Letters to the Editor
Mar 01, 2013 | 29199 views | 3 3 comments | 140 140 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Gilmer Mirror welcomes letters to the editor on subjects of interest to readers.

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Dear Editor: 



As a Taxpayer and County employee I feel that I must write to make the other Taxpayers of Upshur County aware of what is happening to our County.



I was recently told by one of the Commissioners that as a taxpayer, I had a right to say anything, but as a County employee I should watch what I say.



I begged to differ with him and said that if things were being done that were unethical or to hurt the County, I had a responsibility to speak up.



As Taxpayer, I feel that our county taxes should afford us good roads, the best law enforcement protection and the most polite, educated/knowledgeable service in all the other departments within the county.



 Our School taxes should afford our children the best education.



I know everyone is feeling the financial crunch, but remember school boards/districts set the rates and receive the money for their taxes. The county only collects them. The Commissioners  set the rate for county services only. So when you consider your tax bill, please remember the smaller portion of your taxes go toward the biggest expenses—the County Services.



It is a very disturbing trend we are having in the county—we are losing our Deputies and Jailers in droves. Our Sheriff's Department is the lowest-paid law enforcement agency in the county and they have the biggest area to protect. We all have gone almost seven years without a pay raise, and most have not complained and have continued to serve the taxpayers as  a duty to better our county. Now there are some on our Commissioners Court that want to take away or reduce the bulk of our insurance and retirement benefits. As a result, we are losing good, well-trained, caring people, as well as all the money the county has invested in their training and education, to other counties and agencies.



There is also a push to continue to reduce this county from four (4) JPs and Constables down to two (2), thus further reducing our law enforcement protection.



Why does it seem that some of our commissioners want to lessen the protection and services to the taxpayers? What service do the Commissioners provide? Exactly how many hours do they actually work to earn their pay? They want to keep reducing the services provided to the taxpayers, and yet expect the taxpayers to pay the same amount?



They have outsourced this county in many aspects and their plan is to do even more. Upshur County cannot afford this. We do not have taxes coming in on oil and gas like Smith County or Industry like Gregg County.



Instead of these men having what some would consider, unethical meetings and private agendas, why are they not spending their time on Economic Development?



Paula Gentry is the only commissioner, that I know of, who is actively working an 8-hour day in her office, fielding calls, checking on problems, forwarding requests, checking back on things and researching ways to help improve the County.



Could it be that she is working this hard, because this is her ONLY job? Her ONLY focus? Unlike the other three who have other businesses that come first?



 The County cannot be run like a private business, though we must be financially responsible, we MUST keep in mind - we are a service provider to the Taxpayer. Because of things the Commissioner’s Court have done, are doing or wanting to do, we the taxpayers are being short changed and being put in harms way and getting a lot less for our tax dollars.



Our Veteran’s now have to go to other counties to be served - this is a disgrace!!!! They ,of all people, should be able to be served where they live - not only because they are taxpayers, but because of what they have given to keep us free. It upsets me that no major outcry has happened because of the way we are treating the very people that protected our rights.



We are sending our tax dollars to other counties for the 911 and IT services. They now want to do way with more services by getting rid of half the JP's and Constables. They would like to get rid of our Fire Marshal's position and if rumor is correct our Public Library will also be cut and our County Tax Office.     I say rumor because, instead of doing things in a clear manner by putting it on an agenda and getting direction from the court - a couple of them hold "get together’s" and seek out like minded people and exclude those who might disagree. Though this may not be illegal it is by far unethical.    They should be able and should want to present their ideas in the open - to not only the others on the Court but to the taxpayers and County employees. But that is not what is happening.



 Because of the their private agenda's, lack of forethought and foresight, they are ruining the County for us, our children and grandchildren. If allowed to continue without some sort of accountability OUR  County will be ruined for years to come and at what cost to the taxpayer to repair?   If you or your family end up hurt or in need of law enforcement protection or services and it does not come in time or at all - please do not blame the Sheriff or his dedicated men and women, blame your Commissioner's. If your other services suffer because of shorthandedness or because they have gotten rid of the experienced ones - the Commissioner’s are the one's to blame they do not consider us worthy of decent pay or benefits.



With the exception of one or two on the Court, they treat the County employees like they are dirt and are of no consequence- while they- with the exception of one- gladly accept a larger salary than most other elected officials and only work part time.



There is so much more I could write to tell the taxpayers that I feel they should know, but there is a word limit for these letters.



Respectfully,



Sherry Jewkes-Larsen, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



Imagine my surprise and delight when, on the first try, I got my new Commissioner, Paula Gentry, on the phone at noon on Monday, Feb. 4!



After living on one of the worst 1/2 mi.-long, dead-end County roads in Pct, 1 of Upshur County for almost 20 years, and having had no success in getting any satisfactory response to my requests, beggings or pleadings for repair of a 10 ft. sq. pothole directly in front of the entrance to my property, it was hard to believe that she patiently listened to my frustrated explanation of the problem. She assured me that she would do her best to rectify the situation.



To my astonishment, on Tuesday morning, Feb. 5, Andy Jordan, our new Manager/Administrator of the Road & Bridge Dept., and Donald Jeffries appeared on site to evaluate the needed repairs! He promised me that even though he might not be able to fix it as substantially as it should be, the road would be repaired. By noon the NEXT day, the repairs were done!



In this day and time, when our elected officials and public servants consistently disappoint us, I want to publicly thank them for restoring my faith in and hope for better County government in Upshur County. May theirs be an inspiration and example for others to follow!



Patt Lindsey, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



Wanted to thank Flo Green for locating the lost dog, Buddy, for our 94-year-old friend, Doyle Taylor.  Mrs. Green called us about the missing dog before 5 p.m. on the day the photo/ad came out in The Gilmer Mirror



She said that she’d seen a  dog that looked like Buddy over by her son’s dairy in Kelsey Creek a few days earlier. She got on the phone and found Buddy  for us. Buddy did not have her Spencer Vet rabies tag on.



Also, want to thank the Joe Abundis family  for feeding and caring for Buddy for over a week. Want you all to know how much it means to Mr. Taylor to get his beloved companion, Buddy, back home.



Jim and Evelyn Parker, Gilmer



Dear Editor:

I heard the pundits and the pollsters when they said, “Why would the Aggies leave a semi-tough conference, like the Big 12, and go down to the toughest conference in the nation, the S.E.C.? Don’t they know they will be way over their heads?”

Well, the S.E.C. has really got tougher. Now they have Gig’em Johnny “Heisman” Manziel.

And I also saw where No. 1 Alabama got beat at their home field, Bryant-Denny Stadium, with 100,000 frenzied fans not believing what they were seeing.

Let’s see, who was that team? Was it the Aggies?

Chester Studdard, Gilmer

Dear Editor:



I’d like to thank you for printing last Saturday (1/19/13)’s Viewpoints article, “Turn Out the Lights”, regarding the resignation of former Smith County Republican Party Chairman Ashton Oravetz.  Not only did he have the courage and convictions to resign his post to back up his convictions, but cited his reasons in inspiring detail.  Mr. Oravetz articulated feelings that many Texans/Americans have felt bubbling up to the surface in recent weeks.  It started with the November election, but really it’s been hard to pinpoint what EXACTLY has been eating at us in light of recent moves by the federal government.  It is the total lack of respect for and attempted systematic dismantling of our nation’s Constitution.



I’d like to urge my fellow citizens to take some time to read, comprehend, and fully absorb the significance of this awesome document.   Our Constitution and other founding documents were written by some of the greatest minds of their day.  The fact is (contrary to popular belief) we are not any smarter or wiser than those men were, not so many generations back.  Sorry folks, but even evolution wouldn’t work that quickly!  If anything, we should probably consider ourselves today more gullible and malleable, considering how easily we can be manipulated by the media and entertainment industries.



The point is, the U.S. Constitution and other founding principles were not old-fashioned, outdated concepts but rather were extremely forward thinking for the times.  Our own forefathers were looking into the future in an attempt to safeguard us, their own descendants, from the imperialism and rampant dependence on big government that we are facing TODAY.



So I say kudos to Ashton Oravetz and hope there are others who have the courage to do the right thing - stand up for what you believe in no matter what others may think or say.



Jodi Morris, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



I have thought about this matter for a while. While watching bits and pieces of the inauguration this morning I became a wondering mind.



When President Obama was elected we Republicans,rednecks and racist went on the campaign to destroy him.We put signs in our yards saying prayer was the answer. 



I bought three signs. Prayed a lot. Talked to many people.Had so much tea parties,wouldn't drink tea for several months.Kept watching TV, then the election year comes. 



I am out politicking for Romney, went back to my sign prayer is only help. Talked with many. I liked so many face book things not to vote for Obama in 2012 must have done a million.



Now to get down to truth we asked God to help. We didn't like the change. Can we not see God must have thought he was the right president.



Then there is another thought maybe there is no God to hear these prayers. I have been raised a Baptist all my life, believe in God but something is happening we live in a world where the morals and our rights are no longer taught about. I am sure this will brings lots of rebuttals. Thanks for the way for an old man 72 years old to express my views.



Jerry Robertson, White Oak



Dear Editor:



The FairTax is an idea whose time has come. The congress, both House and Senate, republicans and democrats, has demonstrated time after time, the inability to restrain itself with the public purse. The congress simply can’t govern effectively as long as the income tax is in place. Even the “fiscal crises” legislation passed by the current congress added $74 billion MORE to the deficit; all to favor special interest groups. In order to save America, congress must be denied the instrument of its folly; the income tax. A solution has been filed away in a drawer somewhere by the congress for over 10 years. It’s called The FairTax. It’s neither a republican nor democrat idea but truly an American idea!



If adopted, the FairTax would replace the income tax, repeal the 16th amendment and annihilate the IRS. Within one year America would experience unprecedented econometric growth and thousands upon thousands of NEW JOBS would be created.



Contact your congressperson through his/her web site; insist that he/she do everything possible to bring the FairTax proposal to the floor of the house and once there, to support it. Large numbers of citizens must demand the FairTax if we are to have it.



Glen E. Terrell, Arlington, ggeett37@gmail.com



Dear Editor:



I am disappointed that homosexual partners Elton John and David Furnish have adopted another child via a surrogate mother.



Last June, the American scientific magazine “Social Science Research”, the most prestigious peer reviewed publication of its kind, published two new innovative and definitive studies on children raised by same-sex couples. From the studies it emerged that 12 percent of children brought up by same-sex couples contemplate suicide (against 5 percent of children with heterosexual parents), they are more inclined to be unfaithful (40 percent against 13 percent), they are unemployed more often (28 percent against 8 percent) and they are more likely to visit a psychotherapist (19 percent against 8 percent). They are also more often under social service surveillance compared to peers who are raised by heterosexual couples. In 40 percent of cases they will catch a sexually transmitted disease at some point (against 8 percent of peers raised by heterosexual couples) and they are generally less healthy, poorer and more likely to smoke and commit criminal offences.



The few studies published so far that support the theory that there is no difference between children brought up in heterosexual and homosexual families are — unlike the new studies — based on non-random, non-representative data often employing small samples that do not allow for generalization to the larger population of gay and lesbian families.



It is time we realize that the rights of children trump the right to children.



Paul Kokoski, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada



Dear Editor:



This is in response to a shrill, vitriolic letter published a few weeks ago. The letter was a fine rant against Democrats, Obama, single women, blacks, Hispanics, poor people, and even, inexplicably, bad influences at college. The letter will go down as the finest display of a Hissy Fit I have ever seen. It deserves a response. Even though we were called “Useful Idiots,” I will try and refrain from name-calling. As a Democrat, I have compassion, understanding and empathy, even for those who call me names.



You say you must endure not only the smell of the unwashed masses, but also the pungent cigar smoke from the upper classes to which you aspire? Well, every time I park between beat-up sedans and late-model SUVs at Wally-World, only to have to listen to some clerk fret over cut hours and no health insurance benefits, I feel your pain. (Women in Upshur County average of $20,000 per year, so some lady in Gilmer must be making at least 200k, easy.)  



Side note: A quote used by the writer was wrongly attributed to Khrushchev. The quote actually came from a U.S. banker who, in 1961, sent it in mailings to his customers. But if we’re allowed to just make up quotes by famous people, here’s one. Karl Rove said, “We can’t expect the American people to jump from capitalism to a 3rd world economy. But we can lobby the GOP to allow us to offshore the jobs and the loot, and to deregulate all the rest. We can do this in such a way that poor people, and Democrats, are blamed. Am I a genius, or what?”



You see, the ruling class depends on the GOP to do their bidding, just as the GOP depends on their base to become so mesmerized by promises of finally legislating morality, they totally ignore the ruling class’s economic malfeasances.  Why help pay for highways, bridges, and even human labor to get certain commodities to market, when it’s ever so much more fun to buy bigger homes and yachts and vacations.



Why pay for aging infrastructures and why give workers decent pay or benefits, either, when one can simply con society into paying for it (usually with threats of moving overseas). Why shouldn’t one’s workers go to the emergency room for basic care? The beauty of it all is that any blame for shortfalls will fall on the poor themselves, and those “tax-and-spend” Democrats, while one’s own wealth grows exponentially.



What a much better system the ruling class has devised for themselves than actual slavery. Back then, Massa had to provide all of it: Food, shelter, clothing, basic medical care. Now, he simply gives his workers the bare minimum, and lets them—and a caring society—scramble for the rest. As Karl Rove famously said, “Am I a genius, or what?”



