United Way Cutbacks

The United Way of the Greater Triangle supports a plethora of worthwhile non-profit charitable organizations in Orange and Durham Counties. But its decision to pull the rug out from funding of the Seymour Senior Center wellness program was both unwise and misguided.

Regrettably, it will result in unintended consequences and cause needless hardship to the older adults of our community.

The United Way’s decision comes as a shock to the many senior citizens of Chapel Hill and Carrboro who have relied upon free access to the use the fitness facility. In addition, the machines used by seniors to monitor their blood pressure also may be eliminated.

For more than a decade, the United Way has seen fit to fund the vital Chapel Hill Senior Center wellness program. Why then has the United Way suddenly turned its back on the senior citizens of our community?

In its letter of rejection, the United Way suggested the Seymour Center should focus more on other services to help seniors live independently, rather than fitness alone. Perhaps there’s something missing here in their understanding of just what programs are offered at the senior center.

What better way to help seniors live more independently than to keep them physically fit? In addition to the wellness programs, the Seymour Center offers a wide variety of services to enable seniors to stay healthy and mentally alert.

To mention just a few of these activities, the Seymour Center provides classes on mobility, balance and falls prevention , diabetes management, hearing screenings, aerobics, resistance exercises, personal trainer sessions, strength training, tai chi, nutrition, physical function screening , and more — much more. The Friends of the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center is grateful for the United Way’s support of the Center’s Wellness programs over more than a decade, but we can’t help but feel they have let down the older adults of our community in 2013.


Fracking will affect air & water quality in the Triangle

Triangle residents may not realize that fracking areas run through Wake, Durham, Chatham, Orange, and Lee counties, affecting the water supply of 2.4 million people.  This map shows watersheds and fracking areas (slide 2 at this link).

North Carolina has the least separation between water and natural gas layers of rock, where fracking fluids could irreversibly pollute the water supply.  Some fracking fluids contain 93 times more benzene than diesel.   ProPublica identified 1,000+ documented cases of water contamination nationwide near fracking sites prior to 2009.   In Houston, there is more air pollution from fracking than cars!  A Texas hospital reported asthma rates 3x higher than the state average in counties with drilling sites, with one-quarter of children having asthma.  A new shale health office has opened in Pennsylvania.  For 387 mostly temporary jobs and a five year supply of low-priced natural gas in NC, the current legislature is willing to sell out our air and water quality.

I am afraid we will open a Pandora’s Box if we allow fracking in our state. Health problems seen at the new shale health clinic in PA are suspiciously similar to those that caused the mayor of Dish, TX to move out of his own town where he allowed fracking – the severe nosebleeds of his kids. All the different Ethyl Methyl Deathyl chemicals fracking puts into the air are not a happy addition to our already ozone-polluted air in NC. The industry will have jurisdiction over municipalities on this, where municipalities have no control. Our watersheds are exactly where the shale rock is located.

If other states have not been able to make fracking work without creating health problems, what makes us think it can be done safely in ours?

Governor Perdue’s veto early this week is the only thing that can stop this.

What are your thoughts? Is North Carolina different from PA and TX? Is Governor Perdue going to make the right decision? Let us know in the Comments below.


Light rail for chapel hill is still a long way off

The long awaited $1.4 Billion light rail transit line project that will span Chapel Hill and Durham is finally getting underway. But it could be another decade before the first rail is laid.

That’s what came out of the first standing room only public hearing with officials of Orange and Durham Counties on the proposed 17 mile transit system. The huge undertaking promises to ease congestion on the North Carolina 54/I-40 traffic corridor.

Currently on the drawing board are two possible routes dubbed C1 and C2. The C1 alignment would cut a swath through the heart of the upscale Meadowmont community.

That route has drawn the wrath of some Meadowmont residents who claim it would pose safety hazards, create noise and cause severe damage to the pristine nearby wetlands which is a habitat for rare birds and wildlife.

More costly than C1 by $30 Million, Route C2, a so-called preferred route, would avoid Meadowmont by hugging Route 54, then crossing over to follow a track roughly parallel to Farrington Road and Interstate 40. But environmentals want the line to parallel U.S. 15-501 then veer south to follow Interstate 40 and N.C. 54 to Chapel Hill. That would protect New Hope Creek and the wetlands near Jordan Lake.

So obviously there is much disagreement about the alignment, and it’s a long way from being settled. Environmental studies must be undertaken and a request for scarce federal funding for the project still needs to be submitted and approved.

In the distant future and well beyond my lifetime, hopefully a network of light rail lines will connect all of North Carolina’s cities and towns, and ultimately wean us from our addiction to oil. We can dream, can’t we?


Why to Consider Building A New Home In Todays Market

In this short video, Nick Tennyson, Executive Director of the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties outlines why building a new home rather buying an existing home is well worth considering. 


Triangle Restaurant Week

Triangle Restaurant Week (TRW) launches today with over 70 restaurants participating in Wake, Durham, Orange and Chatham counties. Sure you could drive those nine utterly un-scenic miles to check out the participating locations in Durham (groan) or see what’s on offer in Raleigh and spend more money on gas than your dinner bill. But let’s face it, you’d enjoy that bottle of wine so much more if home was just a couple miles down the road. Chapelboro residents have 8 options worth a little exploration this week. 

Carolina Brewery – Chapel Hill, $15 lunch menu & $20 dinner menu
Carolina Crossroads at the Carolina Inn – Chapel Hill,  $30 dinner menu
Il Palio Ristorante – Chapel Hill, $30 dinner menu
Jujube – Chapel Hill, $15 lunch menu & $30 dinner menu
One Restaurant – Chapel Hill, $30 dinner menu
Shula’s 347 Grill at the Sheraton – Chapel Hill, $30 dinner menu
Tyler’s Taproom – Carrboro, $20 dinner menu
Weathervane – Chapel Hill, $30 dinner menu
The deets:
Triangle Restaurant Week lasts from June 6-12. Participating restaurants will offer a three-course, fixed price lunch ($15) or dinner ($20 or $30 depending on the restaurant); not all restaurants are participating in both lunch or dinner so be sure to call ahead. In some cases the TRW website lists the available menu selections, so be sure to check out the Triangle Restaurant Week site before making your selection, some menus are more compelling than others. No coupons necessary, but diners are encouraged to call restaurants in advance for guaranteed seating.