The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

May 13, 2012

Letters to the Editor 5/13/12

The News Courier

The News Courier encourages letters to the editor. Submissions should be no more than 400 words and should include a name, address and telephone number for verification. Submissions that do not meet requirements are subject to editing. Send letters by noon on Thursdays to P.O. Box 670, Athens, AL, 35613, or email to

Oil business a positive addition

Dear Editor:

I’m writing in reference to the article by Adam Smith in the April 29 edition of The News Courier concerning the oil re-refinery. Only a few sentences mentioned the positive attributes this business will bring to our community.

We as citizens of this great country seem dedicated to putting up as many roadblocks as possible to deter anyone from trying to open a successful and necessary business. I think it is absolutely wonderful that 30 new high paying jobs are being created for our community, Athens Utilities is gaining a new big account customer, the city, county and state should see some increase in revenue from taxes from both the company and the employees it will hire, as well as every other vendor or business in town that will see an increase in sales from this company building here.

I would also like to mention the initial construction of this facility would also stimulate the local economy.

Concerning Ms. Brenda Thompson, I am sure she is a cancer and traffic safety expert and I appreciate her concern for the safety and well-being of our citizens. However, I do not appreciate her willingness to send the jobs and revenue to some other part of Alabama “with lots of land.” I’d bet that other part of Alabama doesn’t have a house belonging to Ms. Thompson that would lose value if a re-refinery went up near it.

I have as many concerns as the next guy about the environment and safety. I just believe we should be a little more balanced with our pros and cons when it comes to potential economic boosts in our community.


Brad Crowe


Photos wanted for archive

Dear Editor:

Members of the Tornado Remembrance and Awareness Committee of Limestone County were inspired to see so many tornado survivors and volunteers at an event to commemorate the April 27, 2011, tornadoes and introduce the design for a memorial to victims.

We particularly wanted to thank the deputies from the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department and members of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program for ensuring overflow traffic was handled safely and to Spry Funeral Home for providing a tent.

As we continue with plans to build the memorial, we also are building a database of contact information for families of people killed by tornadoes in the history of Limestone County. If you know of anyone whose name needs to be included on this memorial, please call me at the Archives office weekdays at 256-233-6404 or call Kelly Kazek at The News Courier at 256-232-2720.

We also need to be able to notify family members when the memorial is ready to be dedicated, hopefully by this fall.

In addition, TRAC and the Limestone County Archives are creating a special tornado remembrance section of the archives. We’d like to include photos of damage or rescue operations from any past tornadoes and photos of those who were killed, as well as any written accounts or unusual items discovered after the storms.

While the April 3, 1974, tornado outbreak has been written about numerous times, few photos have been collected that tell the location where they were taken, or identifies any people shown.

Anyone who has information that will help with this project should call the numbers above or e-mail me at Thank you.


Rebekah Davis


Limestone County Archives

Low-cost clinics needed

Dear Editor: 

The Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, to the detriment of pets, pet owners, and rescuers, wants to eliminate low-cost spay/neuter clinics in our state.

You might ask, “Why would a veterinary organization do this, in a state with so many homeless animals killed every day?” Even more absurd is that the leader of this charge — Athens’ very own Dr. Robert E. Pitman (owner of Limestone Veterinary Clinic) — owns The Dog Pound, which kills homeless animals every week simply due to lack of space.

A typical spay/neuter surgery at a vet can cost up to $300. Clinics like the North Alabama Spay/Neuter Clinic have offered — in a time of intense economic strife — an alternative that’s safe and less costly (from about $45 to $80). The spay/neuter clinics in Alabama are not full-service vet offices.

Patients at the clinics are altered and given a rabies vaccine if necessary, but further vet care must be handled by a regular vet.

A few facts about the clinics:

• The clinics have been given glowing reports of “excellent standards of care” after independent inspections;

• All surgeries are done by a state licensed veterinarian;

• Many who use these clinics would not have gotten their animal “fixed” without the low-cost option.

This legislative session, Rep. Patricia Todd introduced a bill, HB156, to protect the Alabama spay/neuter clinics and allow them to continue to operate as nonprofit entities in Alabama. The FTC has expressed support of HB156 saying it would allow “more competition and give pet owners other options and opportunities to have their animals sterilized at a reasonable price.”

And yet Pitman and the ASBVME continue to advocate against these clinics, to fellow vets and in the offices of state legislators in Montgomery.

I ask again: “Why would a veterinary organization do this, in a state with so many homeless animals killed every day?” Greed seems the only answer.

Right now your Alabama legislators, due to lobbying by ASBVME, are stalling on HB156 before this session comes to an end to try to kill the bill. Thankfully, next year the Legislature’s Sunset Committee will review the ASBVME and examine its history of interfering with progressive legislation that would improve the lives of animals and aid pet owners.

Join Alabama Voters for Responsible Legislation — it’s free! —


Melissa Davis


Athens Bible a jewel

Dear Editor:

What a jewel our town has in Athens Bible School. We participated in the Homespun event over the weekend and had a great time.

The Bible school staff, faculty and students were so considerate and helpful. They helped us set and take down our booth; many times throughout the event, different ones offered their help. Working conditions were wonderful.


Brenda Winter, member

Daughters of the American Revolution

John Wade Keyes chapter


Cars benefit locally

Dear Editor:

We had a great turn out for Cars on the Square this year and were able to give our profits to Hospice of Limestone County, Spirit of Athens for downtown façade fund and the Limestone County Churches Involved.

A special thanks goes out to Jeanette Dunnavant of the Limestone County Tourism Board. With her help on the mailings, registration cards, poster and the financial reporting, I don’t think it could have gone any smoother. Thank you very much, Jeanette.

