Your views: July 16, 2020

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Focus on understanding our history and making a difference

I am writing this as a plea to all Americans. My heart is breaking as I see our country being destroyed. The future of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren is at stake.

It is my prayer that our leaders will find the courage to stand up to the rioters who are doing everything in their power to destroy this wonderful, God fearing country. All people should be held accountable for their actions. Nothing good comes from tearing down and burning things that others have worked so hard to build up. Removing statues will not change history. We should focus on understanding our history, good or bad and let make a difference in our future.

Our country may not be perfect, but it has been the best and safest place in the world thus far and we need to keep it that way.

Everyone has the right to feel safe and protected from those who would do them harm.

Linda Davis


Dedication and hard work appreciated by members


I wish there was a better word than “thanks” to express our appreciation for the generous donation to the Clay County Union Hill Cemetery Fund made by Sharon Stilwell, her daughter Priscilla, Vivian Dyer and Quentin Ledford.

They worked for about a month doing a yard sale to earn money for the cemetery fund to help pay expenses during the summer mowing season. It was great to have Sharon and Vivian at our last meeting to update us on the yard sale and monies earned.

If you have a loved one buried at Union Hill, you know that it is beautifully maintained and we thank you Quentin.  

Also a special thank you to Eddie Burch who is always there volunteering to help with any project at the cemetery.

Our sincere thanks, David Stilwell, president JoAnn Woody, secretary/treasurer


Democracy on the line in November election

I have great respect and admiration for Dr. Vernon Dixon for his tireless efforts to inform us of the impending dangers we face from climate change in his letters to the Progress. His latest letter, well intentioned though it is, misses the mark. His assumption is that each side should be capable of treating the other with respect and dignity. Sadly, this has proven to be impossible time and time again for the past three years.

How can we come together when a faction of our citizens, which doesn't just turn a blind eye, but embraces wholeheartedly the separation of thousands of children from their parents; a faction which has never come to terms with our history of slavery of black Americans and genocidal acts against native Americans; a faction which claims that monuments honoring military commanders and political leaders who committed treason in order to maintain ownership of human beings are really just museum pieces rather than the glorification of what these men really stood for?

The sad and bitter truth is that there are those who believe passionately what is best for America is the self-righteous stance of bigotry and xenophobia exemplified and promoted by their cult leader, Donald Trump. There is no doubt that Clay County has been politically red and may still be, but there are many voters now, not just Democrats, but Republicans, independents and apoliticals who have seen what Trumpism has wrought and it has given them pause.

The election in November has a greater probability of being our last act of democracy than at any time in our history.

Bill Bagwell


'Cash for Trash' would be beneficial nationwide

Dear President Donald Trump,

Re: “Cash-4-Trash Program” will you invite us?

As the president of the United States and particularly a businessman, I believe you will be interested in our North Carolina Litter-Free Coalition “Cash-4-Trash Program” because it provides an opportunity for those wishing to earn their funding a way to do so by picking up litter in their community.

All of those mentioned in this letter are encouraged to invite us to a venue that will allow us to share the concepts of our business funded “Cash-4-Trash Program” so that every city, town our state would have the opportunity to evaluate this concept for their community. Most of our donating businesses welcomed our program because they have too many people asking them for unearned donations of money or products every year.

The challenges of the “Cash-4-Trash Program” isn’t finding businesses to fund this program but it’s finding those who want to earn their funding. As of June 8, Clay and Cherokee County businesses participating in the North Carolina Litter-Free Coalition “Cash-4-Trash Program” have paid out $1,800 to those willing to fill 10, 33-gallon bags with highway litter and answer seven questions.

Those who participate in this program enhance the image and economy for existing and new residents and businesses in their communities and instills the concepts of marketing, sales, service and reward that our young adults can benefit, preparing them as future employees or business owners.

Our program is about more than picking up litter, it reveals the serious social issues we face associated with the large quantities of alcohol containers, medicine containers and drug syringes tossed on our highways, in our parks and in business parking lots to name a few locations. The only way to solve these litter related issues is by working together and engaging our community families, schools, students, community leaders, political leaders, businesses, churches and our North Carolina Department of Transportation Office of Beautification who provides valuable anti-litter materials that is available just for the asking. Words alone will not solve these problems; actions are required.

I’m going to present the “Cash-Trash-4-Trash Program” to politicians of both parties with hope that someone will reach out to us with a letter of invitation to meet with them so they may meet some of the businesses, students and residents who participate in this program. One of the many goals of our program is to unite people with differing political positions in an activity that will unite them as people with a common goal.


Gary Chamberlain-Spokesman North Carolina Litter-Free Coalition Home of the “Cash-4-Trash Program”<> (928) 202-1186 (AZ cell)


Trump’s COVID response a slow motion train wreck

Donald Trump’s reaction to the COVID pandemic began with denial (“it’s the Democrat’s new hoax” Feb 28), followed by months of downplaying and belittling the scientific evidence available to him as the virus spread. Caring more about his image and re-election, Trump repeatedly claimed the pandemic was “under control” and about to “miraculously disappear” yet here we are five months later with Trump’s rosy predictions looking foolish. Viral suppression has been accomplished in much of the developed world where death rates per capita are 1/2 to 1/3 of ours because their leaders responded quickly, scientifically and consistently.

Trump falsely touted hydroxychloroquine as a “miracle cure” despite it having no proven COVID benefit and causing death in some patients with certain heart conditions. On April 23 he encouraged putting cleaning agents including Clorox and Lysol “inside the body” through ingestion or injection, proving how scientifically clueless he is. Manufacturers had to rush out disclaimers to prevent people from poisoning themselves by following Trump’s stunningly ignorant suggestion.

