Your letters, Oct. 13

October 11, 2013 

Project would take land for burial plots

Although the Town of Chapel Hill maintains four cemeteries, the only cemetery that still has available burial plots is Memorial Cemetery located between Legion Road and U.S. 15-501. At the current rate of use, there only remain available plots for another two to three years. The wooded area adjoining the current cemetery is part of the Cemetery Master Plan that will guide the development of burial plots for the foreseeable future.

Last week, the Town Council received a proposal from an out-of-town developer to obtain the full 10-acre site in the undeveloped cemetery area and build 140 units of affordable housing. Although the development of affordable housing is certainly laudable, there may be other land parcels that can be used for this purpose. There are no other viable parcels of land for future burial needs of Chapel Hill citizens if this parcel is removed from the Cemetery Master Plan.

Citizens who wish to be buried in Chapel Hill and do not have their burials plots should let their concerns be known to the Town Council. Once obligated for development, there will be no other land for future burial plots. Concerned citizens should act now or live with the reality that burials are no longer an option in Chapel Hill.

Steve Moore

The writer is the former chairman of the Chapel Hill Cemeteries Advisory Board.

1 in 4 women

One in four women will be the victim of domestic violence at some point in her lifetime, and, on average, three women are killed every day at the hands of a current or former intimate partner. In recognition of October as national Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Compass Center for Women and Families will raise awareness through a series of blogs and events.

It is important to discuss intimate partner violence in the public sphere. Though often believed to involve physical harm, the definition of domestic violence also includes emotional abuse by a person against a family member or intimate partner to gain and maintain power and control. An intimate partner may be a married or dating couple or joined in domestic partnership. According to Center for American Progress, domestic violence among same-sex couples occurs at similar rates as among straight couples.

This October, start a conversation about domestic violence. Many people who are abused feel as though they don’t have options and are not able to get out of the abusive relationship. Talking with a loved one or a domestic violence advocate will help them to believe that options may exist.

Compass Center offers domestic violence crisis services, including support groups and a 24-hour crisis hotline: 919-929-7122.We are here to listen and lend support. For more information, visit www.compassctr.org.

Ann J. Gerhardt

Compass Center for Women and Families

Smelling a rat

Linda Haac’s column (CHN, Sept. 29) leaves room for the inference that neighbors and vocal community workers on the Central West Steering Committee called Jim Ward a “rat.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am an 80-year-old who has lived in Coker Hills for 35 years and has had nothing to do with the Central West process except to take an appalled and outraged look at it from time to time, and it was an email of mine that is the source of Mr. Ward’s allegedly hurt feelings.

To someone else altogether, I wrote:

“Very interesting information, critical information, and let’s hope Mr. Ward responds to it. I did not know that consultants named these areas for development but am not at all surprised. The idea that ‘the Central West planning process is an outgrowth of listening to many CH citizens ...’ sounds phony on the face of it. Yes, I feel sure that ‘many CH residents’ actually means developers and consultants.

The novelist and critic Mary McCarthy once said that an intellectual is someone who can smell a rat. It’s a useful ability to have these days in Chapel Hill.”

Customarily, when you want to call someone a rat, you just out-and-out call him one. You don’t resort to the evasiveness of saying you smell one. Clearly, my email refers to a situation in Chapel Hill and not to Mr. Ward personally. Google “to smell a rat” and you get as a definition “to believe that something is wrong.” Something, not someone.

Patty Krebs

Chapel Hill

Reading classes

After reading Mary Carey’s column (CHN, Oct. 2), I felt it was necessary to clarify one point. While there are a tremendous number of economically disadvantaged kids in Chapel Hill and Carrboro struggling with reading, this problem impacts the middle and upper classes as well. The difference is that those families are filling local private schools that specialize in reading instruction. If your child can’t read but you can hire a tutor or pay $15,0000 a year, your child can read.

Susan Moore

Chapel Hill

A human right

I can hear the usual retort from far too many people to Mary Carey’s column “Illiteracy belongs to all of us” (CHN, Oct. 2). “If kids can’t read, it’s the parents’ fault.”

When will we decouple a child’s illiteracy and a child’s home life? There are many reasons a child’s home life may not support reading: (1) the parent can’t read, (2) the parent has limited English language skills, (3) the parent is working two jobs, (4) there is a disabled sibling at home who requires all of the parent’s time and attention, or (5) the parent is mentally ill or suffers with a chemical addiction.

Whatever the reason, it does not matter. We send our children to school for more than six hours a day, 180 days a year. During that time it should be possible to teach every child to read, even if the child’s home life can’t support the reading instruction. Literacy is a human right, and every child has the right to literacy.

So, please don’t let the “it’s the parents’ fault” naysayers hold any sway in our discussion on literacy. Every child has the right to learn to read regardless of his or her parentage.

JoAnna Barnes

Chapel Hill

‘Promising path’

Congratulations to the Orange County Board of Commissioners for bringing Morinaga America Foods, Inc. to our county.

Morinaga is a diversified confection and candy company based in Japan. The new Japanese industry in the Buckhorn Economic Development District will create up to 120 new jobs, a $3.4 million annual payroll and a $48 million capital investment for Orange County. Both the new jobs and the new revenue stream are most welcome.

This achievement is due to the commissioners’ investment in infrastructure in our EDDs, using revenues from the quarter-cent sales tax the citizens approved for economic development purposes. In addition, we have an excellent professional in Steve Brantley, who spearheaded a skillful, two-year recruitment process with Morinaga.

We are on a promising path, and I urge citizens to support the county’s economic development efforts.

D.R. Bryan

Chair, Orange County Economic Development Advisory Board

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