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Repairing election process, a debate worth watching

I don’t blame Thom Tillis for refusing to attend one of the three televised GOP Senate primary debates. The only mystery is why he (or any candidate) is bothering with any of them.Many of us have idyllic notions of yesteryear’s Lincoln-Douglas debates. Some of us even have remembrances of the Kennedy-Nixon debates when, discounting Nixon’s sweaty TV appearance, substance mattered and we got a chance to learn their positions on the issues. We conceptually support t...

22 hours ago | | | Email

‘Southern Justice’ offers one aspect of county reality

Let’s be honest; when it was announced several months ago that a film crew representing the National Geographic Channel was in Ashe County filming the daily interactions between the public and the sheriff’s department, did you really think the scenes recorded would be a rosy portrayal of traditional life here? Of course not.Did you imagine the scenes of law enforcement officers performing their daily, and occasionally dangerous, duties in keeping the citizenry safe woul...

3 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Choice program deserves defense

Liberal activists may fume, and left-wing editorialists may grind their teeth, but legislative leaders are going to defend their 2013 opportunity scholarship bill against lawsuits by the teacher union and other special interests.Senate leader Phil Berger, House Speaker Thom Tillis, House Speaker Pro Tem Skip Stam (the main architect of the program), and other leaders won’t be defending school choice because they oppose public education. They won’t be defending school ch...

4 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Saying thanks is not enough

We say, “Thanks for your service,” when we met veterans of the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq veterans.They can be forgiven if they think “Thanks for your service” is an incomplete thank you, an insincere and hollow expression, showing a lack of understanding and real appreciation of what these men and women had been through.So how can we appreciate what they have done, if we have no idea about their real experiences?There is help. In 12 b...

5 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

You Decide: Where is the growth?

Economists love numbers – some might call it an occupational hazard. Numbers are our window into the workings of the economy. Without numbers, we’d have a difficult time understanding how the economy is changing, both in positive and negative ways.But all economic numbers aren’t created equally. For example, many of the economic statistics released monthly – such as the job numbers – are based on statistical samples. This means they are not 100 percent...

7 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Bringing YMCA here will be an exciting challenge

A significant, and very exciting, challenge awaits Ashe County over the next several months: an attempt to bring a YMCA into Jefferson Station in downtown West Jefferson.The momentum to have Jefferson Station be the location of a new Y has been building for several months after the building’s owners indicated a willingness to offer up the facility if the well-known Christian organization would consider opening here.The opportunity offered by the building’s ow...

10 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

FCC should let markets work

In February, Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler declared that the N.C. General Assembly had no authority to determine telecommunications policy in North Carolina.Well, okay, Wheeler didn’t single North Carolina out for particular scorn. But he did say that in the coming months, the FCC might decide to challenge state laws, like the one the North Carolina legislature enacted in 2011, that govern the ability of cities and counties to create their own broadband networks...

10 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

From ash pond, to river, to your bloodstream

When you have finished drinking this bottle of water, fill it with our tap water for liquid refreshment that tastes as good and is just as pure as what was in the bottle.That was the message from the City of Wilmington’s proud and professional public utilities department at an event celebrating one of its enlightened water quality improvement projects a few years ago. Their message still hits home with me. Every time I remember it, I am grateful for the blessing of safe and c...

11 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Upset by high school sports column

Dear editor,Upon reading the article, “Travel teams impacting school sports” I was, and still am, very upset with how Mr. Nathan Ham degraded the youth that choose not to play a sport at ACHS.He spoke of interviewing “area coaches,” but he failed to interview a member of a traveling team to get both sides of the story.Perhaps if one, or many of these athletes had been interviewed, he would understand their choice. The youth of the count...

12 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Inconvenience is often the price of progress

There will almost certainly be cross words and a wringing of hands from those folks in the Fleetwood Community over the next three months as the bridge over the Old Field Creek is replaced on Railroad Grade Road.It is understandable. Only a select few, those with heavenly-inspired patience, can maintain their good humor and sunny outlook through life’s minor and major inconveniences.The rest of us mumble “unspeakables” under our breath and slowly count ...

13 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

For wont of the public trust

The Duke Energy coal ash saga reminds us of the old poem, “For Wont of a Nail.” No doubt you remember that because of a missing horseshoe nail a horse, a rider, a message, a battle, a war and a kingdom were lost.In our modern-day proverb we would suggest beginning by saying that for wont of doing the right thing the public trust was lost.Winston Churchill once said Americans could always be counted on to do the right thing…after they had tried everythin...

14 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

McCrory is just plain wrong about jobs picture

Gov. Pat McCrory has been at it again lately — incorrectly claiming that his decision to dramatically cut unemployment benefits is responsible for turning around the state’s job market. During a visit to Morganton last week, the Governor stated:“There’s nothing worse than if you have a job opening and someone decides to take a government check instead. So we had to bring the two together,” he said. “We made a decision [to cut unemployment benefit...

15 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Be proud of the way you talk

You sure do talk funny.Has anybody ever told you that?If you grew up in North Carolina and moved somewhere else for a while, you surely got that kind of question from folks who just had to laugh when they heard you talk.Or if you grew up somewhere else and moved here, folks may have told you that they know you are not from around here. They may have even said, “You talk like a Yankee.”Is there something special about the way we talk here...

17 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Start up the rural economy

During most of its history, North Carolina was a state of widely dispersed residents. There were no truly big cities, many small towns, and fewer sparsely populated counties than, say, Virginia or Georgia had. Particularly along the state’s rivers and streams, you’d find a thriving mill town or farming village every few miles.That’s not what North Carolina looks like anymore.

18 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Liquor by the drink vote can be useful tool

Perhaps it’s an idea whose time has arrived.The idea is holding a referendum on allowing liquor by the drink in the Town of Jefferson.And frankly, the timing couldn’t be better.As we’ve written over the last several weeks, the people of Ashe County deserve the development of a strategic vision for tackling the economic challenges we’re facing.We’ve lost hundreds of manufacturing jobs over the last five years and the los...

20 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

The growing fringe inside the GOP

If you want to understand the troubling state of the current political debate in North Carolina, the recent Ashe County Republican Party Convention is a good place to start.The Jefferson Post reports that Sen. Dan Soucek gave the keynote address at the weekend event and defended the regressive actions of the 2013 General Assembly, at one point telling the crowd that “liberals across the country, especially in the Northeast,” were furious about the decisions state lawmak...

22 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Local GOP’s priorities are misplaced

Dear editor,I found myself shaking my head in disbelief a number of times as I read the Post’s coverage of the recent Ashe County GOP convention. Rather than actually focusing on Ashe County, the party and its leadership seem to be concerned with everything but the interests of the local populace.State Senator Dan Soucek is worried about what liberals in the northeast of the country think about his party turning its back on the majority of North Carolinians through...

23 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

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