Letters to the editor

Accident prompts gratitude for Asheville

I would like to thank the many people who rushed to my aid and the aid of the blocked drivers around 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17, when I was driving north on Merrimon Avenue by Beaver Lake and a tree crashed onto my car. Suddenly, four of my friends and acquaintances appeared out of nowhere. They were either driving or walking nearby when the tree fell. Danie Johnson, Rebecca and Hugh Lamb and Sonny Rawls helped from beginning to end.

Even more amazing were the many people I didn’t know, who gave aid. Thanks to the unknown blond man with the chain saw who began chopping up the tree embedded across my windshield. Many other men helped, holding sections of the tree as it was sawed apart. Thanks to them and to those who directed traffic around the accident, onto the triangle at Glen Falls. Thanks to the dark-haired man wearing denim shorts who asked several times if I was OK, when he wasn’t helping in other ways.

Thanks also to the firemen and police officers who responded. I know only the name of Michael Garrison, who wrote the report and who asked several times if I had a ride.

Somehow, my car was freed and moved to a parking area and the road cleared in about 30 minutes. I am grateful for all the generosity of friends and strangers who helped, proving that Asheville is a special place filled with special people.

— Jan Schochet
Asheville

Flooded animal shelter needs help

All Creatures Great & Small animal shelter suffered heavy flooding during the rains from Hurricanes Frances and Ivan.

A no-kill shelter in Hendersonville, All Creatures has been struggling financially for years. But on Sept. 8, volunteers had to rescue several hundred animals in the middle of the night by boat, as the shelter is located in a flood plain and it was flooded. Sadly, seven dogs and one cat drowned in the flood. The rescued animals were taken to an abandoned county prison, where they remain. The shelter’s future is uncertain since their own building may not be repairable. The city inspector has condemned the building.

In short, the rescue organization desperately needs to relocate the shelter.

Is there anything you can do to help? Adopt a dog or cat? Donate some money? Donate some land? Or maybe let them use some land, like a farm or campground? Please call (828) 216-0693 or 216-0694. Donations may be mailed to All Creatures, P.O. Box 2116, Hendersonville, NC 28793. Thank you so much! Sorry, they don’t have a Web site.

— Shari Bullard
Flat Rock

Ballot contains more than expected

Imagine my surprise when I received my absentee ballot and found that there are three (3) amendments on it! Eek!

I knew of the first one, and I have even corresponded with the folks who support it with a statewide Web site, but I have no information on the other two. Can you help?

— George Keller
Asheville

[Editor’s Note: Stay tuned! An explanation of all three proposed amendments to the N.C. Constitution is upcoming as part of our election coverage in October.]

Asheville’s ultimate aims higher

Asheville’s men’s ultimate disc team has taken third place in the North Carolina section, and is making plans for the regional championships.

The local “GreenMan” team, under the leadership of Mark Strasser and Dave Childers, has been training since March for the club series, which runs September through October. In the past two years, GreenMan has reached for an opportunity to compete at the regional championships and has been denied. This year, we are hungry for victory and an opportunity to show our section and region that GreenMan is here to play!

Two weekends ago, GreenMan left a lasting impression on North Carolina Ultimate at the sectional championship tournament in Garner. Taking third in the state, GreenMan went 5-2, scoring 9 points against one of the top-ranked teams in the country, Ring of Fire. In that game, Ring took half at 5-8. Then GreenMan made a charge back into the game at 6-8, then 7-8, then 8-8, but could not hold on in the last points of the game, losing 9-15. This is a significant shift in performance for GreenMan. Other than these two losses, no other team scored more than 9 points against GreenMan’s defense.

Now many players on the GreenMan roster and other teams from our section are considering GreenMan a national level team for future seasons. However, we still have the regional championships coming up this weekend, Oct. 2-3 in Fredericksburg, Va. GreenMan has been examining areas of their game that can be improved, and are pushing to exceed our expectations, to reach fourth place in the Mid-Atlantic Region. To accomplish this, we must upset two teams from the Founder’s section and the Capital section.

GreenMan will be taking the following roster: Alan Wilson, Andy Spencer, Bobby Castile, Brett McCall, Dan Kenny, Dave Childers (Co-captain), Evan Wantland, Jason Rector, Joe Masters, Justin Smith, Keith Levi, Kenny Marcus, Mark Strasser (Co-captain), Mark Neal, Peter Wentz, Rich Holder, Seth Gleason and Scott Bender.

— Brett McCall
GreenMan Team Manager
Asheville

Taylor’s misrepresents his air-quality record

Rep. Charles Taylor has been running a series of television campaign ads for his reelection in the 11th Congressional District in which he is credited for progress on air-quality issues, including his introduction of the Great Smoky Mountains Clean Air Act. The public deserves to know the truth about the extent of his efforts.

Rep. Taylor introduced the Great Smoky Mountain Clean Air Act in 2001 during the 107th Congress, where it received virtually no support, even among members of his own party. The bill never left committee. He did not reintroduce it in the 108th Congress. This proposed legislation attempted to address only the Tennessee Valley Authority’s power plants, ignoring all other sources of pollution that affect Western North Carolina’s air quality.

