Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger apologized this week for any public confusion over the installation and removal of a granite marker to honor unmarked graves of slaves and others in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery.
The town’s cemeteries board had the gravestone installed in January with an inscription – “Here rest in honored glory 361 American persons of color known but to God” – based on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington.
The town had it removed last month when some UNC students, black community leaders and others objected to the wording, as well as not being consulted.
Hemminger said she is hopeful for a solution by summer. The Town Council voted Monday to let its naming committee – the mayor and council members George Cianciolo and Donna Bell – work with the community to plan a conversation. It could start this month, she said.
Hemminger also apologized for the confusion that the situation had created.
“We’ve come up with a process,” she said, “to reach into the community and bring people to the table who may be related to some people that are buried there to get some input, to look for ideas of how we move this forward to pay honor and respect to the people that are buried there.”
The Durham City Council is working to increase affordable housing as the city’s resurgence leaves more on the margins struggling to pay their mortgage and rent.
Consultant Karen Lado told the council this week that Durham is still “a relatively affordable city” but that many neighborhoods are seeing rapidly rising housing costs.
Durham has about 27,000 “cost-burdened” households, meaning they pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Of those, 15,000 are severely cost-burdened, putting more than 50 percent of their income toward housing.
Lado laid out a five-year plan that includes preserving 450 existing affordable housing options and creating 300 new rental units in transit corridors.
But federal housing resources are declining, and even with the Dedicated Housing Fund, or the “Penny for Housing” initiative, she estimates the city will come up between $6.7 million and $21.3 million short.
“It is very sobering,” she said. “The ‘winning the battle, losing the war’ analogy in many cases applies here.”
▪ The Wake Senior Democrats will meet on Wednesday, March 16, at the Crabtree Marriott in Raleigh. The meeting starts at 11 a.m. with lunch followed by the program at 11:30 a.m. Kelly Thomas, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, or Portia Manley, Assistant Director of Motor Vehicles, will speak. Visitors welcome.
▪ The African American Caucus of the Wake County Democratic Party will hold its 2016 induction ceremony and black tie dinner on March 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hilton North Raleigh. For more information call 919-720-4064 or visit www.aacwakecountydp.com.
Compiled by staff writers Tammy Grubb and Natalie Ritchie
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