But really, why strain at the news that there are welfare cheats who defraud the government out of thousands of dollars, when one swallows the fact that billions—nay, trillions—are being redistributed from the neediest to the greediest? The Fat Hogs who ride atop the Big Fat Elephant—which is the true symbol of the new GOP--have devised clever ways to horde money, not pay taxes, and con society into paying for their free rides (i.e., Enron; Bernie Madoff; Halliburton during the Bush regime, ad nauseam).



For the life of me, I can’t understand why the GOP’s Useful Idiots cannot grasp the corollary between 2008 and the largest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression, and the subsequent rise in the welfare rolls.



As for the veiled threat: “when the working man is so heavily taxed and regulated that he is no longer able and willing to carry the burden, you will find your mailboxes empty of any welfare checks”: Well, go ahead, jump off the wheel that keeps you and yours out of the beat-up sedan and in the SUV.



After all, the majority of people on welfare and food stamps self-identify themselves as Republican and live in highly conservative areas, and the ruling class you so admire has a proud tradition of now passing the buck, so you should fit right in.



K.D. Kallem, Gladewater



Dear Editor:



It is hard to believe that there has been 50 years of movie espionage, suspense, drama and lechery on Her Majesty's Secret Service beginning with the movie "Dr No" to the newly-released movie " Skyfall". This year of 2012 marks 50 years since the first JAMES BOND movie debuted in the year 1962. Few people realize that the character was based on a character by English author Ian Fleming. Oddly enough, the popularity of James Bond, as a British-spy with code-designation "007" (Double ‘O’ , Seven)...was largely due to then-President John F. Kennedy who — by happenstance — enjoyed the book and was enthralled by "Bond", the character. Also by happenstance, Fleming met President Kennedy in-person, so this fueled the immense popularity by the American public.



Back when I was in high school, a few of my classmates often nicknamed me "James Bond" mostly because my first-name was likewise "James" and my ancestors were of British-extraction. Additionally, I had a 'knack' for solving problems — and often improvising to achieve a Successful Outcome in tight-situations. However, it seems I have more difficulty doing fancy maneuvers these days. Back in school, I humorously insisted that MY designation would be "014" — based on my birthday falling on 14 December 1963. Some of the Bond-movies I liked; some I do not. The names of the "Bond-girls" and the "villains" are equally memorable such as "Pussy Galore", "Holly Goodhead", and "Goldfinger".



The emphasis on State-of-the-Art gadgets, beautiful women, intrique, and memorable theme-songs — are always timeless and compelling. I have personally seen Sir Paul McCartney who sang the title song for the 1973 movie: "Live and Let Die". Even Sir Paul's birth name was James Paul McCartney. Yet, nothing replaces the skill of good Writers, good Actors, and especially a good plot. Personally, I enjoyed Sir Roger Moore as my favorite-actor who portrayed Secret- Agent "007".



I congratulate the Producers, Directors, and franchise-owners and wish them the best of success in current and future endeavours. Most of all, I am so pleased that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II has lived to see this milestone.  She has Reigned with Dignity throughout this whole time.



James A. Marples, Longview



Dear Editor:



The income tax creates a stagnant economy for the United States.  Companies have moved overseas to give their investors a tax advantage.  They will not return to the US until our system gives them an advantage in the world market.



The answer to this is The Fair Tax Plan. It will: eliminate income tax and the IRS, jump-start the economy, bring jobs back to the US, capture untaxed dollars currently lost to criminal and offshore businesses, allow you to keep 100% of your paycheck, let you save all the money you want and pay taxes only when you spend it, eliminate taxes you don’t even know you are paying, lower interest rates and make April 15 just another beautiful spring day. If everyone tells their congressman to support HR 25, we can turn this economy around as soon as it is enacted.



Roy T Newsom, Granbury



Dear Editor:



During the last four years, I have found myself so absorbed in politics, not just on a local scale, but internationally, as well.  I am extremely disturbed over the lack of enthusiasm to try and shake things up — and more specifically, get the truth from this “transparent” regime.  Their diversionary tactics have become legendary, and it is appalling, to say the least, that this man (and I use that term loosely) who likes to refer to himself as “president” is not held to the same rules that other REAL presidents have been.  Frankly, most of the people I know are sick and tired of the way he disrespects our republic.  His constant circumventing of our Constitution and the rule of law, his never-ending trail of Executive Orders, the cover-ups, the fraud, the outright lies...and his supporters mimic everything he tells them to...



Therefore, this is something I feel that needs to be said, because the attitudes we’ve all just “accepted” will not sustain America, that we all know and love, into the future.  It’s way past wake-up time; and I know that I am not alone when I say, “it’s time to demand the TRUTH!!”



I’m not trying to be cruel to the people who are suffering in the wake of Sandy, and then the next wave of a cold front that dropped several inches of frozen precipitation on the same areas, but did you honestly believe that his photo op with Christie meant that he was going to help any of you if you voted for him??



He’s copped out on ALL the special interest groups he pandered to during the election — you knew all he wanted was your votes. *psh*



The illegals he gave amnesty to, are begging for amnesty for MORE illegals, and he ignores...



The gays he promised more and specific “rights” to, he ignores...



The blacks, who foolishly believed he was “one of them” and was going to pay their bills, he ignores...



When are ANY of you going to get the picture??



obama cares about HIMSELF; the photo ops, the high-priced celebrity galas that WE funded, the numerous vacations he and his “family” took, WE funded, all those “dinners” he held for his muslim brethren, WE paid for those, too, not to mention the outrageous amounts of money Michelle blew on clothes and accessories for her and the kids, and that exclusive private school for the next generation of communist leaders. He has successfully ruined our economy by killing jobs with his obamacare, our financial systems by giving tons of money to known terrorist organizations, our healthcare system (which initially was THE BEST in the world, but is slowly becoming substandard and will continue to worsen until we actually “do something”...and you know what I’m implying!)



And when Mitt Romney mentioned wanting to defund FEMA (which actually only came about because of the second worst president we’ve ever had; Carter...) all of obama’s supporters thought that was a HORRIBLE idea — take FEMA away?? But we NEED FEMA, you cried...



Well, you know what? Where is FEMA now? Did any of you know that FEMA offices were closed because of SNOW the other day?? Yea, pretty convenient, huh? When millions of people IN AMERICA are without food, water, shelter, electricity, and all the basic necessities in the wake of these storms that hit the east coast, you would hope that you would be the president’s top priorities, huh?



I’m sorry, but I can’t help but laugh — not at your misfortune, and I apologize profusely — but at your naivete for thinking that obama actually loved America and Americans enough to want to help ANY of us...



You think it’s bad now? Just remember all the little things he says, and one of the most recent comes to mind, “The best is yet to come...”



By supporting obama, you have essentially given him ‘carte blanche’ to implement his socialist agenda; by not speaking out against him, you’ve allowed a murderer to go free; by staying silent and assuming, “it’ll all work itself out...” you have enabled him to destroy any semblance of the America we all know and love...



And if you think I’m going to sit back and “accept” it?? Just get in my way and see what happens...



I am frustrated, I am livid, and I have absolutely NO patience left to put up with the feeble-minded excuses of any of his supporters, as to why they wasted their vote on this “Virtual Unknown”.  Our country is on the verge of a complete economic collapse, our capacity to defend ourselves on a broad-term scale has been horribly weakened, and liberals celebrate???



What the heck are they celebrating - none of them know.  They are ALL neck-deep in the same “malarkey” the rest of us are, but this is what happens when you overindulge your own self-importance over the good of many — that “many” being America.



 Yea, you guys go ahead and celebrate...and remember; 



“The best is yet to come...”



Sincerely, and with my warmest regards,



Fay Mullins, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



Today (Thursday) was the first time I have been to an Upshur County Commissioners Court meeting in about 25 years. Since then I have worked in three other counties with countless elected officials and I can honestly say much hasn’t changed in Gilmer and Gilmer isn’t much different than the other counties.



I came today because of three primary concerns I have always held and felt today was a good day to speak up about those concerns. While I am no longer a physical resident of Upshur County it will always be my home as it has been to my family back to the 1800’s.



Concern #1- I have been and will always be concerned about the wellbeing of Upshur County citizens. It was an honor to be your public servant.



Concern #2- I am concerned about the rule of the law. While being an accountant and in the work that I have done, the laws of the state, especially concerning county government, were daily routine. Today I see all around an ignorance about the laws and, even worse, a visible contempt for the laws by some of the people we have elected and empowered to do the work of the people.



Concern #3- I will forever be concerned about the wellbeing of my friends. I am very fortunate to have good and honorable friends and each day I know someone is hurting physically and emotionally and I will try my best to be of support because that is what my friends have done for me.



In other sections of this newspaper there are articles concerning the intent of the Upshur County Commissioners Court to eliminate the in-house department of Computer Services. With that final decision it will come at the cost of two very good and dedicated public servants, one with five years service and another with 35 years service to be replaced, only partially, by an out of county commercial service with less than ten years experience for the whole firm and none of it confirmable county government experience. As of January 1, 2013 the combined governmental experience of the four county commissioners will be exactly four years.



These people have been elected and perhaps they know better even though none of them has near the requisite skills to understand what is involved. So it is very perplexing as to how they unilaterally make such decisions and not even seek the input of the professional staff and county departments who depend upon the system.



Without getting further into the weeds of the technical issues, I refer back to my three concerns and I believe those concerns are perfectly applicable to this exact situation. Computers and sorted “machines” are merely formed metal and can be modified or replaced at anytime. The world of software, programs, systems is a bit more complicated but with adequate knowledge and resources they too can be recreated.



However there are certain things in life, when damaged, that cannot be recreated with tangible contraptions of metal, wood and plastic. These things are of the spirit of each person, the dignity of each life and the God given souls of which we must always be mindful. What I witnessed today and seeing how good people are being mocked, abused and slandered so vilely for what reason I do not know.



The world can, as it always has, survive incompetency but without humanity it is doomed.  I urge each one to look at the issues of the day using the eyes of fairness, character and compassion and not through the soiled lenses of pride, power and politics.



Best wishes to all.



Keith Barber, Nacogdoches



Dear Editor:



The term “useful idiot” refers to those who naively promote a cause they believe to be good when in reality they are being used, looked upon as fools and despised. More directly, the term often refers to Westerners who promoted the cause of Communism in the former Soviet Union. It is obvious that the Democratic Party has a socialist agenda. Unfettered, would it be Communist? Lenin, a former Russian revolutionary leader said, “The goal of socialism is communism.” Krushchev, a former Soviet political leader, said, “We can’t expect the American people to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism.”



The Democratic party depends on “useful idiots” to stay in power and push their socialist agenda. This particular administration has grown the entitlement society exponentially in order to increase their voter base. This election is a clear indicator of just where we are as a people. Our black community threw all of their support behind Obama because of his race. The Hispanic community threw Catholicism out the window for welfare, food stamps and amnesty. Single women seem to be able to scrape enough cash together for breast augmentations, fake nails and fake tans, but are concerned about how they are going to pay for their birth control and are worried that they might have their freedom to kill their unborn babies taken away. Our youth are sent off to the finest universities where they learn how to drop the “F bomb” five times in a three word sentence and regurgitate the Communist Manifesto.



For the life of me, I do not understand it. By design, the liberal agenda lulls people into poverty. Not just any kind of poverty, but GENERATIONAL poverty. At its inception, welfare was sold as a bridge to take one out of poverty. That was a lie. It is now a career opportunity with massive and widespread fraud and abuse. It has created a lazy, uneducated, apathetic society that feels entitled to the fruits of someone else’s labor. It has taken the need for fathers completely out of the picture which has ravaged the family unit in the black community, has now infiltrated the Hispanic community and is beginning to show its ill effects in the white community. A report in The Daily Caller noted that 73% of black children are born out of wedlock with 53% of Hispanic children and 29% of white children. The poverty rates are just as looming.



It seems to me that the Democratic party which touts to care so much about the poor, the needy, the women and children and the minorities in this country have cunningly created modern day slavery. It’s disgraceful; it’s immoral; it’s abusive and it’s criminal. But, it serves their socialist agenda well.



We all have gifts, talents and abilities that are meant to be discovered, honed and shared. We, as human beings, are meant to dream, to work and to achieve. NO ONE DESERVES TO BE DESTINED TO A LIFE OF POVERTY BECAUSE A GOVERNMENTS’ POLICIES INCENTIVIZE GROWING A WELFARE CLASS.



All of this may sound very offensive and I realize that I am painting with a broad brush, but we are a divided and broken nation. This country has been spoon fed socialism for decades and with our current administration, it is being shoved down our throats so quickly that we can’t even catch our breath. Each time we exercise our right to vote, we should be educated about each candidate, the agenda of each party and the truth about the issues. It is only through an educated populace, not a beholden one, that we can remain a truly free nation.



If not for successful, motivated and hardworking people, there would be no funding for the entitlement programs. The government does not generate income. Its’ resource is the taxpayer. When the working man is so heavily taxed and regulated that he is NO LONGER ABLE and NO LONGER WILLING to carry this burden, you will find your mailboxes empty of any welfare checks. This, my dear Useful Idiot, is called “biting the hand that feeds you.”



