Yes, we do
Thank you to Matt Czajkowski for his March 13 commentary “Who’s right?” and for taking the time to fully understand the issues that face our community.
His article asks great questions and provides excellent statistics to evaluate whether or not enough beds are being added on the UNC campus and in dense housing developments around town to accommodate the increasing number of students entering the university each year. In essence, he is asking if we really do have a housing crisis.
The answer is yes, we do.
The crisis is not whether or not UNC and student-housing complexes have enough beds to accommodate the increasing enrollment. The crisis is that we are still converting single-family homes in our historic neighborhoods to student housing to meet the needs of our existing university population, which is diminishing the historic character of our community to serve a largely transient population.
Although Czajkowski’s numbers indicate that new housing is keeping up with increasing enrollment, it’s critical that Chapel Hill has enough dense housing to reverse some of the damage already done to our historic neighborhoods and promotes returning these altered structures back to single-family dwellings, which can then accommodate long-term residents or work-force housing.
Regardless of meeting the needs of the enrollment expansion, we have to find housing for those already here. Chapel Hill is known for its “village charm” – it’s time to not only prevent further damage to that feeling, but to restore the historic character that forms its foundation. Cheri Szcodronski Executive director Preservation Chapel Hill A huge mistake
Orange County is considering dismantling its rural recycling program. As a resident of unincorporated Orange County, I can say that would be a huge mistake.
Our recycling program now serves two-thirds of all rural Orange County households, more than 13,000 households. We have the highest waste-reduction rate in the state, generating 59 percent less waste per person than in 1991-92.
A conservative legal group, the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, has threatened to sue the county if it doesn't drop its mandatory recycling fee. The group says it's against state law even though the 3R fee was thoroughly vetted by legal counsel when it was adopted in 2004.
The Orange County Board of Commissioners should not cave in to pressure by the county manager to go to a voluntary recycling program that would be franchised to private haulers. At the March 7 Orange County Board of Commissioners meeting in Hillsborough, commissioners voted to consider options besides franchising at their April 9 meeting and at a public hearing April 23. There are plenty of options, but the county manager has jumped the gun in his fiscal year 2013 capital investment plan by assuming that the county will junk its very successful recycling program. Local residents should demand that no decisions be made before there's a full public hearing that will consider various options that include:
• The county attorney vigorously defending the right of the county to continue its 3R fee for rural Orange County residents;
• Setting up a recycling tax district (like a rural fire tax district) that will pay for costs associated with recycling.
Leaving recycling to a voluntary franchise system will not work. Economists know that having residents opt in to the system will cause a sharp drop in recycling participation. If that occurs, you can bet lots of paper, plastic and glass that was previously recyclable will end up in landfills, and our county's model program will be just a sad memory.
Residents can't let that happen. Write to your commissioners. Let them know that we want Orange County to continue to operate its model recycling program. Come to the April 9 and April 23 meetings and let your voices be heard.Tom Linden Chapel HillExtreme choices
Do Gov. McCrory and his colleagues see how uninviting they are rapidly re-making North Carolina? The state has made national news lately, but no longer as a progressive leader in the South, aspiring to diversity, universal access to education, welcoming visitors to its beauty.
National news reports now point to the extreme choices of Republican lawmakers, like the anti-gay marriage amendment, the defunding Planned Parenthood, and intrusion of big-money in the election rewarded with political appointments.
These were followed by the rapid decision to allow fracking despite growing evidence from other states of ground water and other environmental damage; denial of 500,000 North Carolinians of Medicaid health insurance, harming especially children and elders; budget cuts making our teachers the lowest paid in the country; cuts to struggling unemployed families; creeping privatization of public education by for-profit managed charter schools, and now discriminating against immigrant youth with a pink label on their drivers licenses. Then they plan to join the states that are making voting more difficult for citizens.
The governor can, if he will, shift the direction the state is taking, and lead us rather to become a place of opportunity, diversity, a caring community, and a sustainable environment.Nancy Milio Chapel Hill Don’t idle
For our Journey Award (a Cadette-level Girl Scout award) we did a presentation about car idling. We think this is an important topic people should be aware of, because it hurts the environment.
The exhaust from car idling can cause cancer and lung diseases. Idling your car for one minute takes as much gas as driving two miles. You should not idle if you are parked for more than ten seconds.
For more information you can go to http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/myths/idling.html.Girl Scout troop 1667 (Sarah Bukowski, Sarah Falkovic, Elizabeth Farmer, Sarah Jennings, Logan Martin, Makenna Meyer)Support offshore wind
There is tremendous potential for producing clean wind energy off of our coasts, especially here in North Carolina.
According to a report conducted by the Sierra Club, North Carolina has the most offshore wind potential of any Atlantic state, with the capacity of providing 58 GW or 130 percent of the state’s energy demands. However, the advancement of offshore wind still has a long road ahead if we plan on catching up to the progress in renewable energy in Europe. In fact, as of now, no projects have yet been built off U.S. shores.
Thankfully, leaders in the Congress have already introduced a bill "Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act" to jumpstart offshore wind projects. But as of today, neither of our U.S. senators has joined the charge to help make the promise of offshore wind a reality.
As a student at UNC Chapel Hill, I was pleased with Gov. McCrory’s recent public statement supporting offshore wind energy. I hope Sens. Burr and Hagan can follow his lead and co-sponsor this bill.Ting Ting Eeo Chapel Hill
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