I am copying here my letter to the OWASA Board of Directors regarding the proposal that they host the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) on OWASA property along the West side of the Cane Creek Reservoir. The short answer is that I think they should agree to host it and I expect them to arrive at this same conclusion. The real debate will revolve around what conditions they include with their agreement.
Note that OWASA's approval of hosting MST would not be an endorsement of any proposed trail route. Their agreeing to host the trail does not guarantee that a route along the Cane Creek Reservoir can be worked out. It simply would be an acceptance of the idea of the MST in general, and help set guidelines that other landowners nearby can follow if they would also like to host the trail (full disclosure - I have offered to host nearly a mile of MST on property in the area. While I am a proponent of the trail, I am also a proponent of folks being good neighbors and will not support any trail route that negatively impacts folks living nearby).
Last night marked the beginning of a new phase for proponents of the Mountain To Seat Trail (MST) in Orange County. After several years of silence, the Orange County Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks and Recreation (DEAPR) held a meeting at the Cane Creek Community Center on Orange Grove road, inviting all landowners touched by the "planning corridor" from Occoneechee Mountain to the Haw River, mostly following Cane Creek from its headwaters to the Haw River confluence. Around 275 people were invited and around 75 were in attendance.
See the planning corridor map here: http://www.orangecountync.gov/document_center/DEAPR/MST_thru_Orange_Co.pdf
I'm an old school Orange County boy, raised knee-deep in the band of red mud that streaks across our county. My wife, though, was born on Long Island and grew up in Manhattan. Its a trying mix of cultures at our house at times, but its fun.
We've shared a few trips to the Big Apple and even she, given the distance of years, can see the New York-centric viewpoint of her friends that remain there. You know, of course, about [NY socialite, mayoral candidate, etc...] that - can you believe it? - did [something New Yorkers think is silly]? What? You don't know about that? Cue sidelong glances and suggestions that living in the boonies has seriously dampened one's ability to discern Important News. Anything that happens in New York City is worldwide news, right?
This is nothing new. People have been poking fun at overly New York-centric New Yorkers for decades. We all know the salsa commercial where even the flies stop buzzing when the cowboy relates the address of the maker of the offending competitor: New York City?!
Well, we progressive Orange County sorts have a similar problem. I'm pretty sure I'm not the first to notice. ;)
Orange County historically has a lot going on and it's always challenging for any political leader to stay in front of issues important to the broad diversity of Orange County constituents. With the great economic downturn finally behind us, but with questionable policy coming out of Raleigh and a growing economic disparity here at home, those challenges will only increase over the next few years. Now is not the time for political lightweights, for folks without proven track records. Now is the time for experienced leadership.
Two of the races for Orange County Commissioner in the upcoming March primary offer just such a candidate. For the county-wide at-large seat Mark Marcoplos is the clear choice. No other candidate for the At-Large seat on the Orange County Board of Commissioners has anywhere near Mark’s experience and expertise. Similarly, Bonnie Hauser in the District 2 race has such a strong background in finance, accounting, and community organizing that she stands out as the obvious choice for commissioner.
It looks like a growing number of people are using today's confederate flag rally in Chapel Hill as a way to fight hate.
For every confederate flag seen at Silent Sam today they will donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center or a similar non-profit.. That is, they will use the rally as a way to drive donations to organizations established to fight hate and foster togetherness. The idea is to let the rallyers know that wherever they gather to support a symbol of oppression, they will be directly helping to fund organizations that fight oppression.
How does one participate? Simple: Ii you are at the rally, use the hashtag #ChapelHillAgainstHate to post your count of flags. If you want to help with a donation, make a donation to SPLC or a similar organization then post about it on social media using the hashtag #ChapelHillAgainstHate. Watch the hashtag this afternoon to get an idea of flag counts and see who is playing.
The more people who post with the hashtag, the better chance there is of getting the word out, of getting the attention of the press, of the rallyers, of people wanting to fight hate.
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