He’s gone

To the editor:

Finally! We got rid of him.

We knew from the moment he applied that he was going to be trouble. He was an outsider trying to elbow his way in and threatening to make changes in things that have worked well for us for decades. He had no direct experience in this field, had no respect for us, didn’t look like us, and certainly didn’t talk like us

Not only that, he had, shall we say, a less than stellar record of behavior. It was incumbent upon us to investigate this man and, for the protection of all, to immediately disclose what we learned about him, even where definitive proof was lacking.

In spite of all that, somehow, he got the job. All we could do at that point was continue looking for incriminating evidence of his unfitness, and try to limit his damage. So, throughout the organization, word went out to do whatever possible to thwart his every effort at change. Regrettably, the harder we pushed, the more he pushed back. Not only was he not getting the point, he was also achieving some successes, though not as many or as great as he claimed.

More drastic actions were called for. We put in motion a process to expel him from his job. It failed at everything except inflaming him more. And, fighting him distracted us from our responsibilities. The entire system was suffering.

But, we continued to counter his every move, sometimes utilizing admittedly subversive tactics. His reactions became more and more bizarre, bordering on paranoia, proving what we had always contended – that he was unfit for the job.

I do wonder what might have been achieved if we had worked with him at least a little, and maybe even helped shape and facilitate some of his ideas for improvement.

But, he wasn’t one of us. He wasn’t even our color. He was . . . orange. Now, he’s gone. Everything’s back to normal. That’s all good. Right?

L R Halverson


Protect teachers

To the editor:

In his Tuesday, Feb. 2 briefing, Governor Cooper called for a full return to in-person instruction. Dr. Cohen and Ms. Truitt support the Governor. Senate Bill 37, if approved, would require this.

We all understand the need for the children, especially primary grades, to return to the classroom. However, I am not aware of statements or actions by Governor Cooper, Dr. Cohen or Ms. Truitt to protect the teachers. Healthcare workers, police, firemen/women and others have been put at the front of the line to receive COVID19 vaccine.

Why not teachers? You’re suggesting giving students or their parents the choice of whether or not to return to in-person instruction, but the teachers have no choice. Unvaccinated teachers would be risking their lives in order to maintain their livelihood. What a terrible choice, go back to work and risk your life, or don’t go back to work and lose your job.

Just get the teachers vaccinated before requiring them to return to the classroom.

Randolph Williams, MD

Maggie Valley

High praise for health officials

To the editor:

On behalf of the Haywood County Senior Democrats, I would like to express our profound gratitude to the Haywood County Department of Health and Human Services for coordinating and delivering our county’s allotment of Covid-19 vaccines. We have lived through periods in American history when we did not have vaccines for debilitating and potentially deadly viruses.

Vaccines are invented to combat diseases that have no known or reliable treatments. That is why the Smallpox epidemics, and the 1917-1918 Flu pandemic, were so deadly. Nearly half a million Americans of all ages have died of Covid-19.

I know many people do not believe in vaccines and feel that they are harmful and cause future medical problems. These are extremely rare events and scientific research has proven that there is no linkage between vaccines and other medical conditions. Whether to or not to vaccinate is a personal choice.

If you choose not to get the Covid-19 vaccine, consider these two things:

1) The US now has recorded three new mutant strains of the original Covid-19 virus that are much more contagious and deadly than the original one. Two of these strains are currently present and active in Florida and South Carolina and one has been found in Mecklinburg County.

2) The Ripple Effect. An unvaccinated person puts the entire community at risk. I was a nurse practitioner student at a county clinic outside of Houston, Texas in the early 1990’s when we experienced a measles epidemic. Businesses and schools had to close, over 100 people were hospitalized, 9 people died, 5 were children. The consequences of not being vaccinated are not limited to just yourself.

I look forward to receiving my second Covid-19 shot because I would rather be safe than sorry. I also choose to protect my loved ones, my friends, and my community. The good news for us is that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine will be protective against the new strains. We live in a county that has put forth a tremendous effort to vaccinate everyone in a timely manner. Thank you again for all that you do.

