February 28, 2010
William Wilmer,
Daily Tar Heel Staff Writer

One of the most vocal supporters of the historically black and low-income neighborhood that hosts the county’s landfill was honored Sunday for his activism.

Rev. Robert Campbell was honored with the Pauli Murray Award for Human Relations in a ceremony hosted by the Orange County Human Relations Commission.

Joe Nanney, chairman of the commission, said he expects Campbell to continue to fight for his community.

“He gives a voice to people who otherwise don’t have one,” he said.

(read the story here)

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County, town need to do more to get clean drinking water to the Rogers Road community

Repairing and replacing wells in the Rogers Road area is nowhere close to a sufficient solution to the pressing issue of water contamination.

All residents in this area deserve clean drinking water, and the town and county governments must find a way to make this happen.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners’ unanimous passage of a resolution last week to consider offering no-fault well repair services for the residents who live within 3,000 feet of the Orange County landfill is just another development in a 30-year saga of neglect.

If Orange County and the town of Chapel Hill are serious about ensuring Rogers Road residents have adequate drinking water, then they need to sit down and figure out a way to provide the area with clean water hookups, and they need to do it now. (read more here)

Residents say landfill has tainted water

February 3, 2010

Sam Rinderman

Staff Writer

Many residents in the historically black and low-income community bordering the county landfill don’t receive drinking water from county water lines. Soon they might receive help with well repair.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night considering healthy water options for the residents who live within 3,000 feet of the Orange County landfill, which is located in the Rogers-Eubanks neighborhood. (read the whole story here)

Notes from the Dancing Dean
(Felicia Mebane – Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at the UNC Gillings School of Global Health)

One of the lessons I taught students in my classes on health care policy and politics is that attention to issues, problems and crises comes and goes. Eventually, journalists, celebrities, politicians, the general public and even health care professionals return to the ongoing issues that affect them personally or are highest on their list of ongoing priorities. This morning was the first time since the Haiti earthquake that my favorite morning news program did not lead with the aftermath of last week’s earthquake in Haiti . Where will the donations, volunteers and attention be one month from now…one year from now?

Student Affairs

My corresponding lessons on the issue attention cycle were for supporters of particular issues, policies or crisis responses to take advantage of peaks in attention (before they inevitably fade) and to create infrastructures that would help sustain their efforts.

A great example of this advice in action is the UNC-CH Engineers Without Borders’(EWB) collaboration with the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association (RENA). UNC EWB leaders (current students Liz, Shannon and Patsy), Reverend Robert Campbell from RENA and recent SPH graduate Dr. Chris Heaney met with Dean Rimer (me and others) this afternoon to discuss ideas for how they can expand and sustain their service-research contributions aimed at helping this community. One of their strategies is to build collaborations that would expand the network of groups and agencies who are committed to supporting this issue. Another is to “create” attention with a documentary (which is in progress), seminars and other communications. And, of course, they are pursuing funding via grants and donations.

All of these approaches can be used by student organizations and students who want their projects and issues to have support year-to-year.

EWB Partners with Local Communities

Our chapter is working with the UNC Department of Epidemiology to support the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association (RENA) in Chapel Hill.  EWB-UNC partnered with RENA in spring and summer of 2009 to test drinking and surface water and survey well and septic systems in the community and will be partnering with Orange County health department in the coming months to conduct a further study.

RENA’s President, Minister Robert Campbell, was recently invited to brief EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on November 20th, 2009 in the West Wing of the White House.

Read more in the Daily Tar Heel and Herald Sun.  This partnership was previously featured in Carolina Public Health Magazine.  You can read about EWB-UNC’s commitment to service, both locally and abroad, in the Spring 2009 Issue.

The Orange County landfill on Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill, N.C., is estimated to be full in 2012. This is a short documentary by Sam Ward on the history of the landfill and the community it has been in for 37 years, and the issue at hand regarding a new way to manage the county’s garbage.

Click here to see the video

(Greensboro, NC Waste Transfer Station (interior)

By Kirk Ross, Staff Writer, The Carrboro Citizen

Early on in January 2009, many in these towns were still focused on the changing of the guard in Washington, D.C.

With close to 72 percent of Orange County voters pulling the lever for Barack Obama, the election of the first black president was still the big buzz, and a major — by Carolina standards — snowstorm contributed to collecting around TV sets and radios on Inauguration Day.

( read more here)

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
12/15/09

Minister Robert Campbell, longtime activist for social and environmental justice, visited the White House recently to speak about public health issues in the Rogers-Eubanks community of Chapel Hill, N.C.

Campbell joined Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and a distinguished group of public health advocates, community leaders, experts and White House officials for a briefing on the lasting public health benefits of a clean-energy economy.

Learn more about:

“The Story” with Dick Gordon on WUNC
December 14, 2009

For over 30 years, residents of an historically black neighborhood in North Carolina have fought to shut down the landfill near their homes. Recently, Reverend Robert Campbell took his argument all the way to the White House to be heard. And last week, county commissioners voted to stop sending new trash to that landfill. Rev. Robert Campbell talks withDick about his love for the neighborhood, andthe fight for clean drinking water.

(hear the 12/14/09 interview here)

The Carrboro Citizen – Opinion

The county’s “punt” on solid waste – using Durham’s transfer station for three to five years while working on a new solution – is a significant and positive shift in the approach to what to do after the landfill closes.

That the commissioners added an exemption from a potential future waste facility for the community that has been host to the county’s landfill for 37 years should be applauded. More »

Millhouse Road removed from consideration for future waste facility

By Taylor Sisk, Staff Writer – The Carrboro Citizen

“Sometimes the best strategy is to punt,” said Orange County Commissioner Barry Jacobs, and with those words he raised a motion at Monday night’s meeting that the county ship its garbage to Durham County’s transfer station for a three- to five-year period and to use that time to re-engage the county’s municipalities in developing a long-term solid waste strategy.

The commissioners were tasked to vote on whether to place a transfer station on county-owned property — called the Paydarfar site (the name of its previous owner) — on Millhouse Road or on a previously approved site off N.C. 54 near Orange Grove Road, or to pursue a deal with Durham County to use its transfer facility. (read the story here)