News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Decatur's library is substandard

As a former resident of Decatur, I was outraged to hear that funding was to be cut to the library. I visit my parents often and have gone to use the library only to be appalled at the lack of basic research, technology and books available for such a city.

My job has allowed me to travel all over the country and live in places that are large metropolises and small towns. In every place I have lived, I have used the local library. I can tell you that even the smallest town I have lived in had a better library then the one we have in Decatur. Many other former residents and current residents have come to the same conclusion. What is our city projecting to potential business leaders that want to come into our city?

I do not feel the problem lies in library management, but in a lack of local government support to provide basic funding for the library to sustain itself to the basic standard that most of our neighboring cities have maintained. How can we be an attractive city to companies when they know we don't put any emphasis on knowledge for our own people? Can you really tell me right now that a company leader can step into our library and say, "Wow, this city is cutting edge"; that a growing company could come in and use our library and find all the research they need at their fingertips? Sadly the answer is no.

Until our local leaders step up to the plate, I am afraid Decatur residents and businesses will continue doing what they always do — venture across the river to Huntsville where they can find all the knowledge they need because the leaders in Huntsville are true forward thinkers.

Carol Bullen


Refuge officers did their jobs

I'm writing concerning the controversy over the recent arrest of the 27 individuals on Wheeler Wildlife Refuge for public indecency and lewdness. This letter is not about how THE DECATUR DAILY reports the news. It is not about the guilt or innocence of the individuals arrested. My problem is I don't understand why the federal law enforcement officers on the refuge have been criticized by some and made out to be the "bad guys" when all they did was their job.

I know if I were visiting the refuge and encountered some individuals performing lewd acts, I would be very upset and I think most people would. When illicit behavior of any kind is ignored and not addressed, then the officers are not doing their job.

These officers are trained and paid to enforce the laws and protect the integrity of the public lands, the general public and the wildlife on the refuge.

I've been a volunteer at Wheeler Wildlife Refuge for several years and I have a great appreciation for all the refuge offers. It's not only a place for the sportsman, it's also a place for families to explore and enjoy some of nature's wonders. Even the school systems and various groups use it for educational purposes. This refuge offers so much to so many. I hope the law enforcement officers continue to do their job and do it well so these public lands can and will be used for purposes that were intended.

Judi Montgomery


Work on schools deserves praise

I would like to take a moment and congratulate the owners, staff, employees and sub-contractors of Bagette Construction, Inc. Due to their untiring efforts, our city can enjoy the beautiful new neighborhood elementary school replacing Gordon-Bibb.

I am amazed that in the short span of less than a year, their company was able to demolish the old structure, prepare the site and build this wonderful school. I cannot wait to see the inside of this structure and fully appreciate all it offers.

Likewise, all parents and students of Cedar Ridge Middle School are happy to see the completion of the widening project of Danville Road. I am sure this has been a nightmare for those parents and teachers attempting to navigate school traffic the preceding year.

Thank you to all who labored to make this new school year better for our students.

Randal A. Ray


Officer responds in special way

On Aug. 5, I was working in my front garden about noon when I saw an elderly gentleman shuffling slowly down the street. He did not speak, and since I had not seen him before, I became concerned about him being lost or confused. Since he was headed in the direction of the busy streets of Wilson and Church, I called the police department and related my concern.

The dispatcher quickly sent Officer Terry Johnson to check on the gentleman. My husband and I watched as Officer Johnson escorted him across Wilson Street to his home. When I called the police department to thank them for their prompt response and the kind treatment of the officer, the dispatcher told me the elderly gentleman was deaf and mute, but Officer Johnson was able to communicate with him because he knew sign language. I don't know why Officer Johnson had learned sign language, but I am grateful for his knowledge. He was able to use it in his line of work and as a kindness to a stranger. I want to thank the Decatur Police Department for both the prompt response and Officer Johnson's special knowledge.

Peggy R. Black


Putting the cart before the horse

In the Aug. 5 religion section, James L. Evans stated that Christian organizations such as Focus on the Family "have served as a conduit for funneling a particular political agenda into the hearts and minds of many Christians." I would like to take issue with that statement.

It happens that I held views against homosexuality, abortion, and evolution long before I ever heard of the organizations the Rev. Evans listed.

The Christian teaching in the Alabama of my childhood also considered adultery, fornication, lying and stealing to be sins. Did only white Protestants consider these things sins? No, they were considered sins almost universally.

No party or organization owns me. By the grace of God I live in a country where I can choose to vote for a candidate who believes that to purposely end the life of a baby in its mother's womb is immoral.

I can vote against someone who believes that the God-ordained institution of marriage shouldn't always be between a man and a woman. I owe this thinking to no organization except perhaps the churches of my youth. They taught me what sin is. My conscience said amen.

Baptists, Methodists, Assemblies of God, Churches of God and many others taught what was, and remains, immoral. Mr. Evans has his cart before his horse. These groups he mentioned often reflect what I believe. No leaders on earth hold sway over my actions. I am a free man. I am a Christian man who wishes to leave my children a country where there is some remaining standard of public decency.

Mr. Evans should understand there is a place where liberty becomes license to destroy what is precious. On this ground we must take a stand. For this purpose I join hands with those who have like convictions.

Eric D. Holland


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