Chatham County Line - Where all voices are heard

December 2017/January 2018

Pay attention to the culture wars
Never mind those men behind the curtain
by Julian Sereno

Acrimony between the two major political parties has become the most divisive fault line in contemporary America -- more than race, religion, gender. The Republicans and the Democrats, parties that have governed the United States for more than 150 years, are now incapable of cooperating on anything. Both attract the most zealous partisans, incapable of compromise; willing to commit calumny as they denounce opponents in the most personal ways imaginable.

Of course demonizing opponents is how they make money. Find an outrageous quote, or just make one up if you are Breitbart, put it in a fundraising letter, and throw it like red meat to the cultural warriors, right and left.

As this fascinating, appalling spectacle roils along, it is largely besides the point. It is a diversion, a dangerous one, but a diversion all the same.

What is really happening is the destruction of the middle class and the creation of an oligarchy. Over the past roughly 40 years wealth of unprecedented proportions has been stripped from what was once the American middle class and seized by the wealthiest one percent. It began with the impoverishment the Blue Collar middle class -- the closing of old factories and the exporting of manufacturing jobs, along with increasing use of automation and robots at home. Then it moved on to White Collar America, where computers continue to replace human beings. Whole categories of professions have been profoundly affected by computers, from accountants to travel agents.

The rich are getting richer. For 2016, CEOs in America'’s largest firms made an average of $15.6 million, or 271 times the annual average pay of the typical worker, It didn’t use to be this way. Compare that 271 to 1 ratio to 1965: 20 to 1; 1978: 30 to 1 or 1989: 59 to 1. Today's executives are plundering their companies to a degree that they make the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age look like penny anti cheapskates.

Meanwhile the lives of those that work for these companies gets meaner. It’s the cutbacks in the ranks of employees that pays for executive loot. That means remaining employees have that much more work to do. Salaried workers with benefits are at the beck and call of management 24/7. The average work week in the 1970s was 40 hours, now it’s nearly 50. Vacations are discouraged. When they burnout, workers are dumped and replaced by new ones. Service workers, rarely paid a “living wage”, have their shift hours assigned at the whim of computer algorithms designed to maximize profit.

American workers lead the world in productivity, but lag behind the other western democracies in wages, benefits, vacations, and, alarmingly, life expectancy.

Meanwhile, the poisonous political culture continues to polarize Americans.


To the editor

I was so very pleased to read Randy Voller's article in the Chatham County Line calling for mass transportation for Chatham County. In checking about a bit I noticed Chatham County has a number of subdivisions for senior citizens and in each case provided buses for residents' transportation.

What Randy didn't include in his long article was who was expected to bear the cost to accommodate an anticipated, expanded population due to the building program proposed by Chatham Park. Since Chatham Park did not suggest they would bear the costs of transporting the new residents they have provided, the tax burden would rest with Chatham County residents.

Chatham Park was approved by Pittsboro and never sought approval from the County. If Chatham Park does not plan to provide the necessary transportation along with its building program, then it seems to me, Pittsboro who provided the original approval must bear the financial responsibility if Chatham Park fails to do so.

-- Beth Kricker, Pittsboro

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7 High School Seniors Receive Good Citizens Awards

The Davie Poplar Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) honored seven seniors from Orange and Chatham high schools at a Luncheon and Awards Ceremony, Saturday, December 9, 2017 at the Chapel Hill Country Club. The chapter also celebrated one of its own members, Caroline Ward, who received the Good Citizens Award in 1941, 76 years ago.

The 2017 recipients truly exemplify the good citizenship qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism, in their homes, schools, and communities. The Good Citizens Award winners for the Davie Poplar Chapter are: Casey Barnes, Woods Charter School; Arielle Martinez, East Chapel Hill High School; Hope Anderson, Carrboro High School; Carolina Sierra, Cedar Ridge High School; Erica Nettles, Northwood High School; Gabrielle Kmiec, Chapel Hill High School; and Lauren Coffey, Orange High School.

As a group, the 2017 recipients are all good students with a weighted grade point average of over 4.0. They are talented athletes and captains of their teams in tennis, basketball, volleyball, cross country and track. They study foreign languages and several are proficient in Spanish. They are writers – two are editors of their school newspapers and one is also a novelist. Their extracurricular activities reflect a wide variety of interests – business, science, technology, math, U.S. and world history, global health issues, international relations, the United Nations, and the U.S. Navy. They are incredibly busy people at school, but some are also valued employees in local businesses.

They place a high priority on service – to their families, to their fellow students and teachers, to their communities and to the poor and disadvantaged. They volunteer at organizations such as Habitat for Humanity TABLE, Special Olympics, White Cross Volunteer Fire Department, My Sister’s Keeper, and Pregnancy Support Services, a non-profit serving low income expectant mothers. They are care givers, tutors, referees, camp counselors, trainers, mentors, and coaches, passing along their knowledge, expertise and experience to peers, as well as to those who are younger than they.

Six Good Citizens chose to compete in the optional Good Citizens Scholarship Contest. Three judges reviewed the applications and selected Hope Anderson of Carrboro High School to be the Davie Poplar contest winner. Hope now advances to the District VI level of competition for the NSDAR scholarship.

