Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 17, 2007

Landowner has right
to profit from property
In response to Patricia Ribelins May 10 letter regarding trees being cut on N.C. 150 near Sherrills Ford Road, I have two observations to make. First, trees are Americas renewable resource, and many of us have made legitimate investments in timber resources with the goal of profiting from their harvest some day, then planting more trees for future harvest. I am uncertain what the landowner intends out on N.C. 150, but as you observed, it is his or her land, and the timber belonged to that titled landowner.
Second, our county commissioners and your city council members are sworn to uphold the N.C. and U.S. Constitutions, which provide for just compensation for takings of property to promote the public use (which I assume you mean by the rights of society). While you had a right to make an offer to buy that land, the development rights to that land, or the timber rights to that land, your right to take it for the benefit of society depends upon your elected officials willingness to pay the just compensation required by the Constitution. So far, none has elected to increase our taxes in order to do so.
I, for one, am glad that the county commissioners and city council members have enough conscience to uphold the Constitution to which they are sworn, instead of the guts to thumb their noses at it. Both Arnold Chamberlain and Mayor Kluttz have steered their respective county and city leadership in a positive direction so that societal pressures do not trample over individual rights. That is how our countrys founders designed the Constitution. And it is what makes this a great country!
Jeff Morris
Safety issues at school …I agree with Shirley Alexanders (April 27) and Lee Halls (May 9) letters to the editor which expressed concern over the safety of our schools and the ease with which individuals are able to walk around campus unchallenged.
As the parent of two children at Knox Middle School, this issue is particularly unsettling to me. The KMS campus is spread over nine separate buildings, with a staggering 57 separate entrances! Other middle schools in the RSS system have between one and three buildings and 14-31 separate entrances. Signs, in both English and Spanish, tell all visitors to KMS that they must check in at the office building.
Despite the faithful efforts of our staff to greet and check-in visitors, they can only monitor the single front office door. Visitors using the other 56 doors might go unchallenged on a campus with eight other separate and detached buildings. There is also no outside public address/communication system between buildings (besides yelling) if problems were to happen and help was needed. Again, this 50-year-old campus (1958) does not serve the needs of the students in the RSS system. Given recent national school violence and the rise of gangs in Rowan County, the campus safety needs of the 600 students and 80 teachers/staff at Knox Middle School should be addressed.
I respectfully request that the Board of Education and the Rowan County commissioners take these concerns to heart as budgets and priorities are established.
Mary Willis Page
… And in the workplace
In response to those who are so critical of Cindy Harris speaking out for her fellow employees of Freightliner (April 30), she really does have their best interests at heart. Ms. Lambe and Mr. Stewart have said that safety issues at Freightliner have been addressed. Well, it may be true that they have been addressed to a degree, but OSHA cannot guarantee workers safety when potentially deadly chemicals such as hexvalent chromium are in use. There are alternatives to this chemical that would not create the mist that hexvalent chromium does and, in fact, cause no fumes and would additionally save Freightliner money. There are companies offering these alternative chemicals now for the simple fact that hexvalent chromium is so dangerous.
Additionally, according to Workplace Group, a company out of Greensboro, OSHA is now developing a sampling and analytical method (OSHA ID-215) that can measure very low levels of concentration of this chemical. Why? If they dont already have this method in place, that means that workers are now in jeopardy.
Oh, and the question of the employment of the 11 bargaining committee members who were fired will be settled by other means than in the contract.
Ms. Poole, there would never have been workplace safety nor monetary advances if everyone had your close-minded attitude. If we dont exercise our rights to seek better work standards, then we might as well not have those rights.
Ms. Sifford, youre right; Freightliner is planning on moving to Mexico. Theyre in the process of building a plant there now. It has nothing to do with the union. We might as well try to get as much as we can while theyre still here and, hopefully, still have our health when theyre gone. We should thank people like Cindy Harris for trying to ensure this.
Gail Casineau