Monday, December 20, 2010

Off sidewalk vehicles?

The Town seems to use vehicles that are too wide for many of the sidewalks in Southern Community Park. It's making a mes of the grass alongside the sidewalks.

Doesn't the Town have narrower vehicles?

Why wasn't this need taken into account when designing the Park?

Southern Community Park trash

I saw what I assume were some families collecting trash in the Park over the weekend. Are they simply very nice volunteers? Or is there a program?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Garbage and recycling people

Are there any restrictions on what we can give by way of a Christmas or holiday gratuity to the valiant souls who collect our garbage and recycling?
Is it the same team that collects both? Or different people?

I have not gotten an answer to that question, but got a step closer. To clarify, the people who pick up the garbage are town employees, and the people who pick up the recycling work for Waste Industries, under contract.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

"It’s a Small Town After All" -

Anything for Southern Village to learn here?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Aberdeen speed

When school is starting and letting out, shouldn't there be a sign to reduce speed even more on Aberdeen by the pond? I don't recall any such sign.

Guard rail 15-501

As I drove down 15-501 yesterday, I thought for the first time about why it is that the guard rail sits on the other side of the sidewalk - i.e., if a car jumps the curb, it then can hit a pedestrian before possibly coming to a stop at the guard rail. Why wouldn't it make so much more sense to put the guard rail between the road and people? It can defend itself a lot better than any walker or runner could.

Imagine, too, that the guard rail which does not look as though it is painted had a nice Carolina vine or bush growing on it? Which would look nicer - the nude guard rail or the bushes?

"Harrington hit with cease and desist order" - The Carrboro Citizen

Monday, November 29, 2010

"From Some Teachers, Excitement About Classroom Tech" -

Note Megan TABER from Culbreth Middle School.

"Kayin State" - Wikipedia

I saw a flag that I did not recognize on the fence in the Park next to teams playing soccer. I asked one of the people what it was and learned that it is - if I got it right - the flag of this state of Burma, as he called it. What an interesting group of people to find here, and it is really too bad more of us did not know about it. We could learn so much. The flag was raises, he said, because it was their New Year's.

Harrington Bank hung on a doorknob

I found a green door hanger from Harrington Bank on our front door over the weekend. It promotes an open house next month at the Bank's offices in Southern Village. I called today and told them that my view was that a bank ought to be as concerned as anyone about anything to do with security. By hanging these on the doors of people not at home for the day or away for days or more, I explained that potential intruders are able to learn a lot about which homes might be good targets. A nice fellow said he would be sure to pass on my comments, but said that the homeowners' association had said it was "ok".

From my perspective, this should never be ok.


From the Chapel Hill weekend police report....

"On 11/28/2010 at 2356, an accident occurred on US 15-501 at MARKET ST. Accident involving: Sandra Foley Woody"

That's the second accident I've noted there in recent weeks.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Trail to be closed for bridge repair

There are signs next to the the two trail bridges north of Southern Village saying they will be closed starting 29 November for bridge repair.

I walked on the new trail under the 15-501 bridge all the way to the pasture off 54. Very nice! This will be a wonderful addition to the walkways in and around Southern Village.

Police report

"RESTRICTED VICTIM of Involuntary Commitment-non Criminal Detainment, at Glade St, Chapel Hill, NC, between 21:59, 11/23/2010 and 22:00, 11/23/2010. Reported: 11/23/2010."

Monday, November 22, 2010

"je-n-ai-pratiquement-plus-besoin-de-poubelle" - Le Monde

Why don't we have a week here - or a month or a year - when we collectively really work so much harder on producing less garbage?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Traffic calming

Note that this includes one or more proposed traffic "calming" installations in Southern Village.

"Glazed Expectations Ceramic Studio and Sculpture Class Studio, Chapel Hill, North Carolina"

Note that they have moved from just south of Southern Village.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Snap Fitness Now Open!" - Southern Village Homeowners Association

Where is the website for this new business?
Why is the Southern Village Homeowners Association promoting this and not other businesses? Why promote this and not cover anything to do with Obey Creek across the street (see below)? Something seems very wrong to me.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Obey Creek action by Town Council

This is from the e-mail sent out from the Town after last night's meeting:

"Update on Obey Creek Concept Plan: The Council received an update on the possible development process for Obey Creek, an area across 15-501 from Southern Village. The developer has not yet submitted applications for the proposed development, which would require both a special use permit and rezoning applications. The developer submitted a concept plan in May 2010 for Council review. A concept plan is a preliminary step toward preparation of a formal development plan and application. On Monday, Town Manager Roger Stancil provided information about the development agreement process. The Council requested additional information about other tools it can use in the review of the anticipated development proposal, including updating the Small Area Plan, a guide that addresses land use/zoning in this part of Chapel Hill, and the Comprehensive Plan, the town's long range policy document. This information will be brought back to the Council for future consideration. "

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Obey Creek - agenda item for 8 November 2010 meeting

Everyone who lives in Southern Village should read this, and follow the matter extremely closely. Some may wish to attend and speak at the Town Council meeting.

Here are the comments that I filed with the Town Clerk. I sent one comment and then supplemented it, so the supplement appears first below...

"I reflected on this yesterday and there are two more questions - possible concerns - that I wish to voice for the Obey Creek item on tonight’s agenda.

One is whether the deliberations envisioned between the staff and the applicant in the future will be “noticed” and open to public presence if not participation? I believe they should be.

Second is to ask for disclosure of all of the past meetings related to the latest proposal for Obey Creek (i.e., the proposal being advanced by Roger PERRY) with anyone representing the Town of Chapel Hill. That includes Council members and all staff. What was the subject of each meeting, what documents were introduced to each meeting, and what documents were produced as a result of each meeting?

My possible concern is that the way this has been proposed for the meeting tonight suggests that the Council and/or at least the staff have made preliminary judgments about the proposal. The public should know in some detail the process that led to this apparent result beyond the agenda item and its supporting memoranda which, on a quick review, do not seem to provide detailed information about the process between first arrival at the Town of the concept or proposal and the meeting tonight.

It is also striking, unless I missed it, that I did not see any mention of the very impressive and professional petition presented by Citizens for Responsible Growth (I believe that’s the name of the group) in September, other than a link to that meeting’s video. I watched that presentation on the Town’s website and I am now quite confused about when the Town listens to responsible citizens and when it listens to developers. The Mayor, at that September meeting, made a rather strange comment at the end of the presentations to the effect that the group of presenters were wasting their time and that they would have to return and do it all over again later. What concerns me is this apparent signal that the views of the developer are to be fully considered in the early phases of this review but not the views of responsible citizens. That is very troubling if correct.

Sent: Saturday, November 06, 2010 4:54 PM

To: ''

Subject: For the Council meeting 8 November 2010

I am a Chapel Hill resident but am overseas.

In reviewing the agenda for the Town Council meeting Monday evening, I see an item related to Obey Creek.

What I don’t see is any procedure that allows me to offer any comment from where I am. Where is that explained? Surely, the Council does not limit comment only to those who are in physical attendance?

My concern is the following, and I expect that you will figure out a way to put this before the Council. When I read this recommendation….

“2. That the Development Agreement outline identify:

a. Areas of the agreement that can be drafted by the applicant and the staff for
Council review and

b. Areas of the agreement that the Council could be interested in focusing additional
time and attention on negotiating with the applicant in an open and transparent
forum, using Carolina North as a model.”

….I am pleased to see the apparent public involvement in all aspects of 2.b. and extremely troubled to see no mention of any public comment opportunity with respect to 2.a. Why is this? Why should not any “areas of agreement” that wind up being drafted not be subject to an “open and transparent forum”? I don’t believe we delegated to staff or Council our opportunity to comment on any Town business, including this.

Furthermore, this assumes that there will be agreement on all matters. What is the basis for that assumption? I see nothing here that provides a procedure when the staff and the applicant disagree? What happens then? If you don’t expect that to happen, why not?

These are not just questions; I expect answers.
Thank you.

