May 15 reader letters
Consider the view
To the editor:
When we come into the town of Maggie Valley from Dellwood, what does our eyes see? We see on the left side a brown, dilapidated building that should have been torn down years ago and on the right, we have public toilets. Wow. What a picturesque sight.
Democrats need to unite behind sheriff
To the editor:
I’m deeply troubled to learn that some Haywood County Democrats are still disgruntled about the appointment of Greg Christopher as our sheriff. First of all, no one could have been more disappointed than me that Chief Deputy Larry Bryson was defeated. I pledged my support to him early in the race and I proudly submitted his nomination to the Executive Committee; however, after talking with several committee members following the election, it was apparent to me that Greg’s inclusive management style and desire for increased collaboration with other community agencies had resonated strongly with the majority of the committee. While Larry was viewed as a capable, experienced candidate, most committee members thought he represented the “status quo” and Greg reflected a “fresh start” for the sheriff’s department.
I challenge any Democrat who is still upset about the outcome of the race to be guided by the example set by Hillary and Bill Clinton. Following her failure to win the 2008 presidential nomination, Hillary was described as being “somber, prideful, aggrieved and confused,” but she and Bill quickly regrouped and pledged their full support to Barack Obama. Just think what could’ve happened if Hillary had disengaged from the Democratic Party and encouraged her supporters to stay home or vote for John McCain.
Remember the theme song played at the 2012 Democratic National Convention when Bill Clinton took the stage to nominate Obama for president: “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, it’ll soon be here…yesterday’s gone…don’t look back.” It’s time to focus on 2014 and working together to elect Sheriff Christopher to his first full term in office.
Chair, Saunook Democratic Precinct
Use innovative approach to attracting tourists
To the editor:
The effort devoted to the contention of whether to add a 2 percent to the occupancy tax in the county could better have been devoted to some thought on innovations in how such monies could be spent to attract and keep tourists in the area.
A $1 or $2 room tax hike will not be a factor in whether tourists spend another day in a local inn or motel. What matters to tourists is whether the entertainment and recreation options are interesting enough.
When the Eaglesnest venue in Maggie Valley was booking performers, such as the Battlefield Band from Scotland, not only tourists, but others from the region attended and left some cash in Maggie. Could some of those 2 percent funds be used to work with the owner to get performances going again? The building is for sale, but it is easier to sell a facility that is active.
The HART Theater in Waynesville attracts around $2.5 million in revenue to local businesses. As soon as they build Stage II at the HART, projections are that another $2 million a year will come into the county. Some funds to get the construction started sooner would benefit the community.
Another underappreciated resource is the dozens of hiking trails in the area. I doubt that 5 percent of the tourists realize the numerous trail entry points to the Mountain-To-Sea trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the county. Trail segments vary from short one- or two-mile walks to all-day hikes. Tourist friendly maps and information packets on more trails could be developed to encourage people to explore more of the mountain trails.
Motels and inns catering to hikers in other states even have “hiker’s lunches” for guests who want to spend a day hiking the trails.
It’s too bad that a few shrill irrational voices — some not even associated with the hospitality industry — have overshadowed any logical discussion.
Wise and innovative use of the additional lodging tax could benefit not only the hospitality industry, but other businesses in the area. More rational people need to step up if the economy of the area is to move forward.
Norman G. Hoffmann