News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2007
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Save the Delta Queen, a grand piece of our nation’s history

To The Daily: That was a great article on the Delta Queen’s plight. We really enjoyed our visit to Decatur during our cruise on the Delta Queen in May.

I was a high school student back in 1968 when the first “Save the Delta Queen” campaign ran, and wrote many letters to Congress then about it, but it took me 37 years to get a trip on her.

This time to save the Delta Queen, we have the Internet, but not the support of the company, nor the union — just a bunch of us passengers and fans who love the boat.

I agree with the Overstakes; not running and carrying people, the Queen will die. Other steamboats have been put aside and made into museums and restaurants, and nearly all of them are now gone.

Your actions (writing letters, telling friends and others about the Delta Queen) are the only way we can get the exemption extended. Help save this grand piece of American history.

David Dewey
Oroville, Calif.

Most inmates not ‘rotten,’ just paying debt to society

To The Daily: I have a loved one incarcerated and he is in no way one of the rotten, cheating, lying and murdering lot Vicki Whelan has made him out to be since she included all inmates (Letters, Aug. 11). She needs to get her facts straight and maybe some counseling for herself, from the tone of her letter.

Inmates imprisoned here do well if they get any medical attention unless they are extremely sick. There is no dental. There is no air-conditioning in the prison. Most work and 40 percent of their paychecks go to their housing. Others work with no pay to keep our roads and other areas in Decatur clean.

Richard Allen (prison commissioner) said heat is a serious problem in the state’s prisons, which are overcrowded and not air-conditioned. He said since temperatures exceeded 100 degrees, inmates were on limited physical activity during the weekend, with the men wearing only their underwear to keep them as cool as possible.

I also pay taxes and have enough family members who pay taxes so that Mrs. Whelan’s tax dollars do not support my son. It’s “no frills,” as she calls it, and most inmates want to change their lives and do better and are paying their debt to society.

The prison system is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to funding, so what could be pared down? If she had a loved one incarcerated, I’m sure she would have a different point of view. Don’t condemn us until you’ve walked a mile in our shoes. Consider yourself blessed because you never know what tomorrow holds and what you may face one day. The death penalty is too easy. Life without parole is much more cruel.

Valerie Rider
Decatur

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