The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

August 18, 2013

Letters to the Editor 8/18/13

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

Library project is open book

Dear Editor:

This responds to Mr. Quentin Anderson's Aug. 4, letter, “Public’s interest at heart?” His letter was commenting upon one submitted by Ms. Georgina Garth on July 8.

Mr. Anderson commented critically upon the openness of the library project to public scrutiny. This project has been discussed at numerous public meetings. There has been discussion and presentations to the City Council and the County Commission. Some meetings included the library’s then and future operating budget proposals, and new library cost estimates. Numerous newspaper articles were printed. Also, the library performs an annual financial audit and provides copies to the County Commission, the city of Athens, and the Alabama Public Library Service (ALPS). 

Ms. Garth explained the new library's square footage requirements history. They were calculated in 2007 by Davis Architects of Birmingham, using ALPS guidelines. These guidelines are based on population densities. The new library will be 38,427 square feet, vs. the “then” calculated need of 37,106 square feet.

Mr. Anderson raised old resolved issues. He would like certain public conveniences eliminated in the new library, such as an auditorium and a coffee shop.  The auditorium is a small one. It is part of the planned conference and meeting room area. The city has long recognized a need for such space. The current library has such a room. Unfortunately it has not been used in that way since August 2001. As for the coffee shop, this is not an unusual feature to have in a modern library, e.g. the Florence Public Library.

The Library’s Board of Trustees, and the Foundation, understands our responsibility to provide informed and accurate communication. Regarding the future operating costs of the new library, it will obviously be more expensive. No member of the staff, the board, or the foundation ever suggested otherwise.  Since we do not have historical cost for operating in the new library there is some element of uncertainty in future operating costs. How could it be otherwise?

The library board asked the city for a $150,000 appropriation for fiscal year 2013-2014. That is a 30 percent increase over the city's current $115,000 support; however, the total proposed increase to the budget for next year is 13.6 percent. The total proposed budget in FY 2013-2014 is $595,205 vs. $523,850 budgeted in 2012-2013. That increased amount is from all sources, and includes one quarter in the new building.


Rod Huffman, chairman

Board of Trustees, Athens-Limestone Public Library


Support Recycling Center

Dear Editor:

I have just learned something today about the change in curbside recycling in Athens that I think is important to share.

I did not connect the dots to realize that this change will mean a large revenue loss to our local recycling center, which is a division of Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful. The sale of cardboard is their main moneymaker, which supports local jobs and environmental education in our city, county and private schools.

As a preschool teacher at Lindsay Lane, my students and I have been direct beneficiaries of the environmental education provided by KALB. Our entire school and church now recycle because of the influence KALB’s education program had on one young student.

I realize that the city had strong financial reasons for changing their curbside program. I also realize that we all have a choice. I choose to take my recycling, especially my cardboard, to the Athens-Limestone Recycling Center to support continued environmental education in our schools.

I hope others will choose to do the same.


Wanda C. Adams


House should act on immigration

Dear Editor:

Millions of immigrants in our country want citizenship. But under our broken

immigration laws, they have no way to earn it. I personally know some of

these hard-working immigrants, and I think it’s hurting our country to keep

them living in the shadows.

Congress needs to protect the path to citizenship for the 11 million

undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States and vote in

favor of reform this year.

Some extremists are still suggesting self-deportation. We all know that’s

not realistic. We need real solutions and rounding up 11 million people or

asking them to leave is inhumane and fixes nothing.

That's why I hope Congress will do the right thing and vote for immigration

reform with a pathway to citizenship.


Carlos Crump Romero


Life and death of a dream

Dear Editor:

Shortly after the Second World War, a new eighth-grade school was built in northwest Limestone County. It was in the Big Creek community some five-plus miles from Athens adjoining Buck Island Road (Highway 99) on five acres of land.

It offered, at first, an eighth grade general education and replaced the sixth-grade schools of O’Neal, Shanghai and Cartwright. Soon, a ninth grade was added along with the Cross Key school students.

Most of the people who lived in this area were honest, hardworking farm families. But few were able to provide a good living for their families due to soil fertility, weather patterns and lack of resources. The pain of the Great Depression was still fresh in their minds and they could see a better education would give their children a better life.

Despite some growing pains the new school did well. The community support was tremendous and support for the school instilled in us a sense of pride. We had a good academic record and our composite record in athletics was almost always the best in the county among junior high schools.

The enrollment increased until it was higher than some of the 12th-gradeschools. We parents could see the future should include a senior high school. The reasons were many and made perfect sense.

Somewhere along the way to this goal something went terribly wrong. The cruel winds of regression blew our school away. The top grades were taken away from us until we were in a worse position than before the school was built. Our children in the top grades were bussed long, expensive, dangerous rides to other schools for no good reason.

So, the dream dies. In retrospect I believe Owens Junior High did a good job of education. It did help the students to a better standard of living. It is a tragedy that it was not allowed to do more. All the academic and athletic accomplishments are fading, pleasant memories frozen in time.

To anybody who helped in the demise of Owens and the other fine junior highs in the county I say this – I have no die and go to hell wish for you – I hope you live 100 years and I fervently hope you never have a sound night’s sleep as long as you live.

Epilogue: Of all sad words of tongue and pen the saddest are these … “What might have been.”


Tom Wade Griggs


Pleased with repairs

Dear Editor:

After a flooded basement dried out by SERVPRO and stripped of baseboards, door jams, carpet, etc., we were at a loss as to who we could get to repair the problem.

After searching the ads in the local paper we came across the ad of Mr. Burgett. How happy we were we chose him for this job.

He did an excellent job from start to finish and it’s even better than before. Thanks, Mr. Burgett for a job well done.


Robert and Mot Beasley