September 2012

Take-Aways from the Inter-City Visit 2012

I don't have a summary of today's sessions because I had a work conference call, so perhaps another attendee can provide one (I'm talking to you Lee Storrow). However, at the end of the sessions today we talked about what we were going to take away from the Visit. Here is a listing:

Kirk Ross on Bloomington, his home town

I wish Kirk Ross had published "A Tale of Two Towns" a week earlier, before 75 or so of us went to Bloomington.

I gently lobbied Kirk to sign up for the trip in late May when it was announced, and he was essentially non-responsive. It looked to be pricey, even with a scholarship, and Kirk's journalistic mission nowadays appears to be mostly NC politics, which he covers well and which needs covering well.  

803 absentee ballot applications already (and a how to)

Orange County already has received 803 absentee ballot applications (processing started just a week ago on September 7) including 200 received from addresses outside the US. Seems to me quite a large number for so early in the "season"

For those who like stats, here's a breakdown of the three types: civilian within the US, military anywhere, civilians outside the US (overseas). I broke out the party breakdown of overseas voters as they are interestingly even more heavily Democratic than the general pool. Overseas voters can be college students abroad, those on personal or business travel, expatriates whose last US residence was in Orange County, and even US citizens by birth who have never even been in the US (children of American born parents where the last residence of the parent was in Orange County)

Free drugs for kids

A friend of mine who is a teacher at a local high school asked me to post the following story. My friend requested that I share this without any identifying information so as not to compromise student trust and confidentiality.

One of my students (a 16 year old) is on the email list for Expressions, the shop on Franklin Street. Over Labor Day Weekend, he received an email stating that if he came in to the store and said the words "purple bud" he would get a good sized free sample of some brand of Spice -- synthetic weed.  He did. This particular brand of synthetic weed is "legal" only because the laws regulating most synthetic weed as a class one scheduled narcotic haven't quite caught up to the chemicals that are sprayed on the plants.  Apparently, North Carolina has recently joined an initiative with 28 other states banning these forms of synthetic marijuana.

MLK/Estes Drive Focus Area Meeting

On Wednesday, September 19th, the community will be gathering to discuss the Steering Committee structure, purpose, and application process for the MLK/Estes Drive Focus Area (recommended name: Central West Focus Area). This meeting will be held from 5:00-6:30pm in the HR Training Room, second floor, Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill.

In order to prepare for Wednesday’s meeting, a survey has been developed with the purpose of collecting information in advance of the meeting. Please complete this survey and provide us with your thoughts!

The survey can be found at the following link: Steering Committee Survey

The information from this survey will be compiled and will be a part of the discussion during the Wednesday, September 19th Recommendation Meeting #2.

Please complete the survey by noon on Wednesday, September 19th. The responses from the survey will be published on this blog by Friday, September 21st.

For more information about this process, please visit


Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm


HR Training Room, second floor, Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill

When it rains


By my estimation, five sitting Chapel Hill Town Council members are preparing to vote "yes" on Charterwood, in direct violation of their sworn oaths. Specifically, they will be rezoning a tract of land with full knowledge that their actions will have significant and costly impacts on hundreds of citizens and property owners who live downstream of the development.

How do I know this will happen?  All I had to do was open my eyes this morning. Here is a picture of sediment from Weaver Dairy Road running from Cedar Fork Creek into Eastwood Lake.Despite the best, state-of-the-art efforts of the highway contractors working on Weaver Dairy, every significant rain event has resulted in extensive silt pollution that Lake Forest homeowners will have to pay to remove.


Five council members (including Mayor Kleinschmidt) have basically said "tough shit" to people living in Lake Forest and also around Lake Ellen.  They have basically said, "We know Charterwood will be a problem for you and we don't care." 

"Dream Up Downtown" with the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership is ramping up YOUR involvement in the Chapel Hill downtown with the "Dream Up Downtown Walks." These walks are moving conversations to explore and engage in our downtown. The walks are on the first Thursday of September, October, November and December, beginning at 6 pm at the University Baptist Church Memorial Garden at the corner of Franklin Street and Columbia Street.



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