The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

March 10, 2013

Letters to the Editor 3/10/13

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

Greatness in Athens

Dear Editor:

One of the great faults of mankind is the belief that his perceptions represent truth. I see this phenomenon in daily conversations with some people in Athens. Not all but some.

I even read it in some of the letters to the editor of this newspaper; this falsehood that since they perceive it to be true, it must be. In reality nothing is further from the truth.

In recent days I have been privy to conversations where the overriding perception is that once Trinity High School closed, the African-African community in Athens descended into a kind of hellhole fueled by drugs. Again, perception is not reality.

Are drugs a problem in our community? No more than anywhere else in Athens. If you perceive that drugs are not a problem in the neighborhoods of the big houses, then again, your perception does not represent reality.

Communities are defined by the people who inhabit them and outstanding people have always lived in the African-American community of Athens. In the next few weeks, I hope to fill the letters to the editor page with “positive stories” about the accomplishments of some these individuals.

In 1992, while living in Germany, I wrote a series of letters to the editor that became the basis of a popular News Courier series called Trinity Profiles. In those letters, I wrote about the accomplishments of citizens from the African-American community of Athens who had a profound impact upon the world. Many of those same type citizens are still living in the community and are still impacting the world, including Dr. Flora Townsend, psychologist; Mrs. Celestine Bridgeforth, educator, archivist and descendent of two noble families; James Lucas, Athens school board member and one-time president of the board; Robert Malone, retired master sergeant and meteorologist; Billy King, who defended America’s honor in Vietnam; Shirley Higgins, retired educator and business owner; and Ollye Ward, business owner.

Our community is filled with outstanding Americans and I hope that I can write well enough to tell their story.

The formative years of my life were spent in this community and I know its strength. I also know that false perceptions of reality can never dilute that strength.


Lt. Col. James L. Walker (retired)


Take a stand for America

Dear Editor:

Bob Woodward, editor of the Washington Post and author of the book on Obama’s White House and one of the pair of reporters that brought down the Nixon White House, has recently stated that Obama is responsible for sequestration.

The patriotic, hardworking, taxpaying citizens and military veterans of Alabama awakened early to the Democrats’ plot to take over this country and turned them out of the Legislature and key state offices. They want what our nation’s founding fathers wanted and to protect our embattled Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Only someone who cares little about this country and its future generations would support the current president and his Democratic cohorts. The hardworking, heavily taxed, middle-class taxpayers must rise up to defend themselves against those who wish to destroy this country and replace it with a socialistic monarchy with only a few providing the funds for those that don’t want to work or finish school.

There is tremendous corruption and cheating in welfare and hundreds of other taxpayer-funded social programs for those considered “less fortunate,” even if it may be due to their own action or inaction. We have clergy speaking against sequestration because they’re more concerned about funding for their church and lifestyle. Jesus threw the tax people out of the temple. Are the clergy confused?

It’s time to participate in public demonstrations to resist the Obama administration’s blatant power grab and funding, via higher taxes on the few, to benefit so many who resist and avoid participation in the growth and strengthening of our democracy.

Wake up America before your lives are totally controlled by a few in Washington, D.C., and you, your families, and children pay the penalty.


Quentin D. Anderson Sr.


Concern over AAA bill

Editor’s note: The News Courier received the following letter from officials with Arab City Schools. Though we don’t typically run letters to the editor from those outside our coverage area, we feel the sentiment matches the feelings of other educators in North Alabama, and echoes comments made by Limestone County Superintendent Dr. Thomas Sisk in an article in the March 5 edition of The News Courier.

Dear Editor:

At the core of the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 is a very noble purpose: give students in Alabama who are trapped in “failing schools” better educational options. The intent of the AAA is not where our qualms lie. Our objections are the manner in which the bill was passed and the end result the law will have on the students in the Arab City School system (and all other public school systems in Alabama).

The process used to pass the AAA was secretive and exclusive. A bill of this magnitude deserved to be fully debated in both chambers of the Legislature. It was not. The citizens of Alabama should have been granted an opportunity to preview this bill. They were not. And finally, passage of an educational bill of this significance should have included input from the State Superintendent of Education, the Alabama State Department of Education, and the Alabama State School Board. All three of these important public entities were totally excluded.

The end result of the AAA is the students within the Arab City School system (and all other public school systems in Alabama) will, in the future, receive diminished funding from the Education Trust Fund. The income tax credits for paying private school tuition that the AAA grants to individuals and corporations will lessen future ETF allocations to the Arab City School system (and all other public school systems in Alabama).

Who knows? With an open, inclusive, and collaborative process, the legislature may have been able to accomplish its noble purpose without economically penalizing the 90 percent of Alabama’s students who attend public schools that are not failing.


John Mullins

Superintendent of Arab City Schools

Brian Clemons, board president of the Arab City Board of Education

Chuck Reynolds, board vice president

Susan LeSueur, board member

Judy Eldrod, board member

B.C. Maze, board member

Upset by cable increases

Dear Editor:

I am writing an open letter to the mayor and City Council members about the quality of service that Charter Communications is not giving the citizens of this area.

Recently, Charter decided to raise the prices $6 per month for their services without notification to its customers. Charter Communications is fixing to lose a lot more customers, and maybe it is time for the mayor and council to terminate Charter’s right to do business here and find another company, which will put its customers first, and not their pockets.


Michael Sharritt


Clean house in D.C.

Dear Editor:

Impeach the president, censure and recall the entire U.S. Congress and fire a very large percentage of the bureaucracy — let’s say the first top five levels — which manage their careers better than they do their responsibilities. 

Maybe then Washington D.C. will become responsible and responsive to the citizens of the United States instead of sending billions of dollars to a bunch of Middle Eastern countries who really don’t need the money and/or who will spend it on terrorizing us. 

Maybe then our federal, state and local politicians would pay attention and worry about our needs and concerns rather than all of them making senseless trips to D.C. to deal with sequestration. 

Where are we headed? Not in any meaningful direction that will assist us as citizens and taxpayers. We have unnecessary and unfunded wars and tax cuts while running deficits, and still provide excellent benefits to those who don’t need them. Plus, we support those who have never tried to better themselves or found it unnecessary to work for a living. 

We must understand those who have the golden rule, from bankers, and fat cats, to corporations, Congress and the Federal Reserve. Greed exists, and “waste not, want not” no longer applies. How ethically corrupt and valueless can the power structure is in this country become? 

Then, let’s look in the mirror. We as citizens (as well as the illegal immigrants) have become spoiled and greedy because of the government’s spending patterns that have become the norm within our economy. Social entitlement programs have grown and gotten out of hand, while at the same time the defense department pumps billions of dollars into new programs to keep millions of people employed performing at jobs that create little or no economic or multiplier value. Many government programs and projects at the federal level only provide the populous with other forms of unemployment compensation and do nothing for improving our infrastructure. 

With the federal government’s administration, the U.S. Congress and the bureaucracy operating virtually without limitations this country is now in a world of hurt. Without care, consideration and involvement by you and me, we are headed down a long and dangerous road. 

I ask you, with all the talk of sequestration, have you heard one word regarding what the consequences are for the president, his administration and the members of the U.S. Congress?   


Ralph Diggins