Published: Jun 13, 2007 11:25 AM
Modified: Jun 13, 2007 11:25 AM
Roses to the the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service, Housing for New Hope and the OPC Area Program, for their collaborative work in getting two outreach workers onto Franklin Street to find out what the homeless need and help them get it.
Those groups have been working for months to put together strategies for addressing issues related to the street people in downtown Chapel Hill. One of their initiatives is the new program, funded by federal grant money under something called Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness, or PATH.
Thanks to that effort, Orange County recently got its first two-person team Mike Kelly and Julie Ransford to put PATH into action.
The program is designed to send support people out onto the street to make contact with the chronically homeless and people suffering from mental illness or substance abuse. The PATH workers try to enroll those folks in the program to help them get into housing, treatment programs and other resources.
It can be difficult work. The team cant force anyone to enroll; in their first few months, Kelly and Ransford contacted more than 100 people and enrolled fewer than 10 in the program.
But its a start. Everyone involved understands that homelessness, substance abuse and mental illness are extraordinarily difficult and complex problems, and nobodys giving up. Outreach is one of the most promising approaches, and were glad to see it happening on our streets.
Roses to officers with the Chapel Hill Police Department for working together with Attorney General Roy Coopers office to conduct the annual Shred-a-Thon at University Mall.
The event allows residents to safely dispose of papers containing personal information that could be subject to identity theft or worse.
This years event was held on one of those 95-degree scorchers we had recently, but the officers distributed water bottles and helped citizens unload boxes and bags of papers from their cars. It was just one way to protect and serve.
Raspberries to Chapel Hill-Carrboro school officials who failed to meet state safety procedures regarding the spraying of herbicides on school athletic fields.
A lawn care company applied two kinds of herbicide a pre-emergent fertilizer coating and a liquid crabgrass killer to the fields at Smith Middle School in May. The pre-emergent is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as practically nontoxic. The liquid herbicide is listed as slightly toxic.
State policy requires parents and administrators to be notified of such applications at least 72 hours in advance. That didnt happen; in fact, they werent informed until last weekend, when Steve Scroggs, assistant superintendant for support services, sent out an e-mail to parents. He recounted the incident and said the district has suspended the use of herbicides.
Scroggs said he learned of the problem after a parent complained. Credit to Scroggs for accepting responsibility for the error, but the way it played out points to the need for better oversight.
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