Respect our dead
On Thursday, June 5, I had the opportunity to speak to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education. As on that very night 70 years before, ordinary members of our armed forces prepared to board ships, planes and gliders to invade Normandy on D-Day and do some extraordinary things we now honor. Some 2,500 never lived to see June 7 and they joined the ranks of the now 1 million men and women we respect, honor and remember for their sacrifice each Memorial Day.
I asked our board to take the necessary steps to prevent what they did this May 26 from ever happening again, and remove Memorial Day as a make-up day from all future calendars. State law keeps Veterans Day from being a make-up day and the board’s good judgment and political astuteness keeps them from using the holiday honoring The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so why disrespect the one that honors 1 million Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country? As other districts all around us found a way to honor Memorial Day and respect our dead, we didn’t, and it shouldn’t happen again.
If you agree, please contact the school board and ask them to remove Memorial Day from the list of make-up days on all future calendars. The phone number is 919-967-8211 and you can email the entire Board at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coal ash concerns
The Orange-Chatham Group of the Sierra Club would like to comment on the disposition of the coal ash and other potential toxic substances buried in the unlined pit by the Chapel Hill police station on Martin Luthur King, Jr Boulevard (CHN, bit.ly/1lszoid).
If the unlined pit is leaching into groundwater or flowing overland, it will affect nearby Bolin Creek. Bolin Creek is a valuable resource for Chapel Hill, and any contamination could affect the health of the children who play in the creek, soils in the many yards in the creek's (regularly flooded) floodplain, and the drinking water of Jordan Lake downstream.
We understand that potential contamination and impacts are not yet well understood. We strongly advocate that the extent of any leakage, leaching and contamination be characterized as quickly as possible, and remediation options be evaluated and implemented as needed, also as quickly as feasible. We would also recommend that the town and state solicit assistance from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IV office in Atlanta for assistance and state of the art technology.
We will continue to watch how this situation is evaluated and addressed and will appreciate updates on progress.
I am so proud of President Obama for holding firm on his decision not to approve the Keystone Pipeline.
In the past, our country has often been guilty of supporting policies that fill the need of the moment without farsighted planning and evaluating future consequences. The fact that a pipeline containing crude oil going through the aquifer would even be considered is mind boggling. The incident of a ruptured pipe or leaching occurring, as well as the possibility of a terrorist act, would spell complete disaster to our water supply.
Fox News promoting that this unpurified oil will be used to alleviate our energy needs is a complete falsehood. The truth is that this oil is destined to go directly to overseas markets.
In 1989, my niece's (Meg Switzgable), documentary, “In Our Water,” was nominated for an Academy Award. The story line was about a family in New Jersey that lived near a landfill and how their health was impacted upon by the chemicals leaching into their well water.
It is time we spoke out against those who have no interest whatsoever in protecting our planet for future generations. Their only interest is how they can profit themselves.