To the support team — Greg Blaydes and Sylvia, Tracie and Nat Albritton, Jerry Bradford, Bert Bradford, and Richard Martin — thanks for your time and support to pull it all together. Can’t forget our parking volunteers, the Knucklehead Car Club, and the registration team, which included my wife Ann, Georgie Bailey, Linda Robinson and her sister, Teresa.

I’d like to give a big thank you to our sponsors who come through each year with financial support and donate prizes. Please frequent these businesses often and give them your support throughout the year.

These are the people who make the car show a success: City of Athens, Limestone County Commission, Spirit of Athens, Limestone County Tourism Board, Snap-On Tools, Minor Tire, Jimmy Smith GMC Buick, Naylor Transmission, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Flanagan Lumber, Allen Brown Heating & Cooling, U.G. White Mercantile, Gene’s NAPA Auto Parts, Clem Tire-Goodyear, J&G Variety, Champion Dodge Chevrolet, Advance Auto, Athens Auto Detail, Dixie Auto, Thumpers, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Keith Griffin Contractors, Federal Mogul, Athens Muffler, G&S Fabrication, LuVici’s, Matco Tools, First National Bank, Railroad Bazaar, Worth Muffler, Fastenol, Jerry’s Auto Sales, Clayton Machine Works, TriGreen-John Deere, and Pepsi.

Those of you that made it to the show, I hope you enjoyed it and will tell your friends to mark their calendar for next year’s Cars on the Square. The last Saturday of April, which will be April 27, 2013.

The next Cruise In will be on June 2. We will have the Redstone Jazz Project, one of the fine groups from the Army Materiel Command, playing on the east side of the courthouse from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Thanks again to all.


Tom Schuman


Project needs sanity

Dear Editor:

In December 2010, Mayor Ronnie Marks felt that the city could only build what the city can afford, in regard to the proposed new library. 

A continued concern, shared by many, is the potential cost of future operations and maintenance expenses of a new facility at four times the current size. If the operating and maintenance costs, per year, were to increase from $500,000 to $750,000, the city may be unable to provide funds without a new revenue stream. Tax increase? Yet, the library foundation officials want us to believe that the increase in cost will be only about 19 percent. Who’s to pay this increase?

Mary Wallace Moore of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library was recently quoted in The Huntsville Times: “The explosion of the Internet over the past 20 years has not diminished the role of libraries, it has expanded it. Communities demand more from their libraries than ever before – computers and Internet access, WiFi, eBooks, eAudiobooks, downloadable music, remote access databases. These materials and resources are costly.”

It’s not space, so much as higher fees, equipment, etc., in the new high tech age that will drastically increase the library’s operating and maintenance costs.

How about sharing the Kroger building with a new city hall, with the library getting 25,000 square feet, or 62 percent of the building, which is 2 1/2 times as much space as present? 

It has been proposed several times with no interest on the library foundation official’s part. This way many expenses could be shared with the city and library because of the city hall requirements, including Internet access, Wi-Fi, etc. 

This could reduce the need for a tax increase and save the taxpayers an estimated $3 million badly needed dollars. That could be used to pave our streets.

City Council and County Commission, it is time to draw the line on these unnecessary expenses! We cannot afford to bow to big egos. If the government cuts military and defense spending by half a trillion dollars, it will directly affect Athens’ many residents who are employed by military and defense contractors. 

A large layoff will decrease Athens and Limestone’s tax revenues. I lived through the Vietnam 1972-73 closedown reduction’s effect in Southern California. It was brutal.

Let’s get some sanity into this project. No more building without a concrete contractual agreement on revised use of the Kroger building now.


Quentin D. Anderson Sr.


No kill shelters best

Dear Editor:

In the last decade and a half, several animal shelters in numerous communities have comprehensively implemented a bold series of programs and services to reduce birthrates, increase adoptions, and keep animals with their responsible caretakers. As a result, they are achieving unprecedented results, saving upwards of 95 percent of all impounded animals in their animal control facilities.

Some of these communities are in urban communities, and others are in rural communities. Some are in very politically liberal communities, and others are in very conservative ones. Some are in municipalities with high per capita incomes, and others are in communities known for high rates of poverty. These communities share very little demographically.

What they do share is leadership at their shelters with a passion for lifesaving and who have comprehensively implemented a key series of programs and services, collectively referred to as the “No Kill Equation.”

At one time, those communities also offered little more than killing and excuses: pet overpopulation, blaming the public, a lack of resources. When they stopped blaming and changed their own behavior, the killing stopped. There is still a “public” in these communities, animals are still entering their shelters, and resources are tight. But they are succeeding, where ours is failing.

The fundamental lesson from the experiences of these communities is that the choices made by shelter managers are the most significant variables in whether animals live or die. Several communities are more than doubling adoptions and cutting killing by as much as 75 percent—and it isn’t taking them five years or more to do it. They are doing it virtually overnight. This is consistent with the results in other communities. There are now No Kill communities in California, Kentucky, Indiana, New York, Michigan, Texas, Nevada, Virginia, and elsewhere. In short, there are no valid excuses as to why our community cannot do the same if it chooses to.

Today, No Kill is a humane, sustainable, cost-effective model that works hand in hand with public health and safety, while fulfilling a fiscal responsibility to taxpayers. The success of this approach across the country proves the viability of the No Kill model and the above principles. In our community, it is time for change. It is time to reject the failed philosophies and poor performance of the past. It is time to end the killing at our shelter. Our citizens are kind, caring, and generous. We love animals. And we deserve an animal shelter that reflects, rather than undermines, our values.


Kym Sargent