Public Health & Safety

Dueling task forces for Rogers Road

Just what the Rogers Road neighborhood needs: money? sewer lines? sidewalks? environmental justice? No, it's another committee! I just received an announcement of a new "Historic Rogers Road Community Taskforce" being formed by Orange County. Given that the Commissioners are long overdue in compensating this community for hosting the County's garbage for the last 30 years, and for repeatedly being lied to by elected officials, it's not crazy to have a committee to address this. But...

There is already a Rogers Road Small Area Plan Task Force appointed by the Town of Chapel Hill which is also addressing "the enhancement of the living environment in the historic Rogers Road Community" (and may be tapping the limited volunteer capacity of the neighborhood).

Orange County Seeks Volunteers for the Historic Rogers Road Community Taskforce

Contact: Monica C. Evans,
Orange County Board of Commissioners Office (919) 245-2125

Lights and action plans

The Town of Chapel Hill has seen and suffered through numerous disasters in the past 10 years. Starting after Hurricane Fran, preparedness plans were set up and a command center was designated and staffed and given a dedicated generator. Meals were brought in for the crews working to clear storm damage from the 2000 snow (22 inches of snow in 24 hours), the ice storms of 2001 and 2002, back-to-back hurricanes in September 2003, and many others, most of which passed below the public's radar, such as the flooding at Camelot Apartments around the same time as the flooding at Eastgate shopping center.

Yesterday, 16 April, the plans did not materialize. Crews were sent out at 7 am to do their normal routine, despite weather predictions of very high winds and heavy rains. Within an hour and a half, phones were ringing off the hook at the Public Works with reports of trees and power lines down. Still, a plan failed to materialize until after 1 pm.

Great Investigative Piece in the Indy

The Indy has a great investigative story this week about how a member of Orange County's committee studying whether the county should limit the practice of tethering dogs on chains or ropes has extensive ties to the dog fighting industry.

An excerpt from reporter Ashley Roberts' story:

When Alane Koki applied to become a member of an Orange County citizens' committee studying whether the county should limit the practice of tethering dogs on chains or ropes, she submitted a 13-page résumé citing numerous accomplishments as a scientist and medical researcher: a doctorate in zoology, a dozen patents, and publication in more than 50 journals.

What Koki didn't list in her application, however, was her long history of breeding pit bulls in other states and her association with local kennel owner Tom Garner, a nationally known breeder of pit bulls and a convicted dog fighter whom commissioners declined to appoint to the committee the same night they approved Koki.

Health as a human right

Guest Post by Sarah Chasnovitz

I am a student at UNC School of Law participating in the Human Rights Policy Clinic. Along with my classmates and our faculty advisor, Deborah Weissman, I am working with the National Health Law Project on a project promoting health as a human right.

Although Orange County is a vocal supporter of human rights and has a history of supporting resolutions reminding our leaders of our obligations under the Geneva Convention and the Convention Against Torture, we have not been as vocal about social and economic rights, particularly here at home. There is a national movement of policymakers, activists, and civic leaders promoting the idea that we need to bring human rights home to our communities. One area in which Orange County can take the lead is by affirming its commitment to the internationally recognized right to health.

New Findings, Meeting on Fire Violations at Shearon Harris

Elected officials have questions about risks, why Harris wants years to comply with safety rules

What: A public meeting hosted by NC Senators Ellie Kinnaird and Janet Cowell

When: Thursday, March 22nd, 7 pm

Where: The Barn at Fearrington Village (15-501, between Pittsboro & Chapel Hill)

Participants: Officials from various local, state and federal jurisdictions.

David Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists
Paul Gunter, Nuclear Information and Research Service
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (declined 3/19)
Progress Energy (invited)

The Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant has increased its risk of a radiation disaster by violating federal fire safety regulations for 14 years – after promising for years to correct all vulnerabilities. The meeting will deal with new information regarding legal action by public interest groups demanding the NRC enforce its rules on fire safety. Key issues include:



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