Letters to the editor

Tell Brian Peterson about I-240

Brian Peterson, who is newly elected to Asheville City Council, doesn’t think the widening of Interstate 240 to eight lanes is an issue for most people in West Asheville. I overheard him, when he was campaigning, say that there wasn’t a significant interest in the project from those who contributed to his campaign …

I hear a different story whenever the I-240 project comes up in conversation, especially among those living in West Asheville, but certainly not exclusively West Asheville residents. I know because I ask people what they think, and I’m just a lowly citizen, not a city representative.

It is [Peterson’s] job to be open-minded and to seek out the perspectives of Asheville residents, so as to represent all of us accurately.

Citizens of Asheville: If the widening of 240 is an issue for you, show Brian Peterson the error of his ways by writing to him about your concerns, at City Council, P.O. Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802.

— Grace McPhee

Fairview Library’s landscaping success

It is a cold, rainy day in November. A good book and a warm fire come to mind as a perfect plan for spending the day. So, you hop in the family car and point it toward the new Fairview Library. As you approach, the new library building impresses you. A closer look reveals the landscaping, which compliments the structure, making it more inviting. The final touch has been added.

Jim Webb spearheaded the committee that created and orchestrated the landscaping design for the new library. It was a monumental undertaking, requiring knowledge, planning and much foresight. Consideration was given to visual attractiveness, available space and parking facilities.

[A month earlier], I had attended a meeting of Friends of the Library. The group was impressed with the landscaping plans and the work that had already been completed. In a presentation, Jim Webb stressed the importance for selecting sturdy, drought-resistant plants, as well as ones that would provide shade and texture to a site that was rather harsh, initially.

It sounded like the “planting crew” was enjoying each other’s company. Therefore, I didn’t have to think twice when Jim extended an invitation to come out and see their progress.

On that beautiful October morning I chose to visit, I could see the grass popping up through the straw. The crew was busy planting Cotoneasters on the banks along the library. Jeanne Webb gave me a lesson on the Cotoneaster (pronounced “Co-ton-e-aster”). She and Paul Bryant were putting down black mesh as a covering around the plants to keep out the weeds, while allowing the moisture to get in. What an improvement over the black plastic! Ridgeway Lynch and Les Mitchell had wheelbarrow loads of mulch that they were spreading around the plants.

Jim Webb and his crew of seven planted Nellie Stevens, Foster’s, Helleri, and compacta Holly in the beds by the library entrance. Dogwoods were planted along the front to serve as anchors. Jim chose the redtwig dogwoods because they would provide an accent against the building. Their red twigs and branches will look exquisite against the stone on the library, when complimented by the snow. Along the children’s patio, the crimson pygmy barberry, double file viburnum and butterfly bush will provide color and attract the butterflies throughout the summer.

Jim and Jeanne Webb were responsible for designing the plans. They passed their ideas on to Ridgeway Lynch, who put them on paper. The work crew used the detailed and elaborate drawings as they transformed the once-bare land into a site that is attractive and inviting. Other members of Jim’s crew included Paul and Genny Bryant, Barb Applebaum, Jurgen and Leslie Dierks, Les Mitchell, Bob Henderson, Gary Swinea and David Rhodes.

Later this fall, the plan is to bring in a sugar maple, a red maple and a sourwood that will provide shade and beauty to the setting. These will be “lifted” from a nearby farm during their dormant phase. Other trees that will be used include the Norway spruce, the blue spruce and the river birch. Crepe myrtles have already been planted along the front curb.

Jim wishes to express his thanks to all the folks in the community who have worked so long and hard on the used-book sale to raise money for the purchase of plants and materials.

Many people have given time, tools, needed equipment and good hard work to make the progress such a success. Fairview can be proud of the work done by Jim Webb and his committee.

— Mary Jo Limbird

Fiddling while Fairview (and the world) burns

I have friends on both sides of the zoning issue. In Fairview, as most of you know, it has split the community into two camps, with much of the rancor involved due, in my opinion, to old personal grudges. This is too bad, but if you look at the way many of our leaders act in Washington and Raleigh, it’s sad, not surprising.

The far greater sadness for me is that for both these groups — for all of us — the really bad thing that is happening here is the loss of our greatest gift [we have] to give to our children: a healthy place for them to raise their kids. Just about any morning, when I crest Minehole Gap going from Fairview to Asheville, there is a Los Angeles-type layer of smog enveloping the Asheville basin. That was not there five years ago.

Look at the water table around here. From Fairview going north, we have the EPA toxic-waste site alongside Warren Wilson College, where various technical fixes are being attempted to stop the “plume” of polluted underground water from spreading. What about south of Fairview? The community of Edneyville in Henderson County is completely filled with apple orchards. If Barber Orchard had a problem, then Edneyville, and by extension, its neighbors, has a big problem with toxic chemicals in the groundwater.

All I’m saying is that the “mobile home versus 5-acre estate” discussion misses the big picture. We can’t keep dumping pesticides, fungicides, herbicides into the groundwater for the next couple hundred years without problems. Period. Won’t work. We can’t keep polluting the air with our cars and our electricity-generating plants without problems. Period. Won’t Work.

What’s happening in Fairview is happening all over the world: The American Paradigm of Growth and Progress is ruining our real home, the nature that surrounds us, due to the fact that growth and progress do not contain an end-goal. That is to say, how will we know when our lives have become comfortable enough?

We look to science to save us from the pollution we are foisting on our children, but if you look at the history of this mighty century, you find that almost all of our big problems stem from scientific “advancements” being immediately applied, without much thought given to long-term effects. Native Americans tried to consider the effects of their actions in terms of what effect they would have seven generations down the line. Americans, including the citizens of Fairview, are too busy for that; their focus is on trying to “get ahead” or defend their position once they’ve “got ahead.” Science is following our lead, giving us what we say we want.

