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Tip of the Iceberg

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Last week's Triangulator noted the rise in probable Lyme disease cases in North Carolina. In response, Marcia E. Herman-Giddens, an adjunct professor at UNC's Gillings School of Public Health and a scientific adviser on the Tick-borne Infections Council of North Carolina Inc., writes that the official statistics likely underestimate the scope of the problem.

"No, it is not easy to know how widespread Lyme disease is here in North Carolina," she writes. "There are a number of reasons for this—too many to list in this comment. One important factor is that cases of most reportable diseases that pass the strict requirements to become official CDC numbers are widely acknowledged to represent only the tip of the iceberg as far as representing the true number of cases. For example, for Lyme disease, the CDC recently did a study and released a statement that rather than the approximately thirty thousand cases reported per year in the U.S., the actual number is likely over three hundred thousand per year."

Writing about a recent story on a Raleigh family that went to court after a developer erected a twenty-eight-foot wall beside their house, George Farthing comments, "Too often when things like this happen that are detrimental to property owners and neighborhoods, the city points a finger at growth as if to say, 'We can't help it!' If elected officials (and in this matter, the Board of Adjustment) would simply live up to the city council mission statement, we'd manage growth responsibly versus the anything-goes approach too many favor."

"The building of McMansions isn't increasing density," adds M Elizabeth Wakeford. "These are just giant single-family homes. This isn't population increase or mixed-use development. People aren't suddenly going to use public transit just because they now live in a bigger house!"

Readers have also been perturbed by our coverage of the Wake County Register of Deeds office, which seems to have, er, misplaced some $900,000 (at least) over the last three years.

"It's amazing that one person could take and cover up having that much money," writes Nancy Carolyn Miller Williams. "Waiting to hear the complete story and disgusted that employees trusted with managing citizens' resources to run the government steal it. Foxes definitely were in the hen house."

"It should never have taken this long to catch this amount of embezzlement in a public office," adds Jeanne Kleinschmidt. "Where was the oversight and necessary systems?"

Last week, news broke that the $3.3 billion Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project was allowed to move into the next phase of the grant application process—even though President Trump's budget proposal calls for no new projects of this sort to be funded.

"When will the local politicians put a stop to this?" writes Tom Englund. "The public should also keep in mind that the monthly cost for planning—right now—is huge. I've seen estimates that taxpayers are currently paying about $1 million every month for planning and promoting the Durham-Orange Light Rail. Stop and think about what could be done with that money to improve transit, or education, or infrastructure, or health in our counties. This whole project may never fly, in which case every cent that's being spent on it before it ever moves into the construction phase will be completely wasted."

Barbara 2 calls the project "the biggest waste of tax dollars. I hope the feds do not fund this ridiculous plan. It's atrocious. No reason, whatsoever, for this money pit to be developed." She also reminds readers to "keep one thing in mind as the Durham mayoral election comes up. Your INDY Week origins come from Steve Schewel. He will be a candidate running for the position, and he is a huge proponent of this damn thing."

That's true. Though we should also point that Schewel sold the paper in 2012, and no members of the news staff date back to his ownership of the publication.

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