Obey Creek - Chapel Hill Town Council Business Meeting

Look in the video for the petition from Citizens for Responsible Growth.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

"Using Video Surveillance to Catch the Neighbors" -

I wonder if this has come to Southern Village? I must say that it is a hard swallow to think one's every move might be the subject of someone else's video camera! But maybe it is not so different than just taking a picture out one's window as we all do when there seems to be something notable to photograph like a snowstorm or an unusual visiting animal on the deck!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Police report

"Hess, Jonathan Morris (W M, 45) VICTIM of Vandalism / Damage To Property (willful) (C), at 604 Aberdeen Dr, Chapel Hill, NC, between 18:00, 10/31/2010 and 08:00, 11/01/2010. Reported: 11/01/2010."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Private School Civility Gap" -

We have a number of parents in Southern Village who have chosen to send their children to private schools instead of to our excellent public schools. I guess they decided that excellent was not good enough for their kids. I wonder how they react to this study and what their experience has been with students at these private schools? Do they - the schools - have a need for anything like this, just published by the Council of Europe?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Morgan Creek Trail

"Morgan Creek Trail: The Council accepted $560,000 through the Metropolitan Planning Organization's Surface Transportation Program for phase two of the Morgan Creek Trail project. Phase 1 of the Morgan Creek Trail, which is currently under construction, will begin just north of the Southbridge neighborhood and end at the Merritt Pasture. The phase 1 project includes about 4,600 linear feet section of trail, primarily on the north side of Morgan Creek. This section will include a 20 space, concrete parking lot just east of Kingswood Apartments. Phase 2 would connect the existing Fan Branch Trail with the section of the Morgan Creek Trail that is now under construction. Phase 2 of the project would involve the construction of about 1,200 linear foot of trail with 2 bridges and an underpass of Culbreth Road."

"Water Watch" - Orange Water and Sewer Authority

For anyone who wants to keep an eye on our water supply.

More police action

It's a little hard to tell exactly where each of these occurred.....

"Society VICTIM of Drug Paraphernalia (C), at 0 Nc 54/s Columbia St, Chapel Hill,
NC, on 10/28/2010, 10:50. Reported: 10/28/2010.

Society VICTIM of Possession Marijuana (C), at Nc 54 Bypass/ Smith Level Rd,
Chapel Hill, NC, on 10/28/2010, 15:44. Reported: 10/28/2010.

Iraola, Dante (W M, 17) Arrest on chrg of Drugs-poss Sched Vi (M), at 0 Nc 54/smith
Level Rd, Ca, on 10/28/2010.

Johnston, Taylor Scott (W M, 18) Arrest on chrg of Drug Paraphernalia (M), at 0 Nc
54/smith Level Rd, Ca, on 10/28/2010"

I guess this must be the southern entrance to Southern Village...
"On 10/28/2010 at 0707, an accident occurred on US 15-501 at MARKET ST.
Accident involving: James Thomas Webb, Kristina Rae Thomas"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another police incident

Note this alleged larceny on Culbreth.....

"RESTRICTED VICTIM of Larceny- All Other (C), at 225 Culbreth Rd, Chapel Hill,

NC, between 10:15, 10/26/2010 and 11:30, 10/26/2010. Reported: 10/26/2010."

"WRAL WeatherCall Frequently Asked Questions" -

Given the tornado watch today for Orange County - issued in the middle of the night - this service may have great value. If there is a tornado WARNING, I sure don't want to learn about it AFTER it's over!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Police incidents

Does anyone know anything more about any of these?

"Unc Pain Clinic VICTIM of Information (C), at 410 Market St, Chapel Hill, NC,

between 13:00, 08/17/2010 and 08:30, 10/25/2010. Reported: 10/25/2010."

"Johnson, Erica (U F, 38) VICTIM of Larceny Of Bicycle (C), at 424 Brookside Dr,

Chapel Hill, NC, between 21:00, 10/22/2010 and 09:00, 10/25/2010. Reported: 10/25/2010."

"On 10/25/2010 at 0740, an accident occurred on US 15-501 at DOGWOOD ACRES

DR. Accident involving: Linda Boone Ellis, Teri Ziemke Varillas"

Anything we can learn or do that would help the people involved or avert a repetition?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"TerraVita" - Chapel Hill Magazine

Did anyone from Southern Village attend? Reactions?

Friday, October 15, 2010


Today, I found a "doorhanger" on our front door from Farm Bureau Insurance, an agent on South Elliott. As a matter of free speech, I don't object to anything anyone wants to say to me.

That said, I find it very bad judgment to put something on front door handles. Many people here travel, and do not always have someone checking their door knobs while they are away.

And so my reaction is that a firm that disregards this risk and says it is in the "home" insurance business needs to rethink that role. I surely would never deal with them.

Again, that's Farm Bureau Insurance, South Elliott Road agent, in case you, too, want to make note of this.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Miller and Long van?

There was a van in the Park and Ride lot this afternoon - that arrived from the south at about 4:45PM. A half dozen workers who appeared to have been working in construction, got out and went to their cars.

One drove out of the parking lot and then down the road up the center of the parking lot at a very high speed.

The van had Miller and Long on the side. I did not get close enough to determine more than that.

"Wal-Mart's thinking small" - Marketplace From American Public Media

Could the new development across 15-501 be one of those opportunities for Walmart?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stop signs

Today, about 4:30, as I walked down Aberdeen toward the first intersection with Graylyn, I watched two cars emerge from Graylyn without stopping at the stop sign. It wasn't even close. Moreover, each driver was on the cellphone as the cars passed me headed up Aberdeen.

I am going to start carrying my camera when I am out walking and will start photographing and posting photos of anyone else I see who endangers the safety through reckless and illegal actions. Watch me.

Town of Chapel Hill : V Route

It sure would be nice if they clarified that this does not operate on weekends and on what other days? And what changes with the school calendar?

Monday, October 11, 2010

PurchaseTickets - TerraVita

Why not add a link here allowing people to make either an alternative contribution to the IFC (see below) or an IFC donation instead?

"Inter-Faith Council reaches mark of 3,000 families served in 2010" - Daily Tar Heel

I think it is a fair question to ask - is it a better use of $65 to attend the event this Sunday in Southern Village - Terravita, they call it (see below) - or to make a contribution of the same amount to the IFC?

"Weaver Street Market's seventh annual wine sale draws over 300" - Daily Tar Heel


That's quite a fence they are building around at least part of the play area in Southern Community Park. I wonder if that was part of the original plan or is being added because of problems?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"A growing gift of fundraising spreads to food" -

This seems to be a one woman production, and may prove to be worth the price of admission, but that's for others to decide. If it is successful, it will be a nice thing for Southern Village.

I am not quite sure how the finances work out at $65 ticket for the food and drink, and then a silent auction. I guess the latter results in the fund-raising, while the former likely benefits the organizer, but this is not explained.

"Scroggs garden grows" - Chapel Hill News

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

"Loans helped Weaver Street survive" - Chapel Hill News

I am worried about Weaver Street Market's sustainability in the marketplace and now have to question its commitment to transparency as well.

"Smith Level Road widening approved" - Chapel Hill News

Still another story on this .....

Lumina - Chapel Hill News

Nice report!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Real estate taxes/dues

Recently, I have been thinking about our real estate taxes. They have risen nearly to the level of 12,000/year, a three-fold increase since we arrived 11 years ago.

That's about 1,000/month.

I think it's time that we look upon living here as a club membership situation, and ask ourselves what we are getting for dues of 1,000/month, or whatever amount you may pay.

"Carrboro, DOT strike deal on Smith Level Road widening" - The Carrboro Citizen

This is fabulous - the actual plan!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Smith Level Road plan approved" - Herald-Sun

Several things strike me about this article for those of us who live in and around Southern Village.

First, how can we see the "final" plan on a map? It's a little confusing to walk or drive the word route.

Second, what's the timetable to do the work?

Third, I hope Carrboro and/or the state will begin to measure bike lane and sidewalk use in the way they measure road traffic. Once done, how many people/day wind up using the sidewalk? How many bikes/day? We want those numbers to be very high but I fear they will not be.

Finally, once this is done, imagine a moblunch at Glasshalful or any other place in Carrboro, to which a group of us in Southern Village WALK! We can do that now, but only by taking our lives in our hands and among the high grasses.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Engines running idiocy

I keep seeing - as I did today in the Park parking lot - mothers (I have not witnessed any fathers doing this, but I am sure they do the same thing) turning on or leaving on the engines in their monster trucks (aka SUVs), leaving a child or children inside and then getting out of the car. To say they are stupid is to give them much more credit than they merit. The next time I see someone doing that I am going to call the police and demand that they be arrested on a charge of reckless endangerment of a minor. I am serious about doing this. Test me if you wish.

Kids without helmets

I saw a young boy today on the trail who had apparently fallen off his two wheeler - what do they call those? Razor? In any case, he had no helmet. The parents ought to be roundly criticized, but more important, get him a helmet!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Don’t Toss That Dog Poop: Mass. Artist Uses Waste to Power Park Lamp" - TIME

What an opportunity for the dog area in Southern Community Park! The dogs can honestly bark that they are leaving the light on for us!

