News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Concerned about pollution, traffic in Northwest

In a Sept. 27 letter to the editor, Ashley Reynolds pointed out the wastewater treatment's odor in the Northwest section of Decatur has become an issue only since the recent race and class makeup of students and teachers at Leon Sheffield Elementary School. In my opinion, Ms. Reynolds' point is well taken. There is a theory that a person's environment is more influential than heredity in determining his or her development. Whether you concur with this theory or not, I believe that you will agree that local government and/or Environmental Protection Agency intervention on the behalf of the students at Leon Sheffield is an urgent priority.

With my family, I have resided in my wife's childhood home on 12th Avenue Northwest since evacuating from New Orleans on Aug. 27, 2005. I am appalled and fear that something bad may happen because of the number of trucks hauling hazardous chemicals back and forth on 12th Avenue and Fifth Street Northwest. I have observed "no trucks" signs in the Southwest, Northeast and Southeast sections of Decatur. Again, it appears that race and class are significant factors in ignoring a possible hazard that poses a risk to people's health.

I also find it necessary to bring to your attention traffic problems on 12th Avenue Northwest. Day in and day out, between Fourth and Fifth streets on 12th Avenue, noisy 18-wheelers, dump trucks, pickups, automobiles and motorcycles race north and south with impunity. Drivers often ignore the speed limit. They tailgate, run the 12th Avenue and Fourth Street traffic light and roll through the stop sign at 12th Avenue and Fifth Street.

Something needs to be done quickly to increase traffic monitoring between these two intersections. As taxpayers, Decatur's Northwest residents deserve better treatment.

Henry Brown


Musician, friend Paul Stroud will be missed

I lived in Boaz when I met Paul Stroud in 1978. My next door neighbor and drummer, Dr. Bobby Halfacre, a Decatur native, introduced us, and soon thereafter, being a trumpet player myself, I started playing with the Sophisticated Swingers.

During the next 20 years or so, until I moved to Cleveland, Tenn., in 2000, I made several hundred trips to Decatur to play with Paul and folks like Dr. Rhett Danley, Lonnie McDaniel, A. J. Coleman, Jimmy Rowden, Oscar Johnson, Tut Montgomery, Bobby Halfacre and others. Decatur became almost a second home for me.

We played for every type of event you could name. All kinds of civic events: cancer drives, chamber of commerce meetings, hospital functions, nursing and retirement homes, senior functions, concerts in the park, Big Band Bashes. You name it and Paul and the Sophisticated Swingers would play for it, and mostly at no cost to anyone. Paul was as civic-minded as anyone I ever knew. If it was good for Decatur, he would do it.

When we moved to Cleveland, one of the hardest things I had to give up was my close association with Paul and the Sophisticated Swingers, and my many trips to Decatur.

So I say farewell to my friend, and look forward to the day when we can get together again, and have a good, old fashioned jam session.

Tom Wheeler

Cleveland, Tenn.

Ethanol plant odor smells like money

I encourage opponents of the proposed ethanol plant to ask the residents of Iowa, where nearly 30 ethanol plants are operating or are under construction, what they think about the "odor" associated with ethanol production.

They'll probably tell you that ethanol smells like hundreds of jobs for the local community. Or, they might say it smells like millions of dollars in local spending or that it smells like higher crop prices for farmers, or increased tax revenues for the local and state economy. They might even say it smells like decreased dependence on oil imported from unstable parts of the world.

A 50 million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant's annual expenditures for goods and services are estimated at $46.7 million. This includes spending on corn or other crops used to produce ethanol, as well as local spending on other supplies. When viewed at the state level, a plant this size will add $115 million annually to the state economy measured by gross state output.

Additionally, new jobs are created as a consequence of increased economic activity caused by ethanol production. One study estimated that an average-sized ethanol plant will support the creation of as many as 836 direct and indirect jobs in all sectors of the local economy. The ongoing annual operations of an average-sized plant will increase household income in the local economy by nearly $30 million annually.

Aside from the economic benefits to the local community, ethanol production: enhances environmental quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions; often helps moderate the price of gasoline; displaces billions of gallons of gasoline derived from imported oil; creates high-protein livestock feed as a co-product of the production process.

If these are the "odors" associated with ethanol, why would anyone want to hold their noses?

Mark Hall


Guerrilla fighters have advantage over military

The lesson that we should have learned from the war in Vietnam: It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to defeat a well-funded and supplied guerrilla force on his own territory, using conventional military means.

Hitler was unable to quell the French resistance during World War II, even by executing 100 French civilians for every German killed. The Soviets couldn't win in Afghanistan for the same reason. Even the American Revolution is an example of this lesson. The guerrillas have the advantage of picking the time and place of battle; then they disappear into the crowd and wait until they are ready to strike again.

I fear that no matter how many of our brave men and women we put into this war, or how much American blood is spilled on this foreign field, in the end, the result will be the same. We will, as President Bush likes to say, "cut and run." The question is: when?

"Stay the course" is a catchy slogan, and makes a great bumper sticker, but it's not a plan. It simply means more of the same. We need to fight smart. It has been said that if the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. Not every problem we have needs a hammer — we might do better using a dental pick. Alas, of all the tools in the current administration, I haven't seen one that isn't a hammer.

James E. Shook


Junior high music festival good for students

I would like to commend Dr. Mike Reed, Don Pouncey and Michelle Reburn for allowing the Hartselle Junior High School Chorus to attend and participate in the Quad-Cities Choral Festival recently.

The students who attended learned a great deal and enjoyed themselves in the process. Hartselle is home to many talented performers. Undoubtedly, many of these students will pursue their musical aspirations at the high school and college levels.

Experiences like the Quad-Cities event enhance both music appreciation and performance skills for our students. The continued dedication and support shown to our students is greatly appreciated by parents and students alike. I thank them for making this experience possible for another year.

Pamela A. Ramey


Gore would have made slaves of Americans

I am writing this in regard to your Oct. 3 editorial.

I must say I was very disappointed in your editorial. But I respect the fact that everyone has his or her opinion, right or wrong. I greatly fear that, had Al Gore gotten the presidency before Sept. 11, we would be slaves in our own country. You are probably right about the war on terror being over, because no one else in the world would have had the guts to go to war against the terrorists after seeing what they did to the United States.

Do you make such rash, off-the-wall statements to get people upset enough to write in, or do you actually believe in what you say?

Glenda Turner


Racking horse training immoral, repugnant

Chaining horses' legs — solely to force them to alter their gait so that they will "perform at a higher, more fan-pleasing level" — is indefensible ("Chained together," Sept. 30). It's no wonder membership in the racking association has plummeted; any compassionate person will condemn this morally and ethically repugnant practice.

People are staying away from these events for a reason. Paying to see animals abused is not most people's idea of a good time.

Jennifer O'Connor

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk, Va.

Leave feedback.

Email This Page