News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2006


Austin graduation in need of change

I realize a lot has been said about the Austin High School graduation. Please let me say this.

The Austin graduation ceremony needs a lot of changes. It was unfair for grandparents — even parents — to be turned away. As for the tickets, it seems they should have been given to parents, brothers or sisters directly, to ensure everyone had a ticket.

My granddaughter graduated and I was one of the many who didn't get in. Her own father and brother were also turned away. Why not have graduation at Ogle Stadium, as was done a few years ago?

I hope there are changes made for next year and the years to come.

Betty Shelton


Ogle is best venue for Austin graduation

In the article regarding Austin's graduation, you state that someone would be opposed to using Ogle Stadium for that event. Is it on the Austin side, or is it on the Decatur side? Whichever side, they need to grow up. Ogle is by far the best venue for Austin to have its graduation.

If it rains, then Calhoun is there as the back up plan, or Austin's gym as a back up plan, with limited seating.

Rick Terry


Gay marriage ban amendment 'silly'

I agree with former Sen. John C. Danforth of Missouri who called the banning of gay marriage through a constitutional amendment "silly." Danforth, a lifelong and seasoned Republican leader, is well qualified in making such a statement, because he knows the real issue behind the amendment: political posturing with religious overtones.

If human behavior is not regulated by the Ten Commandments and other moral teachings from the prophets, an amendment will not improve the situation. Alabama lawmakers neither had the courage to remove racial language from an archaic constitution nor the will to allow citizens to vote for a constitutional convention, yet they were readily prepared to ban gay marriage through an amendment.

In 1998, I recall that the Legislature passed a bill defining marriage, which falls within the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. Two years ago, lawmakers passed a law against same-sex marriage. Now comes an amendment to safeguard the marriage institution (none of the current laws concerning the gay marriage in this state have been challenged in the courts).

Instead of overhauling and even streamlining the existing constitution of unnecessary amendments, lawmakers seem to find pleasure in adding amendment upon amendment. Lawmakers seek no change and the status quo will remain, until the voters change the present order.

Lawmakers use fear in singling out a particular group with sexual orientation that differ with the dominant religion, and they press gays unduly for their self-serving purposes of courting votes on a redundant amendment during this election year. How many laws do we need to protect marriage when the divorce rate among professed Christians equals non-Christians in this conservative state?

Lawakers can make strong laws against common-law couples, apply restrictive measures toward divorce, and punish severely priests or preachers who sexually abuse children. Wouldn't these be better?

Isaiah J. Ashe


Bicycle etiquette on Point Mallard trail

The Point Mallard trail is enjoyed by bikers, runners and walkers, and there is a potential safety hazard developing.

Once while walking, I heard a noise behind me and moved over to my right to allow whomever it was to pass. Unfortunately, it was a biker and he elected to pass on my right. We both ended up in poison ivy at the edge of the trail. He had been going slowly, so no one was hurt.

Lately, a biker flew past me like Lance Armstrong — without any warning. Had I heard him and stepped the wrong way or turned to look at something to my left, we would have collided. Since he was a husky adult, one or both of us could have been injured.

I have heard bikers call out, "On your right!" or "On your left!" when approaching someone from behind, warning them that they intend to pass and on which side. This seems to be a sensible and courteous solution to a potential problem.

It would help if biking clubs and individual bikers would promote this among their friends, and especially to their children.

Judson Hawthorne


Negative campaigning not the Christian way

Recently, I received two political flyers in the mail from the same candidate. One of his flyers purported that his opponent, even though of the same political party, was totally unrighteous. Why do candidates run negative ads?

The other flyer called the candidate the "no-nonsense man" who does not tolerate political games. Well, when you mail out two flyers like the "no-nonsense" candidate did, a game was definitely being played: solitaire in the form of defamation of character.

If you did not get these flyers, you're blessed, because as a Democrat, I was ashamed to see one of my Democratic candidates running negative ads about another. This applies to all political parties. Don't run negative ads. Stand on your own merit; don't attack another person's character. It is not the Christian way to act.

Let me answer my question for you. Candidates run negative ads because their record is not strong enough to support their candidacy.

John Webb


Jail inmates helped make show a success

The Alabama Jubilee Arts and Crafts Show was able to start on time on the morning of May 28 due to the fantastic help given all the artists and crafters by the clean-up crew sent from the City Jail.

In a very hot and humid place, they worked efficiently with a wonderful attitude under the supervision of Point Mallard maintenance. We cannot thank all of you enough.

Johanna Littleton,

Decatur Art Guild president.


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