Dear City Council of Durham,
I recently had an unfortunate break-down while parked in a limited-time parking space downtown. Fortunately, the contractor you use (Lanier Parking) to handle parking tickets has an easy-to-use website with a huge button marked “appeal.” That button takes me to a short, simple form to explain the circumstances and appeal the parking citation.
I just wanted to say “Bravo!” to the choice to use this company as a contractor. Even if I had to pay the ticket, it was only for $10, but Lanier Parking accepted my appeal within an hour.
By comparison, I once got a parking ticket at Duke. The ticket was larger ($50 if I recall) for only a 5-minute stay in a gated lot (the gate was left open but I had no pass). In order to appeal that ticket, I had to walk to a remote office near the hospital complex and wait in line (although in fairness, they also let me off the hook).
I can sum up N.C. Chamber head Lew Ebert’s long pitch to fix North Carolina’s unemployment benefits system in one, hyphenated word: cost-shifting (“How to reform unemployment insurance,” N&O, May 31).
Cost-shifting is what got us into the predicament of the state having to borrow money to pay for jobless benefits during a period of extreme unemployment. Back in the ’90s when payrolls were strong, employers begged politicians to cut them some slack on their unemployment insurance premiums. Instead of employers paying forward for a future jobs crisis, North Carolina could pay as we go. Only when the Great Recession hit, there wasn’t enough money in the trust fund to cover all the claims.
Now, instead of owning up to their responsibility to fund the trust, Ebert’s group wants to shift costs again, this time by reducing unemployment benefits. Jobless workers won’t suffer alone if the Chamber gets its way. Local economies that benefit when the unemployed can still afford to put food on the table and pay utility bills will also pay the price for Ebert’s cost-shifting schemes.
What to ask for
In his Point of View article (“Prostate cancer – the course I chose,” N&O June 11), former state Sen. Eddie Goodall brings to light perhaps the most challenging aspect of prostate cancer advocacy. Newly diagnosed patients rarely encounter a level of information that allows them to own their treatment choice – unless they deliberately seek it out! He touches upon nationally acknowledged “best practices” such as a multidisciplinary consultation, access to personal test results and research data, both of which can be used to define disease aggressiveness and help guide patient choice.
Unfortunately at present the trauma of the word cancer and lack of standard psychosocial and educational support can cause a rush to treatment that may result in regret down the line. Multidisciplinary clinics and conferences are out there, along with patient versions of National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines, which are nationally recognized as the gold standard for evaluating appropriate evidence-based options for men with prostate cancer.
All men should be encouraged to know what to ask for – and be sure to ask for it. Our state coalition website also contains links to many helpful tools that can help quickly decode medical jargon.
Prostate Cancer Coalition of N.C.
ASK about guns
June 21 was National ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Day. This annual campaign sponsored by The Center to Prevent Youth Violence educates us about the importance of asking if there are guns in the homes where our children play.
We ask many questions to protect our children when they play in other people’s homes, but half of US adults state they never thought to ask about guns.
ASK urges us to:
• Ask if there are guns in the homes where our children play.
• Store guns unloaded and locked up separately from the ammunition.
• Treat pellet and BB guns with the same caution as other guns.
• Teach our children to alert an adult immediately if they see a gun, even if it might be a toy or video game accessory. They should never touch or pick it up.
The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2002, found that gun violence tragically claims the lives of eight U.S. children each day. And more than 82,000 children in North Carolina live in homes where guns are unlocked and loaded, placing them at significant risk for accidental injury or death.
Join in sharing ASK’s life-saving message. Visit www.AskingSavesKids.org to learn more.
Kristen Rogers, MD
UNC pediatrics resident
First of all, I want to say how much we enjoy and value The Durham News inclusion in the News & Observer. Our congratulations to you and your staff for important and interesting coverage of local news and events.
As a gardener and lover of wildlife, I especially enjoy the “Your Best Shot” inclusion, but have never felt that any of my pictures were worthy of submission..up until now! Enclosed are two photos of a beautiful young frog that sought cover within a hollyhock leaf in my garden a couple of weeks ago … catching me totally by surprise.
I went out very early (to pick up my N&O!) and noted one of the leaves was strangely bent. Being curious as to what had bent it over so perfectly, I lifted the top and saw the little frog snuggled inside! He stayed long enough for a photo, but disappeared shortly thereafter and has not returned. Interestingly, the leaf straightened itself out during the day.
Many thanks for considering this submission, which I think is unique and would be interesting to others.
Editor’s note: Your Best Shot is one of our most popular features, and we can publish only a portion of those we receive. Please see staff photographer Harry Lynch’s occasional tips on page 2 for increasing the chances of seeing your shot in the paper.