Canary Coalition is leading in the right direction

Too often people tend to write off efforts by the most hard-core social activists as excessive or simply impossible to achieve. These people and their movements are out of the mainstream, many say, their ideas worthy yet impractical, or that their time has not come.

Jim Black’s enablers carry on

The scandals around N.C. House Speaker Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg, multiply like mushrooms on the forest floor. Yet a casual reader of the news might be inclined to think that Mr. Black was a politician in some other state.

Quarry plan showcases planning shortfalls

Citizens in Jackson County’s Tuckasegee community should consider themselves lucky. The problem, however, is that luck doesn’t always hold.

It appears very likely now that a proposal to construct a rock quarry in this rural community is not going to fly. Jackson County enacted a high-impact industry ordinance in May 2002 that placed relatively tight regulations on quarries and mines. According to that law, the proposed rock crusher would have to be 1,320 linear feet from the nearest home.

Immigration and a complicit, angry America

On July 13, the Buncombe County Republican Action Club posted two billboards in Asheville featuring a photograph of a Mexican flag flying over an American flag, the latter of which was also turned upside down. The accompanying message read, simply, “Had Enough?” I’m not sure, but I believe the original photograph was taken when some high school students in California hoisted the flags in this configuration, a stunt that was quickly shut down, but not before the photograph was taken and transformed into a rallying cry for the Action Club and its supporters. The topic, of course, is illegal immigration, a complex problem that the Action Club would like you to believe is not complex at all, but the result of bleeding heart liberalism, pure and simple.

Unified voices calling for a better big box

When Waynesville leaders met earlier this month to discuss the site plan and variance requests for the proposed big-box development at the old Dayco site, it seems they spoke with a unanimous voice, urging construction of something other than an off-the-shelf retail center.

A little surer, a little more lost

I can’t help feeling, just slightly, like we cheated. You be the judge.

The table had been set on our recent family vacation for a trip unlike any I’d ever experienced. We had planned a four-night sailing trip on my father-in-law’s 32-foot sloop “Tranquilo.” My wife Lori and I may joke around at home about who wears the pants, but on the boat there’s no doubt — she dons the captain’s hat. She has sailed for years with her father in the waters around the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound, so he trusts her to get his beloved boat back to its slip safely while we — the kids and I — are the benefactors of a great time.

The time has come to lift Cuban embargo

This is about political ignorance, ignorance highlighted by the recent news about Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s apparently serious illness.

Somebody get that cow a pizza

Driving down Russ Avenue on yet another scorching day, I saw a couple of girls out in front of the Pizza Hut waving at people as we drove by. Behind them, there was a big sign promoting a sale on pizza. I couldn’t really tell you what the sign said because the look on the girls’ faces was so forlorn, so pathetic that I watched them instead. Their waves were not even half-hearted, arms barely lifted, heavy probably from the exertion and the heat, their motions slow and sodden.

Alcohol vote reveals changing attitudes, new demographics


Franklin voters approved the sale of mixed drinks and beer in a vote held last week. Few were surprised the measure passed. In truth, few seem to care too much.

Developers haven’t earned a break from the rules

They didn’t show up. That alone signals, or maybe “symbolizes” is the proper word, a shift in citizen attitudes that would have seemed unimaginable just a couple of years ago.

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