Greenway builds community
I just returned from a delightful walk down Chapel Hill’s newest greenway segment on a beautiful afternoon.
The new section of the Morgan Creek Greenway is just opening, now with a full connection from Morgan Creek to Southern Village, with a spur leading to Merritt’s Pasture, with a tunnel under Culbreth Road, and with a spur leading to a small parking lot off of Fordham Boulevard for easy access to the trail.
There were adults of all ages, children, pets, bicyclists, walkers, joggers, all enjoying this great amenity and all greeting each other over and over in passing. This is what community feels like.
Congratulations to the Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department and the Public Works Department for completing another leg in this growing trail network that will connect all parts of town. Congratulations especially to Parks and Rec staff member Bill Webster, who has tirelessly and successfully advocated for and planned construction of greenways over the last two decades. Your hard work is paying off, Bill !!
A place like Pace
Pace Academy changed the way that I learn, forever.
I arrived at Pace Academy in 2009 after I was really struggling and getting bullied at East Chapel Hill High School. My mother suggested that I start going to Pace Academy because she knew that Pace would help me through school. Once I started to get more situated at Pace, I started to become more aware of how bad my learning disabilities were and how Pace could help me through the rough times.
Yeah, there were days when I did not feel like going to school, but I was always at Pace and put the effort into my work. Pace helped me accomplish so much while I was there, from learning to social skills that will help me get further in life. I hope for the best for Pace Academy in the future, and I hope that Pace Academy will be there for students like me, who have learning disabilities.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro area needs a school like Pace. What will happen to the future students or the current students of Pace Academy if the school’s charter is not renewed ? Where will they go? Either they will have to go to public school in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district or find another school that is miles away. I hope that Pace can renew its charter and stay around for a while. Other, Pace Academy will just be another one of those schools, forgotten.
The best of people
It is much easier and surprisingly quick to tear a community apart than it is to build or sustain one. Twenty years ago, the communication was simple and graphic. “The river is red with blood and the bodies are floating down stream like logs to a sawmill. Please send help.” It was part of my job to oversee the scheduling of a small cadre of diplomats working in east and southern Africa. Brave people who frequently worked alone in dangerous settings.
When I started my job in Nairobi, a seasoned diplomat told me I would meet the best people I would ever know and the worst. My days were spent with the former. Two years after the genocide I was the U.S. negotiator for a successful joint US-EU trip into areas still suffering from the aftermath. The trip was designed to provide an international press spotlight on the continuing tragedies.
The diplomats returned to Wilson Airport in Nairobi and held a well-planned press conference. Before leaving the airport, all hope that the story would be given much attention was dashed when we were given the news that Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown's plane had crashed.
Those present had spent months preparing for their trip only to have their efforts minimized and many had friends who died on that plane. Living in the diplomatic community in Nairobi death of colleagues was all too common. I met the best of people who every day got up and strove to make the world better.
North Carolina and more importantly, Chapel Hill is at risk. The use of horizontal drilling otherwise known as fracking, should not be something we allow.
Fluids used in the process of fracking contain harmful chemicals that can seep into our water supply. I want to be able to drink water safely and without having to worry about traces of methane that can cause me neurological damage and respiratory damage. Also, I do not want to have to worry about a huge hole (that can be up to more than a mile deep) being drilled in my backyard.
Hopefully more attention can be brought to this issue and it can be resolved.