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Letters to the editor – Monday (7-25-11)

Don’t be caught short if asked about Rowan’s industries
Last week, I got caught with my pants (figuratively) down! I was helping a church event that brought folks from all over North Carolina by manning a “traffic control” point at Jackson and Fisher streets. My task was to direct visitors to parking areas at and around the church. It was hectic at times as visitors slowed to ask about parking and local traffic was forced to slow or stop.
One visitor walked up to me and asked why someone would want to move to Salisbury. I hesitated as I sought a “brilliant” answer. The man seemed impatient, and traffic was whirling; my mind was also whirling and I said, “Oh … it’s a nice place to raise a family; we have many recreational facilities and a nice family park called Dan Nicholas Park.”
He asked about industry. Caught off guard, I said, “We really don’t have a lot of industry … er, a few light industries.” He walked on, as I scolded myself for being a lousy Rowan County salesman! (BTW, same fellow asked my wife that question a little further down the block; she wisely told him about Food Lion as he walked on.)
Don’t you get so caught and short-sell our great county. As a reminder (if my mental gymnastics serve me well) … think: Food Lion corporate HQ/distribution center; Power Curbers; Cheerwine; Livingstone and Catawba colleges; Hood Seminary; F&M Bank HQ; Hitachi Metals; VA Medical Center; great farms; Intimidators baseball; SupplyOne (innovative packaging); and Freightliner.
In my rush to sound the alarm, I surely left out several institutions/industries that make Rowan County. My apologies to them, but we all should store several of these in our minds, and always “be prepared” to sell our fine county.
— Ty Cobb Jr.
Rockwell
Check out fire department facts
In response to Bill Ward’s recent letter concerning the fire departments, first I will refrain from childish name-calling and get right to the facts. I do not like taxes any more than the next person, but like going to the doctor or dentist, they are a necessary evil. Although I can’t speak for all departments, I know most operate in an open fashion, meaning they do not hide their finances. Anyone can feel free to go to their department and ask questions at any time. Except for those within a town or city, they are run by a board of directors. My department’s make-up is two-thirds non-firefighters which generally means citizens who have no connection to the department other than living in the district. All have annual meetings at which they present, among other things, their financial reports for the years. Also, if people read their newspaper, they will see stories where local departments receive local, state and federal grants. They do not hide these from anyone.
The use of these grants is usually very restrictive, and many require matching funds. As for local operating expenses, the cost to run the average department is enormous. When my department first began 50 years ago, it purchased a new truck and a station siren for $11,000. You cannot outfit three firefighters in turnout gear and breathing equipment, as required by law, for that amount today. Call loads have increased tenfold or more from the early days, and there are fewer volunteers to handle daytime responses, necessitating the hiring of paid personnel during these times, again resulting in increased department costs. Mr. Ward, I suggest you research all the facts before stating your opinion in the future.
— Mike Shue
Salisbury

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