Feb. 13, reader letters

Feb 12, 2013

Reflections on our community

To the editor:

It is hard to believe it was a month ago that our little house burned here in Waynesville. Through the shock, sadness, transition and confusion two things have remained consistent in our minds. First, how very blessed we are to live in a community so caring & responsive, with friends, family, and neighbors support. Second, how very important it is to tell everyone how to avoid the simple, innocent act that caused the fire. Please know that I would not bother writing this if it did not seem it could help others.

Our home caught on fire from a plastic power strip, the type you plug in several devices to keep things safe.  It has been explained to us that unfortunately those plastic devices, most often made in China, are not subject to the same safety regulations as those made here in the U.S. Furthermore, it is more a question of “when” it may cause a fire rather than if.  The recommendation from several trained sources, both fire personnel and investigators alike, is to discard plastic strips and replace them with metal ones made in the US. It is a precaution well worth the extra expense.

We wish to express our deep gratitude and respect for the brave people, both staff & volunteers that responded to the fire at our home, as well as those who tried reviving our elder kitty taken in his sleep by the smoke. You truly are a blessing to this community.

We also want to thank our amazing neighbors for responding quickly, and then opening their homes and hearts to us.

Thank you all for making Waynesville such a unique and special place to call home!  Our house will be restored, our lifestyle simplified, and our hearts and souls left open by the grace we have received.

We are grateful to be part of this community, and hope to ‘give back’ in the ways we can to support it…

With deepest regard,

Starr T., David Hogan



Remove politics from sheriff’s post

To the editor:

I have been following the Mountaineer’s coverage of the upcoming appointment of the position of Sheriff for Haywood County.  While I understand the legislative process, it is difficult to fathom why all qualified candidates are not considered.

As citizens we expect the most qualified individual to be selected without party affiliation considerations.  Last week I read candidate Bill Wilke’s editorial letter displaying his disappointment by being excluded from the process.

I do not know or have never met Mr. Wilke but from what I know of his qualifications (listed in this publication) he appears to be just as qualified as any other candidate.  I have met the current chief deputy and spoke with him several years ago and he appeared qualified and concerned about my neighborhood problems.

What encouraged me to write this “Letter to the Editor” was the spiteful and vindictive letter written in Monday’s Mountaineer edition by a citizen who obviously has nothing else to do but publicly display his anger and fury directed at a candidate for sheriff.  I would venture to say this individual has sent more letters to the editor in the past year than anyone else.  He needs to get a life and manage his vitriol.

One of the reasons police chiefs throughout the country are more qualified than sheriffs is due to the hiring process they must endure.

Typically a nationwide search is conducted by a reputable firm where the candidate is put through rigorous testing, including job skills, psychological tests and a background investigation.  Politics rarely enters into the selection process.

I have sat on three police chief selection boards and the question of party affiliation did not arise nor was there a space on the application for party affiliation.  Sheriff’s are elected by popular vote with very little consideration of qualifications.

There are many counties throughout the country that have made the Sheriff’s position an appointed one in order to take the politics out of the selection process.

Billy Riggs



Alderman situation in Maggie is unacceptable

To the editor:

This letter sent to Mayor Ron DiSimone and Alderman Phillip Wight, Saralyn Price and Michael Matthews.

I see, by a recent Mountaineer article, that you still have not decided on appointing a new alderman to replace the departed Mr. Aldridge. I think this delay is detrimental to the Town of Maggie Valley and is utterly irresponsible.

Your highly visible power struggle has not gone unnoticed. I wonder if any of you will be reelected. Surely, there are any number of honest, respected people of Maggie who could aptly fill the position. Perhaps you should consider a neutral “middle of the roader” to be the swing vote.

At any rate, I wish to make a statement regarding a person of interest who, apparently, is still being considered for alderman, namely one Steve Hurley. While one of you has indicated that it is highly unlikely that Mr. Hurley will be appointed, he still seems to be in the running.

I have previously corresponded with all of you regarding my opinion and I want to make it known that anyone who supports this candidate will lose my vote and my tiny little sphere of influence will be implemented.

Thomas A. Koziol

Maggie Valley

Thanks for positive twist

To the editor,

On behalf of all the Staff at REACH of Haywood County and its board of Directors, we want to thank Caroline Klapper for her excellent and well-written article on the quilting group, The Killer Bees.

We often read in the paper about the very sad and serious side of our work; it is lovely to see the “positive” side on the front page for a change.

All the ladies of the Killer Bees are very special to us and each quilt they make is something for the children to hold on to, both literally and figuratively, in a very difficult time in their lives.  While domestic violence and sexual assault are major issues, we are fortunate to have such caring people to help us.  And we are fortunate for a local paper that wants to highlight them.

Thank you.

Pat Janke, president

REACH of Haywood County board of directors

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