SUNDAY January 17, 2010
Rain likely today with clearing and warmer temperatures Monday and Tuesday.
A RETURN TO RALEIGH
A petition circulating in Indian Trail opposed plans to create a town police force and favors continued coverage by Sheriff’s deputies.
Former state senator Fern Shubert says she wants her old seat back now that W. Edward Goodall has announced he will not seek re-election. Shubert did not seek re-election when she made an unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination for governor.
High: 53 Low: 38 Full report: Page 10A
County eyes closed prison for new jail BY JASON deBRUYN
E-J staff photos by Rick Crider
Mekel Rogers conducts the Union County Youth Symphony at a recent performance.
SYMPHONY O U T H
Colby Hathaway and Kate Player
MONROE Union commissioners put themselves in position to lobby for a new place to properly house criminals. The Union County jail is at full capacity, but building a new jail could cost $65 million; money the commissioners do not have. Due to state budget cuts, Union Correctional, the state-run penitentiary in Monroe, closed Oct. 1, 2009. It has sat empty since then, but Sheriff Eddie Cathey suggested the county take over the building and use it as another county jail. The state will not make decisions on its closed facilities until at least February, but the legislature passed a law that would give priority to cities or counties that want to use the facilities as jails. Union Correctional was built in the 1930s as one of 61 field-unit prisons to house inmates who worked on building roads. In addition to prison cells, it includes a vocational education building, a dining hall, guard towers and an administration building. The Union County jail was built in 1994 and has been under “classification full” for the past year. In a letter to Alvin Keller, secretary of correction, Cathey asked that the facility be turned over to the county because, “Although the county has plans for a 400-bed expansion, it is extremely unlikely that we will be able to expand our own inmate housing capacity for some years to come.” Alamance and Rockingham counties have performed similar transfers and Cathey suggested that Union could share some
See JAIL / Page 6A
Few Good Men tap Mungo for annual honor VOLUNTEERISM
- Member and officer of the American Legion Post 212 for 33 years - Former chairperson and member of the statewide Drug and Alcohol Abuse Committee - Trustee of Watts Grove Baptist Church in Monroe - Director of a prison ministry - President of the Winchester Community Organization - Member of North Carolina’s Commission on Children and Youth.
BY TIFFANY LANE
MONROE “I didn’t even think anybody was paying any attention to the things I was doing.” A Few Good Men dubbed James Mungo Citizen of the Year. Like most winners, Mungo never saw it coming. “I didn’t think anything like that would ever happen,” he said. “I am honored and humbled.” His friends and relatives
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say James Mungo has always been humble. Comparing him to last year’s winner, Jeanette Sherrod, A Few Good Men President Robert Heath said Mungo is “quietly making a difference in the community.” A Few Good Men is a civic group dedicated to increasing minority achievement and minority hiring. This year, a six-man committee sifted through five nomina-
A story in Satuday’s edition mischaracterized Senator Eddie Goodall’s new job as a lobbying position. Goodall instead will build a structure for a membership base of families and charter schools and visit schools around the state as well as educating people about what public charter schools are. activity.
tions for Citizen of the Year, then took it to the full 20-member organization to choose a winner. It was James Mungo’s service to American Legion Post 212 and hospital visits to shutins that caught a few good eyes. Heath said he almost won last year. The award might have surprised James Mungo, but his
See MUNGO / Page 6A
WHO’S IN JAIL? The jail has 256 inmates, though the number fluctuates. The jail technically has 264 beds, but that number is misleading. There are different classifications of prisoners and each group has a certain number of beds. There are 24 beds classified for short term, such as medical, and 10 for female prisoners, for example. If there are only eight female inmates, those two beds are left empty because a male prisoner is not allowed in that section. THE OFFENDERS: Larceny including robbery with dangerous weapon, possession of a stolen vehicle: 41 Probation violation or failure to appear: 36 Drug related: 34 Driving charges including driving with license revoked, driving impaired and driving under the influence: 24 Assault: 23 Murder: 20 Kidnapping: 16 Sex offense, including rape or sex with a minor: 15 Breaking/Entering: 13 Others are for minor charges such as property damage or failure to pay child support
According to Section 19.4 of the General Statutes: “In conjunction with the closing of prison facilities, ... the Department of Correction shall consult with the county or municipality in which the unit is located ... about the possibility of converting the unit to other use. ... The Department shall give priority to converting the unit to other criminal justice use.” - including changing security custody levels.
