May 5, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY CARRINGTON PERTALION / To the Citizens of the Town of Boone and Watauga County: I would like to share my thoughts and clarify some confusion that may have arisen regarding the County’s project to build a parking deck on property that was known as the Hardin/Turner House, located on Rivers Street in Downtown Boone, across from the County’s Administrative Buildings. To start, I have always been very supportive of any efforts that individuals and the Town have put forth through the years to preserve historical properties. The best examples of those efforts were the purchase of the Post Office and the Appalachian Theatre. If anyone were to believe that I or the County does not see value in preserving historical buildings, such beliefs would be based on misunderstandings and misinformation. All of the facts stated below are contained in the public record.
May 2, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY DALTON GEORGE / Dear Editor, Recently, Boone’s Starbucks became the first Starbucks in the state of North Carolina to unionize. An excellent piece of news and one that fits into Appalachia’s long legacy of labor movements, it’s fitting for Boone to lead the way in this effort. While you’d expect support from the working class of our community, you may be surprised. I skimmed some comments on some of the most circulated articles about the news and was a bit disheartened by some of what I saw. Obviously, I could talk about Appalachia’s bloody fights for labor, coal miners, cotton mills, lumbering, and the like, but that’s a history lesson that most should be familiar with but obviously aren’t.
April 28, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY ERIC PLAAG / Dear Commissioner Pertalion, I don’t know you personally—in fact, I don’t think we have ever spoken directly to one another—but you sure did take a cavalier and dishonest approach to talking about me and one particular issue in your recent answers to the Pam’s Picks Questionnaire for the upcoming Democratic primary. One of the questions you were asked was, “Do you support or oppose the County’s decision to demolish the downtown Turner House without holding a public hearing?” This was your answer: “representative present from the Historical Society. There was an open offer to sell the house for $1 and pay to move the house. There was no interest in this option. In 2020, the Board of Commissioners needed to move forward on the parking needs for public access to County Buildings and the Courthouse. Based on the public’s response, the Board made its decision.”
March 21, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY TIM GUPTON / Dear Watauga County Commissioners , The homeowners and taxpayers ask that you take action to add a 24/7 transport ambulance for Blowing Rock and the Blowing Rock Fire District in your FY23 Budget. The County’s current system does not meet the “90/9”national standard of providing coverage to 90% of residents within 9 minutes. The facts are clear. The recent annual report from Watauga Medics clearly documents the deficiency of the system.
March 31, 2022 Letters to the Editor. By Emily Diznoff – Sadly, the U.S. Forest Service just released a 30-year plan that will quadruple logging in Pisgah while reducing protections for its most important recreation and conservation areas.
March 21, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY RIVER HARLAN / Forest while reducing protections for clean water, scenic vistas, and popular trails. And I am incredibly inspired by the 14,000 organizations and individuals who are objecting to the plan.
March 21, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY MARY E. MORETZ / Dear Editor, American Exceptionalism? Yes, I do believe in American Exceptionalism, a relatively new term for me and one fraught with controversy, yet I do believe in it in my own way. As a student of history, I know that ancient tribes, clans, nations and races have believed in this concept, the concept that the Creator likes them best of all humans, and they are therefore given carte blanche to treat others as they wish and rationalize the theft of land and the murder and torture of others.
December 1, 2021 Letters to the Editor. BY CLARK MADDUX / Dear Readers, The second town hall for community members, students, and concerned faculty is scheduled for this Friday, Dec. 3 from 5-6:30 in the New River and Watauga River rooms of the Plemmons Student Union. Your voices are needed and we hope you will attend. A significant new development has occurred since the first town hall. Appalachian State University recently announced the purchase of a new campus in Hickory, NC. Many questions remain to be answered about this purchase.
November 2, 2021 Letters to the Editor. BY ANNE-MARIE YATES / Dear Readers, Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country….. How many thousands began typing class with this phrase without a thought of its meaning? Is now the time to begin a revolution to bring freedom back to America? No, not with guns as our ancestors fought against a tyrannical king, but pens, pencils, phones or email… All the modern methods at our disposal that reach millions and begin a ground-swell much like that seen in the Mama and Papa Bear movements of Loudon and Fairfax Counties in Virginia. Many of which were begun around the kitchen table.
October 28, 2021 Letters to the Editor. BY SUE SWEETING / Dear Readers, After thoughtful consideration and following the encouragement of many Blowing Rock voters, I have agreed to a WRITE-IN candidacy for Mayor of Blowing Rock. My eight years of tenure on the Town Council, including most recently serving as Mayor Pro Tem, has given me the knowledge and experience necessary to be an effective leader.
October 22, 2021 Letters to the Editor. From Hunter’s Heroes Board of Directors / Dear Readers, On behalf of Hunter’s Heroes, Thank you for helping us make a difference. Your support encourages continued commitment to reaching our goals of helping public safety officers, military, and community neighbors in need! Thank you again for your generosity and support! April 28, 2021 changed our community and reminded us once again of the sacrifices these men and women make every single day to protect this community. Hunter’s Heroes had already been planning for the First Annual Fall Back to Fallen Heroes Memorial Run and Celebration to take place on September 11, 2021. We were not prepared to honor two more fallen officers from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Department.
