Last updated: May 26. 2014 12:29PM - 517 Views
By - cfriedman@civitasmedia.com - 910-817-2670

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It’s been a busy week in Richmond County and across the Southeast as many workers geared up for a three-day weekend thanks to Monday’s observance of Memorial Day. We open today’s installment in the Daily Journal’s occasional Cheers and Jeers column with a sincere expression of thanks to those who honor our military servicemembers who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

CHEERS to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4203, the town of Dobbins Heights and others in our community who paid tribute to fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines this Memorial Day. Cheers also to Jimmie Brigman, a veteran who spent his Monday morning planting flags beside veterans’ graves at Richmond County Memorial Park as a tribute to their lives of service.

The freedom we enjoy as American citizens isn’t free; troops paid the price in sweat and blood. Many paid with their lives. Memorial Day honors those who died in service to the United States. The diligent work of our veterans’ groups ensures their sacrifice under the flag will never be forgotten.

JEERS to state Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance, who ordered a journalist’s digital voice recorder confiscated during a legislative committee meeting on Tuesday. Gunn, the committee chairman, had the sergeant-at-arms seize the recorder from a table where a news service reporter had placed it to audiotape the meeting.

Gunn quickly backpedaled and blamed the incident on a misunderstanding, noting quite correctly that the meeting was open and recording devices are permitted under state law. He offered a rather weak excuse about lawmakers’ initial concern that the recorder was unattended. That shouldn’t have mattered, and though Gunn apologized and had the recorder returned, it’s clear that he viewed an attempt to document his committee meeting with suspicion and skepticism.

Open-government groups quickly objected and Gunn made a public commitment to transparency. We hope he’s learned his lesson and will not try to stop the press and public from recording legislative meetings in the future.

CHEERS to Richmond County athlete Kandace Frye, who made a powerful statement about overcoming obstacles when she completed her second Cordova 5K on Saturday morning. The 22-year-old returned to the race after losing the use of her legs in a Jan. 10 car crash. With the help of a hand-powered racing cycle, she bested her 2013 time by more than 8 minutes and led all finishers in the third-annual race at Cordova Elementary School.

Friends, family members and former co-workers told us Frye is an inspiration to them. It’s not difficult to see why. Her determination and relentlessly positive attitude make her a role model for all who are frustrated by circumstance or stymied by setbacks. Frye wanted to compete in her second Cordova 5K, and instead of letting her physical limitations hold her back, she showed us all that, with ingenuity and drive, the impossible becomes possible.

We thank Frye for setting an example that will empower others, and we wish her a speedy recovery.

JEERS to the makers of electronic cigarettes who are trying to cash in on well-known trademarks like Thin Mints, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Tootsie Roll by using the labels on their flavored e-cigs. Companies that own the brands’ copyrights are rightly objecting to the unauthorized use, raising concerns that flavors like Tootsie Roll could appeal to children.

Whether candy-flavored e-cigs appeal to underage buyers is beside the point, as this dispute is an open-and-shut case hinging on intellectual property rights. Makers of the cigarette alternatives cannot and should not piggyback on the names and reputations of established brands without trademark-holders’ permission. Case closed.

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