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Re: HeroesCon; July 4 issue; alcopops are liquors

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Re: HeroesCon

I was so surprised and endeared to see V.C. Rogers' page of sketches documenting the 30th anniversary of HeroesCon [July 4]. I am 36 years old, and even though I have little interest in comics in general, I have been in attendance for almost every show.

You see, for me, this is a family affair. My uncle is the owner of Heroes Aren't Hard to Find comic book store in Charlotte, and my entire family has volunteered to help out, in any way we can, for the life of this convention. My mother runs the art stage; my brother and cousin usually run the airport shuttle to pick up artists. When the show was small, I remember my grandparents hosting in the hospitality suite. This year, I offered chair massage to my uncle's staff and hardworking volunteers. All of this creates a special camaraderie that the artists and dealers cherish, and it has allowed this convention to grow and prosper for 30 years.

Which is why I was so disappointed to see that you misspelled my uncle Shelton Drum's name in the piece. I know this is too late for the deadline for the current week's issue, but a correction would mean so much to us.

Thank you, and keep up the great work.

Sarah DeBerardinis
Chapel Hill


Re: July 4 issue

I was supposed to be born on the Fourth of July, like George M. Cohan's "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Instead I tortured my poor mother for another hot Kansas week. Doubtless that's why I'm almost a week late saying that reading your July 4 pieces ("Flip the bird," "What lawmakers could learn from Andy") shot enough red glare and sparks in my eyes to more than make up for Raleigh's typically dumb decision to move its fireworks from the fairgrounds, where everybody could see them, to downtown, where only a more or less fortunate few could.

I've told Bob [Geary] before that he's the best reporter in the Triangle. The "Flip the bird" piece proved he's also the best national commentator.

And Lisa's so-justified diatribe against the goths and vandals in suits who are ravaging our state from their Jones Street den was a read to remember from now to November, along with your closing question.

So tomorrow, as I turn 82, I'll remember listening to FDR as a kid, and wish again that he—or anyway Opie!—was back.

Keep it up. God (or whoever) knows we need you both.

Ann Thackrey Berry
Raleigh


Re: Alcopops are liquors

I am a youth advocate at Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), where we work to prevent underage drinking. I am writing in response to the article "In Durham, mini-marts and alcohol don't mix" [July 11].

The amount of convenience stores that sell alcohol is a huge issue because the number of outlets also impacts access to alcohol by youth. The majority of youth visit a convenience store at least once a week.

Another huge burden on the city is the fact that alcopops are being sold in almost every one of these convenience stores and in any other location that has license to sell malt beverages. Alcopops start out as malt, but manufacturers remove the color, taste and alcohol, stripping it down to water. Then they add liquor, sugar and flavorings. Alcopops contain distilled spirits, and by North Carolina law (NCGS 18B-101 14) they are actually liquors.

Alcopops are extremely appealing to youth, and they mask the real taste of liquor with flavors of juices, sodas and energy drinks. Alcopops belong in ABC stores, just as any other liquor would. Putting the spotlight on the issue of alcopops is extremely important in reducing underage drinking by making these drinks much less available to youth.

Consumers should know that convenience stores can voluntarily stop selling alcopops in an effort to be supportive of efforts to prevent underage drinking.

Barak Biblin
Raleigh


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