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Originally published: 2012-10-22 11:09:42
Last modified: 2012-10-22 11:09:42

Voting matters, in record numbers

Thumbs up or down: You decide. Early voting is drawing record numbers in Watauga and just about all North Carolina counties. The desire to cast a ballot in this important election is laudable, but with more than two weeks left until Election Day, is there a chance that a game-changer could arrive in the next 16 days? Maybe yes, maybe no — but for 1,000s of voters, it’s a done deal.

Thumbs-up: A late-September dedication ceremony drove home the last six-mile section of the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This linear state park stretches nearly 1,000 miles, from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains to Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks. While the dedications are now complete, the trail itself is yet about half-way to completion, although the Friends of the Mountain-to-Sea trails has established temporary hiking routes using existing state bicycle and hiking trails.

Thumbs-up: to North Carolina’s poet laureate, Joseph Bathanti of Vilas, for reaching out to our young poets. Bathanti was recently spotted trading verses with Patty Bucker’s and Pat Wade’s first grade class at Bethel Elementary.

Thumbs-up: to our local entrants in the North Carolina State Fair. As always, Watauga County is well-represented before a crowd approaching 1 million, in areas including livestock, pottery, wine-making and other craft exhibits.

Thumbs-up: for a full recovery to a 2009 Appalachian State University graduate who was among those injured in a Oct. 1 suicide bombing in Afghanistan. Sgt. James Pierce was serving with the N.C. Army National Guard’s 514th Military Police Company during the incident. Again, we are reminded of the personal price our military members are called upon to pay at any moment.