Letters to the Editor for March 16, 2017


Collectors seeking space for toy museum

I and my wife, Sandy, want to add to the tourism industry in the town of Franklin and Macon County.  I have been collecting toys for about 60 years and Sandy has for 35 years. Since our toy collection is not visible to the public, we want to start a toy museum in Franklin.  We desire to have our collection and other collections to be enjoyed by everyone (children and children at heart).  This will be the second toy museum in North Carolina.  The first toy museum is located at Spencer.

Along with our collection of 1,500 toys, we also have toy enthusiasts donating their findings and collections toward our endeavor.  For example:  Donations of 125 dolls and accessories from South Carolina collector; European trains from the Netherlands; and from local collectors. We would like to provide an antique toy store where interesting donors may loan, donate and/or put toys on consignment.  Also, we will sell old-type-toys. (Noted, we will not compete with local shops). Within the museum, there will be a children’s play area so they can learn about the toys of yesteryear.

We are searching for a building with about 2000-2500 sq. ft. of floor space to house this large collection. We need help to achieve this goal in acquiring another museum for our town. Therefore, we need an individual(s) or an organization to donate a building downtown Franklin large enough to house the collections and sales.  We will be under Macon County Historical Museum 501(c)3 tax code.  The historical museum is working with us on the great endeavor.  Please contact me through the Macon County Historical Museum at (828)524-9758.

Thank you for my 3-cents worth with helping to provide a greater place for tourism.


Jim and Sandy Geary — Franklin, N.C.


Subject of recent letter offers credentials

Dear Peter,  I am truly honored that you took time to read my letter to the editor to The Macon County News (Volume 34, Number 39).  I am 74 years old, a native of NJ, proud Navy veteran, and now a proud resident of Otto, N.C.  And yes, I can spell Otto backwards.

I guess you caught me.  Technically I have “worked for the paper” as a free-lancer since 2006, writing articles for The Macon County News about white water rafting, hiking, zip-lining, certifying your property as a Backyard Habitat for the National Wildlife Federation, etc.  I’ve also written for the Hollywood (Fla.) Sun-Tattler, Fort Lauderdale News and Sentinel, Miami Herald, Asheville Citizen-Times, Victory Lane Magazine, VISTA Magazine, and a host of other publications.  It’s what I’ve been doing since 1970.  You see, my undergraduate degree is in journalism and I hold a masters in public administration; not that it makes me any better than anyone else in this great country of ours.  By the way, this country was great and still is by the way, long before Donald Trump was even a blip on the radar.

I have covered politics as a reporter, have been Director of Communications and Governmental Affairs for two major Chambers of Commerce, was Executive Director of the Broward County League of Cities (an organization representing the then 28 cities in Broward County, Florida, before the county commission, the Florida Legislature, and the U.S. Congress) and have run for County Commission in Broward County (1992) as a Republican I might add.  I lost to a Democrat as did my acquaintance Jeb Bush the first time he ran for governor of Florida.

Until last week, I was still registered as a Republican, although I consider myself an independent.   I would have remained so except I have a hard time identifying with a party headed by one of the most self-serving, egotistical, insecure, and I truly believe mentally unbalanced presidents in history.  Perhaps we were watching a different primary when Trump began denigrating Mexicans, women, his opposing candidates, judges, the intelligence community, the former president, and the list goes on.  Perhaps you agree that President Obama had his lines tapped at Trump Tower.  Perhaps you believe his comments about women during a conversation with TV personality Billy Bush were just “guy talk.”

Well Peter, if you do, then I feel sorry for you and the minority – and yes, you are in the minority – of blind Trump followers who for some unknown reason continue to support this sad excuse for a “leader” this country has ever seen. As for the demise of the Democratic Party, Trump has galvanized them like never before and come the mid-term elections in 2018, you may be in for a surprise.

Again, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to, as the late Howard Cosell used to say, “Tell it like it is!”


Kurt J. Volker — Otto, N.C.

Thank the EPA for WNC’s economy

I was born in a steel town in 1948.  When I was two, we moved to a textile town. I remember my mother telling me that in the steel town, she checked the wind direction before she washed clothes since if the wind was blowing toward our house, the clothes would just get dirty when she hung them out to dry.  Growing up in a textile mill town I remember the creeks running the color of whatever dye was used that day.

The air was unhealthy to breathe in the steel town, and the water was unsafe to contact in the textile town.  There were no fish, or pretty much anything else, living in those creeks.  A pond downstream from those mills was later declared unsafe for fishing or swimming because of high concentrations of toxic metals.

I lived on the Hudson River for a few years.  Indiscriminant dumping of waste to that river had eliminated several profitable fisheries and killed those jobs.  PCB releases from a General Electric plant subsequently shut down a profitable Striped Bass fishery.  Acid rain did the same thing to recreational fisheries in upstate NY lakes.

The creation of the Environmental Protection Agency under a Republican president and subsequent authorization of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts eliminated the worst of those abuses.

Adapting to these and subsequent regulations added costs to these industries and municipalities.  What seems to be lost in the conversations are the jobs that were created to develop technologies to prevent the pollution, build the equipment to meet the requirements and monitor the results. Those are real jobs that contribute to the economy.

What is also lost in the current conversation is the improved human health associated with the reduction in air and water pollution.  This includes both the reduction in premature deaths and health care costs to treat the diseases caused by bad air and water.

Clean air and water have its own associated industries.  What would rural Western North Carolina be without tourism, outdoor recreation and clean environment related retirement?  A recent analysis by WCU showed that tourism alone generated $154 million in spending and produced $27 million in worker income in 2015.

Thank the EPA for our economy while we still have it.


John Gladden — Franklin, N.C.

