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Opinion Letters

A recent letter to-the-editor charged that Highlands Police Department did not show proper respect to the family at the funeral of a former Highlands police officer. The whole story was not told. In fact, Highlands Officers Castle, Dowdle and Reynolds were at the funeral dressed in full uniform, and I attended the funeral as the Mayor of Highlands.

Furthermore, 25 regional law enforcement agencies have been consulted by our staff concerning the funeral protocols for honoring current and former officers. That policy is being drafted and will be presented to the Town of Highlands Board of Commissioners for their review.

Prior to becoming Mayor of Highlands, I worked for ten years with law enforcement agencies as a Macon County Magistrate. I can assure everyone, Highlands has the most professional and best trained police department that the town has ever had. Highlands officers, like all area law enforcement officers, strive for the highest levels of integrity and service to the community.

Patrick Taylor, Mayor of Highlands

To the Otto First Responder Unit and Volunteer Firefighting Department:

My name is Ryan Droney, and almost two weeks ago on a Saturday, May 9, 2015, you helped save my life. I want to thank you for that, all of you, wholeheartedly. I don't remember much, but am told you arrived within minutes, and without your immediate response, things could have been much worse for me. I want to thank you not only for your help and efforts in my own situation, but for the many things you give, all on your own time and your own dime. Your commitment to the community around Franklin and Otto is extremely appreciated, as I assume many of you have families, work jobs, and have numerous other things going on in your lives. Still, you offer up your time for people like me, people who need help.

Volunteering is just that, volunteering time in return for the satisfaction you are doing something worthwhile. You don't get paid, yet you do it. You travel to calls like mine on your own dollar, and that type of person, the giving type, is a special quality. Someone once said, "If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life." You have done just that, so thank you, very much. You have made a massive impact on my life, and I will forever appreciate that.

With thanks,

Ryan Droney — Otto, N.C.

Wake up America and pray. Pray for those nine justices on the Supreme Court, that they will seek the Lord’s guidance in the decision they are to make concerning marriage between two people of the same sex. God makes it very clear in his word, that marriage is between one man and one woman, not between two people of the same sex.

If laws keep being made that go against what God tells us in his word, how long is it going to be before they come after our Bibles and tell us we can’t use them any more?

I remember in the 1930s and early ’40s in elementary school how the teacher would start many days off with Bible reading and prayer. I remember a local minister speaking to our class in 1949 when I graduated from Franklin High School. In recent years, when a minister spoke to a graduating class at Nantahala High School, the news media raised such a ruckus, that if you didn’t know better, you’d think a major crime had been committed.


To the people of Highlands, as your former Chief of Police, I am writing to you to ask for your help.

On April 18, 2015, Officer Todd Ensley passed away. He served the people of Highlands as Captain of Detectives for 25 years, before being terminated due to medical reasons. The same medical problems which later took his life.

Officer Ensley’s family called Highlands Police Department and requested that the Honor Guard from Highlands Police Department be at the funeral, and was told that this request would have to go before the board. Officer Ensley’s family contacted me and asked if I could do anything to help in this matter. The next morning I drove to Highlands and met with the mayor and the town manager. I was given a list of directives to follow in order for Highlands Police Department to supply a Honor Guard for Officer Ensley’s funeral. I told the mayor and the town manager, as I was leaving that what they had requested would be done in the next five minutes. But, by the time I drove back to Franklin, the Chief of Highlands Police Department had called the funeral home and advised that due to one officer being on vacation, and another being in school, a Honor Guard from Highlands Police Department couldn’t be present at the funeral.


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