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Commissioner candidate Patrick Fitzsimmons has earned respect

As citizens it is imperative that we exercise our right to vote, and to choose leaders who have competence, solid ethical values, and an ability to work effectively with all constituents, not only those who are of the same political party or persuasion. 

In that regard, it is my pleasure to support Patrick Fitzsimmons for election to District 2 on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. As the CEO of the American Red Cross Western NC Region, Patrick not only served that organization with distinction, but also consistently worked with leadership in our communities in order to make Western North Carolina a more effective, efficient and caring place. 

Patrick is well known nationally as a leader among American Red Cross professionals. His vision and insight were sought both within and outside of our area to help improve the quality of life for everyone. His sincere belief that every person is deserving of respect and care has gained him respect among people from many different cultural, political and religious persuasions. 

In recent years, Patrick has used his knowledge of business, finance, and wise planning to serve effectively as CEO of the nonprofit "Mountain Bizworks," an organization created to help local small businesses "start, grow, and create jobs through loans, classes and coaching." Numerous small businesses have obtained solid financial footing and become effective organizations due to his coaching and leadership. 

Patrick possesses solid ethical values. His intellect, combined with his good sense of humor, are traits which have gained him respect and appreciation from his colleagues on the Weaverville Town Council, as well as in his church and other community activities. 

We would be well served if Patrick Fitzsimmons were elected our new District 2 County commissioner. 

Heath Rada

Black Mountain

Charmed to see the town retains its charm

A couple weeks ago, I came home to Black Mountain to visit for the weekend. Folk often don’t like to see change in their hometowns, but I found that the residents of Black Mountain have achieved a balance, retaining distinctive landmarks like the facades of the old Rug & Jug, the train depot, and the corner drug store while welcoming charming updates like those on Cherry Street.

These are changes that keep the spirit of the town in which I grew up. As a child of the 1970s, I remember feeling a heaviness about the empty buildings on Cherry Street. Not so anymore! And replacing the corner service station in the middle of town with an attractive park expresses the welcoming spirit of Black Mountain.

More importantly, the people of Black Mountain are like those folk I remember from childhood. Many residents, both native and transplanted, talked with my husband and I with welcoming, open hearts. They gave us their time and willingly shared the life they’ve created together in this town.

In my opinion, Black Mountain has kept the best of what came before, while living in the present. My husband and I are considering retiring in Black Mountain. But I’ll be back a lot before then, because I just don’t think I can wait that long to come home.

Wendy McMahan Harris

Greenville, SC

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