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Letters to the editor — Sunday (1-11-15)

‘Ag-gag’ laws limit U.S. freedom of press

We join the rest of the world in mourning the brave staff of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, gunned down by religious fanatics for defending freedom of the press.

Meat industry fanatics in the U.S. have devised a more subtle means of stifling freedom of the press. The states of Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah have enacted “ag-gag” laws that impose criminal penalties on investigators seeking to expose animal abuses and safety violations in factory farms.

According to an Associated Press report in yesterday’s papers, four members of an animal protection organization were charged with violating Utah’s ag-gag law. They sought to document the daily transport of thousands of pigs from the infamous Circle Four factory farm in Cedar City (UT) to the Farmer John slaughterhouse in Los Angeles.

Ag-gag laws are clearly unconstitutional and are being challenged in federal courts. Assaults on press freedom need to be confronted wherever they rear their ugly heads, even when they assume the legitimacy of a state law.

— Shane Papadopolous

Salisbury

Kudos to Disaster Team

I would like to give my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the members of Rowan County’s Red Cross Disaster Action Teams for their tireless devotion and service to our community.

Disaster Action Team volunteers are on call 24/7 to not only serve individuals and families who have been displaced by disasters but also to help those on the front lines with rehab services, such as our county’s Fire departments.

In 2014 alone, Red Cross DAT volunteers responded to dozens of calls and assisted countless families in Rowan County with their immediate, post-disaster emergency needs. The Red Cross provides emergency assistance to families in the form of temporary shelter, food, clothing, access to medical supplies and anything else that may comfort them in their time of need.

For those that fight on the front lines during emergencies, the Red Cross provides them with rehab services so they can rest and recover before returning to fight fires or assist in emergency management.

In one recent week, Rowan County’s DAT volunteers went above and beyond the call of service with their work. They provided rehab services for emergency response personnel at the two major fires at the Dunbar Center in East Spencer and at Mid-State Manufacturing in western Rowan. These volunteers spent the night outside, in this cold winter weather — twice — to help this community.

To those volunteers, I personally thank you for your selfless work, organization, and true dedication to our community. I am honored to work alongside you all.

— Kenneth Stutts

Salisbury

Stutts is volunteer Disaster Action Team coordinator for the EH Dole Office (Rowan County) of the American Red Cross.

Caution and trains

On Dec. 10, you published a letter from me concerning safety on the trains during the Polar Express train ride at the N.C .Transportation Museum. The museum’s interim director and chief operating officer and the Lee Street Theatre director sent in a letter the following day that diverted attention from my safety warning and wrote about how safe it is to walk between train cars, which it is indeed. My concern was the open door to the outside of the train where they placed the children to wave at the awaiting crowd like they do on floats in a parade. Select individuals made me out to be a trouble maker for detecting and reporting potential safety hazards.

Well, soon after my letter, they had an accident involving one of their volunteers. This man is a seasoned, extremely knowledgeable, safety-conscious rail operations train crew volunteer. Locomotive 6133 (dubbed the Polar Express) was reported not moving at the time as he attempted to climb aboard the cab and fell. I pray for his speedy, complete recovery.

When I agreed to volunteer, I was required to sign a waiver to waive all rights to me, my heirs, etc. should I become injured or dead.

My point is, child or adult, moving train or not moving train: We all must be cautious around trains.

— Jackie Taylor

Lexington

Dome question

I remain confused by the “artist’s rendering” of the proposed central office in the Post Jan. 6 that persists to depict an utterly useless, “decorative” dome that at various times is estimated to cost $185,000-$250,000. I’ve proposed several times, as have many others, that the monies being spent on this energy wasteful decoration be instead spent on solar panels. Not only would they probably pay for themselves in five years (mine are) but then they would continue to supply free energy for the next 20 or so years!

So the big question to all these elected officials that continually remind us taxpayers about costs and saving money is why are you allowing this $250,000 to be wasted on decorations? Personally, I think it’s an ugly monstrosity.

— Dwayne Dvoracek

Salisbury

Editor’s note: The dome is in the plans, but funding for it “is not in place at this time,” according to Rita Foil, public information officer for the school system.

Comments

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