September 16, 2021 Letters to the Editor. From TIM GUPTON / Dear Editor, The North Carolina League of Municipalities shared this alert. A harmful provision damaging the ability of cities and towns to regulate short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, was included in the North Carolina House of Representatives’ proposed state budget, and the provision is now being negotiated as part of a final budget deal. If you are concerned about this latest backdoor attempt to undermine local regulation of short-term rentals, we urge you to take action now by asking your state legislators to keep this provision out of the final budget agreement.
July 26, 2021 Letters to the Editor. From Jim Swinkola / Dear Editor, It was crystal clear to the 50-plus audience members attending A Conversation with Warren Daniel and Dudley Greene on July 23 that these two men had the needs of Avery County in their hearts. Time after time when responding to community-generated questions, our NC Senator and Representative focused on how they would use their votes to improve the well-being of those who live and work in Avery County. Questions ranged from workforce housing, broadband connectivity and drug addiction to road litter, educational programs for the blue collar trades and tree ordinances. The Q&A portion of the evening was the heart of the program and addressed over a dozen topics from several angles. The evening closed with a meet and greet that provided an opportunity for individual dialogues.
July 5, 2021 Letters to the Editor. From RYAN KIRBY / Dear Editor, On Saturday, July 3, my wife and I were driving with our 5-year old boy through King Street on our way to meet friends at Watauga Lake. The day had a sunny, carefree vibe just like any other long holiday weekend in Boone. Tourists and locals alike were milling about King Street as we drove, when we heard what sounded like a gunshot. We figured it had to be a firework and dismissed it. As we passed Mast General Store, another gunshot. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a white Toyota with a hand out the driver’s side window, waving a pistol in the air. Then two sets of blue lights came over the hill further behind us. Instinctively, I pulled over into the first parking spot I saw to let them pass. The white truck stopped in the middle of King Street right behind us, and sirens grew louder. I grabbed our boy and told him to come up front with us, shoving him onto the floorboard between my knees. Kim and I looked behind us as officers took positions and started shouting orders at the driver of the truck, surrounding him from behind with guns drawn. As I looked directly past our kids’ car seat out the back window, I could see the driver of the truck slowly opening his door, and directly beyond that, an officer with this pistol trained on the driver.
June 4, 2021 Letters to the Editor. From CRAIG DUDLEY / Dear Editor, I’m amazed by what Americans support/ignore. America’s ignorant, chaotic and inconsistent politics has no focus beyond maintaining control. Divide and conquer is working: Americans are fighting each other in the streets as the one percent increases their control. You’re fighting the wrong foes. It seems impossible to discuss anything in this crumbling country, without some virtue signaler making it a racial issue. Whatever the problem, it’s said to especially impact Black people. Any “debate” attempt brings cries of ‘racism’. The only Whites allowed focus on ‘racism’. America’s biased politics centers on “victims”. Our nation is fixated on race, obsessed with Black interests, complaints, and their experience. If it wasn’t for slavery and Jim Crow, little American history would be discussed at all. The racism card, played all too often, is mostly nonsense, ignoring the culture clash involved. Before you jump, I was, in part, raised by a black man from Virginia.
April 21, 2021 Letters to the Editor. By Holden CRINTER / Dear Editor, With Earth Day coming on April 22nd, we have reduced our carbon footprint by curtailing travel and our thermostat. We recycle. But we can do so much more by cutting our consumption of animal meat and milk products. Yes, that. A recent article in The Guardian argues that animal agriculture is a major driver of climate change, as well as air and water pollution, depletion of soil and water resources, and destruction of wildlife habitats. Oxford University’s prestigious Food Climate Research Network reports that solving the global warming catastrophe requires massive shift to plant-based eating. The Netflix feature Seaspiracy documents the devastating environmental impacts of the fishing industry.
April 12, 2021 Letters to the Editor. From Diane Cornett Deal / Dear Watauga County, I have had the honor and privilege of serving the people of North Carolina and the citizens of Watauga County first as an Assistant Clerk for 30 years and then as Clerk of Superior Court for the past 10 years. These 40 plus years have flown by and there are no words to say how much I have enjoyed working with each of you through these many years. I now find myself at a place in my life where I need to begin a new chapter; therefore, I am announcing that I will be retiring at the end of May 2021. As I near this retirement date, I want to express my appreciation to all the people (way too many to name) who have been so supportive of me through the years.
March 29, 2021 Letters to the Editor. From Charlie Wallin – Chair-Watauga / Dear Readers, Congressional District 5 Democrats condemn all forms of violence, discrimination, racism, harassment, and xenophobia. We are saddened by the violence against the Asian American community in Atlanta and around the country. Misinformation about COVID-19 has spread and unfortunately has caused a vital segment of the American population to become targets of hate. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found that anti-Asian American hate crimes reported to police rose 149% in just the last year. * Experts tell us that, for various reasons, these crimes often go under-reported. The violence in Atlanta, brings awareness to the escalating violence against Asian Americans. We, the Democrats of Congressional District 5, stand with our Asian American brothers, sisters, friends, family and others in denouncing such violence against any member of our society. This violence is escalating across this Country. We call for unity and peace. The Asian American community, like all others, wants to live in a Country where they can work, worship, send their children to school and form friendships. With the growing threat of violence, this is becoming difficult if not impossible.
