Your letters, Aug. 4: Speeding, shouting and a bad mistake

August 2, 2013 

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What can we do about speeders?

I share Catherine Wright’s concerns about the rules of the road (CHN, July 28, Rude, risky driving now seems almost the norm.

The route I go on nearly every day takes me past the Chapel Hill Police department. Though the posted speed limit is 35 mph, cars zip by at well over 45 going down the hill toward the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Umstead/Hillsborough.

When I turn onto two-lane Hillsborough Street, the speed limit drops to 25 mph. But these days I see cars accelerating around the curve at the base of the hill that leads to Rosemary Street. One time, when I was going a little over 30 mph up that hill, a car going quite a bit faster passed me.

From Rosemary Street, I turn onto Boundary Street, at a four-way intersection where many drivers ignore the stop signs. (All around town, disregarding a stop sign appears to be the way to proceed.)

It’s at the intersection of Boundary and Franklin streets where I encounter the most dangerous driving. I was once broadsided there by a car coming from West Franklin that went through a red light. Now several times a week, when I’m on Boundary waiting for a green light, I see cars from either direction of Franklin speeding through just-changed red lights.

If the police won’t inhibit speeders on their own doorstep, they too must think the rules of the road can be shrugged at.

Paul Betz

Chapel Hill

Stop shouting

Several of my friends walk on canes and use walkers to keep their balance. I have a similar need and walk with two canes after a bad fall two summers ago in my back garden.

Why is it once you use a device to help your balance or ride in a wheel chair that people you meet feel there is something the matter with your brains and your hearing? They begin to shout at you and address their remarks to other non-cane users.

They must think that acquiring a cane reduces ones hearing and understanding of what is said. This is not true. Most cane users have perfectly good brains and ears. To be shouted at only causes older people to hear less. It’s very uncomfortable if one uses a hearing aid. The sounds of language become noise. It does not help understanding. It obstructs it.

Just because one uses a wheelchair or a cane does not reduce his brainpower. Consideration of one’s presence and one’s intelligence is not only kindness, but it shows the person that he is a recognized and an esteemed member of society. Otherwise he feels hurt and isolated by unthinking people with bad manners.

Ariana Mangum

Chapel Hill

Reverend photo op

It seems Rev. Barber likes getting his picture taken. There he was in Chapel Hill on Sunday, June 2, protesting in front of the UNC statue honoring over 300 UNC alumni killed in the Civil War. Next, on Monday, June 3, he was seen leading his followers in an illegal march on the N. C. General Assembly.

In lieu of the above, why doesn’t he protest against Duke Power and Electro Cities for charging poverty-stricken residents in Eastern North Carolina up to 40 percent more for their electric bills?

James Cheatham

Chapel Hill

Thank you, Dems

Dear North Carolina House and Senate Democrats,

Thank you for your anguished service this past legislative session.

We had no idea when we voted for you that we would be sending you to a circus of bed bugs, who bit us all under the cloak of darkness, and hid behind lies in the glare of light.

How many showers and how much detoxing will you need to feel clean again after so many hours of being held down under their greed-based pillaging of our rights?

You are our champions for showing up day-after-day. We continue to stand with you.

Rest up and when you return we will all be ready for the next round.

Ellen Perry


Holder’s actions

In response to the story “No Death Penalty for Leaker” (N&O, July 27) here’s my response to Attorney General Eric Holder.

Dear Mr. Holder, I read that you promised not to seek the death penalty for Edward Snowden if Russia sends him back. I would love to believe what you say, but sadly past performance says otherwise.

The shameful, if not illegal treatment of Bradley Manning, held in solitary confinement and denied humane treatment, and legal counsel for many months. And the Guantanamo prisoners, held in isolation cells and force fed, including the 86 men who were cleared of all charges and ready for release.

Your actions, Mr. Holder lead me to believe that you are obsessed with homeland security and a war on terror that President Obama claimed is “over.” You appear to be engaging in a “war” on all freedom of information by asserting your need to spy on communications of Americans. This bodes bad for democracy.

Ruth Zalph

Chapel Hill

A bad mistake

Over a decade ago a nice young woman used to train her dog for search and rescue in a meadow near us. Her name was Deb Cunningham. Even then she was trying to use her love of dogs to help others.

Soon after that Ms. Cunningham went to California for an intense nine-month course to teach people to train service dogs. Soon after she returned Ear, Eyes, Nose and Paws became a nonprofit business and she and her partner dedicated themselves to the work which would prove so rewarding for them and our community.

During the six years EENP has been in business they have enlisted the help of numerous enthusiastic puppy parents whom Ms. Cunningham has supervised during the 18 or so months before the dogs graduated as full-fledged service dogs and were handed over to people who needed their help. Some of the dogs were trained to alert diabetics when they had problems with sugar levels, before the owners themselves knew it. Seeming miracles happened when dogs were placed with young girls who were prone to seizures and the dogs were able to detect the coming of a seizure before it happened, as well as give comfort to its owner as it occurred. It began to seem as if there were many more possibilities for the dogs than anyone had predicted and the future of EENP looked so hopeful.

Recently , there was a tragic occurrence at the office of EENP when Ms. Cunningham put a dog in her car where it stayed for two hours when it seemed that it was not a hot day. The dog died the next day. Everyone connected with the organization was devastated by this loss , but surely no one more than Ms. Cunningham. She was charged with cruelty to animals. This is a woman who had devoted her life to training dogs. Do I think she could have ever been intentionally cruel to a dog in her care? NEVER.

Ms. Cunningham made a bad mistake but do I think it should negate all the good she has done with her expertise? NO.

Betsy Fenhagen

Chapel Hill

Support senior wellness center

For many older adults of our community, the Seymour Senior Center is a dream come true. It provides a wide variety of activities and programs vital to seniors.

One of the most popular and heavily attended of its programs is that which involves the wellness facility – one of the finest state-of-the art facilities you will find anywhere.

Seniors on fixed incomes can ill-afford to join the fancy health clubs and spas that proliferate in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Frankly, the Seymour Center is their only option and it’s truly a lifesaver. Health professions have long been telling us that regular daily exercise and proper diet can actually increase longevity.

So you can understand my disbelief to learn that the United Way had denied the Seymour Center its request to renew funding for the wellness program in 2013 – after 11 consecutive years of support.

Experiencing rapid growth and increased enrollment, the Seymour Center wellness program has never had a greater need for this support than right now.

What could the decision makers at the United Way be thinking when they slashed $8,000 in funding for the Seymour Senior Center wellness program? I guess I will never know.

Since the decision has already been made, I don’t suppose the United Way could be persuaded to reverse its actions. I would, therefore, encourage United Way donors to specify that their contributions be directed to the Seymour Center wellness program exclusively.

Angie Lerner

Chapel Hill

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