N.C. 107 project should be shelved

 

To the Editor:

The N.C. 107 project seems to finally have “galvanized opposition” like a recent Sylva Herald headline suggests, and hopefully the affected business owners and managers will be heard. The project as currently outlined should be killed, so the community can continue to grow and thrive.

The statement about business relocation is ridiculous; where do they go? Where do you put service stations and restaurants that customers can find and access? Is a bike path more important than hundreds of jobs?

Jackson Paper makes about $60 million a year worth of packaging paper in Sylva. The raw material is 100 percent waste paper from retail stores, the mill is primarily fueled by waste wood, and we are one of the few mills anywhere that does not discharge ANY process water. Our payroll is nearly $10 million a year with excellent fringe benefits.

Trucks that bring waste paper to Jackson Paper unload off Chipper Curve Road, and then come around to our Main Street entrance to reload with outbound paper product. 

The daily truck count, including paper, wood and suppliers of other materials we use, is 30-35 per day on average, concentrated during the busy time of the weekday.

It makes no sense to change the intersection between the fire station, Speedy’s and our mill. The truck traffic is fine the way it is, and the railroad track is involved there as well.

I also see no reason whatsoever to change the traffic pattern west of the light at the bottom of the hill.

It may be true that the Main Street bridge over Scotts Creek on our property line is old, tired, and dangerous. Well, why not just replace it where it is, and not have to deal with all the utilities that will be affected by changing the roadway? 

I do not believe the NCDOT statement that it is “not feasible” to replace the bridge where it is.

I believe the accidents on 107 between the bottom of the hill and N.C. 116 to Webster would be reduced in number and severity by simply reducing the speed limit and enforcing it.

Jackson Paper is committing support to the “Say No To The Road” effort and we will do everything we can to help find a more practical solution to the traffic problem.

I commend the Sylva Herald for its reporting on this subject.

Tim Campbell,

Jackson Paper CEO

 

Politicians literally playing with lives

 

To the Editor:

I find myself very grateful I’m a type 2 diabetic.

If I were a type 1 diabetic, the insulin rationing I have been doing over the past six months would have killed me by now.

I’m not alone. Today, one in four diabetic patients must ration our insulin because we cannot afford the medicine we need to survive. The cost of the most popular insulins has tripled over the past 10 years, while politicians claim there’s nothing to be done.

I know it’s not smart for me to ration my insulin, but I have no other choice. My insulin costs me $636 for a month’s supply. I feel ashamed and embarrassed to tell my doctor that I am struggling to afford my insulin, and I’m having a hard time stabilizing my blood sugar.

But I shouldn’t be ashamed – I should be angry.

I’m angry at Senator Thom Tillis for letting the pharmaceutical companies get away with greed. For years now, Senator Tillis has repeatedly chosen to protect the profits of the drug industry and pharmaceutical companies. Could he be influenced by the nearly $350,000 from Big Pharma and health industry corporations?

Senator Tillis voted in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act three times, gutting coverage for more than 1.6 million people in North Carolina with pre-existing conditions. And I shouldn’t have to remind Senator Tillis – but I will – that diabetes was a pre-existing condition many insurance companies refused to cover before the passage of the ACA.

I work, yet I have to choose every month between rent, medications, food and paying other bills. Nobody should have to make these kinds of choices. While I struggle to get by, pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly are getting $76 billion in corporate tax breaks. Their profits are climbing higher and higher, while the practice of insulin rationing and sharing insulin is becoming the norm. The results are profoundly alarming.

Sen. Tillis isn’t only letting Eli Lilly get away with this – he is encouraging this type of behavior. Instead of cracking down on pharmaceutical companies so that North Carolinians can afford our life sustaining medications, Sen. Tillis is handing out these tax breaks to Big Pharma.

I desperately need leaders who will prioritize patients over corporate profits – and who will not back down when people’s lives are on the line.

When my story goes unheard, politicians and pharmaceutical executives are sending a message to everyday Americans that they do not care about us. I do not understand how our senators are standing alongside Big Pharma while people like me are suffering from the costs of inaccessible insulin.

Join me in holding our elected officials and pharmaceutical companies accountable and unapologetically telling our truths about not being able to afford the surging cost of insulin, a necessity in the lives of diabetic patients.

This is a no-brainer. 

Nothing that someone’s life depends upon should be for-profit. 

If I don’t have insulin, I die.

Your greed is killing me, Thom Tillis. Are you listening?

Lyn Carver,

Cullowhee

 

It’s about love of country

 

To the Editor:

In the letter to the editor, “Enough with the hatred of Trump,” the writer implies that to deplore the president’s behavior or to disagree with his policies is simply hate and anger over his “winning the election from ‘unbeatable’ Hillary Clinton.”

Hate is a powerful, divisive and much-used term these days.

Is it not possible to object to a person’s behavior and/or disagree with their beliefs without hating them? Consider parents and educators. Does a parent objecting to a child smoking equal hate? If an educator challenges a student’s beliefs does that mean the educator hates the student?

We live in the Bible belt and many identify themselves as Christians. Doesn’t the Christian Bible admonish believers to avoid hate? Enough already with the accusations that those who deplore the president’s behavior and language and disagree with some of his policies are haters.

As for the election, Clinton won the popular vote but the Electoral College awarded the position to Trump.

Enough already with the Electoral College – it’s historical necessity no longer exists.

The president loves to use the label “fake news.” There is an abundance of alternative “facts” in the letter. The Mueller Report states that Russia did interfere in our election and intends to do so in the future. Unemployment is low but many of the working poor labor in multiple jobs at minimum wage. The tax cuts clearly benefit the wealthy much more than the middle class. Ask farmers and automobile manufacturers how the trade war has impacted them.

