News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, MAY 7, 2006


Price of silent trains too high

On July 7, 1999, I lost my 15-year-old daughter, Cassandra Nicole Blevins (Casey), in a car-train collision. I lost my child and another mother lost her daughter who was driving the car that night. The only reason those two beautiful girls died was because they did not see or hear the train coming towards them.

I guess I may be biased in my opinion of railroads. To silence a vehicle that can crumple a car like a soda can and that is involved in a collision every 90 minutes on average? I know what a train you don't see or hear will take from you.

I was born and raised on Wilson Street, right next to the overpass, until I was 15 years old. And I don't ever remember sleeping bad or being awakened through the night. If you live close to a railroad track, you get used to the noise.

As to complaints from visitors to the Country Inn & Suites: First, did the contractors not know that there was a railroad track there when they built the Inn? The trains have been running those tracks for more than 173 years. And has anyone ever gone on a trip and stayed in a motel and actually gotten a good night's sleep? Why didn't they soundproof the walls? Too expensive?

I sincerely hope that the party Tami Riest has planned at the Inn to celebrate her victory is not followed by a funeral for a victim of a train collision. Trains have to be seen and heard in order to save lives. Crossing gates with lights and horns blaring — that's what will save lives.

Kathy Blevins Beard


Rice deserves success, recognition

I wanted to send a note thanking you for including the well written, positive article concerning Derica Rice in Monday's issue. I went to elementary school with Derica at Somerville Road Elementary in the mid-'70's and he made an impression that I will never forget.

He was very intelligent, always made great grades but most of all, even as a 10-year-old child, he was one of the most polite, well-mannered and friendly people I have ever met. He was a friend to everyone and was always courteous and kind.

I never really saw him again after elementary school, but it is no surprise to me that he has achieved the level of success that he has. People with his integrity and values, no matter what race or color they might be, are the kind of people I and many others like to see become successful.

They work hard and deserve to be rewarded for always putting forth their best effort while maintaining the highest level of respect from, and to, others. It's a shame there aren't more children these days who have a desire and drive to overcome their circumstances and achieve a successful and fulfilling life like Derica has. He has my utmost respect and admiration.

Cindy Vinson


Delphi employees contribute to communities

It was nice to see the article "Union OKs strike" in your newspaper. I work for Delphi in Rochester, N.Y., and we, too, are in the process of taking our strike vote.

Too often, we see the local newspapers support or only reflect the position of the corporation. They paint a terrible picture of unions in this country using corporate-owned newspapers to do so.

How refreshing for THE DECATUR DAILY to actually mention the millions of dollars we contribute to the economy we live in. We also donate millions of dollars to charitable organizations in our communities such as the United Way, March of Dimes, Easter Seals and our veterans, among many others.

We have struggled and fought for decades for such things as increasing the minimum wage, the 40-hour work week, ergonomic standards, and OSHA. We are not lazy and overpaid; we pay the highest taxes, which help the poorest people. We work and lobby for the good of all and we are proud Americans who care about keeping good-paying jobs in this country.

Today, I, too, voted to strike. We hope it does not come to that. We hope the judge will make Delphi go back to the table and bargain in good faith. But if that does not happen, I am willing to stand up and fight.

Heidi Mueller

Rochester, N.Y

Horses need proper feed, care

Re: the starving horses article. I was sent a link to this story and am surprised that the authorities have allowed this starvation to continue for so long. These horses should have been removed months ago, as the owners obviously have no clue as to what constitutes proper feed and care.

I am a horse owner; I also take in rescue horses and the one pictured in your newspaper article would clearly fall into the "rescue" category. The horse pictured is clearly underweight and malnourished. Hooray for those who step up and get involved when they see something so obviously wrong.

Cindy McNatt

LaGrange, Ga.

Bible commands kindness to animals

Perhaps it would be useful to realize that our primary function, as humans, is caring for the Earth and its creatures. If you don't believe this letter, then turn to your Bible to Genesis, chapter 1. While the actual wording is "dominion," it also means that animals are in our control.

These creatures are created by the same one who created us. An unkind action against one of these is an act of disrespect to the creator.

Armando de Quesada


Calhoun center benefitted children

They say that all growth comes with a price, but it is unfortunate that the growth at Calhoun comes with the price of closing the Child Development Center/Learning Laboratory.

I am disappointed that Dr. Marilyn Beck, who seems to have such vision regarding opportunities at Calhoun, lacks the vision or desire to continue this program. She states that she has no plan for our building but that the center just wasn't bringing in enough money. I wasn't aware that a learning laboratory was about the money. This program assisted students and faculty by providing a high-quality educational opportunity for their children while at the same time providing early-education students a place to student-teach. It is too bad that Dr. Beck only visited our school once in the last few years. Maybe she could have made a more informed decision.

We have been a part of the CDCLL since our oldest son attended preschool there seven years ago. All four of our oldest children have been students there, with the three oldest attending the Decatur City magnet schools and the fourth entering kindergarten this fall. They received strong foundations on which to build their educations. We are forever indebted to the teachers and staff there for the love and attention they have given our children. I'm saddened that our youngest daughter will not be able to attend preschool at Calhoun. I'm even more saddened that Dr. Beck passed up an excellent opportunity to really focus on the future of Calhoun by giving up on the center instead of looking for ways to improve upon it.

Thank you again to all the teachers and staff who have given so much of their time and talents to our children.

Amy Hull


Daikin Park needs attention

I stopped by the Daikin Park on May 8. I had not been by there since it was landscaped some years ago. Daikin made a $50,000 donation to erect the park.

The park needs repair, lacks color and needs to be weeded. Some of the wooden slats that protect the lights in the concrete fixtures are broken. The water fountain is beautiful but it would be enhanced by colored plants that would bloom in the shade. Many of the homes that surround the park have beautiful flowers and landscaping.

If the park was cared for and enhanced with color, this area of town would be a tribute to the wonderful donation given to the city of Decatur by Daikin.

Rita M. Vernetti


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