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Letters to the editor – Saturday (11-14-09)

Stanbacks’ support enhances parkway
I would like to thank Fred and Alice Stanback and Bill and Nancy Stanback for the part they played in protecting the spectacular 1,488-acre property that runs between Mileposts 325 and 329.5 in the Spruce Pine-Altapass Orchard area of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I am privileged to have worked on this project for the past six years, first as an employee of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and for the past two years as a legal adviser to the trust.
This was an extremely complex deal brokered by the Conservation Trust that involved working with the CSX railroad; two federal agencies, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Overmountain Victory Trail National Historic Trail; several state agencies, the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the N.C. Natural Heritage Trust Fund and the State Property Office as well as other groups such as the Overmountain Victory Trail Association and the State Parks Trails Recreation Trails Program.
You would not have believed some of the conference calls we had. Not only are several miles of pristine views from the parkway protected from logging and development but also 1.5 miles of the historic Overmountain Victory trail, which took the mountain men from North Carolina and Tennessee to the battle of Kings Mountain during the Revolution. This adds to property already protected in the area by the Conservation Trust to make a total of 3,442 acres. Some of this property will be state gamelands, some was purchased and added to the holdings of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and some like the CSX property will continue to be owned by CSX but will be subject to a conservation easement that will restrict logging and future commercial and residential development.
This project and others like it could not have happened without the financial support of the Stanback families.
ó Edward P. Novell
Salisbury
Norvell is a former legal counsel to the Conservation Trust.
Council races and school lines
1. Congratulations to Maggie Blackwell for her second-place showing on her first try for City Council. Living in Fulton Heights and having fought neighborhood battles, she understands the challenges that city neighborhoods face.
Council suffered a big loss when Bill Burgin decided not to seek re-election. He was our best council member and one of the best this city has ever had.
It was refreshing to see more candidates than in the past. Hopefully, some of those who were unsuccessful this time will try again. I feel that Michael Young has the potential to make a very good councilman.
2. The school board’s redistricting is serious business and should not be undertaken unless absolutely necessary. Families choose where they want to live based on school districts. Strong friendships are formed in schools ó friendships that last a lifetime.
If you look at enrollment vs. capacity figures at the six county high schools, you find that no school has yet reached its capacity. There’s no overcrowding.
North Rowan is a good school with some excellent students and teachers. Its enrollment has dropped for several reasons, one of which is the number of dropouts. In comparison to other county schools, it is low performing. Students from higher performing schools shouldn’t be required to go to a lower performing school without a really good reason.
North Rowan is a 1-A school. So what? Small schools can provide just as good an education as large schools. Don’t let athletics be the driving force for redistricting. Sometimes, doing nothing is the best thing to do. Certainly there are other, more important matters for the school board to be considering.
ó Harold Poole
Salisbury
Correction
Dr. Art Steinberg has never been a patient at the Hefner VA Medical Center. His column on Monday’s Opinion page ended with an editor’s note that was incorrect.

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