January 2009

UNC backing off airport plans?

As reported in the N & O one hour ago:

The university may halt its plans to build an airport in Orange County.

Chancellor Holden Thorp plans a press conference at 11 a.m. this morning to announce a "change" in the plans for an airport authority in Orange County. Thorp had announced in September that UNC would convene the authority early this year.

Orange County Commissioner Mike Nelson said the university would not be pursuing an airport in the county.

"They are not going to establish an airport authority at this time," Nelson said. "They're going to back off and focus on other priorities."

- N&O: UNC airport may not get off the ground, 1/9/09

If this is true, I will be very pleased and will also be very very impressed with Chancellor Thorp. It's easy to SAY the things we like to hear, but harder to really do the right thing, especially with the UNC/BOT/legislative/AOPA machine pushing against you.

We'll know more soon...

Bridging the Achievement Gap

I am not sure how many folks have read Macolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, but it has a very interesting take on the gap in success between poor kids (often, but not alway minority) and middle class ones.

Because I live in Chapel Hill and work in Hillsborough, I have the opportunity to interact with school officials and parents from both county systems - Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange. One thing that is clear is that there are excellent students, teachers and administrators in each system. As a parent with a Middle Schooler, I am curious about the way we make decisions regarding teaching our kids.  As one of the original members of the Parent-Advisory CMTE for the Dual Language Program, I remember discussions about how to implement the program and reach out to an ethnic and economically-diverse population.  What struck me was the pre-conceived notions regarding poor people and minorities. 

Homestead Park is padlocked

Homestead Park is in the news, especially since the new Aquatic Center opened to the public. However, what people may not know, and it is certainly newsworthy, is that other facilities in Homestead Park are firmly padlocked, and the public do not have access. Namely, the football fields (of which there are two), and the baseball fields (of which there are also two). "It must be maintenance", I hear you say -- but no. There are two of each kind of facility, so while one is padlocked for maintenance, the other could be available. No again -- they are ALL padlocked. I am sure this is not what people had in mind when the funds were approved for this important development. Nowadays it is quite common to see parents hoisting their children over the five-foot fences so they can have a game. When questioned about this, a representative from the Parks Dept responded, "... the fewer people we allow on the turf, the less work we have to do". Our tax dollars at work! Is this what we had in mind?

Community Book Forum: The North Carolina Roots of African American Literature

The Carrboro Cybrary and Carrboro Recreation and Parks invite the community to celebrate Black History Month with a discussion of The North Carolina Roots of African American Literature led by the editor, UNC-Chapel Hill Distinguished Professor of English, William L. Andrews.  Copies of the anthology can be borrowed from the Carrboro Cybrary.

"The first African American to publish a book in the South, the author of the first female slave narrative in the United States, the father of black nationalism in America--these and other founders of African American literature have a surprising connection to one another: they all hailed from the state of North Carolina.

This collection of poetry, fiction, autobiography, and essays showcases some of the best work of eight influential African American writers from North Carolina during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In his introduction, William L. Andrews explores the reasons why black North Carolinians made such a disproportionate contribution (in quantity and lasting quality) to African American literature as compared to that of other southern states with larger African American populations. The authors in this anthology parlayed both the advantages and disadvantages of their North Carolina beginnings into sophisticated perspectives on the best and the worst of which humanity, in both the South and the North, was capable. They created an African American literary tradition unrivaled by that of any other state in the South.

Writers included here are Charles W. Chesnutt, Anna Julia Cooper, David Bryant Fulton, George Moses Horton, Harriet Jacobs, Lunsford Lane, Moses Roper, and David Walker."  ~ Book Description from UNC Press

"This important anthology shows that North Carolina produced a remarkable, indeed unmatched record of black authorship throughout the nineteenth century. . . . Even if these eight writers were not North Carolinians, a collection of their writings makes for a compelling display of diverse African American literary expression during the first decades after slavery. The fact that these writers were all North Carolinians makes the volume even more impressive, as it points to the fact that they were all shaped by the cultural forces of this particular state during a time of tremendous political and social upheaval."  ~ Lucinda H. MacKethan, North Carolina State University


Friday, February 20, 2009 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm


Carrboro Century Center, 100 N. Greensboro St.

Understanding Gaza: A Teach-In on the Current Crisis

Another time has come to deny our Representative David Price our consent in his unconscionable  lopsided support of the state of Israel as Israel continues to inflict a disproportionate use of force ... this time against the Palestinians Nearly 900 Palestinians have now died, including 275 children. Another 4,100 Palestinians have been injured. The Israeli death toll is at thirteen.  Last Friday Representative David Price voted in favor of H. Res. 34
1 . Recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. (Introduced in House)[H.RES.34.IH]
2 . Whereas Hamas was founded with the stated goal of destroying the State of Israel; (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House)[H.RES.34.EH]
Please come out to find out why you should be enraged if you are not already!
***Please forward widely***

WHAT: Understanding Gaza: A Teach-In on the Current Crisis
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 15, 7:00 - 9:00 pm
WHERE: Nelson Mandela Auditorium, Fed Ex Global Education Center, UNC Chapel Hill

This program will try to make sense of events in Gaza by providing historical, legal and human contexts. Speakers will provide the background behind the news, and bring into focus the faces behind the headlines. Why is this war continuing? And what can we do to bring it to an end?

Speakers include:

* Laila El-Haddad is a freelance journalist from Gaza. Her blog, "Raising Yousuf and Noor: Diary of a Palestinian Mother," explores the complex relationships between the personal and the political as she raises her children while negotiating displacement and occupation. _http://a-mother-from-gaza.blogspot.com/_

* Rann Bar-On is an Israeli activist and graduate student at Duke University. He has worked with the International Solidarity Movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Rann advocates for an end to the Occupation and resistance to militaristic Israeli government policies. He is especially interested in the Shministim - a group of Israeli high-school students who are imprisoned for daring to refuse to serve in Israel's occupying army.

