North Carolina Newspapers

    fc Me/iald
September 27, 2017
NCDOT's Beltline Expanision: What To Expect Going Forward
Sarah Kiser, Co-Editor-In-Chief
After six years of planning
and two periods of public
comment, the NCDOT has
determined that to complete the
beltline expansion project, it must
take some land of right of way from
Meredith’s campus. How much
exactly will be determined when
the NCDOT selects a contractor.
John Williams, a project manager
at the NCDOT said that they
“complete a preliminary design...
the final design is handled by a
contractor.’’
Timeline
The next public
announcement is expected around
February 2018 when NCDOT
publishes the lengthy document,
“Finding of No Significant Impact
under the National Environmental
Policy Act.’’ The publication will
respond to public comments and
establish that the project can go
on. Around July or August 2018
a contractor will be selected.
Between July 2018 and August
2019 at the earliest, Meredith’s
campus will see construction. The
entire expansion is expected to
take four years. NCDOT officials
cannot estimate how long they will
be constructing on former Meredith
property.
Safety
There will be a fence
separating campus from
construction, then a permanent
fence. Williams said normally they
would have a construction fence
“which is fairly easy to penetrate.”
He said that “the College has
asked for something..heavier and
more sturdy.” NCDOT is open
to that. Earth rpoving equipment
will not be left on campus and
construction should not spillover
past the fence. He added that “that
was a specific concern that Dr.
Allen voiced.”
Safety in the Future
What is to prevent future
projects from taking more of
Meredith’s campus in the future?
Williams said that “the reality is
that everyone who lives in this
area lives in an urban area that
is developing. I can tell you that
the interior of your campus is
somewhat protected because it is
eligible for the National Register
of Historic Places.” So everything
within Meredith’s main road
circling campus “would be very
hard to touch with any project.”
Everything outside of that is not
legally protected, but it is “highly
valued by politicians, by the DOT,
and a lot of other people as well.”
But he can’t say exactly because
“it’s not within [his] power to
forecast or assure that none would
ever happen again.”
Addressing voiced
concerns Williams said that
NCDOT “has been working with
Meredith as a stakeholder.”
Meredith has discussed issues
with the NCDOT such as physical
impacts, security, light pollution,
noise pollution, and relocating the
greenway. Not much has been
discussed about trash that would
come off the proposed flyover.
Nothing has been announced
yet about the concerns, but “the
conversations are ongoing.” They
will be ongoing in the next few
weeks when Meredith officials
meet again with NCDOT.
Since the meetings that
NCDOT held in Kresge Auditorium
on Sept. 5, “there have been no
decisions” as of Sept. 18.
Williams addressed
several concerns that were raised
by members of the Meredith
community. The Hillsborough St.-
Wade Ave. slight detour alternative
would “push the greenway out a
bit” resulting in right of way land
being taken closer to Meredith’s
barn and the Massey House,
which means some of the trees
would have to felled for that. In
addition, some of the trees along
the commuter parking lot, along
the auxiliary sports field, and in
rear of The Oaks will have to be
cut down. NCDOT is “committed
to reestablishing vegetation.” The
new vegetation might not be as
dense as it is now, depending on
what species and age of plants get
replaced.
The project is being done
under a design-build process with
the goal of “reducing the impact,”
Williams said. A handout prepared
by the NCDOT says “this usually
ends in faster completion.”
According to Williams, NCDOT
will try to minimize effects on
Meredith’s campus. He said that
“beyond that there are things we
can and will do, like putting in
retaining walls.”
He spoke about tightening
up the loops on the ramps. He said
they might “have the potential to
use a tighter radius, which reduces
the physical impact.” Williams
added that “One other major help
would be if we are successful
in working with Meredith and
Raleigh to relocate that section
of greenway along the beltline to
Faircloth.”
DACA Dilemma: What's Next?
Seung Pang, Staff Writer
Meredith junior Leslie
Arreaza gets a lot of questions
from people after they know she is
an undocumented immigrant. But
the first question people always
ask is “Why don’t you become
legal?” Arreaza now does not mind
the curiosity from other people,
but before she decided to open up
about her immigration status, she
was afraid of being questioned.
