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Letters to the editor – Monday (5-9-2011)

Preserve funding for veterans affairs
The current proposed N.C. House budget would eliminate veterans affairs funding to counties. This should be done only as a last resort and after entitlement programs are eliminated first. Do not take from veterans while giving to others who have done nothing to serve this country.
In addition, should this funding be cut, then there will be no need to keep the Department of Veterans Affairs and its staff in Raleigh. What would their job consist of if no funding is sent to the counties? Providing a service from the DVA office in Raleigh after cutting county funding is somewhat hypocritical. To deprive state and county veterans of this necessary service would be not only a political mistake but a sacrifice to the veterans and their families who look to these services for help. National veteran service organizations like the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of Foreign Wars and others provide a veteran service officer; their budgets are also stretched, but they understand how important these services are and continue to provide this service. It is the lifeline of these organizations.
I urge our state lawmakers to vote NO to stop funding to the counties.
ó Rodney Cress
Salisbury
Cress is the founder of the Rowan League of Veterans.
Friday Night Out: Truly a novel event
Citizens of Salisbury have a lot to celebrate in their downtown.
I had a blast at last weekís ěFriday Night Out,î signing copies of my new novel ěMercy Creekî at the Literary BookPost.
Its owner is the real deal ó Deal Safrit ó and so are the folk who stopped by for chats: a Catawba College professor, a retired psychiatrist, a young mother followed by her blonde daughter with a sky-blue tongue, thanks to the Italian ice she got from vendors on the street. And the street! It was filled with friendly firefighters, bouncing moon walks, street bands, open shops and free parking.
If you have never been to a Friday Night Out, you donít know what youíre missing!
Kudos and thanks to the people of Salisbury. Iíll be back.
óMatt Matthews
Greer, S.C.
Greerís ěMercy Creekî won the South Carolina Arts Commission First Novel Prize. Heís also the author of the childrenís book ěFritz and Christine and Their Very Nervous Parentsî (Avenida Books).
Real annexation reform missing
What is appalling to me is the inability of the members of the North Carolina General Assembly to try for true annexation reform. True annexation reform requires that any annexation must be approved by those being annexed before the annexation is completed.
There are four bills in the General Assembly, but only one requires a mandatory approval before annexation. The bill requires a mandatory voter referendum for approval of those being annexed before the annexation can be completed. One bill has a provision where 60 percent of the property owners must say no to stop the annexation, a provision that may be unworkable. Another bill has a provision where if you get the signatures of 5 percent of the voters or 500 voters, whichever is less; then a referendum is called to approve the annexation. The final bill is mute on approval of either the voters or the property owners.
Iím not sure of the logic behind the General Assemblyís failure to call for a mandatory votersí referendum or mandatory property owner approval. There has been some conjecture that the governor would not sign a bill requiring either a mandatory voter referendum or mandatory property owner approval. What the governor will or will not sign is pure conjecture until the governor is presented with a bill containing the mandatory requirement.
I believe that it is time to eliminate the conjecture and present the governor with a bill containing a mandatory voter referendum or a mandatory property owner approval requirement. The only bill that we have meeting this requirement is Senate Bill 627, Annexation Reform, submitted by Sens. Jim Davis and Tom Apodaca. It is time we got behind this bill.
ó Ray Shamlin
Nash County
Programs provide healthy messages
Iím a senior at Salisbury High and a member of Youth In Action Against Tobacco as well as Salisbury Highís TRU (Tobacco Reality Unfiltered) club. TRUís funding is under fire from our legislature, and lawmakers have proposed to take funding that was set aside for tobacco prevention efforts. If this budget and House Bill 200 pass, it will abolish the Health & Wellness Trust Fundís tobacco prevention education program.
I have been a member of TRU for seven years. Currently, we have 12 school-based TRU clubs and one community-based TRU club in Rowan County. These TRU advocates promote a tobacco free environment at their schools as well in their communities. The community-based TRU club members are trained and go into schools, churches and other organizations and educate youth and adults on the dangers of tobacco use.
TRU is a youth led and youth empowered educational program. TRU is visible in Rowan County. We are in Earth Day fesitvals, parades, La Fiesta de Rowan, summer camps for youth, health fairs, Relay for Life, and have led and been apart of many other events promoting a tobacco-free lifestyle. Donít let North Carolinaís historically low youth smoking rates go back up as they have in other states that reduced funding for tobacco-use prevention.
ó Mia Huff
Salisbury
Thanks for support in time of sorrow
We would like to express our sincere thank you to all of the people who helped our family in our time of need and sorrow following the death of Richard McAtee.
Special thanks to Danny Powell, who was always there for Rich no matter what time of day or night. You were truly a gift from God in a time of need.
Thank you to Marv Stone, who called every day and let my husband talk and talk as long as he wanted. Marv always showed great caring and concern.
Thank you and God bless the Rolling Thunder, Rowan County Military Honor Guard, Rev. Charles Carver and all who helped make the funeral and services so special and honorable.
Thank you to the vets in Mooresville that were so welcoming and helpful.
And lastly, thank you to the hospice team at the Salisbury VA. You were angels that treated Rich so kindly and with love. God bless every one of you.
ó Hilda & Jason McAtee & family
Granite Quarry

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