Letters for November 21, 2019

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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. 

A Quiet Revolution: Is there an EV in your future?

Most homeowners and professional workers are used to and comfortable with using compact cordless tools.  From drills to saws, to lawn mowers, leaf blowers and even chainsaws, folks are moving to battery operated tools to get work done. They offer quiet operation, no fumes, and portability, without the mess and danger of fuels. It was all made possible by the development of Lithium batteries which are powerful, lightweight and efficient. When I hold a lithium battery, I am just amazed that so much power can be stored in such a lightweight battery. And they can be charged over and over again with little loss of power.  The move to battery operated vehicles or EVs has been slower to catch on even though we are used to many other products using batteries from our cell phones to computers and many tools as I mentioned.  The first successful EV was developed in 1891!  

I recently bought a used 2018 Nissan Leaf.  I had a very serviceable Prius C that got 50-60 mpg, but I wasn’t satisfied that it still had to be filled up with gas.  So now I’ve entered the world of dedicated EVs or electric only vehicles.  Hybrids save on gas because they can store energy in a battery lost when decelerating or braking.  They are becoming quite popular.  Having a full-time EV is quite another beast and I’m sure will take some getting used to.  Granted, they can have a more limited range, though newer models can get you pretty far on a charge.  I settled for an in-between model with a range of about 150 miles.   This means it has a smaller battery and I assume would be cheaper to replace and the cost of the vehicle was considerably less as well.  When you pull into a gas station to get your coffee or snack, you realize that you are missing out on what everyone else is doing: pumping gas into their tanks.  

An EV doesn’t have a tank, although the battery might be considered one. And instead of filling up with hydrocarbons, you are filling up with electrons.  But there is much more one has to get used to with an EV.  I have to stop worrying about oil changes, tuneups, air filters, alternators, starters, and mufflers to rust out, just to name a few.  EVs are quiet and this may take some getting used to. They actually produce an audible noise to warm pedestrians.  While you can’t rev up the motor, they may be quicker off the starting line that their gas counterparts, as electric motors have lots of torque.  And you can’t even start the thing; it is just ready to go.  The quietness is a little eerie.  EVs don’t have a transmission with gears, so there is no great noise as when you go into overdrive in a gas-powered car.

EVs have much fewer moving parts so there is much less to go wrong and less maintenance. There is a yearly battery check to keep the car under warranty.  Besides that, there will still be tire rotations, wiper blades, and cabin air filter replacement.  But certainly, won’t I be able to have the brake pads or shoes replaced?  Not likely, because when you brake in an EV, you are mostly recharging the battery, unless you have to make a quick stop.  So it will take some getting used to not worrying about my car, something I’ve always been good about.  The extra money in my pocket though should help me feel better.  

Planning a trip gets a little more complicated, but since there are few EVs on the road, I haven’t had any trouble finding a charging station that wasn’t available.  Most stations charge, but there are some that are free.  Filling your car up with electrons is not the same as filling it with gas. It takes time and depending on the charger system can take quite a while. Future systems may actually fill up a battery bank quicker than filling up your gas tank.  Many grocery stores now have charging stations, so after I do my shopping I might sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and chat with a neighbor I haven’t met before.   Some EV models accommodate DC or direct current charging.  These are fast chargers and may only take 30 minutes or so to fill-up.  Level 2 chargers are 220-240 volts AC and can take considerably longer.  If you are charging at home you may use a level one charger that uses household 120 AC current.  This is the slowest rate of charge, but if plugged in at night while you sleep, this may be all that you need.  Or you can install a 220 volt charger for a quicker charge.  For most of our driving, EVs may be the answer, even used ones with more limited range.  The average American drives only 29 miles per day according to AAA.  This is well within the range of most EVs, new or used.  

Driving an EV is a completely different experience as it feels so much smoother and quieter.  My model has an E-pedal mode so that when you let up on the accelerator, the car slows down quickly; so you can almost drive without the brake pedal. There is no exhaust coming out the tailpipe; well, there is no tailpipe!  It is referred to as a zero emissions vehicle but don’t get misled.  If it is plugged into an outlet supplied by your local utility, there are emissions from whatever is being burned to produce electricity. EVs are cheaper to run than their inefficient gas cousins which only use about 20 percent of the energy in a gallon of gas to move the car forward, the rest is heat that your radiator must get rid of.  The price of electricity may be more stable than gas and if you charge during non-peak hours, in some parts of the country, the cost can be even less.  EVs can also be charged with solar, wind and hydro that is fed into the grid, allowing them to use alternative energy. 

Getting used to having an EV does mean planning your trip, however, the on-board navigation system can get you to the nearest charging station should you need a fill-up.  While there is a lot to get used to in owning an all-electric vehicle, I think I will enjoy my experience of driving an EV even more, knowing that it may be helping the environment. I just hope it doesn’t catch on so I’ll have to wait my turn at the charging station. 