Wendi Johnson, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



Veterans Day Nov. 12, 2012 Why do we have wars? The answer by some learned people is that it is the result of failure of the political and diplomatic process to peacefully settle disputes. 



When these disputes result in hostile action, it is typically the younger population that is sent to fight until one side finally gives up. If these military persons survive the conflicts they are called VETERANS. There are VETERANS on both the winning and losing sides. 



Here in the USA, we are usually in a war about allowing people to have the rights of freedom, religion, safety, education and all those good things we have here in our country. In America, when a person takes the Oath Of Allegiance, they swear that they will defend this country against all enemies, domestic and foreign. 



This is like signing a blank check for Uncle Sam, payable even unto death. They receive the training and skill sets to conduct



warfare. Where they are sent is not up to them, but up to the leaders of our country. These people return home to us in many ways. From flag draped coffins to hero welcomes, from missing body parts to physically healthy. 



There is a phrase that sums it up:  ALL GAVE SOME. SOME GAVE ALL. If you see veterans with a lot of ribbons on their chest, they did not WIN those medals, They were AWARDED them for their performance while serving America. Always remember the thousands of POW/MIA that have not been found or returned to the families that still wait, and wait. May God bless America and all those that go in harm’s way to serve her. 



Jerry Holsworth, Commander



America Legion Post 320, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



My husband visited his gastroenterologist today (Thursday), and is now set up for some testing. His doctor gave him some interesting news concerning our healthcare system at his appointment.



Due to “Obama care” colonoscopies are now only to be done every 10 years unless a patient shows symptoms. They were recommended every five years. This is applicable even if a patient has had polyps removed previously.



Colon cancer is a “silent disease.” Patients almost never exhibit symptoms until it is too late. Colonscopies have been life savers in catching problems early, before they become deadly.



The doctor told my husband that “Obama-care is going to save money by killing off all the old people.” It sure seems that way from where I sit.



I know of no one who would have a colonoscopy needlessly, as they are not fun to go through. Tell me why, after being encouraged to get them, we are now essentially being told we do not need them. This is also being done with mammograms, and other preventative testing.



Will my treatment for my asthma, and other serious medical issues now begin to be regulated due to my advancing age? After all, I only have about five years left until I can retire, and will no longer be a very “productive” member of society.



I guess this is how we are supposed to pay for everyone now being required to have medical insurance, by severely limiting what insurance is required to cover.



Donna M. Osborne, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



I am writing this letter not only as an Upshur County fire fighter, but as a concerned resident.



My concern, and it should be yours also, is that beginning Nov. 1 Upshur County rural fire departments were faced with the fact that they would no longer be paged out under the 9-1-1 system.



If you don’t already know, I will attempt to explain why. 



The Emergency Services District has been paying Gilmer Fire Department to provide 24-hour coverage to page out all 13 rural volunteer fire departments at a cost of about $2,400 per month.



This year there is not enough monies coming in under the current tax rate to enable the (ESD) to continue paying Gilmer Fire Department for this service.



This information was the cornerstone of the rate increase election conducted this year. The result of that “NO” vote turned out to be the inability of the ESD to fund the paging system.



Subsequent to this action, the comment was made and repeated numerous times that “if the fire departments need funds, they should hold fund raisers to cover expenses.”



In an attempt to keep the current system in operation, the ESD approached the County Commissioners Court to secure the required funding. The item was placed on the agenda, discussed and moved to reschedule the item to a second session to give the Court time to determine who the responsible entity is for paging out rural fire departments.



The second session resulted in the Court voting not to support the paging process. Their determination was sealed by the words “The people have spoken” — referring to the rate increase election.



The individual fire departments determined that there would/could be catastrophic loss of property and/or life due to failure to be notified of the emergencies in a timely manner.



To keep the current system functionally operational, all rural volunteer fire departments have contributed $1,715 from their operational budget to meet the funding requirement.



This means that some emergency equipment will not be purchased and we will have to do without and so will you whom we protect.



There you have it! It is now time to donate to the fire departments of Upshur County. We would like to get that funding back through the donation process.



The alternative is someone may suffer more than what is necessary because of a broken piece of equipment that couldn’t be repaired/replaced.



You can mail your donations to me at the following address for New Mountain VFD.



For all others, take it to your local VFD. Make all checks payable to the fire department.



George J. Richards



Fire Chief



New Mountain VFD



9871 S.H. 155 N.



Ore City, TX 75683



Dear Editor:



Thank you so much for placing the notice of the upcoming “Pink Out” game in The Gilmer Mirror. The Gilmer High School Cheerleaders along with the GHS Cheerleader Booster Club believe the game to be a great success. 



I also wanted to pass on our gratitude to all of the Gilmer community. With their help, the GHS Cheerleaders were able to raise $1802.00. That entire amount will be donated directly to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Amazing!



Kristal Martin, Longview



Dear Editor:



Recently, The Gilmer Mirror published an article about a recent survey that shows seniors are overwhelmingly satisfied with their Medicare Part D coverage. 



When the government does something well, it’s important that we take notice of it.



Medicare Part D’s annual open enrollment period recently kicked off, and between now and December, those who are eligible have the opportunity to select one of 30 available prescription drug plans that best fits their specific needs.



Not only do seniors and the disabled have abundant choices under Medicare Part D, but coverage premiums also remain low — the average premium for 2013 will be just $30. The key to Part D’s success it that the government works in tandem with the private sector to provide more options at a lower cost.



With that in mind, it’s not surprising that seniors are overwhelmingly pleased with their coverage under Medicare Part D.



In fact, a recent survey found that 90 percent of seniors are satisfied with the program.



The facts are clear — Medicare Part D works. Let’s keep it around.



Diane Davis, Longview



Dear Editor:



 We’ve all heard the phrase: “As quiet as a Church-mouse”. That expression simply means: “very quiet”. A few days ago, I took a brief trip up to my native State of Kansas. I was delighted to see a second-cousin of mine from the White-family side of my family (my late grandmother’s maiden surname was “White”...and I probably haven’t seen my second-cousin in 30 years or so. He now lives in Virginia and he and I were back in “the Sunflower State of Kansas” for the occasion of his father’s 75th birthday.



Upon heading back to Texas, I stopped at a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas at the invitation of a retired Archbishop friend whom I have known for many years: Archbishop James Patrick Keleher. He installed me as a papal Knight of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem some 14 years ago, in 1998. He is a good clergyman and a gifted Spiritual pastor who is firmly grounded in The Holy Bible. He is well-liked and respected by Catholics and Protestants, alike. It was wonderful for see his current “official residence” (now that he is retired). His house (almost a mansion) has its own private chapel with an altar and the sterling-silver chalice that the Archbishop’s parents gave him 55 years ago when he first became a priest. At the entryway was a stained-glass window depicting the Archbishop’s apostolic Coat-of-Arms.



One of his newer “acquisitions” is a pet cat named “Lady Erin”. The Archbishop knew I was coming for a visit. As soon as I entered the home, I saw a blur that was was amazingly quick. It was the new kitten....not exactly a Church-cat (per se)...but I guess I could call it the Archbishopric Rectory-cat. Many cats will ‘flee’ when visitors appear, so this cat was no exception in that regard.



 However, this amazing cat...quiet and quick...It possibly can teach us something. Are we quiet when we evaluate others? Do we ‘listen’ ? Do we quickly run and hide when something (or somebody) ‘new’ comes along ? I certainly can’t fault the poor kitten. It was going by animal-instinct. However, we, as human-beings....especially Bible-believing Churchgoers need to “get out of our rut”. I go to Church; but I often attend a variety of Churches. By contrast: over the years, I’ve encountered people who attend Church, but who never venture beyond their “comfort-zone”. They go to the same parish, sit in the same pew, shake the hand of only the select-few other parishioners, and somehow they can’t fathom how stale and stagnant their life really is. Their methods and motives haven’t changed. They may feel “Saved” or “satisfied”...but have they Nurtured the stranger? Have they visited those in Jail/prison? Have they fed the hungry? Have they clothed the naked? I have. I have done all of the above.



It isn’t due to my own courage that I have done these actions. It is because I have had a “good influence in my life” in Archbishop Jim Keleher. Everybody needs a mentor. Some people need a spiritual mentor. I am just thankful that my friend, mentor ---and his cat--continue to teach me (and uplift me) more than the average pastor can do, in any sermon or homily. In my view: Religion is meant to be practiced (tangibly with “actions reminiscent of The Golden Rule); not just preached-about verbally with a few minute’s worth of pep-talks, human-interest stories or music jam-sessions. Motivation, music, and inspiration are all fine and dandy --but unless you do something “constructive” it is almost in vain. A great Apostle once said: “Faith without Works is Dead”. That didn’t replace the power of “Grace”. It simply meant that we cannot assume that we can sin-to-the-hilt; repent at the last second, and expect Salvation. Real eternal salvation rests with “sincerity”. Anybody can seemingly repent on their death-bed. “Character is how you live your life when nobody else is looking”. Genuine Worship is meant to be a personal interaction with our Creator Almighty God. ---And, Almighty God entrusted mankind to “love thy neighbor” and to be good stewards of all things upon the Earth. There is a wise old saying: “Actions speak louder than words”. The Church-kitten reminded me of that...and hopefully it will remind us all, to be kind to our neighbor; be kind to our pet animals; but even more importantly: To get out of our “comfort-zone” in our everyday lives: Inside and outside of Church. Let us not be stagnant or stale, but “Quiet” when we need-to-be...and “Quick” when we need-to-be.



James A. Marples, Longview



Dear Editor:



 I live in a extremely remote area of Northeast Upshur County.



 I woke Sunday Night to a loud crash that I thought was a dream. It was storming and the lights were off. I called Upshur Rural Electric and reported the outage then went back to sleep. At dawn I woke, looking out my front window discovered an electric pole had fallen and about 700 feet of line was on the ground. I called Upshur Rural again to report the nature of the outage.



 Within an hour Upshur Rural personnel showed up to survey damage, it was 8:15 am. I was informed heavy equipment would be ordered and the other utilities notified; because, all three utilities were within a couple of feet of one another.



 At 9:30 am Etex Telephone was on site to mark the underground phone lines.



 At 10:15 am Upshur Rural heavy equipment showed up along with Bi-County Water Supply. By 11:45 am the pole was replaced, lines restored and electricity flowing.



 On that early Sunday morning these men left the comfort of their homes and families. It is not about performing a job but, fulfilling a commitment. It is not about servicing a customer but, helping a neighbor. It is the quintessential character that makes this country great.



 In our busy technology driven impersonal world, we have little time to focus on these underlying mindsets, but we have not forgotten them. At least not here in Upshur County, East Texas.



 So I salute the men of Etex Telephone, Bi-County Water and especially Upshur Rural Electric who reminded me and I hope now you about what it means to be a true citizen and neighbor of this great country, area and county.



 For it is sometimes in focusing on the most mundane of actions we find the greatest of meanings.



 Robert H. Hasselback



Dear Editor:



Watching news story about Boy Scouts and the possible mistreatment of boys. Terrible to think such could happen. 



Let me tell you about my scouting experience back in the ’60s. Three wonderful men, Temple Ingram, Frank Bruns and Charles Still gave their time and energies to a kid who really need a friend. 



They taught hard work, spent time teaching us to respect each other, helped with merit badges, taught me how to tie knots that I use til this day and just spent time helping us grow into decent young men.



I think about my scouting experience frequently and I know it changed my life.



I want to give a long overdue thanks to the men I mentioned, and I want their families to know the wonderful impact your Daddy had on this boy's life.



Elliott Dean, Gilmer





Dear Editor:



I was wanting to let you as well as the readers in Upshur County know of the kindness that we have amongst us.



On Thursday morning around 3:15 a.m., Upshur County Police and EMS responded to a motor vehicle accident on 300 just outside of Gilmer. 



My fiancé Robert Hall was the one driving the car. Apparently he flipped the car multiple times over a 400 yard distance. Luckily Robert didn’t endure any injuries throughout this horrific incident. 



He walked away with two scratches and sore muscles. We want to extend our hearts and thanks to the dispatch, police and EMS for their help. They all went well above and beyond what they are paid to do. 



With our only vehicle being completely totaled and no way to get anywhere, they brought my fiancé home and offered to transport him, my two children, and myself to the hospital so that he could be examined. Robert was watched over by God and his Angels this morning. 



He was also watched over by angels that walk amongst us. OUR PUBLIC SERVANTS!!!!! To the departments that helped out, I will forever be grateful to you! 



Deputy Gilow is the only one that I got the name of and to him I say you are my family’s hero. I say that to all of the ones working last night that I didn’t get their name. We, the citizens of Upshur County are so lucky to be able to say that we have the finest police, EMS and dispatch in the world!



I know this little letter can never show the gratitude that I have for these men and women but I hope that this helps even a little. GOD BLESS EACH OF THEM!



Thank you for letting me take a few minutes to express my feelings and thoughts.



Casie Williamson



Dear Editor:



Since when is diligence rewarded with loss? I refer to recent action taken by our County commissioners.



Librarian Mark Warren created a savings of $7,400 in last year’s expenses by replacing a costly program with one that saved this amount; all, without reducing the efficient services provided by our excellent library.



And how was he rewarded? When he made a request to have those funds applied to another line item in his budget, purchase of new books, his request was denied.



Instead, the funds were retained by the commissioners to help them balance their overall budget.



