Letters to the editor

Jan. 18, 2014 @ 03:43 PM

Bear baiting proposal is shocking

I recently found out that the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is considering allowing bear baiting.  This is shocking to me, and I simply do not see how anyone could justify this in our state. 

Those in favor of the method will mask it as a means of controlling bear population, but don’t be fooled - this is driven solely by a desire to capture the largest numbers of bears with the smallest efforts. It is an unnatural method, which will put piles of food in our beautifully preserved Carolina woods. 

Its side effects, which can include more human/bear conflicts by acclimating bears to human food, as well as increased fertility in female bears leading to spikes in population, clearly outweigh the benefits.

Curt AlbrightWaxhaw


Who should fear whom?

As a parent who has faced school redistricting in the past, I certainly understand the anxiety this can cause for many reasons.  What I cannot fathom is standing in front of hundreds of people and speaking into TV cameras and insulting an entire community of people. 

For those of you who face the unimaginable possibility that your child might be forced to attend Sun Valley Middle or High School, let me reassure you.  I have two boys who have attended both of these schools.  What we have found over the years, and what you would find too if you would check your snobbery at the door, is a school community full of good kids, nice families, fine hard-working teachers, and strong dedicated administrators. 

We do have our challenges and older facilities and roofs that leak here and there.  Unlike you, whose kids now attend the big, beautiful, extravagant new schools in Union County, we do have to fight a bit to get our share of resources.  But we also have a community full of school pride despite the ignorant and arrogant aspersions constantly cast our way by folks who don’t have the depth of character to look beyond the exterior. 

Perhaps you might consider that your precious little ones might benefit in many ways from attending school with some kids who don’t look just like them or have quite as much money as they do.  And for those of you with “high achievers” that might somehow suffer by attending Sun Valley, guess what?  We have those at Sun Valley too. And, we have teachers who love teaching high fliers and challenge them to push themselves further. 

So, maybe it is we, the Sun Valley faithful, who should be concerned that the proposed redistricting plan might bring people like you into our community.

Catherine Stout

Indian Trail


Where is the outrage?

Is there no shame?  Where is the outrage?

What can a nation do when the people send someone to “represent” them who defile, diminish and dishonor the office and the laws they vow to uphold? It appears to be so pervasive that even the Toronto mayor is in on the trickery using cocaine and alcohol while in office, and from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to Main Street USA, “We The People” are subjected to deceptive “lawyers” who have taken an oath to serve us, but who only serve themselves at our expense.

Last night on the local news, Mayor Daune Gardner from Waxhaw was again in the news caught on camera giggling and dancing after being pulled over by an officer of the law as she was again driving intoxicated beyond the “legal limit!” She has been arrested in NC and SC, censured by the council, chastised by the people and ask to step down from her position, but she refused to do so, as well as, refusing to seek help for her sickness. When will she be stopped?  Will some child have to die on the highway? 

Where is MADD? Where is a “No Confidence Law?  Where is a Law of Recall? (These laws are not on the books because laws are made by those same people who fully intend to protect themselves.) There are so many laws on the books that are suppose to protect and defend us and yet they overlap, consequently have no power. We need the implementation and power of “THE LAW OF WE THE PEOPLE!”

Shell Holston



Shame on you

Shame on you, UCPS. I thought of a few different ways to start this letter but in the end, I opted for those three words. A few other words also came to mind. Some of those words included “incompetent”, “backhanded”, “cowardly”, and “blithering idiots.” Yes, that last one is actually two words, but I think it applies here.

I just found out that my children are being redistricted and assigned to a new elementary school, middle school, and high school. In the 6 years that I have been a resident of Union County North Carolina, this is the second time that the Board of Education has seen fit to rip them out of their current school and move them to a different one. This will be three different schools before they finish elementary school. The three-year limit on redistricting is intended to be the absolute limit that you are legally allowed to forcibly rip our children from school to school. Instead you seem to think that redistricting every three years is a goal to shoot for. Shame on you for ripping my children away from their friends and teachers over and over again.

I just found out that the same firm who was hired to plan the redistricting three years ago was hired to do it again this year as well. Let’s pose a hypothetical question. If the redistricting plan three years ago was so great, why are my kids being forced into yet another new school? Alternatively, if the plan from three years ago was wrong, so wrong that the Board of Education has to throw it out and redo it the first chance that the law allows them to, why would they be using the same firm to handle the projections and forecasts for this next plan? Albert Einstein is often attributed with defining “insanity” as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Shame on you for not learning from your mistakes.

