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?