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The dollars tell the story

For those who live and work in Ashe County, we’ve always known this is a magical area of North Carolina.And it’s clear, after the presentation on the financial impact of tourism here offered by Scott Ballard with the Ashe Chamber of Commerce on Monday to the county commissioners, that we’re well on our way to becoming a significant visitor destination.The dollars tell the story best. In 1991, tourism-related spending generated $14.29 million. In 2012, $...

1 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

Our Variety Literatureland

“Variety Vacationland.” Do you remember that slogan from our state’s past?I suggest a new one: “Variety Literatureland.”In the next few weeks I plan to provide support for my suggestion in the form of books and their authors who will be appearing on North Carolina Bookwatch.First is Krista Bremer, associate publisher of The Sun, a successful national magazine, headquartered in Chapel Hill. Bremer’s essays have been published...

3 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

Repairing election process, a debate worth watching

I don’t blame Thom Tillis for refusing to attend one of the three televised GOP Senate primary debates. The only mystery is why he (or any candidate) is bothering with any of them.Many of us have idyllic notions of yesteryear’s Lincoln-Douglas debates. Some of us even have remembrances of the Kennedy-Nixon debates when, discounting Nixon’s sweaty TV appearance, substance mattered and we got a chance to learn their positions on the issues. We conceptually support t...

5 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

‘Southern Justice’ offers one aspect of county reality

Let’s be honest; when it was announced several months ago that a film crew representing the National Geographic Channel was in Ashe County filming the daily interactions between the public and the sheriff’s department, did you really think the scenes recorded would be a rosy portrayal of traditional life here? Of course not.Did you imagine the scenes of law enforcement officers performing their daily, and occasionally dangerous, duties in keeping the citizenry safe woul...

8 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

Choice program deserves defense

Liberal activists may fume, and left-wing editorialists may grind their teeth, but legislative leaders are going to defend their 2013 opportunity scholarship bill against lawsuits by the teacher union and other special interests.Senate leader Phil Berger, House Speaker Thom Tillis, House Speaker Pro Tem Skip Stam (the main architect of the program), and other leaders won’t be defending school choice because they oppose public education. They won’t be defending school ch...

9 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

Saying thanks is not enough

We say, “Thanks for your service,” when we met veterans of the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq veterans.They can be forgiven if they think “Thanks for your service” is an incomplete thank you, an insincere and hollow expression, showing a lack of understanding and real appreciation of what these men and women had been through.So how can we appreciate what they have done, if we have no idea about their real experiences?There is help. In 12 b...

10 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

It appears winter is finally over

At last, the long winter seems to be behind us.With several days of clear skies and warming temperatures, folks have ventured out in significant numbers over the last week.This past weekend was a perfect example of the so-called “pent-up demand” for a break in the weather.In nearly every corner of the county, folks were out and about enjoying the excellent conditions.

11 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

You Decide: Where is the growth?

Economists love numbers – some might call it an occupational hazard. Numbers are our window into the workings of the economy. Without numbers, we’d have a difficult time understanding how the economy is changing, both in positive and negative ways.But all economic numbers aren’t created equally. For example, many of the economic statistics released monthly – such as the job numbers – are based on statistical samples. This means they are not 100 percent...

12 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

Bringing YMCA here will be an exciting challenge

A significant, and very exciting, challenge awaits Ashe County over the next several months: an attempt to bring a YMCA into Jefferson Station in downtown West Jefferson.The momentum to have Jefferson Station be the location of a new Y has been building for several months after the building’s owners indicated a willingness to offer up the facility if the well-known Christian organization would consider opening here.The opportunity offered by the building’s ow...

15 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

FCC should let markets work

In February, Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler declared that the N.C. General Assembly had no authority to determine telecommunications policy in North Carolina.Well, okay, Wheeler didn’t single North Carolina out for particular scorn. But he did say that in the coming months, the FCC might decide to challenge state laws, like the one the North Carolina legislature enacted in 2011, that govern the ability of cities and counties to create their own broadband networks...

15 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

From ash pond, to river, to your bloodstream

When you have finished drinking this bottle of water, fill it with our tap water for liquid refreshment that tastes as good and is just as pure as what was in the bottle.That was the message from the City of Wilmington’s proud and professional public utilities department at an event celebrating one of its enlightened water quality improvement projects a few years ago. Their message still hits home with me. Every time I remember it, I am grateful for the blessing of safe and c...

16 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

Upset by high school sports column

Dear editor,Upon reading the article, “Travel teams impacting school sports” I was, and still am, very upset with how Mr. Nathan Ham degraded the youth that choose not to play a sport at ACHS.He spoke of interviewing “area coaches,” but he failed to interview a member of a traveling team to get both sides of the story.Perhaps if one, or many of these athletes had been interviewed, he would understand their choice. The youth of the count...

17 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

Inconvenience is often the price of progress

There will almost certainly be cross words and a wringing of hands from those folks in the Fleetwood Community over the next three months as the bridge over the Old Field Creek is replaced on Railroad Grade Road.It is understandable. Only a select few, those with heavenly-inspired patience, can maintain their good humor and sunny outlook through life’s minor and major inconveniences.The rest of us mumble “unspeakables” under our breath and slowly count ...

18 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

For wont of the public trust

The Duke Energy coal ash saga reminds us of the old poem, “For Wont of a Nail.” No doubt you remember that because of a missing horseshoe nail a horse, a rider, a message, a battle, a war and a kingdom were lost.In our modern-day proverb we would suggest beginning by saying that for wont of doing the right thing the public trust was lost.Winston Churchill once said Americans could always be counted on to do the right thing…after they had tried everythin...

19 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

McCrory is just plain wrong about jobs picture

Gov. Pat McCrory has been at it again lately — incorrectly claiming that his decision to dramatically cut unemployment benefits is responsible for turning around the state’s job market. During a visit to Morganton last week, the Governor stated:“There’s nothing worse than if you have a job opening and someone decides to take a government check instead. So we had to bring the two together,” he said. “We made a decision [to cut unemployment benefit...

20 days 1 hours ago | | | Email

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