What’s up with all the smoke?

Living in a town whose ordinances prohibit public nuisances in general and open burning specifically, it is becoming increasingly distressing to watch a continuous plume of smoke arise on a daily basis, completely layering the valley with smoke.

The source is apparently from the vicinity of Browning Road, near the golf course. The volume of smoke produced daily has been remarkable. One can imagine the number of people affected by the poor air quality that results, particularly people with asthma or other respiratory problems.

The burning has been going on now for several weeks, with the only break coming when the recent burn ban was in effect. Although dry conditions continue in the region, burning at this site has resumed- the heavy clouds of smoke seen Dec. 13 suggest the return has come with a vengeance.

Is there a timeframe for how much longer our community will have to endure this burden? Are there no alternatives for disposal of whatever materials are being burned other than converting them into airborne smoke particles?

Is there any information available to those forced to breathe the smoke regarding what compounds and contaminants are in it? It is dumbfounding to know that the town has written its codes to preserve healthful air quality, only to tolerate the extended duration of such a significant discharge of smoke into the air.

Is there an “official” position on this issue that answers any of the questions that affect pretty much everyone in our valley?

Doug Menchhofer

Waynesville

Think twice about a national religion

I see where Michael Flynn, former President Trump’s National Security Advisor, is calling for us to have “one religion” in the U.S., presumably Christianity.

As a retired Presbyterian Minister, I would like for all to find what I have in the Christian faith. However, my family’s history makes me have qualms on having one “official” religion even if it is Christianity.

In France, from which my ancestors came, King Louis XIV made Roman Catholicism the official religion of that country. My ancestors were Protestant and experienced persecution from the government.

Protestant pastors were arrested and hanged. Protestant churches were torn down, Up to 100,000 Protestants were killed in the “Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day.” I blame Louis XIV for this, not the Catholics.

Catholics, themselves, have been victims of prejudice and violence in many countries, as have Baptists and Methodists, Jews and Muslims.

This is what happens when government favors one religion over another. That is why our nation has, as one of its foundation principles, the “separation of Church and state.” That is why my ancestors came to this country and settled in South Carolina, where they could have freedom of religion rather than have a particular brand of religion forced upon them.

Let us not abandon that freedom.

Riley Covin, D. Min., Presbyterian Church USA

Canton

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