Thursday, August 24, 2006
Letters to the Editor
For most Americans, the long Labor Day weekend is filled with activities that celebrate summer’s end and give us a chance to enjoy the company of friends and family. Some of us will barbecue with neighbors, others will head to the waterways for a last chance to ski, fish, or kayak.
No matter how you plan to spend your time, if alcohol is part of the celebration, it’s important to make choices that will keep everyone safe, such as drinking responsibly and designating a driver or skipper.
The goods news is most of us already do the right thing with 146 million American adults saying they’ve either been or used a designated driver. And it shows. Labor Day weekend drunk-driving fatalities have decreased by 41 percent since 1990, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
So, let’s do our part to continue the progress this Labor Day weekend. We all make a difference in the fight against drunk driving. Remember, Responsibility Matters.
Thanks from the
I recently had my two daughters missing and met Kelly McMillen and Major Randy Harper.
I would just like to express my thanks to them, Marshall County Investigators, US Marshals, District Attorneys office and all the other law enforcement who helped me locate my two daughters safe and sound.
Kelly and Randy spent numerous hours searching any lead they had. At times I felt like I couldn’t take anymore but Kelly was always there to tell me he wouldn’t stop till he found them.
I was so worried and didn’t notice he hadn’t eaten till he had a call from his wife and asked me to answer it as he spoke with someone with new information about my daughters.
I thanked his wife for the hours she and their children were losing so he could find my daughters. I asked him if I could fix him something to eat and he just simply said there was no time, he would eat when he got home.
I knew he had been here all day and most of the night so I found him something to eat. As he ate I remember thinking “thank God for him and Randy.”
I know the pay isn’t that good so it has to be kindness and a huge caring heart that drives them to do this job. Randy Harper and I shared many cups of coffee together and I know I must have asked a thousand questions including a lot of stupid ones but I always received a smile or kind look.
Never once did anyone respond in a mean manner or treat me with anything but kindness. I also can recall six or seven investigators standing in my driveway at 3 a.m. saying, “Can anyone think of something else we haven’t done or a place we haven’t been?” With bloodshot eyes and faces with fatigue written all over them, but they pushed on.
When they had nothing else to follow up on they finally went home but with hesitation in the air as well as in their eyes. The next morning Randy Harper returned but Kelly had to perform another duty and called me to tell me I was in good hands. He began to rifle through phone records and all the paper work to try and figure out what to do next when the phone rang and it was my daughters.
I quickly headed to Randy and I will never forget the look on his face when I said it was them. He looked like a kid at Christmas opening presents. He was as happy as I was to hear from them. Kelly called a few minutes after they got home and you could hear the relief in his voice.
The next day he came by to meet the girls he had only seen pictures of and the smile on his face said it all. The reason I am writing this is that I would like to say to Kelly McMillen, “You are an awesome person and you truly have found your calling.”
I would like to say to Major Randy Harper, “Thanks for never giving up,” and I wished I could have hugged his neck and said thank you for all he did. He is a smart and caring person. I shared many cups of coffee with him and I recall bringing him a cup that had on it a humorous joke about stress but I knew inside that these men truly have so much stress you couldn’t even begin to imagine.
From the bottom of my heart I thank each and every one that helped locate my daughters and will never forget what you did for me. I truly believe God sent them to me.
You always hear about someone missing and found but never what they had to go through to find them and the hours they work without eating or sleeping till they are found. They are truly “our finest” and I wish I could do more. I look at my daughters everyday and think what a great day and I owe it to them.
May God bless you and your families. I would also like to thank La Richardson and his wife Karen and other Barton Fire Department members who helped, also Cayce Fire Department member Larry Marcum. My community sure came together to help me.
Re: Salter column:
In the 17 August edition of your paper, columnist Sid Salter reiterated his stand in favor of embryonic stem cell research, praising our Mississippi Senators for their vote in favor of funding such research and complaining about the negative votes of Congressmen Wicker and Pickering. He further stated that many conservative Republicans support such research and “reject the shrill voice of the far right.” I feel that I must raise my small, shrill voice in protest.
