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Letters to the Editor for 3/2/09

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Resort could cause problems

We have been following the reporting on the zoning variance request for the trailer park on Foxwood Lane. We are in full support of the planning commission’s decision to not grant a special use permit.

Our concern isn’t that there will be a shortage of angelic retirees, all of whom will spend their time in church and donating to local charities but, the overall long-term usage of land in Grayson County has to be considered.

Don’t overlook that local farmers make a major contribution to the food chain and have good land management skills to protect their investments. For this reason, adequate zoning laws that form the character of the area should be upheld and projected forward.

If there is a waiver granted for a special variance, then it opens up a situation that once established, cannot be undone.

Although the God flag is being waved about, within a few years that restriction of membership criteria may fall to efforts to increase profits.

Once you establish a high-density area, there will be higher demand on county services like police, fire safety, trash pickup and emergency services.

Today retirees, tomorrow higher density. Lower tax base combined with higher demand from changing demographics.

We don’t see how that can be done with existing personal property tax on trailers without having to increase the rates on all trailers in the county, causing others to shoulder the burden to profit a few out-of-state owners.

Although this single situation is being claimed to be pre-ordained by God’s plan for natural areas, we are not against orderly development within the country. We are against establishment of high-density housing which will never, ever go away.

Watauga County, N.C., turned its back and granted developers permits, only to find its hillsides disfigured and disgraced with ugly apartment buildings hanging over their city. But it was too late.

Betrayal of the public trust and growing distrust of government only serve to undermine the future authority of written law and the health and well being of the community.

The Grayson County Supervisors are scheduled to vote on this issue March 12. We need to let them know that encroachment of development in rural areas has led to many conflicts that will be future problems for residents.

Fred and Bette Inman

Mouth of Wilson

Relay for Life needs support

The American Cancer Society has been a very active group in Grayson County for several years, with a dedicated group of volunteers participating in patient service programs, cancer support groups, tobacco control and fundraising for cancer research and patient services.

The American Cancer Society needs your help now. Plans are underway to promote the annual fundraiser Relay For Life, held July 31.

It provides the society with funds for cuttingee'edge cancer research; free transportation for patients to cancer treatment facilities; wigs and prostheses for cancer patients; lifesaving literature on cancer prevention, detection and tobacco issues; and patient programs.

Now is the time for individuals, corporations and small businesses to commit their team participation. Relay For Life is how a community can fight back against cancer — both symbolically and literally.

The steps we take represent the battle a cancer patient faces on the path to recovery, and the donations we collect ensure that the American Cancer Society’s mission to eradicate cancer can continue.

To sign up to participate or learn how you can volunteer for other patient services, call Bonnie Byrd at 233ee'2510 or Jane Roberts at (276) 739ee'7780.

Bonnie Byrd

Chairman, Relay for Life

Arts partnership celebrated

Bravo. The concert by the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Philharmonic Orchestra on Jan. 25 at Carroll County High School was exhilarating.

It was especially meaningful and nostalgic to the “pioneers” who worked years ago to bring classical music performances to our area.

In 1970 with the support of the Galax Music Club, visionaries like Sidney Rose Fant, Nancy Stone and many others, the first outee'ofee'state chapter of the North Carolina Symphony based in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, N.C., was established in Galax.

Each year prior to the symphony’s evening concert at Galax High School, a children’s concert was held to culminate a program of instruction written by Adlaide McCall of Duke University. Elementary school children in the Twin County area participated.

Our association with the N.C. Symphony continued for many years until the North Carolina legislature decided we were getting too good a deal from North Carolina taxpayers and, consequently, the Blue Ridge Chapter of the symphony came to an end.

In the meantime, the Galax Theatre Guild was seeking nonee'profit status, and the Arts and Cultural Council of the Twin Counties was formed by collaborating with the theatre guild.

I’m sharing this tidbit of history to thank Ellen Holland and the current board of directors of the Arts Council of the Twin Counties for their faithfulness and diligence in continuing to provide area citizens with a diversity of talent for our enjoyment and inspiration.

I agree with Stravinsky who struck a most enduring note when he said: “Music to me is a power that justifies things.”

Lois Fincher

Galax

Not the right kind of development

I am writing about the Spirit Harbor Development.

Building a retreat in Grayson County is a good idea, if it is well planned.

The right kind of development could provide jobs and help stimulate the economy without harming the natural beauty of our area. However, I don’t think any kind of high density development should be located on the New River or on a hillside.

The section of the river near Mouth of Wilson is a treasure precisely because it is so pristine and undeveloped. People come from all over to fish and canoe there.

We should not allow a trailer park there any more than we should allow a bunch of condos to be built on Grayson Highlands.

The ideal place for a retreat would be somewhere near Independence. And instead of a trailer park, how about a nice lodge, with a restaurant and cabins for rent?

Such a complex could provide both a wonderful experience for people of all ages and more jobs for the people of Grayson County.

And if guests want to enjoy the river, they could go to the lovely New River State Park nearby.

Ellie Kirby

Troutdale

Time for Boucher to be replaced

I disagree with Ruth Ross (“Put an end to partisan politics,” letter of Feb. 16) about our Ninth District Rep. Rick Boucher, and where his loyalties may lie.

Boucher owes much more to our coal-burning electric utilities than she may realize. His political action committee campaign contributions from electric utilities alone total $101,897 for 2007-08 (check it out at the Center for Responsive Politics at opensecrets.org), plus another $74,050 from mining and energy interests.

It was by far the largest amount received by any member of Boucher’s subcommittee. Boucher lost his subcommittee chairmanship this session when a green-oriented Californian named Ed Markey took over the House Energy and Commerce committee, which should tell us something.

My neighbor from Mouth of Wilson always had a friendly reception at Boucher’s office until she took along some friends from Wise County, where 29 mountains have been leveled by strip mining and two more coal-burning plants are proposed.

My friend wrote: “I had contributed and campaigned for him several years and he knows me on first-name basis. He invited us into his office. The ‘coal’ people started to tell him how the mountaintop removal had devastated their lives.

“He did not want to hear it; he became upset, rude and reprimanded me for not telling him what the conference was about earlier. I was so shocked.

“The ‘coal people’ tell me that the coal miners put him in office originally and now the mountaintop removal coal companies are contributing  heavily to his campaigns.”

Until now I have counted myself a Yellow-Dog Democrat. No more.

More of Rick Boucher is the last thing we need. We have two years to find a credible opponent, bearing in mind that Boucher — who ran unopposed in 2008 — nonetheless got 6,000 negative write-in votes this time.

Kyle Noble

Independence