Old Poops on Patrol!

Ask any college town “townie” what’s their favorite time of year — and many are likely to say, now. From Athens, GA, to Lawrence, KS; to State College, PA, to Chapel Hill-Carrboro, the start of the fall semester…

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Back to Narnia

Sixty-four years ago, I went to Narnia, where I became a lion named Aslan. To get to that foreign land, I didn’t need a passport. But I did need a great teacher to open the magical door through the old wardrobe.

Baby birds are still around!

While we are now well into summer, some avian neighbors were still mating recently and expanding their families. Several bird species have more than one brood each season…

Remote Learning Until January

It’s going to be even longer before local schoolkids get to enter their classrooms. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education has voted unanimously to keep all learning online at least until Jan. 15, 2021.

Franklin Street Gets More Sidewalk Dining Space

There will be less space to drive on Franklin Street, but more space to eat and drink. Town of Chapel Hill staff have begun installing barriers and bollards on the street from Robertson Lane to Graham Street to increase sidewalk capacity while temporarily reducing lanes for vehicular traffic.

 Good Grooming for Plants

It is a truism that plants, like people, benefit from good grooming. And, as with people, good grooming practices differ from plant to plant. When I’m busy anthropomorphizing my plants, I envision that they appreciate what I’m doing to enhance their looks. Of course, this lies in my imagination because the reason plants produce flowers and the reason I think they produce flowers are two entirely different explanations.

Utility Workers and the Virus

This morning when I was out for a jog, I passed a major utilities upgrade project on Ephesus Church Road in Chapel Hill, between Churchill Drive and Pinehurst Drive. At the corner of Churchill and Ephesus I saw a group of about a half-dozen workers digging a large hole, with shovels.

Helping Our Schools in a Time of Need

One of the best parts of our community is our unwavering dedication to our kids and public education. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has turned what should be a great time of year — Back to School — into so much uncertainty.

More than a Car Wash

Driving around Chapel Hill it’s impossible to miss the Carolina-blue building at the intersection of Franklin and Main Streets. It juts out like a small peninsula at the precise spot Chapel Hill and Carrboro meet.

Killer Petunias

This season I’m trying out some forthcoming Wave petunias that are faring well. Although pleased with them, I’m now saddled with a chore I don’t enjoy. If you’ve grown petunias you know what I’m about to say — they are sticky.

A Small but Important Town Icon

Across from the President’s House on East Franklin Street on the northeast corner of East Franklin Street and Raleigh Road sits the Phillips Law Office. Its small size is easy to overlook while driving through this busy intersection, but this is an important town icon recognizable to residents, UNC graduates and students, and visitors.

Library Changes Its Pick-up Service

There will be a new way to pick up your books and other media at the Chapel Hill Public Library. Beginning Monday, users of the new “Park & Pick Up” service will call ahead, park in the library’s parking lot and pick up their items outside the main entrance. 

Saying Goodbye to a Willow Oak

Chapel Hill’s Parks and Recreation Department sent word that it was hosting a gathering for people to pay their respects to a nearly 100-year-old willow oak on Franklin Street before it was removed. As this was the closest thing to a party I’d been invited to in months, I put it in my calendar.

How a Troll Brought My Neighborhood Together

When you picture suburbia, you’re probably picturing something like my neighborhood. Streets lined with mature trees, kids on bikes, joggers, people out walking with their dogs … and most of the people you’d see are white.

Attacking Systemic Racism in Higher Ed

If predominantly white institutions of higher education are serious about eliminating systemic racism on their campuses, they must begin with an honest and transparent benchmark assessment of who cleans, who teaches, who attends, who plays which sports, who gets research support and who holds leadership roles that control decision-making and shape policy.

Barrett to Head Jackson Center

George Barrett will be the new executive director of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center. Barrett, who has been associate director of the Rosemary Street non-profit for the last four years, will be the Jackson’s Center’s first full-time on-site executive director.

COVID-19 Cases Pass a Milestone

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Orange County has surpassed 1,000. A month ago, the number of cumulative cases in the county was below 300. At the beginning of July, the count was 750.

An Outbreak of Kindness

The bumper sticker on the back of the old pick-up truck outside of Carrboro caught my attention. It read, “Make America Kind Again.” Permit me to riff off a recent New York Times op-ed piece that opined thusly: that if there’s any silver lining to the double-whammy of the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd, it has to be our heightened awareness of our common humanity and mutual interdependence.

In Praise of Ed Kerwin

July marked the retirement of Ed Kerwin as executive director of OWASA, the Orange Water and Sewer Authority.

College Students Question Campus Return During Pandemic

Many North Carolina colleges and universities have begun moving forward with plans to reopen on an adjusted schedule this fall. But as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the state — especially among young people — many college students are feeling uneasy about the prospects of returning to campus in a few weeks.

Black Lives Matter

Recently Orange Slices turned to longtime columnist Neil Offen to reflect on Chapel Hill and the Black Lives Matter movement. Here’s what he had to say: In Chapel Hill and Carrboro, increasingly, many express a belief that Black lives matter. You can see it in the protests and the proliferation of yard signs. But to be honest, Black lives haven’t always mattered here.

Carrboro Makes Juneteenth Official

Juneteenth is now an official holiday in Carrboro. The Town Council has unanimously approved a resolution making June 19 — colloquially known as Juneteenth — a paid town holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

More Lazy Gardening

In our last column, Mark Weathington mentioned that turf was terribly labor-intensive, soil improvement was imperative and we should buy good plants while disposing of those plants that failed to perform. Here are the additional points that he makes:

Some Say Police Resolution Falls Short

At the Chapel Hill Town Council’s final meeting of the fiscal year, council members approved a heartfelt resolution to improve racial equity and public safety. Most community members who spoke, however, were underwhelmed.

Gardening while Lazy

This summer, what with dealing with a changing world due to COVID-19, I find that I’m not as enthusiastic about spending time in the garden. Whether it’s due to a creaking, aging body or a loss of concentration, my enthusiasm has waned a bit.

Jim Wallace: f/8 and Be There

“f/8 and be there!” — the old-school photojournalist’s equivalent cheer of “GO HEELS!” for Tar Heel fans — might as well have been created by James (Jim) H. Wallace Jr., fabled DTH civil rights photographer.