Reader letters, June 27
To the editor:
OK, Florida drivers. You are back. Please try and stay out of the passing lane unless you are using it to pass.
Please try and drive the speed limit.
Please stop at stop signs. It does not say “roll on through.” Enjoy your time here, but help us out.
Make education a priority
To the editor:
In 1960 Terry Sanford made a proposal that seemed audacious in 1960. He warned that North Carolina’s economic growth was being stymied by a school system that ranked among the 10 worst in the nation. The 1960 governor’s race was a clear point where North Carolina emerged on a different path than the rest of the South. Measured by teacher pay and student-teacher ratios North Carolina advanced to the middle of the national pack but ahead of most of its southern neighbors.
My husband and I were part of these generations who strived to improve the education of our children. Our oldest child started first grade in 1957. In 1959 I wrote a protocol for preschool testing saying what was possible and how we could do it. The schools did not have money for the program. The county school board approved the program although the state Superintendent of Education did not. Our county superintendent told us to proceed: “We were a long way from Raleigh.”
At that time Haywood County had seven school districts. The State Department of Instruction sent observers to observe our preschool testing program. Haywood County Schools have continued to include innovative programs that increase student success.
Haywood County citizens must tell our story to our representatives and get them to give education priority. What the federal and state cannot do we must do ourselves
The board must determine what is most needed after conferences with the school staff and administration. All available money that can be obtained from federal, state and county tax resources plus available grants should be included.
Programs and supplies should be given priority and costs. These figures and their justification should then be provided to Haywood County: businesses, clubs, organization, and individuals for their tax deductible gifts to the public schools education program through the Haywood County Schools Foundation.
If we are to provide the education that our children need, we must do it. Let us get started now as it will take time.
Doris Bixby Hammett
Learn more about feral cats
To the editor:
A resident of the Balsam Terrace, home to a trap-neuter-return (TNR) cat colony, recently contacted you. Her complaint provides a good opportunity for us to educate the public on the benefits of TNR, the only solution proven to stabilize cat colonies and reduce the tax burden required to handle cats impounded in our county shelter as well as those euthanized and dumped in our landfill.
Since 2009, we have fixed and vaccinated over 3,000 free-roaming cats in Haywood County. This was at no cost to county taxpayers. PetSmart Charities is a major source of our TNR funding, giving $146,400 since 2010 to support our project.
We hope to talk to each resident in the Balsam Terrace MHP to ensure every family understands the benefits of natural rodent control over poisons and address any concerns.
Our county ordinances need a fresh review to incorporate current science on the management of feral cats. Now in our sixth year of TNR in Haywood County, shelter cat intakes are down 13.5 percent compared to last year (259 vs. 294) meaning fewer cats euthanized (79 vs. 86).
Contrast that with the year-over-year increase for shelter cat intakes with the trap-remove-kill approach.
The Haywood County Animal Shelter policy of accepting trapped ferals for euthanasia easily could be changed into accepting the cat on behalf of the TNR team, followed by surgery and shots and return to its colony — all handled at no cost to the county.
We are almost there: HCAS refers cat complaints to our TNR coordinator as a first attempt to resolve the complaint.
Most county residents support TNR and see a positive health benefit in their cat colony after spay/neuter in addition to stopping litters. Not a cat fan? TNR stabilizes growth so fewer — not more — cats are on the horizon.
We invite the public to join our TNR volunteers, who donate time and resources every week to humanely trap community cats for spay/neuter and vaccinations. Visit our office at 182 Richland Street in Waynesville Tuesday – Friday from noon until 6 p.m.