July 2008

Library branches return to normal hours

Here's some good news: the library is reinstating their original hours. They cut them a few weeks ago, with the reductions at the Carrboro branch (a.k.a. McDougle School) being especially drastic. Here's the County's press release:

Hours of operation for all Orange County Public Libraries will be reinstated beginning July 28, 2008.  County and Library management have re-visited the departmental budget and identified certain purchases to be delayed until next fiscal year and a reduction in monies budgeted for inventory replacement.  These adjustments will generate funds sufficient to cover the temporary personnel costs for hours of operation at the Main Library and its branches.  Please note these changes.


For additional information visit the Orange County Library website http://www.co.orange.nc.us/library/orange/ or call (919) 245-2525.  

Will Changes in OCS Leadership Bring Real Change?

The new board of the Orange County Schools was recently sworn into office. At their very first meeting, the three new board members joined with one of the standing members to vote out the old board chair and vice-chair. They were replaced by two newly-elected members, but the new chairs are far from new to Orange County Schools.

The new board chair is Steve Halkiotis, a former county commissioner and someone who spent his entire professional career in the Orange County Schools, working his way up from teacher to assistant superintendent. The new vice-chair is Tony McKnight, himself also a former OCS teacher.

These changes come less than a year after Pat Rhodes became the district’s superintendent, and like Halkiotis and McKnight he also has previous experience in Orange County.

So we have plenty of new leadership, but I’m wondering if they’ll take our district in any new directions. Can three leaders so tied to the district’s past bring innovative solutions to our contemporary challenges?

The Merritt Railroad Crossing

I imagine many OP readers have heard about area residents who are concerned about the new fence blocking access between Estes Park Apartments in Carrboro and Village West Townhouses in Chapel Hill.  The management of Estes Park erected a fence and gate which is padlocked.  The fence is 8' tall with three strands of barbed wire at the top.  It blocks a traditional connection between the two neighborhoods and by extension connections from each neighborhood to downtown Carrboro and Chapel Hill.

Abbey Court residents speak out against harrassment

[Abbey Court] I just learned that there was a rally this morning at Carrboro Town Hall where residents of Abbey Court called for the town to do more to protect them from the increasingly-discriminatory policies of their collective landlord. In short: the owners have begun towing residents' cars if they don't meet a certain aesthetic standard. It really is that ridiculous. And probably quite racist, in my opinion.

Thanks to the Town of Carrboro's new Official Correspondence archive (kudos for openness!) I can offer some background about the situation.

From: Carolyn A. Hutchison [Carrboro Police Chief]
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 3:50 PM
To: Steven Stewart [Carrboro Town Manager]
Subject: FW: Towing today
Importance: High


Management at Abbey Court apartments is actively towing vehicles from
their lots today.  We do not have any authority on their property;
however, we are dealing with this situation to the extent that we are
able.  Officers are concerned that Management is towing vehicles that
belong to their own residents.  Many of the residents are trying to make
ends meet and need the vehicles to get to and from work, etc.
Apparently, Management is towing cars that do not "look good."  In other
words, if your vehicle has dents, needs paint, or has a cracked
windshield, Management will not issue a permit to park and Management
will tow the vehicle.  As you might imagine, Abbey Court residents may
not have the means to drive a pristine vehicle, but many are paying
their rent, and now are unable to get a permit to park in their own home
parking lot.  Then, their vehicles are towed from the lot; they're
responsible for the towing fees; and they have no car to get to work,

OP Happy Hour (no longer tentative)

Sorry for the short notice, but I don't want to postpone again. It's going to be way too hot to be outside, so my original plan to go to WSM or OSCSC are out of the question. How about F*use or Skylight Exchange (no booze)?

I thought about hosting at it my house so you can all try to get here from Carrboro with that big, ugly fence in the way, but I thought better of it...


Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - 1:30pm


506 Oak Avenue, Carrboro

Is It Time that We Got Serious About This Problem?

The news regarding the two armed robberies yesterday, one in the alley between the Rosemary & Columbia Street lot and Franklin Street, and the other at the ATM at the Wachovia at University Mall, got me to asking myself: Am I comfortable when my wife goes out to run errands on her own? And, for the first time that I can remember, the answer is a solid no.

Glen Lennox discussion on WCOM

Greg Brusseau of Save Glen Lennox will be the guest on the Wednesday edition of WCOM's West End Report with LMT hosting. Greg will discuss the inside scoop he got from a N&O reporter about Grubb properties backing out of their bid and caving into the community to redesign their plan.

Tune into 103.5 LP FM (Carrboro/Chapel Hill area) at 6pm or you can stream us by clicking here. I'm hoping that Ruby calls us at the studio LIVE from the OP Happy Hour with an update: 919-929-9601. Freel free to call with questions. The first caller gets a Save Glen Lennox T-shirt!

Expert presentation on Minority Student Achievement

From a press release:

Contact:  Denise Bowling, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services, 967-8211, ext. 282
MSA Local Team to host community presentation
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Minority Student Achievement Local Team will sponsor a community presentation by Mychal Wynn, one of the world's premiere authorities on Black male achievement, school improvement planning, closing the achievement gap and college planning.  Wynn will conduct his presentation on Monday, August 4, from 4:30-6:00 pm in the Smith Middle School Auditorium.  Smith Middle School is located at 9201 Seawell School Road.
Participants will learn why identifying, analyzing and understanding the unique societal, home and community variables that impact all students identified as "at risk" is prerequisite to developing holistic and effective strategies for closing the achievement gap and preparing students for college.

"Mr. Wynn has a clear vision that all students can learn at high levels, go to college and be successful in the adult world," said Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services Denise Bowling. "He renews hope for students, their families and their teachers through his commitment and expertise. He provides a no-nonsense approach and shares a multitude of evidenced-based strategies. We are so pleased to have him work with us."
For more information about Wynn, please visit http://www.rspublishing.com/speakerprofile.html.


Monday, August 4, 2008 - 12:30pm


Smith Middle School Auditorium, 9201 Seawell School Road

Walking Tours of historic Hillsborough

From http://www.historichillsborough.org/calendar/ :

2nd Saturday Hillsborough Guided Walking Tour, 10am & 2pm, The Alexander Dickson House, 150 E. King St., Hillsborough. Explore Hillsborough's history on a 90-minute guided walking tour through its historic district. $2-$6, More Information at 732-7741


Saturday, August 9, 2008 - 6:00am to 10:00am


Alexander Dickson House, 150 E. King St., Hillsborough

Walking tours of historic Hillsborough

From http://www.historichillsborough.org/calendar :


2nd Saturday Hillsborough Guided Walking Tour, 10am & 2pm, The Alexander Dickson House, 150 E. King St., Hillsborough. Explore Hillsborough's history on a 90-minute guided walking tour through its historic district. $2-$6, More Information at 732-7741



Saturday, September 13, 2008 - 6:00am to 10:00am


Alexander Dickson House, 150 E. King St., Hillsborough



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