Farmers are being bailed out with billions of taxpayer dollars. China is no more paying for price increases than Mexico is paying for the yet-to-be-built wall.

Is the president a racist and white supremacist? His words speak for themselves – Hispanic immigrants are “murderers and rapists,” “go back where you came from” to three congresswomen who were born in the U.S.

President Harry Truman said “You have to appeal to people’s best instincts, not their worst. You may win an election or so by doing the other, but it does a lot of harm to the country.” FDR stated that the presidency “is pre-eminently a place of moral leadership.”

The current president is guilty of a lack of moral leadership and this kind of hate ... enough already!

The referenced letter does not mention climate change and gun violence, but these are two areas where many of us “haters” disagree with the president, who denies climate science.

The Greenland ice sheet recorded the hottest July since record keeping began 139 years ago.

On Aug. 1 this year 12.5 billion tons of ice melted in one day.

As of Aug. 5 there were 255 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2019, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, which tracks every mass shooting in the country.

Yet the president and Republicans resist banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Is it immigrants committing the mass shootings? No! It’s home-grown white nationalists/supremacists!

Enough already!

Gene Tunnell,

Sylva

 

It’s not about hatred at all

 

To the Editor:

In response to the letter “Enough with the hatred of Trump”:

The hatred for Trump has nothing to do with who won or lost the election. 

It has to do with the Office of President occupied by an egomaniac.

It has to do with his need for constant twittering attention;

His nonstop barrage of assaults on good government policy;

His constant lying, firing and hiring;

His promotion of conspiracy theories;

His embrace of white nationalism/supremacy emboldening mass shooters;

His disregard for truth, law, people and the environment;

His warm regard for dictators, dishonesty and his aggrandizing self;

His flagrant adoration of wealth, power and manipulation;

His need to hold rallies where he brings out the worst in people.

No one hates Trump because of Hillary Clinton.

Some of us work hard at not hating Trump. It is difficult.

He creates grave psychological stress for the population through his drama queen doings on a global scale day after day. As Americans we are held hostage by his constant display of blatant immorality and ignorance due to his mental deficits and instability.

Anyone hoping for a capable and effective president who can lead through decency, respect, compassion and offering peace and a gentler effect on the world: mark your ballot in November 2020.

Dottie Hoche,

Sylva

 

Let’s stand together for businesses

 

To the Editor:

First let me say I am not into politics; yes, I support my nation, state and county. I think all this road business is somewhat political. It should not be. It needs to be about the people who live and work here. They look to this county for their business. Their businesses are very important to them and to us also. They are our neighbors and friends.

I was born and raised here minus a few years in Atlanta. This is a small country town, not some big city, and I don’t think it will ever be.

There is room for everyone here whether they are tourist or student. 

All I ask is to work with us. 

Not by tearing down businesses but by building them up. It seems that 55 businesses are a lot, not only to me but to others also. The commissioners and ones involved in this deal should take a look at surrounding towns. They are struggling also.

They are not trying to widen roads or put in bicycle lanes or other things. I am not against improvements, just the fact of tearing up businesses that have been here for a long time.

I hope there are people that feel as I do who will lend their voices in this. I think if we all stand together we can do something. 

You know if this gets done there are other counties we can shop in, and that would hurt Jackson County.

Helen Sitton,

Sylva

 

Ideas on biking, possible options on roadwork

 

To the Editor:

I am 76 years old and I like riding bicycles. I ride them in Cades Cove in the Smokies on bicycle only in the mornings and on the beach at Litchfield, South Carolina and on the bicycle and walking path that goes beside Highway 17 between Litchfield and Muriel’s Inlet. I love riding the Virginia Creeper Bicycle Trail from White Top, Virginia to Abingdon, Virginia.

I ride four to six miles a day on the Jackson County Greenway. The point being that I share the dedicated walking and bicycling paths with other people and other bicycles and not with motor vehicles, as a bicycle rider has little chance of not being severely maimed or killed if struck by car or truck. 

Thus I have little use for bicycle lanes on N.C. 107, and if the Billion-Dollar Mile’s sidewalks were bicycle friendly there would be no need for bicycle lanes through that section of road.

That said, the NCDOT could put movable concrete barriers in the center of 107 at night during light traffic flow and make it a right turn only highway, and by eliminating the center suicide lane there would be room to turn to the other side at the existing stoplights.

There is a turnaround just beyond the new overpass to Southwestern Community College for big rig trucks. 

Adding a once-a-day use red light to halt traffic for the UPS trucks that go out of their terminal together would also be a plus.

This self-trained mule and sled road engineer’s proposed changes may cost up to a $100,000 or more but if they don’t work they are flexible and changeable and are a cost-wise drop in a bucket compared to the current Raleigh plan, and if these proposals fail to solve the problem, Raleigh should go whole hog on the 107 project and spend millions and build a super limited access expressway up above the existing roads and businesses like they do in Atlanta, Georgia. 

That way they already have the rights of way for most of the construction and this proposal would destroy less usable and valuable business land, and with a little tuning could be a stoplight-free ride to and from The Great Smokey Mountain Expressway to SCC and Western Carolina University. Traffic could still use the altered and existing 107 and business corridor.

Overhead highways exist nationwide and can be found over many major cities that choose to put their roads up over the businesses and factories and homes rather than tear down and destroy them.

Check out Charleston, West Virginia, as its setting is very similar to The Billion-Dollar Mile. It sits in a valley surrounded by mountains and the main highways go over the city, not through it.

This form of road should be included in any planning concerning The Billion-Dollar Mile’s future, because they are also planning Jackson County’s future, and I firmly believe that the simple right-turn only change should be attempted first.

James Nations,

Sylva