News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Reporter should have ignored defense assertion

To The Daily: As I was reading the Feb. 7 newspaper, I was struck by the irony of your article “Officer’s video could undermine testimony.” Your newspaper questioned Officer Jerome Lowery’s integrity, but seemed to demonstrate none of its own by printing such an article. As you know, the backbone of responsible journalism is fact finding and fairness. However, your newspaper seemed to lack both of these qualities in your front page article.

One paragraph in particular seemed to illustrate this best. Eric Fleischauer reported Officer Lowery’s age at “about 35.” Discovering a person’s age should not be out of the realm of a professional journalist’s abilities. Mr. Fleischauer also reported that Officer Lowery was a newcomer to the Beaverdam Boardwalk Trail operation. He based this assumption on a statement that was made. In fact, Officer Lowery has been a part of this operation for three years. Assumptions in journalism are both unprofessional and irresponsible.

Officer Lowery’s reputation seemed to be under attack by both Gary Huckaby’s defense and The Decatur Daily. The attack led by Mark White is understandable considering it is the defense’s job to have their client acquitted. However, I was unaware that The Decatur Daily was also a part of Gary Huckaby’s defense.

The Daily stated that Officer Lowery was a minor state official in a federal operation. If this is true, then why did your newspaper lead with the title “Officer’s video could undermine testimony”? Either Officer Lowery was not a minor player, as Mr. Fleischauer stated, or you are using Officer Lowery’s testimony in order to sell papers. Neither of these situations speaks fondly of your integrity. Ironically, Officer Lowery’s integrity is what your paper challenged.

Heather Lancaster

Junior Miss program takes cooperation, help

To The Daily: Thank you for the extensive coverage of the Junior Miss Scholarship Program and for recognizing Mary Catherine McAnnally in a special way. She is a wonderful young lady, and Decatur and Morgan County are proud of her accomplishment, especially her parents, grandparents, teachers, youth workers, ministers and friends.

Many people and businesses in Morgan County can be thanked for having a strong local program where high school senior girls can seek to broaden their horizons and gain scholarships for college.

The Decatur Daily gives wonderful coverage and provides photos of the contestants. Businesses, colleges and individuals provide money, awards, scholarships, food for practice, hotel rooms for the judges and locations to practice and perform. Many dedicated teachers and counselors, as well as a local board, provided needed assistance. This program is truly a community effort and we all love to see the girls do well.

Everyone who had a part should be proud of the help and opportunities they gave Mary Catherine, Morgan County’s first-ever state winner. She received a total of $16,000 in cash scholarships from combined local and state programs, plus more than $560,000 in college-granted scholarships from which to choose.

Mary Catherine will represent Morgan County and Alabama in the 50th anniversary of America’s Junior Miss program, to be held in Mobile, June 28-30.

To find out more about Junior Miss at all levels, go to

John Vaughan
Chairman Morgan County
Junior Miss Scholarship Committee

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