I say there is no one at the helm, and arguing over property rights and neighborhood ambiance is fiddling while Rome burns. Our lust for wealth and comfort will, in the end, guarantee that our children have neither.

— Chris Crosson

Forget this animal-shelter hoopla

Will the animal-welfare issue ever die down? The various organizations and their representatives are like groups of religious [sects] attacking a local church. All of the hoopla has been so reminiscent of the King James Version v. the Extended Version, and dunking v. sprinkling.

The people criticizing Friends For Animals have been repeatedly proven to have their facts wrong (misstating salaries, misstating conditions, unhappy employees, etc.). Now they are attacking fund-raisers from the Buncombe County Humane Society — the oldest animal-welfare organization in Buncombe County!

Then, the commissioners, too-vote-hungry and willing to get the attention off their own problems (zoning, for starters), get involved, way beyond the business of the contracts handed out for animal control.

Any businessman with a calculator can understand that the taxes (probably around $5 per person per annum) paid for those services [only] covers the bare basics — pick them up, hold them, kill them. The rest is [dependent on] the charity of the organization.

And will the media ever wake up and realize there are many issues more pressing that need to be addressed?

Come on, animal radicals, if you think you can do it any better, then prove it by doing it within your own organizations. Commissioners, stop using the local shelter management as a scapegoat to hide behind. Media, look around and see that your clientele has a lot more pressing issues on which to place its focus.

— Marsha Womble

What they did to Daddy’s mountain

Yes, times, they are a-changing! Interstate 26, when completed, may well be the most scenic route into the North Carolina mountains — aside from Skyline Drive in from Virginia, of course. However, the havoc it hath wrought on these mountains of Madison shall never be forgotten or erased.

One can never look back. Daddy’s mountain, once hovering over the little campground deep in the recesses of Ellen Cove, has been reduced to dust, just as the trees that used to be atop all the ridges surrounding it have been reduced to ashes. Where spotted ponies once carried the red-skinned savage, and free ran the deer, wild turkey, bear and the “painter,” barren hills lay as silent as the streams now enclosed in metal.

The only “Indian artifacts” to be found years from now will be all the garbage, such as Pepsi cans, Styrofoam cups and plastic bags discarded from the workers’ lunches.

What will our up-and-coming society be like in the future, with no more hills to roam? Will grandfathers of the future still e able to take a little child by the hand and climb the mountains with foxhounds to listen to now-silent foxes? Will the child of the future be able to reach into a stream and catch the tiny minnows that can no longer survive the oily, polluted waters that drain from huge pipes? Will anyone be able to hear the trickle of once-life-filled water, as it winds its way down the valley?

Did you ever stand on the edge of a mountain brook underneath a shelter of hemlock, laurel and wild honeysuckle, and just listen to the water as it gives life to each tiny thing it passes?

Sorrow and tears for the long-lost past cloud my mind and eyes as I view the mass devastation from my windows. And they call this progress.

Well, that is my statement to you about the progress being thrust upon my home and my life. I still have my memories of the wonderful times I had with my dad on this old farm — but I will never recover from all this devastation around me.

— Freda Holt

Muzzle Siegel

The letters-to-the-editor section is a totally inappropriate place for Ashely Siegel’s rebuttal [Nov. 17] to the “While Rome Burns” column. Aren’t you guys all on the same team? Doesn’t she already have her own column to put forth her cutesy, un-offensive opinions on all things movies? Why would you give her another forum to lick the boots of local theater owners (who already let her in for free, anyway), defend local audiences, teens, Coca-Cola (who had no clue they were being insulted in the first place), or to toot her own horn (“I happen to have established terrific relationships …”?)

She can’t even criticize someone without getting all warm and fuzzy. The word is “curmudgeonly” not curmudgeony!

Her kind of badmouthing is a daily occurrence in the “daily” paper’s letters-to-the-editor section, but you people should know better.

Why don’t you have them duke it out in the balcony of the Fine Arts Theater. Make it a fundraiser. You would pack the house.

— Joshua Tager

Boycott Kraft this holiday

As the weather turns colder, I’m looking forward to heading home to spend the holidays with my family. For many this year, the holiday season will be bittersweet. More than 400,000 families a year in the United States lose a loved one to a tobacco-related illness, while 3.5 million people around the world will die of illnesses caused by cigarette-smoking each year.

Phillip Morris fuels the tobacco epidemic by aggressively marketing tobacco to our nation’s youth. In the words of Phillip Morris CEO Geoffrey Bible, in a 1995 letter to shareholders: “Our one all-consuming ambition is to create wealth for the owners of Phillip Morris.”

Every day, 3,000 more American teens begin smoking. Half of these teenagers will later die of tobacco-related illnesses. If current trends continue, tobacco-related illnesses will be the world’s leading cause of death by the 2020s.

This health crisis is preventable. Tobacco corporations must stop protecting their bottom line by tailoring their advertisements to children.

To protect the lives of children, the corporate-responsibility group INFACT is [asking] students, citizens and religious groups across the country to boycott Kraft Foods, Inc. Kraft is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Phillip Morris. During this season of thanks, we are saying, “No thanks to Kraft and Phillip Morris,” and refusing to purchase all Kraft products until Phillip Morris stops marketing tobacco to children.

Phillip Morris has nothing to lose but a fraction of its billions of dollars in profits. The children that they market their tobacco products to have everything to lose: their lives.

— Lyndy Worsham

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