News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Disputes councilman's church membership claim

I am writing concerning the "Riley signs liquor bills" article in the July 30 DAILY.

I am writing to set the record straight that Ray Metzger is not a member of the Baptist church, which he refers to in his comments. Also: the Baptist faith, our pastor, our staff and our congregation do not condone the consumption of alcohol in any form or fashion. If Mr. Metzger considers it a sin to raise his hands during praise singing, then he shouldn't be doing it. I consider his comments concerning our church and our congregation totally out of line for a Christian and a city councilman.

District 5 residents should consider this when returning to the polls for City Council elections.

Kathy Dixon


Noise regulations need
to be strictly enforced

Regarding the article about Mr. Hammon silencing train whistles here in District 3: Wish he would do the same with the loud stereos in the cars passing the house night and day. I love music as much as the other person, but I don't try and jam my music down someone else's throat.

The Decatur Police Department needs to write a few tickets to enforce the noise regulations.

Dorothy Johnson


PACT working to keep children safe in Morgan

We at Parents and Children Together were pleased to read your front-page article "Experts to parents: rethink 'stranger' warning" because it confirmed that PACT is ahead of the curve in updating our elementary school programs. Eighteen months ago, we began to rethink our first-grade stranger danger program when we recognized that most incidents of abuse and/or abduction were perpetrated by someone known by the child or to the child's family.

Our research led us to develop a new first-grade safety program, which we call "Tricky People." The program, which was presented in 2004-05 to first graders in public schools in our county, and to private schools upon request, presents eight age-appropriate, non-frightening safety rules. Children learn these rules in songs because research reveals that the part of the brain that is activated in times of fright is also the part of the brain that retains song lyrics. The songs, which are performed on video by children and adults and a big yellow dinosaur called Yellow Dyno, are catchy and upbeat. After the video, which is narrated by Yellow Dyno, our presenters tell the children they brought along a special guest and they bring out a three-foot Yellow Dyno puppet.

We leave a CD containing the songs, along with coloring sheets which review the rules, with each school so that teachers can reinforce these important safety techniques throughout the year.

On day one of PACT's third -grade program, "Better Safe than Sorry," the puppet show we present also dispels the "stranger danger" myth. Day two includes a video on another prevalent problem faced by children: bullying.

We appreciate your front-page coverage of these topics, which are so much a part of what we do year after year to keep the children in our community safe.

Lynn Thrasher, M.Ed.

PACT Assistant Director


Improvements needed
to Alabama 20 hot spot

Regarding speed limit reduction: You had an article on a similar subject a few years ago when your reporter had to show the state police that there was a speed limit sign that tried to slow people down before they reached the gas station cross-overs. It didn't work then (probably no enforcement) and I don't think it will now. And for the same reason: not enough manpower to patrol the area.

There is little change in the character of the road coming from the east. It looks like I-565 continues with the same speed limit of 70 mph. The gas stations are "hidden" by the overpass until nearly too late. (A good way to almost get rear-ended is to slow down as you pass under the overpass — cars behind you suddenly get very close to you.) The road needs some improvements such as added overpasses and more side roads. Those are required already. If any further businesses (or churches) are added to the area, I think further deaths can be predicted.

Tom Van Natta


Store renovation will
help revive downtown

We would like to thank Betty H. Hopkins for her July 31 letter. As the owners of two of the storefronts cited in her letter, we recognize that these buildings need renovation. We are in the process of restoring 324 Second Ave. S.E. to the way it looked in the 1920s. A project of this type represents a significant investment of time and money. Achieving this goal is a team effort by our architect, building contractor, the Building Department and the citizens of Decatur.

Our architect is preparing plans consistent with our goal of preserving the historical character of the building, while at the same time complying with the city's requirements. They need to be submitted to the city for approval. Once these are approved, we can get a building permit to start construction. We hope that all citizens of Decatur will support our efforts by shopping at our stores when they open. We plan to open two retail establishments either this Christmas season or early next year. You are also welcome to visit us on weekends before then to see the progress.