Kick butt in the new year

Each year many people start the New Year ready to kick the habit of nicotine and tobacco. Are you ready to make a firm decision to quit smoking and quit tobacco use? If so, the Chatham County Public Health Department is offering free tobacco cessation classes this January. Tobacco cessation classes begin on January 17 and are available to any Chatham County resident, employee and their family members looking to quit using tobacco.

Don't miss this opportunity to receive personal instruction from experienced Chatham County Public Health Department staff. QuitSmart is a proven effective program to help quit all types of tobacco, including smoking, dip/chew and electronic cigarettes. Participants will receive a free QuitSmart Stop Smoking Kit and two weeks of nicotine replacement therapy. All sessions are provided free of charge. These sessions will be held after work from 5:30 - 6:45 p.m. on January 17, January 29, and January 31. There will also be an informational session held on January 10 to learn more about the QuitSmart program. All sessions will be held at the Chatham County Public Health Department in Pittsboro (80 East Street, Pittsboro, NC). Attendance is required for all three sessions.

Contact Anna Stormzand at (919.545.8445) to reserve your spot or for more information.

Domestic Violence and the Immigrant Community - Path to Safety

Learn about remedies for victims of domestic violence. The public is invited to a program that will address civil and criminal remedies, and resolutions for undocumented foreign nationals who are victims of domestic violence. This event will be held on Tuesday January 30, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. in the Chapel Hill Public Library, located at 100 Library Drive, and is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham and Chatham Counties' Violence Against Women Action Team and Immigration Study Group.

Featured speaker Jorgelina Araneda has been an immigration attorney for more than 23 years and is a Board Certified Specialist in immigration law. Ms. Araneda works at Araneda & Stroud Immigration Law Group in Raleigh, handling all aspects of immigration, including civil and criminal litigation.

Toiletries and feminine hygiene products will be collected and donated to the Compass Center and the Durham Crisis Response Center. Please consider bringing an unopened, preferably full size, toiletry with you (ex: toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, tampons, diapers, lotion etc.) This program is free and open to the public. Free parking is available.

McIntyre's Bookstore hosts first Kids Book Festival

McIntyre's Bookstore is hosting a special book festival for children, featuring readings and signings from picture book creators, elementary and middle reader authors, activities and more. The festival, named the Whirlikids Book Festival, will take place on Saturday, February 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Fearrington Village. This event is the first of its kind in the Triangle area. McIntyre's Books hopes this program will inspire the community’s young readers and help them engage with award-winning authors.

"I have been tinkering with the idea of how to inspire kids to love reading and writing," said Children's Book Buyer, Sarah Carr. "Meeting authors and illustrators is a great opportunity to spark kids’ interest in stories, books and art."

This free event will feature children's authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, Emily Jenkins, Ursula Vernon, Stacy McAnulty, Karina Yan Glaser, New York Times Bestseller Alan Gratz, and more. A full author list will be announced soon – visit for an up-to-date author list.

In addition to author readings, panels and book signings, visitors may enjoy crafts, a photo booth and face painting activities. While in the Village, guests are encouraged to explore the gardens, enjoy lunch at onsite restaurants, The Granary or The Goat, and meet the farm animals in Fearrington’s Belted Barnyard. Those interested in learning more about this event may call McIntyre’s Books at 919.542.3030.

Northwood High School Reunion

The Northwood High School 1971-1999 Reunion Committee invites all NHS faculty and alumni to the second reunion of classes. This event is held periodically to bring old friends together to become reacquainted and reminisce on the fun care free days of high school.

"The Second Time Around" is the theme of this year's consolidated reunion, which will be held Saturday, July 28, 2018, 6 p.m. -1a.m. at the Durham Convention Center, 301 West Morgan St., Durham, NC 27701. Featuring Food * 2 Cash Bar areas * On-Site Hotel * DJ * Class Photos * Individual Photos.

Special Recognition of Graduation Milestone Classes:

Class of 1993 (25 years), Class of 1988 (30 years), Class of 1983 (35 years), Class of 1978 (40 years and Class of 1973 (45 years)

Registration Fees:

$65 after receipt of the first 120 attendees register through May 28, 2018. Registration can be paid via Pay Pal or by Check or Money Order (made payable to NHS Reunion). Mail checks to: NHS Reunion Committee c/o Wanda Rone, PO Box 118, Pittsboro, NC 27312. *ALL MONEY IS NON-REFUNDABLE

**Please include the year of graduation and your email address on the Memo line of your check/money order or in Pay Pal Comments and include the names of ALL people (self-included) for whom you are registering**

Hotel Accommodations

Marriott City Center attached to The Convention Center
201 Foster Street| Durham| North Carolina | 27701 | 919.768.6025

NHS courtesy group rate of $139 Book your group rate for Northwood High Class Reunion One or two night stay options available. First Come/First Served—RESERVE EARLY!

21c Museum Hotel Durham 1 block away from The Convention Center
111 North Corcoran Street |Durham| North Carolina| 27701 |919.956.6700

The Durham Hotel | Restaurant + Roof 1 block away from The Convention Center
315 East Chapel Hill Street |Durham |North Carolina| 27701| 919.768.8830
Email Questions to: or your Class Representative.


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