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Opinions: April 26, 2018

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 History won’t change because victors write 

 Dr. Bannister's letter about Lincoln starting the Civil War over money is a breath of fresh air in this age of political correctness. There is no moral justification for slavery, of course, but those who believe it was what caused the war and that the Confederate flag represents bigotry and slavery are wrong. History is written by the victors, and in this case the victors ignore the fact that the North was living off the spoils (tariffs) of the South. Fortunately, the Industrial Revolution (e.g., the cotton gin) and the use of fossil fuels enabled us to replace slavery with more humane sources of energy. 
Another case of political correctness changing history is the Columbus 500-year anniversary, which was not celebrated because of the mistaken belief that Columbus enslaved the Arawak Indians in Hispaniola. Columbus was an explorer and discoverer of new lands. It was those who followed him who mistreated the Native Americans. -  Bill Raymond 


 Honor veterans at flag dedication ceremony 

 "Duty, Honor, Country. These three words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be." In the spirit of these words spoken by General MacArthur, The Ridges Country Club is sponsoring a flag dedication ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28. The ceremony will honor our military men and women, veterans and first responders who serve and protect our country. All residents of Clay and surrounding counties are invited to come out and help us honor these brave and dedicated men and women. "Remember those who served. All gave some. Some gave all."  -- Mike Whitaker 

 Thanks for prompt critter removal service 

 A few weeks ago, I thought I smelled gas. I called Proflame and within a short time they came to check everything. As it turned out, it wasn’t a gas leak but the strong smell was from a critter that had died. That’s when I called Scott Stophel of Carolina Critters, and as always he came right away to take care of it. So thankful for their great service.  - Trish Chapin 

 Air Methods decision will benefit residents 

 At a special meeting on Friday, April 20, the Clay County Board of Commissioners narrowly approved, by a 3-2 vote, an Air Methods Advantage Membership Agreement to provide medically necessary air medical transportation services to county residents. 
Chairman Robert Penland, Vice Chairman Dr. Rob Peck and Commissioner Randy Nichols voted in favor, while Commissioner’s Ed Roach and Clay Logan voted against the agreement which helps provide our citizens with critical care in the air without the financial burden. 
With more than 300 bases of operations serving 48 states, Air Methods delivers lifesaving care to more than 100,000 patients per year. Air Methods is locally based at Union General Hospital, Blairsville, Ga. The action taken at Friday’s special meeting will allow Clay County to enter into a similar cost sharing agreement with Union General as those they have with Towns and Union County. On average, a single medical transport by air can run between $30,000 and $50,000. For as little as $1.25 per person, commissioners Penland, Peck and Nichols are proud to provide an extension of our Emergency Medical Services to the citizens of Clay County. 
Air Methods is one of two air medical transport providers serving Clay County with the other being Life Force Air Medical, owned and operated by Erlanger Health System. At Friday’s meeting representatives from both Air Methods and Erlanger were present. As this was a proposed agreement between Clay County and Air Methods, the Erlanger representatives were not allowed to speak. It was noted that any future discussions or subsequent agreements with either Erlanger or Union General would be discussed at a later date. 
It should be noted that Life Force has flown patients from Clay County for many years and to our knowledge there has never been any offers to the leadership of Clay County for reduced or free air transport other than that through Air Med Care and Erlanger, voted on and approved on Feb. 1, 2018. Following Friday’s meeting, Robert M. Brooks, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Erlanger stated in conversation that they would have “given it to us for free.” Brooks was advised that there was nothing preventing them from still offering that very same service at no cost. 
In the meantime, we are extremely thankful for our agreement with Air Methods and look forward to partnering with Union General in providing free medically necessary air medical transport on Air Methods aircraft to the citizens of Clay County. Absence of any similar agreement with Erlanger, we would continue to recommend our citizens invest the $65 a year with Air Med Care to ensure complete coverage of their potential air medical transport costs. As your elected officials, we have full confidence in the men and women of our emergency services to exercise sound judgement as to which service is utilized based both upon the medical emergency and aircraft availability. When minutes matter, it should always be about the patient, not a particular entities bottom line. - Chairman Robert C. Penland, Vice-Chairman Dr. Rob Peck and Commissioner Randy Nichols 

 Death demonstrates need for search team 

 I am writing this letter with a heavy heart to the family of Adam Williams. On Friday, April 13 he went missing in the woods above his wife’s family home in the Fires Creek area. His family and close friends searched relentlessly throughout the night and into Saturday. The horrific tragedy was that his wife’s two sisters found his lifeless body. For the rest of these two young women’s lives, they will have this horrible image of the last time they saw their brother-in-law. He leaves behind a wife and three boys. I am a lifetime resident of Clay County and it saddens and shames me that this family did not receive any assistance from our county. Perhaps, the outcome would have been different if a search team had been implemented. Are we, as a county, so cold and calloused that we play God and determine who we will assist? If so, shame on us. I want to take this time to offer my deepest sympathy and my sincerest apology to this family. Due to the lack of compassion, concern and inaction of our county, my hope is that this family finds closure by whatever means they deem necessary to cope with this traumatic event and loss of their loved one. - Regretfully, Becky Chambers 

