Losing local businesses
The Chapel Hill Town Council has recently approved or is considering approval of several mega-scale development projects including Obey Creek, the Edge and the Ephesus-Fordham rezoning.
Much has been said about the impacts of these projects on traffic, flooding, and the overall ambience of Chapel Hill. Less discussed is their impact on local merchants.
For example, Plaza Dry Cleaners, a family run business that has been a fixture for over 30 years is closing, resulting in the loss of seventeen jobs. The business remains profitable but the shopping center’s new corporate masters declined to renew the lease. Why? Does it have anything to do with the fact that Plaza Dry Cleaners is immediately adjacent to the ultra-swanky seven story apartment tower being built by Roger Perry’s development company as part of the E-F rezoning? Are the shopping center owners angling for pricey national chain stores to serve upscale clients?
Clearly correlation is not causation. However, it is hard not to notice that while high-end residential development projects often incorporate national chain stores they rarely include local merchants. Our unique local stores are part of what makes Chapel Hill a special place. Is this all going away in the quest for high-density urbanization?
Memorial Day is a national holiday, a time to honor the service of the nation’s military dead, wounded and missing, and to reflect on the circumstances that caused them to go to war. Surely it is a day which should impress on children that there are reasons we take time off normal duties and routines to honor those who served in the military.
Memorial Day is not just another day in the week. Who in the school systemwas responsible for such a lamentable decision to keep schools in Chapel Hill and Carrboro open? I would hope that next year the schools will be closed, like other schools and public institutions and like many private places of employment throughout the country.
Honor our war dead
My daughters did not attend their schools on Monday, May 25, as it was Memorial Day. In fact, I was shocked the district had made this a day of attendance at all! No child, or employee, for that matter should be asked to distract themselves from the observance of Memorial Day. It is our second-most important secular holiday after the 4th of July.
The weather this winter was a burden to all of us. But most of our neighboring school disricts foumd more appropriate ways to make up for lost time. Wake County is extending the school year. Others have made up for it on Saturdays. Truth be known I believe presidents Washington and Lincoln and Dr. King would all agree that honoring the nation’s war dead should take precedence over their own celebrations.
This schedule is deeply offensive to those of us with family members and friends on active duty, not to mention those who have loved ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Honoring the brave men and women who have died in the service of the United States is far more important thjan the district checking a box on the calendar.
CHS Class of ’83
White without guilt
I found Jesse James DeConto’s column on “White Privilege” (CHN, nando.com/1bb) very thoughtful.
Like Mr. DeConto, I am a child of privilege, the son of two college graduates, beneficiary of an excellent public school system – at least for white students. Like Mr. DeConto, I disagree with the sentiment that everyone in our society has the same opportunities, a “level playing field.” In my career as an educator, and in my contributions of money and volunteering to make our country more equitable, I hope I have made some difference, but we certainly still have a ways to go.
But I differ with Mr. DeConto in that I don’t have any feelings of guilt. I didn’t create the system of segregated schools, and I’m glad they’re gone; I’m not guilty for what I didnt’ do. I worked hard to treat my students the same, regardless of race or class. And while I have worked for social justice causes, I also worked to give my sons every advantage so they too can rise as high as their talents allow.
One further thought about us Privileged Folk. While I lacked for nothing growing up, several of my peers came from far wealthier backgrounds. Privilege is a relative, not absolute, quality. And even the least advantaged Americans live a life with far more safety and opportunity than hundreds of millions around the world – which is why so many still come here and succeed in making a better lives for themselves, even given the obstacles of our unequal playing fields.
Joe Swain Jr.
It is so refreshing to see empathy for the minority race instead of sympathy or anger (“White guilt,” CHN, nando.com/1bb).
It is so easy to point that finger instead of viewing the problem head on. If others had the insight and courage to begin to work toward the same goal, the world would be a better place. Thank you.
Burn Center benefit
On Saturday, June 6, four popular bands will perform at the Cat’s Cradle in a benefit for the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center and burn survivors treated there.
“Healin’ with a Feelin’ – A Night of Burnin’ Love” is being organized by burn survivor Kim Anderson and wife Stephanie. This is the fourth musical benefit organized by the Andersons since March of 2010, when Kim was critically injured in a house fire in Chapel Hill. He was treated at the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center over four & a half months; in gratitude, Kim and Stephanie planned these musical benefits as a way to say "Thank you"
Performing at 7 p.m. will be Rebeccah & the Hi-Tones, the Willie Painter Band, The Claptones and The BilliTones.
Also planned is a silent auction of donated goods & services; perusing and bidding will start at 6:30 PM in Cat’s Cradle.
Please show your support for our terrific community resource, the N. C. Jaycee Burn Center, and help us raise funds for the aftercare assistance for burn survivors.
For more information about the benefit, and for the story of its origins, please visit our website at www.jayceeburncenterevent.com, or call 919-621-7260.
Kim and Stephanie Anderson
No rights damaged
Regarding Deborah Davis’ guest column “Book promoted agenda” (CHN, nando.com/1bv)
At no point were anyone’s religious or parental rights taken away or damaged in any way.
One should expect when a child is in a public school, they may be exposed to ideas and thoughts different from what they hear at home and at church. That's a good thing!
If you only want your precious little knowledge sponge to hear what you want home school them or send them to a religious indoctrination private school.
This isn't debatable. There are gay people in the world, always have been, always will be – can’t change that fact of reality.