Letter to the editor

My wife and I own a home in Glendale Springs.On the afternoon of July 3, 2014, I was struck by lightning while mowing our yard. My wife called 911 and an EMS crew promptly came to our house and transported me to Ashe Memorial Hospital, where I remained for the next three days.The purpose of this letter is to publicly thank all of my healthcare providers: the members of the EMS crew, the nursing staff at AMH and especially, Dr. Owen Oksanen, the Emergency Medicine Physici...

3 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

Obama Administration does well

The Obama administration has been implementing new ways to measure economic activity in the United States. Although not exactly front-page news, this initiative deserves praise from anyone, regardless of political party or economic views, who believes policymakers are more likely to make wise decisions if they are provided timely, valid, and informative data on economic performance in their states and regions.

3 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

A non-lawyer on the Supreme Court?

President Obama plans to appoint National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg to the United States Supreme Court.Not really, of course.Totenberg may know more than most lawyers about the Supreme Court from her experience as an award-winning legal affairs correspondent for NPR.But she is not a lawyer, and you have to be a lawyer to be on the court.Don’t you?No. The Constitution sets forth no such requirement. Article Two provides sim...

5 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

There has to be a better way to run a state

Exhausted legislators finally saw the closing gavel and heard the fat lady sing the “sine die,” followed quickly by the Hallelujah chorus striking up the perennial tune, “There has to be a better way to run a state.”

6 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

The foolish choice for Medicaid expansion

When you consider all the bad choices made by the General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory in the last two years—and there have been too many to mention—the one that may make the least sense was the decision not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and therefore provide health coverage for more than 400,000 low income adults who are currently uninsured.That point was reinforced dramatically recently by a national report that quantified how much federal fund...

7 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

Who should decide if a judge is ‘too old’ to serve?

At the end of this month, N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker will retire from her position on the bench, which she has held since 2006. Gov. Pat McCrory has already announced that current Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin will be appointed to fill the remainder of her term.Parker ultimately didn’t have any choice in stepping down from the court. In North Carolina, judges and justices are forced to retire when they turn 72, which Parker did this month.

7 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

Stick with the winning playbook

Gov. Pat McCrory and some Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly say they need more “tools” for economic development in North Carolina — by which they mean targeted tax breaks and corporate subsidies. They often point to South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and other states in our neighborhood that, they say, are more aggressive in using economic incentives to recruit or retain businesses.I disagree with incentive advocates on policy grounds. Govern...

8 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

Voters should be prepared for changes in this year’s elections

A lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s controversial new voting law is still ongoing, but a federal judge recently ruled that this year’s elections will proceed with that law in effect.The plaintiffs in the case, which include the League of Women Voters, the North Carolina NAACP and others, were seeking an injunction that would have blocked cuts to early voting and prevented a repeal of same-day voter registration from being implemented until a full trial is held in 201...

10 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

Pay reform meets student needs

Critics of the Republican-led General Assembly allege that the teacher-pay raise included in this year’s state budget could have been implemented in a much simpler fashion: by giving across-the-board hikes to all rather than giving large raises to early-career teachers and relatively small raises to some experienced ones.The critics are correct. Across-the-board raises would have been simpler. But that doesn’t mean they would have been the best policy. You see, North Ca...

11 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

We can simplify our elections

The special election in November to fill a Court of Appeals judgeship illustrates how complicated, costly and difficult we’ve made elections and how we might simplify voting.The Court of Appeals election was triggered when former Chief Judge John Martin stepped down after the May Primary Elections. Martin is a practical and seasoned jurist who understands both the letter and intent of our Constitution. We wouldn’t be surprised if he timed his retirement so as to avoid s...

12 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

Another loss for Ashe County workers

It was depressing to read of Lowes Foods closing its West Jefferson store.The service the employees provide to customers has been outstanding. In fact, one of the former employees won the Ashe Chamber Outstanding Service Award a few years ago.Over the years the store has been a great help to the Blue Ridge Brutal Bike Ride, which is a fundraiser for the Ashe Civic Center.After the closing of the Gates plant in Jefferson, it is sad to see another group of hard ...

14 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

McCrory scrambling to change the budget he was ‘proud to sign’

The more days that pass since Governor Pat McCrory signed the state budget, the more confusing that budget becomes, especially when trying to figure out what it means for public schools in North Carolina.And McCrory is adding to the confusion with his private actions not matching his public words.He said last week it was a budget he was proud to sign, citing the raises it provided for teachers and the fact that it fully funded teacher assistant positions at schools acros...

14 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

Commissioners must remove Price

I doubt if anyone was surprised to learn of Ashe County Commissioner, and self-proclaimed “sovereign citizen,” Gerald Price’s recent arrest. But even I was dumbfounded by his latest idiotic court filing where he “denies his own existence.”In his filing, Price (the non-person) is again bringing a frivolous lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office.In the long nightmare characterizing the county commissioners’ decision making in recent ...

18 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

The most important thing the legislature did

The most important thing the legislature did this year is what it did not do.Adjourn.Instead of adjourning and closing down as is customary shortly after the state’s budget has been revised, the legislators resolved to stay in session indefinitely, coming back from time to time to respond to emergencies, to vote on various matters, and to work out a plan to deal with Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds.Maybe that sounds like a reasonable plan to you.

19 days 4 hours ago | | | Email

Play it safe

We don’t know what the composition of the North Carolina General Assembly will look like after the November election. Republicans are favored to hold their majorities in both legislative chambers, to be sure, but their edge could shrink a lot, shrink a little or stay roughly the same (a net increase in Republican-held seats would be surprising given their current supermajorities).

20 days 4 hours ago | | | Email


Establish a committee to assist in finding new economic developer

With the process of securing the services of a new...

2 months 23 days 4 hours ago | | | Email


Letter to the editor

My wife and I own a home in Glendale Springs.

3 days 4 hours ago | | | Email


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