Tuesday, November 23, 2010


On November 22, 2010 the Veterans Memorial at Chapel Hill Committee presented their petition to the Chapel Hill Town Council to create a memorial in Chapel Hill. The following is what was presented to the Council:

The Veterans Memorial at Chapel Hill Committee Petition


The veterans of Chapel Hill and surrounding area have expressed an interest in a Veterans Memorial in the Town of Chapel Hill. The interest has grown and reached a point where it is necessary to return to the town council with a veterans’ memorial site recommendation.


On November 23, 2009, a petition was made by Jim Merritt, a Chapel Hill Town Council member, to create a Veterans Memorial in Chapel Hill. The petition was accepted by the town and sent to committee. There is no existing town memorial.

A committee was formed of local citizens and veterans groups’ representatives to consider options, possible location, and funding.

(See committee website at: http://www.chapelhillmemorial.org/)

In October 2010, a decision was made by the Veterans Memorial at Chapel Hill Committee to recommend the use of Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery as the site for the memorial.

On November 10, 2010, the Committee presented a proposal to the Chapel Hill Cemetery Committee to site the veterans memorial at Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery. The proposal was voted on and accepted.

The Cemetery Committee joins the Veterans Memorial Committee in this petition.

Memorial Site:

After reviewing several possible town locations and the acceptability, accessibility, and cost, the existing “memorial” plaza at the Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery was selected as the most viable location. Changes to the existing site would include:

-Restoration of the existing cemetery memorial plaza to create a “go to” site at an entrance to Chapel Hill.
-Add flagpole, solar-powered lighting, a monument, seating, and landscaping.
-Modify existing walkways’ entrances.
-Solicit design proposals as part of a Master’s Program or Arts Council project.
-Rededicate the existing site as the town-sponsored site for annual Memorial Day commemoration (similar to UNC Chapel Hill’s ROTC sponsored Veterans Day event.

Financial Considerations:

Current Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation plans are for a programmed restoration of the core existing infrastructure.
Funding for an actual co-located veterans memorial would be from private, civic, and corporate donors.
Once the memorial is added to the existing plaza site and dedicated, maintenance and upkeep of the memorial site would continue under the sponsorship of the Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department.

Petition Request:

The Veterans Memorial at Chapel Hill Committee, joined by the Chapel Hill Cemetery Committee, petitions the Town of Chapel Hill to approve the siting of the proposed memorial at the Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery memorial plaza.

Submitted November 22, 2010

Colonel, US. Army (Retired),
Vietnam Veteran
Committee Chairman

Friday, November 12, 2010

VETERANS DAY 2010 (A WCHL Commentary)

As I went through our Sunday newspaper, I can’t say that I was surprised to see the ads encouraging us to take advantage of Veterans Day specials. I guess the best time to buy a mattress is November the 11th or on the holiday often confused with Veterans Day, May’s Memorial Day. Is this the best we can do?

Our County has a program on Wednesday the 10th at 10am in Hillsborough and the UNC ROTC units will have a ceremony at 11 o’clock on Thursday, and that's great. We have about 22 million veterans in the US and about 1.5 million are women. In North Carolina, we have nearly 800,000 and almost 8,000 in Orange County. If you add all of the VA payments and retirement checks from the Department of Defense paid in North Carolina, it’s amount one-fourth of the state’s total budget. This is all to say that veterans are a real presence in our state. But are we supporting them?

Many of our veterans have health issues; many need jobs and it’s estimated that some 23% of our homeless are veterans. Because of our two current wars, we are continuously adding veterans with severe disabilities. Many businesses are aggressively advertising s their support of veterans on Veterans Day, offering meals and other services. But what else can we do? A simple “thank you for your service to our nation” goes a long way, but what’s needed more is for citizens to hold their elected officials accountable for what is done to support veterans, and especially for those in great need.

Remember, a veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, their life. I am honored to be a veteran. Happy Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

SALES TAX, Part II (A WCHL Commentary)

OK, the dust is settling from the election and the good news is that we have once again shown what makes our American democracy so strong. The other good news is that those horrid campaign ads will no longer be on TV. I’m somewhat disappointed that the quarter cent sales and use tax was defeated by a little more than 1000 votes.

It’s not that I love to pay more taxes; I supported it because it was a better option than trying to raise the same funds from property taxes. The expected $2.3million would have helped us solve some serious issues. Opponents say the County Commissioners should cut their spending and do all of these things with the money they already get from us. Well that sounds very good and I hope that the citizens who line up at County budget hearings will remember that when they plead their case.

We are at the point where we will now do less with less and if for a moment I believed that there was even a tiny consensus on where we should cut spending, I would sure feel better. Services that some believe are critical will be cut. Programs that we have come to view as so necessary may have to go. Staff and things that make our County really special will clearly be impacted. OK, it’s great to say live with what we have, and of course, we should.

We will see how the residents of Orange County will react to trying to do all of the things we want done without raising taxes. One thing I can guarantee — it’s going to be a very taxing process.