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Letters to the Editor
Dear Editor,

On Dec. 4, 2012 the Nashville Town Council unanimously voted to allow a special use permit for auction sales in the downtown district for The Red Barn Auction Company. This was done after it had been unanimously denied in October. The Nashville Planning board had recommended approval both times. We resubmitted the request with changes to address concerns voiced by the council at the October meeting. We did this because we felt it was the best business opportunity available for downtown Nashville. At no time did anyone speak against the request. In fact, at a joint meeting of both boards the end of November, there were around ten people who spoke for the request, as well as a number of letters of support and a petition with over two hundred signatures supporting the auction house.

We have been very excited about having the auction company locate in downtown Nashville. Everyone we have talked to has been equally enthusiastic. The former Super 10 building, where auctions would be held, has been vacant for years. It has undergone extensive renovation and upgrading. However, after having to engage an architectural company to draw plans that will meet the criteria for the newly assigned code for auctions downtown, we have found it to be cost prohibitive. Additionally, just this past week we were informed that the Council put a limit of one year on the special use permit. We are extremely disappointed as we are aware that other auction houses in the area have been able to do business under their existing codes.

As owner of the building, I want to thank everyone who spoke up for our project, whether it was actually speaking  at the joint meeting, writing a letter of support or signing our petition. We would also like to thank the town of Nashville, the Planning Board, the Town Council and their staffs. The building, being a sound building and a safe building, meets the criteria for the code it and others have and still operate under. We therefore reluctantly must ask you to look for The Red Barn Auction Company in a different location and the building will be offered for rent as it is.

Scott Tyson


Dear Editor:

A sincere thanks to Sanderson Farms, Incorporated for their contribution to Nash County taxpayers of $1,000,329.22.  This is an outstanding gesture by an outstanding company.  We have watched their operations in Kinston, North Carolina grow and exceed the community’s expectations there.  This contribution to Nash County and their performance in eastern North Carolina shows what a stand-up, first class company Sanderson Farms exemplifies.

Nash County and the Carolinas Gateway Partnership objectively analyzed the project’s economic and environmental consequences.  An environmental impact study prepared by independent engineers and environmental experts prepared a “finding of no significant impact”.  An economic impact analysis prepared by independent consultants found that the project would create 2,447 jobs and $6.7 billion in economic impact to a three county region of Nash, Edgecombe and Wilson over a 10 year period.  Sanderson Farms should be commended for the extraordinary amount of data it furnished on its operations; really, no one could disagree that the scrutiny of this project was greater than any other project in recent memory.

This project brought controversy.   One of the chief opponents of the project stated at the very outset that they will spend any amount of money to engage in a protracted legal battle, which will take so long that the company will go away.  After Nash County and the company spent literally hundreds of thousands dollars for studies proving no significant environmental impact, this tactic never changed.  The tactic of being wrong at any cost appears to have succeeded.  It should be noted that they really meant was they will spend any amount of the taxpayer’s money.  To be clear, all of the expert analyses of this project on the properties proposed showed that it would be beneficial to our region.  And, all of the legal rulings have been in favor of Nash County.  Furthermore, there was never any real doubt that future permits and future legal rulings would have been in favor of the project.

Sometimes it’s not easy to pick winners and losers.  Nash County taxpayers have been made whole by Sanderson Farms’ contribution.  But, the region’s workers and economy will be $6.7 billion poorer.  This is an amount we really could not afford to give up.  All three counties have seen devastating job losses.  Certainly a lot of that has been due to the Great Recession: but, we also face what some may call structural changes that are leaving our economies behind. 

We think there are opportunities to grow our economy to the benefit of all, if only we would keep our minds open to those opportunities.  One of the criticisms was the potential for higher social costs associated with employing large numbers of hourly workers.  Given the high unemployment rate in the region, these are individuals that are currently not employed, many of whom are receiving public assistance of some kind.  So, the assumption that the large numbers of hourly workers would bring increased social costs is just wrong.  It is an arrogance of some that these jobs are somehow “beneath us” that is disturbing.  We agree that we should push for a balance of industries, job types and wage scales to recruit; but, why not give a person the opportunity to work regardless of their socio-economic status? 

So, the Carolinas Gateway Partnership will work ever harder; we stand for progress.  Our region’s success ultimately should not be judged by one project; just this past year we have seen numerous welcome expansions to our economy by a variety of technology and advanced manufacturing operations.  In fact, the Milken Institute just ranked the Rocky Mount metropolitan area as one of the top high-technology areas in the country.   But, this doesn’t mean that we need to be either “high” or “low” tech.  Our ability to garner a wide range of job opportunities will be the key to future job growth. 

To our opponent of economic progress in our region; we know what you’re against, but what are you for?  

Frank Harrison, Chairman
Carolinas Gateway Partnership


Dear Editor:

I recently read a headline on an article that caused me to ponder. The headline was “Leave the debate over education concerns to state legislatures.”

We have left the debate and the passage of laws dealing with education to our legislators since the court decisions of the 1950s and 1960s. What we have gotten in return is a declining education system throughout the United States.

It is time that the people and especially the parents were brought back into the debate about education. The North Carolina General Assembly made a start at bringing the parents back into the education debate with the removal of the cap on charter schools.

We now need our lawmakers to find more ways to bring the parents and the people back into the decision making process in the system educating our children. There has been some discussion about a voucher system for North Carolina schools. If applied correctly a voucher system would be another way to bring the parents back into the debate on educating our children. We need more than unlimited charter schools and a voucher system that requires the engagement of the people in educating our children.

We know from past experience that the way most elected officials address any problem is by allocating more money to the concerned area. We know that more money has not stopped the declining education level within our schools. Nor has more money stopped the dropout rate or stopped the education system from graduating functionally illiterate individuals.

It is time the people demanded to be a part of the debate on how our children are educated. It is time we demanded our legislators and elected officials pass and implement laws requiring parents to make the major decisions on how their children are educated. It is time we returned to community schools where the parents and members of the local community are the individuals making the final decision on how education is conducted within their community.
Ray Shamlin
Rocky Mount

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