James and Loma Mungo enjoy the news that he was chosen by A Few Good Men as its citizen of the year. He has been active in veterans and youth affairs. Rick Crider photo
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Best wishes are extended to everyone who is celebrating a birthday today, especially: Raymond Deese Jr., Evan Helms, Sherry Cox, Carley Moore, Carol Williams, Brady Seegers and David Tyson. Best wishes also are extended to everyone who is celebrating a birthday Monday, especially: Pam Shoemaker, David Williams, Jared Purser and Wendy Severt. Call (704) 261-2278 or e-mail email@example.com to add your names to The Enquirer-Journal birthday list.
2A / Sunday, January 17, 2010
DEATHS Elizabeth Horne
PEACHLAND Mrs. Elizabeth Arney Horne, 87, died January 14, 2010 at the Britthaven Nursing Home in Madison, N.C. Services will be held Monday at 2 p.m. from the Chapel of Morgan & Son Funeral Home with burial to follow in the Peachland City Cemetery. Born August 8, 1922, in Burke County, she was widowed by J.B. Horne in 1981 and a daughter of the late Roy and Ruth Cowan Jones. Mrs. Horne is survived by a sister, Margaret Sherron of Madison, N.C. The family will receive friends from 1 until service time on Monday. The Morgan & Son Funeral Home is serving the family.
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Howard A. Huntley
MONROE Howard Alexander Huntley, 62, died Monday, January 11, 2010, at Carolinas Medical CenterUnion. Services will be at Piney Grove East Baptist Church in Wingate on Monday, January 18, 2010 at 2 p.m. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Born April 24, 1947, in Union County, he was a son of the late John Wesley Huntley and the late Martha Cuthbertson Huntley. Survivors include three sons, Victor Huntley, Harold Wright and Vinson Stitt, all of Charlotte; a daughter, Yvonne Huntley of Charlotte; two brothers, John Huntley Jr. of Winston-Salem and Neal Huntley of Matthews; four sisters, Mable Rush and Iris Pharr of Charlotte amd Bertha Carelock and Willie Hunter of Matthews; and seven grandchildren. The family will be at the home at 951 Matthews School Road, Matthews, N.C,. Visitation will be Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m. at L.D. Grier Memorial Chapel. HIs body will lie in reposed for one hour before the service.
John Ross Jr.
MONROE John Edward Ross, Jr., 74 , died Monday, January 11, 2010 at home. Born May 12, 1935, in Atlanta, Ga., he was a son of the late John E, Ross. Sr. and the late Lizzie Lucky Ross. Survivors include a brother, James Ross of Charlotte. Visitation will be Monday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at L.D. Grier Chapel in Monroe.
Alastair Martin dies
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) â€” Alastair Martin, a longtime amateur tennis champion who helped transform the game by opening major tournaments to professionals, has died. He was 94. Martin died Tuesday of natural causes. He was a longtime champion of court tennis, a predecessor of modern tennis that was usually played indoors or in walled courtyards. The International Tennis Hall of Fame says he won 18 national titles in singles and doubles between 1933 and 1971. Martin also competed in modern tennis championships in the 1930s and 1940s. He was vice president of the U.S. Tennis Association in 1967-68 and president in 1969-70, as the amateur era gave way and major tournaments opened to professionals.
