Chapel Hill: Opinion

The conversation: Eunice Brock, Keegan Durovich, Lynne Kain, Day McLaughlin, EmmaMcNairy, Kelly McQuoid and Lisa Price

Sidewalks created hazard

I’m disappointed that while roads are plowed and salted by the next morning, sidewalks receive no attention.

After our last significant snow, most sidewalks were left to melt and refreeze into solid ice. From the footprints, it’s clear that the downtown Carrboro is well-trafficked – but any storefront owner who doesn’t shovel their walk doesn’t want or deserve the business. Jones Ferry Road sidewalks between Collins Crossing and downtown were slick as glass for a full week, making it safer to walk in the street.

How silly that driving is ostensibly more dangerous in poor weather, but here cars are speeding down the road long before pedestrian accessibility is possible. When you’re trudging through a gutter full of slush and getting honked and cursed at, it’s hard to believe that this area claims to value sustainability, alternative transportation and hospitality.

Emma McNairy


Why aren’t we composting?

A few years ago when the town first started talking about closing the dump on Eubanks Road, a discussion emerged over where the new dump would be located. When I heard about this I remembered that the waste system in southwest Nova Scotia, Canada was quite different from the one in Chapel Hill.

In 1996 Nova Scotia set a goal to reduce the province’s landfill waste by 50 percent. To do this they devised a new system for household waste management by creating three different waste streams. The first, and maybe most important, is compost. Anything that is unprocessed, anything from apple cores to bones to dirty paper or wet cardboard, goes into compost. Any of the remaining waste that is recyclable goes into the recycling. All of the remaining waste goes to the land fill.

I believe this is a much more sustainable model that our town should consider adopting. Although it would cost extra money to implement such a system, in the long run we would save money and our World as we know it.

Keegan Durovich

Chapel Hill

Losing what we love

Thank you, Ann Loftin, for your guest column in the Chapel Hill News, alerting us to the danger of losing what we love about Chapel Hill.

I have lived in Chapel Hill since 1959 and in the last 10 years have seen our town explode with development. No longer do we have a department or variety stores; these necessary stores are being replaced by a deluxe 10-screen movie house and another state-of-the-art fitness gym. Just what we need!

Perhaps we may need new leadership on the Town Council.

Eunice Brock

Chapel Hill

Storrow smart

When Lee Storrow first ran for Town Council, I thought he might be inexperienced, but Lee Storrow is smart and innovative. He has been holding Town Hall gatherings to hear the concerns of people who live and work in various areas of Chapel Hill.

I attended the gathering at DSI Comedy Downtown. Lee arranged for Meg McGurk, executive director of Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, to give some background about what is now happening downtown. Residents and business owners voiced their critical observations to Lee and Meg, who took notes.

There was much exchange among us, especially about the need for town board members to acknowledge the need for parking near businesses, not just an overall number of downtown spaces, and the need for better lighting consistent through Franklin Street and through sidestreets to Rosemary Street.

Most important was a demand for clear signage on all parking lots showing the times when parking is free, because the times differ somewhat. Instead of denouncing deficiencies, the public had specific suggestions for improvements to integrate the whole of downtown.

When I emailed Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt with similar suggestions to promote more use of the 140 West public parking, he welcomed the information. Lee Storrow is also eager to hear information that will make the new work with the existing older. Chapel Hill is definitely improving.

Lynne Kane

Chapel Hill

Guns in America

America has more guns and gun injuries and deaths than any other modern nation .

Easy access to guns can turn hateful, prejudiced people into murderers.

Guns can turn the dangerous mentally ill into murderers.

Guns can turn fearful or angry people into accidental murderers.

Guns can turn self-styled vigilantes into murderers.

Guns can turn depressed individuals into suicides.

Guns can turn abusive partners and spouses into murderers.

Guns can turn children into accidental murderers or victims.

Is this what the authors of the Bill of Rights envisioned for our country?

How can we keep guns out of the wrong hands?

Lisa Price

This letter was also signed by Nan Nixon and Hans Flinch, Jerry and Sondra Van Sant, Caywood Hendricks, Susannah Smith, Bea Keller, Andrea Vizoso, Susan Romaine,Ann Henley, Elizabeth Field, Carolyn Ikenberry and Valerie Yow.

Killing questions

As a white citizen of Chapel Hill, I am deeply concerned and heartbroken by the gut-wrenching events that resulted in the deaths of three young Americans.

While I acknowledge I am not privy to all the facts surrounding this tragedy, I continue to be troubled by the media’s repetition of the cause as a “mundane parking dispute.” There is nothing mundane about what happened. Whereas the parking issue may have been the catalyst, there is much more going on here that the public should be made aware of so we can better ensure there is never another such mindless act of violence.

What I think the citizens need to know are

▪ If, as the media has reported, neighbors of Mr. Hicks who’d been threatened by him did indeed meet to discuss what to do with his threats, what was the result of this meeting?

▪ If either or both the homeowners association and the leasing agent received complaints about Mr. Hicks’ actions, including the information that he was armed, what action did either or both of these parties do with this information?

▪ If one or the other of the above parties did report this problem to the Chapel Hill Police Department or the Durham Police Department, what action was taken?

▪ If a person who openly flashes a concealed weapon (irrespective of whether or not s/he has a permit) to reinforce a threat, and if that action and its frequency is reported to law enforcement, can law enforcement check on whether the person has additional registered weapons and be proactive to protect the citizens of this town?

▪ If Mr. Hicks had been a person of color and his actions were reported to law enforcement would there have been a different response because of an implicit bias?

▪ If threats from a resident are communicated to other residents and reported to leasing agents, how forcefully can the leasing agent respond? Eviction? What can a homeowners association do in a similar circumstance?

▪ Why did Mr. Hicks go to Chatham County to turn himself in?

In the interest of transparency I think as citizens we need answers to all of these points as we, too, consider our own attitudes and implicit biases in these matters. If there are legal issues a general public may not be aware of, those issues should also be addressed.

In my limited contacts with both the Chapel Hill Police Department and the Town Council, I have found them respectful, responsive and helpful.

Day McLaughlin

Chapel Hill

Cartoon chuckle

I had to chuckle at the “Google’s Perfect World” cartoon in the February 25 newspaper. Ten million jobs will be eliminated over the next 15 years by Google’s driverless cars? Really?

If driverless cars are indeed the wave of the future, then major portions of the current highway infrastructure in this country will need to be redesigned and rebuilt to accommodate these vehicles.

I think it safe to say that the millions of jobs that will be created to do these rebuilds will far eclipse the jobs lost.

Kelly McQuoid


Send your letters ...

to us at Short topical letters (300 words) get in sooner than longer ones. All submissions and online comments may be edited for space and clarity.