Maria Rowan's blog

Toy Chest Needs Contributions

Have you noticed the tree with the little paper bears hanging from it in Carr Mill Mall? That tree is usually almost empty of bears by now.  I was thinking maybe it was just me being paranoid or sentimental, but the Carrboro Citizen affirmed what I suspected.

The families in need of assistance with Christmas gifts is increasing and the donations are not meeting the need. 

The Orange County Department of Social Services Toy Chest is running low on toys and clothes. Families are participating who had no need in the past. The Citizen mentioned how sad it is for younger children to be bypassed because they can't understand, but a friend also said that the Toy Chest is particularly in need of things for teens.

To donate toys or checks can be taken to Southern Human Services on Homestead Road in Chapel Hill or Whitted Human Services in Hillsborough.

Spread the word.

Main Street Bail Out Begins At Home

While I was out (since the last post) this email appeared in my email box. 

A New Kind of Underwater In NC

Wall Street Journal has an interactive map of the United States that shows where people are "underwater" on their mortgages. Underwater is a new term for me.  I always heard upside down, but the meaning is the same - the house is now valued at less than is owed. The percentages shown on the map are only houses purchased in the last five years.

I was disappointed but not surprised to see Orange County, NC on the map.

Only 10% of homeowners are underwater this week.  That's nowhere near as bad as Orange County, California where 40-80% of homeowners are underwater. But that number could change if housing prices decrease, the percentage does not include people who may be underwater and bought six or seven years ago and the last five years saw an awful lot of houses constructed and purchased as well existing and changing hands in Orange County.  It begs the question just how many families is that?

Map here for your viewing pleasure:


Art for Safety's Sake

A friend who lives in St. Paul just sent me this link to a new project in their city. In order to calm traffic on residential streets (like mine), the city has employed bump outs, traffic circles and speed bumps. Now they're trying something new - Art Signs. The same size as traffic signs that say things like "Slow Children" (and wouldn't I like one of those on my street these days).

The object is to get drivers to slow down to look at the new unusual sign and then to subtly convey a message of traffic calming. The Teddy Bear is a pretty obvious choice as is the photo of children, but I personally like the lotus blossom with the labyrinth.


Where are Senator Clinton's People?

I like Senator Obama just fine, but one more phone call or doorbell ringing from his people and I'm ready to file a restraining order.

On the other hand, I have no mail, no phone calls and no knock-knock-knocking on my door from Senator Clinton's people. Other than lunch in February with a strong supporter of Senator Clinton, I have seen neither hide nor hair of the campaign.

Is this common throughout Orange County? Or is it just my neighborhood? Or demographic?






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