"Chapel Hill could host Costco" - The Daily Tar Heel

Note reference to property opposite Southern Village.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lots of people on trail!

I noticed yesterday at 4:45 how many people were walking on the trail between Aberdeen and the Southern Community Park. It was also really nice to see so many kids playing soccer on the fields. That's the way it should be so much more of the time!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Chapel Hill Transit

When I arrived at the Park and Ride lot the other day to take the V bus, it was there waiting as I had been told over the phone. The bus, however, had not logged into the system and so did not show on the real time arrival service. When I started to board the bus, the door was closed, the engine was running and the air conditioning doing its thing. The driver, however, was asleep behind the wheel. What if she had awakened startled and done something to put the bus in motion? I think it's a very unsafe situation. She confirmed that the bus was not logged in but it was not clear to me if this was a failure of the system or the failure on her part to do something to log in.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Does this work in Southern Village?

"Banking decision" - Lydia Lavelle

Note reference to Harrington Bank and the Office of Thrift Supervision.

Friday, September 03, 2010


Isn't it time that we tried to work with someone to transform the rental homes between Southern Village and 15-501 into something more attractive and equally affordable?

Ozone testing

With all of the traffic on 15-501, I wonder if anyone routinely checks ozone (or any other polutant) levels next to the highway and inside Southern Village?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Trinity Partners, LLC"

I think this firm is developing - in some way - the space previously occupied by Citrus. Trinity seems to be an office space firm so that may be what it becomes. Nice office for someone!

Soccer fields

It was nice to see the Southern Community Park soccer fields full of people over the weekend. Yesterday, it was a ghost field. But while it was animated on Saturday and Sunday, it was great!

What struck me about the scene most was what great soccer players we have among the youth of the area. They were really superb and a joy to watch. That was in contrast to so many apparent parents who mostly looked fat.


Yesterday as I walked through the parking lot at Southern Community Park, I noticed that many of the cars had a flyer under their windshield wipers. Many of the cars that had been parked there during the day had left and I thought I could simply pick up a flyer that someone had tossed to the ground. Not a chance! It was really impressive to see that no matter where I walked, I found none of the flyers on the ground. Maybe it was really valuable? Or maybe, I hope, everyone is thinking first before adding rubbish to the parking lot and the neighborhood!

"Homeowner’s Fight Involves Flag Tied to Tea Party" -

Note the homeowners' association aspect to this story. Any flags spotted in Southern Village?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Ping - Renting Out Home Belongings Over the Internet" -

Garage sales

In making a quick tour of Aberdeen and Graylyn at midday, it did not look to me as though many houses had participated in the garage sale that one of our neighbors organized for today.

I wonder if Southern Village might do well to declare one day every 6 months as garden sale day, hold it on the Green, see if someone would take some items on consignment and let anyone who wanted to do so, set up a table or tables to see their "stuff"?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Where are the neighbors?

It is quite remarkable to me how rarely we ever see any of our neighbors outside. I walk a lot and Southern Village often looks like a ghost town populated only by an endless fleet of SUVs or what I prefer to call trucks.

Cars in garages?

I sure get the the feeling that a LOT more people park their cars on the street today than used to be the case. Have they filled up their garages with junk? Lazy? What is it? It makes driving around Southern Village a lot more hazardous as it is much more difficult to see children who might run into the street.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Farmers' Market

It is nearly pitiful to see how few farmers are at the market each Thursday. It's not their fault that people don't shop there.

And it's irritating not to find the seasonal dates for the Southern Village market posted. It appears that it runs through 30 August and that includes today. It will be interesting to see if anyone remains.


Upcoming event.

"Riverside Park Plans Composting Restroom" -

It's too bad "we" did not do this in Southern Community Park.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Park and Ride full?

I noticed more tickets today and realized the cars are there because there is no room either in the Park and Ride or the Park lots. What's the plan? Does this mean no one can come to the park on work days and expect to find a parking place?

Playing fields

What are the rules for using the playing fields at Southern Community Park?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Parking tickets

When I walked through the Southern Community Park today, I noticed three cars parked on the roadway that seemed to have parking tickets tucked under the windshield wipers. There appear to be no signs on that stretch of "road" that say no parking. What are the rules?

"Fearrington, North Carolina" - Wikipedia

The demographics section here is really interesting and will be updated when the 2010 Census results emerge. There will be one for Southern Village as well, although I do not know the status of Southern Village as a Census-designated-place (CDP)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Southern Community Park - 8/18/10 - 5:15 PM

3 adults and 2 children in playground,1 biker, 3 walkers, 1 runner.

Southern Community Park - 8/16/10 - 5 PM

5 walkers, 4 dogs, 1 worker, 2 kids with adult in playground.

" | Down, Ready, Set ... Hike"

Note mention of Southern Community Park.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Southern Community Park - 8/15/10 - 5:15 PM

Three dogs, 5 bikers, 6 walkers, 12 at a picnic, 15-20 on the playground, 9 on the soccer field, and 2 on the basketball court. There should be many times this number!

Southern Community Park - 8/17/10 - 4:30 PM

One guy setting up some equipment on one of the soccer field, and one adult/child in the playground.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Southern Community Park - 8/11/10 at 4:45 PM

1 biker, 3 walkers, and one more "sort of" walker.....

Street tree pruning

It looks like we are getting - or have gotten - all of our street trees pruned so that they neither block the street (and stop signs, e.g.) or sidewalks.

"Hey, kids! Meet your neighbors" - The Carrboro Citizen

It does not look like this includes Southern Village.

"Cedar Creek plant turns recycled plastic into building blocks for new products" - Fayetteville Observer

Where does all our recycled "stuff" wind up?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Southern Community Park - 5 PM

5 walkers, 2 kids and 2 adults in the playground area (grilling), about 15 peopel at a picnic in the pavillion, and 2 bikers.

Friday, August 13, 2010

V bus takes too long

I took the V bus from Edgewater - near the pond - yesterday around 4:50. It arrived as the real time service told me it would on the Chapel Hill Transit website. When it got to the park and ride lot next to the church on Market Street, the bus sat for 10 or more minutes so as to be on schedule. To my great surprise, the driver left the bus with its engine on (as best I could tell) and appeared to walk out of sight toward Weaver Street Market; she returned about 10 minutes later. We then took off and I arrived at Glen Lennox shopping center with about 40 mins elapsed. That's just too long to make this attractive. How can we improve this?

Southern Community Park - 6 PM (yesterday)

More people this time. There was a game of inline? skating underway; one of the first times I have seen that rink in use. In addition, 3 walkers, 4-5 on the basketball courts, 1 dog, 1 jogger, 1 adult and child in the playground, and 6 bikers. At most, that totaled a couple of dozen people.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Southern Community Park - 4:45 PM

I made the rounds again today around the Park. I ran into 2 walkers, and an adult and child in the playground. Zero other people.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Southern Community Park

The Town of Chapel Hill seems headed toward hiring a consultant to analyze the parks and recreation program. I sure hope they will tell us what the assessment is of how successful has been the Soutrhern Community Park.

Yesterday - Sunday- as I walked around the park about 4 PM, I was struck yet again by how few people were there. I saw one jogger, two people on bikes, a third on a bike with a small child on the back, 2 guys seemingly throwing frisbees on that "course", 3 walkers, a group of about 10 having a picnic in the shelter, a few on the playground, one fellow shotting baskets, 4 on the skating "rink" but surely did not seem to be engaging in any skating, and that was about it. Worth the millions we invested in this?

I sure hope the consultants will be looking hard at these kinds of data.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sunday, June 06, 2010

"Los Angeles Journal - L.A.’s Most Popular Gym Is the City Itself" -

It sure seems to me that Southern Community Park ought to have been designed with an eye toward a lot more physical exercise around the team sport areas. Unless you are a child, and other than walking or running, there are no options. Why?

Weaver Street Market hours

Nice to see the sign in front of Weaver Street Market, open 7 days/week from 7 AM til 10 PM!

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Story - WUNC

How do our schools compare?

"Lisa McCarthy and her three sons Cole, Jude and Bennett started a recycling program at Mark Twain Elementary School in Long Beach, CA. Sounds much easier than it actually was. When Lisa first realized how much was being thrown out at lunch time, she approached school officials. They approved the creation of the recycling program - if Lisa did everything herself. She pulled together a group of volunteer parents and eventually kids. Lisa and her sons talk to Dick about the obstacles they overcame while helping their school go green."

