Terri Buckner's blog

Missing Acorns?

I spent Saturday raking leaves and noticed that this year, unlike past years, there were no acorns hitting me on the head. There were no acorns buried under the fallen leaves. There were no acorns!

Today's Washington Post confirms that it's not just my yard. 

The idea seemed too crazy to Rod Simmons, a measured, careful field botanist. Naturalists in Arlington County couldn't find any acorns. None. No hickory nuts, either. Then he went out to look for himself. He came up with nothing. Nothing crunched underfoot. Nothing hit him on the head. 

Last year was a bumper crop in my yard and the plump squirrels attest to that. But this winter they are going to be in trouble. Are others also missing their annual acorn crop?

Liz Parham, Exec. Dir. of CH Downtown Partnership resigns

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership Board of Directors announced today that Liz Parham, executive director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, has resigned from her position effective July 18, 2008. Ms. Parham will assume the role of director of the Office of Urban Development for the Division of Community Assistance in the North Carolina Department of Commerce on July 21st.

Focus the Nation: Global Warming Solutions for America

Focus the Nation is a national teach-in on global warming solutions for America—creating a dialogue at over a thousand colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, places of worship, civic organizations and businesses, and directly engaging millions of students and citizens with the nation’s decision-makers. The students at UNC signed onto this initiative in the fall of 2006 and have been working since then to put together an event that will bring the community together around this important discussion.

In support of the student effort, Orange County and the Town of Carrboro have officially proclaimed January 31, 2008 as Climate Change Awareness Day and the Town of Chapel Hill will be making a similar proclamation very soon.

Please join the students in the activities they have planned or through private discussions with your family and friends.


January 30
Great Hall of the Student Union
6:00 pm: Environmental Social
Meet local governmental leaders, environmental faculty, and other leaders on and off campus. Beverages and finger food will be served.

How Do We Get Out of Iraq?

Are you troubled by the disaster in Iraq but fearful of the consequences of an early withdrawal? Looking for alternatives between the extremes of “Stay the Course” and “Out Now”? On Monday October 10, 7:30 - 9:30 PM, the Orange County Democratic Party is sponsoring a public forum to educate citizens about the alternatives for withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, focusing on realistic scenarios and their consequences, and to provide a forum for discussion of the situation in Iraq.

Where: Chapel Hill High School auditorium.
When: Monday October 10, 7:30 - 9:30 PM


Local governments tackle affordable housing

During last week's Sierra Club forum in Carrboro, candidates were asked what they felt needed to be done to increase the stock of affordable housing in town. Each of the 4 candidates who addressed this question agreed that it is the most complex problem before the BOA.

Both Carrboro and Chapel Hill work from a version of inclusionary zoning that requires new developers to include affordable units along with their market priced units. In Carrboro developers who comply with the "small house ordinance" are given a density bonus to help them recover some of their lost opportunity. In Chapel Hill, developers can provide payment in lieu of compliance. New units developed through the Carrboro plan are deeded over to the Orange Community Housing and Land Trust as a means of ensuring they stay affordable. Buyers own the dwelling but not the land upon which the dwelling sits. Chapel Hill is currently clarifying the legal the language around their affordable housing options.



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