Our chance at the gold — gone

Chapel Hill should bid on hosting a Winter Olympics. Sure, we’d need to build a couple of ski slopes, one with fancy rails and jumps. We would have to retrofit the Dean Dome into an ice-skating rink. And we’d need to build a housing complex for the athletes, though we could repurpose it into affordable […]

Frederick Douglass’ life and us

When a Daily Tar Heel reporter asked me what I considered the most important contribution of Frederick Douglass, I hesitated. I didn’t know enough about the life of the abolitionist and former slave, born in Hillsborough, to rank-order his accomplishments. Fortunately, Orange County, the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro and the NAACP have joined […]

Second chances

“Saving lives” likely did not appear in the job description when Beatrice Thompson signed on to work at the Red Roof Inn just off the I-40/U.S.-15-501 interchange. Yet for the man she found unresponsive in a hotel room last month, her prior knowledge of CPR made the difference between life and death. She performed chest […]

What’s worth preserving

Would a time traveler from the turn of the 19th century into the 20th, walking through one of Chapel Hill’s historic districts, recognize the neighborhood? Amber Kidd, a preservationist with the N.C. Historic Preservation Office who advises local governments on how to set up and run a Historic District Commission, put that question to Chapel […]

Honor MLK Jr. — Speak Out

Never have I felt so alone and afraid as when the border patrol in El Salvador pulled me off the bus as I headed to American-friendly Guatemala because I had not stayed the three consecutive nights the Salvadoran regime required of tourists to that country torn by civil war in the early 1980s. I watched […]

Requiem to a Newspaper

“I have some good news to share,” began a letter to Chapel Hill News readers from publisher Sara Glines. But it wasn’t good news. What followed was a 6-inch column of malarkey. The Chapel Hill News ceased publication at the end of December. It had stopped publishing news a year before that, when McClatchy, owner […]

Happier New Year

We started a new tradition this New Year’s Eve – we wrote all the bad things that happened in 2017 on little slips of paper, then tossed them into the fireplace. It was not as big of a bonfire as I expected, given the national politics and ripples into global and state affairs. And it […]

Hot Spots

Things change. I count on that every year when we go out looking for holiday lights. This year we stumbled on a treasure trove of lights to complement our old favorites. We hope you and those you celebrate with will enjoy them: Because Southern Village goes all out for Halloween, we ventured in to see […]

Lessons of War

Sometimes you can find words to live by where you least expect it. In a war movie I saw recently, a SEAL unit came under fire. “I’ve been shot!” one SEAL cried, whereupon his ranking officer replied: “That’s in the past. Don’t live in the past. Let’s move.” Stay with me here for what that […]

The View From Here

After I was elected in 2015, I asked to occupy the seat on the dais once held by former Council Member Matt Czajkowski. I had long admired his intellect and insight. He was able to perceive unintended consequences in council decisions that eluded his colleagues on the dais. But his trenchant observations often brought out […]