Letters to the editor – Tuesday (5-3-2011)

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 2, 2011

Thanks for your prayers during sonís Afghan duty
I am happy to be able to tell you that my son, PFC Cody Ritchie, has finished his tour of duty in Afghanistan. He is back at his base in Vilseck, Germany. We are looking forward to his 30-day leave in June. He will then return to Germany for about six more months. Afterward, he is not sure where he will be stationed.
My family wishes to express appreciation to all who sent letters, cards, thoughts and prayers our way. Please continue to pray for our servicemen and women still there and also pray for the families who have lost loved ones defending our freedom.
A proud Army mom:
ó Sharon Ritchie
Wellness programs at risk
The N.C. House may abolish the N.C. Health & Wellness Trust Fundís tobacco and obesity funding and programs. If approved as is, the House budget bill would fundamentally change how Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) funds will be distributed in North Carolina.
Also threatened with abolishment is the Tobacco Trust Fund (designed to support the interests of tobacco farmers and revitalize tobacco dependent communities). Funds from both the HWTF and the Tobacco Trust Fund would be redirected to debt service, the University Cancer Research Fund and agricultural projects. The funds also may be directed to a variety of health programs, including research, education, prevention and treatment of health problems, including funding for communities to respond to public health needs through Health Choice and Medicaid. Exclusive dedication of funding for tobacco use or obesity prevention is eliminated.
Abolishing the HWTF will halt the significant success HWTF programs have seen in the areas of tobacco prevention and cessation and the success they hope to replicate in the area of obesity prevention. These are the most critical and pressing health issues facing North Carolinaís youth today as the top two preventable causes of death. If HWTF is abolished, the stateís investment in tobacco and obesity prevention will be severely diminished, putting children at risk and costing the state even more in the long run.
The state needs to put the wellbeing of its citizens first and not reverse the progress made by the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund. Please call your senators and Governor Perdue today to advocate for them to save the Health & Wellness Trust Fund and donít let TRU (Tobacco Reality Unfiltered) go up in smoke. Contact Governor Perdue at 800-662-7952 and Sen. Andrew Brock at 919-715-0690.
ó Kaitlyn Allen
Support Senate Bill 144
An important piece of legislation is currently under review by the N.C. Senate Commerce Committee and appears on the way to approval. Senate Bill 144 will place ěcash convertersî under the same reporting regulations that the pawn industry has operated with since 1989. ěCash convertersî operate in the same way as pawn dealers.
They purchase pre-owned merchandise for cash (or check). However, the simple name difference allows them to operate unregulated. The lack of oversight of the cash converters has created a possible haven for thieves to unload their stolen merchandise. Contrary to common public opinion, pawn stores take in very, very little stolen property (approximately one-tenth of 1 percent) because the criminals know that pawnbrokers are required to keep records and report purchases to the police. Concerned citizens should demand that this legislation pass. If you had something stolen, would you want the police to only look at a very few places that buy used merchandise, or would you want them to look at all of them?
With the passage of SB 144, introduced by state Sen. Wesley Meredith, District 19, along with 26 bipartisan co-sponsors, ěcash convertersî will be subject to the same reporting regulations under which the pawn industry operates. Many other states and municipalities across the country have already done this. I applaud the sponsors of this timely and important legislation for their vigilant efforts to thwart crime in North Carolina. SB 144 will protect the interests of law-abiding citizens and help to solve property crimes.
ó Bob Moulton
Moulton is president of the N.C. Pawnbrokerís Association.