Letters to the editor — Tuesday (2-25-2014)

  • Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 12:18 a.m.

Removing coal ash ponds should be a priority

The coal ash ponds at Duke’s Buck Steam Station near Salisbury will eventually have a major spill into High Rock Lake and the Yadkin River. Those highly toxic, heavy metal and mercury laden ponds must to be removed by Duke Energy under careful supervision from the EPA.

Those of us concerned about the water quality of the Yadkin River need to all work together. That includes actively supporting the following: (1) Remove all coal ash ponds along the Yadkin. (2) Preserve more forested shoreline buffers along the Yadkin, which includes working cooperatively with Alcoa to preserve their shoreline and upland property along the Yadkin. (3) Significantly reduce the massive amounts of sediments and nutrients that enter High Rock Lake from poor waste water treatment facilities, toxic storm water run-off, and poor agricultural, farming and animal raising practices along the Yadkin.

It should be noted that Governor McCrory’s current effort to take over Alcoa’s dams may include contracting out the operation of those dams to Duke Energy. The only outcome from this unfounded takeover effort is the grabbing of dollars for the state at Alcoa’s expense. Alcoa’s actions with dissolved oxygen improvements and PCB remediation over the last several years have already improved the water quality in the Yadkin, and the relicensing settlement agreement includes additional water quality improvements that are being blocked by the takeover bunch. As McCrory was improperly blocking the release of Alcoa’s 401 permit with the last-minute riverbed ownership lawsuit, he and others were at the same time gutting the N.C. Department of Water Quality.

Eventually the public will understand that the takeover efforts have little to do with water quality in the Yadkin River. Coal ash and heavy metal toxins, along with excessive sediments and nutrients, are the real concerns that need immediate attention.

— John D. Young


A bittersweet moment

Regarding the Feb. 16 article “Kauffman’s widow gives birth to baby boy”:

Wasn’t it wonderful that little Marcus was born on a beautiful “I love you” day? But it is so sad that he will never have a chance to grow up with his dad, and his dad will never see his baby take his first baby steps or hear him say “dada” and “mama.”

Marcus Kaufmann was unarmed when he was robbed and shot, but there were no protests or marches for him, and his mother didn’t go on TV saying what kind of punishment his killers deserved. What is wrong with this picture?

But thank God for all the people who supported and prayed for Maryann Kauffman and her baby. May God bless every person who has held fundraisers and all who gave to help her during this terrible time. In spite of horrible people, there are still wonderful people who love and care for others.

— Evelyn Basinger


Speak up for animals

I am an animal lover, especially of dogs. It saddened me when I read the case of Bandit, who was hit by a car and later put down in the gas chamber. He suffered enough from the trauma of the accident and then was subjected to a cruel death. He was in great pain, I am sure, and probably frightened as well. It was an animal control officer (who should have had more compassion) who handled him the way he did. The dog should have been put down on the spot. Instead, he was taken to the gas chamber, which only added to his suffering. A bullet in his head would have been more humane.

I know many people do not care about dogs the way I do. To them, they are just “animals.” Dogs have been called man’s best friend, and not without good reason. If treated right, they are very loyal and capable of great love. If you have not seen the movie “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale,” you need to watch it. If you stop and think about it, God created animals before he created man. He gave us dominion over them, and I certainly don’t think he meant for us to abuse them. Noah, on God’s instruction, took animals on the ark to ensure their survival.

I have talked only about dogs, but no animal should be abused. Even those that are slaughtered for food should be put down in a humane manner. I really think some people like to see suffering in animals. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” If this is the criteria for greatness, then I would have to say Rowan County is greatly lacking. There are too many cases reported of animal cruelty. One form of this cruelty is by gassing the animals instead of lethal injection.

Wake up, animal lovers! They cannot speak for themselves. It is up to us to speak for them.

— Billie H. Bean


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