The heart of the issue
I was blown away by Mary Carey’s piece in the Sunday CHN ( bit.ly/1vCPdZo). It was truthful, thoughtful and powerful. The abysmal literacy statistics for African-American male teens just stunned me – how can this not be news every day? Ms. Carey’s brilliant suggestions about how to support UNC athletics (by tutoring a struggling reader or donating to the local Augustine Literacy Project) were simple and inspirational.
I hope that the university will also take her advice and peel away a part of every single check that comes into the Rams Club and ticket sales, and turn those dollars into donations that will directly support the academic growth of the student athletes who need and deserve it the most. Not only would that be the right thing to do, it would likely help polish up the school’s badly tarnished reputation.
Thanks for giving this piece the front-page placement it deserved. In all the coverage of these problems over the last many months, I haven’t read anything better in terms of getting to the heart of the issue and proposing a positive, proactive and powerful solution that we can all be a part of, starting today.
Gulf of distrust
In my close to 20 years as a member of task forces, boards, committees, and activist groups, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many developers and have heard one unifying thread among them: “Have the town tell us what they want and we will build it.”
During this time, I witnessed the Chapel Hill Town Council asking for concessions in return for approvals. As former Councilman Gene Pease once said, applicants generally came in with applications that took those concessions into account. Yet, the principle that those who would profit greatly from the opportunity to build in Chapel Hill would have to return something to the community remained intact.
There is nothing inherently wrong with form-based code zoning. Properly used, it can be an efficient streamlining vehicle for development and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel that way. Hopefully, people who support the adopted form-based code have actually sat down and read it as I and many others have. I’d be curious to find out if those supporters think that:
a) not including incentives for affordable housing was in the spirit of the alleged town values?
b) not including energy-efficiency standards that reflect the need for action in the face of global climate change was wise?
c) not adhering to smart growth principles by increasing density without any increase (actually, a decrease) in green space had the community in mind?
When a community and its elected leaders are mired in a huge gulf of mutual distrust, the community, as a whole, suffers.
Rallying for Goode
The CHCCS community is rallying to support one of our own. Stephon Goode started his teaching career in the fifth grade at Estes Hills Elementary and now serves as assistant principal at Smith Middle School. Mr. Goode has been diagnosed with end-stage renal failure and is in need of a kidney transplant. Because the financial burden of this procedure will be great, there is a groundswell of fundraising activity underway, led by fellow teachers and staff, as well as current and former parents and students who adore this talented and kind-hearted school leader.
Mr. Goode has a passion for public education and a desire to lift up every child in our community. I had the pleasure of volunteering as a proctor in one of his classes at Estes Hills during End of Grade testing a few years back. The process of testing is not a pleasure, but Mr. Goode greeted his students with a contagious smile and a sharp sense of humor that helped them relax and focus on the task at hand. It was clear he had the students' trust and their best interests at heart. I left his classroom feeling lucky that our students were in such good hands.
It was no surprise to hear that Mr. Goode would be leading in an administrative role at Smith Middle School. He has a drive to lead and a dedication to ensuring that all of our students reach their highest potential. It takes a special person to rally a community, and Stephon Goode is worthy of that adoration and respect. All are welcome to participate in these community efforts.
A football fundraiser (Smith Middle vs. McDougle Middle) will be held at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, at Chapel Hill High School. Donations will be accepted in lieu of entry fees. Additional funds will be raised through food sales and other vendors.
To donate toward Mr. Goode's medical costs go to gofundme.com/exq138
Mary Swann Parry
Where is the imagination?
Let’s talk about Booker Creek. Part of this natural stream runs beneath the Eastgate Shopping Center which contributes to the flash flooding that occurs in that area. But there could have been a possible solution. “Stream daylighting” is a development approach that means physically uncovering and restoring a streambed. This technique allows a community to control polluted runoff, work to reduce flooding and allows the creation of an attractive and vibrant public space.
The plan for the recently approved Village Plaza apartments on Elliott road moves the existing Booker Creek Greenway at the back of the property closer to the stream and into a wetlands area. This action, plus the additional impervious surfaces of the new building, certainly won’t help alleviate the water flooding issues in that area.
With some imagination this could be an attractive green space area lined with outdoor dining, for example, for citizens and local residents to enjoy. Instead, the proposed plan shows the greenway facing the backside of a hulking 7-story glass and steel box with its garages and garbage collection sites.
Fifty years or so ago, someone made a really poor decision to enclose the creek in a culvert and build a shopping mall over the top of it. Others have neglected the creek. Now, instead of working to fix these problems, we are going to “double down” (more accurately 10X down) on this bad decision without first addressing the flooding issues.What are our planners thinking? Or maybe they are not …
Friday night lights!
With the darkening fall evenings it is essential for pedestrians and bicyclists to take steps to enhance their visibility to others.
Accordingly, the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition is organizing a “Friday Night Lights” event on Friday Nov. 7. All are welcome! We’ll be giving away FREE bike lights and other flashy goodies to help cyclists and pedestrians improve their visibility on our roads and sidewalks. Three (local) celebrity judges will be awarding prizes for the most visible cyclist and pedestrian, the best use of reflective material, and more.
Festivities start at 6 pm Friday, Nov. 7, at Carrboro Town Hall on Friday. At 6:45 pm there will be a cruiser ride for cyclists and a group walk for pedestrians, followed by socializing at the Looking Glass Café. More details can be found at bikecarrboro.com.
There is no attempt in any other department of UNC to pretend that students are being made to study other than their chosen vocation. There is no attempt to hide the fact that the best are being recruited, even while at college, for professional berths after college.
So, why do we feel the need to pretend with our athletes? What is wrong with coming to university to train to be a professional athlete?
To suggest otherwise is to stigmatize our college athletes. It is saying to them that sports is not a real career. That they are not as good as the rest of the student body. Pretty much we teach them to cheat at this early age.
Is it not time simply and honestly to recognize that much of our athletic program is a training ground for professional sports? Where we allow our athletes to take pride in their college career? And we can fully take pride in them?