Chapel Hill: Opinion

Your letters, March 2

Denise Heflin took on Princess, a 30-plus year-old quarterhorse/saddlebred mix, in February 2013 after long-term neglect by a previous Orange County owner.
Denise Heflin took on Princess, a 30-plus year-old quarterhorse/saddlebred mix, in February 2013 after long-term neglect by a previous Orange County owner.

Help build our playground

I am writing on behalf of the Hillsborough Elementary School PTA. We are proud of the rich history of our school premises, from its beginnings as the “all-black” high school in 1938 to its emergence as the first year-round school in Orange County in 1996. Upon realizing that HES is the only local elementary school without an age-appropriate playground for second- to fifth-graders, the PTA designated this year the “Year of the Playground.”

We were absolutely thrilled when Dr. Pepper Snapple Kaboom! recognized our playground needs by awarding us a $15,000 grant. Our students and families have been ecstatic about the prospect of a new playground, as shown by the successes of our annual Read-A-Thon fundraiser, Fall Festival and Box Tops collections. We have also been fortunate to receive monetary donations from Hillsborough Elementary families, local businesses, and an anonymous family foundation. We just completed a weeklong coin drive and our students' excitement was manifest in the $1,083 of change that they collected! We have now achieved a significant portion of our $50,000 goal and hope to secure some food donations from local restaurants to feed our Build Day volunteers.

Our Kaboom! grant stipulates that the playground must be installed by community volunteers. We are looking forward to our Build Day on Saturday, March 8. Our students cannot wait!

Bessie Mbadugha-Keiper

The writer is the co-chair of the Hillsborough Elementary School Playground Committee.

Princess’s passing

It is my sad duty to report that Princess passed away Feb. 5 ( “Love reins in this princess’ kingdom, CHN, She was buried in my pasture in one of her favorite places. I will plant bulbs and flowers on her grave. Her color was pink, so I will be planting all sorts of flowers, but selecting as much pink as I can find.

I would like to thank Dr Dahms for her continuous support. I was probably her most frequent caller and texter recently! She graciously answered my questions from day-to-day with no consult charge.

Dr Dahms commented on how amazing it was that Princess recovered from her neglect, and what a sweet soul she was, even until the very end.

We learned from the lab testing that her liver and kidneys were not the primary problem, but that a diseased portion of her G/I tract was the probable cause of her decline (possibly compromised from earlier neglect).

It has been an honor and a blessing to take care of Princess. I was able to provide the place for her to be, and the day-to-day care. I was already doing a trip home during my work day to care for my other special-needs horse, so taking care of Princess fit right into the routine.

Friends, family, and fellow volunteers magically covered her expenses. I want to thank everyone who has contributed. Whether it was five dollars or several hundred dollars, it has always covered what she needed. Literally every time that I ran out of donated funds for her food and other needs, a donation would appear.

Multiple donations towards her final vet expenses have already arrived. I'm certain that the people who are feeling inspired to contribute towards the final vet expenses will be sufficient to cover it. (thank you!)

Many of us have been blessed by the Princess story. Her message is one of community coming together, hope after despair, attention after neglect, and love after being forgotten.

May her story inspire you forever.

Denise Heflin


Carrboro slow enough

I agree with Rob Reece that bicycles should obey laws; I’ve been very unpopular with cyclists for years because of that.

However, he misses the fact that motorists, pedestrians, skaters, skateboarders and wheelchair drivers also need to obey laws.

My suspicion is that the same people disobey, no matter what their mode of transportation. Many people wander into traffic without looking; making more crosswalks gives them more legal and safe places, but they still ignore them and wander.

We really don’t need to slow down Carrboro traffic more; it’s not that fast to start with. We need to obey the laws that are there.

Dana Mochel


Fox guarding the slaughter house

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is still expanding the list of retailers carrying meat unfit for human consumption to Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and 970 locations in California alone. About 8.7 million pounds were shipped all through 2013 by Rancho Feeding Corporation of Petaluma, Cal.

The recall comes in the wake of USDA’s new “inspection” program that allows the meat industry to increase speed of processing lines and replace federal inspectors with plant employees. According to the USDA inspector general, this has resulted in partial failure to remove fecal matter, undigested food, and other contaminants that may contain deadly E. coli and listeria bacteria.

Traditionally, the USDA has catered more to the interests and profitability of the meat industry than health and safety of American consumers. Consumer interests come into play only when large numbers of us get sick. Having the USDA protect consumers is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse.

The Obama administration should reallocate responsibility for all food safety to the Food and Drug administration. In the meantime, each of us can assume responsibility for our own safety by switching to the rich variety of soy-based meat products offered by our favorite supermarket.

Colin Barnett

Chapel Hill

Deadly illness

Re “East Chapel Hill student dies of bacterial infection,” (CHN,

My daughter almost died of cerebral meningitis (hemophilus B) at the age of 3 months, from a cold which went into her ear and then her brain.

She had all the symptoms mentioned and went into a coma. By the grace of God and excellent care by pediatrician Dr. Mort Pizer of Raleigh, she lived and today has a master's degree and two children. Her godmother's son died of cerebral meningitis on his first birthday, same symptoms, but too late to get proper medical attention.

This a deadly illness which can be cured with antibiotics if caught soon enough. Please take it seriously.

Anne Russell