INDIAN TRAIL Ruby Melton Gay, 93, of Indian Trail went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Friday, January 15, 2010 at Presbyterian Hospital, Matthews Ruby was preceded in death by her husband George B. Gay and adopted son Gary Gay. Ruby is survived by her sister Mrs. Inez Hartis. A home going celebration in loving memory of Ruby M. Gay will be held Monday, January 18, 2010 at Hartis Grove Baptist Church at 11 Oâ€™clock. The family will receive friends one hour before the service. Sr. Pastor Joe Kirkpatrick III of the church will be conducting the service. Burial will follow the service at Lakeland Memorial Park. Heritage Funeral and Cremation Service, Indian Trail/Matthews is serving the family. Online condolences may be left at heritagefuneral.net. PAID OBITUARY
Bobby Gene Earp
Jefferson, S.C. Bobby â€œBobâ€? Gene Earp, 75, 5980 Steen Road, died January 16, 2010, at home. Born in Charlotte, he was the husband of Josephine â€œJoâ€? Butler Earp and a son of the late John and Janie Barker Earp. Besides his wife, he is survived by one son, the Rev. Jimmy Earp of Guntersville, Ala.; two daugthers, Monica E. Frank of Mint Hill, and Cindy E. Stokes of Monroe; six granddaughters, one grandson and one great-grandson; two brothers, Frank â€œMoonâ€? Earp of Huntersville, and Ted J. Earp of Goldsboro; two sisters, Barbara E. Atkinson of St. Cloud, Fla. and Wanda Kaye E. Privitte of Charlotte. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by five brothers, J. Z. Earp, Walter Earp, Troy Earp, William Earp and Louis Merritt Earp; and three sisters, Marie E. Freeman, Jean E. Fite and Blondell E. Mullis. The family will receive friends Sunday, January 17, 2010, from 1-2 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Jefferson. Services will follow at 2 p.m. A private interment will be held. Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church of Jefferson, Building Fund, PO Box 247, Jefferson, SC, 29718. White Columns of Blacksburg is serving the family. On-line condolences may be sent at www. whitecolumnsfuneralservice.com.
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Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
On Friday, first grade students at Shiloh Elementary School participated in a Martin Luther King Day celebration. The first grade students learned about the life and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and reflected on their own dreams for the future. Vicky McCraneyâ€™s first grade class show off their hats they created in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
COMING EVENTS Monday, Jan. 18
â€˘Â EXERCISE CLASS, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., Ellen Fitzgerald Senior Center. Open to ages 55 and up. For details, call 704-2824657. â€˘ SENIOR FITNESS CLASS, 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., Bazemore Center, Winchester Avenue, Monroe. Free to all senior citizens. Details, 704-282-4654. â€˘ BABY TIME, 10:30 a.m., Union West Library. Details, 704-821-7475. â€˘Â TODDLER TIME, 11:15 a.m., Union West Regional Library, for children ages 12 months to 36 months. â€˘ BABY TIME, 11:30 a.m., Waxhaw Library. Details, 704-843-3131. â€˘ TURNING POINT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GROUP, 4 p.m. at the shelter. Details, 704-283-7233. â€˘ CAREGIVER SUPPORT GROUP, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Outpatient Treatment Pavilion auditorium, CMC-Union. Details, Kara Finch, 704-2895502, kfinchcoa@carolina. rr.com. â€˘Â ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, Low Bottom group, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., old Belk building, 200 Stewart St., Monroe. Details, 704-332-4387; 704377-0244. â€˘Â INDIAN TRAIL TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), private weighin, 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m; meeting 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Indian Trail United Methodist Church, 113 Indian Trail Road. First visit free. Details, 704-843-9365. â€˘ ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, Sunset group, 6 p.m., 1010 McManus St., Monroe. Details, 704-219-6245. â€˘ TOPS (TAKE OFF POUNDS SENSIBLY), 6:30 p.m. weigh-in, 7 p.m. meeting, First Baptist Church, 109 Morrow Ave. Details, 704-233-1610. â€˘ TURNING POINT VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Janice Bellamy, 704283-9150. â€˘ TOPS (TAKE OFF POUNDS SENSIBLY), 6:30 p.m. weigh-in, 7 p.m. meeting, Bonds Grove United Methodist Church, Waxhaw. Details, 704-8432735. â€˘ NAMI-UNION COUNTY, National Alliance for the Mentally
Ill, 7 p.m., Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 725 Deese St., Monroe. For details, call 704-882-1293 or 704-283-5128. â€˘ UNION CHORALE, 7 p.m., Stallings United Methodist Church, 1115 Stallings Road. Details, Sandy McReynolds, 704238-1555. â€˘ COMMUNITY CAREER CONNECTIONS, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Lee Park Baptist Church. Call 704289-4674. â€˘Â VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS POST 5464, 7:30 p.m., 712 VFW Road, Monroe. â€˘Â PROVIDENCE VFD, training, 7:30 p.m., Station 5025, Hemby Road, Weddington. For details, call Dick Bonner, 704-8461014 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays. â€˘Â GRIFFITH ROAD VFD LADIESâ€™ AUXILIARY, 7:30 p.m., station on Griffith Road at Broome Road. For details, call 704289-8223, 704-283-6311 evenings. â€˘ UNION COUNTY COMMUNITY ACTION BOARD OF DIRECTORS, 7:30 p.m., UCCA Head Start administrative offices, 150 Winchester Ave., Monroe. Details, 704283-7583. â€˘ NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friendship Missionary Baptist Church administrative building, 501 Burke St. Details, 704-8214256, 704-763-0784.