I just found out that my children who are currently districted for a high school graded a 9, are being forced into a high school graded a 4. If you are not familiar with the way the schools are graded, a 4 is pretty bad and 9 is just about perfect. Shame on you for forcing my kids out of a great school and forcing them into a 4.

I just found out on Facebook, and this only adds to the frustration. You see, I didn’t get a letter in the mail or a phone call telling me that the Board was considering uprooting my children and ruining their education. I find it strange that the District has a phone system in place that calls us every time someone sprays for fire ants, but they don’t use it to warn me that they are forcing my children away from their friends, teachers, and a quality education. I had to find out about it on Facebook when another parent posted their concerns about it. You have my mailing address, home phone number, work phone number, and my cell phone number. You have this information for every parent in the District and yet you chose not to use it to warn us about this upcoming change. You didn’t even pin a letter on my kindergartener’s shirt to take home. A change as important as this should be announced in such a way to ensure that every parent is notified before you make the decision. Shame on you for sneaking behind our backs to make this decision.

When you made this decision three years ago, I stayed quiet and trusted the well-being of my children’s education to your judgment. This time however, I will not stay quiet. This time I will not trust the well-being of their education to you. You have proven your incompetence and I will not stand idly by while you ruin their future. The importance of the quality of their high school education in connection to their prospects in attending college cannot be understated. While you may make statements about caring about their education, and you might attempt to persuade me that the quality of education at Sun Valley High School is just as good as Cuthbertson, the test scores prove otherwise.

This is not a discussion about whether or not Sun Valley is a good school, the test results speak for themselves. This is a discussion on whether or not my children, and the children in our community, are better served by being forced into an inferior school or staying in a school that is slightly overcrowded. Perhaps that was too subtle for you. Let me be blunt. If you think that any child is better served with an education at a vastly inferior school rather than being in a school that has 50 kids too many, you are a blithering idiot.

In the end, that is what this is all about. How are my children benefiting from being forced into an inferior school, that is different from all of their friends and is twice the distance from our house as Cuthbertson? I am not asking you for an answer, I am demanding it. If you think that an inferior education is somehow better than 1-2 extra kids per classroom, I demand an explanation. I will not allow you to ruin their future because of some misguided notion that an inferior school is a good idea.

Let me also make this suggestion, rather than forcing more kids into an inferior school, why not spend some money and fix that school for the kids who are going there now? Or, you know, maybe you could fix the roof so it doesn’t come crashing down like it did last week.


Aaron Asbra

Wesley Oaks


Scrooges Un-Redeemed

The Christmas holiday has past and unlike the Charles Dickens “Scrooge” who was forced to see the reality of the poor, the homeless, and the unlikely survival of “Tiny Tim” who had no access to healthcare; Scrooge found his humanity and paid his employee a livable wage, saved Tiny Tim, and began supporting help for the poor with his amassed fortune.

Republicans have remained the Scrooge who barked “Am I not already taxed enough for these idle people?” When told they were in desperate need and could die, Scrooge replied “Well if they are to die, then let them die, and decrease the surplus population”.

During the Christmas season, Republicans made clear they were not going to extend unemployment benefits for these people obviously did not want to work; they were going to cut food stamps funding by $40 billion and used degrading and racial myths as if the poor found being poor lucrative

Several Republicans offered their solutions for punishing the poor. Republican Congressman Jack Kingston (GA) suggested children who qualify for hot school lunches “should have to sweep the floors of the cafeteria so they learn there is no such thing as a free lunch”. Missouri Congresswoman Cynthia Davis suggested “hunger is a positive motivator”.  Another Republican Congressman suggested we end welfare completely and when people see the “distended bellies of poor children they will step in and feed the poor and the government will no longer have to provide assistance”.

Who are the poor? Most are “working poor” who work fulltime but at minimum wage jobs. No one can live on the current minimum wage which averages $22,000 a year. No one wants to be poor and it is a miserable existence.

Republican-controlled states rely most heavily on welfare programs. They have the highest number of poor, the least in education funding, the most non-high school graduates, and the most only minimum wage jobs available.

We are now following the pattern of typical Republican-controlled states. Severe education cuts, teachers resigning due to low salaries and degrading treatment by the State, and NC now is below Mississippi in the amount of money it spends per student.

Governor McCrory ended all welfare programs during the national Republican government shutdown last year. He refuses to take free Medicaid expansion money to cover our growing poor population. These estimated 300,000 NC poor will now return to the ER for healthcare costing us all more in taxes and healthcare premiums. In NC, McCrory fails to acknowledge our poor are primarily working families, the elderly, and the largest growing poor population are returning war veterans despite NC having one of the largest military populations.

