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Opinion Letters

The Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #994, would like to thank all the businesses in Macon, Jackson and Swain county who supported our chapters second annual golf tournament on Saturday, Aug. 30. There were 113 sponsors and some of you sponsored more than one hole. There were also 20 businesses who donated door prizes for our tournament.

We would also like to thank all the golf teams who participated in our tournament. Without your support our tournament would not have been so successful.

The Golf Club at Mill Creek was a great venue and the owners and staff went above and beyond what we could have expected. Thank you Tony and Brenda Munger for all you did to make the day a huge success.

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If we put all the environmental issues (air, water, land) aside, have you considered the impact that "fracking" will have on our county and this state if is found to be economically feasible? National Geographic magazine (a reasonably objective magazine) can be read by Googling the magazine and the word “fracking" The magazine report outlines the economic and social impact on towns in North Dakota which are similar in size to many communities in western North Carolina. Yes, jobs were created. Yes, salaries for theses jobs were greater than the prior average salaries in these communities.

However, Mr. Davis, did you know that most of these jobs required specific technological skills not found in the local workforce? The jobs created available to the local citizens were primarily labor, trucking and transportation jobs. These transportation jobs consisted to transporting millions of gallons of water to "fracking" sites, and the removal of millions of gallons of waste water containing unknown chemicals to waste water treatment facilities. Yes, these truck driving jobs were well paying. They were so well paying that public service personnel (fire fighters, police, EMS workers and teachers) as well as persons serving in the private sector became drivers. Sounds like a “win win situation”.

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How can you tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving. It's an old joke, but, as with most humor, there is some truth. When the Republicans took over governing N.C. in 2010, they made many promises. So how did it work out?

The conservative battle cry was, "We will cut your taxes." So, in the next few years the largest tax cuts in modern history of North Carolina were enacted. All these cuts were based on the theory that big tax breaks for wealthy individuals and big corporations would generate greater tax revenue.

So far, just this year, N.C. state tax revenue is down more than $630 million, and most experts expect that deficit to get even worse by the end of this fiscal year. And when the second set of tax breaks take effect next year, the state will be even deeper in the hole. There will be less money for schools, roads, public safety, the court system, health care and everything else. And, by the way, unless your income was over $87,000, your overall taxes went up.

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Western North Carolina is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The majestic mountains, the lush green forests and valleys, the small family farms, waterfalls, rivers, streams, along with the pristine sky all inspire us on a daily basis. We treasure this natural abundance, and like all inheritance, we must be wise stewards for our future generations.

Unfortunately, there is a fundamental threat to all of this: hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” This could destroy it all.

Fracking is an industrial process using millions of gallons of our pristine mountain water mixed with toxic chemicals pumped underground at extremely high pressure to break apart natural gas-infused shale rock thousands of feet below the surface.

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