I cry unfair! What kind of message is this going to send to other County employees who seek to tighten their belts? Why should they spend time and effort seeking to lower their costs when they will not benefit from their efforts; rather they could be penalized. Shame!



Gay Ingram, Big Sandy



Dear Editor:



I’ve read several news articles about “Indiscreet photos” taken of members of the UK Royal Family in recent weeks.



First, there was Prince Harry with his nude billiard game escapes in Las Vegas. As one periodical reported: when he saw he was ‘caught’, Harry tried to grab his ‘royal jewels’ to hide his shame. Granted, he is a single man; but as an ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE U.K.’s MILITARY (and now reportedly stationed in Afghanistan): he has a reputation to uphold. If anything were to happen to his elder brother Prince William: Harry would be next-in-line to the Throne as King of England (after his father, Charles, The current Prince of Wales). If Harry wanted to relax and “blow off steam” in Las Vegas, that’s fine: but his Security-detail crew and bodyguards should have confiscated all cameras and cell phones ---if they truly wanted a “private” setting. The old worn-out slogan: “What happens in Vegas....stays in Vegas” is obviously no longer True.



The second incident was the topless photos of Prince William’s new wife, Princess Kate, in France. Newspapers in Ireland and Italy published the pictures. This was clearly meant to embarrass her. For centuries, women have sunbathed topless or totally nude in areas of France. The press has a fetish with bared female nipples. Paparazzi have a duty to be discreet, ROYALS should also be discreet: They should Cordon-off private areas on private property and not tempt leaks of sensationalized photos that can be taken-out-of-context. Both sides (in front and in back of the Camera) need to Uphold their dignity.



The late Princess Diana had a contentious relationship with the official “press” as well as the money-hungry paparazzi who chased her to her death in a car-crash in 1997. Diana was allegedly sneaking-around trying to conceal a sexual-affair. I would hope that the Official Press and paparazzi would treat the new Princess Kate with a bit more kindness. It wasn’t as if she were pushing a lawn-mower in Gilmer, Texas, while topless. She was in France and trying to enjoy a private vacation per customs of French women. However, men, women, and kids in Gilmer can learn from this saga: Technology is great — but many things are no longer totally “private” or “confidential” — whether it be e-mails; Facebook postings; or even cell-phone conversations. Nobody can truly say: “What happens in Gilmer....stays in Gilmer”. It can be flashed around the world (literally) in a second. Take due notice thereof, and govern yourselves accordingly.



 James A. Marples, Longview



Dear Editor:



Upshur County Commissioners consider a tax increase while paying a $2.6 million SHORTFALL for investment losses in the County Retirement Plan……..



 I attended the special Commissioners court meeting on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012 for the purpose of discussing and considering raising taxes for one year by 3.35 cents in order to cover a nearly $525,000 budget shortfall this year. While much effort has been made toward balancing the budget, it is apparent that the powers that be, i.e. the judge and the commissioners, are unwilling to tackle a major source of expenses that could balance the budget without increasing taxes; that being the county retirement plan which is not on par with main street thinking or private enterprise.



 They currently set the rate for each employee to contribute 7 percent of his salary into the retirement fund. The county taxpayers then match this contribution at a rate of $2 for every $1. In addition, they guarantee the employee a 7 percent return on his contribution. The cost of this, with shortfalls because of investment losses, presently approximates $712,000 per year. If the court were to reduce the contribution amount to the State mandated minimum of 4 percent, and reduce the County’s match to $1 for every $1 contributed, then the approximate savings would be $463,000, based on 2012 figures. In 2013, the savings would be even greater given the fact that the retirement fund had another investment loss of 1.1 percent in 2012. This results in Upshur County having to make up for a further shortfall of nearly $42,000. By 2019, this shortfall continues to grow by nearly another $75,000. We can only wonder about our financial position if another investment crash occurs as it did in 2008. In this regard, we can not avoid taking immediate action.



It is obvious that considering a change in the County retirement plan can be the impetus that brings us a balanced budget this year and also in the future.



 It is time, that we as taxpayers, demand our present and newly elected Commissioners become good stewards of our tax dollars. Please contact your Commissioner today: County Judge Dean Fowler, James Crittenden, Pct. 1, Cole Hefner, Pct. 2, Lloyd Crabtree, Pct. 3, and Mike Spencer, Pct. 4, along with your newly elected Commissioners; Frank Berka Pct.3 and Paula Gentry, Pct.1. We must hold their feet to the fire. Tax increases should only be considered after all other out of balance conditions are prudently rectified.



There will be two more meetings to discuss the budget and then a vote on raising our taxes. The first budget workshop is on Sept. 5 at 10 a.m. at the county courthouse and on Sept. 14 at 9 a.m. The final vote to adopt the 2012-2013 budget will be on Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. Please attend these meetings and sign up to express your opinions.



 Wayne Arnold, Jimmye Martin





Dear Editor:



I’m an older lady. I own three big dogs. I don’t like to ask for help, so I had balanced a 50 lb. sack of dog food on my shopping cart, so I could just roll it into my car.



On the way to the car, it slid down into the cart. I was about to try to get it out, when a pretty young lady driving a white Silverado stopped, jumped out and very deftly deposited the dog food in the trunk of my car.



I don’t know if I have ever seen this young lady before. I don’t know what angels look like. 



I do know that there are some in this younger generation, that are very special. It gives us hope in our future. 



I want the world to know how grateful I am to her.



Was it a random act of kindness or a divine appointment?



Iona Minchener, Pittsburg



 



Dear Editor:



This is a thank you note that is, unfortunately, long over due.



To Whomever made the decision to hire Mrs. Ola Calloway and Mrs. Futrell, as teachers for Gilmer Elementary School, thank you.



  To Whomever made the decision to hire Gerald Anderson, Mr. Johnson first as Jr. High coaches, then administrators, thank you.



To Whomever made the decision to hire Mrs. Pickett, Mrs. Perry, Mrs. Guest and most especially Mrs. Leta Brooks, thank you.  Mrs. Brooks had a profound influence on my life, I think of her and cherish her memory today.



To Whomever made the decision to hire Mr. Henry, Mr. Pickitt, Mr. Anderson, Mrs. Rob, (who was a surrogate mother to everyone who was a friend of Eddie’s) and the absolutely incomparable Mrs. Eunice Hart, thank you.



I often wonder how, in such beautiful enclave tucked away in East Texas, you managed to find and hire such outstanding people, such incredibly motivated and remarkably talented teachers. 



As a side note, Wayne Arnold, those are my glasses, call me I’m in the book.



Thank you all so very much.



Jim Lago, Corpus Christi



Gilmer High School Class of ‘64



JimLago@clearchannel.com



Dear Editor:

In 1979, our little town was buzzing with rumors of David and Robbie Mooney moving to Gilmer. It was a time when Gilmer only received three television channels and they all had very poor reception.

The best reception came from Tyler where the closest station was located. The other two were in Louisiana. Stump speeches made by Louisiana politicians seemed to be the primary offering for them.

It appeared they were perpetually politicking, electing and recounting until it was time to start the process over again.

Louisiana folks never ran out of elective offices for their politicians to vie for.

As rumor had it, the Mooneys were bring high tech cable television to town. Good bye politicians and hello HBO, SHOWTIME and the like.

In great anticipation, the town waited for the construction of the cable lines and the allied equipment to be installed. People hoped they might be the first to receive this new service and when they did, they were near overwhelmed with the offering.

Not only did we have a clear picture with crystal clear sound, but we had channel choices that heretofore we could only dream of.

As if the Mooneys had not already given enough joy and good fortune, the greatest gift they gave was their tireless service to their customers and our community.

They were well prepared business people that showed compassion and concern for their growing number of customers. If cable construction had not yet made it to you, all you needed to do was be patient. Given a little more time, the Mooneys had us all connected and entertained.

As we became accustomed to Gilmer Cable Television, we gradually noticed more about the Mooneys and just how good they were.

They generously contributed to every cause that came calling. In an unassuming manner, they went about their business and about our community making friends and assisting others.

In addition to his many other duties, David served tirelessly as the Emergency Management Coordinator for our area.

He and Robbie spent their Labor Day holidays working the phone banks at the Muscular Dystrophy Telethons.

If you didn’t realize they were so actively helping others, it’s likely because their efforts came with such little fanfare.

They dedicated themselves to conducting good and honorable business and spiced it up with all the help they could offer.

To the citizens of Gilmer and Upshur County, the Mooneys have been true friends and model citizens.

I think we should feel grateful for their many years of service and involvement here. I am sorry for the loss of Robbie a short while back and sorry that David will no longer be able to continue with Gilmer Cable Television.

It is a business that will long be favorably remembered by many in our community. Thanks to the Mooneys for a job very well done.

David, may you enjoy the best of times in the future.

Jeff Baird, Gilmer

Dear Editor:

Congratulations go out to Paula Gentry as the first woman elected as a county commissioner in a long time - if ever!



Ten years ago as chairman of the Optional (Unit) Road System committee, one of the reasons we were excited about the measure’s passage was the notion that it would enlarge the pool of potential candidates to include more than just those (usually men) who knew how to run a precinct road crew. It seems the system has finally prevailed despite the “dragging of feet”, repeated recall elections, and sometimes outright intentional sabotage of the system by a succession of obstinate, lesser commissioners.



It’s said that in a democracy the people eventually get the kind of government they deserve. Thus, this January 1 the entire commissioner court will finally be composed entirely of elected candidates that have expressed support for the Unit system. Just think of how far along the system could be if not for the obstructionism of many of those former commissioners over all those years.



Thanks go out to Wayne Arnold, Jim Bowling and all the members of the Optional Road System committee for their dedication and perseverance in this regard.



Vance Lowry, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



In regard to articles in the July 18, 2012, edition of The Gilmer Mirror, I would like to praise Bubba DeBerry and his wife, Hughleen, for installing the "In God We Trust" signs in the Upshur County Courthouse.



Also, in regards to the broken window, I do not know why this is a matter to be voted upon to replace. If the insurance company paid $18,000 for it to be replaced, and the figure to replace it is only $11,740, why is this a matter to vote upon? It seems to me this is a decision already made. And, also, how can we restore the courthouse to the original? I thought that the original courthouse burned, and this one was built in the 30's. When you restore a building, you must have something of the original, or you are merely remodeling the one that is standing.



Back to the broken window though-----I feel that we should maintain the building we now have. It sounds to me that the County is trying to make money off the insurance, to "restore" the courthouse. If that window is not replaced now, the building will deterioate and then there will be other repairs to be made. You know the old saying, "If it is not broke, don't fix it?" Well, this one IS broke, so fix it!



Sandy Johns, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



After 20 years on RADIO: G Gordon Liddy RETIRES the mic on Fri JULY 27.



Back during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, I didn’t care for President Nixon nor G. Gordon Liddy. Since then, I have since mellowed my views toward both men. I still have reservations about Nixon; but I have a higher-regard for G. Gordon Liddy. I realized that most of my perceptions were tainted by biased media-reports. I think it “speaks volumes” that Liddy went to prison for nearly five years; Nixon didn’t do any prison-time due to his presidential pardon granted by Gerald R. Ford. I am thankful that Jimmy Carter (a Democrat) had the courage to ‘commute’ (shorten the prison-sentence ) of Liddy (a Republican).



 I was still not a fan of Liddy when he first started as a radio talk-show Host in 1992. For years, Longview’s radio-station KFRO carried “The G. Gordon Liddy Show” until the local station changed its format. Years earlier, when I then lived in Kansas, I was literally scanning the radio-dial in the year 1998, and I came-across the voice of a pleasant-sounding man: a former U.S. Army Artillery Officer during Korea; an ex-FBI Agent, a lawyer; a former prosecutor; a licensed FAA private-pilot; an actor who played on TV’s “Miami Vice”; “Perry Mason”; “AirWolf”; and others. I was ASTONISHED that it was the man whom I had previously disliked: G. Gordon Liddy. As I listened....I grew to like a great deal of what he had-to-say. Although the Agreement was not 100% universal: I found a lot in-common with the guy. He rides a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and I have personally been with him at “remote broadcasts” in FIVE (5) different U.S. States----- including being at Deadwood, South Dakota on “Sturgis Week” for several years. Truly, Liddy is defined by much MORE than just being a “Watergate figure”.



In January 1999, Liddy did a remote broadcast from my birthplace of Wichita, Kansas --from the Grand Ballroom of the Broadview Hotel. They even had ‘live’ Big-Band music. My late Mother was still alive; and even SHE ENJOYED Liddy’s advice to ‘Callers’ on a wide-array of subjects. He would always begin his broadcasts by the friendly greeting: “It is I, ----G. Gordon....”. Liddy was also known by another nickname: “The G-Man”---a moniker deservedly earned from his time as a real G-Man, and photographs of him shaking hands with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover attest to his dedication to Law-Enforcement. In addition, Liddy’s uncle Ray Abbaticchio was an original FBI Agent.



When I shook hands with Gordon Liddy: I could see the humanity behind-the-man. One blemish shouldn’t mar his other sterling Virtues. He was a devoted husband until his marriage of 52 years ended in his beloved wife’s death in 2010. He is a practicing Roman Catholic and a caring father of five kids, a dozen grandkids, and he even has a new Great Grandchild. I have spoken to him “on-air” so frequently (over 1,450 times) that Liddy nicknamed me “Travelin’ Jim” since I travel quite a lot; or “Brother Jim” (due to he and I both being Brother Masons----I even recommended Gordon to join the Masonic Lodge fraternity and he was accepted and joined).



