December 2008

Bill of Rights Day

From Peggy Misch:


12 Noon, Monday, December 15, 2008

Bill of Rights Day

Peace and Justice Plaza, East Franklin and Henderson Streets, Chapel Hill

Proclamations read by two mayors and county commissioner; 10 amendments read by participants; words spoken by NC Senator Ellie Kinnaird, remembering Joe Herzenberg for his dedication to civil rights

Orange County Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Information:  942-2535


Monday, December 15, 2008 - 7:00am


Peace and Justice Plaza, East Franklin and Henderson Streets, Chapel Hill

What to do with all the deer?

A blog post over at the News and Observer site highlights the requests made by citizens in Carrboro and Pittsboro to allow bow hunting in the city limits to help control the deer population. Having lived for a bit in the Chicago area where deer started depleting the forest preserves of all sensitive plant species in the 1980's, I'm particularly sensitive to the effects of deer on sensitive ecosystems. I also know that the deer population, without natural predators, continues to put more and more pressure on plants as time goes by in our area. Bolin Creek spring wildflowers are particularly sensitive to deer overpopulation since they green up before other plants leaf on and they provide sustenance for the herds at their hungriest time. If the population was at a normal rate of 15-20 per square mile instead of ~80 per square mile then this would not be a problem.

New leadership for County Commissioners

With the newly-elected (and newly-districted) members of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) sworn in, they have followed their annual tradition of selecting a new chair and vice-chair of the group. This is a leadership structure that is quite different from other elected bodies in the county in that the chair has similar responsibilities as a Mayor would have in a municipality, but the seat rotates among the members in a very egalitarian fashion so that every commissioner in recent memory has served at least one year at the helm.

What I found especially interesting is that this year's chair will be Valerie Foushee (an African-American woman) and the vice-chair will be Mike Nelson (a gay man).

NRG Forum on Growth and Density

With the rollout of Raleigh's plan for future development and identification of areas for transit and denser development, this topic is as timely as ever for our communities. NRG is seeking to initiate a public discussion about a comprehensive vision for the future of Chapel Hill.  We are hoping to engage citizens to learn more about this issue and to equip them to weigh in with their elected officials on how they want to see their community grow.

I hope OP readers will join us and lend their opinions, questions, and experience. While the forum addresses primarily Chapel Hill, this issue is not confined to one town - we hope to attract attendees from our wider community to bring their expertise and perspectives. For details on when and where, please see the invitation below.

Chapel Hill 2020: A Forum on the Future of Density and Growth in Chapel Hill

Wednesday, December 10, 7 – 9 pm  

I agree with Roger Perry!

In speaking to the Friends of Pat Evans, err, I mean Friends of Downtown, Meadowmont developer and Board of Trustees Chair Roger Perry identified the same problems that I have been talking about in regards to Chapel Hill's downtown.

"You have to treat downtown with deference," Perry said. "You've got to put more money into downtown than into outlying areas." That means more and better lighting and, in the case of one particular area, sidewalks.

"That we don't have sidewalks along Rosemary all the way is nuts," he said. "We're tying an arm behind our backs." [...]

Perry saved his most critical words for the "irresponsible ownership" of some downtown buildings. Without mentioning specific names, he riffed on "absentee owners" who don't act as good stewards of the town or their properties, allowing buildings to slip below fire code standards and otherwise exhibiting no sense of urgency in filling vacancies in prime retail locations.

Community Organizing takes off in Orange County

From OCOC press release as printed in News of Orange County:

County-wide grassroots effort will hold Dec. 7 meeting

On Sunday, Dec. 7, 300 leaders from 23 faith-based institutions in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough will gather at 5 p.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chapel Hill to launch a new agenda called "One County for All." The Church is located at 300 E. Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill.

The event is viewed as a new model for multi-ethnic interfaith collaboration in Orange County. The Orange County Organizing Committee (OCOC) seeks to bring about change on affordable housing, living wages, environmental justice, education, healthcare, and quality of life for immigrant families.

Orange County Organizing Committee meeting


Sunday, December 7, 2008 - 12:00pm


Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Chapel Hill

Jesus Swept @ the Internationlist

The hard work of holiday gift-buying now comes with the chance to do some local good! My new novel, Jesus Swept is available at the Internationalist Book Store in downtown Chapel Hill! One hundred percent of the price of each book sold is being donated to the store.

If you like the idea of fun with religion, Jesus Swept is just the work of fiction you need. It takes place right here in Chapel Hill, with a hefty dose of the North Carolina beachiness thrown in for cosmic communion.

 And every dollar you spend will go to support my favorite bookstore. 

What You're Saying on the Street

Hello! You all may be aware that I host The West End Report (Wednesday edition; 6pm) on WCOM 103.5 LP FM -- Carrboro's all-volunteer, Community Radio station.

But did you also know that I now report for WCHL 1360 News-Talk Radio?

My wonderful News Director just gave me the popular segment, 'What You're Saying on the Street" to revamp in my own personal style.

WYSOS will feature opinions of Chapel Hill-Carrboro residents on hot-topic issues in our community. Recently, I produced the segment to find out your thoughts on Carrboro passing the same-sex marriage resolution and if Chapel Hill should follow suit. 

I would like to know what topics you think we should be asking on the street. What issues matter most to you in our community?  What locations do you think are best for me to go to get people's opinions? What topics are important to you but are not being addressed in other media outlets?

Economic meltdown is fertile ground for re-invoking a revamped local exchange system

With macro-economic indicators getting worse by the day, scaling down to the local is looking saner and more attractive.

One example of many is local currencies.  Though our local currency, the NCPlenty, is barely in existence, it may be time to re-vamp it. The global and national economic climate may provide the environment necessary for making a local  currency adaptive and succesfull. 

In November the nation's official unemployment reached 6.5%.  This is a figure that would change to 12.5% if included were those who are too discouraged to look for work any longer or those working fewer hours than they would like.

12% may be a significant number;  As pointed out in Beyond Greed and Scarcity by Bernard Lietaer:  In France, years ago,..



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