What to know before you go

In this life as well in all other times of life too many people do not know what they should know.

“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5

Most times seeing is believing, “… and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.” Exodus 18:15

“Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, and there is none else.” Deuteronomy 4:39

“And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest, for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.” Ruth 3:11

“And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.” I Samuel 17:47

Some things are really important to know.

“Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; and know thou it for thy good.” Job 5:27.

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children,  how much more shall your father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Matthew 7:11


Floyd Cruse — Franklin, N.C.

Grateful for help at Social Security office

Well, you know, I usually write my letters raising heck about somebody or something. But this letter is about the great help I just received from the kind people at Social Security office. A special thank you to the young lady who helped me and my wife with a banking problem. You folks at our local Social Security are a class act, keep it up. Glad to be home. “I’m back.”


Wm. Trapani — Franklin, N.C.

Does God seem silent?

The never ending vastness of the universe and being in awe of the enormity and wonder of all that is to be taken in, the mind cannot fathom the depth of how and why this is, and why we are part of this.

Those of us that believe God spoke this universe into existence, do not claim to totally understand this, but believe and worship the One who created it. Many believe in nature’s self-creation or out of nothing began all the complexity of what we see, just came by accident.  Science examines and searches out the cause of how this came to be, but the difficulty is not so much in the how, but coming up with the why.

Some believe you’re connecting with god through trees, rocks, and all that is within the universe, or simply put, “the universe is god.” This is how living in our secular age views much of this. Christianity and science actually go hand in hand but in different directions. Christianity is spiritual, which speaks to the deepest inner part of humanity. Science examines everything that has always existed, and discovers laws that have been in place since the beginning of time.

Whether you believe God created or not there’s a sense and awe feeling that draws us all into the eternal question of how all this came to be and why am I part of this?  For the believer, he is in awe of what is created and worships the God that created it. The human eye sees what is viewed externally, but the eye never sees itself. Many of us see God clearly in what He has made, but never see or internalize this within ourselves. It’s as though we are blinded from ourselves and only see what’s outside of us. The silence and wonder of a beautiful vista, can be speechless and take one’s breath in awe. The birth of a newborn brings wonder, joy, and amazement. Within all this God is not silent, He speaks both in what we are seeing and speaks to the heart of wanting to be known more deeply within our very soul.  A renewed set of eyes can see God in everything that’s outside of us, and brings depth of the awe and wonder of His place within us.

Viewing a beautiful vista, or birth of a child, there’s something that begs to be known and draws us to be part of the wonder and amazement that stirs the heart for more. But more of what? If God is silent and only nature calls us to such things; but for what purpose? The depths of what it is to be human begs for meaning and purpose. Finding, knowing and listening to God, never stops, He is never silent, it’s within us that senses there is something more to be known and known more deeply. This is the wonder and awe that fulfills and ever ends.

Seek the wonder,


Deni Shepard — Franklin, N.C.

Democrats are not socialists

In the “Quaestio,” the question and answer section, of St. Aquinas’s “Summa Contra Gentiles,” he asks and answers why faith is necessary given the sufficiency of natural reason for knowing the existence of God. In short, he says that most people are either too “stupid, busy, or lazy” to dedicate themselves to the arduous and protracted task of the learning by natural reason alone.

In terms of theological study, I believe this certainly was the case in St. Thomas’s time. Literacy was low, life was laborious, and laziness was the exclusive luxury of the elite. Today, in terms of knowledge, things are different. We simply cannot let most people off the hook so easily. Information is too abundant. Education is too accessible. Time and space too compressed. So I scratch my head at some of the utter nonsense that is written in the “Letters to the Editor” section of this paper, especially a fair number of those written by Mr. Wilson.

Having a coherent conservative ideology, while not being in the top five percent of income earners, is possible; kings, after all, need jesters. But such an ideology is difficult to defend among the common folk. So, instead of making that argument, some people just tell lies. They demonize their opposition. They mischaracterize and distract. They do nothing but dissemble.

Last week there was a letter that characterized the Democratic Party as socialist. I almost cracked a rib laughing when I read the letter. I’m glad I didn’t because then I’d have to go get health insurance and pay some capitalist insurance company for care, as mandated by the Democratic Party. What a strange thing for the “socialists” to do!

Not even close. They would be a center-right party in all of the European democracies. The most “radical” politician in America, Bernie Sanders, is a social democrat, which means he is a pro-capitalist. He would be considered a moderate in the U.K, France, Germany, and Spain. Virtually all of the Democrats would be laughed out the door of the European, non-socialist left-wing parties.

As for socialists themselves in America, they despise the Democrats. Listen to the “socialist light” Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein or the Socialist Party USA’s nominee Mimi Soltysik talk about them. Read any socialist publication and you will see there is no love for the Democrats among socialists.

In some socialist circles, even the Republicans take less flack than the Democrats. This is not because their policies or ideology is any better than the Democrats; no, not at all. It is because the Republicans are openly and proudly the lap dogs of the capitalists. They gladly do what they are told. They protect the power and privilege of capitalist class without the slightest compunction. The Democrats, however, illegitimately represent the left. They speak the “I feel your pain” language of a party that should actually defend the interests of the working class, while their economic agenda serves the capitalist class only marginally less than the Republicans.

There are socialists in America, not enough to make a difference. They do not affiliate themselves in any capacity with the Democratic Party. It is a gross mischaracterization to depict them in that way.


Marshall Solomon — Franklin, N.C.

The Macon County News letters page is a public forum open to a wide variety of  opinions. Letters are neither accepted nor rejected on the basis of the opinions expressed. Writers are asked to refrain from personal attacks against individuals or businesses. Letters are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of the publisher, editor or staff of The Macon County News. Email letters to info@themaconcountynews.com.

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