Letters to the editor

May. 29, 2013 @ 10:29 PM

Charging fee a mistake

An article, "UNC to add electric vehicle parking spaces," May 24 reports UNC plans to install electric car chargers and sell permits to use them for $250 a year.  Carolyn Effland, associate vice chancellor of campus services, states, "I think electric vehicle users think it's fair." 

As an electric car owner who exchanges information with other UNC electric and plug-in hybrid car owners, it is my belief none of us think much of this idea.  I suspect UNC will lose money when few buy these decals.

I am fortunate I do’nt need to charge my car at UNC; I live relatively close to campus and my car has a high-capacity battery.  This idea (essentially unlimited charging for $250 a year) ignores how much charging different car owners will do.  Why should someone who charges for a brief period occasionally pay the same as someone who charges a car all day, every day?

The article states visitors on nights and weekends will be charged 75 cents an hour to use the stations. If the infrastructure will exist to allow visitors to charge at an hourly rate, why not use that infrastructure to allow employees to do so?

Finally, the article states, "We've also had people finding a plug in a parking deck and just sticking it in, and it's really not safe."  The only electric vehicles I’ve seen plugged into a random plug in a UNC deck belong to UNC.  If it’s safe for them, why is it not for others?

Robert M. Hamer

Chapel Hill


Fighting  malnutrition

Syngenta, a world leader in agriculture biotechnology located in Research Triangle Park, recently opened a state-of-the-art research crop lab – a beautiful and highly technological facility dedicated to solving the increasing pressures of feeding 9 billion people by 2050. I stand in amazement at the potential technology and industry can provide us in the coming decades. However, we need more than just investment in technology and research to end hunger and tackle malnutrition across the globe.

One in four children is chronically malnourished and suffers from irreversible physical and cognitive damage, including inhibited brain development and decreased immune strength. For 2.5 million children a year, under-nutrition leads to death.

Werner Schultink, UNICEF chief of nutrition, says, “in order for poverty to be eradicated malnutrition must be addressed.” Malnutrition wreaks vicious consequences on a developing country, negatively affecting educational achievement, economic productivity and maternal health, thus furthering poverty. However, providing adequate nutrition within a child’s first 1,000 days drastically reduces physical and cognitive stunting.

The opening of Syngenta’s new high-tech crop lab is a wonderful testimony to technology, human endeavor, and modern day agriculture. The purpose of its creation will be lost if our policies, resources and social awareness are not directed to those needing it most. I urge senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr and House members in the Triangle region to advocate for strong U.S. leadership at the Nutrition for Growth Summit in the United Kingdom on June 8th.     

Geoff Hightower



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