He has acted repeatedly in direct opposition to his own Centers for Disease Control and task force guidelines and recommendations. He encouraged states to stay open or reopen prematurely when their COVID case numbers had never flattened and testing and contact tracing were still grossly inadequate. He praised Republican Governors in southern and western states who ignored CDC guidelines and even sent out “Liberate” tweets on April 17 condemning states that were following Trump’s own task force guidelines. Now those same southern and western states Trump praised are the epicenter of huge spikes in infections and hospitalizations. On April 8 he sent Mike Pence to a packed Dallas mega-church with a 100 member unmasked choir to champion indoor church services, even as Texas COVID numbers increased. Trump proceeded with his June 20 Tulsa rally, in direct opposition to CDC recommendations and an ongoing Oklahoma COVID surge. Trump refused until today to wear a mask in public and defends his loyal followers who adamantly refuse masks. If being ignorant and selfish are a treatment plan, Trump is the ideal man to lead, however hospitalization and death statistics confirm his failure — 135,000 United States deaths.

Trump restated on June 23 he directed a slow down of testing, because “when you test you find more cases,” which is the exact purpose of testing. You find out who is positive, quarantine them and thereby protect the rest of us. Trump, however, viewed it through his narcissistic, sociopathic world view where testing made​ him​ look bad, negatively affecting his image and polling numbers.

On June 8, Trump insisted schools reopen everywhere nationwide and trashed the CDC school guidelines as “too tough and expensive.” He praised school openings in Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, ignoring that their daily new COVID cases that very day he tweeted were under 600 combined — ours were 60,000. Yes, they were ready to safely reopen their schools because they successfully suppressed the virus, where we have not.

Bullying, bluster, bragging and BS don’t impress this virus. 

James Messmer


Mountain Harbour celebrates independence


This Fourth of July was celebrated by golf and property owners of Mountain Harbour. This was a special event, since they were not only commemorating America’s birthday, but also celebrating our independence from Wells Fargo Bank.

“We now have our independence” was the shout heard throughout the crowd. No more mortgages to worry about; we own our wonderful mountain retreat.

Rob Tiger and Wyatt Espalin kicked off the evening with tunes we all loved. The many fans sat at socially distant tables outside on the stone patio and under the sky, breathing in fresh mountain air and enjoying the music.

Holy Smokers from the Episcopal Church provided smoked brisket, pulled pork, baked beans and coleslaw. How wonderfully delicious, plus all the proceeds went to helping others. Although the dessert was not low calorie, the banana pudding from Rib Country and the red, white and blue chocolate cake from Ingles were devoured quickly. It is great to spread our support throughout the community.

Then the finale — fireworks — for more than an hour.  All kinds of patriotic colors burst and boomed followed by silver rain filled the sky. The piece de resistance was the “Buck” moon rising over the mountains, God’s backdrop for our merriment. Diana Azor masterfully captured all of this in one photo.

What a special and fun celebration of our country’s independence and Mountain Harbour’s.

Bill Meldram


U.S.-Canada trade must prevail amid pandemic

The United States-Canada border has been closed to cross-border tourism and other non-essential travel for more than three months.

Despite these restrictions, trucks and trains have continued crossing the border in droves, since commerce is considered an essential activity. Every week, Canada and the United States exchange billions of dollars of goods and services.

For both countries, this trade is a lifeline — literally. Americans are sourcing many of the raw materials for masks and medicines from Canada. And Canadians are purchasing medical supplies from United States companies to fight COVID-19.

Yet some influential voices in Washington, D.C. want to restrict this commerce. That would be a grave mistake. Both countries are stronger when they cooperate and trade freely.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is putting together a “Buy American” executive order, which would require federal agencies to purchase U.S.-made medicines and medical supplies. The goal is to boost demand for domestically manufactured drugs, masks, and equipment — and thus spur companies to locate more of their manufacturing facilities in the United States.

Virtually everyone, on both sides of the border, shares Navarro’s goal of ensuring that medical supply chains can withstand future pandemics. Robust trade between the United States and Canada doesn’t hinder that goal — it furthers it. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Temporary Final Rule regarding procurement of personal protective equipment and supplies wisely exempted Canada and Mexico from Buy American provisions.

Canada has been one of the United States’ three biggest trading partners for generations. Approximately 75 percent of Canada’s exports head south of the border to the United States and Canada, despite its relatively small population, is the United States’ largest export market for goods. Our economies are joined at the hip — to the benefit of both countries.

In this environment, introducing new “Buy American” requirements, or tightening existing ones, would only harm both of our economies.

For instance, the United States is currently leading the race to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. To manufacture these therapies, United States companies will likely import certain compounds from abroad. According to the FDA, the United States imports 72 percent of the “active pharmaceutical ingredients” used to make medicines.

Canada is a key supplier of these API’s. If the U.S. government stops purchasing from existing suppliers, it will snarl the supply chain and lead to disruptions, delays and shortages. It certainly won’t accelerate the race for treatments and vaccines.

Requiring all API’s to be produced domestically simply isn’t feasible — at least not on the timeline required to defeat COVID-19. Building new pharmaceutical plants that meet FDA regulations can take 10 years and cost billions.

Canada can’t fight this pandemic alone either. It imports most of its medicines, syringes and X-ray films from the United States. Without trade with the United States, Canadian patients would experience massive shortages.

The United States and Canada have the longest unmilitarized border in the world because the relationship between our countries is built on trust and mutual respect. In the midst of this pandemic, the worst thing we could do is undermine that partnership by restricting trade.

Maryscott Greenwood is the CEO of the Canadian American Business Council.