Perhaps I enjoyed Liddy’s radio-show the most because Dr. Liddy (yes he has a Doctorate Degree): Gordon Liddy had the courtesy to let ‘Callers’ express their thoughts without interrupting them, nor disparaging them. He is no Rush Limbaugh; he is no Bill O’Reilly. Liddy is “the G-Man”...a One-of-a-Kind. This coming week is the final week that ‘Callers’ can call him at 1- (800)_- GG - LIDDY or 1-800-445-4339. Liddy likes to put some zing in that last number by using his military nomenclature of “Niner” for the numeral 9.



When G. Gordon Liddy hangs-up the Radio Host microphone at http://www.radioamerica.org/ for the last time: this Friday JULY 27, 2012...I will certainly miss his weekday morning (monday thru Friday) : “News & Commentary”. Because of Liddy: I have asked questions of men such as his guests actor Chuck Norris (“Walker, Texas Ranger”) and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan; as well as Congressmen and Senators; scientists such as Dr Patrick J. Michaels; and auto-mechanical gurus such as the noted Pat Goodman. Liddy’s sphere of Influence allowed me to interact with people I couldn’t have; otherwise. Unlike men like Rush or Hannity or O’Reilly who go for “hype”. Liddy’s folksy style with both “regular callers” and “first-time callers”...gave the Show sort of a “Round-Table Discussion” that can’t be duplicated elsewhere ---nor will it ever be.



President Nixon was granted a full presidential pardon after Watergate. By contrast, Liddy “did time in the pen”. I don’t excuse Liddy for his actions. Some media pundits delight in taking Liddy’s words out-of-context too. Normally an ‘applicant’ for a pardon needs to ASK for it themselves. I know that Dr. Liddy is too proud to ‘ask’; and he acknowledges responsibility for his actions. But I wish that President Obama (a Democrat) would take it upon himself to cut-through the red-tape and take action himself and issue an amended continuation of what Democrat Jimmy Carter started: mercy in the form of a PARDON . President Obama: please grant G. Gordon Liddy a full, complete, and unconditional Pardon. The man is approaching 82 years of age. He poses no threat to Society. Even if Gordon doesn’t ask for it himself: Please do it for his family...and for the Nation ---so we can collectively as a Country can close-the-chapter on Watergate and restore Mr. Liddy’s civil rights in his final years of his life.



Before & after Watergate: Mr. Liddy was a “model citizen”. This nation was built on forgiveness and redemption. Let’s see it now granted towards G. Gordon Liddy. And...yes...I even got “on-air” with G. Gordon Liddy from a pay-phone when I was in Gilmer doing errands. It was pleasing to hear the words “Gilmer, Texas” pronounced correctly on NATION-WIDE RADIO by none other than G. Gordon Liddy. God Bless him, his family, and his Conservative Values.



James A. Marples, Longview



Dear Editor:

The recent death of actor Andy Griffith truly marks an end of an Era.  When "The Andy Griffith Show" premiered on televsion in October 1960, it was only about a month later when John Fitzgerald Kennedy won the election for the U.S. Presidency.  The nation had a quaint "innocence"  that I almost can't envision today.   

In that TV show, Mr. Griffith portrayed Sheriff Andy Taylor, who was assisted (?) by a bumbling Deputy Barney Fife (played by Don Knotts).   Although the town of Mayberry, North Carolina, was portrayed to be slow and sleepy --- it had a certain charm.  Residents "cared about each other".  Granted, every little town has its gossipy-side; but the character: Sheriff Andy Taylor was a Pillar-of-the-Community; a father-figure; a friend; a widower who raised a young son Opie with the help of his elderly Aunt Bea; and most importantly someone who could be Relied-upon in any type of Emergency and act with a calm head. 



In his later years, I enjoyed Mr. Griffith's other notable TV Show in his later years: "Matlock" , which was a pioneering-Show in the area of smart Lawyering in the pursuit of true Justice....a defendant was often defended by tiny (sometimes 'overlooked' as inconsequential) scientific evidence instead of wiggling-out due to legal-technicalities.   In the end: worthiness was prized, as was Fairness.    Usually, the guilty-parties were found-out and punished.



I may be old-fashioned, but I think the passing of Mr. Griffith marks the End of an Era. Men were "gentlemen" and women were "ladylike".    Our manners, sexual propriety, and consciences were more "decent" (for lack of a better word).  People readily said "hello" to others; children played on the swing-sets...and communicated face-to-face----instead of via 'Facebook' or by means of cell-phones.  Laughter was the best Medicine. 

That Era is now fading-away.  Not just the demise of notable TV-pioneers, but the demise of a whole culture of people who represented a calmer, compassionate, more patient, more unified United States. Andy will be missed.





James A. Marples, Longview



Dear Editor:



For many years I have wondered how Sarah Greene continues to write about such versatile and fresh subjects for her “Sideglances in the Mirror” column.



A recent submission to Letters to the Editor by someone who knows her well, said it best, “she is brilliant!”



I was a high school senior classmate of Sarah’s. I did not know her well, but I have always remembered her as the most brilliant student in class. In keeping with her integrity, she did not flaunt her excellence.



Grabbing at straws, I find we have a bit in common. Although I am not prolific at such, I have enjoyed creative writing, mostly as a hobby.



And while being far-fetched, I wonder if my great-grandfather, Simeon J. Tucker, is in her family tree. Or, if poet Ellen Louisa Tucker, who married Ralph Waldo Emerson in July, 1829, was her ancestor. Maybe someday I will ask her.



B. Jones, Lantana



Dear Editor:

In the last few years, I have been a patient in the Gilmer East Texas Medical Center on several occasions, the most recent date being June 18 of this years.



I was reminded once again of how fortunate we in Gilmer are to have this facility. The care I received there during every stay was second to none.



Every person who attended me, from the emergency room staff to everyone upstairs, was professional, efficient, knowledgeable and friendly. They do their jobs well, with a smile, and treat their patients like family.



The Administrator of the hospital, Jorge Leal, is a huge asset to ETMC and to Gilmer. He not only runs a smooth ship and supervises the staff, but you are likely to see him in a room chatting with a patient.



Dr. Ilanko Upendran, the Hospitalist, is simply the best.



I cannot  say enough good things about him. I would trust him to treat any illness I might have.



Both of these men would do well in a much-larger hospital, so it is my hope that they choose to remain in Gilmer.



In the future, I hope that before going to another hospital, you will first consider ETMC, Gilmer.



Mary Helen Brown, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



I’m getting along in years and I want to pass on some accolades before I die. This one is for my dear friend of 58 years, Sarah Greene.



Sarah has been passing kudos to her constituents for many, many years and now I think Sarah deserves some of her own.



The seeds Sarah is going to leave reminds me of this anecdote — The Ancient Scholar Choni HaMa’agel who saw an old man planting a carob tree and asked when he thought the tree would bear fruit.



“After 70 years,” was the reply.



“Do you expect to live 70 years and eat the fruit of your labor?” asked Choni.



“I did not find the world desolate when I entered it,” said the old man. “And as my fathers planted for me before I was born, so I plant for those who will come after me.”



And lastly, one morning I was walking with Sarah at our FUMC’s Christian Life Center and I just casually told Sarah about my son Shane, and I flying to England and Scotland to visit the famed veterinarian, Dr. James Herriot, Museum and then later the Tower of London and Sarah put all this in The Mirror.



Later my son Shane saw this and he wrote me this, “Daddy, how in the world did Sarah get all of this exactly right?” 



I said, “Shane, she is brilliant."



 Chester Studdard, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



The Upshur County Fire Departments, responded to a home that was totally destroyed by fire on the morning of May 26.



I would like to express my appreciation to these firemen, whom took quick action, and prevented the fire from spreading to my property.



Again, may I say “thank you.”



Helen Hollins, Gilmer





Dear Editor:



Back in the year 1984, I was struck with a lymphatic-type cancer. I was only age 20 when it struck. I spread through my body like wildfire. My family-doctor, was by then an elderly man. He was even the M.D. who "had delivered me when I was born", so you can tell he was getting up in age. He did the worst thing possible: he thought it was simple back-strain and prescribed Tylenol #3 with Codeine. That only temporarily eased my pain, but worse yet: it masked my symptoms, allowing my cancer to metastasize. In desperation I went to a chiropractor who thankfully took X-rays and noticed what he believed were tumors. They were tumors. I was sent to a Specialist, who immediately put me in the hospital....and on Friday-the-13th of July 1984, doctors dug-out a cancer out of me size of a baseball, from my abdomen.



Doctors gave me even more ominous news that the cancer had spread along my lungs and heart,and I had a walnut-sized tumor in my neck. Later, it was burnt-out by means of chemotherapy. But, doctors said my cancer was three days away from entering-the-brain, when it was finally stopped from spreading further.



My cancer knocked me out of University for a solid-year as I had subsequent surgeries and numerous chemotherapy sessions. I lost my hair, went bald, and lost 70 pounds of my weight. I am happy to say that afterward, everything "came back"....my hair and my weight....everything that is: except my upper-pitched hearing in my Ears-- -which is a permanent-loss, but a small-sacrifice to Save-my-Life.



 As "Memorial Day" approaches: many of us think about our deceased loved-ones and friends, and often people decorate graves with flowers as a token of remembrance. The holiday was originally known as "Decoration Day". Around the year 1985 or so,I first made contact with my mother's second-cousin, Virgil Kober, Sr. of Great Bend, Kansas. He and I are both descendants of Petrus "Peter" Kober who was born in Moravia, Austria (now part of the Czech Republic), and who is buried in a rural cemetery southwest of Olmitz, in Barton County, Kansas. My mom and dad were both living at the time, and we came to Great Bend regularly back then for my parents' attendance at their I.O.O.F. Odd Fellow State Grand Lodge sessions and Ladies Rebekah Assembly State meetings, which were sometimes held at Great Bend. Great Bend was also my mother's birthplace in the year 1922 and we still have Riedl and Hampel relatives/descendants still living there. Anyhow, I never dreamed it would take 27 years to keep my "promise". Just a few days ago, finally on May 16, 2012, I DROVE TO GREAT BEND, KANSAS, and finally kept my 27-year-old promise and met my relative Virgil Kober. He was a gracious gentleman who showed me around his acreage, his greenhouses, his farm machinery, his vegetable and flower garden, his wheat-land, and what I enjoyed most of all: being on the 4-wheeler to see his cattle, including a new red-Angus bull.



When I first made the promise to Virgil in 1985, I was recuperating from that bout I had with cancer in 1984, plus I was a university student, so it wasn't easy to "get away". I am just thankful that God gave me a "2nd chance" and I finally got to meet and shake hands with Virgil, few days ago. My message to everyone for this Memorial Day: Let us all pay tribute to our Honored Dead, especially the military people in our families. I also drove to Cawker City, Kansas, to visit my dad's first-cousin Tom White, whom I probably haven't seen in about seven years and then drove to Manhattan, Kansas to see a mutual first-cousin of my dad's and Tom's: Christine (White) Cornelius —whom I hadn't seen since the day of my dad's funeral some 14 years ago. I hope that younger generations will continue decorating the graves at cemeteries. But don't forget your LIVING "extended families". Life is short. Life is precious. And, Time is fleeting. Grab an opportunity while you can to "make new memories" you can cherish, alongside the faded old memories.



James Adolph John Marples, Longview



Dear Editor:



We are the Upshur County Senior Citizens Organization, and it is time for our annual membership drive.



If you are 50 years old and like to have fun and socialize, come to our Senior Citizens building located on Silver Alley at Harrison St.



We meet every Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 and enjoy a pot luck meal and play table games. 



Every third Tuesday, we even play Bingo.



You might win a free meal from somewhere in town, or even in Longview at many locations.



For more information call 903-843-4323.



Jerry Holsworth, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



As we approach Memorial Day, it is a time to reflect on such things as what veterans have done for us. The sacrifices they have endured, the POW-MIA persons still unaccounted for.



The phrase: “All gave some, some gave all” is as true today as it was in 1776. We should all support our veterans and ask ourselves, “What have I done for our veterans lately?”



There are about 2,500 U.S. veterans in Upshur County. They are not so easy to identify. They look like ordinary people. Some are old, some may work right next to you, some may no longer be in good health and some may have not been treated very well, after returning to civilian life.



Some are called “Heroes” because they did the job they had been trained for extremely well under extreme circumstances. Others never became heroes, because their assignments did not expose them to extreme circumstance. They just did their jobs well. They served our country well.



Our veterans are valuable assets. They were trained to follow orders. Many gained skills that are readily adopted to commercial enterprise such as heavy equipment operators, electricians, law enforcement, construction manufacturing and medical technicians to mention a few.



There are reward benefits for giving a vet preference, when hiring new employees for companies that do give preference.



To all those veterans out there: don’t blow your benefits. Some of them are time after service dependant. There are veterans here in Upshur County that are trained and available to assist veterans in obtaining your benefits that you have earned.



Check out the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 



These organizations are chartered to serve veterans by veterans. They have been there and done that.