Tuesday, Jan. 19
â€˘ MONROE INVESTORS, 8:30 a.m., Brown Derby, Skyway Drive, Monroe. Details, Elsie Smoluk, 704-363-8815. â€˘ COA UNION SENIORS PROGRAM, 9:30 a.m., Emmanuel Baptist Church, bring covered dish. â€˘Â TODDLER TIME, 10 a.m., Union West Regional Library, for children ages 12 months to 36 months. â€˘Â TODDLER TIME, 10 a.m., Monroe Library, 316 E. Windsor St., for children ages 12 months to 36 months. For details, call 704-283-8184. â€˘Â TODDLER TIME, 10 a.m., 11 a.m., Waxhaw Library, for children ages 12 months to 36 months. â€˘Â BASIC SPANISH, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., must be member of Ellen Fitzger-
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ald Senior Center and age 55 or over. Ellen Fitzgerald Senior Center, 327 S. Hayne St. Details, 704-2824657. â€˘Â STORY TIME, 10:30 a.m., Monroe Library, 316 E. Windsor St., for children ages 3 to 5. For details, call 704-283-8184. â€˘Â MARSHVILLE ROTARY CLUB, noon, Pier Restaurant, Marshville. For details, call Johnny Pigg, 704-624-2602. â€˘Â MONROE ROTARY CLUB, noon to 1 p.m., Rolling Hills Country Club. Details, 704-283-4645. â€˘ HOMEWORK HELP NIGHT, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monroe Library. For grades one through eight. Details, Kim, 704-283-8184, ext. 238. â€˘Â UNION COUNTY HIV TASK FORCE, 5:30 p.m., Union County Health Department. Call 704-283-9188 for details. â€˘Â ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, Low Bottom group, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., old Belk building, 200 Stewart St., Monroe. Details, 704-332-4387; 704377-0244. â€˘Â TOPS NO. 373 (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), 6 p.m. weigh-in, 6:30 p.m. meeting, 805 South Bragg Street, Monroe. For details, call 704-282-0073. â€˘ ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, Sunset group, 6 p.m., 1010 McManus St., Monroe. Details, 704-219-6245. â€˘Â UNION COUNTY WRITERSâ€™ CLUB, 7 p.m., Union County Community Arts Council office, 120 N. Main St. For details, call Barbara Johns at 704291-7829; or visit www. unioncountywritersclub. org. â€˘ UNION COUNTY ANTIQUE TRACTOR AND POWER CLUB, 7 p.m., J.B.â€™s Fish Camp, N.C. 218, New Salem. For information, call 704-624-6105. â€˘Â MS SUPPORT GROUP, 7 p.m., Benton Heights Presbyterian Church, Concord Highway. Details, Carla Zottola, 704-282-0623. â€˘Â FARMERS MARKET EXTENSION CLUB, 7 p.m., Farm Bureau Directory Board Room. â€˘Â OVERCOMERS OUTREACH, 7 p.m., Waxhaw Bible Church. For details, call 704-764-3960. â€˘Â BENTON HEIGHTS LIONS CLUB OF MONROE, 7 p.m.,Brown Derby Restaurant on Skyway Drive. For details, call 704283-6502 or 704-283-2400. â€˘Â PRENATAL CLASS, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., CMCUnion. Come during seventh month of pregnancy. Call 704-283-3254. â€˘Â PARENT MEETING, 7 p.m., Walter Bickett Elementary School, sponsored by Walter Bickett Parent-Teacher-Student Association. â€˘Â BOY SCOUT TROOP 1, 7 p.m., First Presbyterian, 302 E. Windsor St. For details, call 704-764-7589. â€˘ BINGO, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., American Legion Post 208, Highway 75 East, Waxhaw. Jackpot, $500. b â€˘Â MEADOW BRANCH LODGE No. 578 A.F. and A.M. meeting, 7:30 p.m., Stewart Street, Wingate. Supper 6:30 p.m. Call 704289-5911.
