing the pay of the poorest of all the Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools employees? It is hard to believe it could even enter their minds.

A draconian proposal

An open letter to the members of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board:

How dare you think of reducing the pay of the poorest of all the Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools employees? It is hard to believe it could even enter your minds. How about reducing the pay by 5 percent of the schools superintendent and school principals? They could still put food on the table for their families.

A more suitable solution is to raise the school tax which I am more that willing to pay.

I appreciate the letter by Patricia Fischer in last Sunday’s Chapel Hill News, alerting us to the situation.

Have you no conscience or sympathy for those who are among the most poorly paid of our citizens? I am appalled that our school board members would even consider such a draconian action.

Eunice M. Brock

Chapel Hill

National Night Out

On Tuesday Aug. 5, neighborhoods throughout Chapel Hill are invited to join thousands of communities nationwide for the 31st Annual National Night Out crime and drug prevention event.

National Night Out, which is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and co-sponsored locally by the Chapel Hill Police Department, will involve over 16,124 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world. In all, over 37.8 million people are expected to participate. “Give Neighborhood Crime and Drugs a Going Away Party” remains a national theme.

National Night Out is designed to: (1) Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; (2) Generate support for, and participation in local anti-crime efforts; (3) Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and (4) Send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

From 6 to 8 p.m. residents are asked to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police. Many neighborhoods will be hosting a variety of special events such as block parties, cookouts, parades, visits from police, flashlight walks, contests, youth activities and anticrime rallies.

I would like to encourage neighborhoods throughout Chapel Hill to help us celebrate NNO and send a powerful message about neighborhood unity, awareness, safety, and police-community partnerships by having an event in your neighborhood.

If your neighborhood would like to participate and/or would like a visit from an officer, let me know how I can help by calling 919-969-2068.

If you would like more information on NNO, you can check out the NNO website at nationalnightout.org. It has some great pictures of events from all across America.

Officer Robin Clark

Chapel Hill Police Community Services Division

Protect mental health care

The Senate is proposing draconian changes to how people with mental illness get health care.

The goal, to make sure physical health care needs are met, not just mental health needs, while spending a reasonable amount of money is a good one.

How will the proposed change affect someone with schizophrenia? Someone with a thought disorder is required to go to a new company. Maybe they won’t be approved for a service that has worked for them. Perhaps the therapist and the company they have built up a trust with, is no longer on the list of providers. Disruption. Chaos. Delays. Individuals may land in the emergency department – where they wait on average for more than three days. We would never tolerate that for people who don’t have mental illnesses. People in residential care may lose their eligibility. Another risk: eliminating all kinds of services, even things like outpatient care, prescription meds, and dental care.

Let’s build upon the successes we have in our publicly operated system which has effectively delivered services while costs are contained. Don’t change it midstream! NAMI NC supports the governor’s and the house’s plan to continue the successes with the capped Medicaid budget for behavioral health, while adding protections for physical health care through building on successes of our hospitals and primary care providers. Help those who live with mental illness get the health care they need by continuing our public managed care.

Deby Dihoff

Executive director

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) NC

Study seeking families with kids

Researchers at innovation Research & Training (iRT) are seeking families with third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students to take part in a study looking at media, alcohol, and tobacco.

The Family Media Project is a research study about how family use of a computer program may influence media use and children’s health. The researchers are interested in learning whether using the software program together as a family can have a positive effect by reducing children’s interest in using alcohol or tobacco in the future. Parents are eligible to receive up to $95 plus mileage reimbursement for the family’s completion of the study together.

The aim is to get a better understanding of how families use media together such as computers, televisions, video games, and mobile devices to reduce children’s substance abuse experimentation. Participation in this fun-filled and educational project encourages family time and helps foster conversations about substance use, even before it begins in young children.

The project is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Parents will receive a free computer program to use at home for about three hours with their children and have a month to play the game together. Parents and children must record the time that they spend using the computer program. Families will meet with a project staff member three times over a four-month period to complete questionnaires. These meetings will be scheduled in a public location at the family’s convenience.

To be eligible to participate in the project, families must be able to speak English and have access to the Internet and a CD ROM. The project is seeking families with third-, fourth- or fifth-grade children who reside in Orange, Randolph, Lee, Person, Granville, Moore, Montgomery or Chatham counties.

To enroll in this research project, please contact Tara Weatherholt at 646-330-0044 or tweatherholt@irtinc.us. For more information, visit familymediaproject.com.

Tara Weatherholt

Project director

innovation Research & Training

Durham

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