Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Street lights

I love our street lights in Southern Village and nearby. In fact, I wish we had twice as many, or even more. It's a long, dark distance between too many of them.

That said, I wonder if the lights are either compact fluorescent of LED or some comparable technology?

And how much does it cost to keep them lit for a year?

I think we should at least know the answers to those two questions.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Merlion Restaurant

I thought I would simply call attention to some of the websites for people and organizations in or near Southern Village. When I have time, I may add a little commentary....


I think it is wonderful to see money contributed to the Ronald McDonald House. That's what the light-a-luminary effort says it is designed to do and money has indeed been contributed from Southern Village and vicinity.

We got a mailing from the project a week or so ago, and I wonder if spending the 44 cents on a letter to all (I am assuming this went to everyone) is the best way to make the largest contribution. Imagine, instead, that this became a project to see how much we could raise in Southern Village and environs for the House without spending money on mailings and without the fleeting but time consuming exercise of lighting a bunch of candles.

It seems to me that the focus ought to be on raising money instead of lighting candles.

Leaf composting

Why would anyone who lives in or near Southern Village want to put their leaves out at the curb for pickup by the town or county? Why not compost all of them and then spread the resulting compost in your yards in a month or two? What's so difficult about that?

I was amazed today in walking around Southern Village to see the number of homes with leaves piled in front. It's worth making a picture album with each house identified so we can talk more about this.

"Welcome to NC54-I40 Corridor Study"

I'd hazard a guess that everyone who lives or works in Southern Village, or nearby, has a stake in this.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nature trail and frisbees

I tested out the "nature trail" today, so marked on the Fan Branch Trail behind Scroggs School. It was not clear where it went, but I walked along encountering a number of the frisbee baskets, for whatever that game is called. What I did not encounter was anyone playing this game.

Do we have a map of the "trail" anywhere?

Why do we have the frisbee course if no one uses it? Or am I missing the frisbee rush hour somehow?

Hello and Bonjour

I divide my professional and personal time between Southern Village and a quartier of Nice in France called Mont Boron.

The similarities and differences continue to fascinate me.

One of the notable differences, however, seems to be lessening.

In France, as I walk about our hilltop, covered with pines and wild olive trees, I pass a few more - but not many more - people than I pass out walking the sidewalks of Southern Village. When I say hello to someone in France, the reaction is often one of being startled as I do not know the person. Recently, my sense is that this has changed. On my last trip, people seemed to go out of their way to say hello. I don't want to overstate this; most did not, but a few really seemed determined to make the effort to exchange a bonjour.

When we moved to Southern Village ten years ago, we were struck by how friendly people seemed to be...both the native North Carolinians and those of us who had moved to town. Recently, my sense here, too, is that things are changing. When I was out for a walk yesterday and today, one couple - whom I know - barely said hello as I greeted them by name. Several whom I passed seemed not to respond at all to my hi or hello. And most simply mumbled in response. Only a few seemed to be uttering a very friendly response.

So, bravo for France, and less so for Southern Village.

"Driven to Distraction - A High-Tech Nanny to Cut Off Cellphones" - Series - NYTimes.com

What a great notion - disabling the driver's cellphone when behind the wheel and driving! If the jerks who talk on phones and drive cannot be convinced to change their habits, this is a great way to protect the rest of us.

"Op-Ed Columnist - What Makes Cities Live" - NYTimes.com

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Town of Chapel Hill North Carolina Executive Summary"

The Morgan Creek Trail project....set for action Monday night.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Editorial Observer - Individualism, Identity and Bicycles in Northern California" - NYTimes.com

And in Southern Village?

Reusable bags

I just added my vote to a poll on the CVS site. The results appear below and I wonder if the numbers are much different for the CVS on 15-501?

"Do you shop with a reusable bag at CVS/Pharmacy?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Speed display?

I was just driving through a town here in France that has erected a permanent device - not very big - on a lamp pole that tells drivers how fast they are going. We see this in NC from time to time, but it is usually only temporary and usually quite large and obtrusive.

Imagine if we could pick the road in Southern Village where there seems to be the most speeding, and erect such a device - with the Town's permission of course? As I watched cars pass this device here in France, almost all of them slowed down.

Monday, November 09, 2009

"Transportation For America » Dangerous By Design: Most Dangerous Large Metro Areas for Pedestrians"

Has any pedestrian died in Southern Village in a traffic accident? Note the ranking of Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area. I think we are in a Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan area but I cannot find anything online that gives a map of the two metropolitan .... or one or the other.


