Letters to the Editor

Kay Hagan’s legacy must be continued

Regarding “Hagan too ill to attend fundraiser, see tribute” (Apr. 17): My heart bleeds for Kay Hagan. Right up to the moment she encountered dreaded encephalitis that stole her effervescent personality, she was a sparkling package of energy, focused on meaningful good work in her life as a member of the US Senate and as a former leader in North Carolina's General Assembly.

She inspires her admirers and "works things out" with those who might differ. She is an excellent negotiator. That's an art seriously lacking in today's society. Kay Hagan led the way in financial education. She embraced, supported and designed curriculum changes that would incorporate pursuit of financial literacy throughout the education cycle of every North Carolina student, from first grade to graduation. She pursued this goal with the vigor of Wonder Woman.

Her inability to achieve this because of her physical decline should be inspiration for her colleagues and friends in Washington and Raleigh to pick up the banner of fiscal responsibility. By properly educating our elementary, middle and high school students to better manage their lives through learning as much as possible about personal financial responsibility, we prepare our society to thrive rather than drown in an ocean of suffocating debt.

What a legacy that would be for Kay Hagan. Not to pursue the cause she espouses just doesn't add up.

Thad Woodard


On vaping

Regarding the recent “Vaping by Numbers” editorial cartoon (May 4): while any awareness to the ever-growing epidemic that is vaping is important, the problem may be slightly more complicated than illustrated. Although a lot is still unknown concerning e-cigarettes, the impact on health and the addictive value is undeniable; particularly amongst teenagers.

With the rise of tobacco companies deploying marketing tools aimed at young people, schools across the nation are working diligently to counter such schemes. Lesson plans in various health and physical education classes are now being revised to include the risk factors that coincide with vaping.

Since 2011, we have seen a stark increase in middle and high school students using e-cigarettes, which in most cases leads to a lifelong nicotine addiction. I know you may be wondering just how much of an increase constitutes “stark.” In North Carolina, we have seen an 888 percent increase. North Carolina law prohibits the sales of these items to minors and defines e-cigarettes as tobacco products.

While our local scientists are doing their research, the public cannot assume that these devices are safe. They are not, and what we don’t know right now could and may very well kill us.

Ivy Ferrell


Fight for teachers

Regarding “Fed up, NC teachers will storm Raleigh” (May 4): Teachers offer us so much more than an education. They provide guidance and mentorship inside and outside of class. They often get to school early and stay long after the final bell rings. And even though their paychecks may not cover all of life’s basics, teachers dig deep into their own pockets to ensure that kids have school supplies.

Teacher Appreciation Week begins on May 7. Let’s forgo the inclination to share simple praise, an apple or a Starbucks gift card as a gesture to teachers in our community. It’s time to stand with them as they fight for respect in and out of the classroom. Let’s commit to having their backs when they join together to make change. As local educators speak up for better funding, lower class sizes, a fair return on their work and other investments to build the quality public schools our kids and communities need, we can echo their call.

Every child in this country should have the opportunity to thrive in school, and that starts with making sure our teachers have the resources they need to educate our kids and the next generation.

Charlotte Kurland