Once again we are indebted to a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. I am referring to Mike Harris’ column, which expressed frustration at those who blame solely our schools for the troubling achievement gap experienced by our African-American and Latino and Hispanic students.
I too was upset by the use of phrases “poverty factory” and “manufacture … our future inmates” but didn’t take the time to express my outrage. Shame on me.
I would encourage your readers to go back and read Mr. Harris’ piece published on November 11 (CHN http://nando.com/2rt); it hit on several valid points. No sensible person would argue that there isn’t a problem, but to lay it at the feet of our schools and our hard-working teachers is wrong. As a community, we are all responsible for the “product: that is our young people.
Losing the visual commons
A community bulletin board may seem a small thing – a place for fliers about a concert, free kittens, a fundraiser. We take this common space for granted as a reliable social fixture. We might fail to see that it functions as a community commons where important exchanges occur.
Some spaces lend themselves to a vibrant community board – places with a high volume of traffic from a wide range of patrons and users. Indeed, any Chapel Hill location considered a community gathering place and a locus for information should have a bulletin board.
Unfortunately, our town has recently lost two of its key bulletin boards to renovation and interior design. The community information area at the YMCA has been replaced with glass tiling; and the Chapel Hill Public Library has removed the majority of its bulletin board to give patrons a view of the book-sorting machine behind the wall.
When we remove these visual commons, we unwittingly lose one of the important ways that we say who we are as a town. We also take away one of the tried and true ways of sharing the news and connecting with our neighbors. Time to reconsider the worth.
Jill Hemming Austin
9 OWASA questions
On behalf of the Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) Board of Directors and staff, please participate in our 2015 Customer Survey by
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I noticed that Chapel Hill is testing new LED Streetlights. In my neighborhood, they are on Honeysuckle road, at Foxwood and Kornegay, and at Booker Creek/Old Sterling. I’m sure there are others around town as well. I am all for converting to LED Streetlights, it makes economic and environmental sense for the City.
However, the type of LED Streetlights being tested are – in my opinion – the worst that technology has to offer. They have a high glare factor and are so bright – I call that color “prison yard white.” I do not want these type of streetlights everywhere in Chapel Hill. There are other types of LED streetlights that produce a softer light and don't have the glare that these lights produce. Asheville has a nice softer color in their new streetlights that is much easier on the eyes than what is being tested. This is a 10- to 15-year investment for the town, and the residents of Chapel Hill should have some input as to whether they like this light shining in their houses and wearing sunglasses to walk their dogs at night.
Feel free to make your opinion known to Public Works Department – 919-969-5100.
Watching and waiting
Can the healing begin? Let us presume that incoming UNC system President Margaret Spellings is sincere about mending divisions and building bridges, and let us give her doubt’s benefit that through this process she will be a person of good will who knows that she must earn the trust of the sizable communities who view her appointment with some mixture of alarm, disdain and incredulity.
What must she do? To begin, she must never, ever, ever again say the words “those lifestyles” (“UNC’s next chief ready for challenge,” N&O, Oct. 24) when referring to people in the LGBT community. The person who uses such a phrase draws attention to herself as insensitive, naive, bigoted and out-of-touch.
Is this education leader educable? We shall be watching.
William S. Meyer
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