Jack Be Nimble

Well, well, well. It looks like we have a classic case of double standard in our little hill and vale these days. Reading through the recent Times-News Letters to the Editor we find that our community apologist for Commissioners Hawkins, Ward, and Gordon is angered that Jack Reed, former chair of the Community Advisory Committee of the Nursing/Adult Care Homes, would run 100 copies of an advocacy brochure at public expense. However, it doesn't seem to bother our compassionate Mr. Bumble who fancies himself an objective analyst that a number of his groupies, the Roundtable, have run who-knows-how-many copies of who-knows-what on that county copy machine without any supervision as "aides de camps" for Grady Hawkins et al. Now, who is to say that all those copies were only for taxpayer's business?

At least we know Mr. Reed's copies fell within the parameter of his responsibility -- providing a voice for aging citizens who are often ignored. While Mr. Reed would have been better advised to seek his committee's prior approval, a cursory look at the offending brochure hardly reveals a subversive document. Rather, the brochure expresses a moderate and sensible concern about placing an open air asphalt plant within close proximity of a nursing home facility. (Anyone wishing to receive a copy of the brochure can send a SASE c/o my column to the Prime Times.)

And what does this brochure contain that has raised the ire and fury of the Commissioners? I'm really not sure, so you decide:

"Most residents of Long Term Care facilities have worked hard all their life and then had the unfortunate onset of an illness or an accident which required the care of the facility. To be able to sit outside in the sun in good weather is one of the few treasures they still have left in their sunset years. To deprive them of this is unconscionable. Professional planning and control could prevent additional pollution to our already damaged air. Our senior citizens deserve this at least. In fact they deserve a concerted effort to clean up the air we now force them to inhale."

That's the whole first page. It continues:

"Our committee monitors the nine nursing homes and the 30 adult care homes in Henderson County that accept Medicare and Medicaid. We routinely see residents with serious respiratory illnesses. Smoking is one cause of these ailments, but industrial pollutants are the other major contributors. ... The placing of any (asphalt) plant within the proximity of a Long Term Care facility is unthinkable. The residents are primarily older and susceptible to the problems caused by unclean air."

Imagine that. A member of a state-mandated committee charged with overseeing the safety and welfare of our aged citizens writing something like that. Shocking. Even more radical is the course of action Mr. Reed's brochure recommends:

"Attend Board of Commissioners meetings, Town Hall meetings and other seminars or organization gatherings that are involved in our changing community. Talk to leaders to gather information or offer suggestions."

Perhaps the real reason this has raised the ire and fury of our Commissioners (along with our philosopher-wannabee) is that they are more interested in protecting their own pocketbooks at election time than the health and welfare of the citizens they were elected to protect. Given our Commissioners' less than stellar track record -- cell tower, racetrack, school nurses, empty-nest zoning, board appointees -- it's no wonder they fired Mr. Reed. What elected board in their right mind would want the most effective and dedicated advocate our older citizens ever had sitting on one of their advisory committees?

My advice to Mr. Reed for the future?

Jack, be nimble, Jack be quick, jump back Jack out 'the way of Hawkin's stick.



To my readers: If you ever wonder if I get comments on these columns, I do occasionally. What are your thoughts on the matter?
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*The opinions stated in this page are those of Ms. Eva Ritchey and do not necessarily represent the views of CyTech Computers & Internet Solutions, Inc.
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