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Letters to the Editor

War wary
I want to thank you so much for standing up in opposition to this war on Iraq. My husband and I have been living in the Triangle for over three years now and, while we often picked up The Independent, we rarely took the time to read it. However, over the last few weeks, we have read them cover-to-cover. Your columns against this war and this administration have provided much comfort to us, as we realize that we are not the only people who believe this is all madness.
Lucy Harris

Artisic solutions
Many thanks for the recent coverage of the challenges facing the state's arts field and the N.C. Arts Council in relation to the state budget difficulties. I offer clarification on two aspects of the article ["Easley Art Cuts Trigger 'Call to Arms,'" March 19].

Arts North Carolina was formed in the mid-1990s in a merger of two heralded groups--Arts Advocates and the N.C. Association of Arts Councils--and is older than the approximate one year of existence referenced in the article. Today's arts leaders take many of their cues from the decades long successes of these groups.

Also, the meeting Mr. Woods attended in Greensboro was one of a set of regional meetings that Arts N.C. now sponsors annually, geared to address long-term issues of the field. After re-scheduling due to inclement weather, we adjusted our agenda when it became apparent that our membership and arts leaders wanted to address the state budget concerns that arose days prior to the Greensboro gathering.

Arts groups are frequently demonstrating the broad positive impact that the arts can have on the state budget itself (specifically in this case, the N.C. Arts Council), as many of the 9 million people who participate annually in arts events across this state are served through the over 800 groups that receive state funding (for reference, check out

Arts leaders across the state remain keenly aware of the challenges our elected leaders face in times of fiscal duress and international conflict. In that light, we're grateful for their arduous work on behalf of all of us. But as arts leaders have successfully demonstrated in the past, we look forward to another opportunity to communicate the clear case that the arts are not part of the budget problem. Indeed, they are part of the solution.
David Zum Brunnen
Board Chair, Arts North Carolina

You're being watched
I normally read The Independent to keep abreast of music news, but it's hard not to also observe the comings and goings of the budding Neo-Socialists in the community.

Your war coverage (and particularly, the "Back Talk" section) proves that revisionism isn't limited to turning defeat into victory ... you've managed to revise fact to create the polar opposite.
J. Brewer

I finally had a chance to read last week's issue of The Independent and was rather concerned with a part of Barbara Solow's health care article. The part which concerns me, amongst other things, is that she lumps massage therapy in with unlicensed alternative healthcare providers.

I am a Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist, emphasis on the Licensed. LMBTs have no fear of "being targeted" by the medical board or the attorney general because we have a code of ethics and a scope of practice to work within. Acupuncturists and chiropractors are also licensed. This means a board of our peers have reviewed our educational background, checked our professional references, and our records outside of North Carolina. Having this review board also ensures that licensed individuals who are unethical can and do have their licenses revoked. In fact, I just received my N.C. Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy newsletter. There were: 27 cease and desist orders issued (practicing without a license), 2 license revocation (sexual misconduct), 1 license surrender, and 14 license revocations (non-compliance with the terms of their license).

We are all grouped under the term "alternative health care" as a opposed to "medical care", but, again, we are all licensed. Licensed acupuncturists in this state are trained as herbalists and are therefore, allowed to practice as such. Would you really want to go to an herbalist who has no formal training to treat your depression or your child's asthma? If someone truly wants to practice legitimately, that person will get the formal education, training and go through the licensing procedures.

What many of my colleagues and I, within the alternative healthcare community, would like to see is a licensing board for naturopaths and homeopaths, whose professional and educational backgrounds have been thoroughly investigated. My understanding is there are a couple of states already that have this type of board. I'm sure the states where these boards already exist would be only too happy to assist us in creating one of our own in North Carolina. This board can then be responsible for licensing others with in their field. Think about it this way: Would you go to an unlicensed doctor, surgeon or dentist who simply assured you of their background? I know as an LMBT, I will not go to a massage therapist who isn't licensed. I have no assurances they know anything about anatomy, physiology, contraindications, etc.

