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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Letter To The Editor: "Engineer recommends demolishing historic Nancy Reynolds"

Below is a letter that I wrote to The Stokes News regarding the Nancy Reynolds School story published last Thursday. It appeared in the newspaper today in its entirety. I wanted to re-post it here to convey my own thoughts on the subject of Nancy Reynolds School and its current structural state:

To The Editor:

After reading the lead story in The Stokes News’ December 13th edition, “Engineer recommends demolishing historic Nancy Reynolds,” two thoughts came to my mind: getting a second opinion is always worth the effort, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The qualifications of Mr. Moorefield are not necessarily questionable. However, the opinion of one Stokes County structural engineer is not enough information for the school board to make any final decision regarding the future of Nancy Reynolds Elementary School, the educational landmark built as a memorial for Nancy Jane Cox Reynolds, mother of the iconic tobacco industry magnate, Mr. R.J. Reynolds.

Board of Education, please listen closely: get a second (or third) opinion, consider the school’s significant value to its community and the county, and then do the right thing, if at all possible: preserve the 1923 original structure and its 1931 wings. If any member of the school board has doubts that such a preservation is doable and the right thing to do, they should have a five minute conversation with any of those responsible for the successful preservation of Old Town Elementary in Winston-Salem, if for nothing else but a bit of worthwhile inspiration.

Secondly, the Board of Education should provide answers to the Nancy Reynolds community, its parents and children, and to all Stokes County taxpayers in regards to this question: if Moorefield’s observations are correct, why was the school allowed to get to this point of disrepair? It seems to me, and I’m sure to many others concerned about the school, that those in charge of county-dispatched building maintenance for its public schools bypassed Nancy Reynolds far more than its fair share of times. Then and now, the responsibility of school building maintenance falls squarely into the laps of school board members; since this maintenance was obviously not done, now is the time to make it right. Please do it right.

Strother Bullins


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