Lack of appreciation for Oakwood; Spence responds to lost boy report | Letters to the Editor | Indy Week

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Lack of appreciation for Oakwood; Spence responds to lost boy report

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Lack of appreciation for Oakwood

Matthew Brown is, indeed, a wonderful Oakwood character ("Heels of history," Sept. 17). He is also one of the neighborhood's most knowledgeable citizens, working tirelessly to research Oakwood's history.

In his article, Smith describes, but does not seem to appreciate, the value of Oakwood's diverse architecture, ranging from glorious mansions built for the affluent to humble dwellings for the working class. That rich tapestry of big and small, 19th century Victorian and 20th century Bungalow, highly ornamented and plain is what gives Oakwood its character. It is the opposite of a cookie cutter subdivision, and the same can be said for its inhabitants.

In fact, it is really the people, like Matthew Brown, that make Oakwood great. Some may wonder how we can express this sentiment in light of the recent battle over the construction of our Euclid Street home, which has brought out passionate—and hurtful—feelings on both sides.

Even those who have vociferously opposed our home have done so because it is an authentic expression of their concern for our neighborhood. While we do not agree that new construction that reflects its time will negatively impact Oakwood—which is surely how our predecessors felt in 1895, or 1926, or 1954 when they built homes in the style of their times—we respect other peoples' right to have differing views. And we appreciate neighbors who have now, in light of the recent Superior Court decision, shaken our hands in an effort to move past the conflict that has recently cast Oakwood in a negative light.

Let's give our neighbors—like our friend, Matthew Brown—credit for fighting to protect what they believe in and for making Oakwood one of the jewels of Raleigh. Let's take this opportunity for all of us to move past divisiveness and into a more positive, constructive, forward-looking place.

Marsha Gordon & Louis Cherry Raleigh


Spence responds to lost boy report

For nine months, I have weathered effects of the INDY article ("Camp fear," Jan. 8).With staff help, I consented to keep going and undertake a cycle of renewal at Spence's Farm. It was a great summer, with lots of positive feedback from families and past customers.

I acknowledge an unfortunate occurrence in mid-August when a 6-year-old boy was separated from his hiking group for a few minutes (Back Talk, Sept. 10) He missed a turn on a re-routed, short trail back to our van.The counselor in charge of the last group had momentarily lost sight of the boy who had filled his pockets with rocks and kept stopping to pull up his shorts.

Thankfully, a kind man who I thought was a park ranger, phoned me as we were beginning our normal head count, and we quickly retrieved the calm boy who happily completed Friday afternoon at camp.

My program director and I didn't get a chance to speak to the boy's mother until evening. Naturally, she was upset. We have taken steps to make sure this does not happen again. This was a first in 25 years.

Many children blossomed at Spence's Farm this summer. We are not perfect, but we are dedicated, having served over 10,000 youth now. I remain committed to empowering young people and helping them overcome their fears and feel the confidence of being successful.

Spence Dickinson

The writer is the founder of Spence's Farm.

Editor's Note: We have heard from many families who say their children have encountered unsafe situations at the camp, including becoming separated from the group.

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