September 2006

Car Free Day, 9/22

On Friday, September 22, residents of Carrboro and Chapel Hill will for the third straight year join millions of others around the world in celebrating World Car Free Day, leaving their cars at home and using other means of transportation instead.

Residents of Orange County who formally pledge to go Car Free or at least Car Lite (reduced car use) for September 22 will be entered into a drawing for prizes that include Amtrak tickets to Washington, DC & New York, a new bicycle, gift certificates for Squid's, Spanky's or 411 West, and more. Anyone can pledge on-line at; pledge forms that can be mailed will also be available in the Chapel Hill News and Chapel Hill Herald over the next three weeks.

Orange County: Ready for Prime Time?

In what the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau has highlighted as a national publicity coup, Mark Kleinschmidt takes viewers on a tour of Chapel Hill in an episode of the LOGO Channel's U.S. of Ant show:

Ant talks politics with Mark, an openly gay city council member in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He shows him around town and is soon introduced to Thomas, a student at Chapel Hill who was the victim of a gay bashing.

I don't doubt that the Visitors Bureau is correct about the public relations value of this segment for its audience. Says Director Laurie Paolicelli, "Special thanks to Mark and Mike for carrying the torch and making national viewers/travelers even more aware of our area."

We locals will find the bussing and hugging a salutary alternative to the serious business of mainstream TV journalism.

[Note: those of you who've been around as long as he has will forgive Mike's forgetting that he first ran for Alderman in 1989, not 1993.]

How to bring more prominent liberals to UNC

As published in the Chapel Hill Herald on September 9th, 2006:

If you have a strong stomach and some free time on Tuesday night you can head over to Memorial Hall at 6:30 p.m. to hear John Ashcroft speak. Of course, you might have a previously planned date to wash your hair.

Ashcroft is just the latest in a succession of right-wing extremists to speak on the UNC campus. Other recent appearances have come from well-known conservatives like Ann Coulter, Alan Keyes and Patrick McHenry. There have also been the lesser-known folks like Rush Limbaugh's brother and a speaker billing himself as the "conservative Jesse Jackson."

There is a consortium of conservative groups on the UNC campus that sponsors these events. The College Republicans are often involved, and this week's event is being sponsored by the UNC chapter of the Federalist Society and the Committee for a Better Carolina.

Carrboro Film Festival

Just a heads up that the early entry deadline for film entries is coming up September 30th. consider entering this festival if you have a film laying around or are finishing one up. Full details are at .

Festival Date: Sunday, November 19, 2006, 2 – 7 pm
Festival Location: Carrboro Century Center
Festival Mission: To support & promote Orange County film & video artists.

We welcome all films and videos under 30 minutes total running time (including titles and end credits).
All filmmakers should live, work, study or play in Orange County, NC, USA.

Click here to download the full submission guidelines (PDF).

Decision Time

The Herald has a story today about Orange County forming a committee to educate the voters about the proposed County Commissioners districting plan. Orange County voters will get to vote on the matter this November. The plan would work like this:


Orange County will be divided into two districts. The districts will roughly follow the school district lines.

District 1 will include Chapel Hill, Carrboro and some nearby suburban and rural buffer areas. District 1 will have 3 seats on the board. The voters of District 1 will choose their party nominees in May, but voters from both districts will choose the winners in November.

District 2 will be the whole rest of the county including Hillsborough, White Cross, Efland and points north. District 2 will have 2 seats on the board. As with District 1, the primaries will be open only to District 2 voters, but all voters will participate in the general election.

New Carrboro leaders: So far, so good

As published in the Chapel Hill Herald on September 16th, 2006:

Carrboro saw some pretty major changes in its political leadership in the aftermath of last fall's election.

For the first time in 10 years its mayor is not Mike Nelson, as he chose not to run for re-election and was replaced by two-year Alderman Mark Chilton. Another veteran of the Board of Aldermen, Diana McDuffee, also retired after a decade of distinguished service to the town. Longtime Carrboro activist and popular teacher Randee Haven-O'Donnell was elected to take her place.

Most prominently, Chilton's ascension during the middle of the four-year term he was elected to in 2003 led to the need to fill his vacated seat. There was no clear procedure for doing so and after nearly three months of controversy, long-time local activist Dan Coleman was appointed by a divided board.

We're now nine months into Chilton's first term, and the full Board of Aldermen has now been seated for more than seven months. So how are the new guys doing?

Bicycle Activism Online

Chris Richmond, Executive Director of the ReCYCLEry, and I have launched to publicize the ReCYCLEry and its partners' community programs such as the newly launched Blue Urban Bike program and Carrboro Greenspace.We have tentatively decided to keep the contributors limited, and leave the conversation to more comprehensive forums such as OrangePolitics. Theoretically, we may limit return traffic to the site, but this will leave us more time for real world activism, and keep the site a resource for pure information, media and community links.So we pose these questions: Should we attempt to encourage more online activism by creating a new forum? or Do we still manage to fully engage our objectives by leaving debate and editorial content elsewhere?

Chance to make Estes better for bicycles!

I was investigating what was happening about the connecting of the existing bike paths on Estes with Carrboro by using the new Action Line and I got my question answered in one day! My first answer was from David Poythress, Street Superintendent, who explained some of the barriers to the project; Carrboro town limits end at the railroad, only 35' roadway as it connects with N. Greensboro, leaving only 5' for each side which isn't enough room, and it is a DOT road. He suggested I contact Dale Mckeel, Transportation Planner.

Dale got right back with me and told me he had a plan he was taking to the DOT for connecting the bike paths from Seawell School Road to Hillcrest and Williams using the city owned sewer easement that is already in place, basically cutting through to Williams close to Wilson Park.

Happy Car Free Day

What are you doing to observe it?

Personally, I already work from home (no commute) and although I often run errands by foot or bike, I need some stuff from Earth Fare (WSM is out of my cat food again) so I will try to take to bus down there.

In addition to Chapel Hill Transit which is free every day, all of the buses in the Triangle will be fare-free today, so it's a great time to try out some regional routes.

The new Town Manager of Chapel Hill will be taking the bus to work. How about you?


Sorry for the site being down so much of yesterday. It was particularly bad timing as several things came up that I wanted to post about including Madison and NextBus. Look for a few new items showing up this weekend and feel free to suggest better web hosting services...



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