Saturday, October 31, 2009


I watched a program here in France about the relatively new Slow City movement as it is happening in one Turkish city. Is this something we should be considering for Southern Village and Chapel Hill? I don't mean joining this specific network necessarily or at all - but rather, adopting some of the ideas that are behind the movement, an offshoot of the Slow Food movement, also originating in Italy. Indeed, here is that piece and it happens to have been on the BBC, in English.

"Bringing Fresh Produce to the Corner Store" -

Friday, October 30, 2009

"Report Argues for a Decentralized System of Renewable Power Generation" - Green Inc. Blog -

Note the estimate here that NC could meet 28% of its energy needs with rooftop solar installations. The full report here says we can generate 8% of our need from ONshore windpower and 200% from offshore. It goes on to show land area required for the solar application (.49%) and then other figures for geothermal, etc.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"21st Annual RSVVP Day" - The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service

It's nice to see at least two - Merlion and Weaver Street Market - Southern Village eating spots participating in this program.

UNC library events

We are lucky to live within easy walking distance of UNC. Here are some upcoming events at the library there that might be of interest, and well worth the walk!

"Southern Historical Collection Book Series
Monday, November 2, 2009
Devin Fergus will speak about his book Liberalism, Black Power, and the Making of American Politics, 1965-1980.
5:00 pm Reception and exhibit viewing, Melba Remig Saltarelli Room, Wilson Library5:45 pm Talk, Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Gallery Talk - We Shall Not Be Moved
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
A gallery talk given by Holly Smith, lead curator of the exhibit We Shall Not Be Moved. Come hear more about the people, places, events, and themes represented in the exhibit.
2:00 pm Gallery talk, Melba Remig Saltarelli Room, Wilson Library
Ediciones Vigia, Handmade Books from Cuba
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
A talk by Linda S. Howe, Wake Forest University, as part of a month-long celebration of Cuba sponsored by the Institute for the Study of the Americas. For more information on the speaker and the event click here.
5:00-6:30 pm Lecture, Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
Archie Green Memorial Symposium
**Saturday, November 21, 2009 (please note date change)**
Symposium in honor of folklorist Archie Green. The event will include panel discussions, reminiscences, and performances. The Southern Folklife Collection is co-sponsoring this event with the American Studies Department. This event is free, but registration is required. For more information about the event and how to register click here.
9:00 am-5:00 pm Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
Comics and Graphic Novels
Saturday, November 21, 2009
A panel discussion hosted by the Rare Book Collection.
11:00 am-1:00 pm Rare Book Reading Room, Wilson Library
From the Living Writers course
Distinguished Visiting Writer - Andrea Barrett
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Andrea Barrett is the author of six novels, most recently The Air We Breathe, and two collections of short fiction, Ship Fever, which received the National Book Award, and Servants of the Map, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A MacArthur Fellow, she has also been a Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and has received Guggenheim and NEA fellowships. 5:30 pm University Room, Hyde Hall"

How much more expensive is or is not Weaver Street Market?

I wonder if anyone has tried to calculate what a week's worth of groceries for a family of 1-4 people might be if bought entirely at Weaver Street Market v. driving to whatever one considers to be the lowest price option, perhaps Food Lion or even COSTCO. In other words, if you bought everything you need for a week at Weaver Street Market and bought the same things at a perceived lower price competitor, what would the price difference be?

"Got Milk? Yes, at My Doorstep" - Cranky Consumer -

Is it possible to get milk delivered in Southern Village? Sure, that means potentially one more vehicle on the streets, but there are offsetting considerations. In any case, we shoudl all know if this service is available and then we can make our individual choices.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What are our schools doing to drive sustainable initiatives at home and in the community?

We have (as far as I know - having no children in any of them) three excellent schools serving Southern Village and its environs. They are Scroggs elementary, Culbreth middle, and Carrboro high.

Since much change is often driven from the young people of commuinties, I wonder what sustainability programs and projects are part of the school curriculum - or just available there - that might have, or could have, an impact on the community starting with the homes of the students? In other words, are kids coming home with projects to do that involve energy conservation, exercise, nutrition, etc? And what has been the experience with such initiatives if they exist? What are the schools open to consider by way of new efforts to help drive a more sustainable community through the active involvement of teachers and students?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Op-Ed Columnist - Changing the World -

This is an excellent column.

