August 2007

Welcome back to Chapel Hill, y'all

Welcome back students, and welcome back Daily Tar Heel. Today's city desk is jam-packed with updates about Carolina North, the Bolin Creek Greenway extension, the Town of Chapel Hill's wifi pilot and staffing issues, the location of early-voting sites, and Katrina Ryan's new restaurant in downtown Chapel Hill.

Wait, what?

A new bakery and gelato shop will create a sweet spot in downtown Chapel Hill where Julian's clothing store once stood.

The shop, called Sugarland, might open for the Oct. 6 football game against Miami, owner Katrina Ryan said.

Ryan is the pastry chef at La Residence and also a candidate for a spot on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen.

Northern Area Task Force presents report

I would like everyone to know that there will be a community open house on Tuesday, August 28th, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Library. We will present a draft of the Northern Area Task Force report for your feedback and comment.

This was an amazing accomplishment, considering the small amount of time that we had to work. Those of you who were on the Horace Williams Citizens Committee will appreciate what I am talking about because we HWCC members worked hard for 2 years in order to produce our report. Because of the time limit imposed by the moratorium, the Northern Area Task Force and Town staff only had time to meet 7 times over 3 months and participate in 2 workshops with planning consultants.

Our charge was to prepare recommendations for the Council for the implementation of transit oriented development. We have recommendations and guidelines for over 350 acres of land along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Northwest Chapel Hill. Not only are we the gateway entrance from the north, we will be the northern neighbor to Carolina North.

Please come and weigh in on plans for our future.

There's a new sheriff at the Indy

Congrats to Lisa Sorg who recently became the newest editor of the Independent Weekly!

I met her by phone shortly after she moved here to work for the Indy about a year ago. She called me to discuss Orange County's district voting proposal. We ended up talking quite a while about many aspects of local politics. She seems really sharp and interested in the important issues. She also won awards as the editor of the weekly San Antonio Current. I look forward to her tenure at the Indy.

Anyone know what Richard Hart is up to now? I missed this brief mention in the N&O that he had resigned last month.

Commissioners considering transfer tax

Finances are not my specialty, but I think a transfer tax is an OK way to raise money from the thing that costs us: growth. I think it would also make sense to have a higher rate or additional impact fees for new development, though.

The Orange County commissioners decided Tuesday that more discussion is needed before voting on whether to put a transfer tax question on the ballot in the upcoming election.

"I think we're all trying to get up to speed on what the legislature did," Chairman Moses Carey Jr. said.

In the last legislative session, the General Assembly voted to allow counties the option of adding a quarter-cent sales tax increase or a 0.4 percent tax on land transfers. Either way, local voters would have to approve the additional tax in a referendum.

WCOM Musical Debate

I do a weekly show on 103.5 WCOM if you want to listen to the stream where I oftentimes have a guest DJ. During the peak campaign season I will feature all the Carrboro candidates to be my guest DJ's in a "musical debate." Here is the schedule:

Sept. 1: Katrina Ryan & Chuck Morton
Sept. 15: Joal Hall Broun & Sharon Cook
Sept. 22: Dan Coleman & Mark Chilton
Sept. 29: Lydia Lavelle & Frank Abernathy
Oct. 13: Brian Voyce

What do our candidates listen to?


*Yet Another Carolina North Meeting. Actually two!

The next in UNC's series of informational sessions about their Carolina North plans is tomorrow afternoon. Meanwhile community group NRG will hold a forum on the same topic on Wednesday. Details below:

The meeting will begin at 4 p.m. in Room 2603 of the School of Government's Knapp-Sanders Building. Parking is available in the N.C. 54 visitor's lot and the Rams Head deck. Chapel Hill Transit service is available via the RU, G, S and V routes. See for timetables of these routes.

Jack Evans, executive director of Carolina North, and other university representatives will present an overview of potential infrastructure scenarios on the UNC-owned property. They will also seek community feedback on topics such as water, sewer and energy options for the site.


Where's the local bike/pededestrian community?

Biking here is pretty good, but far from perfect. If I was still in Durham, I'd bitch'n'moan (and occasionally engage in more constructive communication :-) about things on durhambikeandped.

... but I'm not. Is there equivalent online community(s) for Orange County or its metropoli? One alternative is rtp_bike_ped, but that's overbroad, and its discussions tend to center on the Park itself. (Plus in past its moderator has, been too strict WRT decorum, but that's just My Humble Opinion. One prefers a place where a spade need not be called a fine earth-moving implement. :-) )

Sustainable Lawn Care

Folks may remember Jacquie Gist's line in the 2005 campaign to the effect that "lawns grass makes us stupid." Well OWASA is trying to do something about it by sponsoring Sustainable Lawn Care Workshops:

To help our customers learn more about effective and sustainable lawn care principles and practices, OWASA is sponsoring three public workshops in September. Come learn about the “myths and mistakes” of lawn care, as well as the proper and sustainable methods of fertilization, reseeding, weed control, scheduling and watering. Mr. Mark Danieley, Horticulture Extension Agent, NCSU Cooperative Extension Service, Orange County will lead the workshops.

Choose the date and time most convenient for you:

• Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 10:00-11:30 am
• Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 7:00-8:30 pm
• Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 2:00-3:30 pm


Orange County Cooperative Extension Service at
245-2050 or 968-4501 or 967- 9251, ext. 2050

Friends save RRFM

Congrats to the Really Really Free Market for receiving sponsorship from SURGE, which will provide insurance coverage to allow the Marketeers to continue to distribute food along with other items shared for free (really) at the Carrboro Town Commons on the first Saturday of each month.

Last year, the RRFM refused to pay Carrboro's normal fee for reserving the space (until receiving support from an anonymous donor), and then recently refused to stop serving food although doing so presented a potential liability issue for the Town.



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