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

"Plastic Bag Ban: California Moves To Ban Plastic Bags At Grocery Stores"

Without a law, why don't we work with all of the merchants in Southern Village to do this?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Vegetable gardens in Southern Village

I wonder if the time has not arrived when we should be looking at places in Southern Village where we could have a well-organized community garden of some sort - maybe with a part-time manager to help keep an eye on things there? Maybe there is a right of way for OWASA that would lend itself to this? Or even in or adjacent to one or more of our parks? We have plenty of land as someone noted a while ago. Putting in an irrigation connection would make very good sense and so we ought to look for spots that either have water lines in them or nearby and that have the necessary sun, etc, no?

Bus advertising

It sure seems to me that businesses in Southern Village are missing the boat in not regularly advertising on the Chapel Hill Transit lines that serve Southern Village. Imagine if the weekly movie schedule appeared up there, every week. Or imagine an ad for a special deal or event at one of the eating establishments......

I also saw no mention in last week's Carrboro Citizen of the outdoor movies in Southern Village last weekend.

"Blue Sky Film Festival"

Sunday, May 30, 2010

" | Meet the Eco- Chicos"

What's the Southern Village version of this?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"In the Garden - Conquering the Strip Between Sidewalk and Street" -

This should be great inspiration to others in Southern Village!

"How to Improve the Stop Sign?" - Freakonomics Blog -

As I walk and drive around Southern Village, it is clear to me that the current sign is not doing its job!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Greener than grass" - USA WEEKEND Magazine |

Imagine the change in Southern Village if every homeowner followed this sage advice?

Friday, May 21, 2010

"The Herald-Sun : New Orange budget holds line on taxes"

Farmers' Market

I wonder if there is a way to make this work? Certainly, it looks unsustainable the way it is now with only 2 or 3 vendors......

East 54

Note the dining/shopping and news/events links from this home page. During the day, of course, you can get there on the V bus!

"Chapel Hill Orange County Visitors Bureau Calendar"

This appears to be an excellent "calendar" resource!

"Times Square Plazas Slow Many Bus Trips" -

We may want to consider a pedestrian plaza out on 15-501 as part of the Obey Creek development?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"A Data Center Power Supply That Moos" -

Why couldn't Obey Creek be designed to do the same?

Pazzo! and Letters to Juliet

It amazes me to see lack of creativity when it is so simple. Right now, the Lumina is showing Letters to Juliet, set almost entirely in Italy, especially in Tuscany. Across the street is Pazzo! a nominally Italian restaurant. Has anyone seen either the Lumina or Pazzo! connecting those dots? I have not. What a missed opportunity for both.


I watched the Obey Creek discussion last night. The supplemental materials noted in this agenda do not appear to have been posted yet.

The concept advanced by Roger PERRY on behalf of an investment firm from Maryland, he said, includes ideas such as a Target or Belk store, and high rises on 15-501 opposite the Southern Community Park rising 8 stories above street level.

There is much to be debated and everyone in Southern Village has a stake in this. Consider, for example, the points made in this editorial in the NY Times today. One has to ask if this will make the are more visually appealing to walkers, runners, bikers and drivers. What is the plan to deal with the less than appealing homes on the Southern Village side of 15-501? I urged PERRY's son a year ago to incorporate that in their project with much better and equally affordable housing replacing what is there now.

PERRY predicted that if they go forward with the concept - which includes a 150 room hotel - it will take 15-20 years from the start of the project before it is completed. This is because it will take that long for Chapel Hill to "absorb" the facilities as businesses and residences.

Today, something less than half of the cars that now pass East 54 (50,000 v. 21,000 if I noted that correctly) pass by us each day on 15-501.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Chapel Hill police praise 'Good Samaritans' in attempted kidnapping" - Orange County -

"wiki2d - Contribuons au développement durable en région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA)"

Lots of good ideas here for Southern Village, too. Note that the local newspaper supports this; I wonder if one of our local newspapers would not want to support the "green" stuff that is on the Homeowners' Association website?

Greenways Inc

This is Pittsboro's pedestrian plan. We sure need to see one that connects pedestrians in Southern Village not just within Southern Village but between Southern Village and many places beyond like Carrboro, Carrboro High School, the North Carolina Botanical Gardens, UNC, downtown Chape Hill, CVS, Lowes, Harris-Teeter, etc (on 15-501).

Sustainability in Greensboro

There are lots of interesting aspects of this report, to be presented today in Greensboro. Why don't we have a community garden in Southern Village?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Obesity and young kids

This from February. I wonder if the Town of Chapel Hill has a policy with respect to combating obesity and overweight people of all ages in the Town?

"Texting while driving ban results in few tickets" -

This is surely not the test of whether the law is effective. It's effective if people stop texting and drive more safely so fewer people are injured or killed.

"Mayor lays out case for Smith Level Road plan" - The Carrboro Citizen

"An opportunity to learn more about your homeowners association" - The Carrboro Citizen

I am not sure when or how we'll be able to access what he describes - perhaps later on the Town of Carrboro site.

Cell phones

I sent this to the Mayor and Council Members last night:

"Dear Mayor and Council Members,
Before your meeting on 22 February 2010, I asked each of you whether you personally use a cell phone when driving in Chapel Hill. Only two of you said that you do not (RICH and one because he does not own a cell phone (HARRISON)), two or three others (including GREENE and BELL) said you did use a cell phone while driving and the rest remained silent. (I hope that the others (5, including the Mayor) will share your personal practices with us voters. By silence, I can only assume that you use your cell phone while driving, a reckless and dangerous judgment call on your part.)
Although your staff is too busy to write minutes of your meetings (I was just informed) – I reviewed the relevant portion of the meeting’s video.
Several things strike me. One, there was no sense of urgency whatsoever – apparent from the lethargic discussion and as voiced directly by PEASE – although two Council Members (EASTHOM and WARD) seemed to be urging effective use of the weeks following your meeting on this issue – especially in meeting with the highway safety research center and with UNC Police. Second, and most troubling, I was struck by comments from several Council Members that they would obey any law – [that was really encouraging!] – but that it would take such a law in order for them to do the unquestionably right thing without a law – and stop using their cell phones when driving a vehicle anywhere.
Although I have not seen a report from the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee that was due 15 April (according to statements made during your 22 February meeting), what I just found, however, is the presentation made to that Committee on 29 April. It leaves little room for discussion or dispute as to the virtue of not using an electronic device while driving a motor vehicle. I commend the presentation to you.
It is not clear from the minutes of the meeting on 29 April what next steps that Committee intends to take. I see no justification of any kind for delay on the part of the Town Council because of anything that might or might not happen at the state level, especially with respect to the first three points I advance below.
I am forced to conclude at this time - by your inaction - that you are condoning the widespread use of cell phones by people in Chapel Hill while they are driving vehicles.
I believe that there should be a ban on the use of any electronic device by any driver while driving a motor vehicle anywhere. Regulatory creativity can take care of any exceptions needed for fire and police, but it’s hard to imagine any other exceptions.
You can consider this a petition, a request or a demand – as you like – but I think the Council should immediately act on three fronts and schedule rapid action on a fourth. Here they are:
1) Each Council Member should state publicly that he or she will refrain from all use of electronic devices while driving a motor vehicle. Period.

2) The Council should immediately adopt a prohibition on the use of any electronic device by the driver of any vehicle on the roads of Chapel Hill that is either owned by the Town or being used in any way for Town business, including contractor vehicles.

3) The Council should adopt a resolution clearly stating that it is the policy of the Town of Chapel Hill that no one should use any electronic device while driving any vehicle in Chapel Hill; Chapel Hill Police should be asked by the Council to inquire with each traffic stop whether the driver had been using a cell phone while driving that vehicle, regardless of the potential infraction (and that data should be collected and published monthly); this action should be widely and repeatedly publicized.
The fourth is to work expeditiously to adopt a local ordinance expanding point 2, above, to all drivers in Chapel Hill, and coordinate those efforts in such a way to enhance the likelihood that a statewide ban may soon follow. The Council should not delay implementing at least a Town prohibition, even if that becomes the subject of litigation, or in some other way is affected by state action. The Town Council has the choice here to act or not to act, and if the Council fails to act, it is putting the lives of residents at risk, plain and simple. There is no substantial cost, and zero risk, posed by any of the actions I have outlined.
I expect a response to this e-mail, but more important, I expect action."

