News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Dentist was right to blow whistle

Regarding your article on the dilemma of the local dentist's exposure of the way funds are distributed into the Boy Scout's association, I feel the dentist is right on his assumption that padded memberships have been ongoing for many months.

He should be in the know — he's been active for 25-plus years, and in that position you see things that are done right and done wrong. My hat is off to him for trying to look out for the younger generation's best interests, and the interests of the Boy Scout association.

It is pretty sad when dollars mean more than the value of our younger folks. It is also sad when people in charge take advantage of the situation, and it appears that numbers were inflated, or there was a heck of a drop in the scouting units.

Why was the dentist not dismissed four or five years ago, rather than wait until he asked for the audit on the unit numbers, four or five years later? He did the right thing, in my opinion.

Herb Tapscott


Developer failed to keep promises

When English Village was developed, we were told a walking trail would be part of it and the land between English Village and Cedar Lake Road would be cleaned up. There is no walking trail and the weeds are thick. I have called the Beautification Department, but nothing has been done as of this date. This doesn't say much for the developer, nor does it for the city of Decatur.

Dorothy Johnson


School board needs new priorities

On May 6 in Hartselle, our school board concluded that there wasn't enough time to renovate the lunchrooms at our schools this summer. Ronnie Abercrombie tried unsuccessfully to get the board to set up a time for a "work session" to prioritize the other items that need attention during this summer break. Andy Dukes, Jeff Gray and Greg Cain proclaimed that their calendars were full for the rest of the month, therefore seriously delaying any improvements.

I have been contacted by some faculty members about the issue of graduation practices in Hartselle. Seniors who don't have the required credits participating in graduation ceremonies doesn't make sense to me or to some faculty members. This is absolutely absurd. Graduation is a privilege, not a right. You have to earn it, not have it given to you. If I were a senior who met my credit requirements, I would be insulted by this practice.

Next item: It appears that we have a new dress code for our school board meetings. The usual suit and tie ensemble for the men isn't appropriate anymore. Tennis shoes, no socks, sweat pants and T-shirt is now the preferred attire for Jeff Gray. Also, it seems that a ball game has more influence than school business.

This board needs to prioritize the other items of needed repairs, whether it takes 15 minutes or four hours. Time is wasting. They need to address this graduation practice that, from what I have been told, our former superintendent, Lee Hartsell, deemed appropriate. It's time for them to be more responsible. Remember: It's "for the children."

Mike Dowdy


Drug dealing source of problems

I applaud Decatur Police Chief Joel Gilliam in his goal to get tough on gangs, but I believe he is missing the point on a couple of issues. I am all for sending illegal immigrants who commit crimes back to where they came from. I do not want my tax dollars convicting them, defending them or incarcerating them.

That said, gangs are not just a group of youths who do drugs, vandalize, steal, and mark their turf. A gang is a cult. They brainwash the members. They have a bible they live by, with detailed philosophies. To the average person, their ideologies are bizarre, but they take the rules seriously.

I personally have seen one gang "bible" and have seen how they talk about King David. It was written as if it were in another language. And they also have certain rituals they must follow to get in and to rise in rank. The average citizen would be amazed. I was.

The gangs are indoctrinating our children, be they black, white or Hispanic. The gangs want our lost children (those who are desperately looking for an unconditional sense of belonging). We cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. These are children who are desperately crying out for help. Many of these children lead double lives and some of these gang members are very young.

While we must find a way to keep our children safe from these evils we must also realize that drug use is the real problem. We must stop the dealers! And I believe that the old man pushing pills to our children is as big a problem to our society as the gangs, who are much more visible. He has one thing the gangs don't: the respect of the community.

D. Busing


Point Mallard pass rates too high

I recently went to Point Mallard's Web site to check this year's rates. I knew, after reading the story in THE DAILY, that the city had, once again, raised the rates, but couldn't remember the exact figures.

I was interested in the rate for a season pass to the aquatic center. After having just received an e-mail at work notifying the employees of a discount rate for VisionLand, I was somewhat shocked to see the Point Mallard rate: $65. VisionLand's rate: $69!

I began thinking about the rate and the break-even point for my two sons and me. At $10 and $12 for admission, we'd each have to go to Point Mallard at least one day each week of the summer to break even. Being a non-custodial dad, there wasn't much chance of that happening, given the visitation, baseball, soccer and work schedules!

I began comparing the two parks. Point Mallard Aquatic Center: two pools, a kiddie pool and some mild water slides.

VisionLand: pools (yes, they also have a wave pool and you don't have to pay extra for the inner tubes!), water slides (from mild to wild!), a lazy river-type inner tube ride, a wet play area for kids and another for bigger kids, and a dry park with roller coasters, swings, planes, bumper cars, raft ride, swinging pirate ship, carousel, scrambler, a midway, and more. Compared to the VisionLand rate and features, the Point Mallard rate should be in the $29 range!

With the rates being what they are ($10 for children, $12 for adults, and $65 for a season pass) and not having any more to offer, Point Mallard will never be the tourist attraction the city keeps betting on, especially when the South has three larger and nicer water parks within a two- to four-hour drive from here at comparable rates for a season pass.

Erwin Clements


Carter wrong on Guantanamo

In the DECATUR DAILY, former President Carter said that Guantanamo should be closed. Isn't this the same president who, according to reports, revealed the names of Russians who were spying for the United States, assuring their immediate execution?

During this period, the U.S. news, I believe, revealed that the CIA was so effective, it had actually hidden microphones in the limousine belonging to the Russian leader. Yet, Carter is always ready to give instruction, though he has no idea — or maybe does not care — what the military has to deal with.

Didn't he learn anything from the imprisonment of our own people in Iran during his watch? These are the same types of people, although a lot more ruthless.

Carlos L. Cook


Law should require safety seats

Alabama law needs to be changed. In Michigan, all infants and young children ride in the back seat in an approved safety booster seat. The infant in the story (June 10) would have been killed even if the car had an air bag.

Alabama was one of the first states requiring headlights to be on whenever windshield wipers were on. Why can't laws be passed to protect the safety of young children?

Wilford Marbut

Benton Harbor, Mich.

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