Friday, July 28, 2006



Quick, before they sell out! Get your collector's edition copy of this week's "The Selma News" before they are all sold out. This week's edition has the first and ONLY edition that will contain the banned photograph of me with one of my favorite firearms for a column picture. Since the picture will be gone starting next week, this is your ONLY week to get a copy. They may be worth money some day, you never know. Make this edition a huge seller for "The Selma News"! And now for a little subliminal advertising: BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY your copy of "The Selma News"! Subscribe, subscribe, subscribe to "The Selma News"! NOW!

Society of the offended

We have the right to free speech, free press, freedom of religion, and others so enumerated. For those who have never read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I have just given you links to go and download your own copies. You will even find a few "freedom from"s in there. What you will not find, however, is freedom from being offended.

I don't go out of my way to attempt to offend (except this week when I got ripped off by and ebay seller, but that is another story). The picture that you see on this page for a profile and was used this week in my column was used for a reason. I had actually considered names such as "Shooting Straight", "Taking Aim", or something similar for my column in The Selma News. The picture identifies three passions in life. One is on my head, one is in my hands, and the other on my finger. All three represent common sense, time tested, family oriented, conservative values.

It didn't take long for people who must live to find things to be offended about to complain to the newspaper. Did they complain about my writing, my opinions, or the fact that there was a new column taking up space in the local paper? No. They complained that there was a picture of a gun pointed at them. Not a real gun, a picture of a gun. Actually, of me holding a gun, in a picture, shrunken down and printed in a newspaper. That is supposedly offensive.

That is one thing that I have struggled with here in the South. Don't get me wrong, it is rampant in the liberal mindset propagated across the country. People who are offended are portrayed as victims. Everyone is allowed to be offended about something (unless you are a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant male, apparently) in the current political scene. People in general have little in the way of sense of humor compared to the French Canadian, European, and Yankee influences around which I was reared. It is not a matter of holiness or piety here in the "Bible Belt". That is a peril of zealous piety; self righteousness and false holiness that permeates a society. I say that as a born again Christian and one who has ministered in pulpits, in small groups, and online for years.

I don't blame the newspaper for wanting to pull a picture about which they received a whopping two complaints. I received one phone call of compliment and had a few in person. I do, however, detest the paradigm of taking offense at everything in life in the name of decency.

It was for this reason that I don't have fellowship with some brethren whom I loved dearly. I would not submit to their ideas of things that were unrelated to holiness. Here is a link to a book that I found to be greatly helpful in giving me freedom from that mindset. It is perhaps one of the greatest books I have read on the subject and mirrors what I had in my heart as impressed by the Lord. As a matter of fact, I just paused my writing to order another copy on the internet. I had lent my copy to someone several years back and never got it returned.

Anyway, I don't plan on removing the picture from this site unless I just want a change of scenery, which I tend to do from time to time, as evidenced by the change of the blog appearance recently.

If you like the picture as is, call the paper. I gave you the link to the newspaper web site. They will use the standard portrait picture, probably, until I can come up with something better. Look out, I have a few ideas.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

July 27, 2006 column

July 27, 2006 column

For some time, we have been barraged with the need for building more schools, "No Child Left Behind", More at 4, the need for smaller class size, an "education" lottery, and the mantra of "it's for the children".

What we are really doing is saddling those very children that we are supposed to be caring about with record debt that they will have to work to pay off in the next thirty years every time we pass another bond referendum.

The Johnston County school system has a seven year plan in which they desire to float a bond of up to $234 million to build nine new schools and renovate dozens of others. The School Board desires to have another bond referendum on the ballot by 2007 for funding.

If there is one thing that we should have learned by now is that the cost of building schools and renovating existing ones NEVER works out to be the amount contracted. Just a few weeks ago, it was reported that construction and renovation projects at six Johnston County schools came in $7.27 million over estimates. Do you REALLY believe that any bond we pass will actually cover the projected costs seven years from now? I don't.

I don't have a problem in maintaining existing facilities. I don't have a problem with new school construction if we as a county are growing as fast as we are told we are. I do have a problem with the idea that we are supposed to just accept the same answers and paradigms concerning school district administration.

It has been shown that in California, the concept of class size reduction is a failed one. Results have been dismal. I read that California is abandoning the idea of class size reduction because the results have been so insignificant. Why then are we continuing to duplicate their failed system? The idea as policy originated in California, and the innovators have decided that it is not worth the cost.

One reason is that teachers today in general, are softer than the ones I had while growing up. They have been through an inferior school system themselves, have been raised with a soft upbringing by contrast, have been shown far less discipline and therefore model poor discipline themselves. I don't blame the instructors themselves, since there are many great teachers and the rest are basically a product of a failed liberal experiment that has crippled the education system in this country.

Another major reason is that the largest labor unions in the country are those for educators. Smaller class size, higher salaries, more and newer buildings all mean more educators, more union dues, and therefore more money and power.

If private schools can educate children better for less money, as we have seen repeatedly over the past half century, then why do we persist in patterning our education system after the same failures?

Keeping quality educators, eliminating those educators who should find other career paths, using existing facilities to their fullest, being thrifty with the money we send to the schools, and eliminating non-essential administrative staff will go a long way in improving education and keeping costs down.

Recently, the school system was threatening to sue the county in order to get 1/150th of their requested budget back, claiming that they could not function without that last million dollars. I don't buy that stance and neither should taxpayers.

