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I just read your recent Crashing the Gate [“Mourning Robert”; Oct. 6, 2010; by Brian Clarey] and for what’s it worth, your hearfelt sentences brought tears to my eyes. This was probably one of the hardest things for you to write but also one of the most important.

I did not know Robert but he must had been a lucky man to have a friend who loved him so.

Thank you for letting us all know a little about Robert.

Bruce MacMonegle, Greensboro


Is John Stossel the new columist? I have not read anything from or seen any articles written by Alexander Cockburn in quite some time now. If he is, I really enjoy reading his articles because he reminds me a lot of Bill Buckley, who I miss reading every week as well as Molly Ivins. Anyway, how about letting us readers know more about this new columist, if he indeed,happens to be the new columist. Thanks for your time.

Seincerely, Steven M. Shelton, Greensboro Editor replies: Yes, we do rotate our syndicated columnists every so often, and recently replaced Alexander Cockburn with John Stossel. William F. Buckley and Molly Ivins are, alas, dead.


Brian, Thanks for the excellent article on pretzels and giving Philly props for making the best pretzels in the world [“Homemade soft pretzels, with a twist”; Sept. 29, 20120; by Brian Clarey].

Yes, before you ponder, I am from the City of Brotherly Love and I love and want your recipe for making those so-called twist pretzels. Actually, this is the best recipe that I have seen and believe me you, I have perused a lot of so-called pretzel recipes.

At any rate, if you have the recipe in step by step form, email it to me and I will see if you know pretzels from potato chips!

Bren, Greensboro

Editor replies: For the dough I use one package of yeast, proofed with a teaspoon of sugar and a cup of warm water. Add it to 4.5 cups of flour (I blend whole-wheat and white anout 50-50) with a little salt, two tablespoons of oil or melted butter and another half-cup of water. I let the dough rise for at least an hour, shape the pretzels and then boil them in water with 1/3 a cup of baking soda for a minute or so, brush with beaten egg yolk, salt them and bake them off at 450 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.


Hey Brian, Well? It’s been a year since we last talked. A lot of changes in that year for me. I now have power, a scroll saw, light, refrigerator, heater and even a coffee maker. I’ve even landed a job with a construction company so when I get the money together to move, I’ll be gone to return the woods to the animals that should live there. I’ll keep in touch from time to time to let you know of my progress.

Don Ames Editor’s note: We first met Ames last year when he was living in the Freeman Mill Homeless Camp in downtown Greensboro.


As a parent and former teacher, my heart and prayers go out to Jason Ford and his family [“Middle school teacher cleared of wrongdoing SBI probe of school system continues”; Sept. 22, 2010; by Keith T. Barber]. To be falsely accused of sexual misconduct is one of the darkest nightmares anyone could experience.

I think about the emotional impact and strain this has had on his wife and children. At what point will his family be able to fully lift their heads without facing the whispers and gossip which will follow them for a time? I think about the financial strain put upon his family. Legal cases of this sort are extremely expensive, and if Jason’s family represents the average American family, legal fees to defend one’s reputation and avoid imprisonment are not in the monthly budget.

Unfortunately, we have learned a lesson at the costly expense of a man’s character and reputation. In the future, we must follow state mandated processes to avoid similar occurrences. In the meantime, I trust that an attempt will not be made to casually sweep this issue with Jason “under the carpet” and move on with life as normal; the life of the Ford family will not be normal for some time to come. Let’s keep this family in our prayers.

As we vote in November, let’s make sure that we vote for board members who will bring a fresh perspective and a willingness to engage in rigorous debate over ideas and hold one another accountable on the behalf of our kids, teachers and community. Let’s lay aside all partisanship and vote in favor of families like Jason Ford’s, like yours and like mine; families that believe in the ideals of the American education, dreams, and values.

Robert Barr, Winston-Salem Editor’s note: Barr is running for Winston-Salem/ Forsyth County School Board at large.