News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2005


Woman who lost son advises on cell phones

I am the mother of the young man who lost his life on March 5. My son was the best son a mother could ever have. He loved me unconditionally and I him.

This is for every parent out there whose child has a cell phone in the car with him. Get them out. It only took a second for my son to look off the road and text message someone and he lost control of his truck. One second and look what he left behind: a wife who is pregnant with their second child, a three-year-old who thought his daddy walked on water, and family and friends who can't understand why this happened.

Please let that phone ring or pull to the side of the road. Remember, it only took a second for my son to be gone.

Marie Lindsey


Scouts, others help clean up community

I want to thank the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from the Arrowhead District of Morgan, Lawrence and Limestone counties, Angela Padden and the other volunteers for their continued dedication to improving our community by participating in litter removal.

The Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts have made a significant impact on cleaning up our city and these young people are setting an example for all the citizens of Decatur. They are also learning the importance of not littering and the effect it has on our environment.

Thousands of pounds of trash are tossed on the roadsides each year, negatively affecting the appearance of our city and creating health hazards. Litter also has a significant environmental and economic impact.

If anyone is interested in organizing a group clean-up effort, please call the City Beautification Department at 341-4777. We can advise groups on the areas that need the most attention, arrange pick-up of filled trash bags and provide you with clean-up and safety tips.

Linda Eubanks

Beautification Coordinator, city of Decatur


Austinville residents deserve consideration

In the Feb. 27 DECATUR DAILY, Council President Billy Jackson was quoted as saying community response would not be a factor in his decision-making regarding the fate of Wilson Morgan Park. I can't recall a more clear "your opinion doesn't matter — we'll do what we want" statement from a Council. How very discouraging.

My beloved Wilson Morgan is going away, and it is going away because this City Council doesn't believe homeowners in $60-80,000 homes have the same rights to live in true communities as homeowners in Point Mallard. Why is our voice "not a factor" for the Council when Point Mallard voices are not only heard, but also heeded?

The park is going away because the Chamber and THE DAILY both stand to greatly benefit at my expense and the expense of my neighbors. Why does no one use language like "we have to consider what's good for the whole city" when it comes to Point Mallard? My neighbors have already sacrificed — look at the increases in traffic and decreases in home values already caused by Wal-Mart. Why must we take it on the chin again?

I was so encouraged by Mr. Kyle's decision to tell Target to look elsewhere, and further encouraged when the city took Point Mallard residents seriously when they protested the loss of their park to commercialization. But it appears residents of Austinville are unworthy of the same consideration as residents in better neighborhoods with more expensive houses.

I've always believed if you wanted someone to sacrifice something it was at least polite to ask them to do so. When it comes to neighborhoods that aren't in the privileged part of the city, "public input" seems to be just a bothersome step to go through before announcing a decision that has clearly already been made.

Susan E. Szczepanski


Riley, AEA should put students' interest first

What would benefit public school students the most? You'd think, amidst all the political bickering going on between Paul Hubbert and Gov. Bob Riley, that would be the central question. But it isn't.

The governor, in an otherwise student-friendly budget proposal, is determined to siphon about $70 million from the Education Trust Fund to bail out the ailing General Fund. Hubbert, in typical AEA fashion, wants to take every available dollar — including that $64 million — for a hefty 7 percent employee pay raise.

While they duke it out in a flurry of radio ads, newsletters, hyperbole and rhetoric, we can't forget that tangibly improving students' education should be the top priority for the money. Thus, Alabama school boards are urging lawmakers to consider another option: Give education employees the 4 percent raise Riley has proposed and use the $64 million to add four extra days to the students' school year. This "Raise Plus Days" plan would benefit both students and teachers, since lengthening Alabama's unusually short school year would give students more learning time and raise teachers' pay.

Only six states have fewer instructional days than Alabama. On average, we shortchange students five instructional days a year — 65 days over the course of their K-12 career. If we're going to require them to perform at nationally competitive levels, we owe them at least as much instructional time as their peers.

Like our teachers, students have suffered during the lean years. Many of this year's graduating seniors have spent their high school years watching course options fall by the wayside. They have seen advance placement courses curtailed, tutoring programs dropped and fine arts phased out.

As lawmakers mull various plans to raise teachers' salaries, it is imperative that students be a priority, too. With "Raise Plus Days," they will be.

Sandra Sims-deGraffenried

Executive Director

Alabama Association of School Boards


Posting original Ten Commandments OK

I am replying to Mr. Evans' thoughtful column "10 reasons to not post Big Ten."

I have no objection to posting the Ten Commandments at a courthouse provided that it's the original Ten Commandments. The first commandment reads: "I am YHWH (pronounced Yahweh) your God." It doesn't say I am Jesus your god. It doesn't say I am the Trinity. It says only YHWH is God. The other commandment "Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy" misses the original intent if the remainder is not included; "Six days you shall labor and do all your work: but the seventh day is a sabbath to YHWH your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, or your manservant, or your maidservant, or your ox, or your ass, or the sojourner who is within your gates. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt."

Apparently, Pharaoh made them work seven days a week. The sabbath day commandment is therefore a "labor law." Arguments about Sunday versus Saturday are irrelevant. Besides, how are your ox and ass, who can't read calenders, supposed to know what day of the week it is?

I'm all for posting the Ten Commandments as long as it's word for word as found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. They should also have the original Hebrew alongside the English. That way if some archaeologist digs up the courthouse in a thousand years they can say these people translated the Ten Commandments in an accurate manner.

Randy Vizyak

Mukwonago, Wis.

Bush's budget features cuts, increases debt
THE DECATUR DAILY: The people of Alabama should feel proud! President Bush is going to reward us for voting for him in the 2004 election.

In his 2006 budget, Bush "rewards" us by cutting the COPS program, which has put 1,878 officers on Alabama streets, by 96 percent. In health care, Alabama's Medicaid budget is being cut $644 million. Bush underfunds his own No Child Left Behind Act by $13.1 billion in his budget. In Alabama, that means a shortfall of $183 million, leaving behind 44,250 Alabama children.

Also, Bush promised to fund Pell Grants in his State of the Union address, but his budget is $6.6 billion short. That's $141.1 million less than what's needed in Alabama, a real burden for the 97,048 students in Alabama who receive the grants.

Here are a few more "reward" cuts Alabama is getting for being so supportive of Bush: $19.6 million from Alabama job training programs in his 2006 budget; cuts in Alabama clean-water programs by $4.3 million; and Bush's irresponsible budget is a record $427 billion in the red, increasing each Alabama family's share of the federal debt by $37,224.

Wow! These are some great rewards Mr. Bush is giving us.

Dakota Nichols

Town Creek

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