January 2008

"What is the State of Our Local Water Supply?"

The OWASA Board has called a public forum on Thursday night, January 24th, regarding “The State of Our Local Water Supply” to inform the public and receive customers’ questions and feedback concerning about:
  • Local water supply and demand and weather forecasts for coming months;
  • Short and long-term financial implications and strategies for the drought;
  • The options, costs and timetable for addressing the “Worst Case” drought scenario (no rainfall for many months); and
  • Proposed changes in OWASA’s water conservation standards and parallel local water conservation ordinances to further limit outdoor irrigation in Stage Two and Stage Three water shortages. (Stage Two restrictions are now in effect.) The proposed changes would generally prohibit irrigation with hand-held hoses, soaker hoses, drip irrigation and micro-spray systems in Stage Two and all irrigation with OWASA drinking water would be prohibited in Stage Three.


Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall

We've got stickers, and questions for you


To celebrate the launch of the new OrangePolitics (and the fact that I finally made a logo), I had some new stickers printed! They are sturdy vinyl and will look great on your car, bike, or skateboard. Come say hi to me at tonight's Chapel Hill Town Council meeting (or any place else you see me) and I'll be glad to give you one - until the first 50 I printed run out.

And while I'm here, now that you've used the site for a few weeks, do you have any feedback or suggestions? I know a few things have been pretty clunky (like saying you "forgot" your password to access your account) and there are some things that still don't work yet (like OP Junkie e-mails).

Have you noticed the fun, new stuff, like the member list? You can click on anyone's voting precinct and see who else is registered there. How about the moderated anonymous commenting - are you ignoring those in gray or treating them like other comments?

Embezzlement charges against school board member

Does anyone know this Dennis Whitling fellow? Apparently he is a member of the Orange County School Board, and has been accused (not convicted) of embezzlement by a former employer. I know nothing about this and I don't want to jump to conclusions. Anyone have insights on this?

A Durham Police Department investigator applied in December for access to Dennis Alan Whitling's personal bank account information, writing that Whitling may have stolen more than $58,000 from a law office where he worked from 1984 to 2007, according to a search warrant.


Tuesday, Whitling slipped into the regularly scheduled Orange County School Board meeting 10 minutes after it started and left the room during the break before closed session at the end of the night. During the time for board comments, he did not offer any comments on the investigation.

Expand Dual Language

I am proud to say that I and my son were part of something very cool. Almost 6 years ago, he was asked to participate in the Chinese-English Dual Language Program at Glenwood. At the time, no one knew much about the program or whether it was necessary.

There were fears by Principals, community leaders, the Latino/Hispanic community and a whole bunch of people with a very limited understanding of the program's educational goals. 6 years later, the programs at Carrboro and Glenwood are still going strong.

Middle School will pose a challenge and I am not sure how it will go or even if it is necessary to continue the program beyond 5th grade. After the first year of begging children to be a part of it, it has become competitive and somewhat elitist from where I sit. This is not Travel (fill in the sport that excludes poor children, so you can brag at the office here). This is something that could be beneficial to the entire community.

Lot 5 Artwork Community Meeting

The Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission invites you to preview the artwork planned for the Lot 5 Downtown Economic Development Project.

Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission

Lot 5 Artwork Community Meeting

5:00 to 6:00 pm

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Chapel Hill Public Library, Downstairs Meeting Room

During the community meeting, highly acclaimed public environmental artist Mikyoung Kim will present the Arts Master Plan and a preliminary art piece for Lot 5. This condominium, retail and parking complex, at the intersections of West Franklin, Church and West Rosemary Streets, is a private development project by Ram Development Company. Ram has committed one percent of this project budget to the artwork.

Kim’s master plan identifies two areas for artwork. She will work within the main plaza of Lot 5, and a second artist will be selected in early February to create art along Rosemary Street. Both projects will highlight the processes of nature through the use of water and light.

