Letters to the Editor

06/02 What You’re Saying: Nancy Milio, and Rachel Cohn

Another poor move

Of all the poor moves in the budget and other bills being rammed through the Republican-controlled General Assembly, the most outrageous is the attempt to return to the Jim Crow “separate and unequal” schools of the past. (“Town-run charter schools would add options… May 31).

The legislation would allow select, white, affluent jurisdictions to have their own schools and give priority to their own children. This will be enabled by taxpayer dollars taken from other public schools. The effect will be exclusion of kids of color and fewer dollars to educate them.

At the same time these lawmakers refused to raise the per-pupil spending on our children, which is among the lowest in the country. The courageous marching teachers sought this money, but were not listened to.

I wonder what moral justification these lawmakers give to themselves?

It seems concern for vulnerable people will go unheeded until a new General Assembly is voted in.

Nancy Milio

Chapel Hill

Beaver Queen Pageant today

The 14th Annual Beaver Queen Pageant is today, June 2, in the meadow at Duke Park (Acadia at Knox Street). Pre-pageant activities begin at 4 p.m., and pageant starts at 5 p.m. The theme for this year’s pageant is “Saturday Night Beaver!” This free event is a hit with kids of all ages due to the outrageous costumes and audience engagement.

The Beaver Queen Pageant is Durham’s own special mix of folly, pageantry and humor. Contestants take on beaver personalities and introduce themselves in their wetlands ready wear, participate in an interview in their finest evening wear, and showcase their unique talent. This year’s contestants include: Bevadette Peters, Caoimhe the Irish Bea-vuh, Flat Tail Fanny, Jackie O! Gnawsis, and Marcie Paddlepaws. This year’s theme, Saturday Night Beaver, promises to attract characters and talent of vaguely familiar forms. WUNC’s Frank Stasio will once again serve as emcee.

There will be food trucks: El Jefecito, Locopops, Pie Pushers, and Sympathy for the Deli. There will also be a Scrap Exchange booth where people of all ages can make their own beaver tails. Dressing up is encouraged.

The event is uniquely Durham: a mash-up of community, creativity, playfulness, and advocacy for a cause. The first event was held in April of 2005 in celebration of a successful community effort by the Duke Park neighborhood to stop the N.C. Department of Transportation from eradicating a den of beavers that had taken up residence in wetlands north of I-85. Beverly Woody was crowned the first Beaver Queen following an amazing clog dancing routine.

The event raises money for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, which works to preserve, protect, and restore a healthy, living Ellerbe Creek watershed. Ellerbe Creek flows for more than 20 miles through Durham to Falls Lake, Raleigh’s water supply. Sadly, the Creek is listed as one of North Carolina’s most polluted streams.

The money raised through the Beaver Queen Pageant supports long-term goals for the watershed including creating an interconnected network of trails and nature preserves, restoring water quality and habitat in Ellerbe Creek, and creating green space for people in the community to enjoy. Since 1999, we have protected over 410 acres of land along Ellerbe Creek and its tributary streams, restoring these forgotten and neglected areas into community assets as six public nature preserves.

Rachel Cohn

Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association