Roses to Chapel Hill High sophomore Marianna Hernandez of Carrboro, who spent part of her summer making 84 fleece hats and 25 scarves for Afghan children.Her creations will join 250 other hats as well as an assortment of scarves and mittens and will be distributed by American soldiers, many of whom have begun their own grassroots humanitarian efforts in both Afghanistan and Iraq.One of the soldiers who will receive and distribute the winter gear is U.S. Army Capt. Erik Schiemann, a UNC MBA student who was called back to active duty last year.
Roses to the groups that last weekend launched a program to provide bicycles on a short-term loan basis for use in and around town.Students United for Responsible Global Environment (SURGE), The ReCYCLEry and The Legacy Center joined forces to initiate the innovative Blue Urban Bikes program. The initiative got under way Sunday morning with a celebration at Weaver Street Realty and WCOM community radio in Carrboro. Here's how it works: You buy a BUB membership for $10, and then whenever you have an errand to run or feel a yen to ride, you can check out a bicycle and helmet for 24 hours at no additional charge. You check the bike out at a BUB Hub -- a number of which are planned for various spots around town and campus -- and ride to your heart's content and then turn in your wheels at another Hub. Pretty cool, and with all kinds of nice ripple effects -- every trip somebody makes by bike means one less car in traffic, producing exhaust and pollution and feeding the oil companies. Around town, you can get most places quicker on two muscle-powered wheels than you can on four gas-powered ones, anyway. It's more fun and better for you.The program is getting under way with about 30 donated bikes, which the organizers spruce up, paint and get in shape. They have plenty of experience; The ReCYCLEry has refurbished about 600 bikes in the past six years and given them away to those who need transportation. The Blue Bike program builds on that laudable effort.
Roses to John Link, who is retiring after serving as Orange County manager for almost 20 years. Managers are like automobile engines: the best ones you hardly notice, because they get you where you're going so smoothly and efficiently. And Link has never been, so far as we know, even remotely what you would call flashy. Which is why it was good to see him lauded and honored Monday night at a ceremony marking his retirement. The county commissioners surprised him by announcing that the county's government services center will henceforth be known as the John M. Link Jr. Government Services Center. That's a fitting tribute for a man who has spent so much of his life in service. Enjoy your free time, John.
Roses to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School District, which posted the state's top SAT scores in results released this week.We're not enamored of the No Child Left Behind fixation on testing, but the venerable SAT, used by colleges as part of their admissions process, is a little different. And because higher education gives young people so many more options, it's always encouraging to see so many local kids position themselves for it.Chapel Hill High School students posted an average score of 1,202, highest in North Carolina. East Chapel Hill was at 1,175 -- second-highest in the state. The combined average was 1,189 -- the highest the district has ever posted.And included in the results were these: Black students boosted their average score by 50 points over last year's scores, and Latino students lifted theirs by an average of 114 points. Great job, everybody. Keep up the good work.