January 2007

Live the dream

I'd like to think that The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be proud to see communities like ours that remember him through acts of protest and radicalism. Do your part on Monday.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP is holding a march and rally against war and racism on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 15. Gather at noon at the Post Office on Franklin St. in Chapel Hill and march to the First Baptist Church on Robeson St. At the church, Rev. Curtis Gatewood will give a speech stressing the importance of building a united movement against war and racism, and will continued to build momentum for the massive march in Raleigh on February 10.

... and get ready for justice to pour down like a mighty stream on February 10 in Raleigh!

The North Carolina State NAACP and invites you and your organization to Historic K(Thousands) on Jones Street on Saturday, February 10, 2007.

Development looms large these days

Tonight the Chapel Hill Town Council will hold public hearings on Greenbridge and University Village, will review some concept plans which I know nothing about, and then will hear a petition from the Planning Board about the process for updating the Comprehensive Plan... about which I have something to say. (Here's tonight's Council agenda.)Greenbridge is the radical plan for what I think would be the tallest building in Orange County - though I doubt that height record will stand for long. We have discussed this proposal here on OP. There are many complex issues involved, but I think most people's opinions on it comes down to two things:1. Whether you are invested in a transit-friendly future Chapel Hill that allows for some growth but no sprawl, and2.

NC Science Blogging Conference this Saturday

Local bloggers are continuing the tradition of great live events. First there was the Triangle Bloggers Conference (video), then PodcasterCon, and now we have the North Carolina Science Blogging Conference.

Its this Saturday January 20 on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill in Murphey Hall, Room 116. The event gets going at 8:30 a.m. and wraps up at 5:30 p.m.. There are pre-events and post-events like dinner. See the NCSB Con schedule for more info.

So far over 150 people have registered. People are coming from all over the country and the world. Because of the limited seating and food there is a registration waiting list, so you can register now to try and squeeze in.

Welcome to the fray

The News & Observer has a new blog dedicated to their Orange and Chatham County coverage called Orange Chat.

Did you ever read a story and say, "I wish the reporter had asked ..."

Well, the truth is sometimes we did but there wasn't space to put it in the paper.

Welcome to Orange Chat, where we hope to expand on the Orange and Chatham County coverage we provide in The News and Observer and The Chapel Hill News, and where we hope you'll tell us how we're doing.

Send us your questions, criticisms and suggestions.

And thanks for reading.

Mark Schultz
- Welcome to Orange Chat, 1/18/07

Thanks to Brian for the heads up.

Go Carrboro Jaguars

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System has an important announcement about our newest high school:

Teams at Carrboro High School will be known as the “Jaguars” and will wear uniforms that are purple, black and white.

Principal Jeff Thomas said he was pleased with the selection. “It gives some thematic unity with the Chapel Hill Tigers and East Chapel Hill Wildcats. The selection will only add to the pride parents and students have in the school and the Carrboro community,” Thomas stated.

You can already buy your Jaguars gear online.

Capital vs. education at UNC

I'll admit I haven't had time to fully read and digest The Independent Weekly's cover story on "UNC, Inc." Not only does it include in-depth reporting (by a UNC professor emeritus), I want to commend the Indy for posting a lot of the source material for this story on their website.

Is there a common force at work here that has moved both our university and our hospital system to improve their rankings at the expense of their missions? I would argue that there is.

Roadkill and Rabies: Enough!

As published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Saturday, January 20th:

Orange County won the state championship in 2005, finished a close second behind Guilford County last year, and is already well on its way to another state championship this year.

I wish I was talking about football or SAT scores or something of that ilk. Unfortunately I'm talking about the county's relative standing in the number of rabies cases it has compared to the rest of the state.

It seems like every day when I open up the paper there's been another confirmed rabies case. Most of the time I don't bat much of an eye. The vast majority of the cases are way out in the county, and since I live near downtown Chapel Hill, don't affect me.

But I kind of reached my breaking point when one of 2007's first pair of cases was a rabid fox that attacked someone walking near UNC Hospitals. I walk around there all the time, and that could just as well have been me.

What's in a name

I learned from the N&O's excellent new Orange Chat blog that Roger Perry's University Village project has changed it's name to "East 54" due to Chapel Hill Planning staff concerns that the "University" name could confuse emergency responders. The staff has raised the same issue about other recent projects such as "McCorkle Place" condos, which are located across from the UNC quad called McCorkle Place.

Problem is, while East 54 definitely sounds hipper, it's even more geographically ambiguous than the previous name - it's the name of an entire road!

Meanwhile, former Town Council member Pat Evans is reactivating the group calling itself "Friends of Downtown." (You know, as opposed to those enemies...)

The erstwhile Chapel Hill Downtown Commission set up the Friends of Downtown initially as a 501c3c nonprofit, so it could accept tax-deductible donations for the commission, Evans said.

Checking back in with Tim Dempsey

Last year a mini controversy erupted around the awarding of a consulting contract to then Planning Board Chair Tim Dempsey. Seven months later, are we getting our money's worth?

I believe the answer is yes. Tim did a tremendous job co-chairing the Manager search process with Anita Badrock (BTW, congratulations on your new Chamber chairmanship- there is no one better suited for the job in my book!)

One of the things Tim worked on of late was pulling together last weekend's Council retreat, which by all reports was much improved from previous years.

I thought Sally Greene, now becoming a Council veteran, had an interesting perspective, this being her fourth retreat:

Wilson Library looks back at desegregation in Chapel Hill

The Manuscripts Department at Wilson Library at UNC will host its first panel discussion (in a weekly series of three) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 at 5:30pm. Each Tuesday, a panel discussion will be held to discuss a theme relating to the exhibit, "I Raised My Hand to Volunteer: Students Protest in 1960s Chapel Hill", which is now on view on the 4th Floor of Wilson Library.

This first panel is a very rare chance to hear key leaders and participants reflect on their involvement in the desegregation movement in Chapel Hill in the 1960s. On January 13, 1964 the Chapel Hill Town Council (then the Board of Aldermen) voted down an ordinance by a vote of 4-2 which would have provided public accomodations in all town businesses. The decision meant that theses businesses would remain segregated until the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

January 30: Panel Discussion, 5:30-7 pm, Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
Pressing the Hold-outs: The Desegregation Demonstrations of 1963-64

Moderator: Sally Greene: Chapel Hill Town Council Member and UNC-Chapel Hill adjunct law professor



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