Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Opinions: Sept. 7

Is hurricane connected to climate change?

Our hearts go out to all the people in Houston and south Texas for the almost unbelievable devastation they have suffered. Some areas received a record setting 53 inches of rain. RMS, the world’s leading catastrophic risk modeling company, puts the economic loss from Harvey as high as $90 billion. That is two 500-year floods that have occurred in Houston in the last 14 months. 
Looking at the broader picture, wildfires in the U.S. have been increasing over the last 20 years and monetary losses from natural disasters have been steadily increasing. Even closer to home, we witnessed the record-breaking fires of last fall in North Georgia and North Carolina.
Is this just our bad luck or is this connected to climate change? I don’t think we can claim that Harvey was caused by climate change, but we can say that the atmosphere in which many natural disasters occur has fundamentally changed. The past three years have been progressively the hottest in recorded history and the temperature now is over 1 degree Centigrade higher than it was 100 years ago. This all coincides with the highest CO2 levels of the last 400,000 years due to the burning of fossil fuels. Warmer air holds more moisture, which causes more intense downpours. Hotter temperatures cause more intense storms and the temperature in the Gulf of Mexico at the time of Harvey was about 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit above average. Hotter temperatures from climate change also cause more droughts interspersed with intense downpours. It is estimated that for every 1 degree Centigrade rise in temperature we get a 50-percent increase in wildfires.
I hope and pray that we take notice of what is happening with our world, for predictions are that it will only get much worse as temperatures continue to rise. It is not too late. Now that solar and wind energy are more affordable, we can rather quickly switch away from fossil fuels. We now have to have the political will to do so and the courage to make the right moral decision. As evidenced from Harvey, we cannot afford not to act.

- Vernon Dixon, MD


What it’s like to take a ride on the right side

I got in my truck, headed for town and tuned in to XM Sirius. A Fox News reporter started an interview with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with, “You’re a person of faith, Sen. Cruz, what’s your take on this catastrophic hurricane?” What does his faith have to do with the question and why did she put the word in his mouth? Perhaps a not so subliminal smug plug aimed at the religious conservative audience to help keep the ratings up. 
Hopefully, folks see through their pitiful attempts of low class propaganda. One word can convey a lot. 
I switched over to Rush Limbauh for a dose of twisted spittle. Exposing myself to different venues keeps me up to snuff and helps me express opinions that aren’t pulled out of my “you know what.” I stopped at McDonald’s and had more Fox with a murder burger, then drifted over to the Aztex convenience store. Parked right outside the door was a pickup, no driver, windows down with the radio blasting Ol’ Rush to impress any passerby and flaunt their right wing bonafieds. I wasn’t impressed. After feeling assaulted enough, I got in my truck, tuned in some country and headed home. Bocephus, Hank Jr. was singing, “There are some preachers on TV in a suit, a tie and a vest. They want you to send your money to the lord, but they give you their address. All of your donations are completely tax free. God bless you all but most of all, send your mon-ee.” Praise the lord and pass the black-eyed peas. Got home and read a little gentle Buddhism to mellow out. The murder burger stayed down, although the next day I was a little clogged. Couldn’t blame it all on the burger, that one word the reporter snuck in didn’t help matters. God bless all and a special prayer for the hurricane victims. Send money.

- Mickey Cochrane


Western North Carolina’s drug crisis and a nod to Sheriff Vic Davis

 Western North Carolina has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic including prescription pain drugs, heroin and other illicit and addictive drugs. The statistics speak for themselves: 20 deaths per 100,000 people as reported for the year 2014. “In 2015 for the first time in U.S. history, the number of heroin-related deaths outnumbered gun homicides.”
  The problem is not by any means limited to the youth of our communities. The opioid problem and prescribed pain medication additions affect many age groups ranging from 13 to 70. 
 Four hundred and 20 drug-related arrests may not seem like a lot; however, Sheriff Graham Atkinson, president of the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association, clearly stated the problem is one which we cannot arrest our way out as the only remedy. 
  Clay County participates in the North Carolina Substance Use Alliance as well as the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use.
  I take exception to the remark made by Mr. Anderson, Progress Aug. 10 edition regarding the “out of state sheriff and deputies” in Clay County and his desire to have a local sheriff and fewer and local deputies.
  Like so may of us, Sheriff Vic and Linda Davis were not native to Clay County, but they choose to be here which, in itself, says a lot. Sheriff Davis has exceptional credentials with vast experience in law enforcement at many levels in much larger territory than Clay County. Vic and Linda are exceptional people who love this community and are dedicated to do all they can to make it even better.
  The sheriff has surrounded himself with young, intelligent and eager deputies to provide the level of security necessary for our needs. Yes, some are native to Clay County and some with combat military experience. 
  I feel Anderson needs to learn about the Sheriff’s Auxiliary before he passes judgement. 
 We are the volunteers who assist the deputies to provide House Watch, Neighborhood Watch, direct traffic at various events as well as assisting at the court house and sheriff’s office. We are called on for many support services in and around the county. 
  We are comprised of men and women from varied backgrounds, retired career military, retired executives and professionals all seasoned and well-trained.
 We raised the funds necessary for the purchase of body cameras and upgraded computer equipment for our deputies. The latest fund-raising has been for a support system for the newly acquired drug dogs. We are a dedicated group proud to be of service to the sheriff and our community. 
 Some of the achievements of Sheriff Davis include:
 • Added a new 911 back-up center.
 • Christmas dinner for seniors.
 • Firewood program for needy.
 • Equipped deputies with tasers and body cameras.
 • Built fire range for deputies at no cost to county. 
• Added animal control officer.
 • Added social media to keep public informed.
 • Use reverse 911 (code red) for emergency notification
 • Increased participation in Shop with a Hero Program
 Began a drug rehab program in the detention center.
Many years ago my father gave me some advice I have never forgotten. “Others will determine your reputation, and only you determine your character.” In this regard, Sheriff Davis has proven his character is exceptional. It is an honor to be associated with Sheriff Davis, his deputies and administration who serve us so very well. 
Ronald A. Jakelis 




Clay County Progress

Mailing Address: PO Box 483, Hayesville, NC 28904
Physical Address: 43 Main Street, Hayesville, NC 28904
Phone: 828-389-8431
Fax: 828-389-9997