Morgan Creek

If you look at this document - item 7 - you may see as I do that there is no plan to provide a means to cross Morgan Creek other than the bridge over the creek that now carries traffic north on South Columbia. I suppose that's better than nothing, but it is not clear how one will access the new Morgan Creek trail from the north side of the bridge.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Proposed Chapel Hill Town budget

This was presented last night at the Town Council meeting.

On 12 May, I sent an e-mail to the Town Manager with these two questions:

"First, you include a slide in your presentation that compares tax rates in Chapel Hill with others in NC. It appears to me that you have picked other places that have both county and town or city taxes, and I can understand on one level why you may have done that. But I think that is unfair and at least incomplete. For purposes of allowing all of us to see tax comparisons, I believe you should include bars for tax rates in ALL counties adjoining Orange. In the end, for us taxpayers, the total rate we pay is what really matters financially, and it allows us to make the necessary comparisons and analyses of taxes paid/value received. When you have added those bars to your chart, I would appreciate your e-mailing a copy to me.

Second, we live in Southern Village and so the Southern Community Park is of special interest. I would like to know the fully allocated projected cost of operating the park for your budget year. And I would also like to know how the success or failure of the park is being measured. I walk through the park regularly and find that the number of people using the facilities there to be pitifully small, with the sole exception of the play area for children, followed by the picnic area and shelter (which I would estimate occupy about less than 1% of the park’s land), and occasional intense use of the playing fields on less than one day/week by unidentified (to the public) teams."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dogwood Acres pond

When I walked through Dogwood Acres yesterday, I was reminded of what a large - so it seems - pond feeds the little stream that flows thorugh the middle of Souhern Village. This is the one that winds up going under the two bridges at the bottom of the hills, and ultimately out to Culbreth Road.
The second thing I observeed was that while there is very little water flowing in any of the stream beds, the pond appeared to be full. Our small ponds in Southern Village - at least the bigger one - seems to be way down on its banks because of no rain. (I don't understand why the other continues to look pretty full.)
Finally, I wondered who inspects the land under the road to see if there are any potential problems? As I recall, this is not a Town responsibility to look after the pond, but if not they Town, then who?
If that "dam" ever broke, we'd seee a large amount of water cascading through Southern Village, perhaps takinga  tree or many with it --- at the very least!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

No houses for sale in Dogwood Acres?

I understand that there are 60 units for sale in Southern Village today.
When I walked through a section of Dogwood Acres today, I was surprised to see only one "for sale" sign.
No doubt I could suggest an explanation having something to do with the higher mobility/transiency among Southern Village residents, but is that the primary reason?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Grass at the park?

The grass at the Community Park sure looks in bad shape. Have they turned off the sprinkler?

As I looked at that, after voting at Scroggs on Tuesday, I wondered also about the placement of the bleachers for those fields. How can anyone see the game well when positioned in the end zone? Why are there no bleachers at mid field? OSHA rule or something like that?

"Smoothies With Substance (and Style)" - Well Blog -

Southern Village Directory

Somewhere on the site is a directory of people who have decided to list themselves as living in Southern Village. I never use it.

What I do look at on occasion is a printed directory of Southern Village residents from 2004, the last printed version.

Two things come to mind.

One, I sure think we should make an effort to print another directory of everyone living here except those who prefer to remain anonymous.

And, second, I think part of that effort ought to include a strong request to collect every e-mail so that maybe 3 or 4 times a year, a short e-mail could be sent to all of us with some interesting news of our community and include some of the most important links at the end. A group of 3 people could be picked to decide on what ought to be in these e-mails to insure that they are interesting, informative, short and compelling...and of course, respectful of everyone in the community and environs.

I wonder if we did the work to collect all of the names if the merchants or a sponsor or two would be willing to cover any costs in printing or setting up all of the addresses with some kind of recognition included in the directory and in the occasional short e-mails?


"Legarde, Kelly (W F, 41) VICTIM of Larceny- All Other (C), at 414 Copperline Dr,Chapel Hill, NC, between 21:00, 05/03/2010 and 07:00, 05/04/2010. Reported:05/06/2010."

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Walking to the NC Botanical Gardense

This is how Google Maps tells me I should walk to get to the NC Botanical Gardens out on 54. I bet you could do this in one hour quite easily, but isn't it a shame that the route for people is no where near as direct and easy as is the route for cars. Didn't "we" come first?

" | Deer win Round 1"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Obey Creek

Here are the two links for the hearing on Obey Creek, the name of which was omitted from the Homeowners Association site and as well as this link and this one as well which gives the meat of the proposal.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Morgan Creek

"5. Morgan Creek Trail Construction Underway

Work begins this April on Morgan Creek Trail, providing access to a hidden gem of open space to the south and west of Fordham Boulevard, a woodland corridor that James Taylor called "Copperline."

Morgan Creek Trail is planned for the north side of Morgan Creek, from Merritt Pasture to a new parking lot east of Kingswood Apartments. The project will include a bridge over Morgan Creek. The Town of Chapel Hill was awarded $300,000 in federal stimulus funding for the $1.2 million project.

Currently, there is limited public access to the Morgan Creek area, which is protected by a conservation easement. The 92-acre nature preserve stretches along Morgan Creek from Merritt Pasture to the Chapel Hill town limit at Smith Level Road. The land is bounded by Merritt Pasture on the east, the Carrboro Town line on the west, Culbreth Road to the south, and Fordham Boulevard to the north. The open space was amassed in a series of acquisitions that were finalized in March 2007.

"Folks have wanted access to this beautiful pasture for a long, long time," said Butch Kisiah, director of the Town's Parks and Recreation Department. "It will be a great addition to our trail system and makes some important new connections."

The first phase of the Morgan Creek Trail construction will be 4,800 feet in length, and will extend from the Kinsgwood Apartments to Merritt's Pasture. The trail alignment was selected to minimize tree removal. The project will eventually include a parking lot on the west end of the trail with access off of Highway NC 54, two bridges and a boardwalk. The majority of the trail will be 10 feet wide and constructed of concrete.

Future phases of the trail will cross over Morgan Creek to line up with the existing Fan Branch Trail that currently serves Southern Village. The trail will also continue to Smith Level Road at the Carrboro Town line near Frank Porter Graham School. Bridge installation over Morgan Creek to access the Southbridge neighborhood is anticipated for late fall 2010. The contractor has until March 1, 2011, to complete the work but is expected to finish sooner if weather conditions are conducive to construction activities.

The total land area of Chapel Hill is 21.3 square miles, and about 11 percent is dedicated to parks and open space. There are about 720 acres of open space protected land and 12 miles of trails. Get out and enjoy the outdoors in Chapel Hill, "a Town within a Park." Learn more at or call the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department at 919-968-2784."

Monday, April 05, 2010

Sunday, April 04, 2010

"Welcome to Carrboro Yoga Company"

Now owned or co-owned by Lies SAPP of Southern Village, it appears.

"Annuaire, guide, cosmetiques, alimentation : bio -"

We ought to establish our own criteria and put together our own "green" directory of product and service providers any of us might choose to use in Southern Village, no?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Morgan Creek Greenway reviewed" - The Carrboro Citizen

This ought to be of great interest to anyone living in or near Southern Village. (Note also the "more local bank" mentioned in the story, I believe, is Harrington.)

"Harrington announces new site" - The Carrboro Citizen

I wonder if the half page ad on the same page of the Carrboro Citizen played any role in the inclusion of this limpid item about Harrington Bank? Where is the new site?

"When immigration and job creation collide" - The Carrboro Citizen

See item about Bill SOETERS from Southern Village.

"The Herald-Sun - Raccoon rabid lab determines"

Monday, March 15, 2010

" | iPod gets top marks"

" | Deer hunting in Club before"

"Town of Chapel Hill : News Releases : Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC to Apply for Google Fiber for Communities"

I wonder if Southern Village would be a part of this if the application is successful? More background here.

So, I checked with the Town of Chapel Hill e-mail address for the project, and had this exchange, resulting in "yes", Southern Village is included.

"Yes, that is correct.
From: Terry MAGUIRE []

Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 10:38 AM

To: Catherine Lazorko

Subject: RE: Geographical reach
Just so I am clear – the application at this point would include all of Southern Village? Thanks.
From: Catherine Lazorko []

Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 9:58 AM


Cc: Public Information

Subject: RE: Geographical reach
Ultimately that would be up to Google. We are applying for the area within the boundaries of Chapel Hill and Carrboro."

It might be worth imaging all that we want to be able to do, what we might do, how it would work, etc. either with the Google rollout or with an ehanced view of the goals outlined by the Federal Communications Commission this week. (For whatever it's worth, I am a former attorney/advisor at the FCC.)

