The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 14, 2012

Letters to the Editor 10/14/12

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

Party or the individual

Dear Editor:

I submit the two-party system remains essential to good government. Political candidates choose the party platform that best reflects their ideas and the method and goals they wish to achieve when elected. I am deeply concerned at the lack of understanding and appreciation of the party system by candidates and voters. Basically, your choice of a political party during the general election becomes a powerful multiplier for your candidates. Working together through the party system they are able to accomplish what you need for the community.

The weeding out and best individual vote is accomplished in the primary election of the party of choice. This is where the best person must be chosen.  Basically, voting a mixed ticket significantly reduces the effectiveness of your vote and your government. Voting for the party with the leadership and ideas you can support is good government.

The evolution of political parties is a fact of American politics. When a political party and leadership no longer express your ideas of government it’s time to send that party a message.


Rex Davis


Give Brooks the boot

Dear Editor:

A recently released study by the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at the University of Alabama concluded that 48 percent of businesses expect a worsened economic outlook mainly due to sequestration and its impending execution and drastic cuts, which will be felt heavily in government-heavy locales such as North Alabama. 

This is an action for which our shameful Congressman Mo Brooks can be held responsible.

Brooks’ belligerent adherence to strict party lines, regardless of what is good for the world or the country or North Alabama, provides the best example in the nation of a congressman who needs to be replaced.

Many Limestone County residents, including my wife, either work for the government or government-related contractors.

If North Alabama cares about jobs and a multitude of other important topics, they will elect a fresh face to Washington.


Gordon Niessen


Put Provience in HOF

Dear Editor:

Coach H.B. Provience was the winningest coach in Trinity High School history. Trinity was the only high school for blacks in Limestone County for 105 years and for 21 of those years coach Provience was the head football, basketball, baseball and track coach.

Since coach is not around to defend his record, I talked to a group of people who are very knowledgeable about his accomplishments, his players. To a man they all agreed that he should be in the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame.

“Not only was Coach Provience a very good coach he was also a good man in the classroom. He taught History and expected his students to be prepared when they walked into his classroom. If you weren’t prepared he acted as if you had let him down as well as yourself,” said Arthur “Redbone” Kirby, who played football for Provience and is a member of the inaugural class of the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame.

Education was very important to Provience; it was so important that in order to set a good example for his players he pursued a master’s degree while teaching and coaching. After years of study he became one of the first black coaches and maybe one of the first coaches in North Alabama to obtain a master’s degree.

   “He was a very good coach and he was all we had. He was also a great man,” said Louis Coger who played football for Provience and is a member of the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame. Coach Provience was certainly all Trinity had. For many years he was the line coach, backfield coach, offensive coordinator, linebacker coach, defensive secondary coach and defensive coordinator as well as head coach. He was also the offensive and defensive coach in the other sports.

“Provience was a good basketball coach. He was about like he was in football, a strict disciplinarian who knew the game,” said Ronnie Fletcher, who played basketball for coach Provience and is a member of the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame. During Fletcher’s senior year he scored 50 or more points in six games (they did not have a three-point shot) and Provience led his team to the district playoff.

If Provience was good enough to coach these three into the Hall of Fame then the obvious question is, why isn’t he in the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame?

“Coach had his ways, but when it came down to business he was a good coach who knew the game and expected you to always play hard and play to win,” said Larry Howell, who played baseball for Provience for four years.

Good teacher. Good coach. Strict disciplinarian. Expected you to play to win. Great man. All accolades that say Coach Provience should be in the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame.


Army Lt. Col. James L. Walker (retired)


Think before you tax

Dear Editor:

Chris Seibert’s win for the District 1 City Council seat is a real step forward for the citizens of Athens.

The City Council now has three new forward-looking members, two of whom are young and thinking in terms of what their own young children will be facing in the future. No more hair-brained schemes that aren’t in all the citizens’ best interests, like the $600,000 CNG public fill pump that will receive little, if any, meaningful use and add very little to the bottom line for a return on the city’s cost.

