Letters to the Editor, June 16

Jun. 15, 2014 @ 12:11 PM

Thanks for grant program

On behalf of the Eno River Association, I would like to thank the Durham County Commissioners for continuing the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission Matching Grants Program. 

This program has protected open space lands and promoted new or improved recreational opportunities for the citizens of Durham County.  Since the creation of the Matching Grants Program, the Eno River Association has been fortunate to receive $232,115 in DOST funds. These funds have helped protect nearly 40 acres of important natural areas that also provide significant recreational opportunities for local residents.  The Matching Grant funds have helped leverage an additional $247,500 in grant funding to help complete these projects.  Furthermore, the Eno River Association has taken on the long-term financial responsibility of maintaining and improving these lands in order to provide a high quality and safe environment for public use. 

Completed projects include properties that form important connections for the N.C. Mountains-to-Sea Trail, Eno River State Park, and rare plant habitat owned by the N.C. Plant Conservation Program and Army Corps of Engineers. These public recreation areas are used by well over a half a million residents and visitors annually. 

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Durham County to expand our parks and create more recreational open space for Durham’s growing population. Easy access to these parks and trails is an important reason why Durham is seen as such an attractive place to live.

Barbara Driscoll                                                                                                                   

President, Eno River Association

Chapel Hill

USA should remain USA

The Herald-Sun June 10 carried an Associated Press article disclosing that "Israel ... is trying to rid itself of tens of thousands of African migrants.  In recent years, Africans have poured into Israel, causing friction with locals and alarming some authorities who say Israel's Jewish character is threatened by the presence of the Africans."

Can the Israelis possibly claim that there is any morality in such a position?

Why yes.  And so can we Americans who oppose amnesty for the flood of illegal immigrants from Latin America, which similarly threatens the national character of the United States. The world needs the United States of America to remain the United States of America. 

Otherwise put, the world already has an abundance, or maybe a surplus, of Latin American countries.  Anyone who imagines that this is not the opinion of a majority of our nation's citizens should perhaps put in a call to outgoing U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Frank Hurley

Chapel Hill

Invaluable funding

I write to express concern regarding threat of lost funding to Matching Grants Program (MGP) in the proposed Durham County budget.

MGP was begun in 1991 and has funded more than 70 projects throughout Durham.  The committee process has a history of good stewardship in leveraging a 50/50 match for these public private partnerships with a variety of community non-profits.

This program has been well received by numerous non-profits that usually provide volunteer labor --  the community actively engaged in helping.  The projects are dispersed throughout Durham and can be found in such places as Parkwood, Pearsontown School, Little River Community Recreation, Club Boulevard Elementary, Eno River, Eastway Elementary, SEEDS, Morehead Montessori, Durham Central Park, Ellerbee Creek and many other locations.  One can find fitness courses, play equipment at schools, new and improved recreation facilities community gardens, environmental learning environments, hiking trails, nature preserves, ball field improvements and more.  These locations extend opportunities for citizens to play, grow, thrive and experience Durham’s natural resources.

Durham County does not otherwise support parks and recreation.  MGP provides effective assistance in filling this gap at very limited cost.  While the annual line item funding for MGP is negligible to the county’s budget, it is invaluable to the community.  As a founding member and  chair, I encourage you to join me,  find that MGP projects represent part of all that is good in Durham, enhancing quality of life here and contact member s of the Board of County Commissioners with your voice of support. 

Annette G. Montgomery

Durham

(After this letter was submitted, County Commissioners agreed on Thursday to restore the funding.)