Where’s My Father’s Day Breakfeast?

No only did the kids choose to bypass the traditional gorgefest that one would associate with a child-prepared Father’s Day breakfast (or breakfeast), but I had to make Peter his breakfast as well as preparing my own.

We had strawberries from the farmer’s market, so I was happy to have a bowl of cereal with strawberries for my breakfast. Since I don’t normally have time for cereal, it was a nice thing to have. And when Peter asked me to make Cream of Wheat for his breakfast, I just couldn’t refuse. This is the hot cereal my grandmother made me when I was little, so I do like to make it for my kids.

Only in Orange County, NC

from the News & Observer:

Orange County Commissioner Stephen Halkiotis shared a concern at a board meeting Tuesday night.

“I decided as I get older, I want something a little more royal in a toilet,” he said.

Replacing the old toilet wasn’t the problem. Figuring out what to do with it was.

Halkiotis pressure-washed it, then moved it into his garage temporarily.

He told the board and county staff that he was hesitant to take it to one of the county’s salvage sheds where residents usually swap household items in good condition. That’s because he and other commissioners have recently heard complaints from several residents who were directed by convenience center operators to throw items away rather than make them available to others.

Halkiotis wants to see more training so that items such as bed frames and lawn mowers that still work don’t get directed to the trash bins.

“Can’t we get these people in for overtime, feed them some sandwiches and do a program on what we’re all about?” Halkiotis said.

He passed around a photo of his used toilet and encouraged anyone who would be interested in it to call him at home.

“I’ll help you lift it up and put it in the truck,” he offered.

Public Works Director Wilbert McAdoo assured Halkiotis that the convenience center staff were getting more training. He added that the toilet would be welcome in the salvage shed and wouldn’t be the first to find a new home.

Halkiotis said anyone interested should call him by today.

Elementary Re-Districting

Our local school district is building a new high school, its third, and as they began the process of re-districting for the high school, they announced they would consider spot re-districting for elementary and middle schools.

A new elementary school is 2-3 years away, but two schools are currently overcrowded, FPG (my kids’ school) and Scroggs. The school board spent countless hours on this issue. Tons of emails were sent, supporting this plan or that plan or no plan. Parents went to school board meetings, committee meetings and generally filled their time with talk of this re-districting. It has been the hot topic of the neighborhood equivalent of the water cooler for the past few weeks.

One side of the story is that parents in the Scroggs district wanted to move lower socio-economic kids who didn’t live in Southern Village (the large development where the elementary school is located) out of Scroggs. Shifting some of these kids to FPG would lower the socio-economic numbers of FPG, which is already the lowest in the district. We enjoy the diversity of the school, but if it moves further away from the average in the overall school district, that is not a good thing.

Anyway after all this uproar, they moved 12 kids from Scroggs to FPG and moved 16 kids from FPG to McDougle. Big deal. In the end, they should have just held tight for a couple years and moved nobody.

Drugs found stashed in bathroom vanity

June 14 – Two 50-pound bricks of marijuana were found wrapped within a
bathroom vanity purchased at a Home Depot store in Tewksbury, Mass., according to the Tewksbury Police Department.

The marijuana had a street value of about $145,000 and was discovered by a contractor.

In a separate incident reported on Monday, a plumber found 3 kilograms of cocaine and 40 pounds of marijuana in a vanity purchased at a “local hardware store,” Southwick police officials said. The drugs had street value of $250,000.

Local police, along with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), are investigating both cases. All of the merchandise originated from a Texas location and was then distributed through a Massachusetts warehouse, police said.

In a written statement, Home Depot said, “The company is cooperating with authorities as they investigate this matter, and we will support law enforcement in any way possible to help bring those responsible to justice.”

Chapel Hill Public Art Contextual Plan

from Councilmember Mark Kleinschmidt’s blog:

The Council did something else that is worthy of being called extraordinary last night. The Council took the first steps at creating the nation’s first Public Art plan to be integrated into a community’s comprehensive planning process. Chapel Hill’s Public Arts Commission presented to the Council a Public Art Contextual plan that will make our community the first in the country (at least the first known to our consultant, Gail Goldman) to fully integrate public art programming into our basic town planning. The plan consolidates the many master plans (Park and Rec, Bicycle and Pedistrian, Transportation, land use, etc.) that have been adopted by the Council over the last several years and identifies appropriate intersections of those plans with our public art goals. Integral to the program are the incorporation of triggering devices that will require consideration of public art at almost every turn. As I said last night, the Council has learned many things during our own development project — the redevelopment of our downtown parking lots. Among the things we have learned is the value of early integration of public art in the design of the buildings and the public space. We have long given lip-service to our interest in creating a unique community that recognizes the increased value to our quality of life that artists bring to our community, and now we are about to turn that interest into a well thought-out policy that will allow for that value to be added to one of our most basic town functions — Town planning and development approval.

The plan calls for many things that will certainly spark interesting conversations. It contemplates eventually increasing our percent for art program to a 2 percent for art program, and it proposes that we extend application of public art into the private development sphere. Already, private developers in our community make art a priority in many of their developments, either in the choice of basic design elements or in placement of significant art work within their development. The Conceptual Plan will make our interest in this common practice an official town policy.

I look forward to the conversation our community is embarking on. This truly is one of the most exciting things I have participated in during my Council tenure. I serve because I love Chapel Hill and want to make sure it retains a high quality of life, yet doesn’t settle for doing things the same old way. This new plan holds promise for ensuring both.

A postcard from Germany

from the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Gelsenkirchen soccer stadium has two other names, but to me, it is the Homer Dome, after the patron saint of beer enjoyment, Herr Simpson.

The stadium is the site of two breathtaking marvels of German engineering: the playing pitch and the beer-circulation system.

For World Cup play, the city’s 53,000-seat stadium is Arena Aufschalke, because it is home of the Shalke ’04 pro team. During regular Bundesliga play, the place reverts to its beer-sponsor name, Veltins-Arena.

The grass is phenomenal, as green and precisely clipped as that of Wimbledon or Augusta National. The stadium is partially roofed, not healthy for grass, but the entire field slides out the back of the stadium on rails, like a 2-acre cookie tin sliding out of the oven, so the grass can photosynthesize to its heart’s content.

But here’s the coolest part:

There are four gigantic beer vats under the grandstands, each holding and cooling about 13,000 liters of fresh brewski. Snaking from the tanks to the concession-stand taps and luxury suites is a 5-kilometer network of insulated pipes, rushing cold, fresh Veltins beer to the thirsty coal-miner fans.

Alas, World Cup cups here in Gelsenkirchen will not runneth over with sweet Veltins. The system is shut down because the Cup’s official beer is Budweiser.

The eighth wonder of the world will not be in operation this month. A moment of silence, please.