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Letters to the editor – Saturday (10-8-11)

Hereís an adult way to discuss call center consolidation
Regarding the consolidation of 911 call centers for Salisbury and Rowan County:
The Oct. 5 and 6 articles in the paper portray dysfunctional political leaders for the city and county. The sophomoric squabbling through letters and emails looks more appropriate to spoiled school children. I hate to think of how this might appear to an someone that might be interested in investing in our city or county.
Consolidation of services makes absolute sense. Many communities have moved in this direction to save money. Surely thereís no argument that we donít need to save money. Rather than sending letters and emails to communicate with people that sit in offices three blocks apart, I have a suggestion. Letís appoint council representatives Kennedy and Blackwell to go along with Doug Paris (who should be under instructions that as acting city manager he should be restrained in his commentary) to meet with Commissioners Raymond Coltrain and Chad Mitchell along with County Manager Gary Page (who should also be asked to be restrained in his commentary). I suggest this arrangement so that they may have a quiet meeting with no press (thereís no violation of the open meetings law, with only two elected officials from each body present).
The agenda would include:
1. Review the current animal control and fire dispatching arrangement and agree on service measurements and targets and reporting needs.
2.Outline possible savings, timelines and service agreement needs of a potential consolidation of 911 services.
I acknowledge this discussion might well require multiple meetings, but surely we could have an adult conversation that can benefit the citizens throughout the city and county. These public officials were elected to serve all our needs and they need to assure that the actions of their respective staffs recognize this fact.
ó Carl Repsher
Salisbury
Reducing teen drinking
As a practicing physician, I counsel parents of teenagers to be vigilant against underage drinking. Parents often are surprised to hear that most youth who drink, get their alcohol products from within their own home or from other adults.
The Federal Trade Commissionís ěWe Donít Serve Teensî campaign includes an informative website (www.DontServeTeens. gov) where parents can get information on how to reduce teens’ access to alcohol. This public service campaign and greater parental vigilance are clearly having a positive effect.
The latest Federal government statistics show that alcohol consumption and binge drinking rates have continued their long-term decline, reaching historically low levels. Equally important, the latest Monitoring the Future survey shows the number of teens who report itís easy to obtain alcohol also continues to decline.
Hereís my best advice to parents: keep a watchful eye on your teenís activity both inside and outside of the home; make clear your disapproval of underage drinking; and work to maintain an open dialogue with your son or daughter. Even though parents believe their teens are not listening to them, the research shows otherwise ó parents have the most influence over their son’s or daughter’s decision to drink or not to drink.
ó Dr. Raymond Scalettar
Washington, D.C.
Dr. Scalettar is a clinical professor of medicine at George Washington Medical Center, former chair of the American Medical Association and medical advisor to the Distilled Spirits Council

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