What Bob HERBERT says about politics and government in general applies specifically to environmental and sustainability issues related to life in and around Southern Village. It's worth reading it with that thought in mind.

"Obama putting $3.4B toward 'smart' power grid" - Future of Energy-

Here are the North Carolina projects on the list. It does not look like any will affect us in Southern Village, at least not directly?

"Duke Energy Carolinas LLC Charlotte, NC
Install 45 phasor measurement units in substations across the Carolinas and upgrade communications infrastructure and technology at the corporate control center.

Duke Energy Business Services LLC Charlotte, NC with addtl. benefits in IN and OHComprehensive grid modernization for Duke Energy’s Midwest electric system encompassing Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Includes installing open, interoperable, two-way communications networks, deploying smart meters for 1.4 million customers, automating advanced distribution applications, developing dynamic pricing programs, and supporting the deployment of plug-in electric vehicles.

Progress Energy Service Company, Raleigh, NC with addtl. benefits in SCBuild a green Smart Grid virtual power plant through conservation, efficiency and advanced load shaping technologies, including installation of over 160,000 meters across its multi-state service area."

UNC's "energy use policy"

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Police Cite 7,500 Drivers for Cellphone Use" - City Room Blog -

They surely ought to be equally illegal in NC, and in Southern Village especially.

"Rethinking Laundry in the 21st Century" - Room for Debate Blog -

Now, here's an answer to Southern Village's energy challenges - set up clotheslines in our front yards!

Orange Water And Sewer Authority

This is the current state of our water supply - about 70%.

"CEOs for Cities :: New Study Shows More Walkable Homes Are Worth More"

Sidewalks are a lot cheaper than roads, and we are very lucky that D.R. BRYAN developed Southern Village to have many more yards, perhaps miles, of sidewalks than we have roads!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Duke sets lofty goal on energy" - Local/State - News & Observer

What can Southern Village and its environs learn from the Duke plan, and how can we get a copy of the UNC plan and figure out how we could make ourselves part of that? Think for a moment about what a small amount of land separates Southern Village proper from UNC. Supppose we proposed to work with the people who live between us to make a much larger environmental improvement area?

"Will Smarter Roads Save Us More Money?" - Wheels Blog -

We have a lot of people who work for IBM in Southern Village and nearby. Couldn't they tell us more about this program in the context of Southern Village and its environs? What are the possible ways in which traffic could be improved in our community that would reduce its impact on the environment, enhance pedestrian and vehicle safety, and generally improve people's lives? Since IBM is doing so much on this, shouldn't we expect our neighbors there to explain this in terms that relate to our community?

Friday, October 23, 2009

"When Members Run Afoul of the Park Slope Food Coop" -

I wonder if all don't need to understand better the people who work at Weaver Street Market, both employees and volunteers?

"By Degrees - To Cut Global Warming, Swedes Study Their Plates" -

Could we work together with Weaver Street Market and the restaurants of Southern Village to deal with some of this????

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Florida may become first bagless state in nation" - Home/Garden - News & Observer

Why don't we talk with all of the merchants in Southern Village and do this now? Maybe there is a place for Southern Village shopping bags - the permanent kind?

"California - Plastic, Now Paper?" -

What more can we do to reduce the bags taken out of Southern Village stores by customers, and what we do to reduce the number of bags that Southern Village and environs customers bring home from stores elsewhere, or stuff that they get in the mail?

"Skin Deep - A Few Cookies a Day to Keep the Pounds Away?" -

Note the views of Southern Village resident Sue HOBBS, toward the end of the story.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Duke Energy and Utility Commission reach settlement on rate increase" - blogs

What a great opportunity this presents to people in Southern Village and environs to reduce their electricity consumption. Wouldn't a personal/household target of trying to reduce consumption enough to offset the price increase be a good one? For next year, that would be around a 4% decrease in electricity use and then a further decrease the following year of about the same. It seems reasonable and achievable to me. Who is willing to make their electric bills public for the past year and then continue to do so for next year?

"Business Travelers Take to Their Bikes" -

A lot of people who live in Southern Village travel a lot. What are some of the interesting stories about what they do when they travel to reduce their impact on the environment?