Just how would Southern Village make use of more capability than it now has? What are the limitatoin on us doing more now? It seems to me that there is a big gap between what we could do today, and choose not to do, and the dreaming of unlikely futures that accompany campaigns like that fostered by Google.

If "it" already is built here and we have not "come", what makes us think that building something faster would make any difference?

Public schools

I wonderf what the percentage of kids is who live in Southern Village and attend the Chapel Hill-Carrboro public schools. Is it at the 95% or higher level?


There was a great scene on Aberdeen and Graylyn yesterday - competing lemonade stands only a couple of hundred feet apart! I did not explore whether the competition was over quality or price - or both....or neither!

"The Herald-Sun - The democracy of sidewalks"

Nice editorial!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Earth Machine"

This is the one I bought from Chatham County many years ago and have gotten excellent service from it.

"Clean Water Education Partnership"

A good resource for all of us in Southern Village and its environs.

Compost census?

Having watched the truck go down our street today collecting leaves, branches, etc. I could not help but think what a waste that is when composting works so well.

Perhaps it is time we did a "compost census" in Southern Village to see just how many people are earnestly composting?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Buying green, but not for the planet" - Marketplace From American Public Media

This makes a lot of sense, and should be factored into any "green" initiatives for Southern Village.

"Q. and A.: The Economics of Coffee Bars" - Diner's Journal Blog -

Anything here applicable to Southern Village?

We have a lot of places where one can buy a cup of coffee, no?

"Goowill drops Governors Village site" - Chapel Hill News

I'd like to know more about this, but what I read here worries me about a "not in my backyard" approach that is wholly inconsistent with how would look at this if the proposal were to come to Southern Village.

"Common Ground Green Building Center"

Monday, March 08, 2010

"SpotCrime - Know Your Neighborhood"

Apparently, this site provides a map of crime information for Chapel Hill, kept relatively up to date.

"SunGard Public Sector - Public Safety & Justice Software - OSSI Public Safety Solution"

Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Kevin GUNTER told me today that Chapel Hill will be getting this capability in place - "police to citizen" - within the next year.

Winston-Salem and High Point are already using this.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

"Texting While Driving Creates Challenges For Law Enforcement"

A very comprehensive review....

"Injury Prevention" - American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

Note the strong common-sense recommendations here, including:

"Never text or use a hand-held cell phone while driving or motorcycling, and use caution even with headsets."

Status of development across 15-501?

Is anyone up-to-date on the project that may get started across 15-501 from the southern entrance to Southern Village? Kapkow and the developer of Meadowmont are or were the principal players, I think.

"Vernon Journal - Vernon, Vt., Finds Good Neighbor in Vermont Yankee Reactor" -

As the crow flies, how far are we from the nuclear power plant?

"Shifting Soil Is Threat to a House’s Foundation" -

I don't think this has been a problem here in Southern Village, or nearby, but I wonder how we find out for sure? New developments are at special risk, of course, but we may not be, and I surely hope so!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

"Symphony concert to fill summer sky" - Music -

This version of the story contains no reference to the Southern Village Homeowners' Association commitment of money. I wonder if the Association's board changed its mind, or whether the original story was incorrect -- or it just got left out of this version?

No Cell Phones While Driving Community?

Imagine signs around Southern Village that say:

"This is a No-Cell-Phones-While-Driving community."

Walking "trails" at UNC

In case you want to know how far you walk on the UNC campus, here is a helpful map with walking distances included.

"Starbucks opens Feb. 16" — Employee News - UNC School of Medicine

A nice healthy walk from Southern Village!

Weaver Street Market tip

Yesterday, I made a small purchase at Weaver Street Market and learned something new.

It seems that VISA charges WSM 50 cents for every transaction, including those for only a few dollars - IF you push the debit option with your VISA card. However, if you opt for credit, it is only a small percentage charge that is less than the 50 cents.

The rule of thumb, the WSM person told me, is that if using a VISA card for something under $15, go "credit". If over 15, use "debit".

Always nice to save a few cents for a highly valued Southern Village whenever we can!

"Bow-and-arrow hunt for deer causes hard feelings in NC gated community" - WTKR

Interesting issue confronting another Homeowners' Association nearby. How are our deer doing? I have not seen many lately. Perhaps they have moved to Governor's Club?

"Crime" -

If you want to follow crime reports relating to Chapel Hill (and you can zoom in to see only Southern Village or your own street), this is an excellent way to do so, courtesy of the Daily Tar Heel. The map seems to be a month out of date, but current reports for all of Chapel Hill appear as links below the map, organized by day. For example, yesterday there was a report of a "suspicious" vehicle in the Park and Ride lot at 1 AM.....

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

"OWASA will change tap water disinfectant today" -

"When Georgia Banks Fail, Small Businesses Suffer" - NPR

Are we sure this can't happen here?

"Summer concert saved" - Chapel Hill News

The Chapel Hill News story from Sunday is now online.

Suds, paths and paint

Three things I noted today when out for a short walk.....

One, why does the water that flows into the stream from the pond - run-off - in front of Scroggs look like soapy discharge from a dirty wash load?

Two, isn't about time that we worked with Scroggs and the Town to put in a path around the pond instead of leaving it the way it is?

Three, why isn't the paint that I think was put on some of the roads for a recent running race disappearing? Did they use the right paint? How do we remove it?

Monday, March 01, 2010

"N.C. Go Green - Grow your green skills and find out how others are going green"

This may have some content on it from time to time that would be worthwhile for those of us in Southern Village and environs.

" - Move Your Money Project"

Harrington Bank in Southern Village appears on this list, but in order to find out what rating it got from this group, one needs to pay a fee. All we know is that Harrington got a B or better from this list.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Join us for big name speakers performers other notables"

Well worth reading - at least as a reminder - for all who live in and around Southern Village.

"In Westchester County, a ‘Ghost’ Police Car Is on Patrol" -

Just what is needed in Chapel Hill, even if just to encourage drivers to do the right thing and NOT use a cellphone while driving. I still think there is merit in citizens nothing license plates of cars with drivers obviously on the phone while driving and sharing those with the Chapel Hill Police.

Southern Village food + Memorial Hall performance?

Why haven't we seen any proposals to combine a meal in Southern Village with a performance at Memorial Hall?

For example, my wife and I attended a wonderful UNC Jazz Band concert last night at Memorial Hall. Tickets were $15. Imagine if one or more of the eating establishments in Southern Village had offered a meal at 6, bus from Market Street to Memorial Hall at 7:30, and dessert back in Southern Village at 10:30?

One would think that become a nice event, perhaps a chance to see or meet others in with a common interest or residence in Southern Village, a chance to add more bodies at dinner tables - early - in Southern Village and a chance to share the performance with more people and help the Band in the process.....


Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Car Talk - Driver Distraction Center"

"Clean Energy Durham"

Do we have a version of this for Orange County that we could use here in Southern Village? I have sent an e-mail to the people in Durham to ask them if they are aware of anyone doing the same here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Southern Village Symphony Performance in Jeopardy" - The Chapel Hill Magazine Blog - Chapel Hill Magazine

This is from earlier in the week, but it seems to contain some more details about how the money flows in connection with the Symphony's visit to Southern Village. I think there may be another story in the Chapel Hill News on Sunday.

"Philadelphia Orchestra Musicians Give Up Raises and Agree to Hiring Freeze" - ArtsBeat Blog -

The NC Symphony is not the only one having problems, it seems.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Speed bumps - from Erin Furr

"If you are interested in speed tables on your street see the attached documents from the Town of Chapel Hill. In the past it was discussed with Kumar from Public Works that Southern Village streets should be looked at on the whole – not on a one-on-one basis – as a speed table on one street will only drive cars to adjacent streets without speed tables.

However, since they are putting in a speed table on Westside Drive, it is apparent Kumar is now able to look at speed tables individually. If you would like a speed table on your street here’s what to do:

1. Fill out a request form for traffic calming (please visit for the forms) 2. The town will send you a petition for your street to sign (if you don’t get it in a week you will have to follow up)
Please e-mail Kumar with Public works and the mayor and commissioners urging them to look at this issue immediately

Please do not send requests to me. They have to be sent to Public Works."

"Tree ordinance move grows into resistance" - Herald-Sun

It seems to me that the best way to handle the tree issue is very simple. If the owner of property cuts down a tree, the owner is obliged to plant another, somewhere in the community, if not on the same land.

"Volunteers join to clean up Haw River" - Herald-Sun

I think we need to organize some of these for the creeks and streams that run through Southern Village. There sure seems to be a lot of garbage in them.

