Letters for July 25, 2019


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 maconcountynews@ gmail.com.

Thanks to all who supported Heritage Festival

The Streets of Franklin Heritage Association would like to thank all of our vendors and musicians who came out to celebrate our 4th Annual Hometown Heritage Festival.  A special thank you goes to the Franklin Police Department, Sheriff Robert Holland’s  staff, Chief Matthew Breedlove and the Franklin Fire Department for the water tower for the kids and adults alike.  

We would like to thank Donald Holland who is willing to help with his trailer for our center stage music and Jim Holbrook for setting it up. Thank you to Franklin Tourism Development Committee and the Town of Franklin Tourism Development Authority for their support and to Franklin Chamber of Commerce.  We would also like to thank The Franklin Press and The Macon County News for their support in helping make this happen.  

A big thank you goes to all of The Streets of Franklin Heritage Association Merchant members.  

A special thank you goes to The Streets board members, Susanne Harouff – Books Unlimited and Unlimited Books For Kids; Martha Holbrook & Brenda Wooten -Blackberry Market/Mossy Rock; Roland Mock – Rockin Rollie Pollies; Betsey Gooder – The Macon County News; and Mayor Bob Scott.  

Thank you to Allen Pruitt at The Franklin Press for his great selection in music and a great job as our Event Emcee; to Rob Reale at the Kitchen Sink; Matt Taylor -The Dusty Pallet; Jim Akins – Scottish Heritage Museum; and Rob and Cory at Outdoor 76 for lending a hand in whatever was needed to be done.  

We thank our Sanitation committee, Tommy and Jaddie, for keeping the streets picked up during the event.  

Most of all we would like to thank our visitors who came from far and wide for this event and we could not have made this all happen without our local families and friends in Franklin/Macon County and surrounding areas.  

Again, we thank everyone for celebrating Our Hometown Heritage.

 Gwen Taylor, President

The Streets of Franklin Heritage Association

Understaffed hospitals can’t deal with emergencies

There’s a big article in The Franklin Press today about the new hospital to be built here. We have been sold a bill of goods about this entire issue. A hospital building does not provide medical care! Angel Medical has an insufficient number of doctors on staff nights and weekends to take care of emergencies. A patient having appendicitis was told this very thing: No surgeon available on the weekend! He had to be shipped by ambulance to Asheville. He had to wait for the ambulance to come from Asheville to transport him! That took 11 hours. Time he got to Mission, he was told he’d have to “wait his turn.” Nearly another 11 hours passed, appendix ruptured (of course) before he had surgery. The doctors were very apologetic but admitted they are understaffed. We have a serious problem in Macon County. The administrators are in charge of our health care, and they don’t give a rip if you get medical care or not. It’s all about the bottom line.

I have heard of other instances just like this in the past month. I pray if I have an emergency I can go to Harris or to Clayton and then to Gainesville.

 Pat Thomas – Franklin, N.C.

Taking care of others is a guiding principle

Here we are in 2019 arguing about worthiness to be an American citizen. Down through time some have wanted race, gender, wealth, property, education, religion, intelligence and other factors to determine/limit citizenship.

Note that two of these factors (race and gender) are beyond each individual’s control. My DNA was determined by my mother and father. I had nothing to do with my racial makeup or my gender. Neither did anyone else who has ever been born. 

In my youth I often heard this – “He can’t help it that he is black.” Oddly no one ever reminded me that I could not help it that I was white. That truth was omitted or ignored as a way to belittle someone who was of African descent.

A guiding principle of Peter Pan, The Golden Rule and Jesus Christ is to take care of someone else. Cain asked God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

America is in deep trouble if we ignore that philosophical/religious truism. Do you worship a god that/who allows you to hate someone or feel superior to them?

Dave Waldrop – Webster, N.C.

Business does customer service right

Too often, when it comes to retail, all we read is bad news, reviews and ratings.  Customer service, or lack thereof, can be a real source of frustration.  I would like to take a moment to commend a local business that’s doing things right.  Jonathan Drake, at the Factory, knows how to treat people. Don’t get me wrong, in a business that loud and fast paced there are bound to be challenges, but he handles them with warmth, kindness and great aplomb.  He has a “the customer is our priority” attitude!  I would like to thank him for making family fun – FUN.  Good job!  Good attitude!  Good business acumen!  

Claudie Burchfield – Franklin, N.C.

Information implies intelligence

Do any of you own a car or truck? Do you believe it is possible that your vehicle designed and manufactured itself over a very long period of time? Probably not. But a living, single-celled organism that can only be seen under a microscope is far more complex than your car. If something goes wrong with your car, you have to take it to the shop for repairs. But these tiny uni-cellular creatures repair and replace themselves. Wouldn’t it be nice if your car could do that? 

The DNA inside every living cell can store and apply mind-boggling amounts of data, used to repair, replicate and run the cell. Bioengineers and geneticists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, George Church and Sri Kosuri, showed that one gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data. That’s 14,000, fifty-gigabyte Blu-ray discs… in a droplet of DNA that would fit on the tip of your pinky. To store the same kind of data on hard drives — the densest storage medium in use today — you’d need 233 three TB drives, weighing a total of 332 pounds. If my math is right, that means the storage capacity per unit mass of DNA is 150,728 times greater than that of our most advanced hard drives!  Do you really think this kind of highly advanced technology—so advanced that scientists cannot begin to duplicate it, just developed itself over millions of years without an Intelligent Designer? 

As I understand it, the secularist is forced to believe that the incredible complexity of the DNA code in the first organism had to come about by the random recombination of organic molecules. Even though the odds of getting a viable DNA sequence are infinitesimally small, he would claim that, given “enough” universes, there would eventually be one that was lucky enough to produce life. In other words, infinity divided by infinity equals some kind of chance for life to spontaneously develop in some universe. If that is not an example of blind faith, I don’t know what is. 

