Your letters, April 20

April 18, 2014 

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Get your tails out!

It is Beaver Queen Pageant time again in Durham.

On Saturday April 26, the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association will hold its 10th Annual Beaver Queen Pageant Kickoff Party, the “Queens’ Ball” at Social (formerly the Casbah) 1007 W. Main St.

The Queens’ Ball is a benefit dance party for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, and will feature two bands, the Tills and the Bulltown Strutters, and a burlesque troupe, the Bottom Line. This year’s Beaver Queen Pageant Contestants will make their debut at the event. The Queens’ Ball fundraiser runs from 7 pm to midnight, and has a suggested donation of $15 at the door.

The Beaver Queen Pageant will be held on Saturday June 7 at 4 pm in Duke Park. The Pageant was started by Duke Park neighbors in response to plans to destroy some local beaver dams. The event has grown over the years from a “neighborhood-spun” party, to a much-anticipated event with contestants, judges, and attended by over 500 people last year. The purpose of the spectacle is to raise awareness of our community's waterways, and pockets of nature, and to raise money to help protect and restore these precious resources for all to enjoy. The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association is grateful for the support it has received from the Pageant over the years.

The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association is dedicated to restoring Ellerbe Creek and making it an asset for the citizens of Durham. ECWA was founded in 1999 with six acres of land, and since then has acquired nearly 340-acres, including five nature preserves that are managed for water quality and native habitat restoration. Four of these preserves, Glennstone, Pearl Mill, the 17-Acre Wood, and Beaver Marsh, have nature trails and walking paths that are open to the public.

ECWA encourages community involvement with Ellerbe Creek and the land alongside it, through workdays, nature walks, and outreach into neighborhoods that border the creek. Long-term goals for the organization include creating an interconnected network of trails and preserves linking downtown to Falls Lake, and restoring water quality and habitat in Ellerbe Creek. Another goal is to bring back the rich native flora of the Ellerbe Creek valley, much of which survives only in remnants along roadways, in ditches, or here and there along the creek.

For more information contact me at at 919-698-9729 or rachel@ellerbecreek.org.

Rachel Cohn

The writer is a development assistant for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association.

Noise Free America

April 22 is Earth Day, a day to reflect on the wonders of nature and the need to protect the earth. Since the founding of Earth Day in 1970, the United States has greatly reduced air and water pollution. However, during this same period, noise pollution – another major threat to environmental well-being – has increased significantly.

Americans are constantly pounded by excessive noise from loud car stereos, blasting motorcycles, leaf blowers, airplanes, Muzak, barking dogs, car alarms, sports stadiums, nightclubs, car honking, and train horns. Our nation is getting louder all the time, with major consequences for public health. Excessive noise is related to hearing loss, sleep deprivation, aggravated behavior, chronic fatigue, tinnitus and heart problems. The EPA estimates that more than 130 million Americans live in areas with excessive noise levels.

Excessive noise is a violation of a person’s right to the peaceful enjoyment of their own home. It is time for the nation to take action to reduce the scourge of noise. Local governments should pass strong anti-noise ordinances, which the police should strictly enforce. Congress should reestablish the federal noise pollution control office.

I encourage all peace-loving individuals to join Noise Free America ( noisefree.org), a national nonprofit organization devoted to noise reduction. Working together, we can create a quieter, more peaceful world.

Ted Rueter

Chapel Hill

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