Today’s editorial space takes on a “Thumbs up, Thumbs down” theme as we consider a few issues in and around Richmond County.
Thumbs up … to the service provided by longtime Rockingham Fire Chief Charles Gardner, who earlier this month announced his retirement, effective Aug. 21. It’s not easy to find good men, and good leaders, these days. It’s even more difficult to replace them.
Thumbs up … to the Rockingham Downtown Corporation, some members of which support redirecting heavy truck traffic away from city center and instead push trucks from U.S. Route 1 to Greene Street and then U.S. Route 220. The streets are simply too narrow for these large trucks to navigate safely, as the brick wall on Harrington Square will agree. This past Saturday, a tractor-trailer smashed into it. It wasn’t too long ago the same corner was recently replaced.
The difference for truck drivers on this new route is negligible, a mere 0.2 miles difference. It’s an idea that could be, and should be, forwarded to city leaders for consideration.
Thumbs down … to whatever situations have already led to the loss of three Richmond County residents this year . On March 18, Hamlet teen Brandi Danielle Faurot, 18, and Bobby Gayle Hudson, 58, of Bear Creek, were killed as their two vehicles struck each other in a head-on collision. Only a few days before that, on March 15, 18-year-old Joseph McGuire Jr., of Rockingham, was killed while riding his dirt bike just over the county line in Marlboro County, S.C.
The details of the incidents are not yet known, but these deaths should serve as a reminder to remain alert on the roads and be free from distractions.
Thumbs up … to those in charge of play selection at Richmond Community Theatre. We hope there was sufficient turnout for the third and final audition this week for “Fences,” and look forward to the play about a former baseball player who was cheated out of professional opportunities because of the color of his skin.
Thumbs up … to the Rockingham Board of Adjustments, members of which voted 5-0 to reject a conditional use permit application for the Richmond County Health Society to rebuild and once again operate a homeless shelter and soup kitchen within city limits. The good news is that members listened to residents that live in the neighborhood and came to the meeting to express concern about alleged prostitution, drug abuse, vandalism and trespassing. No one wants to live near that, and to our knowledge, not of those advocating for it live near Midway Road and U.S. Route 1. Board members followed the letter of the law in denying the application.
Thumbs down … to the Rockingham Board of Adjustments, members of which voted 5-0 to reject a conditional use permit application to allow a nonprofit group to rebuild and operate a homeless shelter and soup kitchen within city limits. Just because the building goes away doesn’t mean the homeless people go away. It would have been nice for a neutral third party to attend the public hearing and suggest a viable alternative.