The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

March 11, 2012

Letters to the Editor 3/11/12

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

Thanks for Chili Challenge success

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank the numerous volunteers who so freely gave of their time and their resources to help ensure the success of the 2012 Chili Challenge. 

Thank you to the Hospice staff and board members, Athens High School for the use of their building, the chili challengers, chairpersons, judges, entertainment, sponsors, Athens High School Beta Club, art students at both Athens State University and Athens High School, all of the individuals and businesses who donated to the silent auction, those who donated to the Country Store, and all who bought tickets and attended our fun-filled fundraiser for Hospice of Limestone County on Saturday, Feb. 25. 

Thanks to all of you, the families in our community will continue to reap the benefits of the services that our local nonprofit Hospice provides.  It is a wonderful experience to see so many people in our community work together for such an important cause!


Shane Leopard

Chili Challenge chairperson

Ethical issues concern

Dear Editor:

As a concerned citizen of Limestone County it is my civic duty to inform the voting public of some moral and ethical issues surrounding two Limestone County Republican candidates.

Ronnie Coffman, candidate for license commissioner, and Rex Davis, candidate for District 2 commissioner, have used their positions in the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee for their own personal and financial gain.

The Alabama State Executive Committee has set the qualifying fee for candidates at any amount up to 2 percent of the salary of the position applying for. Granted, the local executive committees have the power to change the qualifying fee, never in the past has this been reduced/changed by the LCREC.

This year Mr. Davis, new LCREC vice chairman, presented a qualifying resolution to Mr. Coffman, new LCREC chairman, to limit the qualifying fee to a maximum of $500, which was then approved and enacted by the LCREC leadership. The two LCREC officers then qualified for positions through the LCREC for the upcoming election.

The License Commissioner salary of $71 898.48 should have resulted in a qualifying fee of $1,438 rather than the $500 Mr. Coffman paid, a saving to Coffman of $938. The $50,969.51 commissioner salary with a 2 percent qualifying fee should have cost Mr. Davis $1, 019 rather than the $500 he paid, putting an extra $519 back into his pocket.

This behavior, coupled with the fact that each candidate holds a recently elected position in the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee while running for public office is ethically and morally wrong. This fee reduction will unfairly and significantly reduce financial assistance available to all Republican candidates in Limestone County as they move into the fall general election.

We need candidates with strong moral and ethical character representing us at all levels. Let us start this process now, by electing highly qualified individuals for public office. Exercise your voice at the polls this March 13.


Randy Smeenk


Citizens of Athens under attack

Dear Editor:

We citizens in Alabama are under attack and we seem to be totally unaware. It is as though we don’t care, and some of us are the enemy. Therefore, I am declaring war! I want the citizens of Athens and Limestone County to join me in an all out assault against littering.

This to some may seem frivolous, but all citizens are affected. With no high grass and weeds to cover the litter, this is the time when anyone that is traveling around our community can see just how bad the littering problem has become. It must be stopped.  We must fight these persons that litter with the resources that are available, arrest and fines.

Who is going to help? All of us. We as an Army of Citizens Against Littering need to report the enemy (anyone littering) to the authorities, the police. When you see a lawbreaker (litterer) obtain their license plate number and description of the car. Turn them in to the police. If you know of a dumping site, and know who is responsible, turn them in to the police. Even if you see a person throw down a cigarette butt, it is littering. The police are going to respond.

We are an army of many, and we can win this war. I would like the County Commission and the City Council to revisit the stop littering initiative that we had before the devastating tornadoes of last April. 

Request our leadership to make an all out effort to help our army, and back our enforcers the police. Make sure all criminals that are littering can and will be stopped by arrests and/or fines. I would like our criminal court system to use the resources available to them for litter pickup. Assign a punishment of community service (litter pickup) for minor offenses to those who break our laws. This can be coordinated through Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful.

I know this can be done, and it must be done now. With the help of our leadership and our Army of Citizens Against Littering this is truly a war we can fight and win. We must win for the future of the earth, community, and our children.


Kelly Range


KALB commission member

Thanks for accuracy

Dear Editor:

I would like to express my deepest appreciation to reporter Lora Scripps for the professionalism she exhibited in the interview and writing of the article regarding the SPRINT blood pressure study. The article was written with great precision and accuracy. Lora’s assistance in reporting this information will benefit the recruitment of participants to this very valuable study. 

We have received calls from members of our community as a result of the article. The outcome of this study will likely influence our health care system in a way that has not occurred in many years. 

Our goal is to represent our community in the outcome of the SPRINT study. With the assistance of people like Lora Scripps we are confident that we will be successful in our goals.

With regards and appreciation,


Dr. Nauman Qureshi


Finding true conservative

Dear Editor:

There's been a lot of bragging recently about the “conservative” nature of Republican Party presidential candidates.  How can a person effectively determine if a real conservative is in the running? 

In my viewpoint, if you want to find a true conservative candidate, look for philosophies that reflect the closest allegiance to the Constitution. Consider the controversial subjects against which the candidates need to be compared, and judge for yourself which has the best record of adherence to constitutional values. Add up the results, and if there is a candidate who scores higher than the others, cast your “conservative” vote accordingly. 