March 15, 2021 Letters to the Editor. By DIANE TILSON / Dear Readers, It’s about time. For generations now, Congress has refused, for the most part, to recognize and act on legislation that actually helps millions of hard working Americans trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Instead, tax cuts and other legislation of all stripes have made life even more satisfying for those who already have everything they need or want and then some. The rest of us got stiffed. So we had pretty much given up on the people we elected to represent us, deciding that Congress is woefully broken and out of touch with the daily challenges we face. To hide what they were really doing, Congress pitted us one against the other, hoping we would lose sight that we were all in the same boat and would throw each other overboard instead.
February 17, 2021 Letters to the Editor. By ALLEN HYDE / Dear Editor, That’s outrageous! A Boone woman goes out for her daily walk and is attacked by a neighbor’s dog. This is the second attack in about ten years. The last time this good natured 70 year old was bitten her skin was only deeply scratched so she didn’t complain. This time the puncture wound didn’t stop bleeding for several days and much of her leg is still black and blue after a week. Although the local animal control folks were notified they said there was nothing they could do except observe the dog unless he bites someone again. A call to the police got a reply that responsibility falls back to the animal control folks.
February 5, 2021 Letters to the Editor. By Tim C. Gupton / Honorable County Commissioners, The Blowing Rock Civic Association engaged Joe Lord to prepare an independent report on the EMS Ambulance System in the County and Blowing Rock. His report is attached and confirms the conclusion of our research and meetings this summer. The taxpayers of Blowing Rock have invested substantially to provide first class paramedic 1st Responder services to manage the health care risks of our citizens and visitors. We again ask the County Commission to re-evaluate your public policy to provide quality ambulance services throughout the County and adopt a Fractal Success Measurement that includes both geography and response time. The taxpayers throughout the County should receive the same level of service, especially when dealing with the lives of our citizens.
January 29, 2021 Letters to the Editor. By CRAIG DUDLEY / Dear Editor, To reduce potential confusion I begin this essay with the admonition that no president has represented my interests since JFK. We haven’t had a free press since at least acting President Reagan and slick Willie. What we have are Propaganda Outlets. Political correctness increases: ‘our free press’ establishes ‘official truth’. You’re free as long as you stand where you’re told and say what’s expected.
January 25, 2021 From Stephen Lawler, President of NCHA / Dear Governor Cooper, These are crucial and defining times and we need coordinated, well thought-out plans to win the day. This is an unprecedented public health emergency that requires an unparalleled all-hands response. North Carolina’s hospitals and health systems stepped in to collaborate with the state and local health departments on vaccination deployment, while still caring for record-high numbers of COVID-19 patients, maintaining robust testing, and coordinating continued high-quality and safe care for our non- COVID patients. Hospitals have also repeatedly pivoted on short notice to accommodate various urgent directives and orders from state and federal leaders, typically with no prior consultation for input or clear measures of success. We can, and do, adapt on the fly, but it is time for the state to now take steps to coordinate a better plan and way forward on vaccine deployment.
January 16, 2021 Open Letter From 5th District Democrats of North Carolina / Dear Madam Speaker: On behalf of the Democratic Party of North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District, we respectfully request action to address the seditious behavior of our Representative, Virginia Foxx. By objecting to certification of the electors from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Ms. Foxx sought to disenfranchise millions of Pennsylvanian voters in support of the loser of that Commonwealth’s election, Donald J. Trump. By continuing through with the objection, Ms. Foxx sided with those who incited the attack on January 6, 2021, and those insurrectionists who invaded the Capitol facility, threatening the lives of the Vice-President, Members of Congress (including yourself), as well as the Congressional and Capitol facility staff. Ms. Foxx has claimed to object “out of an abiding respect for the Constitution” in reflection of supposed “violations of Article II, Section I of the Constitution” in which there is no stated direction as to how the states’ manage their election process regarding Presidential electors.
January 11, 2021 Letters to the Editor. By Craig Dudley / Dear Editor, The ‘emergency’ on 1/6 was the sort of thing the empire applauds when it creates it in countries it opposes. It’s a curious thing to watch the self-righteous talking heads who get their panties in a wad about this ‘insurrection’ after seeing them proudly present the official view of the same thing we created in Hong Kong, Ukraine, Bolivia, Venezuela, and many other countries, as if the Lord has given us special police powers. Look how they respond when the chickens come home to roost. The hypocrisy is rampant and out of control. They pay little real attention to the realities here. The demonstrators did what they did for the same reason BLM rioters did: Their concerns aren’t being responded to. No one hears them when they stand quiet and respectful. ‘Our’ government’s arrogance clouds their vision. We got the chance, on 1/6, to see the political elite that have been selling us down the river and making our lives hell for decades, shrinking in fear.