Letters to the editor – Sunday –

Published 1:16 pm Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Jazz festival brings out best in people

Saturday before last, I stood in the midst of the crowd at the Rowan Blues and Jazz Festival. On the stage before me was an ensemble whose members probably ranged over five decades in age. They represented several ethnic groups. And they sounded like dynamite!

As my field of attention widened, I saw an even greater diversity of ages, genders and ethnic groups in the audience. Young and old, black and white, male and female, disabled and normally enabled— dancing together, moving together, singing together and laughing together. This is a rare experience for our communities in Salisbury. It is a time when we come out of our respective silos and share a little bit of joy together.

Widening my attention span just once more I realized that, to me, Rowan Blues and Jazz Festival is not just a great show. It isn’t just an effort to preserve the roots of music in the Piedmont. It is an act of social justice in my home town. Am I in for another year? You better believe I am!

— Jeff Sharp


Trade hurts us

The effects of free trade and NAFTA have been felt on our economy for two decades. Many manufacturing jobs, furniture jobs, telemarketing jobs have all been shipped overseas to China or India.

Forty years ago a man or woman straight out of high school could walk into a mill and pick up a job in an hour. Now the search for jobs is hard for people with college degrees and people who even have master degrees. We don’t need any more trade deals with foreign countries — we need fair trade. I have seen for 13 years the effects of NAFTA on our economy.

— Phillip Pless


Deaf and a winner

This week, May 24, history was made! It won’t be written in any textbooks or discussed on TV. It sure would be nice if it were headlined in the local newspapers for all to see. Nyle DiMarco won the latest competition of Dancing With The Stars. What is so historic about that? Nyle DiMarco is totally deaf. He cannot hear the music but did such an excellent job of learning the many dances. He said that he was doing it for all of the deaf and to show what they can do.

Very few deaf children are taught their own language — sign language. About 95 percent of deaf children have hearing parents and only about 25 percent of those parents ever learn sign language. Those parents do not have true conversations with their own child.

It seems that many hearing parents think that they will “fix” the deaf child by forcing him or her to speak and maybe by having the cochlear implant placed in their ear and sending them to public schools or keeping them home with no contact with others of the deaf culture. By trying to “fix” them, those children are denied their own natural language and culture. Yes, they are of a different culture from that of us hearing persons simply because their lives are based on visuals, whereas ours is on sounds.

When I moved to North Carolina, I was amazed, and still am, that the term “hearing impaired” is still being used here. That is an insult. They are definitely not impaired just because they are deaf.

It would have been so heartening to have seen an article about this accomplishment in the Salisbury Post.

— June Clancy


Smart path on ash

This is a critical time for our community and all North Carolinians. Decisions being made right now by lawmakers in Raleigh could have an impact on our communities, customers’ pocketbooks and the safe management of coal ash for years to come.

Fortunately, elected officials in the General Assembly are considering common-sense legislation that would strengthen the 2014 Coal Ash Management Act. Those revisions would help make sure decisions to close ash basins throughout the state, including those at our Buck facility here in Rowan County, protect the environment, people’s water supply, our economy and household budgets.

There is broad, bipartisan support in the General Assembly, as well as from community leaders, neighbors, businesses and many environmental advocates. The proposed legislation would reestablish the Coal Ash Management Commission, which has a vital role in making sure closure decisions are based on the full range of considerations, including sound science and engineering, potential impacts to customers’ bills and disruptive truck and train traffic.

Since 2014, Duke Energy has made significant progress, moving millions of tons of ash to safe, lined disposal sites. We have a lot more work ahead of us in the months and years ahead.

There is much at stake. It is important that we get it right. We hope lawmakers and the governor will continue down a smart path for North Carolina when it comes to deciding how ash basins will be closed and how those plans affect our community and others throughout the state.

— Randy D. Welch


Welch is district manager for Duke Energy.

The deadline for letters endorsing candidates in the June 7 primary is 5 p.m. Thursday, June. 2.