Southern Village was built at the cost of thousands of trees. So, too, the widening of 15-501, and the Southern Community Park.

How about we now take a tree census? Yes, let's count all of the trees in Southern Village and some defined set of environs and then keep track. If one or many come down for some reason, let's look for ways to replace thenm somewhere else.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Chapel Hill Beat | Crime

"The Backlash Against Cyclists" - Bay Area Blog - NYTimes.com

How do we get cyclists in Chapel Hill to obey traffic rules? That includes stopping when you get to one of those red signs so indicating!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

"OWASA seeks comments on November 11th regarding draft Update of Long-Range Water Supply Plan"

"NEWS RELEASE November 5, 2009

OWASA invites all customers to participate in a Community Meeting on Wednesday night, November 11th regarding the draft Update of our Long-Range Water Supply Plan.

The meeting will begin at 7 PM; will be held in the Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard; and will be televised on local cable channel 18.

OWASA staff drafted the update in light of the severe droughts in 2001-02 and 2007-08 and significant reductions in water demand in recent years. Key items in the draft update include:

· OWASA’S existing Cane Creek/University Lake/Quarry Reservoir system can meet the community’s needs substantially further into the future than previously thought.

· Expansion of the Quarry Reservoir west of Carrboro continues to offer the most cost-effective increment of additional supply and will provide full control of a substantial amount of high quality water with minimal capital investment. An expanded Quarry Reservoir is expected to meet most anticipated water supply needs for the 50-year planning period.

· OWASA should develop agreements with neighboring utilities to secure the permanent ability to purchase or sell water under appropriate conditions of supply and demand. Except for the expanded Quarry Reservoir, temporary purchases offer the most cost-effective option evaluated, especially for the infrequent times and limited amounts of water that may be needed in the next 25 years or more. Purchase agreements also provide mutual support when critical facilities are out of service due to maintenance, equipment failure, severe weather, etc.

· All customer groups have significantly reduced their water consumption in recent years. OWASA also began operating a new reclaimed wastewater system serving the University, promoted conservation with seasonal and increasing block water rates and public information, and implemented “process” water recycling at the Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant.

· Investing in an expansion of OWASA’s reclaimed water system or establishing financial incentive programs, such as plumbing fixture rebates, to promote additional conservation is substantially less cost-effective than other options evaluated.

“The Long-Range Water Supply Plan Update presents a positive future for the community we serve. Through aggressive, conservation-focused actions, future generations will be able to enjoy a reliable supply of high quality drinking water with far less capital investment than predicted nine years ago,” said Ed Holland, OWASA’s Planning Director.

The Draft Water Supply Plan Update and a summary of it are available on OWASA’s website, http://www.owasa.org/, and paper copies will be provided on request.

For more information:

Ed Holland, Planning Director, 537-4215; e-mail: eholland@owasa.org
PHONE: (919) 968-4421; FAX: (919) 968-4464
WEB SITE: http://www.owasa.org;/ E-MAIL: WEBMASTER@OWASA.ORG"

"Halloween in Southern Village" - A Blog Around The Clock

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Monday, November 02, 2009

"Portland Establishes Climate Action Plan" - Green Inc. Blog - NYTimes.com

Why can't we set up our own community compostable collection plan? I could imagine a bicycle driven cart that could make the rounds with volunteers picking up compostable materials and dumping them in a place to be selected in Southern Village. Skip the not in my backyard argument; we've got plenty of places where we could pu this.

We should also run down the full list in this report and see what we could adapt to Southern Village and environs.

Frankly, I see no reason why we cannot act on most of them in our own way, in cooperation with the town of Chapel Hill and Orange County and North Caorlina, plus any federal government considerations.

"Driven to Distraction - Britain Sets Tough New Laws for Texting While Driving" - Series - NYTimes.com

Any driver driving around Southern Village, or anywhere else, using a hand held electronic device is both stupid and selfish. It's a combination that leads to people dying. If the state of North Caorlina is not going to do what it should in banning all such use, we should be telling these jerks (the only term that describes them well) - our neighbors - to stop it. It's not a matter for debate; it's something that we all have the power to change either one-by-one or, even better, by act of our legislature.

So if you see a driver pick up a phone while driving, just say no, and/or get out of the vehicle if you are a passenger.

Fortunately, more and more people are realizing that on this issue there is only one right way to approach it - ban all handheld use while operating a motor vehicle.