Sunday, January 17, 2010 / 3A
Shubert seeks return trip to Raleigh, will run for state Senate BY TIFFANY LANE
MONROE Fern Shubert announced Saturday that she will run for the N.C. Senate. Shubert served in the N.C. House for two terms from 1995 to 1998 and again from 2001 to 2002. She then served in the Senate until 2004. â€œNext year is redistricting, and we donâ€™t have time for onthe-job training. Thereâ€™s an unfortunate tradition in North Carolina of gerrymandering,â€? she said, and wants to see dis-
tricts equally represented. Soon after this yearâ€™s census, state legislators will draw new districts. In the past, Union County hasnâ€™t been treated fairly in the process, Shubert Shubert said. â€œThis region has absolutely been shortchanged on state funding. We pay our taxes, but we donâ€™t get our fair share back.â€?
If Shubert has any opponents, they havenâ€™t gone public yet. Filing begins Feb. 8. Rep. Curtis Blackwood, RUnion, announced Thursday that he wonâ€™t seek a fifth term. Former county commissioner candidate Jeff Gerber plans to run for his seat. Friday, N.C. Sen. Eddie Goodall, R-Union, said he wonâ€™t seek re-election, either. Goodall will work for the N.C. Alliance for Public Charter Schools. He describes his new job as building a structure for a membership base of families and schools
â€œa political football,â€? she said, but cater to childrenâ€™s best interests. If elected, she said she would promote charter schools and vocational training. Shubert is state director of The National Right to Read Foundation and active in local politics. Last year, she spoke at tea parties in both Monroe and Raleigh. Shubert wrote a column for The County Edge from 2005 to 2009 and served as Indian Trailâ€™s town manager in 2006. She works as a certified public accountant in Marshville.
and to visit schools around the state. He says he will also endeavor to educate people what public charter schools are. Goodall replaced Shubert when she ran for GOP nomination for governor and lost 2004. Goodall has done â€œa fine job,â€? Shubert said. â€œI had no desire to run until I realized that he was not going to be there.â€? The two havenâ€™t always seen eye to eye, she said, but their interests, especially in education, are closely aligned. Public education â€œis not one size fits allâ€? and should not be
County group will celebrate MLK day with events MONROE Union Countyâ€™s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee is sponsoring a number of festivities for the national holiday, celebrated Monday. The 17th annual Community Gospel Songfest is today at 6 p.m. at Nicey Grove
Missionary Baptist Church in Wingate. All choirs and praise teams are invited to participate. Everyone is invited to downtown Monroe on Sunday to see the MLK Holiday Parade at 3 p.m. An interdenominational worship
service will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday at Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church near Waxhaw. The committeeâ€™s main fundraiser, the MLK prayer breakfast, is Monday at Wingate Universityâ€™s LaVerne Banquet Hall. Keynote
Petition backs using deputies BY JASON deBRUYN
INDIAN TRAIL Grassroots support for the Union County Sheriff â€™s Office is growing. A group of people who call themselves the Indian Trail Residents for Lower Taxes is circulating a petition in support of the sheriff â€™s office as the primary police protection in town, rather than the town starting its own department. Maintaining its contract with the sheriff â€™s office â€œwill keep our taxes low,â€? said Danny Figueroa, the groups spokesman. â€œWe want to receive the best quality law enforcement for our tax dollar.â€? Figueroa ran for town council in 2009. Deputies patrol the entire county, but Indian Trail contracts with the sheriff â€™s office to post extra deputies dedicated to town limits. The petition references
a 2008 University of North Carolina at Charlotte survey that showed most residents felt safe in the town. Supporters of the sheriff â€™s office say starting a police department will cost the town more money and end up raising taxes on its residents. Some have disputed that a police department will cost more. Jerry Wigen, chairman of the Indian Trail Citizens for Progress political action committee, said his position has long been that there is simply not enough definitive information. He said he does not know what a police department would cost, but that town officials should not rely so heavily on a college study. Wigen said he would like to see a study with professionals who have more experience. â€œIs that the right thing for our town?â€? he asked. â€œNone of us really know.â€?
