Letters to the editor: Jan. 26

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 26, 2023

United Way success depends on innovation, dedicated staff members

In January of 2022, I challenged the Rowan County United Way board and community members to think differently about the work of our United Way and to embrace change and innovative strategies to solve the complex challenges we would encounter in the upcoming year. The last year has certainly been full of challenges, but we have boldly met those challenges in new and unique ways.

I believe deeply that innovation sits at the nexus of diverse perspectives. The diversity of our board and their perspectives is paramount to our success in solving real challenges in Rowan County. Over the past 12 months, we have developed innovative practices to counter challenging situations in our community — whether it be the implementation of our first major gift giving initiative or establishing a long-term vision of United Way as a community hub for non-profits. For each of these new and innovative approaches our board and staff have provided valuable leadership and support. This year, like those in recent history have also provided challenges for workplace giving and the annual campaign. Through innovative approaches, a can-do attitude, and a few musical bars we have again run a successful annual campaign. We all owe a very special thank you to Micah Ennis, the campaign chair, and the campaign cabinet who led our campaign this year.

The work of Rowan County United Way is not possible without the strong leadership and work of our dedicated staff members. This year’s new initiatives and innovations required additional time and out-of-the-box thinking by our staff members. On behalf of our board and community — thank you to our United Way staff members — Shuntale, Tara, Melissa, Audrey and Jenny.

— Dr. Andrew Smith

Smith is the 2022 board president of Rowan County United Way

Tax rate high enough without Agriculture Center

Our county commissioners just approved taking $550 from every household in the county to pay for renovations to West End Plaza for an “Agricultural Cente.”

With 925 farms in the county, the $30.5 million authorized for renovations equates to nearly $33,000 for each of them, assuming they all use the services offered. However, as with other government-sponsored entities like parks, only a small portion of the eligible population ever takes advantage of them so the actual cost for each farmer who uses the Agricultural Center will likely be far higher.

It should also be noted that while agriculture represents around 15.5% of North Carolina’s economic activity, Rowan County appears to have a lower proportion of agriculture than other counties, seeming to account for only about 10.4% of our economy.

If we spent proportionately to support all the other segments that make up our economy, we’d have to come up with $5,300 per household.

Is this really the best use of tax dollars, especially when it appears the $484 cost per square foot to renovate the West End Plaza space (before the inevitable add-ons) is at least comparable to if not higher than the cost of new construction.

Rowan County has a property tax rate that exceeds those of the two largest and most Democratic counties in the state, Mecklenburg and Wake.

It’s about time that low taxes and limited government become more than pre-election Republican talking points.

— Thomas Strini


Those who litter usually aren’t caught

I appreciate Ronnie Smith’s article in Sunday’s edition “An idea whose time has come” about littering offenders being given the chance to pick up litter as part of restitution. This is a wonderful idea.

The only problem is that 95% of people that litter are not caught. I am very tired of picking up other peoples litter. If you read this and are doing it, think about what you are doing and stop.

— Dick Richards


Stein not the best choice for NC governor

N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein recently announced as the first Democrat to run for governor in 2024 to succeed Roy Cooper. I hope citizens do a deep dive into his resume as it warrants further scrutiny.

First of all, he’s not even from the state. He was born in D.C. and educated totally at woke Ivy League schools Dartmouth and Harvard. His, and their, indoctrinated version of what real education is about has produced failed public education everywhere with statistics and test scores to back it up.

N.C. deserves much better, and I hope voters will step up and send him packing.

— Floyd Prophet