June 2011

Lights out

Duke Power mapIf you're reading this right now you're probably not in downtown Chapel Hill or Carrboro. Almost 6,000 homes and business are curently without power, all the way from UNC to Estes Drive Extension (lights out at Sewell School Road). I heard on WCHL that UNC Hospitals are currently operating on generators. 

Duke Power reports 5,782 customers without power at the moment (about 9 am) and their map shows that the problem is localized to the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area.  


Duke Power map  

Speak out on CHT service cuts

Just today (WTF) I received this e-mail notice about a public hearing tonight to hear from local residents about the proposed cuts to Chapel Hill Transit service. Erin already blogged about the extensive cuts being proposed, so please read that  and then come out tonight or contact Chapel Hill Transit by one of the methods below. We have until June 8th to have our responses considered officially.

Public Input Session on Proposed Transit Service Adjustments

Posted Date: 6/1/2011

Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) will hold the first in a series of public input sessions on its proposed service adjustments for fiscal year 2011/12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 1,  at the Chapel Hill Town Hall Council Chambers (405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.). 

For additional information on the proposed service adjustments and public input sessions please see the attachment to this email or visit www.chtransit.org. If you are unable to attend one of the public input sessions you can submit comments by any of the following methods: 

1. Email to chtransit@townofchapelhill.org  

2. Call 919-969-4900 and press 1 for customer service 

3. Fax to 919-968-2840 

4. Mail to CHT, 6900 Millhouse Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-8175


All comments received by 8 p.m. on June 8, 2011, will become part of the official public forum record and will be considered by CHT.

For complete information about CHT services, schedules, route changes or directions to the nearest CHT stop, visit us at www.chtransit.org, email chtransit@townofchapelhill.org or call a CHT customer service representative at 919-969-4900. 


Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm


Chapel Hill Town Council Chambers, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Orange County EDC in Limbo

The Orange County Economic Development Commission still exists, I know this because I am a member of it! Yet the County is functioning as if the board has been disbanded even though it has taken no such action. This is the culmination of a dysfunctional history in Orange County Economic Development. But the part that really bothers me now is a closed session being held tonight by the county commissioners on the topic of economic development without input from citizens, citizens who were appointed by our elected officials to advise them on the diverse set of opinions held by residents of Orange County.

To me this sunsetting of the Orange County Economic Development Commission is a tactic to silence dissent. It's true there are many people on the Orange County Economic Development Commission who did not agree with the former director on policy or plans. It's true that many of our meetings were frustrating. But to subvert democracy when you no longer find it agreeable is wrong. I hope as we consider a new organization to represent us in economic development matters that we remember how the county has acted.

Public Meeting for proposed Durham and Orange Counties Bus and Rail Investment Plans

The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC MPO) is hosting open house sessions in Durham, Chapel Hill, and Hillsborough where residents can provide input on the proposed Durham and Orange Counties Bus and Rail Investment Plans.

The plans address the need for enhanced public transportation in the Triangle to serve its growing populations as well as provide opportunities for low-to-moderate income families to get to work, educational opportunities, and other cities in the region. The plans outline the variety of revenue sources necessary to support the proposed light rail, commuter rail, and expanded local and regional bus services.

Open house sessions for residents to learn more about these proposed plans are scheduled at the following locations:

  • June 7 from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. - Southwest Library, 3605 Shannon Road, Durham 
  • June 8 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. - Holton Career and Resource Center's Senior Room, Second Floor, 401 N. Driver St., Durham 
  • June 14 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. - Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill 
  • June 15 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. - North Regional Library, 221 Milton Rd., Durham 
  • June 16 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. - Orange County Library, 137 W. Margaret Lane, Hillsborough

A short presentation will be given periodically at each open house session and staff will be available to discuss the proposed plans on a one-on-one basis with the public.

