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9/29/2017 5:00:00 PM

Church and state should remain separated

Some complain about the unorthodox businesses near Stokesdale Elementary School, but very overweight people still eat near the school. What does the Bible say about self-control? Self-righteousness and gluttony are ugly sins. I know.

If one wants a closed society, Quaker Village and Old Salem are both nearby and the Amish are a day's drive from here. Otherwise, our Constitution protects the pursuit of happiness that is not illegal. Our beloved Thomas Jefferson advocated separation of church and state. Do not forget.


Citizens have the right to bear arms

In last week's Grins and Gripes section (Sept. 22-28 issue) there was a comment stating that the people of Summerfield need to be saved from people like me who support gun rights. Well, the griper missed the entire point of my presentation at the September town council meeting. My point was that instead of wasting taxpayer money on law enforcement for town council meetings (based on a political cartoon that was perceived as a death threat), the council should be more in tune to protecting the people of Summerfield from high-density development that will overburden our natural resources and town charm.

My statement was that there were enough concealed carry permit holders in the meeting room that night that I felt our security was already well under control. No need to waste taxpayer money on this.

Given the open carry laws in the state of North Carolina, I do support every Summerfield resident having the right to bear arms. Summerfield is still one of those communities where people are allowed to hunt and fish at their own leisure. Sorry Griper, Summerfield is going to keep its gun rights.

Along with that, as your future town council member, I will strive to keep Summerfield on a slow growth path. I will ensure that low-density development standards are maintained, that our water resources are protected and that the quietness and charm of this rural community is preserved.


Kudos to all involved in bringing us EHOR

Our community's first ever Explore Historic Oak Ridge event on Sept. 16 was a fantastic coming together of this community to showcase how many historic properties there are in Oak Ridge. I would particularly like to thank Historic Preservation Commission chair Ann Schneider for her leadership skills and all the other commission members for conceiving, planning and putting this great event together.

It seemed seamless, but I know there were many, many hours that went into making this great event happen.

A special thank you to all the homeowners and business owners who opened their homes and businesses to the public. It was so appreciated. And of course, thanks to all the volunteers who made this day possible.

I haven't talked to one person who attended who did not enjoy the whole afternoon, the food, the vendors and most importantly, the beautiful homes. For a first-time event it was amazing, and I loved the way our community came together to support it.

It was also so much fun to see old friends and acquaintances whom you had not seen in a while. Just another reason to love living in Oak Ridge!

Barb Engel, OAK RIDGE

Deputies needed at Summerfield council meetings

I realized a need for deputies' presence at Summerfield town council meetings after two events occurred.

At the July town council meeting, directly after the Speakers from the Floor portion of the meeting, the town manager asked for permission to clarify some comments a citizen had made. I gave him that permission and very soon after he began to speak, several people in the audience began yelling and screaming in an obvious effort to silence him. It reminded me of the weekly college situations where they shout down college speakers. I used the gavel to pound on the table very hard and very loudly to bring things to order. When the disruption stopped we proceeded with the meeting.

A few days later I received a copy of a cartoon that was circulating on social media which showed a gallows with a hangman and three blocks above it that had the names of two of our sitting council members and a private citizen, all three of whom are running for council positions.

Over the last 150 years, especially here in the South, the history of lynching is very repugnant in civil society. Without knowing who the author was or knowing the intent, I felt it best to contract with the sheriff's department for deputies for our meetings to ensure the safety of the public and our council.

At the beginning of the August council meeting, I read a two-paragraph prepared statement. The first paragraph explained the cartoon mentioned earlier and my feeling for a need for a law enforcement presence at this meeting and the second paragraph quoted a North Carolina General Statute relating to disturbances at public meetings and the misdemeanor penalty for violation.

Since August the deputies have been present at Summerfield council meetings for both the safety of the public and the council and to assist the mayor in case a public meeting disturbance occurs again similar to the one at the July meeting.

Mark E. Brown, mayor, TOWN OF SUMMERFIELD

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