Respect rules of ‘the golden hour’


To the Editor:

Just wondering why so many people are using the hour (7-8 a.m.) designated for elder and compromised health persons to shop at Ingles?

My mother has autoimmune hepatitis, walks with a cane and is 82 years old. She wanted to take advantage of the “golden hour” at Ingles on Wednesday, and she did; however, when I asked her if there were a lot of older people out she said, “a few but mostly younger adults and it was packed.” Please if you are not compromised and not elderly let those that are take advantage of this golden hour! Can’t you wait that one specialized hour and then go shopping? Pretend it was your own parents getting out there – would it make a difference then?

Vicki DeStefano,



Prisons, jails must step up to address COVID-19 crisis


To the Editor:

The state’s prisons and jails have been strained for years with many facilities operating well over capacity. This presents a particularly high public health risk during the COVID-19 crisis.

Incarcerated people have higher rates of underlying health issues than members of the general public, including higher rates of respiratory disease, heart disease, diabetes and other conditions that suppress the immune response. I have reached out several times to the North Carolina Governor’s Office and my state representative’s office for answers to what they are doing to head off this inevitable disaster and haven’t received a response. Other states have taken swift action and released non-violent, low-risk prisoners to reduce overcrowding, but not North Carolina.

It’s a matter of public safety for North Carolina to take urgent and active measures to manage the spread of COVID-19 within our prisons and jails. As the virus inevitably overtakes our jails and prisons, correctional officers, law enforcement and medical staff will end up risking their health and safety to an even greater degree. The close overcrowded conditions, (often 30 to 60 inmates are housed in one room), and lack of access to hygiene products in prisons and jails make these institutions especially susceptible during viral pandemics, and it only exacerbates the situation.

The mass incarceration crisis is not just a prison concern. It is a public health crisis. The current trend strongly indicates that an outbreak in our jail or prisons will increase the spread into our communities and overwhelm our healthcare system. Implementing some suggested steps, while protecting the individual rights and liberties during prevention, containment and treatment means better outcomes for the health of all in our state.

It is not difficult to identify those incarcerated who meet the requirements for compassionate or elderly release, including the immunocompromised, as well as those who are within nine months of release from incarceration who have been convicted of non-violent crimes and pose no threat to the community. These individuals could either be granted immediate release or have their time remaining extended to probation, or as an alternative could be confined to home.

In addition, for those who remain within the jails and prisons, I believe they should immediately make hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap available, increase cleaning frequency of all shared spaces, make sure phones are properly sanitized and cleaned before and after every use, provide testing kits, stop the use of solitary confinement and other punitive measures for quarantine or isolation purposes, stop all physical visitation, provide calls without fees and suspend work release.

These are just a few suggestions that I sincerely hope the governor of North Carolina will provide in an Executive Order immediately. There is a pandemic waiting at the gate of each and every correctional facility and jail in North Carolina this very minute, and it’s not a matter of if, but when, it gets in. The time to act on this was weeks ago!

Lisa Whan,



Supports sanctuary move in Jackson


To the Editor:

In response to “What does the Second Amendment really mean?” March 12 letters: I am certainly glad to know that the Jackson County Democratic Party has passed a resolution in support of the Second Amendment. This political resolution should be conveyed to leading Democrats at the national level.

I support all 100 counties on North Carolina being established as Second Amendment sanctuaries. This is a common sense, added protection against an executive order or judicial order that might one day be issued by an anti-gun president or anti-gun U.S. Supreme Court. Such mandates could require that legally owned, lawfully used firearms be confiscated or that law-abiding gun owners could be arrested without charges, or the basis of pretense offenses.

Skeptics and critics might respond by saying “But this has never happened in this country.” But in fact, it has happened. Remember the tragedies in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas (1992 and 1993)? Remember the forced return of Elian Gonzalez to Fidel Castro’s political purgatory (Communist Cuba) in 2000?

Yes, it could happen again. Enough said.

Bob Morris,



We need a good mule


To the Editor:

Even while the coronavirus occupies our minds, every minute Donald Trump hogs the TV spotlight.

He is the elected (?) president. But, his addiction to the spotlight will prove to be his great weakness. Members of his base are beginning to admit that Trump should not/must not lie about the coronavirus dangers. First, he called it a “Democrat hoax.” Now he won’t listen to eminent scientists. He still harps about “the press.” He callously blames China for the virus.

In his fine song, “The Pretender,” folk rocker Jackson Browne sang, “Caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender.” But, this is not true in regard to Trump. Every move he makes is in pursuit of the legal tender (money).

A useful adage comes to mind when I see Trump’s high dollar suits shining in the TV spotlight: “Be careful not to trade a good mule for a picture of a thoroughbred.” Trump is a picture, an image. He is not the thoroughbred he pretends to be.

We can elect a good mule this November. There is work to be done to unite Americans. We don’t need a picture. We need a good mule.

Dave Waldrop,