The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

April 22, 2012

Letters to the Editor 4/22/12

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

Gifted program great experience

Dear Editor:

I am a senior at Clements High School and I have been an active member of the Limestone County Gifted Program since my second-grade year. As soon as I read an article that was greatly critical of a program that is so near and dear to my heart, I became absolutely appalled that the Limestone County school board would even consider cutting this great and wonderful program.

Being a part of this program has given me opportunities that I could have never gotten elsewhere. I have traveled to Boston, California, and Washington, D.C., where I attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Through a field trip to Montgomery, I found that I want to become a lawyer, and I feel that if not through my membership in the program, I would still be unsure of what career I wanted to pursue.

Moving the gifted program to county schools may seem like a great idea in theory, but it is, in fact, not a good idea at all. I have been able to interact with some of Limestone County’s brightest and most determined minds on a variety of projects. If the program were to be moved, students would not get to meet, learn from, and share ideas with these other students.

The gifted program fosters teambuilding, accepting others’ differences, decision making, recognizing one’s strengths and weaknesses, preparation, effective communication, and countless other values. These would all be lost if the program were to be moved from the Career Tech Center.

My brother, a sixth-grader, is a member of the gifted program as well, and he has gained so much out of the program already. He looks forward to the things he will learn, the people he will meet, the places he will travel, and the projects that he will participate in. I am always looking forward to the future, and I am afraid that if the program were to be moved, then he would miss out on so many of the opportunities that many high school students do not have.

The gifted program’s impact on me (and so many of my peers) is priceless. It has allowed me to find out what career I desire to have, make lifelong friendships, and impact people that I never could have otherwise. There is no price value that can be put on this, and most certainly not $24,000.


Ryan Cole


Leave gifted program alone

Dear Editor:

I can concede that the $24,000 dollars saved in fuel is probably an accurate assessment. However, the cost to duplicate the resources available at the Tech School at the other five schools is probably going to far exceed the fuels savings they keep touting.  I don’t see the school board going the extra mile to insure the same quality program that they have now will be in place this fall when the students go back to school.

Are they going to having multiple computer labs to choose from so they can accommodate all the gifted students and all the regular students? I seriously doubt it. I would imagine each computer setup with software and peripherals would far exceed $1,000 per unit. Multiply that price by five schools and then by just five units and you've exceeded your savings (not to mention the added annual upkeep). And that, my friends, is a very conservative estimate.

I’m pretty sure the IT department for the school system is really looking forward to adding more computers to an already stressed system when they already have ample assets in place at the tech school!

I was in one of the gifted classrooms this past Tuesday and I was amazed at all the books and resources that were just in that one room. A lot of that was donated, or was provided for by fundraisers that these students participate in. How can the school board duplicate that? And, at five separate schools?

We've all heard the saying a thousand times … “If it ain't broke ... don't fix it!” Hey, Limestone County School Board .... the gifted program isn't broke. Keep your paws off of it.


Chris Southard


Thanks for post-tornado help

Dear Editor:

I just want to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to a local business that demonstrated what it is to be an outstanding community citizen. 

Our house was devastated in the tornado that came through on March 2, 2012. 

Leslie Turner, with Bill Ward Real Estate Team, had sold us the house four years earlier.  We had little contact since that time, but as soon as she received word of what happened, she was immediately in contact and went into action to provide all the assistance possible.

She brought clothes for our son, she made flyers to distribute to help find our dog who was missing because of the tornado, she called local agencies to help us find resources and made several trips to secure resources to help recover our dog (which made the difference in us being reunited with her 25 days after the storm!), as well as, many other things, too numerous to mention. 

There was no profit or gain in this for her, she did this because she cares about people in the community and knew exactly how to respond to people in a crisis.  She is not just a realtor; she is a tremendous blessing, not just to our family, but to the entire community, because if she knew you, she would do the same for you. 


Florence R. Doughty


Doesn’t need ‘educating’

Dear Editor:

First, I would like to thank letter writer Staff Sgt. Terence Crooks for his service to our country. Second, I am a little amused that he thinks he should “educate” me.

He knows perfectly well the “freeloaders” I’m talking about are the people who could work and won’t, not the ones who can’t find work but are trying.

I am 74 years old and retired. I am not looking for work, but I am not on welfare. I live on a small pension and Social Security, both of which I earned. On this wonderful “job recovery,” the reason the unemployment number has gone down is people have given up looking for work and are not counted. Also, people working part time are not counted. The “real” unemployment rate is more like 15 percent.

As I stated in my letter, oil production is down on property the government controls. The only reason for the increase is the president can’t stop it on private land. No one in their right mind can suggest the president wants more oil production. The president has done everything he can to lower oil production. This is not my opinion; it is a fact.

Why was the president’s tour of Europe called “the apology tour” by the media? I will admit he has changed his story lately after getting so much negative reaction in this country. His show of weakness is more likely to cause someone to attack us and get us in another war. I want us to get out of all the wars we are in and not get in any more.

On the president not turning everything into a race issue, I can only say, “you have got to be kidding.” On the shooting case in Florida, Obama said, “Trayvon could be my son.” And you haven’t “heard a thing” from the Black Panthers? They held a rally in Florida and put a bounty on Zimmerman’s head.

Mr. Crooks is the one who needs to read more. Have you seen the videos of young people invading malls to steal and destroy? What are they all wearing? Hoodies. If a young person of any color is seen with a hood, when it is not cold, people start to worry.

At one point Mr. Crooks suggests I need to read more to get my facts straight. But he closes by telling me not to believe everything I read and see on TV. Which is it?


Bruce Wilson