News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, APRIL 10, 2005


Satellite radio alternative to 'the same old songs'


I am writing about an article that was in THE DAILY a few weeks ago about satellite radio.

I totally disagree with Alvin Abercrombie, who owns 105.7 FM in Hartselle. I think satellite radio has a bright future. It's new now, but could catch on if it's done right. Right now, satellite radio has no commercials, you get a lot more variety of music, plus you get to hear most of your favorite local artists and indie labels, which you don't hear on mainstream radio anymore. Radio listenership is at an all-time low now. I hear people tell me that they won't listen to radio stations anymore because they're boring. All they play are the same old songs over and over.

I have a lot of respect for Mr. Abercrombie but he needs to just listen to his own radio station and the other stations, then I think he would see what the problem is in radio and see why people aren't listening to the radio.

I do feel like mainstream radio needs to listen to what the listeners want or they could wake up and find out that they have no listeners at all or dead air, which can destroy a radio station. I also think that Internet radio stations could catch on and all satellite radio needs to do is come down some on its monthly rates and that would attract more customers.

David W. Kelley


Proposed child custody law change not needed


Thank you, DECATUR DAILY and M.J. Ellington, for your article "Dueling child custody bills" in the April 3 edition. Alabama's divorced citizens need accurate and in-depth reporting of legislative actions that affect our families.

The Alabama Parent/Child Relationship Protection Act, the law that SB239 seeks to change, is a well-structured statute that leads all of Alabama's judges through the same criteria for assessing the movement of children. The APCRPA assures that both parents notify each other of planned changes in residence and allows for a review by the court when agreement on movement of children cannot be reached. This law now covers every divorce that involves minor children. SB239 will remove this retroactivity and change the law to cover only divorces after May 23, 2003, when the bill was signed by Gov. Bob Riley.

SB239 will also lower the standard for allowable child relocation from defined, rebuttable reasons to the "good faith" test. "Good faith" is not defined and can cover any reason for a move including such things as "I just want to get away and start fresh" or "I think I can have a better life if we move to so-and-so." The APCRPA now assures that the custodial parent must give a viable explanation for relocation and structure an access plan involving anyone who has court-ordered visitation with the children. The law also provides measures to prevent a non-involved parent from stopping a move of the children and protection from abuse for both parent and child.

The Alabama Family Rights Association, a 501-c-3 charity working towards change in divorce involving children, was instrumental in writing and passing the APCRPA. We feel there is no need to change the law in the manner that SB239 will. Change may be needed and, if so, should be done with intent to strengthen the parent/child bond, not lessen it.

The APCRPA, SB239 with the changes proposed and HB650 (the proposed change to the Joint Custody Statute) can be seen by logging on to Information on ALFRA and issues involving divorce and custody can also be obtained by calling (800) 992-1190.

Tim Smith

ALFRA member


Burn program designed to restore Bankhead


The April 4 editorial indicates the U.S. Forest Service is embarking on a burn program that could be detrimental to forests and warns this could come to the Bankhead National Forest. You should be aware that fire is a part of certain ecosystems and these forest communities are present in the Bankhead and are a major part of the Bankhead Health and Restoration Project. The USFS has worked with a local citizens' liaison panel for more than seven years developing and now implementing the restoration project, which calls for controlled burning in the Bankhead. In the long term, there will be more than 30,000 acres of fire-dependent woodlands in the Bankhead. The USFS developed an Environmental Impact Statement for the project that has been reviewed and accepted by the community, environmentalists and their lawyers. This plan was thought out and long-term impacts were considered.

Last year, the USFS control-burned 10,000 acres and this year will burn about 12,000 acres in the Bankhead. A great majority of these fires are part of the restoration program to restore fire-dependent forest communities that suffer when fire is suppressed. THE DECATUR DAILY's recent article, "New life coming to the Bankhead," explained the restoration project and benefits of burning on fire-dependent communities. Each National Forest in Alabama has a restoration project that is converting unnatural pine plantations to natural forest communities. All the forests are restoring part of their land to long leaf pine woodlands, which were once common from the Bankhead south in Alabama. More than 90 percent of these original forests have been destroyed or damaged by man and the suppression of fire. What is happening in a National Forest in Kentucky is not necessarily related to what is happening in Alabama.

Vince Meleski

Program Director, Wild South


City schools' music festival a success


Congratulations to the music educators and music students in the Decatur City School system for the outstanding music festival held on March 31. As a product of Decatur City Schools, it was an honor to be asked to conduct the High School Honor Band made up of students from Austin and Decatur.

These talented students came together for a few hours of rehearsal and presented a wonderful concert. All students involved have been well taught and represented their parents and schools in a superior way.

The elementary school, middle school and high school honor choirs brought back wonderful memories of my musical experiences at Austinville, Brookhaven, and Austin. Of course, the middle school and high school honor bands reminded me of my band classes at Brookhaven and Austin. Those experiences led me into a lifetime of serving music education as a band director.

The people of Decatur must not take for granted the wonderful school system and dedicated teachers who have consistently provided the best education possible for the young people of this city.

Congratulations to the students, parents, teachers, and administrators for placing value on all aspects of students' education. I am proud to say that I am a product of Decatur City Schools.

Becky Rodgers

President, Alabama Music Educators Association

Fort Payne

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