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Re: Nipples; Hofmann Forest; opossums; school-based health centers

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Re: Nipples

I tell you, it does my heart good to know the boys in Raleigh are on top of the nipple problem ["Tit for tat," Feb. 13]. I mean, quick action, decisive, taking-care-of-business stuff is what we have been waiting for.

Think about it—the nipple is at the heart of a lot of the state's problems. Unemployment: Think of the nipple. Too many men thinking about the nipple cuts into their productivity. Fire them and cut their unemployment benefits.

Energy, again the nipple. If it's showing, it can be an indicator of how cold the poor are. Cover it up—that is way too much information. Can't afford oil? Cover that nipple with heavy sweaters.

Education, well it's clear to see how the nipple ransacks that endeavor. It starts with nubile cleavage, which then, of course, only suggests the nipple, but that is enough. No one is concentrating, not the science teacher, not the bad boys in the back row. Chaos, just plain chaos. I could go on and on, but the point is obvious: The root of all evil is not money or even the love of money. It is, as our Legislature has pointed out and corrected, the nipple.

By the way, the nipple does not excrete. That phenomenon occurs at the end of the alimentary canal. The nipple secretes. The Legislature is probably aware of that danger as well, hoping the 47 percent will quit sucking government resources. How can we stop all secretions? That is the next job for the Legislature to tackle.

Jean Templeton, Pittsboro

Re: Hofmann Forest

I don't say this lightly, as a proud NCSU grad class of 1999—but it should be grounds for immediate termination of employment for the new dean of NCSU's College of Natural Resources to promote the idea that short-term Wall Street return rates trump the holistic long-term benefits offered by a huge and productive tract of forest land ["Money does grow on trees," Feb. 6]. With that statement, she's undermining the career choice of all of the students in the program! Why not just convert the entire college into the School for High Finance and Derivatives? Make Gov. McCrory proud! Why should anyone study actual natural resources when you can make more money pillorying the economy as a parasite on the trading floor?

Instead of selling the forest, NCSU should be looking for grant money to involve students and faculty in restoring the tract to uneven-aged longleaf pine, and then using Hofmann as a world-class teaching forest dedicated to the science and conservation of this rich and diverse ecosystem. Even better, bring back the Civilian Conservation Corps and put hundreds of North Carolinians back to work outdoors planting trees and wiregrass and wildflowers just on this one project alone. But don't sell Hofmann Forest, please, unless the buyer is The Nature Conservancy or the N.C. Coastal Land Trust ... or perhaps the U.S. Forest Service looking to add a much-needed longleaf buffer to Croatan National Forest. (Obama, bring back the Land and Water Conservation Fund!)

Ron Sutherland, Wildlands Network conservation scientist, Durham

Re: Opossums

As a licensed wildlife rehabilitator specializing in opossums, I am appalled that the N.C. legislature is spending time and resources to declare war on opossums and other wildlife ["Opossums can work, but can they unionize?" Feb. 13]. Every single day, my colleagues and I struggle to find the resources to care for countless animals who have been hit by cars, hurt by cruel people, poisoned and trapped, or are in any kind of trouble. Many of us rarely take a day off, much less a vacation. In many cases, our intervention is an animal's only hope. Most of what we do comes out of our own pockets, and we do it because we must. Any of us would welcome the involvement and support of our elected officials.

Yet instead, the N.C. legislature goes to this much effort to appease a few people who think it's funny to treat a shy marsupial like a New Year's Eve prop? Why? How?

Opossums never hurt us, but we find countless ways to hurt them. The North Carolina proposal to allow anyone to use wildlife for just about any reason will only make things worse. Let's hope that saner, kinder minds slam the door shut on this reckless proposal.

Beth Amick-Goins, wildlife rehabber, St. George, S.C.

Re: School-based health centers

Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos hired a banking technology expert to work on the agency's Medicaid network and technological system. She noted that it is not as effective as it could be because of outdated software systems and the inability for divisions to easily exchange information that can be analyzed to make decisions on spending and programs.

This may make receiving and providing Medicaid easier for everyone. However, 1.6 million non-elderly people in North Carolina are uninsured, and 1 million people are on Medicaid. That means that one in five people under 65 are not covered by health insurance. A school-based health center (SBHC), which is like a doctor's office on a school campus, can serve both uninsured and insured youth ["The YES Team," Jan. 30]. With so many youth without insurance, it is important that students in Wake County have a safety net such as a SBHC to give them the access to health care that they need.

Hannah Klaus, Enloe High School sophomore, Clayton


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