On a recent trip to Michigan, we saw a new shopping center designed to look like an old downtown area. We believe this coming trend will make the Albany and Old Decatur downtown venues return to fashion. People seeking an alternative to shopping malls and super centers should find a unique experience shopping in downtown Decatur. Your patronage is important to a successful revival of the downtown area.

Randall Tardy


Can't figure Evans'
non-judgmental position

Regarding your July 30 religion page and the Rev. James Evans' article in reference to a litmus test on abortion: What does he want? People who are against abortion to just lay down, be quiet and let the murder continue?

I can't figure the Rev. Evans out. He's supposed to be a Christian. A Christian is against murder. A Christian is against sin, and murder is a sin. What would he have us do? Let the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy and the homosexuals in Congress determine the moral tone of the nation?

I'm not of the Baptist faith, but I know that they are not in agreement with him. I thank God that men like James Dobson, who was featured on the religion page also, who have such high convictions and national recognition, are giving their lives to try to bring America back to what the founding fathers intended.

Carlos Cook


Rove didn't break law, but raises lots of money
THE DECATUR DAILY: I feel I must respond to David Lee's disingenuous letter in the July 31 edition.

While he vilifies Karl Rove for releasing Valerie Plame's name, he seems not to understand that in order to have violated the law, Mr. Rove would have had to release the name of a CIA agent who was either currently overseas, or had been in the past five years. Mrs. Plame had not been overseas in nine years and did not fall under this law. To assert Mr. Rove is a "traitor" is a gross insult and misunderstanding of the law. In fact, Mr. Rove himself apparently heard the name from a reporter. Does Mr. Lee hold this reporter to the same "standard" of justice as Mr. Rove?

The Rove controversy is in truth nothing more than Democrats trying to hobble and eviscerate one of the Republican Party's more successful money raisers in a long time. Like him or despise him, Mr. Rove is very good at this, and the Democrats will stop at nothing to punch a hole in the Republican Party's moneybag. If the conditions were reversed, it would not surprise me if the Republicans were equally ruthless. But let no one mistake the phony sanctimony of those who attack Mr. Rove and President Bush over the Plame issue.

Washington, D.C., keeps secrets as effectively as the R.M.S. Titanic was waterproof. Both leaked like sieves. A number of congressmen have deliberately or inadvertently revealed secrets.

To attack Karl Rove as a "traitor" is bombastic hyperbole and unworthy of legitimate consideration.

Our leaders should all do a better job of keeping important national secrets, and stop using phony related issues to throttle the opposing party.

Mark H. Townsend


Newspaper also trying
to shake American will

The column on the right hand side of the Aug. 4 front page states, in part, "These terrorists and insurgents will use brutal tactics because they're trying to shake the will of the American people. They want us to retreat."

The column on the left side reports in lurid terms the death of 14 Marines from an improvised explosive device. It recalls the previous deaths of six other Marines. Nowhere in the article on the front page is reported the progress they were making against the enemy or the number of deaths of the enemy. Are we to believe our guys are dying, theirs aren't, and we have no successes?

Question: Who besides the terrorists and insurgents is trying to shake the will of the American people and have us retreat? Do you have a mirror handy?

Franklin Johnson


Conservation requires participation by everyone

It would appear that the "sky is the limit" now, regarding the price of gasoline, but who's to blame? We are, plain and simple! It's our own fault that we are now paying the highest prices in history for a gallon of gas.

As I wrote before on this same subject, a barrel of crude oil, (44 gallons), produces 19.5 gallons of auto gasoline. The rest goes to many other uses, which are essential in our everyday lives. The demand part of the "supply and demand" aspect of the crude oil industry is only going to get worse. The last refinery built in the United States was in Garyville, La., and it started up in 1976. You can blame the environmentalist wackos for no new refineries.

We have a very good source for oil, but because of their bogus claims regarding the extinction of the caribou in Alaska, we can't touch it. Not one reliable independent study has ever backed up their claim. Imagine that! We can't build refineries or power plants because it might endanger a snail darter, worm or a butterfly.

