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Opinion Letters

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is Oct. 6-13, and is an opportunity to learn more about serious mental illnesses. It’s time to make a difference. Let’s stop history from repeating itself. Mental illness does not discriminate. It can strike anyone at any time. These are brain disorders and like other illnesses, recovery is possible. Treatment works — if a person can get it.

Unfortunately, there are long delays — sometimes decades — between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help. Less than one-third of adults and less than one-half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment. Everyone should know about the nature of mental illness and treatment options available. To bring awareness of mental illness and its impact on individuals and families, NAMI Appalachian South, the local affiliate of NAMI NC and national NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is sponsoring several events.

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I am amazed how nearly 50 years later there are still some Americans who still subscribe to the theory/philosophy, "that I cannot find a job or my standard of living is less," because of the "equal opportunity laws." I am sorry it has to stop and that "old" lie must be forever withdrawn. The laws were put into place because of this way of thinking and the practices behind it. Let’s be honest, if you children or grandchildren are not getting the opportunities you and they feel they deserve, it’s not because of "equal opportunity laws," it’s probably because they are "not qualified"; and placing blame on women and people of color is any easy escapegoat, rather than facing yourself in the mirror and saying "I was not qualified."

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In a recent letter titled "New laws bring advantages to N.C. citizens," the writer stated, "It's time to speak the truth about the gain made by the N.C. legislature in its 2013 session." While most of the facts stated are true, the writer didn't tell the whole truth. The rest of the truth follows in the areas addressed by the writer.

Education: It is true that the appropriation is $361 million more than the previous year but it is $120 million less than what the state budget office said was necessary to maintain education at the 2012 level.The rest of the education story: $10 million in public funds were allocated for private school vouchers; 5,200 teaching positions lost and 4,580 teacher assistant positions cut in the new budget; starting salary for N.C. teachers is $30,800 which is less than $15 per hour; 2,400 at-risk children are cut from pre- K. How do these budget realities bring advantages to N.C. students and teachers?

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I am very concerned by town alderman candidate Angela Moore's request for the Town of Franklin to not offer grants to local non-profits. I’m sure Mrs. Moore had good reason to leave and miss the very non-profit requests she deemed improper, but the information shared was vital. The organizations requesting grants from the town have been and remain crucial to our community. They rely on grants from local, state and federal funds to provide services to our residents that would not otherwise exist.

KIDS Place is a non-profit organization that requested funds to operate. KIDS Place sole purpose is to aide Macon County law enforcement and DSS in handling children who have been physically or sexually abused. Their prosecution rate for child abuse cases in Macon County is more than 90 percent and is evidence of their committed staff.

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