By way of background, it should be noted that while embryonic stem cell research does, as Mister Salter states, hold “great promise,” to date no actual treatments have been developed from such research. On the other hand, work with adult stem cells and with stem cells from umbilical cord blood has actually gone beyond the “promise” stage. Other background facts that are often lost in the torrent of words surrounding this subject are: 1) there is no law against embryonic stem cell research and anyone can conduct such research. Government approval is not required unless the researcher wants to feed at the government trough. 2) Before the Bush Administration there was no government funding of any embryonic stem cell research. the Bush Administration approved the use of government money for the research, but restricted it to stem cells already harvested. No government money could be used to increase the number of available cells. What we are arguing about is whether or not to take the next step down the slippery slope which leads where most civilized people would not want to go, unless they had been properly prepared for the journey by years of hardening of the consciences.
Mr. Salter believes that embryos which will be destroyed anyway could be put to better use in research. Given those choices, he is correct. Research is the lesser of the two evils. However, if you believe that an embryo is a human being, choosing one evil over the other is still the choosing of evil.
Allow me to argue by analogy. The nursing homes in the United States are filled with people whose quality of life is marginal at best. These people are probably going to die very shortly whether or not we speed them on their way. In Oregon, these people can be hurried along their journey to death. If that is what they want, and a doctor is willing to kill them, and the law allows it, then I must watch in silence whether I approve or not. Please do not ask me to insert the needle, however, or to pay for it. If someone wants to harvest these stem cells for research, he is free to do so, so long as he does not do it with my tax money.
Board meeting agenda:
I was privileged to attend the Board of Aldermen meeting on August 15. On behalf of the approximately 20 citizens who attended, I want to thank the Board for its candid deliberation of the agenda.
Some of us were puzzled to witness the attitude of the members of the Board toward the recommendations of the mayor (the city administrator) on the director of the Utility Department and the police chief. The people ought to know that:
1. the mayor presented a list of candidates (prior to 8/15/2006) to the Board for interviews for the chief of police (a three-year-old vacancy) and the utility chief with resumes on each.
2. the citizens attended the meeting to hear the Mayor announce his recommendations for the two important positions i.e. chief of colice and chief of the Utility Department.
3. one member of the Board made a motion that the mayor’s recommendations be approved. His motion died for a lack of a second. (Four aldermen decided to become administrators and go into their famous executive session.)
4. the executive session lasted for fifty minutes and the Board refused to accept the mayors’ recommendations. It called for another interview with the candidates.
The citizens were frustrated. Many left, and the few remaining were disgusted with the way the aldermen treated the citizens and the mayor. The aldermen not only disrespected the duly elected mayor (city administrator) but treated the citizens like step-children.
We think of the Board as a “policy maker” and monitor of compliance with city and state guidelines (not administrators).
We think of the mayor as the city administrator and the implementer of city policy. We think the mayor needs to have most to say about the appointment of persons who are directly responsible to him.
If there is something a board member knows about a candidate that would be detrimental to the City, it should be brought to the attention of the mayor prior to the recommendation.
We hope the Board will respect the citizens who attend the meetings and call their executive session at the end of the meeting and make its reports at the subsequent meeting.
It is our further hope is the publication of by-laws covering the process of selecting or appointing city employees. The citizens need to know the legal process according to by-laws to avoid making unfounded judgments. Since this is a public entity, these by-laws should be published in our local newspapers. “Though (the people )may acquiesce, they cannot approve what they do not understand.” Thomas Jefferson.
From the opinions of many citizens, it appears that the Board is playing games at the expense of the citizens.
To call another interview session with the candidates is costly in a tight budget when other needs are greatly unfunded.
W.A. McMillan Sr., Coordinator
(662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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