The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

August 19, 2012

Letters to the Editor 8/19/12

The News Courier

Letters policy

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

Churches should help center

Dear Editor:

Sarah Chadwell’s plea for help for the Family Resource Center must be answered by our community to keep a needed private non-profit organization alive in Athens-Limestone County.

First Baptist Church of Athens, Friendship Church, Lindsay Lane Baptist Church, First Church Athens, First United Methodist Church, Church of Christ, St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, Southside Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Central Church of Christ, St. Paul Catholic Church…This is but a short list of churches within our community who likely support the Family Resource Center and the many helpful programs that non-profit community support organizations provide. Pastor David Palmer from First Presbyterian Church stood in support of public financing of this successful program and stated how often he as a pastor turned to the Family Resource Center for help.

I made a comment to Jean Cole, reporter for The News Courier, that the decline of our churches is directly related to the growth of government social programs, my theory is people in need turn to government and not the church, and now I see Pastor Palmer turning to the government where the need should be answered by our church community, private individuals and local business and keep government out of these successful private social programs. 

If every church gave $1,000 a year to the Family Resource Center, the rent would be secure. If these fine Community Churches determine the Family Resource Center is not an asset, then the organization should go away. In other words if the churches use the resource, the churches should financially support that resource and that resource should support those churches.

Government money should never be provided to private non-profit groups, however if it is provided long and powerful strings must be attached to assure tax payer money is being properly used.


Rex Davis


Consider details when voting

Dear Editor:

With the 2012 local elections just around the corner, candidates are out and about vying to for their respective positions, all promising change, all promising to address the concerns of the voters. 

When questioned about concerns, we hear a lot of the same answers, just what we as voters want to hear!

One candidate’s answer on the topic of the new library I read in The News Courier recently stated “One of the leading indicators that industry and retail evaluate when choosing to potentially locate in a given area is the size and quality of the city library.” Politically appealing and an answer some want to hear but a “leading” indicator? We need to verify that. 

Industry and retail look at transportation, government infrastructure and policies, incentives they can obtain, labor availability and cost, land, power availability and cost, etc. The library issue is perhaps one of the largest expenditures facing Athens estimated at $6 million. Granted, the library foundation will help with expenses, but does today’s environment warrant such an expense?

This question and others associated with the project have deeply divided opinions and factors which should be more closely examined. Current Councilmen Harold Wales and Jim Hickman rightfully displayed concern over some of the cost, a potential $35,000 charge for engineering.

Sounds like good work if you can get it.

With an ever-changing environment, city leaders, current and those to be elected are facing tough challenges. Tough choices will have to be made but will those choices be made based on popularity or based on need and fact? Residents want city leaders to be financial stewards. Pay attention to detail. Get down and understand the “nuts and bolts” of a project. Residents also want the city leaders to provide services that benefit a majority of people. Approve projects in priority of need.

Challenging times are ahead for Athens and our city leaders. As the old timers say it’s gonna be a “tough row to hoe”. Athens residents do keep abreast of issues, something city leaders should keep in mind when making decisions affecting our town.


William Ray Sanders


Keep American dream alive

Dear Editor:

Barack Obama gave a speech in Iowa on Monday, Aug. 13, in which he adamantly stated that he thought that Americans should share their prosperity. Of course, all of those in the audience who are on the dole clapped in agreement. 

But what about all of us poor souls who work for a living? I certainly don't mind sharing my prosperity with those less fortunate than I am, but I want to make that decision, rather than trust it to some government bloated program bureaucrat.  But, here's the real deal, Mr. B. O.: Americans have been sharing their prosperity for many generations — it is the basis of the American Dream. 

That's where Joe America notices that there is a need in his community for a pizza place/auto parts store/reliable plumber/gas station/electronics repair shop/etc. So he scrapes together his life's savings, borrows a little more from his in-laws, and starts his own small business. (And, contrary to another previous B. O. comment, the only way the government is involved is that they take part of his money to pay for licensing and regulations fees.) 

Joe America becomes successful with his business, and pulls family members in to help with his workload. A little later, he hires a couple of friends, who are out of work, to help. He is sharing his prosperity! The McDonald's chain started as one burger joint.  Sam Walton started Wal-Mart with one store in Arkansas. These and other similar companies are still sharing their prosperity when they hire millions of people, who actually work for a living.


Mike Wahl


Athens needs art council

Dear Editor:

Athens future direction is in the hands of the voters. There is an item that needs to be carefully considered.

We are very fortunate to have authors like Bill Hunt and others, along with poets, residing among us. We also have many with artistic talent of note along with up-and-coming entertainers. 

This pool of talent of various types is all available locally and ready and willing to help develop Athens as an artistic and entertainment center of real repute. It could become the center of interest for our children and grandchildren along with providing them the opportunity to develop their God-given talents.

Entertainers from Nashville would be interested in providing a Christmas presentation and subsequent events.

What Athens needs is real leadership with a plan to capitalize on these resources. We’ve spent $20,000,000 on a Sportsplex that does not benefit all of the citizens. Having the ability to provide talented entertainment and art, on a regular basis, would be a benefit to all our citizens and greatly improve our quality of life.

Why haven’t we developed these resources? Mainly due to lack of foresight and leadership by the mayor. We have some very competent people who want to develop these resources, but get little meaningful help in planning how to accomplish the goal of developing Athens into the “gleaming city on a hill.”

It will take a great deal of in-depth planning and financial commitment, but would ultimately provide new jobs, new revenues for our citizens and the city, and cater to all the public’s interests.

To start, the new library could provide a portion for a gallery to display local artists work and to promote our local authors and poets writings year around. Next would be development of a master plan, including a long-range financial plan to support the endeavor. It won’t be cheap but nothing worthwhile is. 

Over time, we would have major crowd-drawing events involving entertainment, music, arts, film, and stage events that would be highly promoted. It would also involve the development of an experienced full-time Arts and Entertainment council.

Let’s get new leadership in our city now. It’s time to achieve these benefits we all want.


Quentin D. Anderson Sr.


Summer Reading Program a success

Dear Editor:

The Summer Reading Program at Athens-Limestone Public Library has ended, and this year was a great success. Over 100 children and young adults registered for the program.

Throughout the months of June and July, children and teens participated in activities and events related to our theme: “Dream Big—READ!” In June, the Library hosted a skill toy kit from Flow Circus, and tweens and teens learned to juggle and perform with the toys.

In July, the Library had story times, craft days, and special events for teens and adults. Our end-of-summer program featured Dr. Magical Balloons. Dr. Magical Balloons told fascinating stories with balloon animal characters, and was enjoyed by patrons of all ages. The children had a wonderful time at our ending party, our special programs, and throughout the entire summer.

I would like to thank those who made the Summer Reading Program such a success at the library. Sonic Drive-In, Applebee’s, Cinemagic Theater, Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio, the Huntsville Stars, and Lake Winnie provided donations and support for the programs and activities at the Public Library. Also, I would like to thank the parents, grandparents, and other caregivers who brought their children to the programs and encouraged them to read during the summer.

A special thank you to Elkmont High School for loaning us books from its library so that students can complete their required summer assignments.  This summer, the borrowed books were checked out 337 times!

Again, thank you to all who helped make this summer at the Athens-Limestone Public Library such a success.


Kelli McLemore

Youth services librarian

Athens-Limestone Public Library