mbo123go's blog

New Pool of Potential Volunteers?

Chapel Hill is creating a cluster of older adults living near one another on Homestead Road. The Courtyards at Homestead Road already exists. It is an age-restricted neighbood of 63 "patio style" homes for people over 55. There is a proposal under consideration for another age-restricted apartment buidling adjacent to the The Courtyards that will add 190 housing units for older adults. Many of the residents in these two communities will be retired. Some might be interested in opportunities to volunteer time at one of the many valuable nonprofit agencies in Chapel Hill. I hope the nonprofit network, perhaps with support from the Chapel Hill Human Services Advisory Board, will create strategies to tap into this pool of potential volunteers.


Orange County Consolidating Boards and Commissions

The Orange County Commissioners are apparently considering a proposal from the County Manager to reduce the number of citizen advisory boards and commissions. This may not be a bad idea since the county has over 70 such advisory groups.

Until last week I was a member of the Human Services Advisory Commission (HSAC) which I think is likely to be disappear - transferring its responsibilities to various existing boards, such as, the OPC mental health board, the DSS board, etc. I think eliminating HSAC will not have a detrimental effect because the advice of this group was not taken very seriously, anyway.

However, I do wonder if the elimination of some of the other boards and commissions might cause problems. 

Mayor's Task Force on Mental Health

I am interested in comments from anyone who attended the "listening sessions" this week sponsored by the Mayor Foy's Mental Health Task Force. The sessions were on Tues. and Weds. evening. I got to the Tues. session too late to get a sense of where the Task Force is heading.

I think many people are aware of the problems facing the public mental health system in Orange County and elsewhere. I am interested in what the Task Force intends to accomplish. I hope someone who attended will comment.

Because We're Still Here (and Moving)

Last night my wife and I attended a remarkable play about the history of Chapel Hill. The play is called, Because We’re Still Here (and Moving). It runs through February 17th at the Kenan Theatre, an extension of the Paul Green Theatre.

The play is a collection of stories about African Americans whose families have been a part of Chapel Hill for over 150 years. The play weaves together many fragments of oral history in a very moving and creative way. I learned a lot about the proud history of the black community in Chapel Hill that I had not heard before. I also heard appalling family stories about slavery and racism in Chapel Hill that are a sad part of our community’s shared history.

I was particularly interested in stories about Lincoln High School (now the Lincoln Center). I have lived here for many years but, I was unaware of the history of achievement and community pride that surrounded Lincoln High School. I hope many people will get a chance to see this excellent play.

Michael B. Owen

Obama's Reach

Some of you may know Brad. If not, you may know someone like him. He used to be an attorney in Pittsboro and an active soccer dad in our community. He is now serving a fifteen year prison sentence in Florida at the Apatachee Correctional Institution. He has been there for about a year. He was arrested in Pittsboro as part of a “sting operation” conducted by the Florida State Police. Brad pleaded guilty to a series of internet-related sex offenses.

My family knew Brad for several years prior to his arrest and we were shocked when we learned about what he had done. Brad and I have exchanged letters quite a few times since his incarceration.

I got a touching letter from Brad this week. He wrote it on the morning of Inauguration Day. He described his hope that he and his fellow inmates would be allowed to watch the inauguration on television. He was optimistic because they had been allowed to watch television on election night. He wrote, "On election night it was nice to see a number of the older inmates – black and white - teary eyed and quiet when Obama was declared the victor. I was teary eyed, too."



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