Rep. Taylor commissioned a study by the General Accounting Office (GAO) to determine the sources of air pollution in Western North Carolina, but did not act on its results. The GAO report concluded that TVA is responsible for only 30 percent of the nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions transported into Western North Carolina. Power plants and factories owned by utilities and private industries in other Southern and Midwestern states are responsible for a greater portion. But Taylor made no attempt to include these greater sources in the legislation he introduced.

Taylor’s Great Smoky Mountain Clean Air Act has no relationship to the North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act, state legislation that Taylor had no role in creating or passing.

It’s important that political claims such as Rep. Taylor’s be scrutinized for their veracity, so the public is not lulled into complacency, believing that progress is being made where it is not.

— Avram Friedman
Executive Director
Canary Coalition

Hope Taylor-Guevara
Executive Director
Clean Water for North Carolina

Susan Stewart
Political Chair
WENOCA Group of the Sierra Club

Jody Flemming
Executive Director
Western North Carolina Alliance

Complaining doesn’t improve life in Asheville

I am so tired of readers using the editorial pages to gripe and complain about living in Asheville. The sarcastic ones, [such as] “Remember to Pack a Few Things,” [Sept. 15] are especially obnoxious. I know there are some real economic and social issues here, but do you want to be part of the solution or part of the problem? Complaining is easy, lazy and provides no value whatsoever. In fact, it can make a situation worse by negatively influencing those who might have otherwise have been neutral.

If the issues you complain about are important to you, how about using the large circulation power of this and other publications to have a positive impact instead? Make suggestions and recommendations. Provide information. Letters can be used to empower and mobilize people and resources just as easily as they can to criticize and demoralize.

Or, if that seems like too much trouble, you could always move. That would make it easier for those of us who like where we live to have a positive impact on our community.

— Kim Dolan
Brevard

Take outsourcing arguments with one grain of salt

While affirmative action continues to erode the once-cherished value of meritocracy, I will venture another-but-related topic around which there has been much of a flutter these days: outsourcing, or the alleged migration of jobs overseas.

The politicization of this issue is, to an extent, more real than the issue itself. Anecdotes of workers affected by outsourcing can be politically powerful, and most politicians are looking for tools of expediency rather than spoken truth, which today is almost an obstacle to political advancement.

Close to 90 percent of jobs in the United States require geographical proximity, and job losses outside this range have little to do with outsourcing and almost everything to do with technological advancements, the training for which is available on the job or via tech school.

When outsourcing does occur, an egregious contributory factor is the huge government handouts to large corporations, which are deeply in conflict with the principles of hands-off, free enterprise.

So take with a grain of salt any bleeding heart politician that would appeal to emotionalism on this score.

— Charles Mathis
Arden

Face the future with Fisher

Reality strikes again! North Carolina is bleeding jobs, and we are never going to get back the manufacturing base that has fled to Mexico. Local folks who followed mothers and grandfathers into good jobs at Enka, Beacon and other big companies are now working at Wal-Mart and McDonald’s to make ends meet.

What can we do about it? Two things: education and job training! We need to have good retraining programs for displaced workers, and good, solid education for their children. That means jobs in health care, technology and other knowledge-based fields if we want to face the future with any hope.

Our legislator for the 114th House District, Susan Fisher, is working for all those things. I urge everyone who cares about our future to work for Susan this fall. Call her at 712-7711 to help her campaign.

— Shirley Berdie
Asheville

Looking for a few moderate Republicans

He walked toward our campsite in Montana last fall — a tall, distinguished looking man in his ’70s. He stopped, said hello, and soon we were discussing politics. He was a retired American Can Co. executive, with differing political views than mine. The topic went to Gray Davis, governor of California. It wasn’t until he said, “Gray Davis took over California with a budget surplus, and soon turned it into a deficit,” that I interrupted and said, “You mean he did to California what our president has done to the country?”

Of course, we know that California’s demise was, in part, due to crooked electricity traders with Enron Corp.

He stuttered, and after listening to my pleas — what about taxes, what about the environment, what about the deficits, what about this war — he put his finger in my face and in a low, graveled voice, said, “I don’t give a xxx xxxx what happens, as long as they cut my taxes,” and walked away.

I will never forget it. This self-centered … human being was going to vote for Bush on one issue, the issue of personal greed! Let’s pray there are some moderate Republicans this fall.

— Michael J. Perham
Burnsville

Taylor needs to clear this up

Charles Taylor owes the voters of the 11th Congressional District an explanation for his possible connection to a bank scandal. Two principals in the case, friends and supporters of Taylor, have pointed the finger at him as being a partner in crime. Mr. Taylor, you need to clear this up. Step forward and give an honest account as to why you shouldn’t be indicted as a co-conspirator in this scandal. If you choose not to explain your involvement in the matter, I can only assume you have something to hide.

I would also like you to explain how you can run a bank here, and one in Russia, and devote sufficient time to effectively represent the needs and interests of this district.

I realize you are an entrenched incumbent. However, Patsy Keever, who has no outside business interests and is a remarkable woman with enormous talent, great wisdom, abundant integrity, an impressive leadership resume, will devote her entire energy in representing all the people of the 11th district. It’s time for full-time, honest and effective representation. Patsy Keever is the right choice on Nov. 2.

Vote!

PS: She really is concerned about our environment!

— Orville Elkins
Asheville

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