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To the Editor:

By Staff
I write to publicly acknowledge and thank Don Davenport for his service to Beaufort County. I have known Don since working with him when I was superintendent of Greenville City Schools and he was assistant county manager in Pitt in the early '80s. About 15 years ago the Beaufort County Commissioners asked me as director of the ECU Rural Education Institute to help get the Beaufort County and Washington City schools merged. Since 1985, I have been a resident of Beaufort County. I feel I have a knowledgeable perspective of Don Davenport.
Based on my experience, I will say without equivocation that Don Davenport played one of the most essential roles in the school merger process. At the time, Washington City Schools had a supplemental school tax that gave them more money per student than the county had. Washington had no fiscal reason to merge. In the initial study, not one county school board member pledged to lead a merger fight and several opposed it. It looked like a hopeless battle. Within two years, Beaufort and Washington had one of the smoothest school mergers in the history of this state. That would not have happened if Don Davenport had not done what he did. Not once do I recall his making a political decision but once the leaders decided what needed to be done he quietly found a way to get the job done. And not once have I ever heard him attempt to take any credit for what he did.
Beaufort County is a better place today for what he did for the children. Economic development would be a dead issue if we still had two school systems, not to mention that it would have been costing thousands of dollars per year to maintain parity between a growing school system and one plagued with declining enrollment, since state money comes with enrollment. There would most likely be no Southside High School. Once in a lifetime or so, truly important issues call for truly great leadership. For Beaufort County one of those issues was school merger and Don Davenport was as responsible for making it succeed as anyone else. While many talked the talk, he walked the walk. He quietly found ways to solve major problems and then let the politicians take the credit.
In my work at ECU, I worked closely with dozens of county and city managers and school superintendents over the last 35 years. If I were asked to name the top 10 professionals with whom I have worked, Don Davenport would be within that group.
So for all the children of Beaufort County during the last 15 years and for generations to come, I want to say publicly to Don Davenport: Thank you, sir, and may God richly bless you. You deserve it.
DELMA BLINSON
Beaufort County
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To the Editor:
Probably the most worthwhile use of Beaufort County taxpayers' money over the past 19 years has been Don Davenport's salary. It has been my pleasure to know Don for many years and I hold him in the highest regard. He is a man of great integrity. As our county manager he has always handled his duties with dedication, insight, character and dignity. He has well served the people of Beaufort County. Don Davenport deserves our thanks for a job well done and our best wishes for the future.
GLENN BARNES
Washington
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To the Editor:
We were saddened to read in today's (March 6) paper that our County Manager has resigned! We would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his years of dedicated service to our county. For 19 years he managed the office in a professional and efficient manner and was available when needed. He is truly knowledgeable and a gentleman in every respect. He kept himself informed about the needs of all the various departments and is highly respected. We appreciate all that he has done. He will be greatly missed.
EARL and HELEN BONNER
Aurora
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To the Editor:
Our president has said more than once that his policy towards Iraq is not directed at the people of Iraq but at its leader. It is not "anti-Iraq" but "anti-Saddam." In your editorials and articles on the demonstrations abroad opposing the upcoming attack on Iraq, the Washington Daily News describes these as "anti-American." Don't both logic and reporting accuracy dictate that these be labeled not as "anti-American" but as "anti-Bush?"
BILL MYERS
Chocowinity
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To the Editor:
In answer to Mrs. Del Stutzman's letter to the editor of Wednesday, March 5.
Please understand, Mrs. Stutzman, that this is still a free country. You can leave anytime you want and go back to whence you came. I don't think anyone around here would miss you, since you have done nothing but complain from day one.
MELVIN G. GIBBS
Belhaven
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To the Editor:
I am a volunteer for the Literacy Volunteers of Beaufort County; however, the views expressed here are mine.
My feelings regarding the recent election of Mr. Warren to the Beaufort School Board are mixed. On the one hand, the fact that Mr. Pressley lost is sad, since he represented a new voice in Beaufort County; on the other hand, he is the president of the Literacy Volunteers of Beaufort County and presumably he will continue in this capacity, while his wife Frances remains as its originator, and continues as its driving force.
The resigning member of the Beaufort School Board, Mr. "Billy" Jefferson, to whom many accolades have been given, due to his 30 years of service on the Board, is invited to volunteer for this organization. His experience would be valuable. Currently, 61 percent of Beaufort County adults read at or below the 5th grade, (24 percent illiterate, level 1, and 37 percent at level 2, between illiterate and the 5th grade; ref: North Carolina Literacy Level statistics). It was gratifying to see him congratulate Mr. William Warren on his election: in the words of your newspaper, "his" ("Billy" Jefferson) are big shoes to fill."
I hope this kind of dedication to better education in Beaufort County will induce manufacturing and high tech jobs to establish here.
HENRY OBREMSKI
Chocowinity