As 2009 enters its second week, area residents voiced a few of their concerns surrounding issues that are important to them, as well as of concern to them.
Many residents spoke of the state of the economy, the fear of gas prices increasing, as well as the silent rise in grocery prices being the items that may impact their and families lives.
Others were concerned about health issues, for themselves and others.
“I am concerned about the economy a great deal,” Ann Dailey of Elkin said. “With industry staying away in the millions, the environment and recycling issues, many things concern me economically. Another great concern of mine is health issues. Smoking in public places should absolutely be banned, no exceptions.”
“Smoking effects children, people with asthma and those with other health issues and people should not have to be exposed to it in any circumstance,” she said. “I live with a disability so I’m also concerned with access to facilities for those with disabilities.
“For example, the Post Office in Elkin has no handicap accessible ramp. No one using a walker or in a wheelchair can get into the post office as far as I can see.”
Dailey continued to express her concerns about a realm of issues.
“Another thing that attention should be called to is that at grocery stores and shopping stores like Wal-Mart, there are no cart carousels anywhere near the handicap parking spaces. Do they expect people with disabilities that use these spaces to hop over to the other cart storage areas.”
Education and obesity were on Dailey’s mind.
“I am very concerned about our children’s education and whether they are getting a quality education comparable to other countries, she continued. “We’re in a world market now and we need to be competitive with the other countries. And then there is the problem with obesity. Childhood along with adult obesity is way out of proportion. Whether it is contributed to by technology we have now, (by sitting in front of the television, computer screen, or playing video games), or whether it is a result of the additives in our foods, it is way out of control. Genetically engineered fruits and vegetables, growth hormones, chemicals and pesticides are all part of the foods we eat today and could be greatly responsible for why so many people are obese.”
Silent cost along with unequal cost of living increases also impacted her opinion
“Other things that are of great issue is that although gas prices are coming down, the cost of everything else is not,” Dailey said. “Even though there was the largest cost of living increase in social security since the Reagan administration, it was not sufficient enough to keep up with the rising cost of everything else. People hear increase and they think great, but if it still falls short of expenses that continue to rise, it really isn’t an increase.”
Others had some of the same concerns about issues.
“I’m simply worried about health issues in the coming year,” Lois Finney said.
“Worrying about becoming more disabled as we are getting older is my concern,” Ms. E.L. Harris said. “I know we need a change in our government, but I’m worried about how it will affect older citizens. The new package proposed by the new administration sounds good, and I am anxious to see how it will work when it’s put into place.”
The economy and unemployment in the area were on some resident’s minds.
“The job situation is effecting everyone,” Nellie Johnson said. “I’m retired, but I do private sitting for people who need care. “There has not been many opportunities for that lately. A lady I sat with prior to Christmas had to cancel my services because she just couldn’t afford it anymore.”
“A lot of individuals need someone to help them so they can remain in their homes, but with families struggling to feed themselves and keep a roof over their heads, families don’t have the financial means to hire someone to help care for their loved ones.”
James Culler’s thoughts were on the economy.
“I think my largest concern is a financial one,” Culler said. “I think that the current president and the incoming president can not fix this problem.”
Around our office, concerns were also similar.
“I’m concerned about children who need extra help in school not getting the education they deserve because of programs put in place who only help those students who fall into a financial need situation,” an office staff member said. “Some children are offered programs that teach them English, because they, the government thinks that is of importance, but students who sometimes just need a little extra help fall through the cracks of the system in place.”
“My main issue for 2009 will be traveling, making it back and forth, to Mount Airy,” B. Henderson said.
“The economy is my main concern this coming year,” Terry Pardue said. “I don’t think the downslide has really hit home yet. The things that effect me directly are gas prices and the silent increase in groceries. The cost of food rising has had a small impact on me, but the big impact has been the gas prices. Even though they’re down now, that doesn’t mean they’ll stay down.”
“My main concern for 2009 is the issue of health for myself and my son,” Ron Dapp said.
“Finances,” said Holly Lamm. “The newspaper business overall holding out through the year is a large concern of mine. You hear about major newspapers in large markets filing for bankruptcy and closing across the country and you worry. I worry about having a job. Insurance, groceries and other things you have to have are going up and gas has started back up too. You just really do not have a feeling of security that has been there in past years.”
If you, our readers have issues or concerns about that you would like to express, please send them in to The Tribune. You can also call us if there is a particular issue you feel warrants further discussion and investigation. Email to email@example.com or place a call to 835-1513.