Arreaza moved to the U.S.
from Guatemala at age seven.
Growing up as a teenager, her
parents always warned her, “Never
tell anyone we’re undocumented.”
Arreaza’s parents told her this after
former President George W. Bush
prohibited driver’s licenses for
undocumented immigrants.
In high school, Arreaza
didn’t tell anybody about her
status. “I was scared,” she
said. She remembers the
undocumented immigrant
community back then as being
very secretive. “
When the Obama-era
program, Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals (DACA), was
designed to shield undocumented
immigrants who were brought
into the U.S. as children,
Arreaza could dream again. She
became unafraid, at age 20,
after being deeply inspired by
an undocumented speaker Jose
Antonio Vargas at The Summit for
Golden Door Scholars.
“He was speaking up for
us,” said Arreaza. “I had some
sense of security so I felt like it
was my job to step up.” Now as
the president of the Meredith
Refugee and Immigration Club and
an activist, she speaks up for the
DACA community. When President
Trump rescinded DACA on Sept.
5, she went to the Durham rally
and spoke on behalf of protesters.
“The tension is worse now,” said
Arreaza. Following the repeal of
DACA, President Trump gave
Congress six months to pass a
replacement. As a result, 800,000
undocumented immigrants are at
risk of deportation.
David McLennan, a
professor of political science
at Meredith College, says it is
unclear what President Trump’s
true intentions are with DACA
recipients. “The basic argument
that the Trump administration
made was that President Obama
had exceeded his constitutional
authority in the executive order
that established the DACA
program,” said McLennan.
After the President recently
had a meeting with House Minority
Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer,
the Democrats announced that
they had reached a deal with
President Trump to pass a law
protecting the Dreamers, another
name for DACA recipients. But
later. President Trump tweeted that
“No deal was made on DACA.”
The President says he
wants to do what is fair for the
U.S. economy. But experts
predict ending DACA will cost
$433.4 billion in GDP loss over a
decade, according to the Center
for American Progress. In North
Carolina alone, 23,434 of 26,936
DACA recipients, or around 87%,
are working. Removing them
would cost over a billion dollars, or
$1,179,268,293 to be exact.
What’s the future for DACA
recipients? Currently, there are
three bills at the Congress level:
the Dream Act, Recognizing
America’s Children Act, and the
BRIDGE Act, according to the
National Immigration Law Center.
“While the BRIDGE Act is the least
good for the Latino community
and the Hope Act is supported by
mostly Democrats, the Dream Act
has a strong bipartisan support,”
said lliana Santilian-Carrillo,
Community Crganizer at El
Pueblo, a non-profit organization
advocating for North Carolina’s
Latino community. “The Dream Act
could provide a path to legal status
as a permanent form of relief,” said
Santilian-Carrillo.
According to a Gallup
poll, 84% of U.S. adults, or 76%
of Republicans and 91% of
Democrats, support immigration
reform with a path to citizenship.
North Carolina Senator
Thom Tillis says there is a
compassionate and conservative
solution to the DACA dilemma.
“This is not a betrayal to the voters
who elected President Trump,” he
said in his Cp-Ed article on Fox
News. Tillis promised to introduce
a solution that would provide
a legal path to undocumented
children to earn conditional legal
status by requiring them to be
employed, to pursue higher
education, or to serve in U.S.
Armed Forces. “For the many
young undocumented immigrants
who were brought here as small
children, America is the only home
they’ve ever known,” said Tillis.
“The vast majority of Democrats,
Republicans, and independents
believe they should have a chance
to remain here and contribute to
the nation to their fullest ability,” he
added.
A week ago, Arreaza led
a workshop on how to effectively
reach representatives in
Congress. “They can take DACA,
but not our will to fight,” said
Arreaza in her contributing article
on The Huffington Post
More about Leslie Arreaza:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
author/leslle-arreaza/
    

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