For more information about the project, please visit these websites:

· Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission (http://www.chapelhillarts.org/programs_percent_curr_5.php)

· Mikyoung Kim


· Ram Development Company


· Town of Chapel Hill, Downtown Economic Development Initiative (http://townhall.townofchapelhill.org/projects/dedi)


Monday, January 28, 2008 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


C.H. Public Library

Changes in the local blogosphere

There has been a flurry of activity in the Orange County political blogosphere this month. Changes that interest me as much as who is wining the presidential primaries. (Go Obama!)

First, the big news is the disappearance of the Squeeze the Pulp forum. In its place appears to be a site that could have a community, but it isn'y very clear how. The new site is based on software called DokuWiki. It looks like a bunch of semi-static pages can be created and edited by a group of people. So people will write rants and others will edit them. For what, grammar? The two-way communication of a forum has been lost.

Part of me is sad that all the STP writing is gone. Mainly because it would help people remember the slander and hateful crap. Why would we want to remember that? To inform the context of our local political history. For example, the dirty tactics some supported there. It could also encourage more long-term responsibility. Politicos won't forget, trust me. But the new resident to Carrboro may like to know how that candidate got elected or defeated. I think the blog of record will be Orange Politics.

Taco trucks in jeopardy?

I was very distressed to read in the Carrboro Citizen that the town development review administrator is trying to shut down the taco trucks that serve food in the parking lots at Fitch's Lumber, Cliff's Meat Market and Johnny's Sporting Goods -- in response to one anonymous complaint. They have until tomorrow to shut down. They can appeal the decision, but that process will cost $250 a pop. You can read the full article here.

I have loved the taco trucks. I love the food. I love that the food is cheap and quick and fresh. I love their salsa. And what I really love (almost as much as their salsa, and the fact that they serve tripe, which I never have the nerve to try) is that they are some of the most diverse dining establishments in town.

Is there anything hungry citizens can do to save the taco trucks??


Focus the Nation: Global Warming Solutions for America

Focus the Nation is a national teach-in on global warming solutions for America—creating a dialogue at over a thousand colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, places of worship, civic organizations and businesses, and directly engaging millions of students and citizens with the nation’s decision-makers. The students at UNC signed onto this initiative in the fall of 2006 and have been working since then to put together an event that will bring the community together around this important discussion.

In support of the student effort, Orange County and the Town of Carrboro have officially proclaimed January 31, 2008 as Climate Change Awareness Day and the Town of Chapel Hill will be making a similar proclamation very soon.

Please join the students in the activities they have planned or through private discussions with your family and friends.


January 30
Great Hall of the Student Union
6:00 pm: Environmental Social
Meet local governmental leaders, environmental faculty, and other leaders on and off campus. Beverages and finger food will be served.

How green is Carrboro's parking?

Carrboro touts its "walkability," and it is more walkable than, say, Cary. Yet one only need hangout downtown for a little while (e.g. on the lawn in front of Weaver Streer) to notice that most folks only walk as far as the parking lot holding their personal smogmobile. Carrboro, like the rest of suburban America, still obeys Kinsella's law of land use: "if you provide parking, they will drive." We seem to be caught in that old vicious circle: we provide parking, which reduces density (since parking actively competes with other uses) and discourages transit (by enabling driving, and most Americans will drive when given the option), which encourages driving, which "requires" more parking. So it was rather discouraging to see the discussion in Kirk Ross' piece in the Carrboro Citizen.

Is Downtown Development the Problem?

As I read Tom Roche's comment on the new development in Carrboro and the idea of the Developer attempting to get out of building adequate parking by claiming it is the "Green Thing to Do" - Building parking = Less profit. It is nice to see to Progressives and Builders agreeing that more parking is bad, even if it is for different reasons - I am struck by something I had never really thought about - Is Downtown development the problem and not the solution?

I don't know and I don't really have a vested interest in any of this other than being a suburban resident with limited access to services without the use of a car - thanks to zoning and a really big, wide and dangerous street (MLK BLVD) separating me from shopping and services.  I am very proud of Chapel Hill and Carrboro and what they are trying to do with their downtowns - better lighting would be my first thought.

But wouldn't it be nice if there was a small development, perhaps with some rental apartments within walking distance of the neighborhoods off Weaver Dairy or if it was less annoying and dangerous to walk to the ones off Homestead?



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