Jerry Holsworth, Gilmer



CMDR-American Legion Post 320





Dear Editor:



The federal government is spending $11,500 per person (every man, woman and child) this year doing things for and to you.  Of all the things the federal government does what three are most important to you?  If you need a list to pick from you can find many significant issues in the candidate questionnaire at www.goooh.com



Your voice in Washington is your member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Do you know where your representative and his or her opponents stand on your three issues?  If not then call or email them and ask.  See if the answer is definitive or political doubletalk.  If you don’t like the situation in Washington you must hold your representative accountable.  It is your money and your government, but only if you act.  If you don’t then it all belongs to the politicians.



Irving B. Welchons III, Charlotte, N.C.

 



Dear Editor:

Re: political parties are not working



Candidates brought forward by the GOP and the Democratic parties represent their parties and the special interests that fund them, not you and me. These candidates must conform to one of the two, usually diametrically opposed, political platforms. This candidate selection process gives us fiction-based polarizing campaigns, a failed education system, trillions in public debt and a tax system for special interests.



Candidates should represent the people who elect them. That’s how the U.S. House of Representatives is supposed to work – members represent the voters from geographical districts within each state. We should be voting for individual candidates, not a political party.



There is a process that does allow citizen representatives to be selected by the people in their local district. These candidates are not associated with any political party and will limit themselves to two terms. Go to www.goooh.com to learn more.



Serving in Congress should be an honor, not a career.



Billy D. Clifford, Austin



Dear Editor:

Recently, CNN reported rampant income tax fraud of a new sort. Thieves steal social security numbers then file tax returns on the accounts of these social security numbers. They then receive the refunds that were due honest working citizens. The segment went on to suggest the IRS is not doing its part to curtail such activities.

The income tax has been seriously flawed from its inception. Every working citizen spends hours annually preparing tax returns: what a waste of citizen’s time. There are myriads of persons, whose salary we pay, working within the IRS shuffling all this paper: what a waste of citizen’s money.

The income tax should be replaced by the Fair Tax. This would replace the very expensive, inefficient IRS with all its imperfections. The Fair Tax is a national sales tax to be collected at the point of sale. There would be no exceptions; everything purchased is taxed. There are safeguards to protect those living below the poverty level. The Fair Tax has been “in committee” in both the House and Senate for over a year. Ask your congressional candidates about the Fair Tax before you vote.

Glen Terrell, Arlington



Dear Editor:

I would like to publicly commend a group of young people and their sponsors.   On Thursday of their spring break, the Harmony Key Club members assembled at both Hollytree and Rosewood Cemeteries to do maintenance chores as public service projects.  



At the Rosewood site, the students cleaned all of the approximately 400 monuments.   This included scrubbing off fungus growths and washing the tombstones with chlorine water—a feat which required significant “elbow-grease.”



This group of Key Club youth was led in this assignment by their sponsor, Gerry Myers, who teaches science at Harmony High.   Assisting the students was HarmonySchool Board member William Smith, who is also president of the Hawkins-Holly Lake Kiwanis Club, the parent sponsor of the Key Club.



With so much negative news permeating our world today, this group of our future leaders is a breath of fresh air with their unselfish dedication and work ethic for their community.



Hats off to the Key Club and their leaders,



Charles Johnson, Chairman



Rosewood Cemetery Association



Dear Editor:

I was horrified at the bland complacency of William A. Collins’ assessment of our entering into a war in Iran, as the same as in Iraq.



Firstly, Israel already is involved in guerrilla warfare with Iran, bombing nuclear and military sites.



Secondly, and most important, is his oversight at the reaction of China and Russia to our attacks on Iran.



They will not merely offer monetary support, but will fully retaliate against our military might, setting off the Third World War! 



(China has been building a military force to be reckoned with, and a navy to take control of the Indian Ocean as well.)



Is war the will of our people?



Republicans had better learn that our Imperialism is a dying ideology, and we must stop being the world’s Big Brother.



Thirdly, we can’t afford another war, economically. Let’s start getting our priorities straight and stop being mere puppets in Washington to the big oil companies.



NO MORE WAR!!!



P.S. Obama was elected mainly on the premise of “bringing our troops home!” That is leaving Iraq and Afghanistan. But he merely followed George Bush’s timetable, thus failing in his promise.



Let’s get out of Afghanistan! 



Put the troops on our Southern border, if war is wanted! What is being done about that mess?



C.R. Lange, Ore City



Dear Editor:



As has been the case for the past few decades, the vast majority of professional politicians believe that the citizens of America do not deserve at chance at self-government.



It is suggested that we genuinely do. What we experience and participate in today is no longer reflective of a fully self-governing society.



With small-to-medium-sized protests occurring across America, and in Europe where some violence has taken place, it is obviously the right time to recognize that our government supports the direction that our particular society (and along with a few others around the globe as well) wants to go, versus tolerating an overreaching national government that insists on being in control of the general populace 100 percent of the time.



Another great challenge for us today is not what we can do for our country, but rather what we can do for ourselves and our communities that will lessen or eliminate the societal damage that is presently being caused by high-level politicians and mid-level bureaucrats that are largely unseen.



We need to consider a new method of thinking and comprehension, which will in turn increase our awareness of Wisdom and how it can provide inspiration for ourselves, our great country, and last but not least, all of humanity.



Ray Gattavara, Auburn, Wash.



Dear Editor:



This year of 2012 has been belabored by political elections, global monetary instability, pain at the gasoline-pump, and an all-too-high unemployment rate. Despite all the bleak reports, I think it is wise that we take a moment to reflect upon the many “Blessings” and ample amounts of “Goodness” that we often shrug-off or take for granted.

 



 Too many people forget to pray, unless they are asking Almighty God for “something for themselves”—big or small. It might be as trivial as a good score on a math test, a “win” at a basketball game, or for healing from a dreadful illness. In any event: many people (including myself) believe that Prayers often work wonders. No outcome is guaranteed; and not all prayers are answered (which often is a blessing at times, in itself). Many people think that Catholics pray to Saints—Not so. Like all Christians: We pray to Almighty God. “Saints” are saints because they represent a worthy role-model, and sometimes we ask for their intercession—which is akin to someone “putting-in a good word for us.” It certainly can’t hurt. Even Baptists acknowledge the worthy contributions of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Modern-day bishops are said to be successors of the early Church Fathers. And, the Pope is said to be the lineal successor of Saint Peter, as Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ.

 



Recently, I was visitng with a friend of mine who happens to be the retired Catholic Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas —Archbishop James Patrick Keleher. We were discussing a lesser-known saint: Saint Agnes of Rome. She is venerated as a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, and in Lutheranism. St. Agnes died at only age 13. She was martyred for her Faith. She is the patron saint of chastity, gardeners, girls, engaged couples, rape victims, and virgins. She died while protecting her chastity.



Agnes is depicted in Art as a lamb, since her name resembles “Agnus” the Latin term for “Lamb”—as in the Lamb of God. The actual name of Agnes is derived from the ancient Greek word meaning “chaste, pure, sacred.”



Now, in today’s word: Look how times have changed. Look at how boys and girls act around themselves and how they communicate (such as texting), which can be sorely lacking in modesty and chastity. Signs, billboards , and televsion/Internet commercials, teachers, students, co-workers, colleagues and even politicians have forgotten the Virtues of “Modest” speech, dress, and demeanor. Modesty Counts!

 



 James A. Marples, Longview



Dear Editor: 



Last Monday, a week ago, my husband was taking a sick calf to the vet. It was unknown to him at the time, but the back sliding door latch of the trailer had vibrated open. When he turned right onto Hwy. 155 off of Cypress St., the door slid open and the calf stepped out onto Hwy. 155.



The cow took off running and made numerous tours of the surrounding countryside, 1st Nat'l Bank, lawyers offices, and homes along Cypress.



Out of nowhere, angels appeared to help. Six men and one woman stopped to help. They chased and caught that calf, pinning her to the ground, putting a rope around her neck, and pulling her back into the trailer.



After she was re-loaded, they all disappeared again. We just wanted to say a big thank you to all those who helped that day.



What a joy it is to live in Gilmer and to know that there are still people that will stop and help those in need. God Bless All You Angels.



 J. Liberacki, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



This will come as no surprise to everyone.  But, it is happening all too frequently. 



In the  four years I have lived here,  I have taken in a stray four times.  



I, at my own expense, have had these cats fixed so this overcrowding wouldn’t become a problem.  Therein lies a problem.  There is a certain subdivision in the City of Gilmer that has become the dumping ground of unwanted, unloved cats.  



This is cruel and inhumane, for Animal Control of Gilmer patrols and picks up some of these strays, they take them to Longview to be euthanized.  I don’t want one of my strays being picked up.  I have come to love the strays that I have taken in, they all get along with the other cats in our neighbourhood.  



When you dump your stray in a neighbourhood of a  controlled cat friendly area, it wreaks havoc and upsets the pets that we all have.  



There are cat fights, vet bills, and food and water that we have to put out so that they don’t starve to death.  I have taken pictures of my cats, I have taken these pictures and descriptions to the police department to ensure my cats don’t get picked up.  This must be stopped!  



Would you dump your children simply because you no longer want or love them?  I think not!  If I ever see anyone dumping a cat, or dog, I will take down your license plate and turn it in to the Animal Control.  



I hope you are fined heftily for this and charged for the spaying or neutering to stop the insane over-population of unwanted and unloved animals.  Please have your animals spayed or neutured. 



A concerned citizen and a member of Animal Rescue.



Jeanie Short, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



I just watched a short movie about the "war" effort, and how everyone pulled together working more than one job to help make parts for the war overseas. The movie took place in the ’40s but I must say that we are in the war effort again today.



No, we don't have to take extra jobs to help make parts, BUT, we do need to watch our pennies. This is not particularly a political letter, you might want to read between the lines. This letter is expressly to say THANK YOU to the CLOTHES CLOSET run by the volunteers of the Methodist Church.



I needed to make some vests for cubs scouts the other day, and rather than purchase new fabric at a cost of probably around $3.00 per vest, I purchased 8 shirts for 25 cents each and recreated them into vests.



Not only that, but I saved the buttons on 6 of them. Now where can you purchase buttons for 25 cents a package?



Thank you, ladies, for your valiant efforts to keep the economy moving at a cost that everyone can afford.



 Sherry Breedlove, Big Sandy



Dear Editor:



I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the citizens of Upshur County who have supported the Republican Women of Upshur County in our mission and the women for all their hard work in 2011. We had a very good year.



With everyone’s help we raised enough money to once again present a scholarship to an Upshur County female student entering college. 2011’s recipient was Ally McDonald from New Diana. 



Jessica Brooks from Union Hill was the 2010 scholarship recipient. 



The year of 2012 will be our 8th year to award a scholarship to an Upshur County student. 



In the past we have also donated to the Upshur County Shares, supported literacy throughout the county with book donation to school libraries and the Upshur County Literacy Council,  helped with the school supply drive for Upshur county schools.  



Twice a year we send out military mailings to deployed men and women that you the citizens of Upshur County have shared with us.  We hope to continue to give to these programs in the future.



The Republican Women of Upshur County is a Political Action Committee (PAC). 



Our purpose is to educate the electorate on the political process and elect Republicans in our county by working hard to contribute to their campaigns.  



One way we serve in our mission is our upcoming  Poll Watchers Seminar planned for  Saturday, Feb. 11, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Church of Christ Annex building, at 612 Buffalo St, Gilmer. 



The instructor will be Kathryn Nealy, Gregg County’s Elections Administrator. All are invited to participate.  



There is a small fee that covers the cost of the materials and brunch. 



It has become our custom to host the RWUC Upshur Candidate Forum and we are looking forward to this event.  



Look for more details at we move closer to the March 8 date, we have slated for the event.  We take this responsibility serious because it is an opportunity for you the voter to meet the candidates and ask them questions. 



The RWUC is a member of the Texas Federation of Republican Women, which is a volunteer army unmatched by any other women’s organization in Texas.The TFRW has over 11,000 members. 



The Republican Women of Upshur County is also a member of the National Federation of Republican Women, one of the most influential women’s political organizations in the country.  



The NFRW is over 880,000 members strong. We are registered with and report periodically to the Texas Ethics Committee and proud to pay our state and county taxes . We take our responsibility to the county, state and country very seriously.  



As the Republican Women of Upshur County, we not only effect our county, but our state and our country. We are proud to be an organization that can make a positive difference.  We thank each of you that have supported us in our mission.



Sincerely,



Diana Crabtree



RWUC 2012 President



 



2012 Executive Board



President- Diana Crabtree



Vice President-Barb Vogl



Secretary-Teresa Holder



PAC Treasurer-LeNeta



Jeter



Legislative Chair-Barbara Philley



Campaign Chair- Sharon Wise



Caring for America-Pat Watts





Dear Editor:



I recently read the article in The Gilmer Mirror about all the money the school is going to spend on changes at the school. I am not about to suggest they are not needed.



However, it brought to mind a recent conversation I had with Mr. Albritton. I asked him why we are on longer using the Civic Center for school activities when the public is invited.



His answer was the city charges rent for its usage. There is no money available for that purpose. 



It seems the city owns this building. Everyone using it pays rent. No exceptions made. At least this is the word I received per “the lady in charge” of the Center.



My question to Mr. Albritton arose from my attendance at the ANNUAL, FREE, Christmas Band Concert to which the public is always invited.



At least twice a year the Gilmer school bands give these free concerts. At one time they were preformed in the Civic Center. 



They are now performed in the Gilmer High School Gym.



This past December, all SIX school bands performed. (Bet a lot of you didn’t even know we have six bands.)



