Your letters, Aug. 14

August 13, 2013 

Remember the trees in stormwater rules

Recent flooding events have once again brought us in touch with our tenuous relationship with nature. As much as we plan for environmental threats, we will never be in control of them.

As the excellent column by Betsy Kempter (CHN, Aug. 11, bit.ly/15NS33B) suggests, our best bet is to adopt an approach to development that safeguards our town, homes, and water quality. In the long run, our much-focused upon economic bottom line will actually be adversely affected by ill-defined or loose regulations.

Ms. Kempter offers four recommendations for planning future growth while gauging the potential impacts of stormwater. Consider one more: the importance of trees. In addition to embodying a key aspect of the Chapel Hill “brand,” trees give us life support services. The trees in our environment are natural pumps. In one day, a large tree can lift up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air. Stormwater runoff is reduced by approximately 2 percent for every 5 percent of tree cover added to a community, Wow!

Trees also absorb carbon dioxide; one large tree alone can absorb 48 pounds per year and supply enough oxygen for two people. Obviously, the environmental value of our existing large trees quite exceeds those provided by four inch saplings planted in their place.

When our tree ordinance was written, it was supposed to be revisited and re-evaluated. Now that our land use management ordinances are being revised, tree protection must also be part of our stormwater management tool kits.

How we choose to grow as a town should embrace our responsibilities to the next generation. The town that we build is our legacy to the future. I know that I want my son to be proud of his home town because we cared enough to do it right.

Del Snow

Chapel Hill

Courageous coach

Dean Smith is known to all North Carolinians for his tremendous success as the coach of the Carolina men’s basketball team, but the Presidential Medal of Freedom recognizes that he has been far more than a coach to his players, his community, and his country.

Throughout his life, Coach Smith has shown courage and determination on some of the most pressing issues of our time, from working to end segregation in college athletics early in his career, to advocating for inclusion in church and community, to supporting equal rights for gay Americans. His beliefs have always been informed by his strong religious faith and his ability to bring out the best in his players and fellow citizens.

I have been honored to count him as a friend for many decades, and I look forward to celebrating this well-deserved award with him and his family.

U.S. Rep. David Price

Fourth District

Champion for justice

As one of the greatest coaches of the 20th century, Dean Smith revolutionized the game of basketball and brought enormous pride to North Carolina during his 36 years leading the Tar Heels.

But while he brought us glorious moments on the court, Dean Smith will forever be known for the sense of equality and justice that he instilled in his players and fought so hard to advance in basketball, in collegiate athletics and in the country as a whole. As a high school athlete, he successfully lobbied for the desegregation of the varsity basketball team, and after becoming the head coach at UNC, he brought the first African-American scholarship athlete to Chapel Hill, future NBA All-Star Charlie Scott.

Dean Smith has been a champion for justice his entire life. He taught us all to be a little braver and a little better. And this Presidential Medal of Freedom recognizes what we have long known: North Carolina and this country are a little braver and a little better because of Dean Smith.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan

Washington, D.C.

Ross’ absurd claim

Michael Ross, chairman of Voice For Israel, (CHN, Aug. 4, bit.ly/17AIrHu), criticized the Salaam-Shalom Bus Ad which encourages ending Military Aid to Israel, claiming, “The underlying message of the other ad was Israel doesn’t deserve to defend itself.” This claim is patently absurd for the following reasons:

How can legitimate self-defense be construed to include providing aggressive attack weapons such as fighter-bombers, attack helicopters, air to ground missiles, and some of the most powerful bombs in the world?

Israel’s consistent claim of “self-defense” should be questioned: In the great majority of cases, is Israel the attacked or the attacker; the defender or the aggressor; the pursued or the pursuer? Are most of the conflicts fought on Israeli territory or Palestinian territory? Does the grossly unbalanced proportionality of deaths, injuries, imprisonments, home demolitions, land confiscations, road blocks, and other human rights violations of Israeli and Palestinian civilians (including women and children) and otherwise violating international laws and U.N. resolutions speak of Israel’s self-defense? Does being the only nuclear-armed nation in the conflict speak of Israel’s self-defense? The examples could go on and on illustrating the absurdity of Israel claiming that it is only exercising its right to defend itself.

As intelligent and compassionate human beings, we should open our eyes to the truth that it is the Palestinians, rather than the Israelis who need to be most concerned about “self-defense” and the Palestinians are not receiving military aid.

Ted Shohfi

Chapel Hill

Whortan’s new post

It is my pleasure to announce that the Board of Directors of Chatham Habitat for Humanity unanimously voted to offer Jerry Whortan the position of executive director, based on the recommendation of our earch committee. To our great pleasure, Jerry accepted the board’s invitation and started fulfilling his duties on July 22.

We are honored to have a man of Jerry’s extensive qualifications to lead us into the future. The search committee did an outstanding job. We were blessed with several qualified candidates who met our criteria for leadership experience, strong community involvement, nonprofit organization effectiveness, passion for affordable housing, and in-depth knowledge of the needs of Chatham County. Mr. Whortan stood out from other potential candidates as an ideal fit for the organization.

As Jerry stated, “I am excited to take on this leadership position with Chatham Habitat for Humanity.”He and his family reside in Hillsborough. Jerry is committed to total immersion into the community and developing close ties with supporters, volunteers, homeowners, staff, church officials, and the local government and other agencies.

With this critical role filled, we enthusiastically continue to focus on building homes in partnership with those in need of safe, affordable housing. This is how we will help transform lives, improve neighborhoods, and strengthen the community. We ask for your continued partnership and for your support of Jerry during his orientation.

David Scott

President

Chatham Habitat for Humanity

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