Your letters, Jan. 12: Buses, lake Roombas and paintballs

January 10, 2014 

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Becoats to blame

The attempts by Bob Wilson to lay the blame for the $12 Million Dollar Hidden Fund Balance on anyone other than Superintendent Becoats is far off the mark (DN, Jan. 5, bit.ly/KAHZ8t).

Please read his contract (a public document available on the DPS website: bit.ly/1cWAbb5)

All of the DPS employees reported to him. He was, solely, responsible for the financial conditions of the school system. Pinning the blame elsewhere does not fly.

Allan Lang

Durham

Buses are better

Bob Wilson hit the nail on the head ( “Light-rail plans bear closer look,” Dec. 15). It is time to move past the fantasy of light-rail and focus on other options.

A fleet of small, fuel-efficient buses across the county with connecting routes would be a far more effective transportation alternative. Bus shelters within 10 minutes walking distance of most residences and businesses – with information posted of connecting routes – would encourage riders of all ages.

The buses would reduce traffic and bring environmental and health benefits. And, above all else it would be the cost-effective option that actually takes county residents from where they live to where they want to go.

Smita Patel

Durham

Lake not local issue

Rather than taking measures that reduce the amount of nitrogen flowing into Jordan Lake, as required by the EPA, our legislators would rather experiment by installing a number of agitators on the surface of the lake for the next several years.

I understand that the cost of reducing nitrogen directly is quite costly compared to this “magic bullet” solution, and for those living in Greensboro, Jordan Lake seems quite far away, but this is an extremely short-sighted vision and treats nitrogen as solely a local issue, which it is not.

Agitating the water in Jordan Lake may prevent the growth of algae in the lake, making our water safer in the Triangle, but it does nothing to the nitrogen, which will continue to flow downstream. The EPA regulates nitrogen because of the growing problems associated with hypoxia and eutrophication along our coast. Excess nitrogen entering the ocean causes algal blooms which leads to the plummeting of oxygen levels, killing fish and upsetting coastal ecosystems. We all have a responsibility to protect our fisheries and coastal wildlife.

The good news is that while we wait for our legislators to do the right thing, we can all help by eliminating the use of nitrogen fertilizers on our lawns and gardens. Better yet, replace some or all of your lawn with a native flower garden. This garden makeover not only reduces nitrogen in our waterways, but also reduces runoff, helping to prevent the kind of flooding that we have experienced lately.

Water quality is extremely important for everyone. We all live in a watershed and need to understand that our actions have consequences for everyone downstream. Solutions to local problems should not pass these problems along to someone else.

Stefan Klakovich

Chapel Hill

Nonsensical solution

A Roomba for Jordan Lake. Who else but the GOP could come up with such nonsense? And highly self-serving nonsense at that.

Assuming that roving pumps can fix water quality problems so that people upstream are not asked to reduce their discharges to the watershed. That doesn't even pass the laugh test.

Chris Frey

via newsobserver.com

Yes, to paintballs

Thanks for the front-page article on traffic problems (“Group wants crackdown on traffic scofflaws,” DN, Jan. 5, bit.ly/1ax9shd).

The fact is that narrow roads with SUV traffic will never be safe for bicycle riders or for the driver of a 3-ton vehicle. Many roads in Durham could be made safe by making improvements to the roadside pathways.

I long to ride my bike but my neighborhood is cut off by dangerous Sparger Road.

Police can be proactive with instruction for obeying North Carolina law and common sense that one hopes drivers ed teaches. Both drivers and riders should know basic rules. How can one be respectful to cyclists when the flow of cars entrains drivers at a minimum posted speed? Staying alive depends on awareness and caution. Speeding, especially by habit, is a major part of the safety issue.

I say yes, shoot speeders with paintballs and then prosecute. The road belongs to us all, pedestrians, riders and drivers.

Anne Whitefield

Durham

Peer Learning classes

Three new spring courses will be offered by Peer Learning of Chapel Hill, a nonprofit group for seniors and retirees. Located at Binkley Memorial Church, next to University Mall, the classes are taught by peers, often retired professors or professionals in their field, who discuss, lecture, or use videos.

Participants will discuss ethics from daily newspaper stories, or learn about the origins of ancient civilizations, or discover ballet’s history, language, and training. Five additional classes and a monthly social-speaker meeting, a Book Club, and a Stepping-Out Luncheon provide the opportunity to meet new people.

Spring semester classes start the week of Jan. 13. Free and ample parking is available. The cost of $25/semester includes the membership fee and all classes. To learn more about the classes and to fill in a registration form, go to peerlearningofchapelhill.com or call Sonia Hanker at 919-942-7215.

Yvonne Schmidt

Chapel Hill

Don’t knock success

The letter “Gouging the fools” indicated that the rich got that way by gouging the poor (N&O, Dec. 25, bit.ly/1iQ5KqY). Not so.

Henry Ford got wealthy because he invented the modern assembly line and produced a car that the average person could afford. Thomas Edison got rich because he invented the light bulb. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs got rich by innovations to computers and smart phones.

Most fortunes were made by people who provided or invented things that benefited people, not gouged them. Every day the letter writer uses thousands of things that make his life easier. That made somebody rich. Don't knock success. Where would we be without successful people? Without them we would be without thousands of things we enjoy every day.

James Broyhill

Durham

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