 Blue Ridge EMC needs better communication during power outages

 I am writing in response to an article that ran earlier this year titled "Power sales" by staff writer Lorrie Ross. The article is a summation by EMC General Manager Jeremy Nelms on a board of directors meeting. Previously, I had penned a letter to the Clay County Progress pertaining to storm outages and the need to better inform customers during these power lapses. I never received notification of this article on its merits for publication and I assume it hit the circular file. I will resend that letter following this one.Not once in Nelm's statements on storm-related costs and problems did he address customer service and the lack of information available to the individual EMC member. Communications during an outage with EMC is non existent. The phone line goes to a busy signal and stays that way until the lights come back on. What a customer wants when the power goes out is to phone EMC and report the outage and get a general idea on restoration, even a recording stating they are aware of the problem and are working on it with an approximate time of restoration. It is frustrating to get zero response when making an important call to EMC from the property owner.Again, I will repeat what was covered in my first letter to this newspaper. If EMC is going to provide a service to their subscribers then have the ability to at least answer the phone. Twenty-three lines into your call center does not seem to cover this problem. Outsource your call center and improve your customer relations. We all are aware that your are the only game in town, but I would like to see the area of customer services pertaining to outages improved. The costs of maintenance, general operations, storm-related problems are understood and the factoring in of cold weather-related increases in electric bills are noted and accepted. What is missing is the ability to communicate with your membership. Simple. Answer the phone.The last piece in this article pertaining to the taxpayers in Hiawassee paying a new surcharge to EMC that will be, in turn, funneled back to the town to cover unspecified town improvements is plain nuts. Taxpayers want transparency in government and when you take more money out of our pockets, we want to know why and what you are doing with it. How does EMC get involved in this mess? All along I thought I had found Mayberry RFD — guess not. - Bob Harrington

 Repeating oft-told story doesn't make it true

 Contrary to Bannister's bizarre revisionism regarding the Civil War, the south and the south alone, instigated the war by seceding, thereby being in a state of open and armed rebellion against the United States. As the Confederates themselves stated with absolutely incontrovertible clarity, the one and only reason for secession was white supremacy."The new Confederate Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions — African slavery as it exists among us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution, Civil War. The prevailing ideas that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally and politically. Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition."— Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederate States of America, March 21, 1861."As a people, we are fighting to maintain the heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race… (the Confederate) flag... would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations and be hailed by the civilized world as the white mans flag. As a national emblem, it is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race."— William T. Thompson, designer of the Confederate flag, May 4, 1863"The question of Slavery is the rock upon which the Old Government split: it is the cause of secession."— G. T. Yelverton, Alabama Secession Convention, Jan. 25, 1861"...there is but one single subject of complaint which Virginia has to make against the government under which we live; a complaint made by the whole South, and that is on the subject of African slavery..."— John B. Baldwin, Virginia Secession Convention, March 21, 1861The Confederates themselves, in their own words, give the lie to Bannister's copious smoke and obfuscation. The ludicrous fiction of the Civil War being merely an internecine conflict over tariffs is simply white supremacist's ridiculous attempt to put lipstick on a pig; a wholly disingenuous attempt to rehabilitate their beloved "lost cause" into something more noble than what the Confederates themselves unequivocally elucidated it to be — a war for the sole purpose of preserving slavery.This particular poppycock apologetic has been a favorite among white supremacists and neo-Confederate wannabes since the end of Reconstruction, yet despite anything Goebbels may have said to the contrary, constant repetition of a lie doesn't make it true. - Emmet Bondurant

 Penland has served county with integrity and honor for 20 years

 I am writing this letter in response to recent actions that have been taken in Clay County in regards to Dwight H. Penland. First off, I would like for everyone in Clay County to know the Dwight Penland that I know. He is a very loving, caring, honest and upright man. Is he perfect? No, but he comes really close in my eyes. He strives every day to do what is right, not what he feels like doing in the moment. Has he made mistakes? Yes, but he has never intentionally tried to blatantly hurt anyone and always gives everyone the benefit of a doubt when they do something that is not exactly becoming of their character. He certainly does not judge anyone. He is a good listener, a wonderful father/grandfather, a hard worker, a true friend to those in need and someone who can be depended on at all times. He is not a gossiper and never runs people down even if they are running him down in a very personal way. It really bothers me that so many people can throw stones at him so freely and try to take away his basic civil rights that men in this country have fought and died for all of us to have. Are those people free and clear of mistakes in their lives?I am not really sure why certain people in this county have taken it upon themselves and made it their goal to run Dwight out of his home county. Remember this is the same county that he has served publicly and honorably for 20 years. I am sure his decisions were not always popular with everyone, but I can promise you that his decisions were based on what was best for Clay County, not what was best for Dwight H. Penland. Decisions that please everyone, all of the time are rare or non-existent. The important fact is that he made decisions to the best of his ability for the good of Clay County. He graduated from high school in this county. His children graduated in this county. He has volunteered his time coaching in this county and has voted in this county for 35+ years. He pays his corporate business taxes in this county. He pays his personal taxes and all of his other taxes in this county. He pays property taxes in Clay County. Dwight H. Penland loves Clay County and has always been dedicated to the best interests of this county. I know that this letter will probably get answered with much hoopla and opinions that are contrary to what I am stating as fact, but I know in my heart that the people who really know Dwight H. Penland know what kind of a person that he is and they also know what the important real facts are. I am extremely proud of the man he is and who he always will be. Dwight H. Penland for commissioner — choose a man who will serve Clay County for the good and best interests of Clay County. - Sissie Wood


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