Just an update, sorry folks, I forgot to put the url in for the editor's comments, but it is now posted.

As some of you may know, we have been battling the illegal immigrant problem here in Mount Airy, and Surry County, NC, mainly through our mtairynews.net website. It began with the controversial comments by the local newspaper editor (you can still view it here: http://www.mtairynews.net/illegal-im...og-reprint.htm. The editor is no longer with the main Mount Airy newspaper, but has returned to the Yadkin Ripple, from whence he came. Unfortunately, it seems he plans to continue his promotion of illegal immigration at the Yadkin Ripple. Please read his editorial below, and go to the article and comment. He needs to know that his promotion of illegal immigration is unwanted.

From Honduras to Surry County and Back Home

Friday, April 25, 2008 1:36 AM EDT

Studying Spanish and living with a host family in an remote village in southern Honduras for a lifetime of memories. Crossing the border one night into El Salvador and sneaking a peek of the majestic Pacific Ocean. Making the return trip in the back of an old Toyota pickup truck while the harsh mountain winds swept around us on the journey back to the city of Choluteca.

Volunteering for an orphanage in the historic town of Antigua, Guatemala and making the long hike up the tropical jungle to gaze at the majestic Mayan ruins in Tikal. Learning to appreciate another culture. Feeling incredible empathy for some of the most impoverished regions in the world. All the while missing East Bend — constantly maintaining a mental picture of my "Walden's Pond" where two massive oak trees tower over a small cabin at a special place that I will always call home.

Commuting the last 10 months back and forth to Mount Airy. Working as the Editor of The Mount Airy News where I met and befriended countless individuals, learning more about the newspaper business and myself as well. Taking the back road from East Bend to the Granite City by way of Siloam, crossing the Yadkin River twice a day, gazing over at Pilot Mountain and enjoying the scenic view of the rolling farmland. But never forgetting my roots and feeling strangely drawn back to Yadkin.

All of this and more I have done since I left the The Yadkin Ripple in January 2007. At times I felt an overwhelming desire to return to Latin America. I saw poverty — real poverty — up close. And the worst, most heart-wrenching part were the children. Born into circumstances beyond their control, they are destined to live a hard, very hard life. I have felt and continue to feel compelled to rescue them. But all I could do at the time was photograph these adorable kids, kicking soccer balls in the streets while exchanging friendly phrases and heartwarming smiles.

Always there was the family farm — the "Old Place" — and in the not too distant background, recurring issues in my community and the county that I continued to care about with a deep and abiding passion. How could I reconcile these beliefs? Part of me wanted to perform mission work; to find a way to relieve the suffering of these people and also give something back. And yet I couldn't shake the fact that I felt a sense of obligation to be here, back in Yadkin, out on the farm and reporting on the issues of the day. No matter where I traveled, whether it was Central America or Surry County, I couldn't escape what I loved the most — writing and reporting about a community that the Matthews family has called home for more than 150 years.

In short, it's good to be back. Until recently I had forgotten how much I missed the daily political meetings at the East Bend Citgo, picking up pizza and some local news at Kitchen Roselli's, or bumping into some friends at the East Bend Hardware Store. Of course I never had to go far if I really wanted to know what was going on in the town and county. Uncle Kenneth, when he wasn't loading up cows or sprucing up a rent house, kept me informed on everything from international politics to the latest in local news headlines.

I would be less than truthful, however, if I didn't admit that the return has brought its share of anxiety. People around here, especially those who follow and take their politics seriously, have pretty high standards. So it's understandable that they expect their local newspaper to keep them up to date on the new Dollar General store, the latest drug bust, or a taste of the lively debates from the county commissioners' meetings. They can follow the Pope's visit on cable television and watch the Clinton/Obama debates on CNN. They depend upon The Yadkin Ripple to tell them what happened at the school board meeting, the fate of the historic Paulene's grocery store in downtown East Bend, or the latest predictions of who will come out on top in the May 6 Republican primary.

And since columnists, including this one, have been known to express controversial opinions that aren't always in step with the majority, it's understandable that I might generate some occasional opposition, step on a few toes, or even produce some letters to the editor. Of course I wouldn't have it any other way. What a boring and bland existence it would be if we all agreed, marching in unison to the same drummer.

So in the coming weeks don't be surprised if you read a radical statement about the need for middle schools, abide by the U.S. Constitution when it comes to sectarian prayer, promote ethnic diversity by embracing our growing Hispanic population, suggest that Yadkin consider a county-wide alcohol referendum, or questioning the whole "one husband, one wife" platform. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

Not exactly the kind of ideas or policy positions that will get me elected county commissioner. But then again I've never been one to tell people what they want to hear.