Congratulations on "The Road to Nowhere" (by John Sugg, June 1) and "Shame Is for Sissies" (by Hal Crowther, June 1). I found both to be informative and very interesting. I have hiked many times and researched a bit on the area around the north shore of Fontana Lake. Horace Kepthard, who is buried now in Bryson and has a mountain so named for him in the Park, once lived in a small cabin near Proctor. The area has seen lots of abuse from timber companies that basically ripped the woods apart for the lumber to the flooding for the TVA. I have visited a few of the graveyards and taken note that those buried there all have their headstones facing the east so that they can see the sun rise each day. One day each spring is devoted to visiting and keeping up the old graveyards within the Park by the many descendants of those buried there. There are still artifacts there — even a couple of old cars rusting away. I am very sorry that the park service took the position they did and destroyed many of the historical structures that once were there. I find the road issue very contentious and destabilizing to the nearby communities. Whatever happens regarding the road matter, there will never be a settlement that is palatable to all parties concerned. At this point I would prefer not to see a conventional road built there, for environmental reasons mostly. However, perhaps something less intrusive on the area could be done, although I would have my doubts about the ability to do something along those lines.
As to the other article, I think it speaks for itself and I can only wonder at the current administration in Washington. It just adds to my cynicism for politics and what we have become nationally as members of the world at large.
Just wanted to take the time to let you know some of us out here read and appreciate good content in your publication when it appears.
— Tom Conover, Charlotte
Folks Were Lied To
I read with more than great interest John Sugg's article on "The Road to Nowhere," because of a couple of reasons. I grew up in Swain County and my grandfather began working for the Land Acquisition Department of TVA with the job of buying up the land which would be covered by water on completion of Fontana Dam. He was hired specifically because he knew everyone in the designated area.
It is true that the promise to build the road was made to Swain County, but Ted Snyder is letting his "irritation" cloud his reasoning. The people who were affected by the flooding of their land were definitely wronged. I traveled with my grandfather on a number of visits to various land owners and was privy to most of the conversations held regarding the purchase of the property. One of the things my grandfather told those people, under instructions from TVA, was that the government would build a road on the North Shore so they would have access to their family cemeteries. I have never known if that was included in the contract.
I do know that my grandfather said, on several occasions, after a visit, "They will never build that road." He stressed the difficulty of construction, not the potential harm to the environment. He was very unhappy the rest of his life that he had told the affected people they would get a road. The only excuse was the necessity to get everything done quickly as possible due to the war, but that never made him feel any better.
I thought I would add some confirmation and possibly alter Mr. Snyder's thinking regarding those good, trusting folks who were lied to.
— Walter C. Jackson, Charlotte
Don't Ride 'em, Cowboy!
Kudos to Sam Boykin for "Big Boys Don't Cry" (Urban Explorer, June 1). As I read the story, I was at first dismayed that he was in too much of a pro-rodeo mode. Then, like the excellent journalist he is, he went on to observe the dark side of this so-called sport, which is no more than animal baiting.
People should know (and care) that it is truly a "pretty damn miserable night for the four-legged participants" — which the rodeo industry fights tooth and nail to cover up.
As for 3- to 5-year-old mutton busters "on their way to becoming men — real men": 1) they are NOT young men, or even pre-men; they are easily frightened and injured boys; 2) what they are on the way to becoming is animal abusers — and, if they keep it up, maybe quadriplegics one day, too.
— Barry Wohl, Charlotte
Goin' to Kansas City
Well, since most NASCAR fans are rednecks and hate minorities I suggest that the Hall of Fame go where there are the least number of minorities ("Welcome, Race Fans!," by John Grooms, Jim Hunt, and Misty Herrin, May 25). Obviously that rules out Atlanta. Charlotte beats out Kansas City by a few percentage points, according to the latest census data. Congratulations Kansas City and good riddance!
— G. Thompson, Charlotte
Doctors Should Do It
To get around pharmacists who won't dispense the Morning After Pill, aka "Emergency Contraception" ("'Conscience' Bill Unclear," by Karen Shugart, May 18), why don't physicians who prescribe it simply give it to patients at the time they prescribe it? This seems like the simplest and most logical strategy to deal with this dilemma.
— Stephen V. Gilmore, Charlotte