I choose not to go to an allopathic physician except in a dire emergency, a broken bone for example. However, I do believe everyone is safer when all health care practitioners have a series of checks and balances they must go through. Patients/clients will also have an avenue of recourse if any practitioner practices unethically. If any unlicensed alternative healthcare providers hesitate at the idea/possibility of having to be licensed to practice as herbalists, homeopaths or naturopaths, I would strongly question their reasons and motives. Especially since licensing would greatly legitimize their standing in this state. Those who have nothing to hide will have nothing to fear.
Melissa Dittmer
LMBT #3434

Harsh reality
Re: Your review of the Full Frame documentary School's Out about kids at the Walt Whitman School in Dallas.

When you said "the struggling principal fields teenage melodrama with an unusually serious edge" did you mean A) that the principal was unusually serious, or did you mean B) the melodrama was? If it was A, I will ask you how many school administrators in America have to decide whether to suspend an HIV-positive student for having unprotected sex, or go without a paycheck to keep the school open because the need is so great. If it was B) I'm thinking this is pretty much drama of the non-melo kind. HIV, homelessness, gender identity questions and raw brutality really are reality, REALLY. So, it's "juvenile reality TV" to you, and it's everyday life to these kids.

Either way, this review was another shocking example of exactly why we need a school like this. Apparently in the post Ellen and Will & Grace era, many people still don't get it at all that glbt and questioning kids are now in a new era facing issues that us older glbt people never imagined. And guess what? Their lives are nothing like Will or Grace or even poor Jack. Thanks for sticking up for the "vulnerable teenage subjects" but I was moved by their courage.
Karen McCrocklin

Stereo type-o
In your April 9-15 edition you printed a photograph of the marquee of a Baptist church reading, "War Brings and Maintians Peace." I find your publication of the photo one of those telling slips that give the lie to the moral claims of the liberalism from which we so often hear cries for "diversity" and tolerance.

Obviously the church is not offering on their marquee a thorougly expounded justification for the war in Iraq, though perhaps you would hear one if you went inside. At most, the message is a thought-provoking aphorism that I daresay most party-line Independent readers (you know, Birkenstocks and all that) are not equipped to refute because they have not given a moment's thought as to whether it is true (you may have to "thimk" on that if you are not used to doing so). Or maybe the sign is just Orwellian doublespeak. But that's the point. One cannot simply pronounce, one must decide for oneself.

The implications the photo makes are several, the least nasty being simply that because someone makes a typo (and surely no one takes this for a misspelling, unlike if it had read, say, "maintanes") their message is ridiculous. The deeper, nastier level of implication is of a correlation of Baptists, and of conservative political views, with illiteracy, and therefore with lower social rank. Very tolerant. The next time The Independent prints a typo (and in a publication so frequent, surely they will come), perhaps I will post it, highlighted, in my workplace, so to announce to passersby, "You see! Liberals are such idiots for supporting their progressive causes, and they can't even spell!" What a bunch of insecure, self-righteous morality snobs you all must be to print this photo. Surely your photographers have bigger fish to fry?
Thomas Markham

Even the calendars
I believe that there is no unbiased, objective version of an event or issue, but that every event can be seen through numerous lenses, creating many different stories to tell. It is essential that we have a place where stories can be told with honesty and thoughtfulness in a world where corrupt governments and greedy corporations are often the only ones who get to create the narrative.

I write to you to applaud The Independent for its courage and convictions in its reporting of the war and ongoing local coverage. Thank you for creating the much needed space for different sides of the story to be told here in the Triangle.

Your war coverage has been thoughtful and intelligent. I have also been happy to see recent articles about sprawl, new urbanism and green building. Additionally, the calendars recently have been especially thorough. Keep up the great work!
Kristen Ford


Last week's music feature, "It's Got That Swing," should have read that the NCCU Jazz Festival, which has run since 1990, has been named after Grady Tate since 1998.

In Peter Eichenberger's column on April 2 ("Final Jeopardy"), the name Mike Veranda should have been Mike Vreeland.

talk back
Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.


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