Public Health & Safety

Rogers Road Proposal Under Consideration this Week Deserves Support

My op-ed from today arguing that the proposal under consideration this Thursday reflects the best of our progressive traditions while beginning to repay our debt to the Rogers Road community:

In 2011 a conservative faction of the Greensboro City Council moved to expand their White Street Landfill, located in the overwhelmingly African-American northeast portion of the city.

As the attorney for community members opposing this expansion as well as a long-term resident of Orange County, it was endlessly frustrating to me when expansion supporters pointed to our own Rogers Road to justify their decision.

Inching toward connectivity

Project Connect

The 7th annual Project Connect will be held on Thursday, October 10, 2013 from 9:00am to 3:30pm at the Hargraves Community Center, 216 N. Roberson Street, in Chapel Hill in Orange County.

Project Connect is a one-day, one-stop center that connects people experiencing, or at risk of homelessness with a broad range of short and long-term services. These include housing, employment, health and dental care, mental health care, veterans' and social service benefits, legal services, and more. Community members can support Project Connect by donating and/or volunteering. For more information, visit: www.projectconnectorange.org.

This year, over 50 social service agencies and 300 volunteers will serve an expected 300 guests. Since 2007, the event has served over 900 people in Orange County. The event is a key strategy of the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness. "Project Connect makes a powerful impact on our homeless neighbors, providing respect and hospitality and a wide range of assistance," said Jamie Rohe, Orange County Homeless Programs Coordinator. "The event enables service agencies to efficiently reach many people in a single day, and it educates the community about the issues of homelessness."

For more information, please visit www.projectconnectorange.org or directly contact Jamie Rohe, Orange County Homeless Programs Coordinator, at 919-245-2496 or jrohe@orangecountync.gov.

Date: 

Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 9:00am to 3:30pm

Location: 

Hargraves Community Center, 216 N. Roberson Street, Chapel Hill

Rogers Road Task Force Work Slowed by EPA Complaint

The Historic Rogers Road Neighborhood Task Force continues its work but has a new barrier to contend with that may preclude the Orange County Board of Commissioners from taking action. As reported in this story by Chapelboro, an EPA complaint filed by the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association in 2007 alleges the Orange County Planning and Inspections Department (OCPID) "intentionally discriminated on the basis of race by denying water and sewer service to the African American residents of the Rogers Road Community." The full letter from the EPA to the OCPID can be read here.

At the recent task force meeting held on July 17, 2013, Board of Commissioners representatives Renee Price and Penny Rich abstained from several votes on recommendations of what to include in the task force's final report, citing the EPA complaint.

Enforcing the Smoking Ban

Last week, Chapelboro's Elizabeth Friend took a look into how Orange County agencies are (not) enforcing the countywide smoking ban (PDF) enacted by the Orange County Board of Health last October. I think this piece raises a few concerns worth discussion. For context, the ban officially took effect on January 1, 2013, but enforcement measures were not scheduled to begin until a few weeks ago on July 1.

I was happy to see the county enact a smoking ban back in October. This policy decision to promote better public health for all of Orange County's citizens is one that should be applauded -- I just wish the enforcement efforts were worthy of applause, too.

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