Displaying items by tag: opinion

They were both quiet, their voices barely audible even during roll call, and absolutely silent otherwise. Even as a new teacher, I understood that freshman English was a class that most students simply endured, rather than enjoyed. I had not really enjoyed it that much myself when I had been a freshman, so what flint did I have that could generate a spark for writing narrative or comparison and contrast essays among my own students? Neither Steve nor David seemed to express any more interest than I had in the immense possibilities that writing an essay might contain.

Brandon Rogers almost certainly disappointed — and surprised — many of his supporters during Monday’s Haywood County Commissioners meeting. Apparently that discomforting politician’s habit of saying one thing and then doing something completely different once in office has now reached down to the local level. 

Rogers, a Republican, is the newly elected county commissioner who earned the most votes in the November election. He worked hard during the campaign, expressed his position clearly on several important issues, and is a likeable guy. He undoubtedly benefitted from the Donald Trump tidal wave that swept a lot of GOP and independent voters to the polls, but that’s the electoral reality of 2016. Chances are he would have won even without the Trump coattails.

By Frank Queen • Guest Columnist

I was surrounded by newspapers growing up. Dad worked for the government in the 1960s and we lived in Alexandria, a suburb of D.C. Every day we had five newspapers delivered to the house.

Dad started reading when he got home and only stopped to eat supper. You could try to talk to him when he was reading, but he didn’t hear you unless you could get him to lower the paper. If you wanted to hang around with him, you might as well sit down and pick up a paper yourself.

We leave for Disney World this weekend. 

I should be more excited, but with all that’s going on in our country, I’m feeling a bit uneasy about life. It’s hard to get giddy about something as seemingly trivial as Mickey Mouse when refugee children have nowhere to go and our country is imposing travel bans.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

—1 Corinthians 13:12 King James Version (KJV)

As I was looking through the photographs from around the country from the Women’s March last Saturday — including more than a few of my wife and daughter, who marched with a group of friends in Asheville — I was struck by the many expressions and images of sheer joy, when I guess I was expecting something more along the lines of anger and defiance. By all accounts, the turnout for the marches across the country far exceeded anyone’s most optimistic expectations, and the overall theme seemed to be the restoration of some lost hope for a lot of people who have not had much to celebrate in the past few months.

It was just a press release, one among the dozens a week that media outlets receive and that may or may not make it into the paper, on TV, on the radio or on a website. When it came across my computer screen, though, it seemed suddenly clear to me that it was symbolic of how our economic development priorities have to change.

“Gov. Cooper recommends eight Western North Carolina projects for ARC funding,” read the headline. Looking at the eight projects revealed that of the $3 million the Appalachian Regional Commission will most likely award, $1,374,714 was for an access road to a new development in Morganton and another $873,509 was to repave a road to an existing industrial site in Rutherford County.

It’s birthday week for the Barbee boys. Our two boys are exactly three years and one day apart, one born Jan. 19, 2009 and the other Jan. 20, 2012. 

If you count back nine months, you hit April. During both pregnancies I was teaching full-time and my husband was a school administrator. We always joke that spring break finally allowed us to chill out and enjoy one another which resulted in January babies. 

As the holidays drew to a close, I began preparing for the reporting we will do on the upcoming session of the North Carolina General Assembly and kept watching President-elect Trump and the Congress — Republicans and Democrats alike — jousting on several fronts. 

In this still politically charged post-election atmosphere, I found myself trying to define my own beliefs and establish my own footing, as I know countless ideological debates lie ahead. Why do I support certain actions, programs and leaders over others? When did my fundamental political beliefs come together to form the basis of what I believe today?

My wife was stranded in Mississippi. She was supposed to get home late on Friday night, but then the big snowstorm came. We ended up with 4-6 inches, which in the North would be considered a flurry. In the South, it means we have to shut her down for a spell.

While I was in the Food Lion — which felt like Times Square on New Year’s Eve, except with people clutching gallons of milk instead of glasses of cheap champagne — my wife was getting the terrible news that her flight to Charlotte had been canceled and the kids were getting the awesome news that school was closing early.

Now that it’s 2017, I can’t bear the thought of continuing to fixate on politics and its atmosphere of pomposity and negativity that paints a picture of this country far different from what I encounter in my everyday life. It’s part of my job to cover this stuff, but our lives are about so much more than politics.

During the holiday season I was fortunate to spend quite a bit of time with a lot of young adults — my kids and their friends are all ages 18 to 24, and nephews and nieces were around who are as old as 28. And here’s what I heard from them: they aren’t buying into the vision of a country that is crumbling. Instead, I would argue that it’s the fresh optimism of the young — their belief that they can fix problems others have ignored or caused — that helps fuel this country’s ongoing prosperity.

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