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Opinion Letters

With thanks to the Franklin Garden Club, the beautiful plantings at Clock Tower/Rankin Square have brought a huge splash of treasured green space into our downtown.

One acquaintance recently remarked that was one important reason she moved here, saying “that garden in the center of town made me just know this city cares about itself.” Yes! As important as parades and festivals and banners is the “looks of the place” that encourages people to want to slow down and stick around.

For years garden club members have diligently maintained and expanded the plantings to give residents and tourists alike, an uplifting sense of calm and natural beauty amid the pavement. And now they have created a certified NWF Wildlife Habitat at Clock Tower Square, showing that cities can purposely create space for wildlife, another example of “community caring.”

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Imagine that in 2015, you, as an American citizen, don’t feel at home in your own town. You go out for pizza or to get braces for your child, and the TV blames you for all the ills of America. You turn on talk radio, and it’s more of the same. Televisions and radios across town send the same message: you are unwelcome, you are bad, you are to blame.

Most of the messages are false. They put words in your mouth that you never said. They attack your patriotism, second guess your every move and motive. The talking heads attack your leaders viciously, lying about their military service, undermining their legitimate authority. If that isn’t enough, there are some pastors in town who have made it clear that you are not welcome in their church.

Are you supposed to just accept this treatment? You ignored it, but it got stronger and more pervasive. What's worse is that too many people believe the noise and vote accordingly. The results are trickling down on us from Raleigh and Washington DC.

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I felt love for this person as I watched and heard his story. I cried when he did, chuckled when he did. I don't think anyone could have put it all much simpler. He is a human being. He has feelings, he feels love, he feels sadness. His main concern was not hurting his children. He doesn't care about the rest of the world and what they will perceive. Bruce just wants to be the person God created. He's not asking for favors, for sympathy or anything else. He just wants to be who he is. That's not asking for much at all.

Aren't we all just wanting to be the person we are? The person God created? Don't we all just want happiness and peace in our lives? Well, so does Bruce, and so do all people. Just because someone isn't like we think they should be, doesn't make them wrong in their choices, whether they be life styles, sexual preferences etc. It is their business, not ours.

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The people have been told for years, particularly by Republican candidates running for the General Assembly: "We will cut your taxes."

They have cut your taxes if you made over $88,000 per year. If you have made less than that you have seen no cut and, in most cases, have seen your taxes raised. You may not have a raise in income tax but you will probably pay much more every day for sales tax.

They have imposed sales taxes on electricity, natural gas, entertainment and movies.They have increased tax rates from 2 percent to 4.75 percent on modular homes and manufactured homes (Mobile homes) and taken off the cap on the maximum tax.

You will also be paying sales tax for your dentist, doctor, mechanic, electrician, plumber and for work done on service contracts. You will now pay sales tax on farm equipment and if you gross less than $10,000 per year, you will lose your farm deduction.

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