Still, support for the sheriff â€™s office was welcome by most officials. â€œIt certainly makes you feel good about the job you are doing and the job the officers are doing,â€? Sheriff Eddie Cathey said. Newly elected councilman Robert Allen said he was happy to hear that residents were satisfied with the services they were getting, and he supports the sheriff â€™s office contract. Allen was supported by the Indian Trail Citizens for Progress during his campaign. Figueroa said the group is still in its infancy but was excited to see it grow. He did not release the total number petition signatures because he wanted to give an accurate number and had not collected all the petitions around town. The last day to sign the petition is Feb. 26. To sign the petition or for more information go to lowertaxesforit.org.
speaker the Rev. Clifford Jones, pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, will speak at 6 a.m. The event sells out each year. At noon Monday, groups, soloists and dancers can compete in the MLK talent
competition at Monroeâ€™s Winchester Center Gym and Bazemore Center. The event is free and open to all area students. A light meal will be provided. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. King For information on any events, call 704-289-1906.
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4A Sunday, January 17, 2010
“What is now proved was once imagined.”
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A CAROLINA VIEW
Clearer air, new standards Barack Obama won election on a platform that included tougher air pollution standards, so no one should be surprised by new Environmental Protection Agency rules to significantly reduce smog. What may be surprising, however, is that much of North Carolina will be out of compliance with them. If the current smog standard were reduced from 75 parts per billion to 65 or 70, much of North Carolina, including the Triad, would fail, and the state’s federal highway money would be in jeopardy. Smog is a combination of smoke and sulfur dioxide. Most smog originates from automobile tailpipes. Some comes from industrial and utility plant smokestacks. North Carolina’s heavy reliance on coal-powered electrical generation has long been a source of smog. To their credit, the state’s utilities and political leaders put in place tough anti-smog standards, and the state’s two major electricity-generating utilities, Duke Energy and Progress Energy, are closing most coal-powered plants, although Duke regrettably is also building a new one west of Charlotte. (Duke says it will be as clean as technology allows.) The state’s Clean Smokestacks Act allowed the utilities a headstart on air-quality improvements. The utilities were able to pay for plant improvements without raising rates. The legislature has also mandated that utilities derive more and more of their electricity from alternative sources. So, a great many efforts are under way to tap wind and solar power, and to generate electricity from alternative, clean fuels that range from chicken waste to natural gas. But the legislature has not adequately tackled the major source of smog - transportation. North Carolina needs more effective mass transit. We cannot continue to rely so heavily on the individual automobile and still have any hope of enjoying smog-free air. The legislature should also give more serious consideration to adopting stricter automobile-emission standards. California and many other states require cars to run much more efficiently. Higher mileage standards would be a great help in reducing smog and other pollutants in our air. Efforts to eliminate smog are not limited to the appreciation of clear skies. Smog is bad for human health. It is a leading cause of asthma and bronchitis. While the Obama administration concedes that meeting the new standards will be expensive - perhaps as much as $90 billion nationwide - it also will produce enormous savings by cutting smog. If the standards go into effect, Americans could save from $13 billion to $100 billion a year on avoided medical costs and higher worker productivity. Tougher standards are almost certainly on their way. North Carolina will have no choice but to meet them. Winston-Salem Journal
