Life in the Triangle

In 1999, my wife Kathy and I moved to The Triangle Area of North Carolina from California. Interesting area, the Triangle. Here are some of our experiences.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Who Let the Dogs Die?

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina animal shelters are strained by incoming dogs seized from fighting operations and held as police evidence.

The shelters are euthanizing adoptable animals to make room for these fighting dogs, which they are required by law to shelter, sometimes for months, at much greater costs than the adoptable animals whose cages they're occupying.

"The Johnston County Animal Shelter housed 47 pit bulls seized in a giant dog-fighting case last year,

"The shelter, which could hold 65 dogs, euthanized 15 to 20 animals after the pit bulls arrived for lack of space,"

Most of the animals seized in dog fighting raids eventually get euthanized.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Overcrowding Expected at Several Wake County Traditional Schools

This morning The News & Observer reported that the following elementary schools would feel the most significant overcrowding as measured by a percentage of capacity:

153% Olds
132% Underwood
127% Dillard Drive
125% Hunter
122% Cary
122% Bugg

One hundred and fifty three percent of capacity. That's over half. So a school with, say, 16 grade level teachers would need to add eight new teachers and two to three teacher assistants to handle the crowd. They'd have to find room for five to eight additional classrooms via converting teachers' work areas, the gym, the media center, the cafeteria, the computer lab, the art or music room, the broom closet, or by adding modular units.

Those schools gaining a fifth to a third more students would face similar dilemmas.

The Wake County Board of Education, (BOE) is trying to punish parents and students by making the transition back to traditional schools as unbearable as possible.

I don't believe the BOE has little better to do than to plot revenge on the populace. I think the School Board is bound by budgetary restrictions that hamper necessary changes. It costs money to convert 22 schools to Year Round and this late in the game, much of that money had probably already been spent or was allocated.

It was most likely not an option to abort the conversion, specially considering the fallout when the 2007-2008 budget is looked at and the BOE has to answer to the lost funds due to a halt in the production.

Considering the possibility that those 22 schools may have eventually converted in the coming years anyway due to undeniable growth trends this county has seen, I couldn't blame the Board for wrapping up the expenditures in the nearly completed conversion, even if it forced them to scramble to fulfill their commitments to the parents wanting to remain traditional.

Face it - Here We Are. Pointing fingers will help nobody at this stage. Work with your Board as they struggle to make ends meet with overcrowded (and undercrowded) schools, teacher and other resource shortages, and hammered bus schedules. I may be in the minority with this belief, but I feel that the Wake County Board of Education is on the right track in their attempts to make the system work for ALL our kids. Let's cut them a break, shall we, and let them attend to the matters at hand.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Griffin Ceramic Tile

Along with brand new kitchen countertops and new appliances, we also had a new tile backsplash installed.

After working with design consultant Laura Eaton at Byrd Tile to put together a fantastic pattern, I needed to find a qualified installer to do the job. Laura presented me with a list of installers with which her customers have had good luck, and the one I selected was Eric Griffin of Griffin Ceramic Tile.

His mature demeanor and professionalism seemed evident in my initial consultations with him. The quality of his workmanship was apparent when he showed me photo samples of his work during his first onsite visit.

Eric took away drawings of our backsplash pattern and some measurements, and e-mailed me a few days later with a bid that came in about $100 lower than the average of other installers I'd contacted.

On installation day Eric arrived well prepared to spend the entire day at our homesite. He carefully laid out paper over our new granite countertops and across all areas of our hardwood floor upon which he would be traversing. As I happened to be off of work that day, I watched as he carefully and competently laid all our tile.

As our design presented what I thought was somewhat of an intricate challenge to an installer, Eric managed through without missing a beat. In this case, he handled the positioning of many random stones in such a manner as to avoid making unnecessary cuts. Discount tilers would have just done it the easy way.

He also had some clever maneuvers to tame some of the trickier aspects of laying tile. For example, he made the pattern sort of "bend" around a corner so it was less evident that a change in direction was present. Not all installers are willing to go the extra mile to make the results so attractive but you can tell that Eric takes pride in his work and doesn't see it as just a job. There is a certain artistry that a good tile installer should possess, and it's clear that Eric's a master.

When he was finished for the day, he pulled up all the paper and cleaned up after himself. When he returned the next day, he started by again laying out all the paper on our counters and floors. The grouting job went well, and when we saw how the pattern jumped out at us in the finished product, we knew we would have a tile backsplash we would enjoy for years to come.

If you live in the Triangle Area and are looking for an expert tile installer who's not afraid of a challenge, look no further than Eric Griffin at Griffin Ceramic Tile. Eric can be reached at (919) 359-3042.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hot Enough For Ya?

Yesterday the temperature in Raleigh reached 102 F. The temperature in Orlando was 96 F. Who'd ever think one would consider a trip to Florida to "beat the heat"?

The Triangle Area suffered from heat like this about a year ago.