News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2005
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Stein Mart a well-kept secret; closing regretted
THE DECATUR DAILY:

We were saddened by the news of the closing of Stein Mart. This store has to be one of the best-kept secrets in Decatur. The staff is friendly and competent and the prices, quality and selections cannot be matched anywhere else in Decatur. Just one example, $35 silk ties marked down to $9.95. Management is correct in one respect: It is worth the trip to Huntsville if there is not a store in Decatur.

Becki Caddell

Decatur

Local skaters shine on, off ice on Georgia trip
THE DECATUR DAILY:

We recently attended an ISI Figure Skating Competition in Georgia where the Point Mallard Ice Complex had 21 skaters competing.

The skaters did themselves, families/friends, the coaches and the PMIC proud. These skaters were exceptional in their skating abilities and their sportsmanship and professionalism were outstanding. Their medals and first place team win showed their skating abilities. Their sportsmanship and professionalism were recognized at and away from the rink. After the first day of competition, the skaters attended a party at the rink. Afterwards, they went to the restaurant where the parents and coaches were going to have dinner and the skaters were going to have dessert. Everyone was there only a short time when the waiter informed the parents that the bills for all the skaters were taken care of. A brief investigation revealed that an off-duty restaurant employee and his girlfriend were enjoying dinner and after talking with the skaters he decided it would be his "pleasure" to pay their bills. He said these were great, well-mannered competitors with positive and professional attitudes and they were truly enjoyable to talk to.

The next day after a long, exciting and competitive day, the motel staff heard about the overall win of the PMIC skaters. The manager was impressed and congratulated each skater as they returned. That evening she allowed the skaters/families the use of a room at no cost so the skaters could celebrate their victory by enjoying pizza and karaoke.

Congratulations ice skaters! Congratulations to coaches Charles, Heidi and Chris! Your professionalism and coaching abilities inspire these skaters to do and be what they are.

Decatur should be very proud that there is a Figure Skating Club at the Point Mallard Ice Complex that competes and represents this area in such a professional manner.

Jeanette Kelsoe

Hartselle

Cutting Medicaid, WIC funds would be unwise
THE DECATUR DAILY:

In reference to the recent articles about Alabama's deficit and possible Medicaid cuts, I urge the Alabama Legislature not to cut Medicaid and the Women, Infants, and Children programs.

First, the people who receive these benefits are some of the most politically helpless people in the state. It is unfair to punish us in order to pay for the bad spending practices of the rich and powerful.

Second, Medicaid brings in federal funds. For every dollar Alabama spends on Medicaid, the federal government matches it with three dollars.

Third, it will be more expensive in the long run to deprive people of their medicines and preventative medical care. Were I to lose my Medicaid, I would have to be institutionalized at North Alabama Regional Hospital. The state would not only pay for my medicine, but it would also pay for trained staff to care for me and my living expenses. It is much cheaper to fund Medicaid and WIC than to "fix" the problems that would arise were they cut.

I ask all Alabamians to contact their legislators and insist that Medicaid and WIC not be cut. People can send e-mail to their legislators from the DAILY website:

www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/community/index.shtml.

Ashley Reynolds

Decatur

Amendment 2 left judges too much wiggle room
THE DECATUR DAILY:

Much has been said in the news media about Amendment 2, both before Nov. 2 and since then, because of this amendment's narrow defeat and the automatic recount that followed.

Three issues were considered in Amendment 2: segregated schools, poll tax, and education or training.

When Gov. Riley submitted this amendment to the Legislature, it only addressed two issues: segregated schools and poll tax. The amendment would have removed words from the Alabama Constitution on these two items.

During consideration by the Alabama Legislature, a third item on "education or training," was added. This was done by proposing to delete the words "but nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at public expense, nor as limiting the authority and duty of the legislature, in furthering or providing for education, to require or impose conditions or procedures deemed necessary to the preservation of peace and order."

Sounds like a good proposal, but removal of the above language from the Alabama Constitution would give an activist federal or state judge just enough wiggle room to impose additional taxes in Alabama. Don't say that couldn't happen. Gene Reese, an activist judge in Alabama, took tax money from the so-called rich counties and gave it to the poor counties a few years ago.

If proponents of these issues are really concerned about the image of Alabama, they will present these three issues to the voters as two separate amendments. The "segregation" and "poll tax" changes will pass overwhelmingly if the "education or training" issue is omitted altogether or is presented as another amendment.

J. Elbert Peters

Huntsville

TVA compensation out of line, must be stopped
THE DECATUR DAILY:

In one of your articles on the Internet you made the following statements:

Alabama will get more than $800,000 dollars from the federal government, as emergency "heating aid" for the poor. The government released the money after lawmakers complained that utilities were cutting off heat for thousands of seniors and low-income families, and that was before the worst of winter!

The money is about one-third of the Department of Health and Human Services fund for the "Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program."

An article in THE DECATUR DAILY showed that the president and CEO of Tennessee Valley Authority received a whopping $1.5 million for one year. This comes to about $29,000 a week, or, on a more down-to-earth scale, $725 an hour, considering a 40-hour work week. Then the federal government has to subsidize the elderly so that they can keep warm in winter and avoid having their power turned off.

Can anyone not see the contrast here? It is time for the federal government to take a closer look at the travesty. Did we not hunt down a dictator who cheated his fellow countrymen out of oil-for-food money?

The criminals in Knoxville are no better than Saddam Hussein by taking such money while the poor and elderly go cold and hungry in order to pay their utility bills. Someone should contact Sen. Bill Frist and Sen. Richard Shelby to put a stop to this action. We have arrested Saddam, and he is in jail, waiting to go to trial. It is time to go to Knoxville.

Aaron Potts

Decatur

Troops in Iraq fighting to keep America free
THE DECATUR DAILY:

"Stand in the boots of a soldier" by Amanda Milligan was one of the best articles I have read in a while. As a former Navy man who was in the Bay of Pigs in Cuba in 1961-62, I feel the American people need to support our service men and women who are serving in Iraq. They are fighting to keep America free.

We need to be praying for them, not putting them down every time something comes over the news. Had we rather have the fighting here in America or over in Iraq?

Sam Cowart

Somerville

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