They gave a great performance and it was obvious they had spend many extra hours at rehearsals. If you weren’t there you really missed out and they deserve our support.



However, had more been there, I don’t know where you would have stood for it was standing room only. The noise was horrible and the sound system even worse. Those band students and their guests deserved better. Hence my reason for asking Mr. Albritton about the Civic Center usage.



It is really unfortunate a nice building sits idle when it is needed so badly. I always thought a Civic Center belonged to the people and was a place to hold public meetings as well as to be used for other purposes.



It seems to me even the “city” belongs “to the people.” At least we sure seem to pay a lot of tax money to keep it going, if it doesn’t.



Who paid for the Center and pays for its upkeep? Organizations? Citizens? Maybe the people of this town in one way or another? The same ones who attend band concerts etc!



Same goes for the school Who pays to keep it going? We the people through local, state and federal taxes, etc. 



It seems to me as we ALL pay in one way or another and these students are our children, grandchildren, neighbor, relative, friends, etc. then ALL their activities should be supported.



I am hoping our school and city fathers can see a great need for this problem to be solved. If this can’t be done, and they prefer to perform as the Republicans and Democrats by pulling separate ways when the plowing is to be done, can we at least charge a small admission fee (maybe even just 50 cents per person) to help pay for electricity (this seems to be the main gripe of the city) and use the building?



Surely most people can and would pay that much to be more comfortable, have a place to sit rather than having to stand and most of all be able to truly enjoy an evening of superb entertainment from the Gilmer school bands.



Thank all of you for any effort you can give toward this cause.



P.S. Thank you Wayne for your comments about the trash. I have been wondering what has happened to our TEXAS PRIDE!!!



Pat Wright, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



I assume that each reader of this article is an American, Texan, Upshur County caring citizen.



However, based on some fairly accurate information that I have complied would indicate otherwise.



Today, Monday, Jan. 23, I picked up trash along one side of Hwy. 271 N. for approximately one-half mile.



The trash was picked up about two months ago in the same area.



The trash filled up a 5 by 8 trailer or six large plastic bags.



I realize that cars are being built smaller than a few years ago, but I believe that there is still room to keep the trash in the vehicle until you get to a place to properly dispose of it.



The trash certainly consisted of different articles, such as plastic bottles, glass bottles, fast food containers, and aluminium cans.



The beer cans outnumbered the soft drink cans by 73 to 47. Draw your own conclusion from those numbers.



I did find one interesting item. It was a pair of men’s plaid boxer shorts, size medium.



If you have lost a pair, please contact me and I will get them to you.



If you really care about the appearance of our streets, roads, and highways, please think before you dispose of your trash out the window of your vehicle.



Wayne Arnold, Gilmer



Dear Editor:



Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.



To all those who helped, bought tickets, and came to eat our chili. The Upshur County TEEA clubs want to thank you for making this event a success by helping to provide a $I,000.00 for a 4-H scholarship to a Upshur County high school student to help with his or her education.



See you next year, and again Thank you all.



From the Glenwood and the Southern Bell TEEA clubs of Upshur County.



Dolores Stevens, Chairperson



Dear Editor:

Because of all the nice, good things that have been in the last two Gilmer Mirrors about Jim Eitel I thought it might be good for me to tell about my first visit with him. So, here we go.

I had ordered some ferterlizer for my yard at Bettie. Jim delivered it. After getting it all in the barn, and found out his name ,I asked if he knew Hardy Eitel. Yes. That was his Dad. So we went and sat on the back porch and talked a mile-a minit.

Way back when I was just a little kid, there was a big sawmill operating on the Daniels farm adjoining our farm. Little houses were built near the sawmill to house the workers and their families. Obe Varner was one of them. He met and fell in love with my oldest sister, Lula.

Then he would bring other guys who worked there, to our house. The first time Hardy Eitel came, I was asleep there on the bed in the fireplace room, where they visited. He asked who that little girl was,and of course they told him, twas Lula’s little sister. Then he said, “Thats the prettiest little girl I have ever seen, and I aim to wait for her to grow up, and marry her.”

Fast forward. In time, as it happened Hardy did marry and so did I. Since we both enjoyed gospel music and we all enjoyed all the singings at different places we would see each other and play catch-up on all the old acquaintances of the past, as he and Obe sort of kept in touch.

Jim Eitel was writing the Pritchett news and I enjoyed reading it though I hardly knew anyone in Pritchett. He made them all so interesting that I felt a kinship with them all.

I then asked him if he could write the Bettie news. He said, no but you can. And so I actually did. After awhile, one day when I took my column into The Gilmer Mirror office, the nice editor, Mr. Mac Overton shook my hand and said, “I want to thank you for what you have done for our paper.” So with those encouraging words, I was “off and running”full speed and enjoyed doing that little column for about 10 years, until I got sick last February. Surely have missed it as I love people and like to put in a good word whenever it’s possible.

So Jim Eitel I raise my hat to you and again say many thanks for your part in my life. Cheyenne thanks you too.

Lurline Johnson, Gilmer

Dear Editor:

Good stories about the disappearance of Kelly Wilson in the Jan. 7 edition of The Mirror. You would have thought after all these years, if in fact the girl was murdered, that someone, somewhere would have stumbled upon her body, or grave, or something.

Very sad story, but good reporting and good research. I lived in Longview in those days and remember that incident very well.

As the years go by and as people involved pass away, it will become more and more difficult to find closure for the family.And the mystery might not ever be solved.

Ronnie Morrison, Gilmer

Mac:

Congratulation on the great story in Saturday paper. I keep this story in the back of my mind all time. Your writing skills were at the highest on this.

Also, Phillip’s on Joe Henry was good. People think this is just a little newspaper, but stories like these are what brings out the skill of the writers.

Thanks for you two. An avid reader,

Jerry Robertson, Longview

Dear Editor:

Have you ever wondered why elections never seem to change anything? One explanation is a strategy proposed in 1966 by Professor Carroll Quigley, a progressive: “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideas and policies… is a foolish idea… Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy… Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.”

Both parties have vigorously pursued spending. Our National debt is over $15 Trillion and we are poised for an economic collapse. It is critical we reassess the way we vote.

“The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.” -George Washington

Cherish your vote by considering each candidate for who they are. What is their record? Who are their associates? Do they live by what they say? These kinds of questions have far more depth than simply asking, “What party do they belong to?” Anyone can join a party.

“I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party… Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.” -Thomas Jefferson

James Still, Gilmer

Dear Editor:

I was reading paper several months ago and saw the ad for Baileys Rain Gutters. I called Mr. Bailey on his cell phone ask him if he did small jobs.He said he sure did. I gave him my address.He and an employee came out, looked at my small job.He explained what needed to be done. I agreed I told him to to it when he was in area.They called gave me a time came out fixed the small job just in time for the rain. Problem solved. He did a great job for a small price. Thanks to Gilmer Mirror and Mr. Bailey for helping a senior citizen. I guess advertising pays.

Jerry Robertson, White Oak

Dear Editor:

We are now entering another season of elections for 2012. Nevertheless, the hostility of relations between the two political parties is even greater than it was in the last election.

This comes at the expense of the great citizens of this fine nation, who want and need to be more involved with the decision making of our nation, above and beyond merely voting for those who will make all of the decisions, which is very little power indeed.

We must remember that a functional democracy, at least in the USA, must invite everyone to join in the process of domestic governmental decision making, direct democracy. This kind of governmental evolution would end, or at least substantially impede, the bureaucratic paralysis and voter anger/apathy that has been present in our society for the past few decades.

High level politicians must remember that an elected and divided government whose members are constantly bickering amongst themselves, while ignoring the will of the people, cannot forever last.

Ray Gattavara, Auburn, Wash.

Dear Editor:

I would like to publicly thank the Gilmer Police Department and the Gilmer Pawn Shop for the very informative Basic Handgun Safety Course for Women help on Nov. 12.

I arrived at the course unable to even load my handgun and left able to operate the handgun in a safe, confident manner.

Your City of Gilmer should be very proud to have such a caring Police Department and businesses.

Regina Douglas, Tyler

Dear Editor:

REASONS why good people can’t/won’t be Politicians

Recently, I read a humorous profile of the typical “politician” which was spot-on: A gregarious-type who has a big Ego; a person as malleable or pliable as silly-putty, who speaks with a hypocitical forked-tongue to different audiences (depending upon the type of pandering objective being sought), a person who can deceive other people while looking them straight-in-the-eye, a narcissistic person who yet is so insecure or greedy that they can be bought-off by Lobbyists and “dance” as their “puppet,” while appearing to show leadership toward all the people. Sadly, our entire crop of current presidential-contenders (from all sides of the political-spectrum and from both political-parties) could fit that mold.

In my quiet moments of pondering how our political system has failed us, I realize that our citizens (our Electorate) have turned the responsible act of “Voting” into a flavor-of-the-month “Popularity Contest.”. A century ago, the public was aghast when conditions behind-closed-doors of animal slaughterhouses were revealed. I disagree with former U.S. Senator Bob Dole who compared the “making of laws” as unseemly to see as the “making of sausage”. We can do better.

In my opinion: many fine, good people who are capable of running for elected-office “can’t” or “won’t” put themselves into the political arena. First, the campaign-season is far too lengthy; running the political gauntlet is plagued by reporters who are part-paparazzi/part-cockroaches. All of us are human...we are all sinners who have some portion of “our past” that would embarrass us—either a little or a lot. Reporters can honestly report on legitimate and pertinent “failings—not to “dig up dirt” nor put false skeletons in a closet, just to contrive a juicy news-story. Candidates should acknowledge genuine shortcomings, not cover-them-up. If they have done bigger betrayals, they should drop-out or resign, not deny.

“Big money” and “big, well-established names” dominate the field. I don’t really mind a son of a former President becoming President himself....or the wife of an ex-President running for President herself—but this isn’t the 1800s anymore. Our populace isn’t small. Out of a nation of over 300 million souls, why can’t we find some new, fresh faces? Not everyone is photogenic. I’d rather see a hard-working, motivated person of good character who might have “little experience” run for office than a dubious character with a long resumé , who has a lazy attitude coupled-with fake Hollywood looks.

I admire authentic candidates who have a real reverence for Almighty God in their hearts, but I hold in contempt the fake politicians who strut like a rooster pretending to wear their feigned “faith” on-their-sleeve as a label to mislead voters. Such men are the worst breed of blasphemous con-men. I’d like to see lobbyists barred from personally wining and dining candidates or officials—they would be free to issue informative pamphlets no longer than five pages in length (and open to public scrutiny).

Lastly, the ultimate “term limit” of ONE, single term for any State or Federal Office should be imposed—and then an officeholder would have to sit out of government service or lobbyist service for three years before being elected or appointed to any other State or Federal position. That would eliminate political job-hopping and clout-peddling: Officials would be more apt to work for the Peoples’ interests...and not their own. We need to separate the wheat from the chaff. Any takers?

James Adolph John Marples, Longview

Dear Editor:

The Nov. 3 article “Speaker decries waste in pensions, health care,” contained several inaccuracies about the Texas County & District Retirement System. TCDRS partners with over 600 employers in the state of Texas to provide retirement, disability and death benefits to counties and districts.

Since many of our 220,000 members live or work in northeast Texas, we thought readers of The Gilmer Mirror would appreciate a clarification.

TCDRS is responsibly-managed and among the best-funded retirement funds in the country. We are considered by experts to be very healthy. As of December 31, 2010, our last reporting period, we had $17.7 billion in assets. Our overall funding level of all 600+ plans was 89 percent, as was the Upshur County plan. This puts us in the top 20 percent of funds nationwide, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators.

TCDRS receives no funding from the state of Texas. Each county or district funds and controls its own benefit plan independently. We do not charge employers fees or interest.

TCDRS is a “savings-based” plan. That means members save an amount from each paycheck throughout their careers (7 percent of pay in Upshur County). Their savings grow at 7 percent annually. At the same time the employee is saving, the employer is contributing an amount calculated annually to fund estimated benefits over the employees’ careers. This ensures that costs are pre-funded and not shifted to future generations.

When an employee becomes eligible to retire, TCDRS calculates a benefit based on the savings account balance and employer matching. Only about 1 in 4 employees retire and get employer matching.

The average Upshur County retiree is 63 years old and worked for the county for 14 years. He receives an average annual payment at retirement of $10,700 ($892 a month), less than half of his pre-retirement salary.

Because benefits are saved for in advance, 78 percent of all benefits paid are provided by investment earnings on the employers’ and employees’ contributions. About 10 percent comes from the employees’ own savings and 12 percent comes from the employers or local taxpayers.

We are investors for the very long term. That, along with our size, allows TCDRS to keep investment-related expenses to a minimum. Plans like TCDRS can provide the same benefit as a 401(k)-type plan for half the cost. Employee and employer contributions are invested in a mix of carefully considered assets. Our target return for the fund is 8 percent, a goal we’ve exceeded over the long-term. Our 30-year return is 10.1 percent (for the period ended Dec. 31, 2010).

TCDRS benefits are saved for and earned by county road crews, law enforcement personnel and many others who help make your community strong and safe. Reasonable retirement income allows these Texans to live independently and with financial dignity in their later years. In addition, reasonable retirement benefits help Upshur County attract and retain the best qualified staff.

Providing a responsibly managed, well-funded retirement is a good thing for everyone in Upshur County.