Former city councilman Crawford stated in last Sunday’s paper that the consensus of the citizens were not in favor of a sales tax increase. He further stated that the city didn’t have a serious financial problem, it only needs better judgment as to how it expended its funds. 

The mayor recently stated that if an increase is approved by the council, “he wants those additional revenues reserved for specific line-item projects.”  This type of specific use policy is contrary to good business management and use of funds. It forces the use of funds to particular areas that can become less critical and beneficial to the quality of life in the future. 

The primary concern should be funding for infrastructure improvement and upgrading, which is critical to the quality of life, attraction to new retail businesses and industrial interests, and potential tourism needs. At no time should a funding allocation become a permanent line item account. This is only a sham to protect the funding of special interests that may not be critical to the city and its citizen’s best interests. There should never be set percentage funding allocations because this restricts future funding adjustments as required to accommodate the change in priorities.

Any sales tax increase would be the first in 37 years and should be given in-depth review and analysis and the long-term effect of such action, not something that seems nice right now. Short-term effects would include reduced businesses income, reduced general quality of life as families’ incomes are reduced.

Let’s give our new council members strong support as they study the long-term critical needs of Athens and the short-term effect of indiscriminate funding allocations and capital expenditures. 

It’s a new day in Athens with an independent council that can think for itself. No more special deals for anyone.


Quentin D. Anderson Sr.


Wait before passing tax

Dear Editor:

As Athens has not had a sales tax increase since 1975, a proposal for an additional 1-cent sales tax is now being discussed and worked on per the mayor on a recent Jamie Cooper show to be submitted to the City Council for a vote. 

If voted for, and the new revenue becomes available, it must be very effectively managed and accounted for, and be beneficial to all Athens’ taxpaying citizens. This can only be accomplished through a process of developing a new revenue-based budget and the control of expenditures on a very business-like, planned, ethical basis, without predispositions and potential conflicts of interest. 

Each district, as well as the city taxpayers as a whole, must be taken into consideration, respected and represented.

To ensure this happens, I recommended to the City Council Monday night they wait until the new council is seated and let them make the vote.  I further recommended that there should also be multiple public work sessions between the outgoing, current and the new incoming council members, plus the city administration and service department management. These sessions would support the learning process and help develop an understanding of the necessity for the increase, as well as ensure making informed decisions regarding how revenues are and should be expended. 

I would also like to note that at the meeting on Monday, both Councilmen Harold Wales and Jim Hickman agreed that the council does not need to rush to this decision. Both strongly made their point of making the three new members of the council part of this decision before voting on such an important issue.

Also, before voting for any increased revenues, a planned line-item budget with legislative earmarks and controls must be developed to show exactly how and where any expenditure of new revenues will go; not be just some big pot of money to be doled out.

This is the only way to insure accountability and adequately represent the citizens of an individual district as well as the entire city. Last, but not least, the entire process, including issues, should be provided to the Courier in a transparent manner for reporting to our citizens.

As my very dear friend’s bumper sticker says, “Just Do the Right Thing.” It’s been since 1975, so let’s take a little longer.


Ralph Diggins


Thanks for the ride

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the Athens Limestone Public Library Foundation, I would like to thank Sheriff Mike Blakely for holding a Trail Ride for us on Sunday, Oct. 7, and donating the proceeds to our campaign to provide a new library for Athens and Limestone County.

Sheriff Blakely and his employees donated their time and lots of effort to make the Trail Ride a huge success.

We would also like to thank Neal Johnston for providing his beautiful property for the Trail Ride and our local sponsors (who are listed individually on the library website).

The proceeds will help us meet the Dekko Foundation Challenge to raise the remaining funds by Dec. 31.

Again, thank you, Sheriff Blakely and everyone who participated in the Trail Ride. We appreciate your contribution to the new library, something everyone in Athens and Limestone County will be able to benefit from and take pride in.


Gina Garth