Can’t wait for train
I’m an assistant professor in the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at N.C. Central University. I am also a cyclist and a commuter from Carrboro, and am writing to implore the development of a Triangle Transit train station on Alston Avenue.
We are on the cusp of progress in alternative transportation here in the Triangle. A history exists of people yearning for a vehicle alternative to connect the vibrant junctions of the Triangle, yet this discussion has been historically tabled due to disagreement and lack of funds. We are now standing on the precipice of a commuter train alternative that will connect the cities of Chapel Hill and Durham, facilitating safer commuting with more ease. Unfortunately, these plans are being met with various levels of difficulty.
As a resident of Carrboro, I am almost giddy about the prospect of a train system that I can use to enter Durham with my bicycle in tow. The station plans include bike rack systems at every station and will greatly diminish my car driving to campus. As one looks out at I-40 or U.S. 15-501 traffic during rush hour, it is very evident that majority of cars carry a single commuter from city to city. If a train system can diminish this in anyway, transportation will be greatly improved between cities within the Triangle and could serve as a template for other future connections. We need to make this happen.
I heartedly hope that city officials will continue to support the train proposal, and specifically the Alston Avenue station.
Thank you, Mary
I just wanted to thank Mary Carey for her insightful, funny, and compelling article on getting older (DN, nando.com/25f). I could definitely relate, and really loved her writing, as well as her nuggets of wisdom.
Far too often, getting older is seen as a negative thing, when in fact there are many things to celebrate. Mary’s article does a wonderful job of showing the full picture!
Like fish and tomato
I always appreciate George O’Neal’s columns and completely agree with him in his My View article “GMOs: You are what you breed” (DN, nando.com/260) that we should be very cautious about consuming foods that have herbicide residue, and that there certain ancillary ecological effects from GMO crops.
But Mr. O’Neal left out his opinion on the direct effects of GMO foods on human health. He used the example of inserting a fish gene into the DNA of a tomato plant for the definition of a GMO product. But to our bodies, this is no different than eating a fish sandwich with a slice of tomato. The altered DNA in GMO foods is broken down into nucleic acids in our digestive system, and are not at all harmful, but used by our body’s genetic machinery to assemble new DNA molecules.
Unaware or apathetic
Reading Sven Sonnenberg’s letter “White Guilt Nonsense” (CHN, nando.com/1z6) I was struck by the utter lack of historical context he presented, as if nothing happened in this country between the end of the Civil War and the author’s arrival in this country.
The many decades of the Jim Crow era may have been more brutal than slavery itself, and ensured that generations of African-Americans were left without voting rights, opportunity and dignity itself. Much of the civil rights movement occurred during my own lifetime, so this is no ancient history. Ask the McKissick family, whose members integrated so many schools in Durham, why they felt their own middle-class existence didn’t exempt them from fighting for the rights of friends and neighbors less well-off. They did it for the same reason as the many white people who joined the cause: the systematic and brutal suppression of a race of people is WRONG. No other reason is needed.
It took a legion of legal decisions and many hard-fought congressional acts to end the worst of the abuses. But for the millions of poverty-stricken blacks in the South opportunities were slow to appear, and that struggle for equal-footing continues to this day. Mr. Sonnenberg is either unaware or apathetic to this bit of very real history.
In my experience “White Privilege,” has been a term bandied about by conservatives to vilify liberals for hazy reasons. I have never seen a soul even hint at taking some opportunity away from a white person, simply to share them. And no one insists anyone feel “White Guilt.” Again, that seems to be an invention of the right-wing victim complex.
Mr. Sonnenberg works hard to disguise any racism on his part, but the overall tone is revelatory. The hint that freed slaves didn’t do well in a society of self-reliance (shiftlessness), and the stylish-again Confederate myth of Northern lust for cotton. Or maybe the story of the house full of future black felons and drug addicts, but for the one lucky soul sent to live with noble Southern kin. Shamefully there is a new movement afoot to deny minorities their voting rights. Guess who is behind that disgrace? Guilty White Privileged Men.
Who care about cemetery?
I have written several letters chastising then town for its ruinous plan to construct low-cost housing on acreage set aside for future cemetery use. Besides destruction of an attractive “green space” at the entrance to town, the plan is particularly calamitous because the cemetery is about out of space and the town seemingly has no plans for its future; nor in its immutable way will it provide any clarification. I do hope the rumor about using space at the Eubanks Road landfill for burial purposes is completely false.
In listening to the candidates for the upcoming election, I have been disappointed that none seems interested in this issue, suggesting that whoever is elected, we will have more of the same. No one but the council seems to want high-rise buildings that encroach upon roads and sidewalks, the massive Obey Creek project and destruction of the trees and greenery that always made Chapel Hill so special. And no sitting or candidate for council seems to care about our cemetery.
This is my last letter. There is an old saying “if you can’t beat em, join em.” I assure you, I would be loath to be part of the gang causing the diminution of a great town.
James E. Merkel
I have known Nancy Oates for more than 10 years, both professionally and as a friend, and I am impressed with her openness, honesty, integrity, and concern for others – not to mention her keen intelligence. As a candidate for Chapel Hill Town Council, she brings all those personal traits as well as a nuanced understanding of local government and the issues facing our town.
For more than six years, Nancy has followed the Town Council in her blog Chapel Hill Watch. She digs deep into an issue, talks to stakeholders and assesses the consequences of decisions. She believes the council can do a better job of listening to people and of weighing the environmental and community costs when making decisions critical to the town’s future. She also believes the council must be responsive to the people who work here but too often cannot afford to live here.
I will vote for Nancy Oates for Town Council on Nov. 3 because I am confidant she will make an outstanding addition to the board and will be accountable to the community at large. I urge others to do the same.
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