News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Decatur attractions, parks underappreciated

Point Mallard is a jewel. After 30 years, it is still in wonderful condition and a great place for family fun. My family camped at the campground for 10 days this summer. We swam at the park, played tennis, rode the bike trails and ice-skated. I only wish I had golf clubs.

We enjoyed all of Decatur during those 10 days and actually spent quite a bit of cash. We spent time at Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, took the Civil War Walking Tour, toured Cooks Science Museum, enjoyed "Old Decatur" and played in several of your wonderful parks. My family can't wait to visit again.

I see a city that puts its money where its people are. People of Decatur should let their voices be heard against privatizing Point Mallard. Yes, it is often in the red, but it is money well spent on the taxpayers and their families. Chances are, if it is privatized, a company will move in, run it into the ground and then leave it. You know the old saying, "You never know what you've got until it's gone." It will be a mistake if you lose Point Mallard.

While I was in Decatur, I was also told to go antiquing in Hartselle. It was lovely. However, why not Decatur? If anything, city officials should put more money into the parks, into revitalizing the downtown district and tourism.

Decatur is a diamond in the rough that needs a little polish, not new discount stores.

Catherine Rhodes Nalan

Bartlett, Tenn.

Update local emergency response plan now

In the wake of Katrina and now Rita, it is time to focus on home. How well are we prepared to handle evacuations and provide for the citizens of Decatur and Morgan County in a catastrophic event?

It is no secret that there is a serious lack of coordination between city and county governments. My own experience with a coordinated effort of local government, albeit limited, proved city officials at least entertained ideas for improvement. The commission, on the other hand, proved to be inaccessible, uncooperative and, at times, downright unapproachable.

It is also no secret that our emergency response center is located in the basement of the courthouse, which is built on top of an underground spring. If the courthouse loses power, the basement floods. Water and electronics, communication devices and other emergency monitoring equipment, including people, may not work so well in a basement filling with water. Obviously, generators aside, this is unacceptable.

I know there are several city officials interested in upgrading our emergency response plan and resources. We will need the full cooperation from the county. Historically, overcoming the present lack of coordination may be the greatest challenge we face as a community.

If we have learned anything about disaster planning from watching other cities it is this: We need ordinary people in our communities to look out for others who may be overlooked. We need a workable plan, and it needs to be tested and upgraded frequently. Share it with the community to lessen chaos.

We need total cooperation between our local, state, and federal agencies and we need to plan our communities using good judgment. We need to encourage our public officials to work cohesively on all levels and call for a joint effort in restructuring a potentially crippled emergency response system.

Maureen Redler


Kyle, councilmen broke promise on tax

I am writing about our mayor and City Council. Shame on Mayor Don Kyle and the City Council members. They all made vows to remove our nine-cent sales tax that was voted on Sept. 12, 2001, in a secret meeting. In our last city election they promised voters that they would remove the one-cent sales tax, but not even one member has made an effort. I guess they're feeling real good about this now. We still have two council members who, on Sept. 11, 2001, drove a stake right into Decatur's heart and killed our economy.

Billy Jackson and Ronny Russell both voted for this nine-cent sales tax without any public input and now council President Jackson has put a gag order on the public speaking at a regular city council meeting. At least with our last City Council, the public had a voice to speak up for Decatur. Now they don't. It's too bad Alabama doesn't have a recall vote. I am very disappointed with Mayor Kyle and our city councilmen.

David W. Kelley


Bankruptcy law will
be bad for consumers

The average man and woman on the street probably do not know of the Bankruptcy Reform Act. This was passed by our conservative-controlled Congress and signed into law by "W." This law will take effect Oct. 17. The legislation was a direct result of a full-court press placed on Congress by credit card companies.

Why would the credit card companies be so concerned about bankruptcy? Because, under the current law, a person filing Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy may elect not to repay an unsecured debt, which most credit card transactions are. A change to protect the repayment of an unsecured debt was not bad.

A hush-hush, 2003 "guideline" issued by the U. S. Treasury Department, instructing the charge card companies to increase the minimum monthly payment requirements from the old 2 percent to 4 percent, could possibly create an economic disaster. These changes will double some cardholder's monthly payments. Therefore, if you are having problems making ends meet now, you'll really be in trouble when your credit card company doubles your payments.

Many cardholders will be forced into bankruptcy. Under the new bankruptcy law, the cardholder cannot escape the credit card debt and may actually see his or her monthly payments under the bankruptcy plan increase over direct payments to creditors. How can you pay even higher monthly payments?

What action can you take after realizing Chapter 13 will not work? Chapter 7!

Chapter 7 could force you to give up your cars, home and many of your personal possessions.

One local attorney likens The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 to "Debtor's Prison" without walls!

If the Bankruptcy Reform Act fails, the shock to America's economy could equal the Depression of 1929.

Bill Webb


God, Jesus and Paul all condemned immorality

James Evans' column regarding the correlation between New Orleans and Sodom was disturbing. Mr. Evans appears to imply that Jesus was not instrumental in authoring the entire Bible when he states that "Jesus doesn't say anything about homosexual practices at all." Huh? Did he suppose that Jesus received counseling to overcome his command in Leviticus that "if a man lies with a male as those who lie with a woman ... they shall surely be put to death"? Perhaps he is saying that Jesus of the New Testament is somehow different from God Almighty of the Old Testament.

Additionally, Evans slandered the Apostle Paul by saying that Paul "concludes in the next chapter that those who condemn such practices are really guilty of the same thing." Romans 2:1b actually states "for you who judge practice (do) the same thing." The people Paul referred to were hypocrites because they were judging others while practicing the same exact sin themselves. Condemning immoral behavior is the cornerstone of drawing people to repentance and then to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Oddly enough, I agree with Evans' somewhat minor point that New Orleans was no more worthy of being "wiped out" than many, many other spots on planet Earth. I pray that Christians would turn away from blaming (or crediting) God with natural disasters and tend to more important matters like learning the Word of God.

Lynn Thompson


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