In my own case, I spend a lot of time in France. For many years, I would rent a car each time I came. But now when I am here alone, I seldom rent a car, or do so only for special events as I am doing for three days at the end of my current trip. I walk everywhere I can and use the bus and tram system, and take taxis only a few times a year.

What do others do when they travel to another locaiton for personal or business reasons?

"A New Recycling Strategy Is Catching On" -

It seems to me that there are a lot of things that we could do in Southern Village that would help us move in the same direction. For example, let's just take food waste that is compostable. My guess is that whatever that total amount is for Southern Village and its environs, including businesses, organizations and restaurants, that we are composting altogether perhaps 10% of the total - I bet it is closer to 5%.

If people do not want to compost at home, surely there is a portion of the community park or even one of our natural areas where we could set up compost containers for all to use, no?

Monday, October 19, 2009

"No Impact Week: Trash"

This is pretty neat. Anyone in Southern Village going to participate?

"The European Week for Waste Reduction" -

It might be interesting to see what a week's focus could do for solid waste in Southern Village? Here is how France is addressing the matter (in French), noting that the per person waste in France is 390 kg or a little over 800 pounds. That includes everything that gets tossed; compostable garbage represents more than 275 pounds of the 800. What are the numbers in Southern Village?

"Powering a Nation"

This is a project at the journalism school at UNC, just up the street. Wouldn't it be nice to figure out some way that Southern Village and its environs could "plug in" - could not resist - to this undertaking?

"The Ridge at Chukker Creek: Equestrian Community with Green Homes and Homesites in Aiken, SC" -

How close to Net Zero could Southern Village homes become, and what would it take in renovation to ge there?

"10 Simple Steps to a Green Home: More Healthy, Energy Efficient & Environmentally Friendly" -

One can never slice this important pie in too many different pieces!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Green Inc. Column - Local Assaults on the Global Climate Problem" -

Wouldn't it be wonderful, as is said, if Southern Village and its environs could announce at the end of 2010 that we had all done X things that had resulted on our reducing our negative impact on the environment by Y amount? Whose willing to commit to try? What are you willing to do, specifically, that you are not now doing or what are you prepared to stop doing that you are?

"‘No Impact Man,’ by Colin Beavan" - First Chapter -

I wonder if the Homeowners' Association "green" committee will get anyone to try this in Southern Village?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Scroggs information session?

There are some number of us who live in Southern Village and its environs who know about Scroggs school only through the children (of neighbors who attend) and their parents. I, for one, would love to attend a program at the school where the principal simply gives us non-parents of Scroggs kids a rundown on the current state of the school, issues, problems, accomplishments, profile, etc.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Localism: Fewer Americans are Relocating" - Newsweek Personal Finance -- Retirement -

This would be excellent background readin for a coffee chat in Southern Village sometime. As further background, it would be really interesting to to the research on how many homes in Southern Village and its environs have changed hand in recent years. One could separate out the new houses until they were sold, and then focus on the percentage of homes that turnover each year and see what those trends are.....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Orange Water And Sewer Authority

An update on our water supply.

"Reporter Resurrects Career - Buys His Own Paper" -

If 2,600 people in New Mexico can support two newspapers, more or less, is there not some hope that the 3,000 plus people who live in and around Southern Village might be able to do the same?

"Market street Association at Southern Village petition to Council"

I don't think I recall reading this earlier in the year.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

"Triangle fast-food restaurants go green" -

One of these is the Subway in Southern Village.

"Love Your Farmers Market Contest sponsored by and"

The Carrboro Farmers' Market finished 3rd.

"Mayoral Candidates Address Downtown Issues" - The Chapel Hill Magazine Blog - Chapel Hill Magazine

I sure am not impressed by what any of these candidates appear to have had to say. Where is the creativity? Where is the appreciation of how much taxes have increased? It strikes me that they are just touching hot buttons instead of getting inside the "machine" to fix what is wrong with downtown and with our tax bills.

"Kids Walk to School" - WCAX.COM

And in Southern Village?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

List of countries that ban cellphone use while driving

I am in France, and I am struck, as I look at drivers in vehicles that they do not use any portable devices. The fine for doing so seems to do the trick? How can we be so stupid in the US as to allow people to risk the lives of others and their own by such idiotic behavior as trying to drive while holding a phone to one's ear????

Friday, October 02, 2009

iBanknet - Harrington Bank, FSB

Another way to keep an eye on Harrington Bank.