Probably none of the candidates will fit your ideal expectations, but a comparison based on constitutional merit should single out the most constitutionally conservative person.  It is also good to bear in mind that we have been living in a society that has not been very loyal to constitutional values in recent times, so you may have to dig deep to find the right answers.

Where the Constitution limits the federal government to distinct duties, consider present day big government policies on spending and regulations:

Consider mandatory health care and other socialist programs. Consider Executive Orders being used as “laws.” Consider support for congressionally undeclared wars. Consider the rights of the unborn vs. “abortion rights.” Consider that the Federal Reserve basically rules the country's economy, but is a consortium of private bankers rather than an entity of our federal government, and that only the House has been charged with the authority “to coin money, (and) regulate the value thereof.” Consider that the federal government has no constitutional authority for any controls for programs dealing with drugs, the Internet, prostitution, murder, abortion, cellphones, marriage, homosexuality, seat belts, baseball, light bulbs … .

Consider that the federal government does have authority and responsibility to control immigration levels. Consider that “Congress shall have power to ... provide for the common defense ...” but is silent about offense activity.

It's tough to evaluate the candidates, but all four of these men have public records. Don't listen to other interpretations, but dig deep to find the real truth.  In the primary, vote for the one who best supports your “conservative” values, not for whom you think has the best chance to win.  Don't fall for the line that “he can't win,” or else your values will never be heard from again. 

Let's turn America back toward conservative constitutional roots.


Mike Wahl


Smeenk did right thing

Dear Editor:

On March 1, 2012, former vice chairman of the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee, Randy Smeenk called into the Dale Jackson Talk Show on WVNN Radio making accusations’ concerning chairman Ronnie Coffman and vice chairman Rex Davis of the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee. Mr. Smeenk alleged that Rex Davis and I lowered the qualifying fees to benefit Rex and I.

Qualifying fees are left up to each local party in the state of Alabama, with 2 percent of the salary for any particular office sought being the maximum that a local Republican Party can charge. A motion was made concerning qualifying fees to be set at a maximum of $500 or 2 percent, whichever is less. This was by a unanimous vote of the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee.

The accusations’ by Mr. Smeenk are just a case of sour grapes, some former members and Mr. Smeenk did not feel that the tea party members that applied for membership in the local Republican Party were of executive committee material. When we would vote on new members you would have a select few who would vote against people because they belonged to the tea party.

As long as I am chairman and Rex Davis is vice chairman and I believe that I can speak for him, of the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee, this committee will be open to all citizens of Limestone County, regardless of social status, religion, race or whether you belong to the tea party or not.

Mr. Randy Smeenk did the right thing by resigning his position as vice chairman of the Limestone County Republican Committee. The old saying “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” Mr. Smeenk decided to get out of the kitchen. Men of honor don’t leave the battlefield when the going gets tough, quitters never win and winners never quit.

The Limestone County Republican Executive Committee is in the best financial shape that it has been in my 16 years as a member and it’s all because of the conservative men and women of our committee that have worked their behinds off to elect good conservative men and women to office. We have almost doubled in membership since August of 2011. Our goal is to see that President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reed are defeated in this upcoming election. We must restore America before it’s too late.


Ronnie G. Coffman, chairman

Limestone County Republican Executive Committee


Support laws

Dear Editor:

It seems like every week I am reading about some new march being held. This week was no different. The first issue being protested is IDs being required for voting. The only reason to protest IDs being required is if you’re trying to do something illegal.

We all know in the 2008 election, due to groups like Acorn and some labor organizations we had the highest voter fraud ever. If you are in this country legally there are simple ways to obtain photo IDs. This is not a racial issue and should not be compared to civil rights issues. The people who will actually have the biggest problem with IDs are elderly people who no longer drive or are home bound. Do we want to continue to have problems at the polls and with election results, like we’re seeing in Russia? Aren't we better than that?

The second issue being protested is the immigration law. This law does not oppose immigration, only illegal immigration. Laws are put into place to protect the citizens of this country. Illegal aliens are not citizens, have no rights and since they have broken the law they deserve the punishment (deportation) that comes from breaking that law the same as any other criminal.

Are the children responsible for their parents actions? No. However children of any type of criminal unfortunately end up paying for their parents decisions. It's too bad their parents didn't think of their children sooner. Maybe rather than come to the United States illegally they should have worked to make their own country a better place. The protesters are also stating that the immigration law deprives the state of a future voting pool. If illegal immigration continues at its current rate there will be no state or country to have to worry about.

I also noticed all of the people from out of state coming in to march. Alabama can decide how it wants to be run on its own. We don't need special interest groups coming in to try to force us to do things the same way they do. They need to take care of their own states. One of the people quoted was Lorena Ortiz who stated she was an illegal. This woman should be picked up and deported.

Those of us who support these laws need to let our Congressmen and women at the state and national level know that we support them.


Teri Wright