ROSES to the Hollow Rock Racquet and Swim Club, which turned a fun weekend of tennis into a donation of more than $7,000 for cancer research.The club worked for months to put together a round-robin tennis tournament to raise money for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. Last weekend everything came together; 32 mixed doubles teams participated. Through entry fees, a bidding process on each team's success and donations, the tourney came up with some $7,200, all of which went to a very worthy cause.
ROSES to the UNC Employee Forum, which is calling upon the university to enact measures that would help employees better bear the ever-escalating cost of transportation.The forum, which represents non-faculty university employees, notes that many of the lower-paid workers -- the ones who can least afford the rising cost of gas -- are the very ones who must spend the most to get to work, because they tend to live farther away, where housing costs are lower.A draft resolution proposed by the forum encourages the university to promote telecommuting, flexible work hours and alternative transporation, and to form a task force to explore other ways to ease the bite the gas takes out of employees' wallets. Good ideas all. Obviously, telecommuting is not an option for some positions, and the university already has several resources in place that make mass transit more accessible, and it encourages departments to be as flexible as possible in scheduling. Whether enough managers heed that encouragement is hard to say -- the Employee Forum says no -- but with gas prices going through roof, it's an appropriate time to reinforce the message and to take a good look at what more might be done.
ROSES to Andy Sachs, who has made a career out of helping people settle their differences. The Dispute Settlement Center in Carrboro feted Sachs, its public disputes coordinator, with a celebration Monday at Panzanella Restaurant in honor of what it called "his first 20 years" with the DSC. Time and again, Sachs has stepped between parties in conflict and gently guided them toward compromise and consensus. He has mediated conflicts over issues ranging from school mergers to homelessness to conflicts between neighboring institutions and individuals. He even helped quell the brouhaha two years ago over what behavior is appropriate on the Weaver Street lawn.He does it by defusing tensions, guiding parties to common ground and getting people to see alternatives to the "I win-you lose" scenario."The way you approach conflict resolution is not by deciding on any given question who wins and who loses," Sachs said once. "The way you resolve a conflict is by going below that tug of war to understand what the needs are that gave rise to these positions."
ROSES to Fred and Karen Shectman, who made a donation to help a small local Jewish congregation restore its Torah to wholeness.The Etz Chayim congregration numbers about 20 Chapel Hill area families. Its Torah, the sacred text of Judaism, was missing its breastplate, an elaborately carved silver cover that represents the wisdom within the text. The Shectmans offered to help after they attended their first service with Etz Chayim. They sent an e-mail the next day asking, "What do you need for the Torah?" Then they provided it. Thanks to their generosity, the congregation's Torah is now properly adorned.