News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2005


Mayor Kyle wrong about local schools

As a citizen of Decatur, I find Mayor Don Kyle's recent remarks concerning our city schools discouraging and regrettable. As a college faculty member, I find them simply erroneous. I interact academically, regularly, with graduates of our local schools, and I have found them to be more than "ordinary" in their performance. Mayor Kyle should offer the city of Decatur his apology and his resignation.

Dr. Mitchell E. Summerlin


Overgrown lots rampant, eyesores

I just want to comment on the letter that was in THE DAILY on May 11 about the overgrown lot. I agree that there are overgrown lots all over town. As a matter of fact, there is one next to my house that hasn't been mowed this year. This property is mowed only about two or three times a year, if I can get an inspector over here to inspect it. I filed a complaint on April 18 and as of May 12, this property still hasn't been mowed. I agree that some changes need to be made up there

Calvin Baker


Old DU warehouse ideal for eatery

Hooray! Someone has the resources and desire to save the old Decatur Utilities warehouse on First Avenue Northeast. How great to develop a restaurant that could bring revenue to the city and make a most derelict property into something other than an eyesore for Decatur.

The city is not using the property for a convention center, as proposed, so what are the alternatives? As one citizen, I'd enjoy seeing this property improved. It looks like a rat's nest now. Development to draw the public downtown would be a great improvement.

Fair market value would be nice, but if the property remains vacant and the city continues to ignore its upkeep, then what happens to the value of this building and many others in downtown Decatur?

Decatur city, give us all a chance to enjoy a new restaurant and save an old property. Why wait and tear it down and have another shabby vacant lot in the Northeast?

The notion of allowing loft apartments in old buildings: how novel! Many cities are saving their infrastructure by being conservationist with property that exists. Don't wreck it — revive it.

Barbara S. Mullins


All life is by design; God beyond DNA

Regarding the editorial May 9, " 'Intelligent Design' evidence good enough to stand alone." Yes of course it is. All life is certainly by design! The blueprints of all aspects of life from those tiny molecular motors to single cells to ants and to thinking beings are encoded in DNA. What DNA accomplishes invokes wonder and awe, but is DNA God? Of course not! God is far beyond DNA, which we ourselves yet struggle to understand.

Al Aburto

San Diego, Calif.

Hartselle council continues to pass buck

Which entity is making the decisions for the city of Hartselle? Is it our elected council, the Chamber of Commerce, the Hartselle Development Board, or possibly Lassie?

Our council has decided to allow the chamber to form a committee to alter the current sign ordinance. What part of "lazy" does this council not understand? These people were elected to perform many duties for this city. They have done little to advance the economic growth, but have shown they would rather hand the work to someone else than do the work for themselves, or simply not do any work at all.

The chamber is a self-formed, self-appointed, and self-governed group of people. It is a private entity, and its members pay dues. Several people have stated that the chamber is losing members because of its policies. The development board is not sanctioned by the city. Chamber members serve on numerous other committees and boards, such as the development board, which raises questions all over town.

So, the sign ordinance will be overseen basically by a group of people that recently gave a Businessman of the Year award to someone who has never owned, and never run a business, overlooking someone who has been in business since 1965 in Hartselle, and has contributed much to Hartselle, revenue-wise.

Some want to allow only churches and the city to put up banners and signs to promote special interest, but restrict businesses from promoting their business. What hypocrisy! To top it all off, the sign ordinance will be enforced by a non-law-enforcement officer. I think it's about time this council started acting like a governing body, instead of constantly passing the buck. Someone please wake me up when this nightmare is over!

Mike Dowdy


Sportsmen, Cramer try to preserve forest
THE DECATUR DAILY: Alabama sportsmen can be proud of Rep. Robert "Bud" Cramer, D-Huntsville, for helping out the Tongass National Forest.

The Tongass, located in Southeast Alaska, is stunningly beautiful. Its mountains and forested valleys hold more than 5,000 crystal-clear streams. The area is famous for its wildlife and fisheries resources, including the world's densest concentration of brown bear and bald eagles and the spawning grounds for millions of wild salmon.

For decades, the Tongass has been hit with a damaging government program. The U.S. Forest Service targets the region, heavily subsidizing roading and industrial clearcutting of its wilderness. The fiscal losses to the treasury are huge — hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2004 alone, the U.S. taxpayers lost a massive $47 million. Americans lose some of the greatest public wild country and fish and wildlife habitat in the world and, in a double insult, we pick up the tab!

Across the nation, 721 gun clubs and shooting ranges and 328 angling clubs have signed a clear and direct petition statement to the U.S. Forest Service, asking that the wild areas of the Tongass be protected and managed for hunting, fishing and recreational use. Sportsmen want its phenomenal wild areas intact for the next generation.

When more than 1,000 sportsmen's clubs speak up on a public land issue, you know it's time for a change.

Last year, in a great move, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to deny funding for Forest Service industrial roading operations in the Tongass. Fans of the Tongass cheered the vote. Rep. Cramer was helpful. He deserves your thanks.

Unfortunately, the Senate failed to address the issue. But in this year's appropriations bill, we'll get another chance in Congress. Never forget, as an American, you own one of the world's greatest wild areas. It's worth a fight to keep it.

Greg Petrich

Director, Northern Sportsmen Network

Juneau, Alaska

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