Letters to the editor
Senators should support McCarthy for EPA
As Earth Day nears, it’s worth noting the critical role the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has played in securing cleaner air and cleaner water for North Carolinians, since the first Earth Day in 1970. From limits on toxic mercury pollution from power plants, to getting lead out of gasoline, our health and our environment are in better shape today thanks to EPA.
Now President Obama has nominated Gina McCarthy to lead EPA as it continues its critical work. Ms. McCarthy has a stellar record of winning real results for our environment and public health - under both Republican and Democratic administrations - and she’s won praise from environmentalists and industry leaders alike. But polluters and their allies may still try and block her nomination.
This Earth Day, I urge the U.S. Senators Hagan and Burr to support Ms. McCarthy’s nomination, so she can get to work continuing EPA’s strong record of tackling our most urgent environmental and public health challenges.
Environment North Carolina Field Director
Immigration should offer same-sex, bi-national provisions
I applaud efforts in the U.S. Senate to fix our broken immigration system, but no fix is acceptable without provisions for same-sex, bi-national couples.
I am a Native North Carolinian and a U.S. citizen. I am half of a same-sex, bi-national couple. My Canadian partner and I celebrated our 13th year as a couple last December. Sadly, we celebrated seven time zones apart.
I cannot sponsor him for immigration. Instead, we must rely on an employer to do so; but if we were a straight couple, I could marry and sponsor him for immigration immediately. Even if we were to marry in a state that supports marriage for all couples, we would still be out of luck because immigration is a federal issue. The discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) denies me numerous rights, including the right to sponsor my long-time partner for immigration. It makes me a second-class citizen in my own country.
We’re proud that the United States is built upon the ideal of equality for all; but in practice, the U.S.A. arbitrarily discriminates against hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding citizens who happen to find love in someone of the same gender.
All other civilized nations, whether they recognize marriage equality or not, recognize same sex couples for immigration purposes. This includes all of our allies. Only the United States, the so-called “Land of the Free,” lags behind.
This is wrong, dead wrong, and it needs to change, now. I urge you to contact your lawmakers and demand they support comprehensive immigration reform that includes provisions for same-sex, bi-national couples.
Lamenting lost tutoring option
Brittany Darst's plea for volunteer tutors for the Upward Bounds program (4/17) reminded me of the paradoxical ending of a successful tutoring program at Hillandale Elementary School in Durham.
Until health problems interfered, I was privileged to be one of many volunteers who came to the school weekly to tutor children needing extra help; the teachers referred each child to the program.
Ann and the late John Pope, a generous couple from Croasdaile Village Retirement Homes, donated special alcoves in the school library so tutor and student could work together quietly.
The program flourished under Carol Walton, who acted as the cheerful and helpful fulcrum between teacher, student and volunteer.
In her room were small baskets in the child's name which contained notes and assignments from the teacher, and into which we volunteers were free to leave comments of our own. I'm guessing there were 30-40 or more baskets in that room. (I don't know the exact figure.) That means that 30-40 or more students were getting their special learning problems attended to weekly for FREE.
Naturally, the minute the state and the nation started experiencing financial problems, Mrs. Walton was the first to be let go.
Nancy Rogers Yaeger