Christmas and the rest of the story In case you were wondering, the pony worked when we plugged it in. We had to swap out a faulty saddle bag, but the pony ran like a thoroughbred pumped full of Mark McGwire’s leftover big-boy juice. Let me explain. I usually write a column and move on to more pleasant and relaxing activities, like amputating my own toe. I don’t dwell on a piece after hitting the send button or reread it after it’s published because I inevitably find a mistake or omission and begin slamming my head against the nearest solid object. Sometimes, though, people who read the column, mostly prisoners, shut-ins and those who finish the Sudoku and don’t have anything else to do, ask me what happened next in a way that actually leads me to believe they are interested in what happened next. “Hey, when you wrote about (fill in the blank), I kept wondering if the guy with the monkey ever (fill in the blank) because that’s pretty much illegal in every state except Tennessee.” And I realize I’ve written an unintended cliffhanger column someone remembered after turning the page. It happened again a few days after Christmas at the drive-through teller window when Bonnie said she wanted to know something. “Did the pony work?” For a few seconds, I thought this seemingly nonsensical statement was a coded message for, “Someone is robbing us. Call 911,” and I nearly sped away to avoid becoming entangled in a hostage situation that might take up most of my
afternoon. Then I understood. The pony. Oh, yes, the pony column. Prior to the holidays, I wrote about buying my daughter a TV for Christmas, referring to it as a “pony” throughout so as not to spoil the surprise if she happened to read the column, which, of course, she did not. Most people got it, except for those who informed me by e-mail that plugging a pony into an electrical outlet could be considered animal cruelty and that raising livestock at my current residence was a violation of a city ordinance. In the piece, I explained that the pony/TV fell from the salesperson’s hand cart and hit the store parking lot pavement with a thud. The salesperson promised to retrieve a new pony/TV while I brought my truck around to the loading zone. A cliffhanger was born. Would I actually get a new pony/TV or would he slip me the same one that crashed to the pavement? Would a little girl’s pony/TV work when we switched it on Christmas morning, reaffirming the faith I placed in my fellow man to do as he said? Would it sit there cold and lifeless, a dark testament to my suckerness?
Would there be uncontrollable sobs and tears at what fate had wrought? Would my daughter be upset as well? These questions were left unanswered - until now. Yes, as I said at the beginning, the pony/TV worked. Either the salesperson had retrieved another pony/TV or the one that hit the pavement with a thud was undamaged. I embrace either of these Christmas miracles with a joyous heart. But the cable box -- let’s call it the saddle bag/cable box if we’re going to continue to beat a dead horse here -- was another story, working for stretches of four to five hours before blinking out and requiring repeated calls to saddle bag/ cable box technicians where I repeatedly was on hold for 20 to 30 minutes so I could eventually repeat the same steps, leading me to repeat many ugly words that should not be repeated. Following a saddle bag/cable box swap and a Santa-like visit from High-Tech Sam, my brother and expert pony/TV wrangler, all was soon well and a plethora of shrill, brainnumbing images poured from the new TV, much to the delight of us all. So, for those who wondered, yes, the pony worked when we plugged it in. For those who didn’t, just ignore this. Maybe there’s a Sudoku on the next page. Scott Hollifield is editor/general manager of The McDowell News in Marion, N.C. and a columnist for the Media General News Service. Contact him at P.O. Box 610, Marion, N.C. 28752 or e-mail email@example.com.
