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Letters to the editor – Wednesday (7-27-11)

Monster of a tower has no place in Mt. Ulla
A favorite quote comes from Jules Renard, “On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.”
My little slice of heaven is a tiny farm in Mt. Ulla; I am blessed to live and work there and welcome friends and family. It is a joyous place, and I cherish every second there. As a property owner, I value my rights as much as anybody and respect those of my neighbors. My philosophy has always been that I belong to this wonderful community and therefore would never do anything to harm that bond or offend anyone.
But my rights may be ignored if the proposed Mt. Ulla broadcast tower is passed. This tower was not denied for nearly a decade by various boards and courts because of anti-property rights or anti-capitalist views. It was repeatedly denied because this monstrous tower is unlike anything we now see in the county; it was denied because Mt. Ulla is not zoned for a tower of this magnitude and denied due to safety concerns for Miller Airport. The only weak “support” for this tower comes from those who value property rights above all else, even to the detriment of themselves, their neighbors and the community.
As a property owner who will be forced to live under this monster every single day, I should have rights as well. This tower is not good for the Mt. Ulla community in any way. Mt. Ulla is a lovely slice of heaven that may be ruined forever.
And that breaks my heart.
— Betsy Webster
Mt. Ulla
Takeover consequences
There has been a lot of discussion regarding the theoretical benefits of a state takeover of High Rock dam and Alcoa’s other Yadkin hydroelectric facilites, but little discussion about the adverse consequences. Here are the facts, gleaned from research.
Private piers, boat ramps and seawalls can be forbidden or severely restricted on government-owned reservoirs. Property owners have had to tear down their private piers, and septic tanks, driveways and houses have been banned. Motor boats, fishing and even swimming can be prohibited or severely restricted.
Because states don’t have expertise to operate dams, they’re often leased to private companies with no longterm incentive in efficient operation or maintenance, and the dam deteriorates. When the state can’t afford repairs to keep it in safe condition, well-funded, powerful, environmental extremist organizations pounce with teams of lawyers and start agitating for removal of the dam. They believe that dams are an abomination. Seem far-fetched? Do a Google search for: “Dams are bad.” American Rivers is one of the most aggressive groups. It boasts responsibility for removal of 150 dams, several in North Carolina. It would love to see a dilapidated, unsafe dam at High Rock so that it could sue for removal, reducing our lake to a small river — permanently. Alcoa at least has expertise to operate the dam, and in its license renewal request has committed to millions for repairs and maintenance.
Some have fantasized about big state profits, but usually, all revenue from electricity sales goes to maintaining the dams. When the state owns a reservoir, it can send the water anywhere, even drying the lake up. A huge pipeline to Greensboro has been discussed many times.
The best way to prevent this is to encourage politicians to allow renewal of the new license, thereby assuring the survival and health of the lake for years to come.
— Dalane W. Kitzman
Lexington

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