Our decision to move to Chapel Hill 11 years ago was largely based on the esthetic quality of the town.
We drove around, and we saw how well planned it was with structures and shopping centers adorned with tree and flower arranged setbacks to block the view of any hard concrete. Meadowmont, the Friday Center and Southern Village are just a few examples.
As you drive down N.C. 54 from I-40 to the university, you do not see rows and rows of homes and office buildings, with one exception: East 54. Every development is buffered by trees. It appeared that there had been a great deal of effort and planning in the past to preserve nature’s beauty in our town.
Over the years, I have seen a steady erosion of that effort. As developers made their case to the town, we saw East 54 rise next to the street and hard-edged apartment complexes on Franklin Street.
Our municipal bus system is free. Yet, I very often see empty buses traveling their routes.
Now, yet another unattractive and costly project is being proposed: a light rail system!
Residents are opposed to having their neighborhoods scarred by a rail train and have not been given a sound argument why it is necessary. I appeal to the planning officials whose responsibility it is to make the decisions about Chapel Hill, to reconsider and hold dear an effort to preserve the beauty of this lovely town.
Look for bike faeries
As summer arrives, so do increasing numbers of cyclists on our local roads. It is hard to top the sweetness of biking to work on cool mornings or cruising through quiet streets on summer evenings.
The Carrboro Bicycle Coalition celebrates cycling as a viable form of transportation, and works diligently to improve cycling infrastructure and educate cyclists of all ages about safe practices. Some cyclists break traffic laws – as do some drivers – but many other cyclists follow safe practices and the rules of the road.
To further encourage safe biking behaviors, members of the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition will be “bike fairies” around Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Look for us thanking – and rewarding – cyclists we observe following traffic laws with $5 gift cards for local Bike Friendly Businesses (nando.com/1bj) such as Looking Glass Café, Open Eye Café, and Bread and Butter Bakery.
Given the challenges cyclists face on the roads, (“Bias undermines cyclists’ safety, CHN, nando.com/1bh) we think it is important to support local cyclists and reinforce their safe riding behaviors. Keep an eye out for us, bike safely, and maybe YOU will be among the cyclists receiving a $5 gift card. Follow our progress on Facebook and @bikecarrboro with #bikefairy!
Carrboro Bicycle Coalition
Go find a poor person
A few weeks ago I wrote a letter which questioned the liberal dogma of income inequality. I asked whether what they wanted was for everyone to have the same income. A Chapel Hill liberal wrote, in response to my letter that no one was talking about any such thing. I didn't buy it. Then I see Ellie Kinnard’s column where she speaks approvingly of a CEO who cut his pay and raised the pay of his employees so that everyone had the same income (CHN, nando.com/1bk).
I’m not in favor of everyone having the same income, but I would like to offer a challenge to those who constantly harp on income inequality. Put your money where your mouth is. Go find a poor person. Add their income to yours. Divide the total in half thus bringing their income up to yours. And while we are at it don’t just target CEOs for income reduction. How about Hollywood “stars” and those who play professional sports. And how about George Soros and the Clintons? The president talks about income inequality. I wonder if he would be willing to give up all his future income from books and speeches and live on his government pension.
I'll give Ms Kinnard credit. She is not a hypocrite. She is using her own money to help a poor person. This is the way it should be done: person to person and voluntary.
Vincent M. DiSandro Sr.
An act of grace
I’m a freelance journalist who read about the recent controversy at Efland-Cheeks Elementary. I am moved by choice of third-grade teacher Omar Currie to approach bullying with a children's book.
I am however, disappointed by the agreement to allow parents to screen literature for the classroom. It sets up a framework for censorship and distracts from the original problem of bullying. To approach bullying not with punishment, but with literature, is an act of grace.
Mr. Currie's choices in the classroom should enjoy the complete trust of his pupils' parents.
Please read and share my open letter to the parents of his pupils, which was published in support of Mr. Currie on Medium: nando.com/1bl.
Creatures of the Earth
Although Homo sapiens sapiens is a part of – not apart from – all life and the Earth, having evolved here as has every other form of living thing, human beings arrogantly and mistakenly see ourselves as altogether different, separate and superior. This view of humankind is illusory. Our fate and that of other creatures great and small could be sealed by a collective misperception that fails to acknowledge and accept our interconnectivity with all things; that recoils from one fact: human beings are wondrous complex organisms but also creatures of the Earth.
In all our distinctly human creatureliness, 7.2 billion people are alive on the planet and not one wise leader can be found with the foresight and requisite leadership skills to provide anticipatory guidance about securing a good enough future for the children and coming generations. Neither a Nero can be located fiddling in a great Tower nor a Napoleon waiting at Waterloo. We have named our species Homo sapiens sapiens, but where are “the wisest of the wise” among us? Will a wise leader please stand up!
The potential leaders we see everywhere are running off in mad frenzy pursuing only one thing......more money. Can forever “flying for the buck” be the wisest thing to be doing in our time? Have the wisest of the wise taken flight aboard private jets, heading in different directions with plans to ravage the Earth on one misadventure after another? Today’s elders are leading members of the last generation in possession of the power to change the course of our artificially designed, Titanic-scale global economy before it “hits the iceberg”; to do something that makes a difference regarding climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and extreme poverty. Two thousand billionaires and their many absurdly enriched minions apparently have flown off in pursuit of fools’ errands. Their precious time and energy devoted to an obsession with filthy lucre, the known tap root of the colossal material world that is overspreading the surface of Earth to so great an extent on our watch that future human well being and environmental health are seriously threatened.
When it comes to protect the planet we are blessed to inhabit, we cannot simply pose as its guards; and when it comes to preserve the Earth, we cannot mask our efforts to desolate it. Earth is a garden and we are gardeners of it. Employing sustainable gardening practices and finding balance with nature are to be our aims. What else can be done without destroying that which we as stewards lay claim to protecting and preserving?
Please send letters of up to 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions may be edited for space and clarity. Thank you.