When it comes to politics, nobody is happy. People can’t even go to a football game without being embroiled in controversy. Make football great again.

No. 1

Trump cheerleaders put on probation. By now many of you may have heard that the North Stanly High School cheerleaders and a couple of students stirred controversy by posing with a Trump 2020 banner on the sideline of a recent Comets game.

The N.C. High School Athletic Association put them on probation. It prompted 8th District congressman Richard Hudson to write a letter to NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker questioning the decision. Hudson, in part, wrote:

“As the representative of Stanly County, I am appalled these students are being punished for exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.

“As leaders, we should be encouraging America’s youth to participate in our democracy and political process — not punishing and silencing them. These North Stanly students respectfully displayed a sign and took a picture. They did not cause a scene, participate in a protest or break any school code of conduct.”

Hudson, the students, the NCHSAA and Tucker have all been criticized.

Scott Huffman, a Democrat who is running for the 8th District seat in 2020, criticized Hudson because he has been quiet on other issues where students have spoken out.

“Had this not been a Trump sign, you would not have heard Richard Hudson speak out on this issue,” Huffman wrote in an emailed statement to several media outlets. “You have to ask yourself: Where was Rep. Richard Hudson before this? Did he write a letter in support of students taking a #Knee or the walk out for #GunControl? No, he picks this opportunity to try to gain political points.”

Yep, it’s political grandstanding, and guess what? Huffman’s also grandstanding.

The other question I have is: “Where are the adults in the room?” Why didn’t a teacher/coach/administrator tell the students to take it off campus or do it at another time or take the campaign banner out of the picture?

I will say I love the cheerleaders’ socks.

You know Hudson would be pitching a fit if they were out there with an Obama/Biden/insert your favorite opponent’s banner.

One person said we should be applauding the students for supporting their country and their president. That’s fine, except that at a school event, there shouldn’t have been a re-election banner.

The NCHSAA has better things to do than police matters like this. A warning would have been plenty.

Wow, we’ve got more than a year left of this craziness.

No. 2

Important 2019 election dates. This year we have municipal elections. You can request absentee ballots beginning Oct. 4. Here are other important dates for voters within the city/town limits of Concord, Kannapolis, Mount Pleasant, Midland and Harrisburg:

» Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. is the deadline to register to vote in order to vote Nov. 3.

» One-stop absentee (early) voting begins Oct. 16 and concludes Nov. 1.

» Oct. 29 is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot, and Nov. 4 at 5 p.m. is the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for voters who expect to be unable to vote on Election Day due to sickness or physical disability.

» Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by 5 p.m. Nov. 3 to be eligible.

» Election Day is Nov. 5, with polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

» The Board of Elections will do the official canvass of the election Nov. 15.

“Vote early and vote often.”

Well, at least vote early or on time, but please, only vote once.

No. 3

Candidate questionnaires. We’re sending out questionnaires to the candidates in contested races over the next couple of days and will print the responses in early October. We are not sending questions to candidates in uncontested races.

We are asking candidates to email their responses mainly because we don’t want to have to type all of that in the computer or try to intrepret people’s handwriting.

Besides, do you really want someone representing you who can’t use a computer or at least find a friend who can use a computer? Come on, people, let’s get with the 21st century.

Hey, also, when you can, email letters to the editor. We don’t want to have to type them, either.

No. 4

Healthy Cabarrus Partnerships for Life. The community health assessment that is done every four years is underway. A report will be coming out in mid-2020 with goals and action plans to try to make Cabarrus County a healthier place.

The 2020 Community Planning Council met for the first time Thursday at Kannapolis City Hall. There was an economic development meeting at the same time next door. That Kannapolis City Hall is a busy place. Cabarrus County Schools Superintendent Chris Lowder and Kannapolis City Schools Superintendent Chip Buckwell were talking on the front steps when I left. Chip had a Wonders’ green dress shirt on. Chris wasn’t repping any school colors.

Healthy Cabarrus aims to interview and survey 1 percent of the adult population in Cabarrus County. That’s a lot people, given a population of 211,000.

Vice chair Merl Hamilton sums up why the massive undertaking is done every four years. “We love where we live. We want to make it better.”

Five pages of bullet-point accomplishments were documented in the committee’s binders. It tracks back to Healthy Cabarrus’ founding in 1998. A full page was dedicated to accomplishments since the 2016 assessment.

If you’re asked to fill out a survey or participate in some way, we hope you will do so.

No. 5

A sign for Famous Toastery is up. We told you a few months ago that Famous Toastery is coming to Branchview Drive in the old Bonfire Grill and Bar location. Nothing had been done for some time, and I and others were beginning to worry that plans might have changed.

A “coming soon” sign went up on the restaurant recently. It would be the second Concord location. The other is at Christenbury Corners in front of Lowe’s on Concord Mills Boulevard.

Not much ranting this week. I guess it’s this nice, cool fall weather.

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If you have a Friday Five, story suggestion or something I can rant about, email mplemmons@independenttribune.com.