News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Proposed Wilson Morgan Park deal a pig in a poke

It didn't take long for someone else to try to "take over" Wilson Morgan Park. We just turned down Target (or at least I hope we did). And another pretty picture in the paper. And promises to build on "potential sites ... near the Beltline." No pretty pictures of the "potential" areas. This is a pig in a poke.

Before Decatur agrees to anything, let us see the land contracted for and paid for. Let us see the final plans. Will they agree to sign legal papers to complete the new softball fields, tennis courts, soccer/football fields, parking (and access roads) etc., before any mall development begins? No excuses for delays of the recreation areas, so they have to go ahead with the mall, like in time for Christmas?

I think they are hoping sales taxes, job creation and property taxes will make Decatur roll over with greed and sign anything. And they will respect us in the morning.

Tom Van Natta


New Decatur mayor, Council disappointing

It has been almost six months since our new mayor and City Council took office and our 9-cent sales tax is still here. I personally feel that nothing will ever be done about it.

We still don't have a civilian police review board in Decatur. I have left messages for Mayor Don Kyle to call me several times. He did return one phone call to me, but he never gave me an answer.

A lot of our streets are still in bad shape and now our new City Council has banned public comments at our City Council meetings. At least our old City Council let us speak for five minutes. Right now, I am very disappointed in our mayor and City Council.

David W. Kelley


Develop shopping center at Morgan fairgrounds

I feel there is nothing to discuss relative to moving Wilson Morgan Park. The Morgan County Fairgrounds constitute an island within the city. Move the fairgrounds to Priceville (still in Morgan County) and put the shopping center where the current fairgrounds are. Build a retainer wall to protect the residents from the transient traffic and the noise. If it can't be seen from the Beltline, so what? Neither can Wal-Mart, but it does a booming business.

There is a street that exits to Spring Avenue on one side of the fairgrounds and on the other, a large street runs beside Home Depot that has three ways to exit to accommodate the traffic. The current Wilson Morgan Park intersection is an accident waiting to happen. The last thing they need there is to increase traffic. To keep the park there and increase the traffic would endanger the safety of the children and the adults who bring their children to the small park that is supposed to be left. That particular intersection does not have the capability to handle the traffic for a shopping center.

As I recall, a liquor license was held up because someone did not do a traffic study. Are we going to make another decision with our heads in the clouds?

The fairgrounds location would bring in more tax revenue than it is now and it would be in a central location. I have never seen anyone so anxious to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

On the surface, it appears that the new mayor and the City Council are no better than the ones we just threw out!

Aaron Potts


Hire the most qualified teacher regardless of race

I would like to respond to an article in the Feb. 13 paper about the low number of black teachers in the Lawrence County school system.

According to Mr. Diggs, our superintendent of education, Mr. Rutherford, and school board chairman Gerry Moses think it's a good idea to put together a six-member committee with the sole purpose of recruiting more non-white teachers to our school system.

Now at this point let's be honest and clear: by non-white they really mean recruiting more black teachers. After all, that's the only way this committee could address the low number of black teachers in our school system, which is what Mr. Diggs says he would like for it to do.

Mr. Diggs states that, of the 345 teachers in the school system, 50 are black. That equals 14.5 percent of our teachers. According to the latest census report, which is the year 2000, blacks make up 13.4 percent of Lawrence County's total population. Based on their population percentage, I would say that blacks are already more than adequately represented in our school system.

Now that we've established that blacks already represent a higher percentage of our teachers than they do in the general population, I would like to make my recommendation to the school board: forget this lopsided, racist, backward way of thinking of recruiting based on race. But, put the same committee together and commission them to recruit applications for the most qualified people in the country.

With that being said, I want to let Mr. Diggs and Mr. Rutherford know I would be honored if they would allow me to serve on their committee.

Ricky Morris


CRIC did not turn down federal acknowledgement

The article "Local tribe turns down federal acknowledgement," dated Feb. 8 in THE DAILY, has some misinformation.

The title "Local tribe turns down federal acknowledgement" is misleading in that the Cherokee River Indian Community has never filed a petition for federal recognition. They have sent a letter of intent to apply. The letter of intent does not mean that you will receive federal recognition; it means that you are saying to the BIA, Department of the Interior, that you might be sending them a petition for recognition. If you research what it takes to become a federally recognized Indian tribe you will see that it is not easy. (Some tribes have been in the process 20 years or longer). Since the CRIC group, to my knowledge, has never petitioned for acknowledgement/recognition, how could they have turned it down?

The information regarding the MOWA Choctaw Tribe is wrong. The MOWA reservation is located on the borders of Mobile and Washington counties, not Monroe. The name of the tribe is an acronym for those counties.

Furthermore, the tax exemption that the MOWA Tribe has is with regard to their Housing Authority. The exemption has nothing to do with them being Indian; they get the same tax exemption as any Housing Authority in the state of Alabama. The exemption is solely based on Alabama law.

There are nine recognized tribal governments in the state of Alabama. You may view them at our website The CRIC is neither state nor federally recognized.

Eloise Josey

Director, Alabama Indian Affairs Commission


Chemstrand's success was result of team effort

I enjoyed THE DAILY's article about Curtis Cole and his Chemstrand days.

Going back a little, my tenure began in 1952, when I transferred from a parent company in Pennsylvania. So, I was one of the start-up crew.

The success of Chemstrand was solidly established and built on local employees and their attitude and dedication — everyone contributed unselfishly — a full day's work for a day's pay. The manner in which they accepted management and a totally new work environment was awe-inspiring.

At the risk of omitting someone's name due to my 85-year-old memory, here are some of the ones who "made the wheels turn" in the beginning: Ed Blackburn, Cecil Quillen, Doug Birdyshaw, Spence Browning, Lloyd Maner, John Coffman, Robert Lovelady, Bill Starkey, Jerry Glaze, J.D. Cross, Cletus Cross, Bill Britnell and Mack McMurtrie. This is not to overlook an excellent management staff headed by Bill Koster, Cole Downing, Harry Anschutz, Bill Spink, Bill Sittason, Jimmy Rowden, Larry Holt, Julian Bibb and many others who accepted and nurtured this Yankee transplant.

Ray Albert


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