As Scrooge’s friend reminded him: “Mankind is our business”. To McCrory corporate welfare is his primary business.

Beverly Tatum


Decide on a policy for filling vacancies

Last Saturday at the Special town Council meeting Jennifer Smith made an excellent presentation, on how the Town could communicate and inform better through the electronic media. You wanted a Town which was transparent, had good contact with the residents, and where the residents could be heard.

Three days later you throw it overboard. There was supposed to be a discussion on filling the vacant Council seat, not to appoint a person. Let me state that David Drehs might be a good person to have on Indian Trail Town Council, so this is not about him. Many other people, such as Sidney Sandy, Patricia Cowan, Larry Miller, Chip Long, Jan Brown, Roger Fish, and Cathi Higgins have served the Town for many years, and some in several capacities.

Some of these people and possibly others might want to run for the empty seat on the Town Council. Last night you shot yourselves in the foot. Residents of Indian Trail will believe that transparency will only occur when it suits you. At least two of the above people were present yesterday. They may lose interest in serving the Town of Indian Trail. By Tuesday’s decision the Town Council gives the impression that losing an election is the only way one can contest an empty seat on the Indian Town Council. We get the impression that that serving the Town for many years, on a Board, a Committee, or otherwise does not count.

David Cohn said “let’s not be political about this”, or words to that effect. Well what followed was very political.

Gordon Daniels tried to convince the Council not to take a quick decision, but to wait and discuss.

This is a busy election year. The following is my speculation:  What if the Republican Party nominates the Mayor to run for the U.S. Senate? Should his seat be offered to Jeff Goodall, the only other contestant, two years ago? Should it be offered to the Mayor pro tem David Cohn? What if a Town Council representative decided to run for a Union County commissioner seat? What if a Town Council representative was offered a job in another state, a job he could not refuse? What if a Town Council representative had to leave for family reasons?

I think all of you should sit down and consider how you should handle empty Town Council seats in future.

Severin Jacobsen

Indian Trail

   A suggestion, and an addendum:

Open letter to parents of Union County

My name is John Rorie, a local who has relocated to Raleigh for my university education. Do you remember me? I’m that local celebrity that got the perfect ACT score. Yeah, I don’t usually advertise; the papers did a good enough job of that on their own, but I will now to prove my point.

I went to Parkwood, just as a reminder. Do you want to tell me that my success is a fluke, because I did not attend a school in one of the affluent districts? Are you going to tell me that it is unreal, insignificant, or otherwise unworthy of consideration, because I go to “that school”? To you, must I have cheated, or pulled some other scandal, although stereotypes of my school place me in an intelligence bracket too low to concoct such a scheme?

A few of you are concerned for your property values. At least that makes business sense.

I was valedictorian of my class. My salutatorian, a brilliant girl, went to Vanderbilt University, all expenses paid. Was that also a fluke? Highly unlikely. I chose a different route, attending North Carolina State University alongside many of your children. I have produced an invention, a consumer product, within one semester of reaching the university. Is this also a fluke? Is it unnatural for me to have this success, when obviously my school is “inferior”?

I wish to bring light to your eyes that there are no poor schools in Union County. Ignore your prejudices about student populations. With one notable exception (the last statistic I saw place CATA’s graduation rate at 100%), graduation rates, and indeed student achievement, are largely equivalent across Union County (fluctuating around the mid-eighties). This is one of the rare circumstances where I cite myself as an example. Every atmosphere, regardless of one’s background or upbringing, is largely dependent on perceptions, but only on the surface. If you envision a hostile reception, if you indoctrinate your children into expecting one, you will find yourself justified. If you adjust to the relocation, taking the opportunities that are available there, you will find your efforts validated.

For those of you who will be affected by the redistricting plan, my apologies. It is in no way an enviable position to be in. However, although the cause for this act on behalf of the Board of Education may be questionable and unseen, these violent claims seen on this forum are equally if not more dubious. Increased transit times are a logical complaint. Criticisms of the destination school, especially those based on stereotypes and ill-informed hearsay, are not.

Do not think for a moment that I am blindly defending “my side”.  I have stepped out to point out the (legitimate) reasons for your concern and the illegitimate reasons for hostility to people in my home district.  However, I believe that this is an unnecessary polarization: the schools and their constituents are not enemies of each other.  There is no antagonist here, just protagonists with conflicting motives, and this refers to the Board of Education, the parents, students, and teachers of the schools, the construction workers, the potential new homeowners, the county government, and others.  There are too many facets to limit one’s viewpoint to “sides.”

They say no child is born a bigot. Please do not raise them to be so.

John Rorie