Bicycles don’t belong in natural area
To the editor:
Mountain biking and trail-building destroy wildlife habitat! Mountain biking is environmentally, socially, and medically destructive! There is no good reason to allow bicycles on any unpaved trail.
Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: https://mjvande.info/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — on foot. Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking.
A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true.
Mountain bikers also love to build new trails — legally or illegally. Of course, trail-building destroys wildlife habitat — not just in the trail bed, but in a wide swath to both sides of the trail!. Grizzlies can hear a human from one mile away, and smell us from 5 miles away.
Thus, a 10-mile trail represents 100 square miles of destroyed or degraded habitat, that animals are inhibited from using. Mountain biking, trail building, and trail maintenance all increase the number of people in the park, thereby preventing the animals’ full use of their habitat. See https://mjvande.info/scb9.htm for details.
Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is OK (it’s not). What’s good about that?
Mike Vandeman, Ph.D.
San Ramon, California
No patriots in Capitol insurrection
To the editor:
As I write this, Trump terrorists have broken into the capitol building and are rummaging through the House and Senate chambers.
Trump and these Republican followers are not patriots they are seditionist traitors. These individuals need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for whatever statutes they have violated. So much for Republicans claiming to be for law and order.
The reality is that Biden won the election by the same “landslide” of 302 electoral votes as Trump won it in 2016. All the rest about voter fraud is a pile of lies spewed forth by Trump and his syncopates.
Trump and his supporters are essentially trying to stage a coup to destroy the government of the republic.
All of Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric has finally taken hold. It is time to remove him from office and prosecute those who have violated the law.
A sad development
To the editor:
I watched the insurrection on Wednesday, Jan. 6 with fear and horror.
I read the article, “Inside the Insurrection,” with deep sadness.
President Trump has hurt our nation more than I had thought. The first response of the Capitol police showed me the truth of the charges of institutional racism stated widely this summer by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The new Congress should investigate the failures of the Capital Police. U.S. Rep. Cawthorn shares part of the blame for the start of the insurrection. Congress should impeach Trump or formally censure him.
Let us all act as true Americans from now on. Let us pray and work for a better, more peaceful USA.
Ms. B G Johnson
Ups and downs of Jan. 6
To the editor:
Like most residents of Haywood County who have served and sacrificed for our country, in uniform or out, I watched with horror and outrage as the US Capitol was attacked and vandalized by a violent, politically-motivated mob on Jan. 6.
The destruction at the Capitol, which led to the deaths of at least five Americans, including a veteran member of the Capitol Police, is a shameful moment in our nation’s history, and one that shocked the world.
Despite the physical assault on the Capitol, there are however many things we can be proud of today.
Most importantly, in state after state across our great nation local election officials, state legislators, law enforcement and the judiciary, and state executives did their sworn duty regardless of political affiliation and delivered the most safe and secure election in our country’s history, in the teeth of a raging pandemic that even now kills nearly two Americans every minute.
On the Senate floor just prior to the attack instigated by a sitting U.S. President, outgoing Majority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell took a fierce, forceful, and principled stand against the Constitutional insurrection staged by a handful of self-serving radicals within his own party.
Ninety-three U.S. Senators joined together with him in defense of our Constitution, literally at risk to their lives. They should be applauded for their courage, even if for some of them it came a bit late.
Here in our mountain home, we must hope that this emerging spirit of pragmatic cooperation, truth and integrity will guide us all as we enter the new year.
Despite our differences, there is a unique opportunity ahead to ensure that our region is not yet again left behind as America turns to addressing systemic inequalities of race and class, developing critical infrastructure, creating the conditions for 21st-century job-creating enterprises to thrive, securing our community and nation against threats foreign and domestic, investing in community health and well-being, and educating our youth for the challenges of tomorrow.
Here’s to the new year now upon us, and to remembering that we stand or fall, together, as Americans.
Caption was misleading
To the editor:
I was surprised at your photo caption under the recent front page photo of the storming of the U.S. Capitol. You label this photo as “Patriot’s Day.” This storming was an illegal action that lead to the death of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sickneck.
If your labeling of this photo was in error, please publish a correction. If The Mountaineer believes that this photo warrants this label, please explain your reasoning.
Officer Sicknick was 42 years old. He was a military veteran and had been with the Capitol Police Force for 12 years.
Gratitude and another challenge
To the editor:
In November The Mountaineer announced its selection of The EACH Initiative, Inc. as the beneficiary of its 2020 Holiday Charity Challenge.
In practice the real beneficiaries are the children and their parents who will move from homelessness to self-sustainability. On behalf of those families and the many volunteers who make The EACH Program happen, a deep and heart felt “Thank you!” is extended to the Haywood Community and to the publisher, editor and staff of The Mountaineer.
The community’s generous donations of over $43,600 will be effectively utilized because EACH limits its paid staff. The only employee is its essential and very effective case manager. The backbone of EACH is its cadre of volunteers.
The board of The EACH Initiative believes that as we experience life’s journey, we are all called to partner together, to assist in another’s time of need, to make lasting differences in lives and in so doing experience the true joy and the fulfillment God offers to those who respond.
With the above in mind, EACH offers another community challenge. Commit in 2021 to make a lasting difference. Commit to working with a group in Haywood County that is outward focused.
Whether it’s The EACH Initiative, another charity, a congregation, or simply a group of people you assemble, be a part of those who are outward focused working to make a difference, working to make Haywood County even better.
A quote hanging next to my desk is from the Nobel recipient physician, missionary, and theologian Albert Schweitzer: “The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”
With gratitude and a challenge.
Paul Butler, Chair of The EACH Initiative, Inc.
To the editor:
Had to tell you what I overheard while in a local retail store yesterday. I had to have a repair on iPhone otherwise I do not go inside any business and this has been my policy since spring while waiting.
I overheard two young men talking about the COVID vaccine; I think the customer was a health care worker not sure but he was discouraging the COVID vaccine to the employee who was taking it all in.
The customer kept talking about side effects especially on young people. He kept repeating questionable Information on how the vaccine would affect lungs even in 20 years.
It was disgusting to think that people may be listening to others who are giving their advice about the vaccine. It was all I could do to not interrupt and say any medicine has a potential for side effect even an aspirin, but I didn’t. Which is worse — a side effect or dying while on a ventilator?
As a health care worker, sure I have said things about certain things but also know that I am a RN not a doctor or scientist. How can health care reach young adults with the facts not personal opinions?
A tight ship
To the editor:
It was with great pleasure to read that Waynesville town had operated very effectively to have a surplus of $2 million for 2020.
Several conclusions can be drawn from this report. First and mostly that Mr Hites and his associates played a big role in effectively performing ongoing operations. Yes the bonus given is justified in these times of essential workers.
In turn I wonder how effective has the town been operated in the past? I only question the excessive expenditure of monies to evaluate the street conditions of our fair township.
Moving forward there should be no tax hike in the near future as one may think they have been overly taxed to provide these monies to the town coffers. These proven results should be passed up the chain to our national leaders to learn how to spend only what you take in.
As with any household budget you cannot spend more than you take in, otherwise you will be forced into bankruptcy. Food for thought to our national level of leaders. A national deficit of $27 trillion is going to be hard for our grand children to overcome.