News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


High school coaches
set excellent example

As I was exiting Ogle Stadium after a game recently, I could not help but notice football players, coaches and cheerleaders from both Hartselle and Austin congregated in the middle of the field, united in prayer. Even though the Hartselle-Austin rivalry has been known as a heated one through the years, it is good to know that, when the game is over, everyone can still remain friends.

It is also reassuring to know our coaches have enough class to stand together no matter what the outcome of the game may be. I commend Coach Godsey and Coach Norwood for the great example they show these students.

Jimmy Summerford


City handled Joe Sartain truck bids properly

On Aug. 17, THE DAILY reported that Joe Sartain Ford Inc. had been awarded the city bid on two service trucks. The article accurately reported that Sartain was not the low bidder but was awarded the contract because of a local 3 percent rule that is standard policy in Decatur and all our neighboring municipalities.

The state allows city governments to award bids to local vendors if they are within 3 percent of the low bid. This policy allows funds to remain with local businesses and within the community. Local governments can decide whether or not to allow this policy.

Decatur currently operates with that provision in the bid policy and was operating that way when these particular sealed bids were opened.

Sartain presented its sealed bid not knowing what the other sealed bids were. Nothing improper occurred.

We feel it is important to make sure our community understands that Sartain Ford is a long-time, loyal and committed business to this community. It provides a lot of good jobs, tax revenue and leadership to this community. It participates in many community events and provides support to a number of non-profit organizations.

Elected officials should support local business and be proud and excited each time a local merchant wins a city contract.

Hopefully we can help educate people that local businesses keep our city strong and that they allows us to have outstanding city services.

Sartain Ford is a great example of the many corporate citizens that make Decatur and Morgan County a special place to live.

John Seymour

President and CEO, Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce

Help always appreciated during times of disaster

About 1986 or 1987 I was at work in Madison. My wife, Jan, was also at work. My two boys, aged 15 and 5, were at home when my boss came and told me my house in Decatur was on fire.

I rushed home and all I could see were flashing lights and black smoke. I did not see my sons anywhere. Finally, my neighbor saw me and told me my sons were OK and at his house.

We did not have insurance to cover the loss but we had friends. We spent the night at a friend's house and the next morning, while I was checking the damage, a lady came up and said she was from the Red Cross. She gave us food and clothing vouchers and said she would stay in touch.

We did not realize how many friends we had until they all showed up and started washing walls and tearing out the burned sheet rock. We worked on the house for three months and during this time we lived in a little 15-foot camper in the front yard. The city inspectors were very nice and helpful.

What I am trying to say is how lucky we were. At least we had a house to rebuild. Many people from the hurricane don't have that. Some of them lost everything and I cannot even imagine how these people feel. I am willing to do whatever I can to help these people as much as I can. People who also want to help can contact me at 233-8905.

We are also taking up donations at The Dugout, 1550 Sixth Ave. S.E., Decatur, 350-7390.

Wayne Heflin


Failure to help victims of hurricane a shame

I am writing this letter as a very hurt, ashamed American citizen. As I watch people dying in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, I cannot help but make some observations.

We are the greatest power in the world but we cannot get 50,000 people out of one city.

We control the majority of the world's riches. However, we fail to provide simple life-giving subsistence to the victims of this destruction.

We possess the world's most massive military, yet we cannot move enough National Guardsmen or military personnel to make any difference in the situation.

We boast of having the most humane, forward-thinking leadership on God's earth but we are choosing to let grandmothers and babies die in the arms of those who love them and do nothing.

As you each put your political suits on today, please look in the mirror and try to remember what it means to be a leader of our great country.

This is not America's finest hour and you each have the ability to change that.

Ken Hayes


Decatur Utilities crew did outstanding job

Kudos once again to the Decatur Utilities electrical field crew for very expeditious restoration of power to the Southeast Decatur residents early in the morning on Aug. 30! These people take huge risks in their work and we just want them to know how much we appreciate them.

Bill Thomson


Helpless animals should not have to suffer, either

As THE DAILY aptly reported, The Humane Society of the United States has grave concerns about the welfare of animals in the Southeast affected by Katrina ("Chicken Rescue: Humanitarian Worry," Sept. 4). Since early last week, we have been providing hands-on care and assisting with rescues of hundreds of animals, communicated directly with thousands of displaced residents, deployed nearly 200 individuals to Louisiana and Mississippi, and established a high-volume disaster call-in center, processing thousands of urgent and desperate calls and e-mails.

However, THE DAILY was incorrect in a significant way: The HSUS did not anticipate dispatching teams to gather chickens running loose throughout Alabama. Rather, we offered our assistance to Tony Frazier, Alabama's state veterinarian, to relocate chickens who would otherwise be culled, given the challenges the state faces in the wake of the storms. We recognize that, at best, we could rescue only a tiny fraction of the millions of chickens that have been killed or displaced by Katrina in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and other affected states, yet we do not accept that farm animals should be ignored or left to their own devices in the wake of such a disaster. Each individual — whether chicken, cat, dog or person — deserves much more than to languish without food or water. Ridiculing humanitarian efforts, no matter how small or grand, does great disservice.