If you think there might be an EV in your future, take a test drive, but be prepared for an all new experience.  While new EVs can be pricey, used ones are quite affordable and older models with more limited range, may be just what you need to get around town. EVs may be just one more way that we can lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and begin a cleaner, brighter new future.  

Paul Chew – Otto, N.C.

Facts quoted on Second Amendment, not opinion

In a recent letter to the editor, I attempted to simply and succinctly lay out how and why the Second Amendment came about.  I did not attempt assert an opinion on how the Second Amendment should be interpreted today and any attempt to read into my letter a biased explanation of history is misguided.

In my letter, I cited a couple of well respected, published historians who wrote on this matter. These historians simply laid out the players involved in the writing of the Second Amendment and the chronologies of those efforts. The motivations assigned to the writers of the Second Amendment by these cited historians, and other historians not cited, are based on the researched and well-documented actions, writings, and statements of the Founding Fathers.

These historical evidences are generally accepted by most scholars as accurate and objective and thus this information can be referred to as facts.

Also, in this same letter, I referred to the National Guard as modern state militias. I based that on information taken directly from the National Guard web site at https://www.nationalguard.mil/About-the-Guard/Army-National-Guard/About-Us/State-Mission/

I will quote from that page,

“The Army National Guard exists in all 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia. The state, territory or district leadership are the Commanders in Chief for each Guard. Their Adjutants General are answerable to them for the training and readiness of the units.

At the state level, the governors reserve the ability, under the Constitution of the United States, to call up members of the National Guard in time of domestic emergencies or need.”

The National Guard is certainly under the aegis of the Federal Government. But the right for States to autonomously deploy their local State National Guard units certainly allows these units to be referred to functionally as state militias.

 John Barry – Franklin, N.C.

With drug addiction comes unhappiness, brokenness

My name is James “Barry” Henson. I am and have been a resident of Macon County for around 10 years.

I am now 51 years old and I want to share a little bit of my life with everyone. For most of my adult life I have dealt with drug and alcohol addiction. I did not plan my life with an agenda of unhappiness and broken family life that comes with drug addiction. Over the years, I have had my share of each. Only to return to the culprit of drugs/alcohol, trying to find what I felt was missing or absent in my life. Maybe even happiness. From my bad decisions I have ended up in jail so many times I fail to be able to count. Only now I am facing a four-year prison term.

Thanks to God’s grace, and my family I feel that this is what I need. The sentence I have received on Oct. 28, 2019, is for 30-48 months for possession of meth and habitual felon. The judge was kind enough to give me a rehabilitation program to go to while I am incarcerated. I plan on using every option available while I am here to better my life. I feel I have a very good chance of becoming a good, productive man of this county. I hope and pray that the people of Macon County will accept my sincere apology for my past actions. I am serving time for my wrong doings and I want so bad to come home and given a chance to prove my sincerity of what I am saying.

I am thankful to still be in Macon  and hope everyone will give me a chance to show that drug addicts are people that made bad choices but I want to do what is right and better my life and my family’s. 

I thank my true friends for all their help and I thank my mother for never giving up on me and for her forgiveness.  

James Barry Henson – Franklin, N.C.

Can’t believe what we’re hearing from Trump

I cannot believe what I hear from our president of these United States, to call a man that has been a member of Federalist Party since 1983. Donal Trump says he’s never a Trump Republican, he’s a man that stands for American values. Trump calls him “scum.” For a president he has no dignity whatsoever. He has no respect for his obligations for his high title, puts our country pretty low on the Totem Pole. 

No. 2. Astronaut Kelly that spent time on the moon, going to run for Republican Senate, which I hope he wins, was on TV telling when they first started going up in space how well and clear it was to look down and see the earth. Now he says they don’t see the earth like they used to as there is a fog around the earth now. That should tell us something. But our Donald Turmp thinks it’s great that the ice is melting in the Arctic. There has got to be oil under there which lines his pockets with money. Look at California, has has such dry seasons the trees have gotten so dry and just dead. Trump says he’s going to cut federal aid in their time of need. The earth is getting hotter every year.

No. 3. He does not believe in gun control. The Second Amendment is over 200 years old. All they carried was a musket with powder, one shot at a time. You don’t use a military assault rifle in your home for protection. Where are these young boys, just school kids, getting guns wanting to kill everyone. Should not be a question where all this hatred is coming from. Trump is not for the people. He thinks he is so far above the people he took an oath to serve. If Trump remakes all of us in his image, no matter who takes the White House in 2020, he will have won. We cannot get down in the mud with him and wallow in the anger, hatred and vengeance. This is the most important election we have ever had, give it a lot of thought and weigh it out.

Kathy Whitley – Franklin, N.C.

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