Reclaim mines to put coal country back to work
Your article of July 29th, with the headline, "Team maps out coal mining’s effects on Appalachia" should alarm those who care about the beauty of Appalachia and it should alarm those who believe coal mining will bring back jobs to rural Appalachia.
The article stated that more acreage is being torn up and faster than before. Apparently, mountaintop mining is now clearing more land to extract the same amount of coal that it did years ago. Further, the mining results in poor air quality that provokes illnesses and disease.
The article also indicated that coal jobs are not comin' back. Automation is the culprit. But what to do? One of the respondents in the article showed us the way. He said, "The way to put thousands of unemployed Appalachian coal miners back to work is to invest in reclaiming abandoned mine lands, particularly in ways that lead directly to diverse economic development."
Well, President Obama and Hillary Clinton both said that. I wonder if people will believe it now, because here are three agencies with deep roots in Appalachia, Duke University, Appalachian Voices and Sky Truth, all saying that coal is nearly kaput. These are local agencies, not some big impersonal think tank based in Colorado. The implication is clear: If you want to survive in the future, don't wait for the current administration to bring coal jobs back.
Thanks for the help
We unfortunately had our vehicle break down on I-26 in your area as we were headed home to Virginia from vacation.
We had the good fortune to break down in your part of the country. Everyone we encountered were so nice. A lovely woman stopped on the highway and loaded four out of the seven of us into her vehicle, so they could get off the side of the road and out of the heat. She drove them to a McDonald's in Erwin and refused to take any money for her troubles.
In all the commotion, we didn't get her name and I hope she reads this to know how much it was appreciated. The 8-year-old that she gave a ride to has only one fully developed lung and the heat on the side of the road was becoming unbearable.
The employees at Advanced Auto and AutoZone in Erwin were also amazing in assisting us to try and get us back on the road. Hopefully, the woman who saw us in the AutoZone parking lot and drove over to us and asked if we needed anything, reads this also. It was so kind of her.
And, finally AutoNation Chrysler Dodge in Johnson City and their staff, who came and picked all seven of us up between two separate locations, loaded our things in their vehicle, and got us back on the road home, we salute you! In this day and age of negative news about people, we wanted to celebrate our good blessing to have been graced by being touched by all of you and your community.
Regionalism means consolidated school systems
I have enjoyed and learned much reading the series of articles about regionalism.
One big step in the right direction would be to consolidate Johnson City and Washington County school systems.
When we lived In North Carolina, we made a conscious choice to relocate in a county with a consolidated school system: Wake County. We could have chosen Durham County, but the consolidation process was young and very contentious. Either county would have accompanied our jobs.
So if we were relocating to Northeast Tennessee with children, we would put Sullivan County as our first choice. Washington County needs the leadership to move toward a successful consolidation of the school systems. That requires strong leadership of individuals whose primary agenda is the education of our young.