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Opinion Letters

An alarming report from the Center for Disease Control highlights why a new law in North Carolina could not have been passed at a more critical time. According to the CDC, rates of women aged 45 to 64 dying of overdoses increased five-fold over the past decade, the vast majority of them on prescription pain medication. The rough total of mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters lost was 15,300 in 2010. The number of male deaths also more than tripled during this time period, totaling 23,000 in 2010. The CDC assessed that about 70 percent of the fatalities were unintentional and considered accidental.


By now, most of Franklin has heard and read about the departure of the Overlook Players from the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. I would like to applaud the article in The Macon County News in the Aug. 15 edition written by Scotty and his team. It shows what a class act these people are and their dedication and hours and hours of hard work to make the theater and the performances so enjoyable for all who had the privilege to attend. Coming from Atlanta and moving to a small town was very eye-opening for us. Being theater loving patrons and experiencing larger and more expensive venues, I honestly can say that those do not hold a candle to what the Overlook players brought to our small community.


This week the North Carolina Legislature passed, and Governor McCrory signed, a bill requiring a photo ID in order to vote. This bill will disenfranchise a large number of voters in our state, especially the elderly (which includes the Greatest Generation, who saved our country for democracy), and the first-time voters. In addition, the bill eliminates one week of early voting, which has been extremely popular with older folks.

Some real examples: a friend is 94 years old. She served as a nurse in WWll, has always been very active in her church and community, her husband was a state senator for several terms. She has voted in every election since she was old enough, but now she can’t vote, because she has no “valid” ID. Another friend is 87, has never driven because she is blind, she and her family have worked tirelessly for their church and community, but now she can’t vote.


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.


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