Roses to the UNC men's basketball program, which recently contributed some $65,000 to four very worthy local organizations.The Tar Heels raised the money through the sale of about 600 autographed basketballs and through proceeds from a holiday basketball clinic the team held in December. The program donated funds to the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service's Community House shelter, Ronald McDonald House, Carolina's Student Aid Fund and the Pediatric Oncology/Hematology Department at UNC Hospitals. The money for the student aid fund goes to needy North Carolina residents who attend the university.The men's basketball program has donated $171,000 in the last three years."This is one way we have a direct positive effect on our community," said assistant coach C.B. McGrath, who coordinated the contributions. "Having the opportunity to assist these organizations makes giving an autograph that much more meaningful and lets our players see the impact they have in helping people in need."That's one win already in the Carolina column, and the season hasn't even started yet.
Raspberries to the outgoing contingent of Chatham County commissioners for proposing, as one of their parting acts before leaving office in December, a politically significant redrawing of district lines.Commissioners chairman Bunkey Morgan, one of the pro-development commissioners ousted by voters in May, proposed the redistricting a month ago. Morgan will leave office in December, but the proposed new district lines would let him run again in just two years rather than four. Morgan says that's just a coincidence. The new lines also would put Commissioner Patrick Barnes in the same district as Commissioner-elect George Lucier. Both men are of the slow-growth persuasion. The new lines would prevent Barnes from running for re-election in 2008 and would pit them against each other if they chose to run in 2010. Once again, the change would appear to benefit the pro-growth faction that voters spurned in May.Again, maybe, as Morgan said, "that was just the way the population worked out." Not everybody is buying that. Some, including Lucier, have called the proposed changes politically motivated. Morgan says he's keeping a promise he made to voters four years ago to take up redistricting; Lucier has asked why he didn't get around to it until after he'd lost the primary. It's a good question. In any event, redistricting is a delicate and important issue, with far-reaching consequences, and an outgoing board isn't the appropriate body to be pushing it.
Roses to the Hillsborough Exchange Club Family Center, which has created fingerprint and photo IDs for about 1,000 children in Orange County, and to the Orange County Safe Communities Coalition, which recently recognized the center's work by awarding it $1,065 to support expansion of the program.The Family Center works with the Orange County Sheriff's Department to create child IDs free of charge.The funds will help the Family Center expand the ID program, which has thus far been concentrated in Hillsborough, into Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The center will have a station set up at University Mall during Saturday's "Back to School" event, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.The Family Center is the first recipient of funds awarded under a new mini-grant program established by the Safe Communities Coalition, an interagency workgroup dedicated to raising awareness and prevention of injuries. The coalition has initiated programs including bike rodeos, the school-based Risk Watch program, car seat checkups, seniors' "Remembering When" falls prevention program, and the Driver Improvement Program.