Durham News: Opinion

The Conversation: Peggy Martin Baine, Joni Pavlik and Jonathon Strickland

Not about the money

I was reading the article published Jan. 25 titled “Parking still a problem on Ninth Street.” As someone who frequents Ninth Street, I try to use the parking lot in order to patronize local businesses. After parking in the lot, I think the difficulty lies in finding the one and only parking meter, which is hidden in the corner of the lot, and then finishing payment. It takes anywhere from five to seven minutes to complete this process.

It is not about the money per say; but the time and headache it costs me. Honestly, if the weather is bad, I do not even consider driving to Ninth Street. I truly don’t even have the time to give when I am looking for a quick lunch. The parking lot is mostly vacant during the work week and people are mainly using the parking lot during nights and weekends, when it is free.

I believe that the city is not even making enough money to pay the lease let alone the salary of the parking attendant. My vote is for the city to treat this parking lot as the rest of Ninth Street and allow for a 2 hour time limit for parking.

Jonathon Strickland


A life preserver

Regarding Terry McCann’s guest column “Teach, don’t push, students to graduate,” (DN, nando.com/wc )

Many students will age out of the system and never be able to pass the GED test without programs such as credit recovery. It is not for everyone, but it is a life preserver for many and consequently our society and economy. If students can earn a high school diploma, they are much less likely to be on a social welfare program or worse ( aclu.org/school-prison-pipeline)

Peggy Martin Baine

via thedurhamnews.com

Welcome, Pam

Editor’s note: Sunday’s debut column by former TV newscaster Pam Saulsby generated lots of buzz on our websites and editor Mark Schultz’s Facebook page.

Diane Wright: Wow! She is sharp and perceptive. I wish I knew her and could be her friend!

Betsy Muse: Beautiful! I look forward to reading what she shares. I didn’t know her as a news anchor, but I am delighted to find her column this morning.

Charlie Reece: I'm really excited to see where this new path takes Pam Saulsby!

Ruby Sinreich: I love everything I've seen about the Real Pam Saulsby. Can't wait to hear more from her.

Don Barefoot: A true talent and more than that a great friend

Mary-Ann Baldwin: Thank you for giving Pam Saulsby a platform. She rocks.

Brian Thornburg: “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” - Hans Hoffman (Good luck on the next part of your journey, Pam)

Danny Gotham: GREAT news!

Kathy Gunn: I heard a song of hers on WNCU yesterday – lots of new chapters unfolding! She's so very inspirational.

Margaret Gifford: I may have to move back to Chapel Hill so I can easily read the hard copy with Pam’s byline! Love her!

Jan Schochet: Woo hoo. Love Pam Saulsby. She will have a following wherever she goes in the Triangle.

Al Ada: The grapes are sour.

Sharon Whitlatch: I think we all have a final trigger moment that stops us, still in our tracks. If you slow down long enough to think about it, you realize your busy life was just a role you played. We often take on the personality of the role as well as the ego. 50 comes along, and God sends up a message that it’s time to get real. I’m glad Pam is listening

Ruthy Jones: Pam, Congratulations! I look forward to reading your posts. I always appreciated you on TV. You “go Girl!”

Lewie Wells: THAT was about as raw and honest as you can get. Very happy for Pam. She’s a wonderful person, and I wish her nothing but the best.

Deb Warner: I miss her. More from the Real Pam Saulsby. I like her!

Eileen M. Litchfield: I wish Pam well on this wonderful journey of discovery.

Come learn about life of slave poet

We have few ways to know what a man who was a slave in our part of the country in the 1800s was thinking and feeling. George Moses Horton, a slave in Chatham County, speaks to us through his poetry and his struggle to attain freedom: this is the essence of the program the Chapel Hill Historical Society presents in a Sunday afternoon program, Feb. 15.

Horton was born in Northampton County in 1797. As a child he was moved to a tobacco plantation in Chatham County owned by George Horton and there he worked for most of his life. At a time when slaves were forbidden by the North Carolina legislature to learn to read and write, he taught himself to read. He could not write, however, and so he memorized his poems, which he composed as he plowed.

Caroline Hentz, the wife of a University of North Carolina professor, taught him to write. Sometimes on Saturdays, George Moses Horton would come to Chapel Hill to sell his master’s produce. There he attracted the attention of students who paid him 25 to 50 cents to write love poems to their ladies. The slave persuaded his master to let him go to Chapel Hill regularly and paid him for this permission. He walked the eight miles to Chapel Hill and became such close friends with students that they lent him books, enabling him to acquire an education.

His poems go far beyond love lyrics: they express his feelings about American slavery and his love for the land, as well as his pleasures and anxieties and even such events as snap beans for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Critics call this poem “Snaps” a “rollicking” poem.

The Chapel Hill Historical Society will present the fascinating life story and poetry of this talented poet as part of the celebration of Black History Month. Historian and professor Trudier Harris will describe his life and place his poems in the context of other literary work of his time and place. His poems will be introduced and read by the well-known performer, Marion Phillips. The program will begin and end with banjo music of the period played by local musician Ninian Beall. Come join us as the Chapel Hill Historical Society celebrates George Moses Horton, at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, at the Chapel Hill Public Library. Free and open to the public.

Valerie Yow

Chapel Hill Historical Society

REAL help for small business

Twenty-one years ago, my husband, Ray, and I moved to Chatham County. In talking to our friendly neighbors, we were told that Chatham County was the “center of the universe.” That might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s true to say that it fit our hopes and dreams to a tee.

So, we decided to take roots in Deep Chatham, but it was fate that brought us to an old grocery store and gas station on “Center” Grove Church Road. It was built in the 1920s on what then was the main highway between New York and Florida. In 1974 the main road moved to the east and the store became abandoned.

In 2001 we purchased the old homestead and store through the estate sale of Harold Williams. We rebuilt the empty shell of the red brick store with an eye to starting a small business down the road. But, there was work to do with the roof that had fallen in and the floor that was rotted out.

We dug out the cellar by hand and used a jack hammer to break up the hard Chatham County rock. Several large rocks refused to budge and now are part of a temperature controlled wine cellar. The red brick walls, concrete floor and roof are supported by recycled pipe from a well drilling business and steel beams are from an old bridge in Sanford.

In 2011 we opened unWINEd for business, but not without first having done our homework. We took a course and learned basic business skills from one of North Carolina’s best kept secrets, NC REAL Entrepreneurship. It’s an interactive, action learning approach to running a business based on real life lessons from small business owners. Many small business centers throughout the state teach it, or you can take an online version of it. Details about REAL Online are available on the REAL website ( ncreal.org).

Armed with our newfound knowledge and a polished Chatham County gem, we opened unWINEd ( unwinednc.com), serving and selling exclusively North Carolina wines by the bottle or the glass. We also carry cheese, crackers, salami and chocolates, all from North Carolina except for the French olives. As soon as a creative local farmer figures out how to grow olive trees in NC, we’ll add that item as well.

If you have an idea, some good luck and REAL business knowledge of how to make your plans into profits, you might be the next successful, small business owner. Take advantage of the help that’s out there for someone wanting to start a business such as REAL Entrepreneurship. If you can’t find a job ... make one.

Joni Pavlik