Letters to the Editor

2/24 Letters: North Carolina must address its rural doctor shortage

Regarding “Doctor works to get more physicians into rural areas” (Feb. 18): It’s great that the UNC School of Medicine is addressing the shortage of doctors across rural North Carolina. But it can’t possibly meet the state’s need for physicians on its own. More than 1.4 million North Carolinians live in areas with a federally designated shortage of health professionals.

International medical graduates can help fill that breach. They’re more likely to practice in rural areas than U.S.-trained doctors. One in five IMGs work in rural regions, compared to only 10 percent of all U.S. graduates. The school I lead, St. George’s University in Grenada, is working to bolster North Carolina’s medical workforce. We recently partnered with North Carolina State University to provide qualified undergraduates direct admission to our medical school, and six of our 2017 graduates accepted residencies in North Carolina.

Dr. G. Richard Olds

President, St. George’s University

‘Anarchy reigns’

Regarding “DA drops charges against remaining Confederate statue protesters” (Feb. 20): There are a number of publicly owned statues and landmarks I don’t like. Apparently I can now destroy them while the police watch and video my act of “self expression and civil disobedience” without any fear of punishment. Such acts used to be crimes.

Based on recent events in Durham, they apparently no longer are crimes if such public property 1) offends my tender sensibilities 2) hurts my feelings or 3) I just don’t like it. The rule of law is dead. Anarchy reigns.

Ken Shivar


Estonian independence

Vivat Estonia! On February 24, 2018, the Republic of Estonia will celebrate its 100th year of independence. From 1944 to 1991, Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union, which ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Since then, Estonia has made remarkable strides.

Even though it is a small country with only 1.3 million people, Estonia is the birthplace of Skype, home to NATO cyber security headquarters, and a member of the European Union, NATO and United Nations. In fact, so advanced is Estonia in the IT realm that it has been called “e-Estonia”.

Many Estonians were forced to leave their homeland to escape from advancing Communist occupation forces. As a result, people of Estonian heritage are found throughout the world. Since 1952, the nationally elected Estonian American Council (EANC) has represented the interests of Estonian Americans. This organization played a key role in advocating for an end to the Soviet occupation in Baltic countries; Latvia and Lithuania also celebrate their centennial in 2018.

EANC urges all Americans to take time to reflect on our democracy and freedoms which we cherish and join in congratulating Estonia on its centennial.

Ulle P. Ederma


‘Reasonable measures’

Regarding “17 dead in school shooting in Florida; suspect, 19, arrested” (Feb. 15): On Valentine’s Day another school shooting resulted in another massacre of children, 17 dead and 14 injured, some critically. Families are forever crushed. The school and community are forever scarred. This is now normal in the U.S.

On Valentine’s Day in 1929 a massacre of another nature took place. Seven men were murdered by their gangland enemies in Chicago. The nation was horrified by that now infamous slaughter known as the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.” That horror led to the Federal Firearms Act of 1934 when, finally, Congress took action and passed gun control laws.

Those laws were effective for many years, but no more. Technical innovations, availability of more lethal weapons, weakening of gun laws and unfettered firearm proliferation have led us to the trauma and carnage we now endure daily. This is the country we have become: A nation rife with murder, suicide, massacre, accidents and terror visited upon us by our own fellow citizens.

Congress has proven itself inept because of the influence from organizations and lobbyists who serve the firearm industry. We must elect those who would represent the citizenry who by an overwhelming majority want universal background checks, prohibition of bump stocks and other reasonable measures.

Robert K. Anderson