Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Way to Serve

I heard a news report the other day that Orange County wanted people to know that there were vacancies on some of their boards and commissions and they wanted people to apply. With over 40 different boards and commissions that provide opportunities to serve, citizens have an opportunity to bring their skills, knowledge, abilities, and common sense to a wide range of issues and make recommendations to the County Commissioners.

As of early August, the county was looking for almost 80 people to serve. Chapel Hill also relies heavily on citizen volunteers to serve on the over 20 boards and commissions that they appoint people to. As of July, they had almost 30 appointments they needed to make. Carrboro lists 29 boards and commissions and they too are looking for a few good citizens. Each of the governments provides information on the positions and have their applications online.

I think service in this way is meaningful and really does contribute to our towns and county. Making recommendations as a board or commission doesn’t mean that the elected officials will accept that recommendation but it does mean that you and your fellow members provided input.

Let’s hope that enough citizens will volunteer and fill all the vacancies and continue this significant tradition of public service. And let’s also hope that our elected leaders will appoint the right people for the right reasons.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fireworks! (A WCHL Commentary)

One of the wonderful things that the Internet allows us to do is to keep up with things while you are traveling. While away, I read that the Chapel Hill News gave the Town “Raspberries” for what they called a “shortsighted decision to do away with the July 4 celebration and fireworks show this year.”

We happened to be in Indianapolis, Indiana for the 4th and we had the pleasure of viewing two firework displays. The first followed a great minor league baseball game and it was a delightful display of good old time 4th of July fireworks. About the time that show ended, another one began in the downtown area. This display was the end of a series of events held downtown to celebrate the 4th, and the fireworks launched from the roof of the Regions Bank building were truly spectacular.

A local resident told us that the year before the celebration was close to being cancelled because of funding, but Regions Bank and others in the business community stepped up and made it happen.

When I read about the “Raspberries” given to the Town, I wondered why we seem to think that only the Town is responsible for the fireworks display. Maybe the Chapel Hill News could sponsor the display, or bring other civic-minded businesses together to sponsor our fireworks. Other communities seem to make this happen as we witnessed in Indianapolis, so why not here. I think a new sponsorship model could make this an even bigger and more popular community event!