Thursday, July 21, 2005

Letters to the Editor

Cheap shots:
Dear Editor,

I have never written a letter to the editor before, but at this time I feel I need to make a reply to the writer of the letter titled Animal Cruelty, which appeared in the July 14 edition.

I am not personally a member of the Humane Society. I do, however consider myself a friend of theirs. A really close friend, since my wife is a member of this organization.

First, let me say that yes, animal cruelty is a problem in Marshall County, much as it is about everywhere else, I’d venture to say. Animal control of all kinds is an issue here as elsewhere.

Second, I’d like to say kudos to you, and Terry at No Borders Animal Rescue for whatever help he was to you in rescuing the horse that was apparently in need of assistance.

I have had numerous conversations with various members of the Humane Society on several occasions about the No Borders Animal Rescue group ever since it was formed, and the consensus has always been good; there is plenty of work to keep ten groups busy.

There are far too many animals and issues for any one person or group to be able to cure all of the county’s ills. Every successful rescue or placement in a good home of any animal, regardless of who actually handles the arrangement, is considered a welcome achievement by the Humane Society whose only concern is for the animals.

What I personally will no longer quietly accept is when someone reports a successful rescue by No Borders in your paper and then takes a “cheap shot” at the Humane Society.

This is a group of overworked, unpaid volunteers who, by their own admission cannot save the world. They do, however, do what they can. To advise someone to “not waste your time” by calling the Humane Society is ludicrous.

I have no personal knowledge of the situation except what was printed in the letter in question so I will not comment on it except to say that while the writer had one situation to deal with, the Humane Society is bombarded with calls for help.

If anyone has a legitimate complaint or suggestion to improve the service provided by the Society, then come on out to one of their monthly meetings and be heard. Better yet, go ahead and join their group and be a part of the solution. They meet at the public library in Holly Springs and the date is published in the Calendar section of this paper.

Jerome Sterling
Holly Springs

Credit where due:
Dear Editor,

Representatives of the Concerned Parents Association (CPA), the Marshall County NAACP and Marshall County Concerned Citizens Coalition (MCCCC) met with the Holly Springs School District Board of Trustees at its regular meeting on Tuesday July 12, 2005. The meeting was held in the high school library to accommodate the larger group.

The group was pleasantly impressed with the responses given by the chair of the board (Martha Thomas) to the questions submitted in advance to the trustees by the above groups. These questions were directed to the administration of the school district and the status of the search for a superintendent of the Holly Springs Independent School District.

Martha Thomas, chair, outlined the status of the search and provided satisfactory answers to the questions raised by the above groups.

She explained that the delay in getting the packs for the twelve candidates to the board was due to a few minor items still to be collected.

The Chair further stated the board’s plan for involving citizens in formulating the questions and setting up the machinery for selecting representative citizens to review the 12 candidates prior to the board’s selection of a superintendent.

The results of the panel of citizens will be submitted to the Board of Trustees as information.

Thomas asked for a five person volunteer committee from the group to assist in formulating questions that will be raised with each candidate. The volunteers included the following persons: Martha Thomas, Rep. Kelvin Buck, Rev. Willie Jeffries, Dr. W. A. McMillan Sr. and Dr. Sylvester Oliver Jr.

The Board of Trustees conducted its meeting in open session and respected all in attendance. It was thought by most in attendance to be a most informational, inspirational and well orchestrated meeting.

Thanks to the Board of Trustees for its systematic efforts to select the best leadership for our schools in Holly Springs.

W.A. McMillan Sr., coordinator
Marshall County Concerned Citizens Coalition
Holly Springs

We are volunteers:
Dear Editor,

We are the Humane Society of Marshall County. We are a volunteer spay and neuter organization. Our goals for Marshall County are to help educate pet owners as to the importance of spay/neuter for their animals, and to offer a low cost spay and neuter clinic.

We are not ‘animal control’ for Marshall County. Marshall County does not have animal control or rescue. The groups in this county that are trying to help on a voluntary basis are both doing the best they can.

We rescue approximately 10 animals per month. (Not including the feral cat colonies that are in our program for trapping-testing-neutering). As we are all volunteers, we only have room for very few animals in our foster-home program. We have adopted out over 42+ animals this year. All of our animals are spayed/neutered and up to date on their shots before we release them to the new owners. We also test for feline leukemia at our clinic.

We have purchased property and are in the process of building our new 5,000 square foot facility that will house our adoptable animals as well as quarantined areas for animals that may have health issues. The building and land are being paid for with the help of our generous supporters and our Thrift Store located between Fred’s and Victor’s Pizza. There are no paid employees -- strictly volunteers!

Our accomplishments have far exceeded our expectations. We have spayed/neutered over 4,000 animals from this area with the help from our vet, Dr. Isis Johnson and our many volunteers who come to our clinic every Wednesday and give of their time to help the pet owners of Marshall County.

We all would like to help on every call that comes in, but as most of us have other obligations such as full time jobs, we just don’t have enough time in the day. We would like to apologize for the few calls that do fall in between the cracks, and just would like to ask everyone concerned to let their supervisors know how much ‘animal control’ is needed out in the county.

Thanks for all your support and don’t forget to have your pet spayed or neutered.

The Volunteers of the Marshall County Humane Society
Shelly Sharpe
vice president
Marshall County Humane Society

Voting machines:
Dear Editor:

Mississippi Secretary of State Eric Clark recently demonstrated the new voting machines in Tupelo. These new voting machines are mandated by federal law. After the fiasco in Florida in the 2000 presidential election, Congress mandated that every polling place have only touch-screen voting machines. However, there are several problems inherent in these machines.

First, as they are being implemented in Mississippi, there is no paper trail. In other words, when you vote, you have no method to verify who it is that you actually voted for. The solution to this is to have a paper receipt printed, but Secretary Clark says that the printers are too expensive. The earliest that we can have them installed is after the next election cycle.

Second, as I understand their operation, there is no way to stop someone from voting multiple times. When the last vote is cast, the screen switches back to the beginning. So, there is nothing to prohibit someone from standing at the machine and voting multiple times.

Third, these machines are much more easily manipulated to generate fraudulent results than any method devised this far. Most other methods require multiple participants in a fraud scheme. In other words, it takes several people to cast multiple paper ballots. It takes several people to falsify ballots or steal ballot boxes. These, and other methods, are more easily detectible. With a computer, it only takes one person with knowledge of the software and some programming skills.

As anyone with any computer skills knows, there are vast differences between input and output. Just because a voter touches the screen where it lists the name of a candidate does not mean the computer registers a vote for that candidate. The program could be encoded to register every other screen touch for candidate one as a vote for candidate two. As long as some votes are registered for the first candidate, there would be no reliable method for candidate one to verify the fraud.

Touch screens sound like a good idea at first, but the potential for fraud is so great as to give us pause to consider whether we will ever have an accurate election.

John C. Helmert Jr.

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