Readers' Hotline 2/27/12

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Made in America
I’d like to thank the head of a local furniture factory here in Galax for putting people before profit. If more companies in the United States would do that, the U.S. and even the City of Galax would not be the state we are in. I say kudos to this local company. Sounds like you have a great leader. You are working for the good of the area and we appreciate it. Let’s think American, made in America. No more China stuff. If everybody would just stop buying all this “made in China,” everything from candy to clothes, that would help a lot, too.

Dependable workers
To the person talking about retirees taking in all that extra money from retirement: you obviously don’t know what you are talking about. The reason they get hired is they are dependable. They show up on time and they are there every day. They do a good job. There are jobs out there if you want to get one. Just get up off that lazy butt and get you one. Oh yeah, all that play money you are talking about, we use that to buy our medicine with. We are not greedy. We are needy.

Wear layers
In response to the call concerning taking out a loan to pay an electric bill and the lack of government assistance — I feel for those who have difficulty paying and I feel our government should assist even though it means the rest of us, through taxation, are actually providing that financial support. But those in need have a responsibility do to their part. I don’t need assistance with my electric bill, but because I am fiscally conservative and also concerned about pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, I take measures to conserve. This includes leaving my thermostat between 55 and 60 degrees during winter months and wearing several layers of clothing at home. My last APCo bill was just under $70 and my 1,300-square-foot house is all electric. Perhaps the person asking for us to help pay is taking the measures that I take, but I sort of doubt it and I suspect the Hotline will now get calls saying it is crazy to expect needy people to live in such extreme conditions. If I can manage with a 55- to 60-degrees setting, those looking for financial help can also.

I am a worker at the Fancy Gap water project out here. I was just curious to know what part of the word “slow” do motorists not understand when they are driving through construction work zones?

Take to the streets
I can’t help but read the Hotline without banging my head on a table multiple times. What good is it to call the local newspaper complaining about minor points when you could be taking action? What good comes of complaining of speeding on your road, not stocking a local stream instead of contacting authorities, which could actually help. I live in a major East Coast city, which has 300-plus homicides each year, police corruption and random homelessness. Do we [rely on] anonymous comments? Heck no, we take to the streets and stand together, contact our politicians and attach our names. I’m not trying to sound better than anyone back home. The area The Gazette serves is full of wonderful, kind and good people. The hatred I see in the Hotline gives my hometown a terrible image. If you have a complaint, take it to the house like a good Southerner would. I hate to lose the entertainment value of the Hotline, but tell them to contact local politicians and make your voice heard. Sign your name to a letter and please take responsibility for your concerns instead of hiding behind an anonymous phone call to the local paper.

Just be thankful
I’m calling about outdated food at the food bank. They have to put the date on the food but it doesn’t mean it isn’t safe to eat. I buy canned food all the time that is outdated and it will keep from four to five months. It saves money and you get yours free, so don’t complain about it. There is nothing wrong with it, so be thankful that you get it.

Sacrifices overlooked
I saw on television where the governor of New Jersey wanted to fly the flag at half-staff in honor of Whitney Houston. I hate that Whitney lost her life but I just wonder how many times he has ordered the flags flown at half-staff for soldiers from New Jersey that were killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Hiring questioned
This call is in respect to the recent hire of Onnie Harmon as the new Galax girls volleyball head coach. It is a shame the school system decided to hire someone who has no affiliation with the school system. They had three candidates for that position. The other two candidates both were female. One was the assistant coach for Coach Houk for the last four years and is a teacher at the school, played college volleyball, was very qualified and the other applicant was a woman who is doing her student teaching in the system and trying to get a job in the system. Two qualified women within the system who could have done a great job for that program.
Editor’s note: While Onnie Harmon is not a teacher, he has been affiliated with the school system as junior varsity volleyball coach for many years.

Volleyball hire
This is about the Galax High School volleyball coach position. Why did they want a man to coach a bunch of teenage girls when there is a qualified woman in the system who wanted the job and has built the varsity volleyball program to what it is now?

Justify it
A boy in our community had surgery last week and now his daddy is calling everybody wanting to have a benefit for him. This boy has Medicare because he is on disability so all he has to pay [is part of] his medical bill. His wife has a job. If they want to have a benefit for medical bills, let them show what medical bills they are and pay them. People do not have the money this day and time to just give to everybody. There are lots of people out of work.

Take care of our own
The Grayson County Supervisors are threatening us with a 15 percent increase in property tax if we don’t swallow the disastrous trash collection fee that already amounts to a tax on top of a tax. We can get the badly needed revenue that they squandered on an unnecessary school. We can drop out of the cockamamie scheme known as the Wildwood Industrial Project in Carroll County, which, if memory serves, will cost Grayson County $119,000 per year. We don’t need to run with the big dogs. We need to take care of our own instead of the Blue Ridge Community Economic Development Authority. That boondoggle is an operating budget of $100,000 per year. We hear occasional chirpings that corporations are looking into locating here, but they can’t breathe a word about confidential deals. I would appreciate it if our local news people would sit in on board meetings and let us know what they are up to. Since they use our tax money, their meetings should be public.
Editor’s note: The 15 percent being discussed is understood to be part of a range of a 10 to 15 percent increase in taxes (5 cents to 7 cents on the rate) that’s possible if the existing trash fee was converted to the real estate levy. This would result in the same amount of revenue needed to support and continue trash collection and disposal services. The board has made no decision yet. County Administrator Jonathan Sweet says that without strategic investments to diversify Grayson’s revenue, the cost of trash collection and disposal, along with all other public services, will continue to fall solely in the lap of citizens. “Without businesses, industry and other diversifications within our local economy, the cost to deliver these services become an overwhelming burden to our citizens, and without quality jobs our citizens can’t even afford to pay their fair share.  It is for these reasons and more that both the county and the commonwealth make strategic investments toward the creation, retention, attraction and support of jobs and opportunities.”