Harrington Bank - Town of Carrboro

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Sales aim to undergird Harrington Bank" - San Francisco Business Times

This links provides the full text.

Obesity in Southern Village

When I walked up to the Southern Community Park yesterday, I was struck by their being a lot of peopel there, at least for the children's playground, and even some on the basketball courts and hockey rink. That was nice to see.

What was interesting was to see an apparent direct correlation between the amount of moving around everyone was doing and whether they seeme to be at health weights. Many of those who sat were quite clearly into the obese camp, while the kids who ran the hardest looked like they deserved a big meal when they got back home.

Rust color in the creek by Scroggs

I got an answer to the quesiton I raised about the rust-colored sediment in the creek that runs to the west of the garden and fields behind Scroggs. In fact, Dave ALMOND of Chapel Hill Stormwater Management came out and took a look. Very impressive! See below for full text of his report.....

The link form this page is to a good discussion of what he says it is - iron bacteria! It poses, it seems, no risk to anyone, and frequently happens around here.

The relevant portion is this:


Iron Bacteria (Ferrobacillus, Gallionella, Thiobacillus, Leptothrix and Sphaerotilus) are a group of small (0.5 to 1.5 um), unicellular, organisms which grow in chains and excrete a mucilaginous sheath. (Image 1) This sheath becomes light brown from iron oxide (Fe (OH)3) and appears as a fuzzy coating on any available substrate (Image 2). Iron oxide is formed as the bacteria oxidizes ferrous iron (Fe2) to ferric iron (Fe3). The ferric iron becomes iron oxide when it is exposed to air (O2) and water (H2O). It is the oxidation of ferrous to ferric that produces the energy needed for the bacteria to survive. This makes them autotrophic, or self feeding, as opposed to heterotrophic. Heterotrophic organisms require a food source produced by others, like animals do.

Ecological Implications:

Iron Bacteria can be found in streams, lakes, ponds and ditches throughout the North Carolina. They are indicative of iron rich water, ground water seeps and low flow conditions. These waters are often acidic or in contact with an anaerobic sediment layer because ferrous iron is favored in these conditions. Although unsightly, Iron Bacteria are not known to pose any environmental or human health risk."
If anyone sees anything in the streams that could constitute a spill or other pollution, it is his office that should be called - 969-RAIN or 969-7246.

If anyone wants to rely on Wikipedia, here is its entry on the subject.

Dave ALMOND's e-mailed report:

"I checked on the discharge at Scroggs Elementary and it is a large colony of iron-fixing bacteria called Gallionella ferruginea. These colonies occur when you have groundwater flowing through iron-rich soils or in areas where there is prolonged inundation or saturation of iron-rich soils. When the anoxic groundwater carrying iron particulates mixes with the oxygenated surface water, conditions are right for Gallionella to convert the soluble ferrous iron(Fe2) into insoluble ferric iron (Fe3). The bacteria form helical chains of ferric hydroxide as they convert the iron, so the combination of bacteria colony and flocculated helical chain byproduct forms a rust colored voluminous mass. There is no spill at this location, these are naturally occurring conditions.
Dave Almond

Stormwater Technician
Stormwater Management Division
Town of Chapel Hill
405 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Snapshot 2010: Orange - County Health Rankings"

How does Southern Village look as part of this? Are we doing better or worse?


Impace on Harrington Bank?

Cell phones

Sent today to the Chapel Hill Town Attorney:

"I have had a couple of exchanges with Penny RICH concerning a possible ban on using cell phones while driving a vehicle in Chapel Hill.
In reading her piece today in the Chapel Hill News, she refers to information she has gathered about what has happened in other states, including noting that some municipal jurisdictions have enacted bans.
Are any of those jurisdictions in NC?
Would Chapel Hill be the first?
You may have seen something that I sent Penny earlier in which I argued that the Council should begin by adopting a firm town “policy” against cell phone use while driving. It would not be enforceable but it could be quite firm, and would send the right signal.
Before getting there, I want to know what the rules are governing all people and vehicles, Town-owned or not, over which the Town has some control through employment, contract or other means --- what are the rules governing all of those people and vehicles when it comes to the use of a cell phone while the vehicle is in motion?
Please forward this to anyone there who can respond if you cannot.

"Spill" - in creek near Scroggs?

Sent today to OWASA's director:

"I am not sure to whom to address this…..

There is a significant amount of rust-colored sediment in one of the tributary streams that flows near Scroggs Elementary School in Southern Village.

It is the very small stream that seems to flow out of drainage pipe just below the vegetable garden that Scroggs has set up behind the school adjacent to the playground. If you walk behind the park, nearest the woods (roughly west side), and down the hill, you will arrive at the trail that Chapel hill paved through those woods that goes to the Southern Community Park. The striking sedimentation begins there, the stream passes under the path, and then the sedimentation continues for perhaps 200 feet until the tributary dumps into a larger stream where it must have dispersed.

If anyone wishes to call me, please do.

If not your responsibility to investigate this, please tell me to whom I should report this.


( I am copying the principal of Scroggs in the event she knows anything about this; I see no sign in the garden of anything that looks to be a spill or, indeed, is anything close to the rust color of the sedimentation.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Orange County, NC Solid Waste Management - Latest News"

They sure do make this complicated.

By contrast, see Pittsboro's new rules.

South Columbia project


What's the rust-colored sediment that seems to be on the bottom of the stream that runs from behind Scroggs down to the trail? this is the stream that overflowed during recent storms and left sand on the path.

North Carolina Symphony

This tells part of the story of funding the NC Symphony Orchestra.

"Town of Chapel Hill : News Releases : Public hearing on tree protection set for Feb. 22"

Friday, February 19, 2010

We are lucky to have two theaters so easily accessible and, for anyone in good shape, easily accessible on foot or by bus.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

North Carolina Symphony

URGENT: Help bring the N.C. Symphony back to Southern Village this summer « Southern Village Marketplace

John FUGO promised to provide all of the numbers - the total amount that the Symphony appearance costs. How much? He through around 10,000 last night, but then said Harrington Bank gives a separate 5,000 and then admitted he did not know the full picture. My understanding was that he said he would provide that and this posting does not do so. Irritatingly, this posting provides no way to ask questions and no way to make a contribution if one is so inclined.

Homeowners' Association Annual Meeting - 17 Feb 2009

There were about 25 people there, with proxies from another 80 or so. The quorum requirement is about 70, or 10% of the residences in Southern Village.
The only two candidates for the two open board seats were elected without a formal vote – Rainer DAMMERS and Cindy GUDEMAN.

Cindy stressed her desire to help look after real estate values and Rainer talked about his role in promoting a more environmentally-conscious Southern Village.

In the course of the 90 minute event, questions were raised about trash cans for dog droppings (there will be one at the basketball court by the swim and tennis club), there was a financial report (we look healthy, with a dues drop of $20/year from last year to this year), a new resident expressed regret that more people do not shovel in front of their homes when it snows, one resident asked if it is possible to close off an alley for a party (answer - yes), and John FUGO made a pitch for money (8,000, he said) to underwrite the cost of the NC Symphony coming to Southern Village in June (otherwise they will not come – and that’s in addition to 10,000+ from the merchants of Southern Village – an e-mail may go out to all of us presenting some options), and then there was discussion of the two issues relating to architectural review board matters.

Jeremy PURBRICK, as president, asked for a committee to study the matters further and develop new proposed rules. He got three volunteers. Rather than simply deciding on the questions – whether to change or eliminate the rules regarding what we can plant between sidewalk and curb, and allowing people to put solar panels on any roof – he asked for more time to be spent on these issues by setting up a committee. The overwhelming sentiment in the room – not directly expressed – was to go with a kind of “reasonableness” test which I previously got both Rainer and Cindy to support (see earlier post here) but on which neither commented last night. In other words, I think they are headed in the direction to wind up with a rule or guideline that simply says – if you are going to put other than grass out front or want to install solar cells on your roof, describe what you plan to do briefly, send to the “ARB” and if reasonable, it will be approved.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010


This is all I find on this so far.

My suggestion to Penny RICH seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

It looks like this is really an effort just to get some attention for the "issue" as one might put it.

If anyone can say that talking on a phone of any kind while driving a motor vehicle is not a safety hazard, I'd love to hear the argument.

And since there is no argument that I can imagine being advanced, why waste all this time?

If the Council cares about the residents here, it should simply adopt a clear and concise statement to the effect that Chapel Hill believes that no one should drive a motor vehicle and use any other electronic device at the same time.

