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Fri, May 29, 2020
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Tributes are nice but cash pays the bills!

Had a thought recently -- and yes, that's unusual considering we're all cooped up trying to stay safe during this difficult time.

Actually, the thought was "implanted" (stolen?) during an interview of an emergency room physician who has been on the front line of the struggle to save people from the ravages of this virus.

He was a young guy, obviously stressed and tired and frustrated.

His lament was simple: Yes, it's nice to be considered a hero.

And yes, it's nice to hear people singing and yelling out their windows in New York City every evening to thank the physicians, nurses and other emergency workers.

Of course, flyovers by aircraft are a nice touch and the banners, signs and other displays of appreciation warm the hearts of those who have been risking their lives unselfishly to save the lives of people they don't know.

But, the young doctor said, it would really be great if the country did something tangible, something beyond symbolic, for those on the front lines.

He noted that he was a fairly new resident physician who has worked as many as 24 hours straight -- but that he also is facing more than $200,000 in debt incurred for his medical education, the knowledge that has turned him into a warrior against a virus no one can see and which is poorly understood.

It would be wonderful, he said, if Congress could find a way to direct some of the dollars they are handing out all across the nation to the front-line workers who are risking so much for so little personal gain.

That's a really great point, I thought, then realized we all could help the doctors, nurses, technicians and other front-line workers in a way that is meaningful for their lives.

Perhaps what we should be doing, instead of gazing up at airplanes or breathing a sigh of relief that we're not out there on the front line, is calling, e-mailing or otherwise contacting our congressmen and congresswomen, demanding that they do something tangible for those on the front lines.

In theory at least, members of Congress are supposed to listen to their constituents who sent them to Washington and who are paying them dearly for serving in those exalted positions of power.

So, let's get together and do something meaningful for those who stand between us and this danged virus.

Let's pressure Congress to do something other than jawbone, pander and politic during this pandemic.

Let's tell them to either work to forgive the medical education debts of these doctors, nurses and others who are serving on the front line; or, provide a serious financial stipend to each of them to allow them to focus entirely on their patients instead of having to worry about their educational debt.

With that in mind, here are the phone numbers of those we have elected to represent us -- and who have the power to make these changes for the good of the nation:

Sen. Richard Burr, 202-224-3454 or 252-977-9522.
Sen. Thom Tillis, 202-224-6342 or 919-856-4630.
U.S. Rep. George Holding, 202-225-3032 or 919-782-4400.;
U.S. Rep. David Price, 202-225-1784 or 919-859-5999.

And, if these guys refuse to do something, we need to elect some people who will!

Perhaps once we get this issue moving, it will be time to start putting pressure on our state legislators to finally adopt a budget for North Carolina schools. A new state fiscal year begins on July 1 and the legislators still have not adopted a budget for the current year!

That's right, they are AT LEAST 46 weeks behind in their assigned duties but are still drawing their regular paychecks and enjoying the fruits we taxpayers provide for them.

Now, imagine how your boss would react if you were 46 weeks behind in your job duties even as you collected a full salary and full benefits, then explain to me why we shouldn't be raising teetotal Cain with the crowd in Raleigh!

And yes, that goes for members of both political parties, because they are supposedly adults who ought to get together to do what's right for North Carolina children, especially now in this very difficult time!

Concerning numbers

We ran a page 1 story last week that should send a chill down the spine of every Franklin Countian.

The story noted that our county had just recorded its highest single day increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date.

Worse, during that same week, 10 people in our county had tested positive for the virus.

And seven of them were NOT in nursing homes.

A lot of us, myself sometimes included, have been thinking that the virus would be largely contained to nursing homes, at least locally, since they are the places where people are older, perhaps frail and live in close proximity to others which could make transmission of the disease much more likely.

But that may not be the case -- in fact, it's not always the case.

The virus is out there in our community and even though many of us live in rural areas and are avoiding crowds, the virus is still spreading and touching more lives.

And as we learn more about this virus, the more frightening it becomes.

We've learned that this is a very serious disease for some people and that it can leave them with serious, sometimes life-changing consequences even if they seem to recover.

Plus, it's becoming obvious that children can be affected, often with inflammatory symptoms that can be serious and sometimes deadly.

The bottom line is that this virus is still around, still spreading and is dangerous!

Regardless of what the politicians are wanting us all to believe, the danger is still there -- and likely will be there for months and perhaps years.

As much as we want to get back to normal, the danger is not yet passed -- and no one is really safe.

The increase in cases, said Franklin County Health Director Scott LaVigne, is a reminder that COVID-19 continues to be a concern and threat.

"This is a stark reminder that even though North Carolina has entered into Phase 1 of re-opening, we must remain vigilant in our adherence to personal protective behaviors," he said.

That's the professional, polite way of saying that you should be very careful, be leery of those who say the threat is over, wear a mask, avoid crowds and, most of all, wash your hands regularly with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

The life you save may be your own -- or that of a loved one. Stay safe!

COVID catchphrases?

You'd have thought the red flags would have been flying and rockets would have gone off to warn of another impending ... well, something or other that was amiss.

But we all wandered right into that word trap and while we may have been a bit discombobulated, even the nincompoops among us weren't exactly gobsmacked, although we might have found ourselves a bit flummoxed.

Of course, regular readers of this newspaper will remember that my editorial page cohort, Carey Johnson, wrote a column last week that contained a lot of words that are not in general usage around these parts anymore -- but he somehow managed to weave them into sentences that made sense.

My first thought was that he had stumbled across an old thesaurus and was using it to broaden his vocabulary, perhaps as an antidote for viral boredom. Well, that may have been close.

But the reality was much more 21st Century-ish.

It seems he stumbled across, not a thesaurus but an Internet challenge about using some archaic words in everyday speech.

Apparently bored by stay-at-home orders and social distancing, he accepted the challenge.

He managed to weave all of these words, and probably some more, into that one column. Here they are, at least the ones I noticed:


Gadzooks! Not sure how he managed to conjure up so many examples, but it certainly took creative fandangling.

It's possible he spent some time over the weekend sipping a potation, yet even if he got some help from a pretty fizgig, it was quite a piece of work.

Of course, given my personal caducity, I'm not exactly up to snuff on such phraseology, even if given a sennight to work it all out.

So, imagine my zounds when, after I asked him about it, he merely skedaddled out of the office.

But it's obvious he was poised to succeed at incorporating all those rarely used appellations.

Methinks no one could ever accuse Carey of being a slugabed.

He's certainly no dunderhead.

He was certainly filled with spizzerinctum! (If that last one throws you a little, ask Dr. Jim Foster at the next Northeast Franklin meeting.)

In the meantime, sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite.

And take time out on Monday to pause and remember all those who have sacrificed so much so that we can play word games and toss a burger on the grill!

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Members Opinions:
May 21, 2020 at 11:09am
Another whopper of an idea from the media. WE can just reimburse the doctors, nurses, techs for their education costs because they work hard. What about the ones who got it the old fashion way by working their way through or and, saved before going? How for back do we go and where does it stop? Leave it to you guys to come up with great ideas, what would we do without you?

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