News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Ethanol plants not appropriate in Decatur

I understand that the two local industries in Stanley, Wis., are its prison and its manure pits. The fact they have something in their town that smells worse than stale beer isn't exactly a glowing review of their community. It sounds like their town isn't suitable for anyone who doesn't enjoy waking up Sunday morning on the tile floor of a fraternity house bathroom. That's not how I would want visitors to describe the town I've chosen as my home.

As fun as it is to focus on, odor is only one of the concerns of bringing an ethanol plant to Decatur. Ethanol plants reportedly produce around 12 gallons of "sewage-like effluence" per gallon of ethanol. A plant like the one in Stanley produces about 600 million gallons of waste a year. That's enough to fill the main Wheeler Lock more than 23 times, or fill more than 6,800 normal-size swimming pools.

I don't see myself as a staunch naturalist by any means, but I enjoy being outdoors. I also grew up close enough to remember warnings in the '70s about eating fish from the river because of pollutants being pumped into the waters.

Although I have come to appreciate many things Decatur has to offer, I originally moved to Decatur solely because of the river. Decatur's waterfront is invaluable to the city for purposes other than just industrial use. City developers appreciate this fact, judging from the amount of effort being spent developing tourist and recreational facilities along the river. Please consider these uses before allowing ethanol production facilities to locate along our waterfront.

I do have one question. At the meeting last week, Jeremy Nails mentioned there were as many as five companies interested in placing ethanol plants at several nearby locations. Does this mean that one plant will be chosen from the five candidates, or that there is a possibility that five separate plants may be constructed in industrial pockets set aside in and around the city limits?

Danny T. Morgan


Lacey's Spring should fight annexation

Regarding the annexation of Lacey's Spring: I knew it was just a matter of time before this happened. It reminds me of the time I lived in Limestone County when so much of the annexation of that county by Decatur and Huntsville was going on. I lived in the part west of Athens, so it did not affect me.

The big issue here is that Huntsville will not deliver services equal to what they have. Lacey's Spring should incorporate to keep Huntsville out. In eastern Limestone County, Huntsville has made a mess. You have to buy a business license for the city of Huntsville since a number of homes in eastern Limestone County are in Huntsville.

Before I moved to Tennessee, I helped vote out a police jurisdiction for Athens because they didn't provide services for us. What time I have been in Lacey's Spring made me think it seems to be a nice place, uncluttered. The money boys in Huntsville will corrupt it. Resist the devils from the north, Lacey's Spring, and hopefully they will flee.

Joe Crawford

Prospect, Tenn.

Driving more miles, often in wrong lane

I have two comments regarding the two Sept. 10 articles about traffic fatalities: "It's dangerous to drive here" and "Deaths, injuries up on interstates, rural roads."

First, both reporters looked at total fatalities rather than the fatality rate or fatalities per mile driven. For years various safety lobbies have fraudulently attacked increased speed limits by sensationalizing total fatalities while ignoring that fatality rates have dropped almost every year. We are driving many, many more miles, but are having fewer accidents per mile. Both reporters need to look up the fatality rates and see if this would alter the premise of their articles.

Second, Alabama Highway Patrol Chief Patrick Manning was quoted as stating that he "puts people who follow too closely in the category of aggressive drivers who change lanes frequently, tailgate the car in front of them and speed up and slow down frequently as they look for a way to get past cars in front of them."

Sadly, our highway patrol chief appears to be ignorant of Alabama's Left Lane Law. The Code of Alabama, 1975, Section 32-5A-80, (b) states, in part: "Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic ... shall be driven in the right-hand lane ... except when ... passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn. ..."

It only takes one inconsiderate driver blocking the left lane to interrupt the smooth flow of traffic. Also note that the law makes no exception for left-lane blockers who are driving the speed limit. If you are being tailgated in the left lane, you are just as much in the wrong as the tailgater. Move over. It's not just good manners, it's also the law.

J. Kennon Ledbetter


Another side of the man on the corner

This is about the missing icon of Decatur.

The last time I saw this man, it was inside a local pub on Sixth Avenue. He was dressed as he is dressed when you see him on the street corner. Everyone seemed to know and like him.

He was with his wife or friend and they were having a good time. He was singing Elvis Presley songs to karaoke and dancing with the women. The singing didn't bother me, but the dancing did. It was "dirty dancing," as I call it.

The first time I saw this man on a street corner, I felt the same way this lady did. I was always glad to see him. Now I don't know what to think. If he is sending a message, I don't get it.

Carolyn E. Knight


Farmers work hard, but get little respect

For the past 13 years, I have worked very closely with a large number of Alabama crop producers. It is a crying shame the respect they get from our Alabama people. I have watched the long, hard hours of labor they put in during the crop season.

In the winter months, they are still busy repairing, planning, cleaning equipment and numerous other things and getting ready for the upcoming year. I have seen when they are traveling from field to field on our highways and county roads, people making ugly gestures and honking their horns. I have seen hunters and four-wheeler riders destroy their equipment, crops and land. What are we teaching our children and grandchildren?

It makes me sick to hear about all this money they get from programs and people have no idea of the cost to run a farming operation. We should be thanking our farmers and telling them how much we appreciate them. They are the ones who feed us in Alabama.

Where would we be without them? The very people who mistreat them are standing or sitting down in a nice pair of cotton jeans. When you see a large piece of equipment on our roads, wave a big hello. When you see people destroying their equipment or crops, report it.

My daddy always taught me that one person can make a difference. Can't you imagine what working together and looking out for each other could do for Alabama? Teach your children to respect our farmers because they feed us.

May God bless our farmers.

Ellen Brackin

Town Creek

Clinton's failures haunt our nation

After the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Democrats are still playing the blame game. They blame President Bush for everything that goes wrong in this world.

But, before you go any further with it, take a look back at a former president's deficiencies while in the White House. Bill Clinton, one of the biggest appeasers along with Jimmy Carter (who is roaming the Earth, hobnobbing with and glad-handing dictators and terrorists while our service members are fighting and dying on foreign soil), didn't have a clue about how to combat terrorism. They didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Consider the record of terrorist attacks against America during Clinton's time in office: Bin Laden's attack against U.S. Marines in Yemen in 1992; the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993; the Khobar Towers incident in 1996; the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. After all this happened, President Clinton did absolutely nothing.

He never built a coalition to take on terrorism in Afghanistan, or tried to stop North Korea from building nuclear weapons, never tried to oust Saddam Hussein. Clinton left these problems for his successor, passing the buck to the next president. In a speech Clinton gave after the first World Trade Center attack, his main emphasis was don't overreact. Like a creeping cat, Clinton became shy, proclaiming this was not an act of war. It was a law enforcement problem. What a dismal failure.

The failures of the past always come back to haunt us. In this case, they haunt a nation.

Jimmy Robinson


Layaway gives buying power to less fortunate

The layaway process is a way of life for low-income families. Without this convenience, many children will suffer.

Low-income families get school supplies, clothes, Christmas gifts, birthday gifts and what their children need using the layaway plan.

It is a way of making payments on what they need. The merchandise never leaves the store until it is paid in full. So in reality, the store does not lose anything.

If this service is discontinued, it will hurt a lot of people. I just hope the retail stores will stop and think about who will lose.

Sue Livingston


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