Residents who are unable to attend the open house sessions are encouraged to view the proposed investment plan for Durham on the DCHC MPO website at www.dchcmpo.org. The proposed Orange County Bus and Rail Investment Plan will be available on the DCHC MPO website beginning Tuesday, June 7. Residents may submit comments by e-mail until June 17 to comments@dchcmpo.org or at the open house sessions.

The Durham Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will host a public hearing on the Durham Bus and Rail Investment Plan during its regular session meeting on June 13 at 7 p.m. in the Commissioners' Chambers, located in the Durham County Administrative Complex, 200 E. Main St., Durham. The Durham BOCC is expected to take formal action on the Durham County Bus and Rail Transit Investment Plan during the Durham BOCC meeting on June 27 at 7 p.m.

The Transportation Advisory Committee, which is the policy-making board of the DCHC MPO, will consider approval of both investment plans at its June 22 meeting at 9 a.m. in the Committee Room of City Hall, located at 101 City Hall Plaza, Durham. The public is also invited to provide comments on the plans at this meeting.

For more information about the proposed investment plans, visit the DCHC MPO website at www.dchcmpo.org or contact Andy Henry at (919) 560-4366, ext. 36419.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 4:00pm to 7:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill

Light rail

On June 27, the Chapel Hill Town Council will be providing recommendations to the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Transportation Advisory Committee regarding the alignment of the proposed light rail line which will connect Chapel Hill with Durham, UNC Hospitals with Duke Hospital and downtown Durham. As a Meadowmont resident, I'm particularly interested in the choices of routing which involve Meadowmont, and I'm interested in what others in the local progressive community think about the options.

When the approval of the Meadowmont community was up before Town Council in 1995, one of its selling points, and presumably one of the reasons Roger Perry and East-West Partners were allowed to build at such high densities, was the reservation of a 50-foot wide mass-transit corridor (see also here). The corridor is still there, still free of development, and passes by the commercial area and rental apartments before making a turn behind the residences in the Cedars retirement community.

The Fight To Save Our Schools

3,200 UNC System employees lose their jobs under the budget that currently sits on Governor Perdue's desk.

Backers of the budget cuts argue that at a time where unemployment is at near record levels and the state is facing a 3 billion dollar deficit cuts need to be made. By slashing education and other vital public institutions instead of keeping the current sales tax level, the legislature claims to be protecting economic development in NC. They fail to recognize the fundamental role education plays in economic development.

Local Mayors Testify Against Bill Limiting Abortion Coverage for Town Employees

As part of a larger effort by North Carolina Republicans to restrict abortion coverage in the state (including HB 854: Abortion-Woman's Right to Know Act),  North Carolina House Bill 910 ("Gov't Health Plans/Limited Abortion Coverage"), sponsored by Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Lenoir County, would restrict abortion coverage under health plans offered by local governments to their employees. The bill would also limit abortion coverage under the state health plan for teachers and state employees.

Carrboro mayor Mark Chilton and Chapel Hill mayor Mark Kleinschmidt testified against the bill at the General Assembly on Wednesday, arguing that decisions about employment benefits for town employees should be left to the local governments.

The home closing was two years ago today.

Well, not two years ago today since it's past midnight now, but two years ago yesterday.  We all know what home closing I'm talking about. 

 Is it going to happen again?  Is one of our elected officials planning on moving away but waiting until after the deadline to tell us and as a result the voters won't have a voice in filling the seat?  And then once the seat is filled by Town Council then that appointed person forever has the electoral advantage of incumbency as a result the initial shenanigans.  Is that going to happen again?  I have no reason to think so but then again I had reason to think it would happen two years ago and yet it did.  The damage lives on.

OP Editors Meeting

The next OP Editors Meeting will be held at 3pm on Saturday, July 9th at Carrburritos. As usual, this meeting is open to the public. Our standing agenda:

  • Upcoming happy hour planning & promotion
  • Ideas for blogging in the next month
  • Site policy questions and how-to's
  • Debrief the previous month of activity on the site
Feel free to join us!


Saturday, July 9, 2011 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm


Carrburritos, 711 West Rosemary Street, Carrboro



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