Letters to the editor

A call to all fencers

I am looking for fencers. Not the ones who build enclosures, but the ones who use foils, sabres and epees. I would like to start a club in the Asheville area — one that will provide a meeting place for fencers of all ages, genders and levels of experience. I would like this to be a center of fencing activity in the area — a place where people can come for instruction, to fence, or just to tell fencing stories.

I have been involved with fencing for 50 years as a student, teacher and competitor. I recently moved to this area from San Francisco, and would like very much to meet and interact with people who share some of the same interests. If you share this interest or passion in fencing and want either to learn or practice, please call me at (828) 645-0120. You may also e-mail me at jbartenterprises@charter.net.

— Bernie Segal

Mental-health issues need more citizen input

The mental-health, developmentally disabled and substance-abuse system is being reformed in North Carolina. The local public entity that will govern the system is called the Local Management Entity (LME). N.C. GS 122C-118.1(b) states that the governing board of the LME will consist of at least 50 percent citizens. The county managers (Henderson, Transylvania, Polk, Rutherford, Buncombe, Madison, Yancey and Mitchell), meeting in closed sessions since December of 2001, decided that the LME board should consist of the eight county managers and three citizens for 2004, and eight managers and five citizens for 2005.

Yancey County commissioners listened to their citizens and voted for board composition of 50-percent citizen representation from the start in 2004. The other seven county commissioners then “compromised” on eight managers and five citizens for 2004, and eight managers and seven citizens for 2005. There are nine organizations and many citizens that have opposed this action to reduce the number of citizens on the board for the first two years, when most of the work on formalization of policy and the Local Business Plan will take place.

N.C. GS 122C-118.1.1(b) is to assure public involvement in the process. The other counties are asking Yancey to accept the reduced number of citizens on the board or join another LME. I am a Yancey County citizen who resents the action of the counties that are not willing to allow citizen representation according to the law, and [that] choose to penalize the [one WNC] county that does. I hope [residents] of those [other] counties will demand equal representation of citizens on the LME board.

— Bob Carey

[Ed. Note: Although the statute does call for 50 percent non-county representation on the governing boards for Local Management Entities, it also gives counties the flexibility to deviate from that structure (within certain boundaries), according to Don Willis, chief of administrative support with the state Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services.]

Young skaters rule!

Would you please cover the story when they have contests [at the Food Lion Skate Park]? It would really be great for the kids to have some public acknowledgement for their hard work and talents.

The staff at the park and [at] Flipside do a wonderful job helping the kids. Let’s show them and the community our support! The next contest is on July 4, and following that is [one during] Bele Chere.

— G. Avery

Clapping hands for happening feet

The lucky ticket holders to the premiere performances of Terpsicorps [Theatre of Dance] on June 27-28 at the Diana Wortham Theatre were treated to an outstanding evening of exciting and innovative dance. Hearty congratulations and thanks to choreographer and Artistic Director Heather Maloy for her vision in bringing this caliber of talent and artistry to our area.

Happily, they’ll be back Aug. 8-9 for another program. Don’t miss this treasure! Wow!

— Kay and Bob Trimble

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