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Archive for November, 2007

With Mount Airy now out of the state football playoffs, it’s never too early to look ahead to next season … or the season after.In 2009, the conferences realign to account for updated enrollment numbers, and the NCHSAA has just released a preliminary proposal to shuffle all the leagues. You can view it here: http://www.nchsaa.org/pdf/5969A.pdfBasically our two local conferences (the Northwest 1A and the Mountain Valley 2A) would get combined and then divided in half geographically into two conferences. Means less travel, but it also means 1A schools like Mount Airy and East Surry competing in the same league with 2A North Surry and West Stokes.So what should take priority: closer schools or schools of similar size? Or do we need to just further subdivide so we don’t have 8 and 9 team conferences?

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Spare the rod?

Do parents have the inherent right to spank their children? The Massachusetts legislature is taking up that issue, a proposal that would bar a parent from forcefully laying their hands upon a child — except to save them from danger.

Corporal punishment in the home is already illegal in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and the Ukraine.

 Is this an area we really want the government getting into? Do you spank your children, or did you? What’s its effectiveness, in your opinion? 

 

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Some bloggers have requested that we post commissioner topics in the days before a meeting, with an update on how they voted afterwards. This Thursday at 7 p.m. the city board is deciding on bids to the old house on 305 Cherry Street. This was the property that was originally slated for RCC parking, but was declared surplus by a 4-1 vote last month. Three bids ranging from $30,000 to $33,650 have been submitted.It’s a somewhat interesting debate, pitting historic preservation versus parking and facilities needs. It also raises the question of just what should be considered “historic.” This house is old, yes, and like anything old has a history. But it looks like any other plain house on a neighborhood block. Is it worth saving in the name of preservation?

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Black Friday

I’ve never really gotten into the spirit of Black Friday, other than to make sure that we have a reporter covering it. The idea of fighting crowds at 4 in the morning just isn’t my idea of fun, no matter what the savings. But apparently there are plenty of folks out there who not only tolerate Black Friday, they enjoy it. I’d love to hear your stories on what makes Black Friday fun.

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Land condemnations are always emotional issues. On the one hand, it’s the big, bad government picking on the little guys, taking their land for a pittance of its intrinsic value. On the other hand, our society has certain infrastructure needs that often would go unbuilt without the right of eminent domain. Balancing those two positions is never easy. There are always some who will see injustice, either to the landowner or to the taxpayers. The situation with the Terrells and the county’s landfill site is compounded because of several factors, including the elderly age of the landowners, the length of time the property has been in their family and the fact that the county doesn’t really need all the land immediately for a landfill. But it’s also not right to compare the county’s relatively low per-acre offer for the Terrell property to the relatively high option price for new school property in Dobson. Two totally different sites with different uses. I don’t really see the Terrells becoming homeless within two weeks. The county has simply ratcheted up the pressure to negotiate and get the deal done.

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When we asked our bloggers to suggest some new discussion topics, the issue of schools and businesses going tobacco-free immediately came up. It’s a very relevant issue. In the last few months alone we’ve had both school systems, Northern Hospital and a number of restaurants prohibit smoking and chewing tobacco. Looks like Surry Community College might be next. Do the public health benefits of such policies justify the restrictions? Or are we going too far?

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So What’s On Your Mind?

One of our faithful posters prodded me today. “I enjoy the paper and participating in the blogs. I would however, like to see new subjects added sooner,” he ( I think it’s a he) wrote. Folks, this blog can go in just about any direction you want — and some of you have taken it to new highs and lows.
So let me turn this back around. What are some issues you’d like to see batted around? Just respond to this blog with your suggestions and i’ll set up separate posts so we can get multiple threads going.

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Who would have thought that an industry segment could dwindle so much that what remains would be a tourist attraction? That’s the case with Mount Airy’s Bright Leaf Drive-In Theater, now one of a small handful of drive-ins left in the state, which at its peak in the ’50s numbered more than 200.
Since I have lived in the southwestern corner of the county for the past 37 years, I must admit not having had the pleasure of spending an evening at the Bright Leaf yet. The last time I went to a drive-in was probably a quarter-century ago, either in Jonesville or at the Flamingo in Winston-Salem. I do remember my first time ever at a drive-in, going with my parents to see one of the first James Bond films in Quantico, Va. I could barely wrap my arms around the 49-cent Sprite. I also remember that there was a drive-in that tried to appeal to the younger crowd by urging them to “see a movie from the comfort of your own back seat.”
Anyway, it’s great to see the Bright Leaf has new, young, enthusiastic ownership and that folks are coming from miles around.

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Will the extra quarter-cent sales tax fly through the referendum Tuesday. Not likely, even though there’s no organized opposition. I’m not saying it will fail. I think it will pass. But it won’t be by a landslide. A lot of folks just don’t like tax increases, no matter how small or who else might be paying them. And as our county ages — and it is aging rapidly as retirees move in and young people look elsewhere for decent jobs — getting people excited about building new schools gets more difficult because so many don’t have a direct, vested interest. The message that needs to be hammered home is that Surry County can’t stay the same. It can get better, or it can get worse. Not attending to our school needs can only insure it will get worse.

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