Your letters, Jan. 26: SROs good, SolarBees bad

January 24, 2014 

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School resource officers effective, well respected

Amanda Young’s commentary about school resource officers (DN, Jan. 12, was more than disappointing. She cites “studies” throughout the column, yet it appears she didn't bother visiting a school to observe or talk with teachers, administrators or officers.

I am a counselor at Riverside High School in Durham, and we are served by two well-respected and effective Durham County deputies: Officers Fox and Jobe. Our students could also have told Ms. Young about the roles the officers play in our school. Additionally, we have a Positive Behavior and Intervention Support program and it is routinely used by our caring, experienced teachers.

The reality is that some of our students have challenging socioeconomic backgrounds. They may lack in having basic needs met for adequate food and housing. Or, they may lack the fundamental skills to control impulses, and others deal with mental illness. In needed instances, we have officers vested in our school acting with clear guidelines from administrators as a necessary component to classroom/school management. So, many of Ms. Young’s “shoulds” are already in place. It is a disservice to readers she didn’t exercise more diligence investigating the reality of SROs in an area high school.

Catherine Sebring


Critical moment

I am somewhat alarmed at the push by a number of U.S. senators, such as our Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, to pass Senate Bill 1881, the Menendez-Kirk bill.

At this critical moment in negotiations with Iran and other nations about Iran’s nuclear intentions and capabilities, Congress needs to back the president in moving our aims forward in a nonviolent way that will further the possibility of the U.S. and Iran restoring amicable and productive relations in our time. The bill and any measure that would be an affront to Iran’s government and people needs to be resolutely resisted, and I implore our elected representatives to refuse to support such a measure.

We have gained the current opportunity by the success of the multilateral sanctions in place thus far, and this opportunity must not be wasted by gratuitous pressure that could very well be a deal-breaker. We must ask Burr and Hagan to prayerfully reconsider their positions on this measure and to help give leadership to a more productive approach to foreign affairs, particularly on this matter.

Bill Jeffries


SolarBee Band-Aid

When I drive to the coast, I pass many hog farms that have lagoons with aerators, and the smell is terrible. Whenever I read a story about using SolarBees in Jordan Lake (N&O,, I wonder whether this is what is to become of the lake. This solution does nothing to address the causes of the problem.

Several years ago I spent time in China, and I used to wonder how a country could let its water and air become so polluted. I now realize this is how it happens – little by little, incrementally over time.

I have watched as our streams and lakes have suffered from pollution and as signs have appeared warning us not to eat the fish. Is this really what we want to do to the environment and how we want to live?

Jim Merchant


Really bad idea

SolarBee’s Ken Hudnell, DENR’s Tom Reeder and Sen. Rich Gunn showed blatant disregard for public health in the news article “Can floating pumps save Jordan Lake?” (N&O,

The $1.44 million “no-bid” state contract to put 36 floating anti-algae aerators in the lake is a tremendously bad idea. These devices haven’t been very successful when used on even much smaller lakes. How can they possibly have any benefit in the immense 14,000-acre Jordan Lake?

The more likely impact of the SolarBees will be as navigational hazards to boaters and fishers, while degradation of water quality continues. Hopefully, damaged SolarBees won’t end up as more trash to be removed from the lake after a big flood.

The purpose of the stalled Jordan Lake rules is to reduce incoming nutrient pollution from all sources in the nearly 1,700-square-mile watershed above the lake. The statements that there’s no urgency in implementing the Jordan Lake rules and that nutrients in themselves are not a problem should sound an alarm to those who drink Jordan Lake’s waters as well as to residents of the Cape Fear River downstream.

We urge the EPA and U.S. Army Corps to step in and prevent this travesty.

Elaine Chiosso

Haw Riverkeeper, Haw River Assembly


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