Letters to the Editor for Week of 1/28/08

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In response to The Gazette’s Jan. 21 editorial regarding the aircraft ban ordinance, as I pointed out at numerous town meetings, an aircraft ban would only force the use of chemicals into other dispensing methods.

The real issue, not being addressed, is the use of chemicals. Available information is not being researched. Faulty information, produced by the chemical companies, is followed as fact.

Fifty years of research has proven reproductive toxicity from Dimethoate, with residues in food, orchard fruit. The Journal of Pesticide Science shows research of leaching issues.

Its poisoning hazard to honeybees is documented by Cornell University. Dimethoate is scheduled to be taken off of the market soon, having been shown as too dangerous for use.

Other Christmas tree chemicals are ingredients in Agent Orange, the Vietnam jungle defoliant. They are absorbed by inhalation, through skin absorption and by the gastrointestinal tract. The connections of glyposate (Roundup) to non-Hodgkins Lymphoma is well known, researched by Greenpeace.

If the use of chemicals were safe, why is the word “safe” not allowed to describe them? Why are chemical suits and masks used when spraying trees? Why are signs used when spraying saying “Do Not Enter — Poisonous Spraying?”

Why are immigrant workers showing up in medical clinics and health shops looking for help for lung and chemical-related diseases? Why can particulate matter be smelled in the air, some distances away from trees being sprayed?

Overlapping onto private property of chemicals is illegal. Incidents of overlapping, use of creeks for chemical tanks, dead fish and bees, issues of asthma/breathing difficulties, physical threats, animals going down have all been reported as well as misuse in mixing of chemicals.

Nothing is being done to document damages in Grayson County to the land, water, foliage, animals and related health issues.

County residents are faced with escalating damage from chemical use. Perhaps some courageous person will gather concerned residents into a viable joined force, with legal council to protect our rights.

Voice your opinion March 3 at 6:30 p.m. at an open public meeting at the Grayson library in Independence.

Theresa Rogers

Elk Creek




I have to wonder about the start our new Carroll County Board of Supervisors has made.

First they appoint themselves to the PSA board before they really know what their own job is about.

It would seem a wiser course would have been to name interim appointees until they get the “lay of the land” themselves. Hopefully they’ve only named themselves as interim appointees.

In my humble judgment, the really questionable move was to retain a county attorney from Radford. Can’t we find a good ole’ Carroll County country lawyer?

It seems to me that lawyers in Carroll are a lot like deer — you can hardly drive down the street without running over one, yet we had to go all the way to Radford to get one.

Isn’t this [County Attorney Jim] Cornwell the same guy we had who kept the county and the town in lawsuits with each other? The one who charged by the hour and ran up a bill over $200,000? Yeah, I think that’s the guy.

Well, since I voted for one of the new board members, I’m willing to wait and watch and see what happens before I start writing some really nasty letters.

I believe it’s time we made our leaders accountable for their decisions and actions, especially when it involves our tax dollars.

Just so they know, I plan to request the details of some of the county’s more questionable expenditures so that they may be published in the paper. I think taxpayers have the right to know where their money is going.

Ron Hall





A guilty verdict may have been returned for Ralph Haga, but the evidence was not there to support that verdict.

Most people in that courtroom were flabbergasted and appalled by the verdict that was returned. The evidence did not support the verdict.

Individuals who sat through the entire trial have said that now, more than ever, they believe in Ralph. If they had any doubts of his innocence before, the evidence that was presented cleared their minds.

I have never witnessed such a gross miscarriage of justice in my life. I have always been a person who tried to keep faith in the justice system. That is now gone.

I am not an uneducated individual. However, law is not my area of expertise. It has always been my understanding that an individual is considered “innocent until proven guilty” and that guilt had to be proven ‘”beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The investigation into these alleged crimes and the evidence and testimonies that were presented at trial did not follow either of these guidelines.

Unfortunately, much of the evidence and the testimonies that took place in the courtroom will never be public knowledge.

Although this is a very emotional case, I feel very confident that if the public could hear everything (including testimonies) that the court and jury heard, they would realize that this man is innocent.

Many people think, like I used to, that if a jury finds someone guilty that must mean that they are indeed guilty. I now realize how ignorant I have been in this thinking.

Although jurors are supposed to remain impartial, listen to all of the evidence that is presented and render a verdict strictly based upon what they have heard and seen, that did not happen. Many of the jurors had their minds made up before the trial began.

As someone who knows all parties and evidence involved in this case, I can, in good conscience and with great ease, say that I still FULLY support and believe in the complete innocence of Ralph Haga.

Battling for truth, justice and innocence,

Kim Shaw






In the days where prisons are so overcrowded that there are inmates sleeping on the floors, one has to ask why is it that we are sending innocent people to prison and adding to the problem.

Due to the verdict that was recommended by the jury for Ralph Haga, it appears that he may be joining these ranks.

As someone who was in the courtroom for part of the trial, testified and was there when the jury returned the verdict, I was completely shocked by the verdict.

The 12 people who formed the jury could not have honestly listened to and heard the evidence that was presented.

There was not enough evidence presented for anyone to find Ralph Haga guilty, especially not beyond a reasonable doubt.

Unfortunately, the jurors’ minds were made up before this case began; Ralph never had a chance of being found not guilty.

I have personally experienced the type of tragedy that these children claim they have been exposed to. After a horrendous experience such as this, stories and statements do not change. You always remember what happened — the how, the when, the where.

As someone who has prior experience in the law enforcement field, I can attest to the fact that this case was not properly investigated.

There were other potential leads that were never followed up or investigated. There are so many things about this case that will never be public knowledge.

Although I have no children of mine own, I have always loved and been about kids. However, all children can be easily influenced. Depending upon who and how a question is asked of them the answer may change.

With this being said, I have never witnessed such a gross miscarriage of justice in my life. The evidence and testimonies that were presented at the trial were inconsistent with the alleged victim’s original stories.

This man is innocent!

If the public could be privy to this entire story from the beginning to the here and now, they would know that this man has been railroaded by the system.

Beth Robinson






I would like to thank The Gazette for offering “cheap stuff” as a category in the classified ads.

I have sold a few things and given yardsale clothes and items away.

It is nice to see that The Gazette helps the people of Galax.

Joyce Baggatta


Editor’s note: The Gazette’s “cheap stuff” classified ads are for any items worth $50 or less. The listing is free. You can list up to four items. To list an item, call 236-5178, ext. 217.