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Letters to the editor – Sunday (8-16-15)

Treat teachers with dignity

Today my daughter and her two daughters painted her classroom at North Rowan High School. The rooms at the school are drab, dull and look more like prison cells than classrooms.

It has been proven that we are happier and more productive individuals when we are in a calming, cheerful environment.

As a former teacher myself, I commend the dedicated teachers who spend so much of their time and money on the students they love. But I think we as a society need to realize that our teachers are not only underpaid, but constantly being taken advantage of by a political system that no longer values a love for learning.

My daughter struggles to pay her bills, but she paid $50 for the paint. Do you think if she was working for any major corporation, or for that matter a small business, she would be in this totally absurd position?

We need to wake up, America, especially North Carolina, and treat our teachers with the dignity they deserve. We spend far too much on the chiefs, when the Indians are doing the work!

— Joyce Cross


Questions linger

Today is the 11th anniversary of the murder of my son, Kevin “Mark” Ritchie. John Rankin, who had been his hunting buddy for 23 years (since high school), stabbed him in the back on his exercise machine and stole all Mark’s guns. The police investigators would not let me into the crime scene, but Mark’s girlfriend (who found him) said he had a hole the size of a nickel in his back. After the autopsy, I kissed four places where he was stabbed in the chest area. Those stab wounds were smaller, so we knew two different knives were used.

During the two years that John was awaiting trial, I learned that he was a model prisoner and that he was the Muslim leader in the Rowan County jail. I’m certainly not suggesting that all Muslims are terrorists, but the majority of terrorists are Muslim.

John was sentenced to life in prison without parole, but his son, Cedric Hawkins, took an Alford plea, meaning that he wasn’t admitting guilt, but he knew there was enough evidence to convict him. By taking the Alford plea, he had to serve 10 years, and with good behavior he would be released after 10 years. He will probably be released in 2016.

Mark’s gun safe was designed to hold 20 weapons, but he usually had about 30 in it (he had 14 deer mounted in his home). During the trial, we had to listen to every call from John to his previous girlfriend. He told her, “I have a stash, but I don’t trust nobody; I mean nobody!” I have a list of Mark’s serial numbers, but none of the weapons have ever been found or they would have been returned to me. Will those stolen weapons be used to arm terrorists?

— Elaine C. Howle

China Grove

If only we’d known

Let’s hear it for the music of Salisburgo!

I was reading about Maestro Riccardo Muti and his appearance at the Salzburg Music Festival going on now over in Austria, and on his Italian-language biography page I noticed an interesting city name. Bear in mind, this page was in the Italian language, so imagine my surprise when I saw that the Italian spelling for the illustrious city of Salzburg is:


If only our late aunt Elinor Swaim had known this when she was working with the board of the Salisbury Symphony. She would have gone right down the aisle, politely informing patrons:

“You know, when the Italians say Salzburg in their native language, they call it “Salisburgo.”

Well, through the years, our friends, knowing how much the people of Salisbury enthusiastically support the arts, education and, of course, the Salisbury Symphony, where I once joined the violin section for a performance of Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony back in the ‘80s, we naturally like to kid around about “Salisbury and Salzburg.”

See, I always wanted my hometown of Charlotte to play Berlin or Vienna to Salisbury’s imaginary Yadkin River Valley Salzburg.

But anyway, we can now say there is great music both in Salisburgo and Salisbury especially, that is, if we are chatting with Italian or Italian-American friends!

Well, see you later, Amici!

— David Proctor McKnight




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