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Training Fire-Prone Youth

I must admit, I am a tad skeptical about the potential efficacy of a program highlighted in the local daily, “Buncombe Agencies Work to Stop Arson by Youths.” Buncombe County’s Deputy Fire Marshal Terry Gentry says more than education is needed.

Enter Firesafe Together, a new multiagency program in Buncombe County that works with referrals from schools, the community, law enforcement agencies, Buncombe fire departments, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and social services agencies to first educate, and then treat, youths up to age 18 who are at risk of setting fires or have already been involved in one.

The programs identify “fire-prone youths,” granting there are at least four different personality types on a spectrum. Breena Williams, administrator of Firesafe, observes:

Every kid is different. That’s why we do an evaluation.

I shouldn’t criticize without proposing an alternative, and so this is what we did when I was a kid. My mother didn’t let me play with matches. We had to be home after school. If children played, they played under the supervision of an adult, and everybody was home by dark. We had bedtimes back then. So, the first step is to encourage people who want children to consider rearing them in a traditional family.

Now, there will be little squirts who will steal matches and gasoline and sneak out through an upstairs window after dark. For them, I’m not sure touchy-feely from a safety life counselor is going to present an enticing alternative to the thrill of defiant destruction.

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For Your Mealtime Conversation

I prefer to stay as far away from peoples’ sacred, intimate relations as possible, but the XXX stuff is back in my face with the recent actions taken at Lake Lure Classical Academy not to discriminate against a LGBT club. The school is K-12, and that has parents saying the club is causing them to enter into discussions not age-appropriate for their children. Others argue high school kids should be hitting the books rather than getting together to discuss an f-word with three syllables. Proponents of the club say it exists only to help children be safe from bullying.

The LLCA school board voted 5-3 on November 12 to temporarily suspend extracurricular clubs until a policy committee can obtain legal guidance and bring a plan back to the board.

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Sentence Structure Informs Intimidation Decisions

Brevard High School students were charged with ethnic intimidation and aiding and abetting ethnic intimidation. All the Hendersonville Times-News tells us is three whites perpetrated an incident against a black. My question, of course, is, supposing I get the urge to intimidate, but I want to minimize the damage to my record. Should I go for racial intimidation, or pick on somebody for being geeky, wearing glasses, or suffering some physical impairment?

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‘Tis the Season for Possum Hype

The battle for possums’ rights continues, with this victory in PETA’s court. Because the critters can’t speak for themselves, PETA has been suing since 2012 to put an end to Brasstown’s annual possum drop. A PETA representative said it wasn’t the lowering of a select animal in a Plexiglas box that frightened the species so much as the loud music and fireworks. If that be so, I wonder why we aren’t banning loud music and fireworks. More to the point, if I cared about the ethical treatment of animals, I think I would go after some of those abuses we’ve all seen in photos. Thinking out loud, I suppose pursuing this high-profile case is anticipated to garner more cash to perform such rescues. The next exciting decision in this year’s eleventh-hour cliffhanger is scheduled for December 10.

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Don’t Want to Make the Low-Studious Feel Bad

The College Foundation of North Carolina just selected the winner of the Victor E. Bell, Jr. (Is that anything like the Liver T. Bell?) scholarship. 193 middle schools each nominated one student with potential, and the winner’s name was drawn by lottery.

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Biasing the Wrong Way?

This morning, as I rode the acceleration ramp into the local Spaghetti Junction, I noticed one of those lighted signs. It invited people to comment on proposed plans to upgrade the I-26 corridor west of downtown Asheville. For those born yesterday, the NC DOT has wanted to add capacity to that portion of Interstate for a couple decades, but they have been stopped by people wishing for a greener world. As a result, we have a traditional parking lot any time traffic volume is high or something forces lane closures.

My first impulse was to deem the sign a great way to get motorists to participate in a debate normally dominated by those among us who say they prefer greenways and pervious pedways. Then, I remembered those people are usually so busy going to back-to-back advocacy meetings, they have to take their SUV’s. They, too, would read the signs, but since it is illegal to text and drive, only those greenies in a carpool would be able to take advantage of the stichy-ation.

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Why Vote When You Can Run?

Rather than lurching in pain as extremist candidates announce their intentions to lead you, why don’t you run for office? The filing period for county commissioner and state-level positions runs from noon to noon, December 1 to 21.

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We’re All in Asylum

North Carolina fell short of obeying the federal government’s command to move thousands with serious mental illness “into their communities.” Shortcomings include failing to provide 708 persons with affordable housing and not filling gaps in services. North Carolina has spent almost $50 million on the effort since last year, and about half the states are in the same predicament.

Former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue’s administration signed the deal which requires that 3,000 people who otherwise would be living in adult care homes or mental hospitals would get affordable housing in their communities by mid-2020. The state’s total price tag was estimated at nearly $300 million.

[Something’s missing.] Justice Department had threatened a lawsuit in 2011 because it said thousands of people with mental illness were segregated from society in adult care homes. Many had been released from state psychiatric hospitals and lacked access to community treatment.

Were all these people’s “serious functional impairments” misdiagnosed? I fall short of Christian love, but this only reminds me of my stalker who used to say in his letters that a nice, warm embrace by me would cure all his ills.

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Haystack Fallacy

The soil and water conservation districts of Haywood, Buncombe, and Madison counties received $19,474 from the federal deficit to teach people about water conservation. Tactics will include poster, essay, and speech contests; an Envirothon; and summer camps.

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Broke, ISO Partner

Leaders in Lake Junaluska and the Town of Waynesville are wondering if they should try a fourth time to merge or just strike out. Presumably, both sets of leaders are gung-ho on the idea. Lake Junaluska has painted itself into a corner of having to raise homeowner fees or pay town taxes to spread the pain. The homeowners’ association is not collecting enough to cover trash pickup, street repairs, and water and sewer upgrades. No reasons are provided in the latest Smoky Mountain Times article for Waynesville’s interest. Representative Michele Presnell is credited with being the lone wolf opposing not only a merger, but merely a referendum to see what the citizens want.

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