If textbooks have to last one more year, they have to last. The information about how to add, subtract, form sentences, and write letters has not changed and will not change in the next year. History will only have changed by having one year added to it. I used some ratty, old textbooks while in school and facts do not or should not change from one year to the next.

Take an interest in your county school system. Contact your elected school board and county commission members. Demand accountability from them. Demand quality education at the lowest possible cost, abandonment of failed experimental methods, and the restoration of our schools to the methods of administration and education that made this country great.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The first article

Here is my first "LaPlante's Rants" column for July 20, 2006. The newspaper has hit my mailbox, so I figure it may be in a lot of others.


I have heard it said that opinions are just like armpits; everyone has a couple of them and they usually stink. Fortunately for those around me, I do use deodorant. My opinions, on the other hand have been found to be sweet smelling to some and malodorous to others. That having been stated, I welcome you to my first weekly opinion column here in "The Selma News".

By popular demand, I want to discuss a recent issue that I have written about already on the internet. I have already gotten a decent amount of feedback from some people on my commentary.

Right down the street from my humble abode is an old water tower that belongs to the town. In a recent edition of this newspaper, it was reported that the Selma officials would like to tear down the tower with the reasoning that it is unused and an eyesore.

I wish to applaud the efforts that the town has made in attempting to make Selma "a charming place to be", by cleaning up the town's signage, enforcing town ordinances, and the like. This particular instance, however, needs to be approached in a different manner, in my opinion.

The town is increasing taxes, laying off employees, and cutting expenses. The town is in "crisis mode" financially. Thus, I don't believe this to be the proper time to consider the expenditure of anywhere between $6500 and $12,000 just to tear down a water tower that has been standing harmlessly for years.

Instead, I would much rather see this tower contribute to the image of Selma being a railroad town, an "antique Mecca" (hey, I didn't come up with that slogan. It was here years ago), and a "charming place to be". Either that, or if we are indeed going to dispose of the tower, perhaps we could find a better way of getting rid of it than paying someone to tear it down.

Possible ideas are to search for collectors, theme parks (hey, Disney may want to save a few bucks), and scrap metal dealers willing to take the tower. I even joked on the internet about putting it for sale on ebay. We have the time to take for that process. If it is considered expensive to make the phone calls, then I will gladly donate my free long distance phone line for the purpose.

Other ideas are to make this tower available to cell phone companies looking for a tower location, much like the recent Alltel lease the town is entering with said company. An arrangement for painting and maintenance of the tower in exchange for a portion of the first year's rent will go far in enhancing the town's image and remove the eye sore part of the tower's existence.

Perhaps the county would like to have a high rise rescue training facility for emergency personnel practice. All that would be necessary to keep the tower would be to keep it painted.

I don't really care about the nostalgia of the tower. I really don't care if we tear it down instead of keep it. I do care about spending the taxpayers' money on something for which we may not need to spend it. I would much rather see some creative thinking and effort go into use of town resources.

I understand the concept that the town will seem hypocritical for demanding property owners keep their own properties up to code and looking good and the town not doing the same. However, the town has already been making honest efforts thus far, and have been spending resources and money on those efforts.

I live right down the street from the tower behind The Selma Cotton Mill property. I pass by it almost daily, and don't see it as the eye sore that the town apparently does. I see it as opportunity, instead. I can only hope that the town will approach all such items with this sort of thinking in the future.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Press release

Here is the press release.

Monday, July 17, 2006 press release

I am having to get used to this new template. I found out that when published, it does not give the post title or link. So, I am putting it in manually. This press release is going to be on within the next day or two.

New opinion columnist announced for "The Selma News", in Selma North Carolina.

"The Selma News", a weekly newspaper in Selma, North Carolina, has added a new local opinion columnist. Troy LaPlante, a local resident and activist will be providing weekly commentaries.

Selma, NC (PRWEB) July 17, 2006 --

"The Selma News", on the web at, a weekly newspaper in Selma, North Carolina, has added a new local opinion columnist. Troy LaPlante, a local resident and activist will be providing weekly commentaries.

Troy LaPlante is no stranger to writing commentaries, being a long time blogger and internet forum regular. He writes regularly in his blog, and owns the regional web site,

Last fall, LaPlante ran an unsuccesful campaign for a local town council seat. During that time, he stepped up his blogging and internet presence efforts. This led to more interest in local affairs and getting to know many local government officials.

"I have always had a heart for public service," LaPlante says, "and have been involved with my community and the public since I was a young teenager. Within the last year, I have really had it on my heart to get involved in my hometown and community. If not through serving on the town council, I can still have an effect on my community through just plain getting involved."

LaPlante's blogging efforts have gotten the notice of many local officials in the Town of Selma and the surrounding area. Thousands of local visitors as well as national and international visitors have also been regular readers. Regular involvement at town meetings, a county committee, letters to the editor, and consistent commentaries have all contributed to Troy's success so far.

LaPlante's first published regular column entitled "LaPlante's Rants" will appear in the Thursday, July 20th print edition of "The Selma News". Internet publication of the column will appear after print publication on A reader feedback voice mail number and email response address will be available to column readers. Feedback may be published online, as well.

Troy LaPlante is a long time North Carolina resident. He is a member of The Constitution Party of North Carolina. He makes his home in Selma, North Carolina along with his wife, Teresa.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

My first column

My first column has been written, submitted, and I have already gotten feedback from the publisher. It will start in this Thursday's print edition of The Selma News. If for no other reason, you now have a good enough reason to subscribe. ;^) I have been a subscriber for some time, since it is my hometown paper, after all. There are stories and commentaries in the print edition that you will not see in the online edition.