Decades of UNC students credited the Campus Y with spurring them to a life of service during last weekend’s 150th anniversary celebration of the center.
Bill Ferris, senior associate director of the UNC Center for the Study of the American South, described the Y, which organizers say is the longest standing YMCA in the nation and the oldest student activist group, as “the conscience of our campus.”
Through a moving oral history performance, students reflected on several political battles, including those supporting women’s rights, integration and literacy, and opposing the Vietnam War and the speaker ban, which barred communists from orating on campus.
The event, though, was as much about looking forward as celebrating the past. The Friday afternoon program featured a discussion among four prominent local activists— The Rev. Robert Campbell of the
Coalition to End Environmental Racism, Stephen Dear of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, Loida Ginocchio-Silva of the Dream Act Girls and Michelle Cotton Laws of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro NAACP—on the challenges of building a movement in modern times.
Today, coincidentally or not, Duke University—where Price has taught public policy—issued a press release touting the benefits of the $287 million in NIH grants given to the Research Triangle region through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“Federal grants for academic research and development are intended to create long-term health benefits and economic opportunity,” the release reminds.
Last November, as well documented by the rousing "Green Team" video below, Joe Green won a seat on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Election.
"We’re hopefully going to work hard for the school board and do a great job,” he says in the video, a thank you to voters and his campaign team.
Today Green announced that he’s going to work hard and do a great job elsewhere.
He turned in his resignation letter, leaving a hole on the seven-member board and three years on his term, in favor of a post at Marquette University.
UNC is relinquishing a $14.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health that would have funded new additions to the Bingham Facility, formerly known as the Farm, the university announced late today. This means expansion of the facility has stopped.
Earlier this year, UNC received the grant, which was part of the federal stimulus package. The money was for "shovel-ready" projects that have a short completion time. UNC planned to use the money to erect two new buildings to house additional animals for research on genetic diseases such as muscular dystrophy and hemophilia.
"We have concluded that pursuing the NIH-funded expansion would require more costly infrastructure upgrades than anticipated," wrote Bob Lowman, UNC associate vice chancellor for research, in an e-mail to neighbors, many of whom have long been concerned about environmental and public health implications of the expansion. "This is a major change of course for us and it will take some time to determine our future plans for the Bingham Facility."
However, due to serious problems with the facility's wastewater treatment plant—it is closed and UNC will build a new one—the Bingham Facility's construction schedule has been delayed. In addition, the original grant application to the NIH stated there were no wetlands on the site; when the area was mapped earlier this year, it discovered there were several wetlands that had been damaged during construction.
The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources fined UNC $16,000 as a result of t
hose wetlands encroachments illegal discharges into nearby Collins Creek.
Check back Tuesday for updates to this story.
As expected, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Superintendent Neil Pedersen announced tonight that his 19th year at the helm will be his last. Pedersen, the longest serving head in the 101-year history of the district, will step down June 30, 2011.
“Dr. Pedersen, are there any announcements?” Chairman Mike Kelley asked to start the meeting, inviting the elephant in the room to trumpet.
“Yes,” he said, smiling the cut the tension. “As you know, I’ve been giving serious consideration as to the best time for me to retire as superintendent of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. As I complete my 18th year in this position, I’ve concluded that this will be the last year that I will seek to serve in this capacity.”
Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill/Carrboro were among 36 municipalities in North Carolina and almost 1,100 nationally to apply for Google Fiber, the company announced today.
The response was much more than they expected.
Now Google has launched a site that centralizes their efforts and calls on communities to translate their push for Google Fiber into a move for national and local legislation to create fiber infrastructure.
The site also features a thank you video that features, among others, Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton. Does that provide any clues? We’ll have to wait to the end of the year to find out who Google has selected.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board Chairman Mike Kelley says he’s taking a deep breath. Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate coordinator Graig Meyer is avoiding speaking in the past tense. Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public Schools Foundation director Kim Hoke sees a contract that hasn’t been renewed. The schools’ spokesperson isn’t speaking and the superintendent is referring all questions to a prepared statement.
“Until that time, I will not comment further regarding my future plans,” Pedersen states.
“The 2010-11 school year will present a normal array of challenges to my administration with respect to student achievement and dismal financial forecasts. Regardless of my decision, I need to devote my full attention every day throughout this year to providing leadership to this district as it faces these challenges.”
With 18 years of service at the top, Pedersen is the longest tenured school leader in the state and in the history of his district. He’s helped maintain and expand a tradition of top tier public schools, making the community desirable for young families and leading to two new high schools and six new schools since 1994.
Pedersen, who is on vacation, says he has long planned to take this summer to consider his future. The school system celebrated 100 years in 2009. Now they could be looking for a new author for the next chapters.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Superintendent Neil Pedersen released a statement today addressing recent speculation about his impending retirement, saying he will announce a decision at the school board's July 22 meeting.
He came to the district in 1987 as assistant superintendent for support services, and he has been credited with helping guide the system to among the top in the state. Pedersen will be eligible for full retirement benefits this year, he says.
You can find the full statement here. Read more in Wednesday's edition of the Indy.
Parent and community activist Natalie Beyer bowled over incumbent school board member Stephen Martin tonight in a runoff for the final seat on the Durham school board.
With 98 percent of precincts counted, Beyer won 61 percent of the 2,452 votes cast for the District 4B seat. Martin, who has been on the school board eight years, won 38 percent of the votes. Provisional ballots will be counted Friday.
The two faced each other in a runoff today after a close finish during the May 4 election, where they were separated by a mere 181 votes.
Beyer, along with newcomer Nancy Cox and incumbents Fredrick Davis and Omega Curtis-Parker, will take office in July.
Durham County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to use $4.1 million from current and future lottery money to restore teaching positions cut last month due to state budget woes.
County attorneys drafted a memorandum of understanding for county commissioners today that summarized their agreement with the schools to fund the 2010-11 school year. The county would use a current $3.8 million balance of lottery money and about $2.2 million projected lottery revenue for next year (that's a purposely low estimate, County Manager Mike Ruffin said), totaling about $6.1 million. Money would be shifted around (see the memo for details) with the net result being an additional $4.1 million for schools next year that hadn't been included in Ruffin's earlier budget proposal. The memo is scheduled to be presented to the school board and signed Thursday at its 6:30 p.m. meeting.
Bottom line: if the memo is signed and the intentions documented there are carried through, many of the 185 teachers who had been cut at the end of the school year could be hired back for the 2010-11 year. (Ruffin's initial budget proposal restored 111 of these teachers. The lottery funds would restore the remaining 74 teachers. View the list of teacher cuts [PDF]).
But although students, parents and community activists who have been pressuring the Durham school board and commissioners for the past two months may feel their wishes have been granted, more trouble looms just over the horizon.
Funding dearths for the 2011-12 school year will be even more dramatic than for the coming year. With next year's estimated state budget cuts and the loss of federal stimulus money, Durham could lose 345 teaching positions for 2011-12, Ruffin said Tuesday. Ruffin said he had just gotten off the phone with interim Superintendent Hank Hurd, who cited the sobering number.
Anticipating the difficulty planning for the 2011-12 school year, commissioners added a paragraph to the end of their memo stating that commissioners and the school board need to agree to begin meeting immediately to reconcile how they'll fund schools through 2012.