Miyun Park

Director, Farm Animal Welfare, The Humane Society of the United States

Liberals obsessed with stacking Supreme Court

With the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, let's see how long the Democrats will stay with disaster relief and the people who are suffering. They will do a complete 360 degree turn and start full force trying to get a liberal on the court or block any Bush nomination and forget all about the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The party of the people will forget all about natural disaster. Well, maybe they will still have a little time to still blame it on President Bush.

Democrats are the minority party still acting like they have a majority. The only way Democrats can get anything passed is through the court system and they know it. They push many things that the majority of Americans find horrible and would never vote for or pass through the court system.

We now have the perfect time to set the court back right, no pun intended, to interpreting the law — not making it. Not the unelected, unchecked, running wild law-making branch the courts have become. Back to it's original purpose as the framers set up as part of the checks and balances process and not the strongest of the three branches.

When the Supreme Court is doing its job well, it will not be in the news every day.

Jarrod Schulte

Town Creek

Gas prices are first
to rise in emergency

Why is our government robbing us at the gas pumps? Is it not bad enough what the people are having to deal with from the hurricane, and now we have to give them 60 cents to $1 more per gallon? Why don't they lower the prices to help the ones who need it? We have all these helpless people scattered all over the states and now, even if they could go back home, they couldn't afford it.

It seems like every time we have a disaster, the first thing they do is jack up the gas prices. I believe they will use any excuse to raise the gas prices, then lower it a few cents and make us feel like it's a good price. We will never see gas back at the price it was two weeks ago, which was too high then.

Janice Heflin


Store clerks often must bear cost of gas theft

Much has been said about the gentleman in Fort Payne who died trying to stop a gasoline theft of $52. Why would he be motivated to try to stop the thief? Simply because he was probably going to have that $52 deducted from his next paycheck. Stopping the thief meant saving his own money, not his employer's. In my lifetime, I have worked for three different stores that sell gas and if someone stole gas, I had to pay for it. It has been that way for a long time. One theft causes a second theft. You can bet that the near-minimum-wage employee can ill afford to fill up a big, gas-guzzling SUV.

Retailers claim they lost $237 million in 2004. Don't believe that total as their gasoline loss. Believe that a good portion of that $237 million was taken right from their employees' paychecks. The employer does have losses from things like shoplifting, but the gasoline drive-off is treated differently in many cases. Those employees are the ones bearing the brunt of the gasoline losses.

If you think you are stealing gas from one of the big oil companies, think again. The rest of the consumers are not the ones paying for your theft. You may very well be stealing from someone who works hard and makes a lot less money than you do. The store's clerk is paying.

Greg Jones


Congress must fully fund veterans' programs

Before Congress took leave for the July 4 break, VA Secretary Jim Nicholson acknowledged that the VA health budget falls $1.5 billion short of meeting veterans' health needs for the current fiscal year.

Before last week's recess, the Senate approved a supplemental funding bill providing the full $1.5 billion. The House approved a separate bill providing only the administration-recommended $975 million. That let every legislator go home for July 4 and claim they'd taken action, but nothing has actually been resolved, and veterans' hospitals won't see a penny until Congress resolves this difference.

This isn't a partisan issue. Senate Republican and Democrat leaders both say they'll accept nothing less than the full $1.5 billion. That's the right answer, and the House needs to agree to do that quickly.

I request they support the full $1.5 billion as acknowledged by Secretary Nicholson and approved by the Senate.

Gene Aittala


Many Americans believe
country worth dying for

Bush bashers and the media have compared the Iraq War to Vietnam. The similarity is that the antiwar protesters want to persuade Americans to join them in surrendering. The media's canonization of Cindy Sheehan encourages the terrorists attacking our military by giving them hope America's will can be weakened.

Casey Sheehan was 24 years old when he re-enlisted in the U.S. Army despite his mother's objections. He volunteered to go on the rescue mission in which he gave his life.

His mother speaks for the far-left anti-war movement when she says, "America is not worth dying for," and the war is being fought "for Israel." Her statements dishonor her son's sacrifice and all who serve.

Now many military families are saying, "Cindy doesn't speak for us." They are proud of the sacrifices made by their sons and daughters and do not want us to abandon their mission in Iraq.

After we pulled out, millions died in Cambodia and Vietnam. Abandoning Iraq would give the Islamic terrorists a victory and embolden them to rebuild training camps and escalate their attacks. Chaos would ensue and millions of Iraqis could die in the aftermath.

The U.S. Army is exceeding its re-enlistment and first-time enlistment goals. Apparently, there are many young Americans who do believe that America is worth dying for and they are willing to risk their lives to give millions of Iraqis a chance to live in democracy and freedom.

All Americans should stand united with our military in the global war on terrorism.

Ed Hyatt


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