ROSES to Preservation North Carolina, which has taken on the cause of saving the Edward Kidder Graham house from demolition.The organization announced this week that it had reached an agreement with the owners of the historic house that will allow Preservation North Carolina to seek potential buyers.The house, in the Franklin-Rosemary Historic District, is in fairly rough shape; experts said it will cost several hundred thousand dollars to repair and renovate the building, which was condemned by the Town of Chapel Hill after recent storm damage.But it's worth the effort. The house is exactly 100 years old; Graham built the house in 1908 and lived in it until he became the ninth president of the university. Other residents of the house included Frank Porter Graham, who also became president of the university and a state senator. The house gained some additional measure of fame many years later when it served as the setting for an offbeat 1960s feature movie called "Three in the Attic."Preservation North Carolina is confident that it can find a buyer who will restore and preserve the house. We hope so. Tangible ties to the past are scarce and getting scarcer, and once you lose a historic house, it's lost forever.
RASPBERRIES to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission for responding to complaints about public nudity and sexual activity near a popular wildlife observation site by, essentially, admitting defeat. The Indian Creek Wildlife Observation Area at Jordan Lake includes a nature trail that leads through the woods and along the shore to a platform, maintained by the Audubon Society, that is situated in a strategic spot for viewing the lake's bald eagles, osprey, cormorants and other birds. Thousands of birders, families and others have enjoyed walking the trail, exploring the shore and watching the birds.Unfortunately, the same area has become a popular gathering place for people with a propensity for taking their clothes off and/or having sex in public. Apparently several Web sites list the area as a hotspot for that sort of thing.Complaints about public nudity and sexual activity, solicitation and harassment at the site have been on the increase. The people pursuing those activities have ruined the area for the many more who enjoy it for legitimate reasons. There must be plenty of places where you can bare yourself to the breeze, if you wish; there are very few where you have a chance to see an eagle soar. The commission, saying it doesn't have enough officers to patrol the area full-time, has responded by closing the area to everyone; the Audubon Society and the rest of us will have to find another site for eagle-watching.The commission may have limited resources. But when people engage in prohibited activity that significantly interferes with the public's legitimate use of public land, we'd prefer to see the state enforce its laws and regulations rather than throw up its hands and walk away.