June 2004

Should Keith Cook Resign?

Folks may have heard that Orange County School Board Chairman Keith Cook cribbed his commencement speech delivered at Orange County High School last week. This is a serious infraction given the problems with plagiarism among students and the efforts by teachers to prevent it. Cook surely ought to be a role model in such matters.

Perhaps even worse than Cook’s plagiarism is his continuing denial of it. He initially denied it to the Herald reporter. Moments ago, he told the WCHL reporter that it was not plagiarism because he did not know who wrote the speech and that what was important was the content. He might talk to any English or history teacher to find out just how important they would consider the content if a student turned in a speech by Donna Shalala.

Meanwhile, Eleanor Murray embarrassed WCHL by repeatedly agreeing with Cook that it was inadvertent plagiarism. Yet Cook admits to making a web search for “graduation speeches” and making liberal use of the one he found. That is intentional plagiarism even if he did not trouble himself to find out who the author was.

Sierra Club Candiate Forum 6/9/04

Guest Post by Joe Capowski

The Sierra Club will sponsor the first forum for candidates for Orange County Commissioners tomorrow night (Weds) at 7pm at Chapel Hill Town Hall. It will be televised live on cable channel 18 in Chapel Hill and on corresponding channels in the rest of the towns and county. Members of the audience will have the opportunity to submit questions, so please come. Also, all seven candidates have indicated that they will participate.

FLASH: Durham to Get Bigger

Durham County is currently vetting its newest comprehensive plan, which is to guide city/county development decisions through 2030. If you don't think this is an Orange County story, take a look at their plans for the borderlands between the county line and I-40, particularly that chunk of space bordered by 54, 40, Old Chapel Hill Road, and the county line: a couple square miles of medium to high density housing where currently there are woods bordering one of the waterfowl impoundments, more commercial development along 54, and much much more!

And remember, the farm that abuts Meadowmont is in Durham County.


And the magic number is... 420

At the Carrboro board meeting tonight, there was a presentation and public comment period concerning the new "Carrboro Senior High School". One of the striking things about the initial plan is that, despite adhering to environmentally sound building design principles, the overall layout of the school still encourages the same kind of sprawl as usual. There was a disconnect between the idea of "green building" and "sustainable" development practices. For instance, the school will be extremely energy efficient and will even catch rainwater to flush toilets, but there will be 420 parking spaces and the current layout of the road system puts the nearest bus stop to the school much further away than most of the parking spaces. In a world where many of our life lessons are learned in high school, it seems like the school board would be interested in designing a school that encouraged students to use public transit or bike to school and that left a small footprint on the landscape.

Fireworks Show at Town Hall

There are a variety of hot topics on the the Chapel Hill Town Council agenda tonight. I won't be there in person, but I'll be watching on TV and will report semi-live on this thread as the meeting is in progress.

A few highlights:

Orange County School Board Race

A lot of folks don't seem to want to talk about anything but the Orange County School Board race and it's ugly twin sister, the merger debate. Here's an open thread for those people so they can stop hijacking other topics of interest to the rest of us. Enjoy.

The Adams Tract

For those of you who haven't heard the news, the Adams Tract near downtown Carrboro is being bought by the town. Thanks to the hard work of a LOT of people, it sounds like this 27 acre natural area will continue to be fully accessible to residents of town. In addition, the ecological integrity of the site will (hopefully) be preserved at the same time.

Kudos to Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and Orange County for working together to protect this important site near the center of town!

Any ideas about the next big site that needs protection? Should it also be along Bolin Creek or should we focus our efforts in other parts of town?



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