Your letters, June 16

June 15, 2013 

Let’s compost!

Recently I visited my son and family in Portland, Ore., one of the greenest cities in the USA. I saw there something that we could adopt in Chapel Hill to our benefit. Called Portland Composts!, it is an innovation that leads to a more sustainable community with a simple, practical solution.

Portland offers its citizens a small kitchen compost container – something like a nicely designed breadbox – which can be put in a convenient place in your kitchen; when full, you transfer the contents to a green compost roll-out bin (like our trash bins). Instructions tell you what to put into your compost container: table scraps of all kinds, including meat and bones, coffee grounds, filters, tea bags, paper napkins, yard debris, flowers, plant clippings – and what to keep out – plastic bags, fast food wrappers, cups and cartons, Styrofoam, corks, etc.

Food scraps account for almost 30,000 tons of unnecessary garbage every year. The scraps can go to commercial composting facilities that break down the organic matter, and the city prospers from the sale. Compost from these businesses is sold to landscapers and agricultural users.

Further information and illustrated instructions are at portlandorregon.gov/bps/article/402972/. Is there any reason Chapel Hill can’t lead our state toward a sustainable community? Don’t let your garbage go to waste!

Sandra Eisdorfer

Chapel Hill

A slap in the face

I commend Walter Mack, president of the Seymour Center, for objecting to the electric-car charging stations installed in the parking lot there (“Move Charging Stations,” CHN, May 19). The stations have reduced the lot’s capacity and have stolen prime spaces close in beside the building from the elderly who need them. I can’t imagine whose idea this was.

The center’s parking lot was inadequate from the day it was built. Staff exacerbates the problem by scheduling meetings in the auditorium during hours the lot is needed for regular users. Folks arriving for classes have nowhere to park except to spill over into the Health Department’s lot up on top of the hill – which is sometimes already full, and is always a difficult walk for many seniors.

Furthermore, the center allows its lot to be park-and-ride for seniors gathering for off-campus excursions. Another location needs to be arranged for this. Be it a day-tour or two weeks in Europe, there needs another place for tour-groups’ cars so other folks have access to parking for the regular programs on site at the center.

The charging stations are a slap-in-the-face when they add to an already-existing problem!

Marie Pauwels

Chapel Hill

Sad distinction

Did you know that North Carolina has the sad distinction of being ranked 48th in the nation in both per-pupil spending and teacher salary? We must do better for our kids and community; full funding by the Orange County commissioners for the CHCCS district’s budget would be a move in the right direction.

The Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools district has submitted a responsible budget that requires an increase in the local per-pupil expenditure. In addition to opening a much-needed elementary school, this increase would provide additional funding to reduce class sizes that have exploded to 30 students in some fourth and fifth grades. We are now at a tipping point and must spend more locally to protect the integrity of our school systems. Programs and staff will be cut if this budget does not pass.

We must act now because the county manager’s recommended budget unwisely does not account for the needs of our students and school system.

Orange County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state and we can afford to responsibly fund our schools. What we cannot afford is another year of program cuts that hurt kids and undermine the education system that draws businesses to our county and jobs for our citizens.

I support education and full funding for the CHCCS budget.

Virginia Gilbert

Chapel Hill

Lessons learned

Last Saturday, 375 East Chapel Hill High School graduates received their diplomas at the commencement ceremony at the Smith Dome. Twenty-two graduates had a chance to speak in front of an audience of fellow students, teachers, staff, parents and friends.

While all speeches added insights into the 13 years of schooling these students were now leaving behind, no one made an impression more poignant than a young man who had endured suffering beyond what most of us can imagine – brain injury, cancer and a house fire – Michael Arneson.

His advice stood out as lessons learned more important than any of the ones the students could possibly have learned in a classroom. His speech made an impact out of the ordinary and I commend him for taking this opportunity to share with his fellow students, and the rest of us the audience, how setbacks should be dealt with. With maturity and grace, he gave us a gift that we can all use to make our lives more productive.

While often referred to, his words of not looking back and letting past errors define our future and to view at the world as half-full instead of half-empty, were made meaningful to everyone who listened. He added a practical advice as well; buy good insurance!

On behalf of those who received his advice. I would like to thank this impressive young man, Michael Arneson. May your life indeed be more than half-full, may it instead brim over with happiness.

Anne Haig

Chapel Hill

Bogus argument

You must have really liked the letter from the ACLU because you published it in both the N&O and The Chapel Hill News (“Not religious freedom,” May 29, bit.ly/11piE5I). It is not hard to see why since the letter pushes a viewpoint directly in accord with that of the Obama administration that if you do not pay for women’s contraceptive coverage you are somehow “restricting their reproductive health options.”

This of course is completely bogus. What is to stop women from paying for their own contraceptives. And why should an employer be REQUIRED to pay for them for her? The other alternative is that a woman could go work for someone else who does pay for contraceptives.

I think working out at the gym is good for my health. My health insurance does not pay for my gym membership, so I pay for it my self. I don’t run around saying that they are restricting my cardiovascular health options.

Vincent M. DiSandro Sr.

Hillsborough

How convenient

Kudos to the person who wrote in regarding well-known restaurants making their home off of 15-501 south now that the Wal-Mart is just around the corner from their grand opening. Chatham County should be considering any number of wonderful restaurant chains coming south of Chapel Hill to make their fortune.

And, how convenient for anyone traveling south to stop to either eat or pick up food on their way home.

Mary Mahan

Orange County

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