Letters to the Editor, Feb. 17

Feb. 17, 2014 @ 10:36 AM

A treasure to remember

Ben Ward, Duke professor and volunteer in the Durham community was honored at a memorial service at Duke University Chapel on Jan. 18. Ben, as his close friends called him, was a professor of philosophy and Arabic at Duke, a concert pianist, leader and member of the Pitchforks -- an a cappella men's group at Duke, an avid fan of the Durham Bulls and a longtime volunteer at the Urban Ministries' homeless shelter.  As a child prodigy and a close friend of Martin Luther King's family, at 13 years of age Ben played the organ at King's funeral in Atlanta.

A lover of classical music, Ben had compiled a collection of 30,000 CDs which he bequeathed to the N.C. School of the Arts.

Patrice Nelson, executive director of Urban Ministries, stated that when tallied up, the hours that Ben had spent volunteering there, came to 10,000.

My husband, Tye, met Ben when both worked to help the homeless. They became close friends.  Tye called Ben his "hero," and Ben spoke at Tye's memorial service two years ago.

Ben taught us all to live life to the fullest and to give all that we can to others. He was very tall and his presence stood out, but his interest in all he met stood out even more. Durham's gentle giant was one of the smartest, most talented, and caring men that I have ever known.  I am so thankful that he was part of my and my husband's lives. 

Dee Tucker


Inner city not a priority?

I live in the 1000 block of South Plum Street, a neighborhood of primarily senior citizens. I live at the bottom of the hill on this street. 

When snow or ice storms, like the one on Wednesday and Thursday, comes,  it is impossible to get up Plum Street during these conditions.  We didn’t even bother trying to on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday because anyone who dared to venture down that hill had difficulty getting back up

Friday, I called the city asking that some sand be placed on street in the 1000 block.  Of course, I did not get an answer, so I left a  message.  Around 12:30 p.m. I decided to try my luck at tackling that hill because a lot of the snow and ice had melted.  Lo and behold, when I got to the top of the hill, there was sand! 

My question is why did the city place sand on one-half of a street and not the other half.  Why not the whole street? Common sense dictates that the first priority should have been the hill and not the level part of the street. 

Another question:   Why in some neighborhoods, the streets are scraped while others do not get scraped? For example, Suffolk Street in old Hope Valley, scraped and I’m sure there are others. Is it because Plum Street is in the inner city and the inner city is not a top priority for the city? 

Eloise Edwards


Tower ordinances

When I read the article in The Herald Sun Feb. 6 concerning the cell phone tower ordinances, I was outraged.  Let me review our issue of safety concerns with the 120-foot Southpoint tower on Highway 751 and hence future ordinances. 

Lightning is attracted to towers, thus towers have lightning rods and grounding systems. The National Weather Service (www.lightningsafety.noaa ) states there are three things that attract lightning: height, isolation (like the Southpoint tower standing 60 feet above the tree line) and a pointy top.  Add the fact that North Carolina is fourth in the nation and Durham County is the third county in North Carolina for lightning strikes (a house 150 feet from the tower site was burned by lightning in 2012) and the danger grows.

Within this 120-foot catalyst’s fall zone are:  a 60-plus-year-old, 10-inch diameter, high-speed pipeline at unknown (prior to 1971) depth pumping natural gas at 600psi, power lines, highway traffic and church. Per IEEE, a lightning strike can generate 15,000 volts; per an SME, this pipeline will get hit with thousands of volts of electricity via the ground path. 

Consider also the area’s exposure of lightning arcing off the tower, plus another nearby 6-foot pipeline. With generator diesel storage tanks on site, one for each carrier, a very high-risk danger will exist for our community.  Nearby citizens are concerned for their safety and want to change any ordinance that would allow such a hazard to be created near any Durham neighborhood.

Dolly Fehrenbacher