Letters to the Editor for 01/18/10

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New school is a waste of money


Why are we building this expensive new Grayson Highlands school up toward Troutdale, when our school-age enrollment is declining and state funding is decreased?

This sounds nuts to me.

The building at Bridle Creek Elementary, where I vote, is solid as a rock.

The academic program has won a presidential citation for excellence. It's small enough that teachers know the children and families by name.

I'm not as familiar with Mount Rogers Combined School, but I know that students from there will spend up to 1.5 hours on the school bus, on steep mountain roads. That's pretty hard on a first grader.

I have been told that numerous families from Mount Rogers are sending their children to school in North Carolina.

Meanwhile, our local newspapers report that we have fewer children to educate in Grayson County. Because of property reassessment, our taxes have gone up and our state education monies, based on a composite score, are being reduced.

So who gets a big boost from all this? Out-of-state developers and realtors.

It's interesting that we didn't hear much about the need for a new school until their scheme to put a prison on the New River fell through.

Tract homes, here we come. Let's hope for some local jobs, but the big money won't stay here.

Kyle Noble



Marijuana should be legalized


In response to the Dec. 9 Readers’ Hotline comment, "Got It Backwards, "the issue of marijuana legalization is something we need to address.

America, the most democratic nation on earth, incarcerates more people than any other country. One in 25 Americans will be arrested in their lifetime. We have chosen "tough on crime" over constitutional freedoms.

Marijuana laws were born from prejudice in Texas, Arizona and California. Ranchers were upset that laborers were not working as hard when they smoked dope and pushed for laws against it. These were seeds of the drug enforcement act that came years later.

I do not use marijuana but I do have a solution. Make marijuana legal and place a 25 percent tax on it. Ten percent of this tax should go to the national deficit, 50 percent to restoring our crumbling infrastructure and the remainder should be paid to the American people as a dividend.

You should have to be over age 21 to purchase it and must possess a stupid card to buy it. To get a stupid card you will have to attend a class that teaches health risks of the drug along with mental health risks, such as becoming lethargic and allowing life to pass you by.

States should be allowed to place a 10 percent tax on the drug to fund law enforcement to go after drugs such as LSD, methamphetamine and heroin.

We live under the oppressive thumb of the Patriot Act, police road checks in the street when we have done nothing wrong, cameras at traffic lights, gun laws and we cannot carry over a certain amount of our own money on the street without being guilty of a crime.

This is not the America my uncle envisioned as he stormed the beaches of Normandy to defend freedom. His greatest regret later in life was that America has chosen socialism.

I choose freedom and if that means that somebody wants to mess their life up with dope, then so be it because statistically they are already doing it but we can't tax it.

As for the caller: If you don't want poison ivy then don't touch it. Have you been smoking dope?

Tom Williams



Keep 911 lines in working order


I was told by an AEP supervisor, in person, during the recent power and phone outage, that the phone company has equipment/generators to keep phones working during power outages. His comment was “someone didn't get it done."

As a senior citizen living in an isolated country area, I depend on the phone for medical supervision, a way to get help if needed, a connection to those who check on me.

This area is populated with elderly citizens. Consider the homebound, medically incapacitated also depending on phone connections.

A cell phone is not the answer. I am in a dead zone. Others are too sensitive to the cell/computer frequencies to use them. Does this mean we are all throwaway citizens except when it's time to pay the bill?

Where is the rebate about no service for 25 percent of the month? We are paying full monthly charges for local and long distance service as well as government taxes, surcharges of various kinds, carrier costs.

My phone was inoperable for eight days, many days after power was restored. I had no way of notifying the phone company, being five miles from the nearest phone.

The phone lines are emergency measures using access to 911, sheriff, fire, ambulance, medical aid. The Americans With Disabilities Act assures in monthly billing that they would have access to the telecommunications system.

Even features on new phone boxes list “no electric power needed to operate.”

Certainly there must be a state and federal directive to the phone company to keep the 911 phone lines in working order. We certainly are paying for the service.

Theresa Rogers

Elk Creek