Roses and Raspberries, Nov. 27

November 26, 2013 

Raspberries to Orange County’s elected leaders for dragging their heels on compensating Rogers Road area residents for living next to the landfill for 40 years.

Officials from the towns and county got together to talk about a remediation plan for the umpteenth time last week. And while it looked like the county and town officials might be closing in on a plan to bring sewer lines to the historically black, low-income community, the meeting quickly fell apart. Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton, whose board has put money on the table, and Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, whose council thinks it’s not enough, got downright testy.

Different plans would make local governments pay different amounts. In these cash-strapped day, we understand each side lobbying for what it sees as fair. The thing is, talking – and talking – about what’s fair for local governments keeps those same governments from acting on fairness for the neighbors, who’ve put up with stench, buzzards and illegal dumping for decades.

We understand, too, that there are legal restrictions on how local governments spend taxpayer money. But if local government leaders can’t settle this, let’s put it to a vote of local residents in a bond referendum. We would hope those who’ve enjoyed the convenience of having a landfill down the road would be willing to compensate those who’ve put up with the inconvenience of having it next door.

Roses from readers Sue Scope and Bing Roenigk to Todd LoFrese, assistant superintendent of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, for eliminating polystyrene trays from school lunchrooms.

Polystyrene is considered a possible carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration, and when heated, poses a chemical danger to humans. In addition, polystyrene is not compostable and does not biodegrade.

“When parents approached Todd and requested that the trays be replaced with something more suitable for our children and teachers, he was enthusiastic, suggesting a pilot project be tried at Morris Grove Elementary School,” Scope and Roenigk wrote. “This effort evolved from removing polystyrene trays within the school lunchroom to a look at all of the issues surrounding the trash cycle in the school system. Over time, we had the support of several parents and teachers, the Morris Grove Principal, the Orange County Waste Management staff, the food service company, and many others.

“Thanks to Todd’s leadership, the entire school system has converted to compostable trays, becoming the first school district in North Carolina to do so! With his example, we hope that other schools in North Carolina will take a look at the risks of polystyrene and the healthy alternatives now available.”

Roses to the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties for raising more than $16,000 at its 16th annual scholarship auction hosted by ProBuild on Nov. 19 in Chapel Hill.

Doug Davis of Doug Davis Realty & Auction Co. served as the auctioneer. All the proceeds of this event will fund $1,000 scholarships to local high school seniors for their continuing education.

Since 1996, the association has awarded more than 199 scholarships, totaling over $178,500. Students wanting to apply for a Spring 2014 scholarship may submit their application by March 7. For more information, call 919-493-8899 or go to hbadoc.com.

Roses from reader Caroline Pringle to the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service for helping more families enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.

Last year, the IFC raised enough money to buy holiday meals for 475 families, executive director John Dorward said. This year, they only had enough money for 400 families, although many more showed up. Still, no one had to be turned away, because of leftover Food Lion gift cards donated during the most recent government shutdown. The cards, from the Food Bank of North Carolina and the IFC Food Shuttle, will feed at least 30 more families.

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