Jeff Danner's blog

Fracking in North Carolina

My Common Science blog this week in Chapelboro is about fracking  (To Frack or Not to Frack?), a relatively new technology to extract natural gas from deep underground shale formations.  There have been proposals to allow for this tecnology to be used in North Carolina including, potentially, in neighboring Chatham County.  Last month 400 people showed up for a cautionaly meeting about fracking in Fearington Village.

 After reviewing the benefits and risks, my view is that we will eventually need to extract this gas but should wait until some improvements in the technology are made to safeguard the evironment.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

Check out Common Science on

With permission from Ruby I thought I'd let you know that in addition to my local politics blog here on the OP, I've been publishing a weekly science blog on called Common Science. It's been a fun project so far and I have been mixing both global and local topics.  For example, for those with stamina I'm part of the way through a 10 part series on petroleum which has been formulating my head for a few years.  On more local issues I've posted an appeal to consider solar water heaters and also why the cicadas evolved to have 13 and 17 year life cycles.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Letter to Representative Insko and Commissioner Gordon on School Funding

With the month of May coming, it time for flowers to bloom and for our school district to trim resources.   Every year when this happens I appreciate the flowers and figure there has to be a better way to fund our schools.  Below is the text of a letter I send to Representative Insko with copy to County Commissioner Alice Gordon.  There has to be a better approach that what we have now.  Thoughts and comments are appreciated. 

Tanger Outlets v. 140 West Franklin

This is a spin off from the current thread on economic development.  However, since I am addressing two specific items I thought new blog entry was warranted.

The useful life of a significant investment, be it an outlet mall or a residential/retail complex, has to range to at least 20-50 years for there to be an acceptable rate of return, particularly if governmental subsidies or tax incentives are included.  Therefore, a large investment like Tanger Outlets (just over the county line) or 140 West Franklin represents a bet on the future.  In the case of these two projects the bets on the future could not be more different.

The Tanger Outlet bet is that the future will be very much like the recent past in that low transporation costs will persist, allowing large volumes of goods to be transported long distances to a place where people get in their large personal vehicles and travel 10-100 miles to buy these goods.  In aligning themselves with this bet on the future Alamance County is arranging its infrastructure, tax base, and utility services to allow for car travel to shopping destinations along the highway.

Compost your Leaves, Save Money, Improve the Soil

Every year when the piles of leaves appear along the side of the streets  my family has to suffer through my complaints about the absurdity of this practice.  I thought I'd post this blog entry to share the joy.

Generally speaking, if your yard is big enough to need raking, it's big enough for a pile for the leaves to sit and compost.  My yard is approximately 0.2 acres and every year I rake the leaves into piles underneath the trees and bushes where they sit and compost.  After a day or two or after the first good rain the leaves stop blowing around and I can forget them while they protect the tree roots from cold weather and decompose into new soil.

This board often discusses possible reductions in town expenses.  Though it is a small line item, seems like someone should pick up the pen and line this one out.  Am I missing something?  Why should we not just stop the seemly silly process of sending out trucks and personnel to pick up leaves?



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