What the law really says about religion
ecause good news is all too rare in our culture wars, Americans should welcome a common-ground agreement released this week titled “Religious Expression in American Public Life: A Joint Statement of Current Law.” Drafted by a diverse group of religious-liberty advocates, educators and scholars, the document represents the firstever consensus on how the law addresses the role of religion in the public square in the United States. The strange bedfellows on the drafting committee – ranging from Colby May of the American Center for Law and Justice to Marc Stern of the American Jewish Congress – don’t agree on what the law should be. But the group did reach agreement on what the law actually says. (Disclosure: I served on the drafting committee.) Lasting many months, the long and winding drafting process was guided by the very able and diplomatic Melissa Rogers, director of Wake For-
Charles Haynes Inside the 1st Amendment
est University Divinity School’s Center for Religion and Public Affairs. The end product provides Americans with consensus answers to 35 key questions on the law governing religion in the workplace, religion and politics, religious displays on government and private property, religion in public schools and more. (The statement is posted online at http://divinity.wfu.edu/pdf/DivinityLawStatement.pdf) As the document points out, much of the ignorance and confusion surrounding the role of religion in public life would likely dissipate if more Americans understood the
First Amendment’s distinction between “government speech endorsing religion, which the Establishment Clause forbids, and private speech endorsing religion, which the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses protect,” to quote the U.S. Supreme Court (Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, 2000). Contrary to the charge from some on the right (and the wish of some on the left), religious expression hasn’t been banished from America’s public square. In the words of the joint statement, “individuals and groups have the right to practice and promote their faith, not only within their homes and houses of worship, but also publicly in places such as parks, street corners, the airwaves, open meetings and many other places subject to the same time, place and manner limits that apply to other nongovernmental speech.” This new agreement on what is and isn’t permissible under current law is modeled on common-ground statements produced over the past two decades
Contrary to the charge from some on the right (and the wish of some on the left), religious expression hasn’t been banished from America’s public square.
– nine in all – on the place of religion in public schools. The earlier documents have been widely used in school districts across the country to resolve conflicts and avoid litigation, thereby demonstrating the potential of national consensus statements to help local communities find their own common ground. Debate and disagreement
are vital in a democracy. But when people shout past one another using distorted or false interpretations of the law, debate can quickly degenerate into bitter and often personal attacks – and lead to unnecessary lawsuits. If we are going to fight over religion in public life, we should at least get the facts straight. Of course, one agreement on the state of current law, even one supported by people from all sides, won’t ensure civil discourse overnight – but it’s a start. When people who often face off in court come together and treat one another with fairness and respect, there’s renewed hope that America still works. Charles C. Haynes is senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001. Web: firstamendmentcenter.org. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, January 17, 2010 / 5A
YOUR VIEW We are already hard at work
which has already been signed by the mayor and council and will be given to all boards that volunteer for our village. Another first was achieved when the Council extended an invitation to the Homeowners Associations (HOA) Boards to schedule individual meetings with the Council. The HOAs will have the opportunity to discuss issues and concerns most important to their individual subdivision and its residents. This forum will assist us in building a sense of community between the village and its subdivisions. On Dec. 18, a new park, recreation and greenway board was formed. We are looking for Marvin citizens that have a fresh outlook on developing new parks and recreational opportunities. In the past, this board has organized the MARES (equestrian) event, and the Council would like for this to continue. We will monitor the interest in this board and the MARES event over the next several months. Our goal is to have better communication with you and to keep you informed of the progress we have made on all major initiatives in Marvin.
Nick Dispenziere, Mayor Pro Tem This letter was also signed by three council members.
Former volunteer questions council
Itâ€™s not only what you do but how you do it, Marvin council. â€œThere is a volunteer form in the back of the room, sign up and volunteer if you want greenways in Marvin.â€? This was Councilman Ron Salimaoâ€™s response at the January Village of Marvinâ€™s council meeting after the four council members were chastised by numerous people who spoke out against the new councilâ€™s decision to disband the Park, Greenway and Recreational Advisory Board (PGRAB). If he thinks that people are going to respond to that form of challenge or harsh request, then he has no idea. You need a leader to organize people and to make sure materials get ordered to build these trails and bridges. If they think that Councilman Anthony Burman can step into ex-PGRAB chairman Ray Williamsâ€™ shoes then you have no idea. They are huge shoes fto fill. Besides needing a leader, you need muscle,
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