Another aspect of the problem is the waste factor. Cruising, joy riding, not car pooling, high speed limits, people with "lead feet," improperly maintained vehicles, just to name a few, all add to this problem. Factor in that many of the recyclable things from crude oil are filling up landfills doesn't help one bit, either. We are our own worst enemy!

The people of this country must wake up and realize what's going on, for the light at the end of the tunnel will only get dimmer. We can conserve, reuse, recycle, carpool, slow down, and sit at home if necessary, but everyone must join in and do their part.

Mike Dowdy


It is only fair that
everyone pays taxes

Although this may sound a bit "cold," I feel that any nationality moving into the United States should be taxed. After all, we who were born and raised here have been paying taxes for as long as our Social Security numbers coincide with being old enough to be employed.

What's fair is fair!

Greg Terry


Illegals pay taxes, won't collect Social Security

Contrary to what one of our state legislators recently stated in the July 31 edition, illegal aliens in Alabama do pay taxes. They pay income taxes and sales tax. The employers of illegal aliens working in Alabama deduct federal income tax, Social Security, Medicare and state income taxes from the gross amount earned, and these deductions are figured on the same tax scale as for any other employee in our state. Of course, there is one difference: "Illegals," because they are aliens, do not file an IRS return. This means that even if they might be entitled to a refund they will not/cannot receive one — and will never collect Social Security.

Does state Rep. Micky Hammon really think any Alabama retail store exempts aliens from paying sales tax on their purchases? Furthermore, does he know any employer in our state who would be so foolhardy as not to submit to the government all withholding taxes required by law?

Regarding aliens and our courts: Were the legislator to take a seat in Decatur's Municipal Court any Monday morning as the surnames are called out, he would find only one Hispanic out of approximately 20 who fails to appear. I have personally witnessed two Hispanics each pay $260 fines. The charge: driving without an Alabama license, which they cannot obtain because they are aliens.

Americans might re-think our prejudices toward aliens if we were to consider the words of Leviticus 19:33-34: "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God." The legislator's sentiments are not new in America. Native Americans whose lands were overrun by Europeans felt similar resentment.

Effie H. Lee


Illegal immigration
is like a cancer

Every blue-collar worker should demand that elected officials make participation in the Employment Verification program mandatory instead of voluntary. Ditto for every school official, police officer and city official. Take a good hard look at California's dysfunction to see your future if illegal immigration is allowed to spread like a cancer through your state.

The mayor of Fresno, Calif., said that though immigration is a federal responsibility, "the effects are 100 percent local."

A New Hampshire editorial summed it up nicely: "If so many can get away with breaking the law, why should U.S. citizens be held to respecting various laws on the books?"

Barbara Vickroy

Escondido, Calif.

Force the government
to enforce the law
THE DECATUR DAILY: Eliminating illegal aliens by making them uncomfortable is no answer to the problem. Number one: the do-gooders would fight it and number two: these people are too determined and are already accustomed to social and economic discomforts.

The only way, the proper way, is to deport them. The key word in illegal alien is "illegal." These people are here illegally and are here only because our government leaders refuse to enforce the laws. Business wants cheap labor and they prefer "illegal" aliens because they can use and abuse them with no fear of reprisal. The feds support this.

The answer to the illegal alien problem is, "Force the feds to do their job. Enforce the law." Catch and release of illegal aliens under any and all circumstances is a farce. Separation of illegal families from their children is a cover-up and also a farce. Illegal aliens can easily be identified through government review of all alien records. Pick up all suspects, verify their status and immediately haul all illegal aliens, including all dependent family members, to their homeland and dump them.

If the feds won't do their job, identify the person(s), including their superiors, publicly. This would include George W. himself. If this doesn't work, take them to court. To eliminate the problem of illegal aliens, public officials must be encouraged (forced) to do their job. Force the feds to enforce the laws.

James L. Nix


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