Opinion (632)

Thursday, 22 August 2019 18:08

COLUMN: Curbing the opioid epidemic

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A unfortunate trend has been developing in our region. For the second July in a row, Stanly County emergency rooms have seen the highest rate of opioid overdoses of all 100 North Carolina counties.

To the editor:

This week, the City of Hamlet, was stricken by tragedy.

Councilman Joe Robinson passed away suddenly at his home on Monday afternoon. Mayor Bill Bayless and I were on the scene within minutes after the emergency dispatch call came through and shared in the unspeakable heartache that no family should ever have to endure. 

It is impossible to process that less than a day before, he and I, his wife Terri, my wife Carrie, and three of his precious grandbabies were at the Hamlet City Lake assessing the progress there and feeding the ducks...making memories and enjoying life with each other. 

I wasn’t the city manager that day and he wasn’t a city councilman; we were two recently acquainted friends who were enjoying time with those who mattered the most to each of us. 

Joe looked at me and said, “Jonathan, you are doing a great job. The lake looks great and I can’t wait to see the progress continue here. Thank you for everything you have done for Hamlet.” 

We smiled, laughed, and took photos together. 

Joe meant so much to so many and the one word that everyone is hearing over and over in reference to Joe is, “kind.” God bless his memory, God be with his family, and God please look over all of us, one family, one community, one city, Hamlet, North Carolina.

- Jonathan Blanton, Hamlet city manager

Monday, 19 August 2019 11:44

COLUMN: Regulatory closet gets summer cleaning

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Because Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly have remained deadlocked for weeks over passage of a new state budget, you might think nothing much of consequence is happening in Raleigh.

Friday, 16 August 2019 19:09

COLUMN: 20th anniversary a night to remember

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Just the other day, my wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. We didn't go out for a fancy dinner and a show. There was no dancing involved. There were no elaborate gifts or overwrought declarations of love. There were no flowers or candy. 

While local liquor boards try to make the case that bureaucrats can do a better job than private businesses when it comes to managing the sale of alcoholic beverages, some small-minded censors at the North Carolina ABC Commission are spoiling for a First Amendment fight over irreverent craft beer names. 

As the U.S. House of Representatives took up the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, in 2010, then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, famously told her fellow members of Congress "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

Local government leaders who lobbied to make police body camera video confidential might lack the stomach for secrecy when loose lips could land them behind bars. 

Monday, 12 August 2019 12:21

COLUMN: Duke Energy is right on gas

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Duke Energy can’t win.

I am thinking I need an office. I don't need a big one, really. I just need someplace where I can write the column in peace. 

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