Your letters, Sept. 4

September 2, 2013 

Marvelous replacement

We alumni, friends, neighbors and parents of the first children who will people Northside Elementary School, this fine green, technologically current replacement for the segregated Orange County Training School, (OCTS) were welcomed by a diverse representation of the alert, bright children whose potential will be nurtured under the guidance of Principal Cheryl Carnahan and home-borne, -bred, and -grown Assistant Principal Coretta Baldwin Sharpless and a diverse and obviously prepared and inspired exuberant faculty.

There were more than 100 of us there for an informative guided faculty tour.

What a marvelous replacement, a facility of which all in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) can be rightly proud. The attendees included President David Mason and Secretary Esphur Foster of the OCTS/Lincoln High School/Northside Alumni Association; Mr. R. D. Smith, former 24-year member of the Chapel Hill Town Council; and his wife, Mrs. Euzelle Smith both of whom had taught at OCTS.

Talk about history, two men together had given 40 years of their lives to public service to our community. Mr. R. D.’s 24 years along with the 16 years on the school board by Dr. Ted Parrish, a former OCTS student.

Just think of the history at the tour. For example, the writer and many other bright black students had been taught well by the faculty at OCTS, not something that the education leaders in the segregated South would have expected from students at misnamed “training” schools. How many of these students were able to earn educational advancements as far as their cognitive talents permitted them to go? Take the writer who completed his under graduate education at an Ivy League School, his advanced degrees in Boston, Mass., and his doctorate at our own flagship UNC. The Aug. 20 event could have been enlightening for the local residents, a few of whom may question the locating of such a fine school in Northside, a historically black neighborhood.

We regret that the press was not there. Mrs. Charley Foster Norwood, Class of 1959, pointed out to one of the faculty that there was no press. She apologized and promised Charley and her sister, Esphur, that the next time there was a historic event involving our alumni, the press would be invited, too.

Ted Parrish

OCTS Class of 1953

Esphur Foster

Lincoln High School Class of 1957

Charley Foster Norwood

Lincoln High School Class of 1959

Estranged relations

I am a strong advocate for gay rights, but I have two reasons for feeling that Mayor Kleinschmidt and Councilman Storrow’s plans to sever Chapel Hill’s relationship with its Russian sister city, Saratov, is wrong (CHN, Aug. 23, bit.ly/187PgSq).

First, if the relationship has been dormant for some time, do we have any idea how the city officials feel about Putin’s anti-homosexuality laws? Kleinschmidt is a gay mayor in a state whose only constitutional amendment was written specifically to assign homosexuals a second-tier citizenship with less rights than the rest of us. He can surely understand that Putin’s values are not necessarily the values of all Russian municipalities.

Second, I’m sure that when Chapel Hill entered the Sister Cities program it was to share values and cultures with people whose beliefs differ from our own. Maybe we can’t, as Mayor Kleinschmidt says, “teach Russia anything on this issue at this point,” but he hardly knows what all Russians think, and if we sever ties, he’ll never find out. Walking away from Saratov won’t make Russians more tolerant any more than a straight man disowning his gay son will make his son straight.

Don’t turn your back on Saratovians based on assumptions. Open dialogue with our long-estranged sister city and see what comes.

Brandon C. L. Rector

Chapel Hill

Beloved books

Thank you, Robert Wallace, so much for your beautiful essay (“Ourselves among books,” Aug. 20, bit.ly/19QCB8A). It evoked such memories for me.

I remember packing up all of my books – maybe close to 1,000 or more – for our move from Rhode Island to Fearrington eight years ago. Yes, there were some that I gave away and held close for a moment before sending them on. I learned that a liquor box of books weighs between 25 and 30 pounds. So, I bought a “hand truck” and could move three boxes at a time to the garage before we moved.

I have loved arranging and rearranging them so that there is a sense of order, of place. Just sitting in our den and gazing over the titles can give me a feeling of being centered. And, I know when one is missing or in different spot.

Many, if not a slight majority, are reference books. I am a singer and teach voice so that “family” is in the room where the piano is. Then there are the colorful collections of all things pertaining to nature: frogs, dragonflies, seashells, stars, a first edition of The World We Live In from the Life magazine series back in the 1950s, still fascinating.

I remember the FIRST time I read these books and, for many of them, numerous return visits. Some are important for they were gifts from someone special. And, I also have discovered treasures within the pages having used birthday cards from my mother as bookmarks. Now that she is gone and I come across one it is as though she were saying “Hi!”

I could go on but will simply again, thank you for your most sensitive and relevant sharing. It is very special.

Pamela Stewart

Pittsboro

One-sided policy

Ken Weiss’s commentary is full of errors; I’ll pick a few.

He calls for “more compromise so that both sides may live in peace”, but Israel does everything it can to not come to the table. Formerly when peace talks threatened, it chose to attack targets in Palestinian cities, killing innocent bystanders, claiming the targets were terrorists. Just now it has announced 1,500 new apartments will be built on Palestinian land and it raided a refugee camp killing three Palestinians and injuring fifteen more. This is not being a peace partner. Israel doesn’t want peace, it wants to keep stealing Palestinians’ land.

Mr. Weiss compares our aid to Israel to our aid to Egypt and Pakistan and Iraq. Egypt and Pakistan and Iraq are important to our security, and we need to have influence there. Israel is not, and our one-sided Middle Eastern policy for Israel hurts our relations with all other countries there. He calls Israel our friend, but friends help each other. We help Israel constantly, but Israel thumbs its nose at us. It is no friend and, to the Arabs living in it, no democracy.

The U.S. wears Israel like an anchor on a chain due to the powerful Israeli lobby, and we can’t afford it any more. We often hear Israel is a thriving, vibrant land. We are not. Let it finance itself while we finance ourselves and meet our needs.

Neil Stahl

Chapel Hill

Discriminatory cut

In this past Tuesday’s Finance Committee Meeting (Aug. 27), the UNC College Republicans presented a request that would have drawn students from diverse intellectual backgrounds to a debate on issues relevant to ongoing campus discussions.

Specifically, we wanted to bring Ann McElhinney for environmental issues and Katie Pavlich for gun control issues.

Both speakers enjoy debate and participation from students with differing ideas. What’s more, the total cost of the speakers was significantly lower than the amount that was allocated to the College Republicans last year (to the tune of about $4,000).

Unfortunately, the Finance Committee took it upon themselves to cut our request more than 12.5 times the median cut from other groups. The cut now a little under 25 percent of what was allocated last time we were before Student Congress, and, on a per semester basis, it is about a 51 percent drop.

Last year, there were talks about discrimination in Student Congress against a pro-gun group on campus.

Well, a 75 percent cut from last year that is 12.5 times more than the median cut leaves no doubt: This finance committee has no interest in intellectual diversity or debate whatsoever!

Peter McClelland

Chair

UNC College Republicans

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