News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, JUNE 25, 2006


How will DU justify rates now?

Since Decatur Utilities cited the closing of the Cargill Decatur facility as a prime factor in our recent whopping utility bill increase, I'm holding my breath until they cite the reopening of the Cargill plant as a prime factor in a whopping rate decrease.

Hurry, I'm turning blue.

Ricky Thomason


Decatur Citizens Police Academy
starts Sept. 5

I read Sallee Chandler's letter "Kindness of strangers appreciated" with interest. May I take a moment to fill in some pertinent information?

The Decatur Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, also known as the Decatur Police Volunteers, assisted the Decatur Police Department in parking and traffic control at the Daikin Festival.

The lady identified as Linda was a volunteer. She is, indeed, a caring person. In addition to working at the Daikin Festival that Friday, she also worked at the Alabama Jubilee on Saturday and Sunday. The reason she was wearing a reflective vest marked "Traffic Control" instead of "Police" is that we are not police officers. We have only as much authority as the officer in charge gives us.

So, not being one to miss an opportunity for publicity for one of the least well-known organizations in Decatur, the next Citizens Police Academy begins Sept. 5. If you think you may be interested in becoming a volunteer, or if you want to learn a little about the Police Department, you should consider attending this class. The class is free, and it's open to residents of Decatur and the surrounding towns. Please call 340-7441 or 301-3139 for more information.

The Hartselle Police Department is working to establish a Citizens Police Academy beginning this fall. Call the Hartselle Police Department for more information.

Thomas Barry

President, DCPAAA


City should be proud of planned animal shelter

The Animal Friends Humane Society expresses our appreciation and gratitude to Decatur City Councilmen Ronny Russell, Billy Jackson and David Bolding for their support of and vote for the new animal shelter on Beltline Road. We would also like to thank Dr. Michael Newman and Dr. Steve Osborne for their unwavering support of those who have no voice and are at our mercy — the animals of our community.

More than 100 years ago, President Lincoln said, "I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being."

And so it should be for our whole community. Animal overpopulation, sick and homeless animals wandering our neighborhoods and abuse and neglect of helpless animals affect every one of us in Decatur, pet owner or not. Some 75 percent of child and wife abusers began by abusing animals. In building a new animal shelter on the Beltline, Decatur is recognizing its responsibility to its animals. In this highly visible location, adoptions will increase at least 50 percent. This attractive, family-oriented facility, with a strong emphasis on educating the public in responsible pet ownership, especially spaying and neutering, will help to greatly reduce Decatur's euthanasia rate, which is currently 62 percent. This is well above the national average.

As people from other parts of the country are able to see the way Decatur shelters its animals in this new facility on the Beltline, that sight alone will convey a compassion and humanity words could never express. And who would not want to raise their families in such a place?

As President Lincoln was a visionary for his time, so are the men mentioned above. Because of their care, hard work and perseverance, Animal Friends Humane Society is proud to call Decatur our home.

Janet B. Jenkins, board president

Animal Friends Humane Society


Rail travel efficient, convenient

Recently I've seen publications about how important railroads have been to our area. The importance of railroads was highlighted again in the AP article "Amtrak an option amid high gas prices."

My favorite mode of transportation to the Washington, D.C., area has long been by Amtrak. The downside is that I have to go to Birmingham to get on the train. I remember when Decatur had passenger rail service. In fact, my senior class at Decatur High School (class of 1960) traveled from Decatur to Washington, D.C., by train. The experience of getting to D.C. was part of the excitement of the class trip.

It is a shame that Decatur has not kept passenger service as part of railroad transportation. I believe this is a tragedy that could and should be corrected. It is not just the long-distance travel that should be looked into, but of equal importance is that rail travel should be instituted at least from Nashville all the way south to Mobile. The Northeast U.S. has a rail system to serve that area for commuters between areas such as Boston to D.C. They also have an auto train from Lorton, Va., to Florida, so people can travel by train and carry their cars for transportation when they reach their destinations. Alabama, and the whole Southeast region, would find it very beneficial to have that type of service — to be able to travel from Decatur to Nashville, Birmingham or points beyond, without having to travel the busy highways.

The purpose of my letter is to encourage others to speak up to not only keep Amtrak running, but to improve existing service and expand rail service to our area. Who knows? Maybe there is a railroad benefactor out there somewhere.

Betty Kidwell


Time to impeach President Bush

I would like to support Jim Winkler's courage to publicly stand up for George W. Bush's impeachment. It's way past time for those of us who are in favor of impeachment to come out and speak up for what we believe. The Iraq invasion and occupation without cause is only one of the many reasons to push for impeachment.

I urge those with courage to stand up with Jim Winkler. Our children's futures depend on it. Please be clear that my views about impeaching President Bush have nothing to do with patriotism. In fact, it is the duty of people in a free society to question their leaders, not follow them blindly even when they're wrong.

Brenda Shreve


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