January 2009

Silent (No More!) Auction

I’m working with the Family Violence Prevention Center as a volunteer for their silent auction. After I found out more about what great work they do with such a limited budget, I wanted to be a part of helping them with this important fundraiser.   I was shocked at how many people utilize their services.   After hearing from some of their clients about how much FVPC has helped them, I am convinced that their staff and volunteers are some of the “angels among us.”    The info is below.

The Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County and UNC Health Care’s Beacon Program invite you to attend our 4th annual  Silent (No More!) Auction on Thursday, February 5, 2009 from 5:30 to 8 PM at the William and Ida Friday Center.   Tickets are $35 in advance, and $40 at the door.   All proceeds directly support services for victims of domestic violence and their families.    Purchase tickets and view auction items at: http://silent-nomore.com


Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 12:30pm to 3:00pm


Friday Center, Chapel Hill

A Radical But Interesting Idea

I have heard that Jesse Helms once described Chapel Hill as the “North Carolina Zoo.” I am pretty sure he was not trying to be flattering. However, for many people who lived here at that time it was a compliment. It was evidence that Chapel Hill was an interesting and unique place. Too bad Chapel Hill is no longer so interesting.

Perhaps it is time to consider a radical New Year’s resolution. In 2009 let’s raise Chapel Hill’s interest quotient (IQ). The first step in this process may be the hardest. We will have to break through our collective denial and admit that we have become the least interesting point of the three major communities that form the Triangle.

Our Local Food Economy

There is a great guest column in today's N&O by former Congressperson Eva Clayton on the importance and potential of local agriculture.

Here in Orange County, we have made some admirable moves in support of a strong local food economy. In fact, we may have one of the strongest local food networks in the region. Yet there is much more we can do.

One problem that we face is the schizophrenic nature of our collective vision. We craft statements of sustainable economic development  and generally elect leaders who espouse these principles. Yet we continually find ourselves involved in controversies that wouldn't really make the cut if our stated commitment to sustainable economics had an effective filter.

The latest example is UNC's stated goal to site an airport in rural Orange County, land that is most suited for sustainable local food production. To add to the schizophrenia, our progressive County Commissioners have an Economic Development Director, Brad Broadwell, who is an avid and public supporter of UNC's airport proposal.

Moses Carey to head Employment Security Commission

The News and Observer reports that Moses Carey has been named chairman of the Employment Security Commission. This position heads the state agency responsible for Unemployment Insurance and many job training programs.

2009 opening volleys on the airport

Two opening volleys for 2009 on the airport controversy appeared in the CH Herald and the CH News respectively this Sunday.

An article by Neil Offen in the CHH ("National pilots group pushes for new airport") leads with: "A national pilots and aircraft owners group plans to meet with UNC system President Erskine Bowles early this year to push for the creation of a new airport in Orange County."  

Link:  http://heraldsun.southernheadlines.com/orange/10-1061492.cfm?

Missing Ms. Clark

It's just starting to sink in that I'll never see Rebecca Clark again.  The last I saw her was just before the holidays, and she was as strong and firm and loving as always.  I'm glad that's my last memory but regret that I didn't know her better and never followed up on my intention to take her out for lunch to just talk. 

I bet that lots of you have Ms. Clark stories and wonder if you would share them...

[Note: Long-time community activist and anchor Rebecca Clark passed away this weekend. (N&O 1/6/09) -Ed.]

Public information and input on future Hillsborough train station

From an Orange County notice:


Date: Jan. 6, 2009

Contact: Hillsborough Planning Director Margaret Hauth, 732-1270 Ext. 86
or margaret.hauth@hillsboroughnc.org

Hillsborough Senior Planner Tom King, 732-1270 Ext. 73
or tom.king@hillsboroughnc.org

Rail Station Task Force Seeks Input on Suggested Hillsborough Sites

HILLSBOROUGH — The Rail Station Task Force wants the public’s input on suggested rail station sites in Hillsborough and the task force’s criteria for rating the sites.

The task force — appointed in the fall by the Hillsborough Town Board and Orange County Board of Commissioners — will host an open house from 4 to 9 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Big Barn Convention Center. The advisory committee will discuss a number of suggested rail station sites and the rating criteria it will use for formally recommending a site to the two boards.

A presentation will be given at 5:30 p.m. and repeated at 7 p.m. The information also will be available on a drop-in basis.

During the open house, the task force also will seek feedback about the relative desirability of the suggested sites and comments and suggestions about changes to the rating criteria. Participants will be able to give their feedback verbally or in writing.

The advisory task force, which first met in November, was created to define the criteria for selecting a train station site and to recommend a location. It also is charged with investigating the established funding criteria and procedural steps to proceed with development of a station and with describing a schedule of tasks to be accomplished prior to initiation of service.

The task force includes representatives of the Hillsborough Planning Board, the Orange County Unified Transportation Board, the Orange County Transportation Services Board, the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough, the Orange County Economic Development Commission and the Walkable Hillsborough Coalition and three citizens.

An Amtrak and N.C. Department of Transportation analysis, completed in the summer, indicated a rail stop in Hillsborough could be financially viable, with an estimated net gain of about $56,000. Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens had formally requested the study on the possibility of a rail stop on behalf of a number of citizens.

Based on costs at that time, construction was estimated at about $1 million for a platform with lighting and a canopy and $5 million to $6 million for a station building.

The task force is expected to report on the site selection Feb. 19 at the joint meeting of the Hillsborough Town Board and Orange County Commissioners. Its work is expected to be completed by the end of May. Further opportunities for comment will be made available as the selection narrows.

The Big Barn is located at 388 Ja Max Drive. Minimal refreshments will be available.



Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - 11:00am to 4:00pm


The Big Barn, 388 Ja Max Drive, Hillsborough

Play: The life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

From Orange County:

Contact: Ginger Holler, Youth Services Librarian / Orange County Public Library, 245-2531

“The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Presented by Bright Star Children's Theater,  at the Orange County Public Library , 300 West Tryon Street in Hillsborough.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be celebrated in this production, starting with the Civil Rights  movement and exploring the life and work of Dr. King.  The youngest person ever to win a Nobel Prize for Peace, Dr. King changed the course of history through his work for justice, and equal rights in America.

A special after school program- FREE- no registration required, all ages welcome. Groups Welcome.



Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - 11:00am


Orange County Public Library, 300 West Tryon Street, Hillsborough

Carborro's Really, Really Free Market

Listen to the first documentary on Carrboro's Really, Really Free Market on WCOM

playing RIGHT NOW on WCOM 103.5 LP FM. It will air one more time before 6:30pm on The West End Report

OR you can click here to listen to the live stream

Citizens to Bowles: "Give us the same access to airport meetings that the special interests get."

The Airport Action Group sent the following letter to UNC President Erskine Bowles.

The citizens of Orange County have been totally left out of the airport process while UNC and their legislative allies have been colluding with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and other special business interests.


January 9, 2009


Dear President Bowles,



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