For me, it is much easier to believe in the Master Designer, revealed in the Bible as the Lord Jesus Christ.  “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. (Hebrews 1:1-3) “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”(Colossians 1:15-17)

 Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.

Gypsy for president

I was surprised, to say the least,  when my cat Gypsy announced she was running for president in 2020.  I almost laughed, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.  How can a cat run for president, I asked her?  She replied: Trump proves that anyone, including a cat can run for president. 

First, I need to qualify the statement that Gypsy is my cat.  She considers herself liberated and that she belongs to herself. So I decided to explore this idea with her. I know that she is a staunch environmentalist and animal rights proponent; she includes homo sapiens in this category. 

Do you see yourself as a conservative or liberal?  Gypsy: I am a fundamentalist.  I replied that has rather religious overtones, doesn’t it? She replied she believes in the need for a fundamental change in the way we live on this planet if we are going to survive.  Oh, I said, and how will you fund and run your campaign?  She replied that she won’t accept contributions from any supporters, large or small.  How will you get word out about your campaign?  She replied, by word of mouth.  I have to agree that this is perhaps the best way when it comes to getting folks to take on new ideas.  I’m assuming she will use the internet to launch her, ah, catpaign.  If each person tells three other people to vote for her then pretty soon, everyone will know.  

I asked her if she could share a little about her platform she is running under, and she explained the following (I will list these):  1) Everyone has a right to take a nap every day, anytime they want.  It will make people happier and healthier.  2) People will learn to meditate and learn to relax (meditation conserves energy and will reduce our impact on the climate); 3) No one has to work and everyone should be able to do exactly as they please (work is stressful and can lead to health-related illness which is slowly bankrupting our economy); 4) There won’t be any cars to run over animals; everyone will walk, ride a bike, scooter or just stay at home. This will make people healthier too. 5) Houses will be energy efficient and with solar panels or windmills, built to supply all their energy needs (no more bills).  

I said this sounds like a wonderful way to live, but how will we afford this?  Gypsy replied that the government will just print money like they always do.  Robots can do all the tedious work that people don’t want to do anyway, and besides robots never get tired.  I can agree, and people are always worried about robots taking over jobs, so let ‘em have them.  

So, this made me think and I have to agree.  I am retired, as many older Americans are, and I still am active doing the things I enjoy: gardening, teaching children woodworking, and making spoons.  I usually don’t even consider it “work,” so I can understand where Gypsy is coming from.  I always (almost always anyway) take a nap, stop working when I am tired, and use meditation to relax and fall asleep at night, though I’m usually tired and this is easy to do anyway.   I have to admit that after hearing all this I am in favor of her campaign and vow to vote for her, so I am asking you to also consider voting for her (as a write-in candidate) for president.  Let’s make America a kinder and gentler place!  Real change begins with change that makes a real difference in the way we live our lives, treat others, and treat the only planet that we have!

Paul Chew – Otto, N.C.

Affordable housing not possible on minimum wage 

This letter should become part of every discussion about raising the minimum wage, teacher salaries, and affordable housing.  My guess is however, it will be considered immaterial, a distraction, and beside the point.

When I was 18 (1958), a year out of high school, I supported (with a $60 a week job – $54.20 after taxes); a wife (she didn’t work outside the home), a baby, a rented two-bedroom apartment, a car, tithed to our church, and had money left over. I did pick up a little extra shoveling snow in the winter and mowing lawns in the summer.

In 1958, a new house cost about $13,000, a new car $2,200, gas was 25 cents a gallon, a postage stamp was three cents, tuition to Harvard was $1,000 a year and the average rent in Massachusetts, $100 a month (I paid $15 a week), all affordable on an average yearly salary of $5,000.

Why is that relevant six decades later?  Because, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual Out of Reach report, published on June 18, 2019, which for 30 years has documented the gap between renters’ earnings and rental costs across the country, “there’s not a single state, metropolitan area or county in the U.S. where a full-time worker earning the minimum wage can afford the rent for a modest two-bedroom apartment,” that’s why.

The report goes on to say … “a worker earning the present federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour would need to work nearly 127 hours a week – the equivalent of more than three full-time jobs – to afford a modest two-bedroom rental without spending more than 30% of their salary on housing costs.”

Arkansas, where the fair market rent for a two-bedroom is $742 – is the most affordable state.  Full-time workers there need to make $14.26 an hour to afford a two-bedroom rental, significantly above the state’s minimum wage of $9.25.  Even if the minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour (which is unlikely) you would still be limited to affordable rentals in very few states.

The most expensive state is Hawaii, where the fair market rent on a modest two-bedroom is $1,914 a month.  To afford that a worker must make $36.82 an hour – equivalent to working 3.6 full-time minimum wage jobs.

The most expensive metro area is San Francisco where the rent is an eye-popping $3,700 a month and where you’d need to earn over $60 an hour.

Every candidate for president will offer up a plan; tax credits, federal subsidies, caps, etc., etc., etc.   Basically it’s all just smoke and mirrors, sound bites, pipe dreams and illusions.

We must, at the very least, have open, honest, straightforward discussions about this issue. Considering comparative salaries, costs, and prices, isn’t it just possible, is it not remotely feasible, that the problem isn’t and never has been that salaries are too low but rather that the costs of living are too high?

Affordable housing was previously available to generations of Americans earning minimum wages or just a little more.  Affordable shelter was (and still is) fundamental to a safe, healthy and stable life.   However, for a huge portion of our population living in the 21st Century, it is completely out of reach.   That, my fellow Americans, is a tragedy.

David L. Snell – Franklin, N.C.