Janet Banks

Maggie Valley

Housing units aren’t affordable

To the editor:

I applaud the dedication of reporter Becky Johnson for her commitment to bringing the news of Waynesville development, particularly housing.

Her stories in a recent edition highlighted apartment construction now underway. As one of those who raised questions about the proposed development in the Plott Creek valley, I see our concerns manifesting.

The Plott Creek Palisades is not workforce housing (at least not for Waynesville’s essential workers), with rents ranging from $1,055 to $1,455 a month. The apartment complex manager expressed some surprise at the calls received from Sylva, Franklin and Murphy.

The article also pointed to planned development at the By-Lo site. Those plans seem to call for “luxury” apartments as well. To gain the label, “luxury,” these developments have granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and other upgrades.

Renters are looking for safe, healthy homes with easy access to schools, stores and transportation. None of these upgrades really guarantee that.

Many of us are products of families who had to “do without,” choosing the less expensive option in order to keep household expenses down and save money to gain something of value.

Luxury apartments contradict Waynesville’ desire for workforce housing, expressed in the new Strategic Development Plan. So in the midst of all the current construction, Haywood County’s essential workers are still out of luck.

Thank goodness for small builders like Habitat for Humanity and local developers who are providing affordable rentals (monthly rentals at $800) and affordable homes. They are truly our community heroes, not corporations with an eye for the bottom line.

Mary Thomas


Waterfall is a bad idea

To the editor:

On behalf of the Maggie Valley Country Club Estates, a road service district with 320 residential lots and some 250 property owners, which maintains 11 miles of private roads through self-taxation, I write to you in protest of a plan by the Town of Maggie Valley to establish a park within our boundary, open to the general public to view a small waterfall.

Access would include using the roads which we, not the town, maintain, crossing private residential property to get to the “falls,” and has already resulted in quarrels between property owners and trespassers.

We object to non-residents being encouraged by the town to bring increased traffic to our neighborhoods, trespass on private property, scatter trash for us to remove, park on our narrow streets and yards, disturbing the peace and quiet of our neighborhood, and creating other problems for our residents with their behavior.

We do not object to the town’s building and maintaining small pocket parks, such as the two on Moody Farm Road, or on waterfalls already within easy access from Soco Road, but do strongly object to anything which encroaches on our property as I describe above.

We are not residents of the town of Maggie Valley, have no voice in its governance, and receive no town services. And, adding insult to injury, note that the MVCCEPOA, a legally constituted body established by the State of North Carolina in 1996, was never consulted by the town on this subject. Suffice it to say: We don’t want it.

Otis Sizemore, director


Board should reconsider jail addition

To the editor:

The county commissioners are considering a $16 million expansion (probably more) of the jail. Studies of the problem show at least 70% if the inmates have mental health or drug issues.

I think it would be more cost effective and more productive to spend that money on a treatment facility and prevention and support programs.

Heart disease and addiction are considered lifestyle related health issues and are in the top 10 health problems in this country. If people are having heart issues they do not got to jail for treatment and if they manage to survive, they are not released without any idea about how to avoid another episode.

Drug addiction is the result of a similar lifestyle choice process. People can make choices that move them toward addiction or choices that will protect them from becoming addicted just like you can for heart disease.

Why then is jail the main treatment place for addiction? Why are they not referred for medical treatment and to programs that can provide support and education to avoid relapse? Why? Because there are not enough places in Haywood county to provide treatment or prevention education and support.

Diabetes and mental illness have similar needs. Both are the result of some organs in the body not doing its job properly.

Mental illness for the most part is the brain not functioning properly either from injury or the wrong chemistry signals. The path back to health is the same for both of these problems.

First is proper diagnosis and treatment to get both under control. Then there needs to be enough prevention education and support for the person to learn how to control the problem by making proper lifestyle choices for themselves.

People with diabetes are not sent to jail for treatment so why are people with mental illness? Again it is because there are not enough places or enough access for all people in need to get the proper help.

Investing $16 million in more mental health and substance abuse treatment and prevention programs provides a much better and bigger return on investment for both the affected individuals and the community as a whole than merely expanding the jail.

Jane Harrison

Haywood county taxpayer

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