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Opinion Letters

On June 19, 2013, USA-Today revealed to the nation a program utilized by federal agencies and the U.S. House and Senate whereby student loans are paid, with public funds, for federal employees and congressional staff.

Since that time both the House and Senate have passed bills (both by wide margins) and sent them to the president for signing. It is noteworthy that these bills lower the interest rate on student loans to the pre-July rate of 3.4 percent for the coming school year but will increase beginning with the 2014-15 school year.

The interest rate will be linked to financial markets next year and will not be higher than 8.25 percent for undergraduates, 9.5 percent for graduate students and for parents who take out loans for their children, the rate will top out at 10.5 percent.


This was the message that our state Republicans and Senator Davis ran on last November. I ask you now, how much legislation did we see come out of Raleigh to bring jobs back to North Carolina? Friends, there was no legislation passed through the General Assembly. In fact, while the national unemployment rate fell to 7.2 percent last month, 44 counties in North Carolina saw unemployment rise above 10 percent, 8 of those being in Western North Carolina. Instead, the State Legislator spent their entire session pushing radical legislation through the General Assembly. The biggest blow to our state was found in the new budget, where education saw a cut of almost half a billion dollars.


Dear Friends of the Theatre,

We write this letter to the community as an expression of appreciation and gratitude for your support of our creative efforts while working at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts.

In the last four and a half years, we have had the wonderful opportunity to create and perform over 35 musicals and plays, dozens of special events and served as a production crew for hundreds of traveling concerts and road shows. During that time we have met and made life-long friends and have had experiences and opportunities that will never be forgotten. As with all things, however, things progress and change and each of us employed at the theatre knew we were coming to a crossroads in our lives and felt it was time for each of us to examine which path we should each take towards our own futures.


Tired of hearing the term ‘Obesity Epidemic’

An epidemic is defined as "a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time." Obesity is not contagious. These is no such thing as an "Obesity Epidemic." Obesity, in the majority of cases, is caused by two things. One is simply a lack of self control, the other lowered self esteem. Often involved is a self-fulfilling prophesy; "I am fat and ugly, so why not eat?" It is true that there are various medical causes of obesity, but they account for a small minority of obese people. For most people, obesity is a choice.

The notion that large soft drink sizes (as in New York) or large sizes of french fries or other fast foods cause us to be overweight is ridiculous. We each control what and when we eat. While those who smoke or are alcoholics may have the excuse of chemical dependence, those who consume excessive calories can make no such claim. Most of us enjoy eating. Some of us know when to stop. Oh yes, exercise helps, but that's another story. Obesity is a choice.


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