January 2005

Local blogging

I am so excited to see the increasing number of people blogging in and around Orange County! Greensboro has a thriving blogger community (see Greensboro 101, GSOlive, and TriadBlogs - much of this is due to inspiration by Ed Cone), I wonder if we could (or would want to) do the same here? The ball has already started rolling with a conference about blogging to be held in Chapel Hill on February 12. Yours truly will be there, and I hope some of you will come to represent the participants in this "blog community" as well.

A number of us have been talking about developing a list of local bloggers. There is already a Triangle list being maintained at NCblogs.com, but I think there would be some value in a list of blogs that discuss or are from Orange County specifically.

Herald Tightens Its Belt

If you read this morning's papers, you already know that the Durham Herald-Sun's new owners took over with a bang, firing nearly 25% of the workforce. Haven't heard to what extent those cuts affect news in general or Orange County in particular [Ray?]. On the face of it, it's hard to imagine that it bodes well for the paper's commitment to provide quality coverage for Granville, Person, Chatham, and Orange counties as well as Durham.

Also troubling is the new owner's clear concern about cost rather than quality of product. Check out the stories in both the N&O and the Herald itself for a sense of that. Paxton Media has sent 80 unhappy former employees on the streets. Not great for PR. They have done little to introduce the new owners to the community and readers nor have they explained their vision for the paper or strategy for achieving it.

Too much coffee?

The headline says "A cup of coffee on every corner" and I don't think they're far off. One of the newest additions will be in the building between Franklin and Rosemary Streets right before they merge into East Main Street. So far it seems the only unique thing they have to offer is wireless internet access (whouch should be a no-brainer for any business that wants people to hang out there). There's also a new coffeeshop hiding in the Courtyard that I didn't know about and of course another Starbucks is on the way.

So what do you think - how many coffeeshops can southern Orange County hold? How much is too much coffee?

Do we deserve a "Bloggie?"

Only a few days left to nominate Orange Politics for a Bloggie award! The deadline is Monday. But which category suits us best? Best Weblog About Politics, Best Topical Weblog, Best Group Weblog, Best Community Weblog, or maybe Best-Kept-Secret Weblog...?

Seriously, I would really like to spread the idea of local political blogging to other communities and this is a great way to get the word out. We have already inspired one imitator, Evergreen Politics which is a group blog about issues in Washington State.

You have to get a lot of nominations just to be judged, so please take a moment to nominate OrangePolitics.org as well as other deserving web sites. Thanks!

The Commissioners are trying to listen

The News of Orange County reports that the Orange County Board of Commissioners will be holding eight "listening sessions" around the county throughout 2005.

Board Chairman Moses Carey initially proposed the idea in December, as an informal opportunity for citizens to sound off on topics of their choosing.

"My only expectation is that people will feel comfortable communicating with the commissioners," he said. "It's not to assume that we can fix everything that we hear - but we do need to hear them because we represent them."

The chairman said he hopes that those who don't feel comfortable speaking during a regular public meeting will come out to these sessions.

Carey, accompanied by one other commissioner, will attend each of the sessions. The commissioners will then report back to the entire board.

Local blogroll!

Please add yourself to OrangePolitics' local blogroll if you:

  • live, work, or spend leisure time in Orange County;
  • blog about Orange County; or
  • participate in Orange County politics.

Just enter your blog's URL, your name, and a location that best represents where you live, and we'll figure out the rest. The blogroll checks every blog for updates on an hourly basis and re-sorts the list based on the most recently updated blog. Note: In order for this to work, your blog must have an RSS or Atom feed.

$dynamic_blogroll = new DynamicBlogroll();

This is the old list which we'll be removing entries from as we/you fill them in above.

Homeless people to be relocated to the moon

Apparently a home for people without one "just doesn't belong in a residential area." So says Lynne Kane (a 5-year resident of The Meadows, a 56-home subdivision) about the homeless shelter in the Chapel Hill Herald today. I have two questions for Lynne:

1. Where should these people live, if not in a residential area?

2. What part of town isn't a residential area?

You'll recall Lynn's neighbors in the Legion Road road area also opposed the construction of 14 affordable townhomes 5 years ago, as well as a charter school more recently.

I actually think the shelter should be located in my residential area, that is: downtown. Folks need access to jobs and transportation and this is where it's at.

Global water supply under attack

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday, January 08, 2005

The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifies a right to such basics as food, clothing and housing. But the word "water" does not appear in the document. Perhaps this is because the authors of the 1948 document could not imagine a time in which fresh drinking water would become an increasingly rare commodity, no longer freely available to all. That time is upon us.

In southern Orange County we are fortunate to have abundant fresh water provided from OWASA's reservoirs. But global trends are not encouraging and may threaten both our control over our water supply and our ability to keep it off the competitive market.

Less than one-half of 1 percent of the world's water is fresh. The rest is seawater or frozen in permanent ice masses. The UN has determined that a billion people lack access to fresh drinking water. Global water consumption is growing at twice the rate of the population.

Downtown plans discussed

If you live in Chapel Hill or Carrboro you may want to check out one of these forums today:

The latest plans for redevelopment of East Main Street will be presented to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen tonight at 7:30:

A parking deck could hold 500 vehicles, and a parking lot under the ArtsCenter could hold about 100 cars.

Performance Bicycle Shop would be torn down and replaced with a five-story building.

The ArtsCenter would be visible from all sides of the street and space above the ArtsCenter would be used by artists for galleries and living spaces.

That's the newest 3-D vision for the rebuilding of the 300 E. Main St. business strip, a project that could transform downtown Carrboro.

- Chapel Hill Herald, 1/11/05

Let's talk transit

Guest Post by Chris van Hasselt

The Carrboro-Chapel Hill Transit Forum will be held on Thursday, January 13, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. at the Carrboro Town Hall in Room 110. The forum is co-sponsored by the Carrboro Transportation Advisory Board and the Chapel Hill Transportation Board.

The Transit Forum is an opportunity for citizens to share opinions and ideas on bus services in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Representatives of Chapel Hill Transit and the Triangle Transit Authority will attend the meeting, make presentations, and meet with citizens.

Residents who are not able to attend the forum can comment and ask questions about public transportation in Carrboro and Chapel Hill via email to transitforum@ci.carrboro.nc.us or by leaving a voice mail message at 918-7311.

Carrboro Town Hall is located at 301 W. Main Street. The forum will be televised on cable channel 18. While the forum is being televised, viewers can call 918-7308 to ask questions or make comments.



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