With that policy in place, lots of opportunities open up.

To debate a "ban" is to waste time, and I think possibly lives.

So put it to a vote at the Council, Penny. The adoption of a policy in no way means that a ban could not follow. But get the Council on record in support of the idea that here in Chapel Hill we don't want anyone doing anything other than paying attention when they drive a motor vehicle. That means no phones or any other devices other than those needed to drive the vehicle.

And don't sweat the small stuff like what this means about turning on or off a radio. Ignore that argument, keep it simple and get it done.

"Wi-Fi Turns Arizona Bus Ride Into a Rolling Study Hall" -

Are there lots of students using portable computers around Southern Village? I seldom see any. Where are they?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Monday, February 08, 2010

"Surfacing - In the Rogers Park Section of Chicago, an Ethnic Mix Keeps It Funky" -

How does this neighborhood compare with Southern Village?

"County reduces waste rate" - Chape Hill News

I sure hope we get to the point in Southern Village where we can measure our year-to-year progress, apart from the larger area around us.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

"Gyms in Raleigh,Cary,Fuquay Varina,Chapel Hill,Wilmington - Health Clubs and Fitness Centers"

At the gym in Southern Village, and here, the club is promoting Twitter and Facebook and O2 Speaks. At the club, they are also pushing YouTube, too.

I have to say that what one finds on Twitter and Facebook for a place like O2 Fitness sure is a waste of time. Too much junk and nothing - for me, anyway - of any real value.

If they could only get their act together and produce something really crisp and informative, and valuable - and then offer it by e-mail, and - sure - go ahead and post it on the others as well.

This just seems like a wimpy way to stay meaningfully connected with customers and potential members.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Welcome to Poly-Tex, Inc - Snap & Grow greenhouses

Do we have any of these in Southern Village?

"Coffee grounds perk up your compost" -

Coffee grounds have worked really well in my composter as well. I still wonder how many people in Southern Village are composting at all?

Friday, February 05, 2010

"Urban farmers fight nationwide to sow green biz" -

I wonder what the future of vegetable gardens is in Southern Village? How many people are growing vegetables at home and how are they doing it? What does the Architectural Review Board say about all of this?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Cell phone use facing backlash" - The Herald-Sun

I guess the issue of whether there should be a rush to judgment depends on how much importance you attached to safety and saving lives. And it should not take a law to do the right thing and refrain from using any such device while driving a vehicle, but probably will in order to protect all of us. At ther very least, the clear policy of Chapel Hill ought to be - When you drive a vehicle, don't do anything else while behind the wheel.

"Hang up and drive" - Chapel Hill News

Well said!

"What Could You Live Without?" -

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tar Heel Express

It would be nice to see the merchants of Southern Village taking advantage of the people who will be leaving from and returning to Southern Village tomorrow. I wonder what they have planned?

"Tar Heel Express Shuttle Will Run Sunday

Posted Date: 1/27/2010


Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) will provide Tar Heel Express shuttle service on Sunday, Jan. 31, for the UNC men's basketball game against the Virginia Cavaliers, scheduled for 7:45 p.m. at the Dean E. Smith Center.

Tar Heel Express shuttles will begin at 6:15 p.m. from the park and ride lots at the Friday Center, Southern Village, University Mall (next to Dillards) and Jones Ferry Road. Shuttles will also be available from the Carolina Coffee Shop located at 138 East Franklin St. (no parking provided). The shuttles will provide continuous and fully accessible service, running every 10 to 15 minutes between the park and rides and the Dean E. Smith Center. The shuttles will operate for 45 minutes following the game.

Shuttles drop off and pick up on Bowles Drive in front of the Dean E. Smith Center. Shuttle rides are $5 for a round-trip or $3 for a one-way trip. Rides from the Carolina Coffee Shop are $2 one-way or $4 round-trip.

For additional information on the Tar Heel Express Shuttle, please visit CHT's website at or call a customer service representative at 919-969-4900."


Chapel Hill Town Council member Penny RICH has proposed restrictions on the use of cellphones while driving. Here is what I sent her this morning....

"Alas, I have not taken the time to read whatever I could find about your idea, as I understand it, of banning the use of cellphones by vehicle drivers on Chapel Hill roads.
For whatever it may be worth to you, here is how I see it…..

1. Anyone who does anything other than pay as close to 100% attention to driving a motor vehicle is endangering at least one person, that driver, and likely many more.

2. Sure, there are emergencies that divert a driver from her/his job momentarily and we never can eliminate all of them.

3. But, we can and should reduce or eliminate any that we can.

4. There is always the possibility of a law to prohibit cellphone use, and there are issues as I am sure you have found, related to jurisdiction, etc. To me, that’s not the place to start.

5. The place to start is with the core idea of my point 1 above.

6. Why not get the Town Council to adopt a resolution - with no force and effect other than that all of the people whom we have elected to lead our town agree – saying that it is the POLICY of Chapel Hill that people driving motor vehicles should refrain at all times from using cellphones of any kind?

If you cannot get to 6, then a law, ordinance, restriction, etc. with legal effect is just not going to happen. With such a policy in place, the options are really positive, e.g., signs around town reinforcing the policy with suggestions that passengers remind drivers of the policy, etc. It could be a real community effort as opposed to a “legislative” fight between and among a few people and groups.
In short, get the policy established first and then build from there with publicity and endorsements by other groups and organizations, our schools (including UNC), and businesses, in the town."

Friday, January 29, 2010

"Architectural Review: Your Opinion Please" - Southern Village Homeowners Association

This is all so fascinating. Imagine that someone chooses to make the time to move around Southern Village with a camera taking pictures of many of the properties that have chosen to be "deviations" (as the item calls them) from the guideline calling for grass between sidewalk and curb. I think it would be good to add some pictures of the homes that have replaced their original grass with the kind that looks dead in the winter. The photos linked to the attached posting look a whole lot more attractive to me that the looks-dead-to-me lawns that apparently are not "deviations".

Honestly, aren't there more important things in this community, not to mention the world? I can think of thousands if not more.

I have asked the tow candidates for the homeowners association board how they will vote on the first question. If they reply, I will add that here....

Ok, the responses:

From Rainer DAMMERS: "walking in the neighborhood and looking at several of the cases referenced here as well as many where grass is not growing or looks ugly with lots of weed in it I support flexibility within limits on this matter. On some patches underneath large trees it's virtually impossible to grow grass, or if possible only at the cost of large amount of watering and fertilizer which I can't support. Some low growing ground covers look better and require less maintenance than grass does."

From Cindy GUDEMAN: "If the "green" strip is kept tidy and in keeping with the integrity of Southern Village I see no problem with being reasonable on what is planted in the "green" strip. Should the strip become untidy or unsightly then it would be reasonable for a property owner to voice his/her concern to the ARB."

Very reasonable approaches, I think!

"Calling All Cabbies: Remove Device from Ear. Now" - City Room Blog -

Smart. The same practice ought to be followed/banned here in Southern Village. The next time you are in a car whose driver uses a phone or any other device, tell him or her, simply, stop or pull over. You will be doing both of you a life-saving favor.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Adverse Weather Map" - Chapel Hill Public Works

You can look up your street in Southern Village or anywhere in Chapel Hill.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"When Trying to Preserve the Planet Strains the Relationship" -

Sound like anyone you know in Southern Village?

"L'émission de Le chef contre-attaque"

This failed in Southern Village. It's taking off in France.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Driven to Distraction - Pedestrians, Too, Are Distracted by Cellphones" - Series -

It sure would be nice not to have to listen to all the hot-shots I see walking around Southern Village talking on phones. That said, I learn more about from my neighbors forced to listen to one end of those conversations than I do in other ways! Most important, if they stopped walking and talking on the phone and, most of all, talking on the phone and driving a vehicle, the rest of us would be a whole lot safer.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Broad Street Cafe, Durham NC

See the 19 Jan event - why are we not seeing this sort of thing in Southern Village?

"In France, a Drive-Up Grocery Takes Off" -

Why not a variation on this idea for Southern Village - order online, and the store delivers all orders to central pickup point on Market Street. Multiple stores? Skip the refrigereated or frozen items to get started.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Campaign to Focus on Dangers of Distracted Driving" -

Bravo! Let's start in Southern Village by telling anyone we know whom we see driving a vehicle while using a device to do ons simple thing: Stop!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

"Efforts to Curb Cellphone Use While Driving Gain Momentum" -

Southern Village should impose its own"ban" on the use of any portable device while driving a vehicle.