News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Prisoners deserve to be treated as well as dogs

To The Daily: As I am sure most are aware, Alabama is in the middle of one of the worst heat waves in history. We are reaching near record-breaking temperatures on an almost daily basis. We are hearing nightly about the concern for our pets, our plants and the elderly.

What about our loved ones who are currently incarcerated in the Alabama prison system? Who is checking on them and making sure they are not getting sick from the heat? Who is making sure they have something cool to drink? The dorms at Kilby Correctional Facility were above 120 degrees last week, with only an attic fan for cooling. On at least one day that week, the inmates were denied adequate ice for cool drinks because they were running out of ice. If we are supposed to bring our pets in from this kind of heat, and make sure the elderly have fans and cool drinks, what is being done for these human beings who, even though they may be prisoners, deserve humane treatment? At the very least, they deserve to be treated as well as, if not better than, animals.

This is a serious concern and I would like to know what your plans are to help deal with the kind of heat wave we are having. Just tonight on the news, there was a segment about a county prison having to be closed and the inmates sent somewhere else solely due to the heat and lack of air conditioning. Putting fans in the prison did not meet code.

I am hoping that, by making the public aware of this problem, perhaps someone will do something to help these people. Even if they are prisoners, they are still people and they are still someone’s loved ones.

Robbie Bartlett

Polio eradication an ongoing battle

To The Daily: The Aug. 11 article regarding the closing of area churches during a polio epidemic in 1936 was timely on several counts.

First, the article serves as a reminder of the scourge that polio continues to be. Yes, polio continues to be a scourge, particularly in the four endemic countries remaining in the world (Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan). Although polio was eradicated from the United States years ago, we must remember that polio is just a plane ride away. Only last month, a Pakistani student was hospitalized after contracting polio on a visit home in Pakistan and becoming paralyzed on the return flight to Australia.

The Aug. 11 publication date was appropriate since that was the anniversary of the onset of Franklin Roosevelt’s paralysis in 1921. Of course, the attention focused on the disease as a result of the president’s affliction accelerated discovery of the Salk and Sabin vaccines that have saved millions of children.

Publication of the article last weekend also coincided with the opening of the informative exhibit “Whatever Happened to Polio” at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation in Warm Springs, Ga. First displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., the exhibit recalls the impact the disease had on this country and the tremendous strides made in eliminating it. The exhibit will be permanently installed in Warm Springs.

Rotary International, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF are working jointly with national governments to eradicate this scourge from the face of the Earth. In 1988, there were 350,000 new cases of polio each year in 125 countries. Last year, there were less than 2,000 cases. These lead partners are committed to adding polio to smallpox as the only diseases that have been totally eradicated.

Mark Daniel Maloney
Acting vice chairman, Rotary Foundation of Rotary International

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