Chapel Hill News

Roses and raspberries, March 12

Roses to the Chapel Hill Town Council for take the unusual step of letting residents speak at last week’s work session.

The monthly work sessions, unlike regular business meetings and public hearings, usually are a time for the Town Council and town staff members to talk about concerns and ask questions. The public normally doesn’t get a chance to speak.

It’s important to give residents more opportunities to weigh in on proposals, such as the Ephesus-Fordham rezoning and redevelopment plan, that could have serious, long-term consequences, especially when many residents say their concerns are being ignored. Kudos to the Town Council for recognizing the benefit of more public dialogue.

Roses also to the residents who spent hours researching the town’s plan, so they could offer alternatives, as well as share concerns.

Roses to the many police, firefighters, forestry workers and others who responded quickly to calls about wrecked cars and fallen trees and power lines along many Orange County roads. Local emergency workers were just doing their jobs, of course, but in a crisis, it’s good to know they do it well.

Roses, too, to utility crews who as of Monday were still working to restore power to several thousands homes in our area. The crews take heat when trimming trees along power lines, but the sight of a convoy of big trucks heading down Churton Street in Hillsborough Saturday evening brought cheers. The county seat was hopping with folks eager to get out of their power-less houses for a bite to eat and some socializing, or maybe it was commiserating.

Finally thanks too to our local hotels that gave residents a break on a room and a hot shower in the days after the storm. One of our neighbors who called the new Hampton Inn in Carrboro told the desk clerk he and his wife were without electricity and was promptly offered a “good neighbor discount,” and told he could cancel anytime up to 6 p.m. should his power come back on. It did, with 45 minutes to spare, but the hotel’s offer was much appreciated.

Roses from Tom Driscoll to Jeff Hoffman and his staff at the Harris Teeter supermarket at University Mall, for continuing to work with the Outreach Committee at St. Thomas More Catholic Church to facilitate the food donations for the Inter-Faith Council Food Pantry by donating hundreds of grocery bags in the past two years that are then passed out to St. Thomas More parishioners once each month.

Each bag has a list of food items needed by the IFC Food Pantry. The parishioners fill up the bags with the food items listed, return the filled bags to the church, and the grocery bags are then delivered to the Food Pantry after Sunday masses are completed. St. Thomas More parishioners donated more than 1,500 bags of groceries from July to December of 2013! Many thanks to Harris Teeter for continuing to supply these bags that result in more donations for IFC Food Pantry.

Roses from Mary Kakefuda to the English as a Second Lnguage staff of Culbreth Middle School, who completed the ESL testing in one day. The testing usually takes the entire month of February.

“Congratulations to the staff for their hard work and innovative thinking,” Kakefuda writes. “This event allows more time for instruction and less class time used for testing.”