* Marty Rosenbluth: Formerly Amnesty International USA's Country Specialist for Israel, the Occupied Territories and the Palestinian Authority, he is currently a human rights lawyer working with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in Durham. Through his work with Amnesty, he documented violations by all parties to the conflict, including participating in Amnesty's fact-finding mission in northern Israel during the war between Israel and Lebanon in the summer of 2006 where he documented Hezbullah attacks on Israeli civilians as well as meeting with Israeli officials to discuss IDF attacks on civilians in Southern Lebanon.

* Dr. Sarah Shields: Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History at UNC-CH, she is the author of /Mosul before Iraq /and teaches courses on the Arab-Israel conflict, Islamic civilization, the Modern Middle East.

Organized by UNC-CH Justice for Gaza and Solidarity with Palestine through Education and Action at Carolina

Co-Sponsors: Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – USA, Jews for a Just Peace– NC, Progressive Faculty Network of UNC-CH, Muslim American Public Affairs Council, Balance and Accuracy in Journalism, Social and Economic Justice Minor UNC-CH, Coalition for Peace with Justice (CPWJ), WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom), Mothers 4 Peace, UNC-CH Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)

WHAT: Understanding Gaza: A Teach-In on the Current Crisis
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 15, 7:00 - 9:00 pm
WHERE: Nelson Mandela Auditorium, Fed Ex Global Education Center, UNC Chapel Hill


Thursday, January 15, 2009 - 2:00pm


Nelson Mandela Auditorium, Fed Ex Global Education Center, UNC Chapel Hill

MLK Day March in Hillsborough

From the Town of Hillsborough:


Date: Jan. 13, 2008

Contact: Sgt. William Parker, Community Policing Division of the Hillsborough Police Department, 732-2441

Downtown Hillsborough Intersections to Be Closed Briefly Jan. 19 for MLK March

HILLSBOROUGH — Traffic will be blocked for short periods of time in downtown Hillsborough on Monday morning, Jan. 19, to allow for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Commemorative March.

The march will begin at 9 a.m. at the Orange County Courthouse on Margaret Lane and will end at Mt. Bright Baptist Church on Union Street. It is expected to be complete by 10 a.m. Past marches have lasted about 30 minutes.

The Hillsborough Police Department will close the northbound lane of Churton Street during the parade and will conduct rolling blocks of intersections between Margaret Lane and Union Street. As soon as marchers pass through an intersection, officers will reopen the intersection. Traffic will be able to flow south on Churton Street and on side streets.

The Police Department estimates that each intersection will be closed about five minutes.

By closing downtown intersections on a rolling schedule, the department will be able to use fewer officers during the event and to reopen Hillsborough's main thoroughfare more quickly.

A police officer on a motorcycle will lead the marchers, and an officer in a patrol car will follow behind.

The Police Department encourages motorists visiting downtown Hillsborough to use the parking deck and other legal areas to park. A map of public parking options, including free parking, is available on the town's Web site, www.ci.hillsborough.nc.us. Look for the map under "Parking" in the "About Hillsborough" section.



Monday, January 19, 2009 - 4:00am


Orange County Courthouse on Margaret Lane and will end at Mt. Bright Baptist Church on Union Street, Hillsborough

Orange County Inaugural Celebration

Orange County Inaugural celebration and community gathering featuring live music, slam poetry, MLK tributes, dance party, local restaurant specials.  Talent includes renowned fiddler Joe Thompson, hip hop band "The Beast", slam poetry team "Sacrificial Poets," acoustic roots musicians "Mebanesville." More acts and activities confirming daily!  Event organized by Orange County Campaign for Change.

Century Center - 5-10 p.m. (Free!)

Southern Rail Dance Party - 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ($10 cover)

Donation of cans for "Yes We Cans" Project in exchange for access to restaurant discounts and specials.

More information: Craig Perrin - 415-218-7806 


Sunday, January 18, 2009 - 12:00pm


Century Center (music, activities, tributes), Southern Rail (Dance Party)

I Accuse! An Open Letter to Congressman David Price

As constituents of the 4th District we have a responsibility to hold our representative to the House of Representatives, Congressman David Price, accountable for his lopsided, and unconscionable support and sanctioning of the state of Israel's current massacre of Gazans in our name.  His 'thoughtful comments' are not sufficient to cover for his unthoughtful action as expressed with his vote in favor of HR 34 last Friday.  I invite all to join Dr. Sarah Shields in this open letter to David Price.

P.S. For more information, tommorow is Understanding Gaza: A Teach-In on the Current Crises


High-speed Internet must be a part of Carrboro’s infrastructure

(An article I wrote for today's Carrboro Citizen.)

People who live, work and visit Carrboro love the free wireless Internet. But the Town of Carrboro’s wireless is a victim of its own success. I’ve heard from a lot of people who have problems with it and wish it worked in their homes. Fact is, the area the wireless signal covers is too small, the connection is unreliable and the bandwidth is too little. Now is the time for the Town of Carrboro to take the next step. I propose the town support the construction of fiber optic Internet connections to buildings within the downtown business district.

Hillsborough Amtrak Depot locations

The town of Hillsborough presented seven potential sites for a new rail depot last night.

For more info, check Hillsborough's Development Activity page—they said they'd have info there by Friday January 16, 2009.  Meanwhile, I've put a map of the locations with some notes here.

Two of the sites (5-Hampton Pointe & 6-Collins Property) are on the current Triangle Transit route 420.  A quick and efficient connection to regional bus service is critical for many traveling to/from Chapel Hill.



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