Church and Stated

In the September issue, we featured fourteen great getaways for the fall, plus Van Miller’s piece on mountain living. The issue also included the finale to our four-part series on crime and Don Hudson’s remembrance of the late Doug Marlette.

I enjoyed reading Don Hudson’s article on Doug Marlette ("Cartoonist, Prophet"). My mother sent it to me from Wilmington to France, where I live part of the year. What I worry about most is true freedom of the press and this gave me encouragement that even in the South one could read an article extolling someone who was "controversial" in his approach to his work—especially being critical of American religious leaders. I understand that many Americans have great devotion to their religions, but I find it particularly worrying that this is used far too much to excuse absence of critical thought and analysis of the way our nation is being led and the direction we are going.
Melanie Woolfenden

High Court
I am writing with regard to your article titled "Justice for a Few" (by Melissa Hankins). While the article appears to be well intentioned, there are some inaccurate and misleading statements that should be brought to the attention of your readers. There is language that leads one to think that there are only two trial courtrooms either available or operating in the new facility. Please note that the new courthouse has thirty-five courtrooms open for use with four additional bays that can be upfitted. Also, there is a completely vacant floor into which we can eventually expand. At such time that becomes necessary, we will have eight additional courtrooms.

As for operational trial courtrooms, we operate three at the district court level and three at the superior court level. The director of the administrative office of the courts has agreed to assign Mecklenburg another superior court judge at any point we ask. So, as soon as the district attorney’s office informs us that they have the need, we will immediately put in place the resources to accommodate such.

Also, there is a reference to “lavish amenities” as those provided to jurors. No county tax dollars were spent on these items. The restaurant operator in the building charges for the amenities and receives the generated revenue.
Todd Nuccio
Trial Court Administrator

Makes Them Want to Holler
I was born and raised in Charlotte, lived elsewhere for seven years, and recently moved to Johnson County/Mountain City, Tennessee. I read with great interest Van Miller’s article "The Holler."

While I agree with Miller that the area is a "treasure," I was taken aback by his extremely broad brushed characterization of some of the local people. For example, the description of the people as "backwater" with "shrunken heads and sloped shoulders" who "love bulldozers" is a bit much. While I can’t speak to Miller's particular experiences, I have had many pleasant experiences with the people of Johnson County. After getting to know them, I have found them to be quite friendly, and in more than just a "quiet suspicious kind of way." Perhaps next time Miller can inform your readers of the welcoming smiles at Craig's Coffeehouse, or the culinary-school-quality food at Suba's restaurant, or the laid-back atmosphere at the barbershop, or the views at Silver Keys Bed & Breakfast, or the hellos you receive as you leisurely stroll on the same block where the courthouse, bank, pharmacy, and service station are located. If so, I think your readers will have a little more balanced picture than the one presented.
Jason Creech
Mountain City

As a sixth-generation native of Johnson County, Tennessee, I was amused by the article about Mountain City, my hometown. Most of all, I resent your labeling our quaint little hamlet as a "backwater town." This label denotes no class, no beauty, nothing worthwhile. I was also amazed that you referred only briefly to the awesome beauty of Watauga Lake. Your own Lake Norman pales in comparison.

The dialect, which you found so amusing, is the purest Scotch Irish in the nation. For years when we visited urban areas, people made fun of our dialects. Now, the outlanders are coming where we live and mocking our accents. Does the term "ugly American" come to mind?

Because of outsiders like you who judge us so rapidly and, in your case, who insist on weaving condescending innuendo throughout your writing, we continue to battle stereotypes. It's so much easier to assume inferiority rather than to investigate reality by getting to know us.
Wanda Payne
Mountain City

We listed the incorrect street address for the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in the article "It’s in the Mountains." The correct address is 290 Macon Ave. in Asheville.

Categories: Letters, Opinion, The Buzz