The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 21, 2013

Letters to the Editor 7/21/13

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

Alligator dump ‘arrogant’

Dear Editor:

Let us complain about the actions of the Lauderdale Animal Control. From what I’ve been told an alligator was “relocated” to Richter Road in Eastern Lauderdale. It appears the alligator was transported to the very eastern edge of Lauderdale and thrown over the county line into Limestone County.

Who did they contact and what office was it that agreed to this? If the intent was to relocate the alligator to a better habitat, then they failed miserably. They missed the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge by about 20 miles.

The people on the Elk River would have told the officer they didn’t want an alligator within 20 miles of the river because of their own families’ safety. The location of the relocation will not support this alligator and the alligator needs to be found and located properly. This impromptu relocation was ill advised, arrogant and several other adjectives.


Roy M. Smith


A common-sense approach

Dear Editor:

Well, surprise, surprise. The conservation officers didn’t kill him.

It seems that if you’re a protected black bear or a protected bull elk, you get shot by the conservation officers in the name of “public safety.” I’m glad to see that some of them are using some common sense for a change.

Now if the residents on the Elk River cannot get eaten by the gator, all will be fine.


Walt Merritt


In defense of the library

Dear Editor:

First, a disclaimer: I am the husband of the director of the Athens-Limestone Library. I am also a 22-year retired career Army officer who served two tours in Vietnam and the father of two veterans.

As such, I must take issue with Mr. Diggins’ letter on July 14. While he may be proud of the Veterans Museum, it was not necessary to take a swipe at the local library when he said,  “the museum is not a warehouse (or mausoleum) built to store only books and printed material (with questionable attendance).”

Mr. Diggins has an ill-founded opinion. The local library, which is rightfully being expanded, is a vital arena where knowledge is opened up for varying peoples. While his museum sees “5,000-6,000” visitors annually, the library services 6,500 county citizens per month with 11,500 active library cardholders.

If he would take time to step into the library, he will notice that it not only “stores books and printed material,” rather there is an array of information media that is accessible to all. He apparently does not attend any number of exhibits and programs the library sponsors.

Recently, our library was the only library in the state to have the national exhibit on the Statue of Liberty on display. One very hard-working individual, Laura Poe, was just last week awarded the Paralibrarian of the Year award by an international body.

The people of the city and the county are a generous people; it is not necessary to belittle one civic entity for the sake of another.


Deacon Dan Laurita


Thank you, Al

Dear Editor:

We were traveling home to Illinois with our daughter and two grandbabies when our car began running very poorly. We ended up getting off the Interstate at U.S. 72, not knowing anything about where we were. Since it was 6 p.m., we sputtered into the first motel to look for some help in the morning.

Perhaps we should have sputtered a little further because we were soon trying to avoid the drunks, panhandlers and drug dealers that seemed to reside there.

We have some resources, but by no means are rich people. Having been abused before by the chain shops’ up-sellers, we searched the Internet for the independent-type shop that had good reviews. The good ones are usually busy, and that was the case with two that I had picked out. Having left the family at the Waffle House after checkout time, I was really getting worried about getting the problem solved so that we could get back home. Then I happened to drive by Al’s Transmission shop; it seemed like a long shot, but I stopped.

He was on the phone, but the secretary grabbed the analyzer, hooked it up, took a picture of the display, and then went back into the office to read the information to Al, who immediately said it sounded like a heavy vacuum leak. He was under the hood about two minutes before he found the holes in the intake manifold that the other mechanics spending hours didn’t.

When I explained our situation, they went out of their way to help us. When a new manifold wasn’t available locally, they began scouring salvage yards. Next thing I knew, we were in a barn pulling the part off an old engine. I still can’t believe he found the manifold or how reasonable the whole repair bill ended up being. We were soon on the road and the vehicle ran great.

This letter to let readers know the kind of business he runs, and is the best way I can think of to say “thank you” to Al. Had we just spent the night at that motel, we would have left with a very bad image of Athens, but we scratched through the surface. We saw that you should be proud of your community with people like Al and his staff. Athens seems like a great place to live.


Kyle Mitchell

Streator, Ill.

They wanted it, they should pay for it

Dear Editor:

I have been writing letters to the editor, and personally meeting with the mayor and City Council regarding the library cost question, for several years. Now they have announced another cost increase per the latest statement from Debbie Joyner, the library’s fundraising consultant.

In 2009, the city librarian stated that a city of Athens’ size should have 25,000 square feet for a library to meet future needs. They have exceeded that by 50 percent due to the unreasonable position of the library board of trustees.  They don’t care what it costs as long as they get their way.  

Ms. Joyner stated just a few months ago that operating costs would only slightly increase. At that time, I wrote that it would substantially increase.

The mayor stated to the library trustees, the City Council, and personally to me, three years ago, that the city would pay a maximum of $120,000 towards the new library’s operating expenses. This was when the city and county told the trustees that the proposed library’s size of 39,000 square feet was unnecessary and 24,000 square feet was the maximum justified size to handle the projected Athens population. That would leave 14,000 square feet to use for other city offices and other city activities.

Since the trustees refused to agree with the city’s proposal, they should take responsibility for all the excess operating, and construction costs. The trustees want it, let them pay for it.   

The city has many increasing and necessary expenses that the taxpayers must consider. The mayor, if he is a man of his word, should limit the contribution to the library’s operating costs to $120,000. All government bodies — local, state and national — have had to make major adjustments due to the economy. This must also include the library board of trustees.   

What is the library’s board of trustees going to do if some of the donors fail to meet their donation pledges? You need to ask for the detailed basis for their financial figures and long-term effects of this cost.

What are the citizens’ honest feelings regarding this kind of expenditure based on a fund raising consultant’s opinion whose only job is to raise money, not justify the need or basis for the need?

Taxpayers take some time to question the use of our funds. City Councilman Joe Cannon has the right idea. Let’s evaluate, in depth, the expenditure of our funds.


Quentin D. Anderson Sr.