ROSES to Hidden Voices for its remarkable multimedia project chronicling the history of Chapel Hill and Carrboro's historically black neighborhoods."Because We're Still Here (and Moving)," organized by Hidden Voices director Lynden Harris, has turned a brilliant light on a fascinating and lively but little-known -- except by those who were there -- facet of this community. The project took two years to put together and incorporated photography, oral history, mapping, performance and other elements. It involved local teens, UNC students, artists and longtime residents. They gathered the stories of the people, places and events that have defined the 140-year history of the local black community. Through memories, snapshots and memorabilia, the project brought back to life long-gone gathering places such as the Starlite Supper Club and the Hollywood Cab and Grill. It illuminated the day-to-day life and the stories of those who once lived here, and those who still do.The project included a stage performance using the words of longtime residents, a photo exhibit and a wonderful map and walking-tour guide highlighting significant sites.Without efforts such as this to preserve them, so many of those stories vanish in time. Thanks to Harris and the rest of the participants, the voices of neighborhoods like Sunset, Tin Top and Windy Hill are hidden no longer.
ROSES to the Chapel Hill Fire Department, which has launched a drive to collect clothing for Iraqi children injured in the violence there.Barry McLamb, a battalion chief with the fire department, is serving with the Air Force Reserves in Iraq. He sent word back that the military hospital at his base treats a number of injured Iraqis, many of them children. The hospital can treat them, but it doesn't have enough pediatric hospital clothing for them to wear.So the fire department has organized an effort to gather appropriate clothing and ship it to the hospital in Iraq.Only certain very specific items will be accepted: loose-fitting pajamas, underwear, cotton T-shirts, socks with "gripper bottoms," sports shorts, warm-up pants, baby-sized blankets, coloring books and crayons, and small school supplies.Clothes should be new or gently used and clean, in sizes from infant to age 12. No donated items should include any overt symbols of U.S. culture -- no flags, cartoon characters, entertainment logos or similar decorations -- because those images could put children at risk after they leave the hospital.Donations are being accepted through Feb. 29 at Fire Station 2, at Hamilton Road off N.C. 54 at Glen Lennox.
ROSES to birders here in Orange County and throughout the state who participated in last weekend's Great Backyard Bird Count.During the annual four-day event, participants simply count and identify the birds they see during all or any part of the four-day period. They submit their results to the organizers -- the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society -- who compile them.The information can be of great use to scientists who study and track bird populations, health and behavior.It's not a competition, but we can't help but admit feeling some pride that North Carolina was second in the nation (behind New York) in the number of checklists submitted, and that Chapel Hill was sixth in the state. The top five North Carolina sites were all much bigger cities, led by Charlotte, which submitted more checklists than any other locality in the nation.You can check out all the results at http://gbbc.birdsource.org.