More information about TCDRS is located on our website, www.tcdrs.org.

Thanks for allowing us to help set the record straight.

Gene Glass, Austin

Director, Texas County & District Retirement System

Dear Editor:

The recent passing of Steve Jobs got me to thinking about three important aspects of his life.

The first is that in 1954 he was put up for adoption and not aborted by his natural parents. Just think about how many potential “Steve Jobs” have been destroyed in the womb since abortion has become legal and commonplace the past forty years. One is reminded of the sanctity of life and it’s benefit to the future of the human race.

The second is the way our society worships and glorifies politicians and sports stars, but neglects to properly appreciate our real heroes – the rugged, individualistic entrepreneurs. The ones that by most assuredly follow their own self interest, but risk their own capital and labor in a way that can end up benefiting everyone. This is the beauty of the American free enterprise system that has made our country the wealthiest in history. The current disparagement of achievers and “the rich” is a sad testament in how forgetful and low our society has gotten in glorifying envy and sloth.

Lastly, Steve Jobs natural father (whom he never met) was Syrian, indicating that the economic backwardness of Middle Eastern countries is not genetic in nature, but rather due to a stiflingly corrupt political and religious culture that suppresses any substantial entrepreneurial spirit. Something we are in danger of doing in this country with our incentive killing taxes and regulations.

The Occupy Wall Street crowd chanting “People over profit” need a lesson in how the pursuit of profit empowers people in ways that exceed imagination. Perhaps it will occur to them as they Tweet each other on their iPhone.

Vance Lowry, Gilmer

Dear Editor:

Has anyone in Texas noticed that the last two teams that won the World Series have come from cities named after saints? I try not to be superstitious, but I can’t help but wonder if the Rangers would fare better if they moved the club to San Angelo or San Antonio.

It’s quite possible that the Rangers missed some stats coming out of Austin. Last season, 2010, Governor Perry executed 17 prisoners for the good people of Texas. This season, 2011, Governor Perry has executed 12 prisoners for the good people of Texas. The last such execution being held on Oct. 27 - the same day the Rangers lost game six of the World Series. What a great player Perry is!

Somebody up there isn’t smiling. I’m not talking about Heaven. I’m talking about Austin.

In the history of MLB, some teams have made the move. The Dodgers were in Brooklyn, and now they’re in LA. All right, so the Dodgers aren’t the Angels. And, nobody is perfect.

Remember the Alamo Rick and “the state of Cain in the modern world!” Don’t forget, the Alamo was a Franciscan chapel long before it was ever a fort. There’s a little history for you, Texas.

Matthew “Houston” R. Dunnigan, Rome, Italy

Dear Editor:

Martha and I regard the past three months as privileged service to our community. I asked for the appointment and responsibilities with its indefinite term that depended on the legal fate of another. The press has accurately portrayed our work and my ambivalence about tenure.

Any praise must be shared with our county employees who afforded me every professional and personal courtesy.

Blame seldom attaches to bureaucracy because of intricate checks and balances, but, if any, it is mine alone.

Our achievements in the past 90 days include:

• the FY 2012 budget with $1 million of spending cuts and realistic revenue estimates

• 15 Commissioners Court meetings with half relating to the FY 2012 budget

• 270 Docket Calls, 70 Pleas, 20 Revocations of Probation and 20 Probates

I am especially grateful for the Commissioners who afforded me the opportunity to serve and the skill and dedication of the Administrative Assistant Kristen Culberson and Auditor Janice Tucker.

I also appreciate the sentiments of those with an unnecessary sense of divided loyalty.

James M. Bowling, Gilmer

Dear Editor:

With a little help from my friends

I read the article in The Gilmer Mirror by John W. Whitehead entitled—“George Harrison, Living In The Material World”. In it, Mr. Whitehead describes the meteoric rise of the Rock band “The Beatles”—and also describes how George Harrison wanted desperately toward the end of their mutual collaboration to “disentangle himself” from the group and be his own man. I admire each of the members of The Beatles....and enjoy their music as a group and as solo performers. I have even attended two concerts by Sir Paul McCartney (one in Dallas and the other in Oklahoma City, Okla.) and one concert by Ringo Starr (actually I had a ticket in my pocket to attend a 2nd Ringo Starr concert when I got hit by a car while I was a pedestrian in a crosswalk in Wichita, Kan.—the impact broke my leg and put me in the hospital for two weeks. The concert was scheduled for the very next day Aug. 26, 2003 in Amarillo.....needless to say : I missed that one. But later saw Ringo in 2006 in Grand Prairie. I might not have admired their less-desirable habits; but I liked the music. I found agreement where I could. With their personal philosophies or theologies: I differed —yet it didn’t detract from the music.

Furthermore, the fact still remains that the road to success, and the rise to their super-stardom could be chalked-up to another Beatles’ tune: “With a little help from my friends.” No matter how independent or self-enterprising we are: we all need somebody: regardless of whether it is a spouse, a boss, a customer, a teacher, a banker, or a car mechanic, or a farmer, or a grocery-store clerk to make our lives run smoother.

I feel it is so sad that we are becoming a “Divided Nation”. We hear bickerers, gripe-heads, and heckling on nearly every subject. I know that total agreement is unrealistic; but it would be nice if we could occasionally find some “common-ground” so we can again become THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. We must not follow the band-wagon effect of protesting for the sake of protesting. Our Constitutional guarantees should not be manipulated into the “flavor of the Month” form of supposedly peaceful assembly that degenerates into rebellous activity. Our best (and most peaceful form) of protesting still remains at the ballot-box. Our ancestors, forebearers and relatives worked too hard and bled too much for this soil to be torn-apart from within our own borders. In more tranquil times, I might have used the phrase: “Let It Be”....but we cannot let the status-quo allow us to sink deeper. We need to appreciate our neighbor; we need to buy American; and foster an “America First” mentality. The political parties have ---to a great extent divided us by clouded words and rhetoric --now, it’s time for individual American citizens to stand-up for “What’s Right”....and exert personal-responsibility to correct what is wrong. Genuine Freedom and Precious Liberty demand it, from all of us. Let’s stop the squabbling and “Get Back to where we once belonged” = the Greatest Nation on Earth. If we establish a base of certainty and a conviction to support each other without pointing fingers: we will boost jobs, strengthen families, build communities, and regain our Nation’s premier standing in the world. We must do more than print “IN GOD WE TRUST” on our coinage: We must believe it in our hearts and continue on tat “long and winding road” to rally beneath the Stars & Stripes Flag that reflects our past Heritage...but also symbolizes our future Destiny: ......if we allow it.

James Adolph John Marples, Longview

Dear Editor:

I read about the commissioners deciding that Upshur County does not need a Veteran’s Service Officer or Veteran’s Service office. I wish that they would reconsider.

The notice about closing the office was barely noticeable in the writeup. I think it was limited to only one sentence in an article about the Commissioners Court that had several columns of print.

A majority of Texas counties have Veteran’s Service Officers, because of the valuable help that they provide to veterans.

Without an office in Upshur County, all veterans will have to go to other cities to receive the help that should be provided for them in Gilmer.

Many of our World War II veterans and Korean veterans have to have assistance to visit the office in Gilmer.

Now they will have to have assistance to travel even farther to another county and city to get the help that they should be getting here.

We Vietnam veterans are not young anymore and many of these veterans will require assistance to travel to another county.

When you include the Iraq veterans and Afghanistan veterans, Upshur County has many veterans that served our country, but will not be provided with a Veteran’s Service Office.

I ask all veterans to contact their commissioners and request that we keep a Veteran’s Service Office in Gilmer and I ask the commissioners to listen to them.

Andy Aldredge, Gilmer

Vietnam veteran, U.S. Marine Corps

Dear Editor:

There are many reasons why East Texans should fight being forced to serve as a conduit for sending dirty tar sands crude to China– among the greatest investors in Canadian tar sands fields. To name a few:

The huge disparity between the number of jobs that TransCanada projects it will bring to Texas (over 50,000) and the State Department’s estimate (156-379 temporary jobs over three years, a number supported by a recent study at Cornell University’s Global Labor Institute);

The threat to our Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer, which supplies water to 60 East Texas counties. Tar sands crude is heavier than water, and an effective means of cleaning up spills into waterways has not been found: a spill by Enbridge, TransCanada’s competitor, dumped 840,000 gallons of tar sands crude into the Kalamazoo River in July of 2010. Efforts to clean it up have been futile. TransCanada has already had 14 spills in the past year from Keystone I, the company’s existing pipeline, which they propose extending into Texas;

The lack of an emergency response plan in case of a major spill;

The size of the tar sands crude carbon footprint: there is a whopping 17 percent more carbon and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming in this crude, than in conventional oil.

The company’s strong-arming of property owners to sign over their rights and let the pipeline go through.

The list goes on.

But here are some disturbing new developments:

In September, the State Department posted a notice of public hearings to be held in areas of the country which will be impacted directly by this pipeline. Parties in favor, and in opposition, were invited to make comments. A hearing in Port Arthur, Texas, was followed by one in Austin.

There was one catch: speakers were signed up on a first-come, first-served basis, and local pro-pipeline organizers made sure their people got there first. When those opposed were finally able to comment, their time was cut short. In Austin, the microphone was shut off at 2 minutes, with no warning signal so speakers could hurriedly complete their thought. At 8 p.m., the hearing was abruptly adjourned. Two dozen would-be opposition speakers, who had waited hours for their chance, were denied time to comment. When one man politely asked why he and others had been left out, he was arrested.

This is not my idea of democracy at work.

Yet, there is a reason why those in opposition to the pipeline were treated differently than those in favor: Instead of the State Department holding the hearings, an outside company, Cardno Entrix, was engaged. Cardno Entrix also represents TransCanada. Unbelievably, evidence has now emerged that Cardno Entrix wrote all three environmental impact statements for the State Department on the proposed pipeline. Not surprisingly, these documents failed to address major environmental concerns.

In addition, TransCanada lobbyist Paul Elliot failed to disclose, when he registered as a foreign agent to lobby the State Department, that he had previously worked on Secretary of State Clinton’s presidential campaign.

These are clear conflicts of interest, and should be a clear signal to us that TransCanada is not the “good neighbor” in those full-page, full-color, folksy newspaper advertisements.

We are being lied to and bullied by a ruthless corporation that will stop at nothing to get its way. We should do everything in our power to prohibit TransCanada from invading East Texas.

Suzanne Morris, Rusk

Dear Editor:

In a recent report addressing the protests on Wall Street, the Associated Press stated, “It’s unclear exactly what the demonstrators want.” With a little research, however, it is possible to uncover what is going on.

Funded by huge financial resources, Socialists play a major role in organizing riots and protests around the world. Wanting “change” and “revolution” Socialists work with many different groups, including Radical Islam and Unions, to create “chaos”. Their goal is to “overwhelm and collapse the system” in order to destroy capitalism.

Socialists know that in order to fundamentally transform America, people must be “reeducated”. Within the Public School system, Colleges and Universities Socialists have been given extensive access to our young people. Exploiting our schools Socialists have rewritten our history to discredit the Founders, the Constitution, and American Exceptionalism. Our classrooms have also been used to promote the fallacy that greed, corruption and the destruction of the environment exists only within Capitalism.

Socialists demand an ever expanding government and will use all means to achieve their goals; including the use of our young people who have not been taught history.

“What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body…”

“When all government… shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it… will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.” -Thomas Jefferson

James Still, Gilmer

Dear Editor

I will try to make this letter brief, to the point, and keep as emotionally neutral as possible. In the not so distant past humane horse slaughter and processing was completely removed from the United States. It was an industry that provided an outlet to the aged, diseased, ill cared for, unwanted, over bred, or “dangerous” animals in the equine society. It was viewed as a necessary evil that gave the horse industry a stable bottom market value, for buyers and sellers alike, and gave jobs to many people in our nation.

Not all killer buyers treated their horses with cruelty as some would like all people to believe. There are killer buyers that did purchase horses and weed out the ones they thought were good candidates for rehabilitation. There are some families who have been in the equine business for generations. Breeding, training, buying and selling quality bred horses with intelligence which isn’t just an income but a passion.

That is not the case anymore with many of these families. Now many of these families have went under, going under, or can’t make a go of it solely on what they were raised to do. It is a shame to see an industry, way of life, and passion for so many come to an abrupt end, because of another person’s misgivings about an industry. Here are some average pricings I have gathered from various sources. This includes myself since I am an avid Quarter Horse owner and lover myself.

Fact: the average cost of equine euthanasia is $300-$500 or more per animal

Fact: Stabling fees are anywhere from $200-$500 per month per animal

Fact: Right now in Texas the average round bale is $100 per roll (this is on the lesser end) AND is being stolen right out of the fields because of price and quantity!!

Fact: Average price for farrier services is between $30 and $125 on average every 8 wks

Fact: A tube of horse wormer (depending on your preference and schedule) can cost upwards $20 every 3 months per animal.

Fact: Fuel costs are an average $3.45 per gallon (gasoline), $3.79 per gallon (diesel) on October 3, 2011

Fact: You need to have a truck and trailer to transport your equine animals and then the upkeep that falls in with that or someone willing to taxi your animals for you

Fact: Tack is not cheap, even at auctions unless you are lucky enough to know horse owners

Fact: Training is not cheap nor is horsemanship lessons unless you are lucky enough to know horse people

Fact: There will always be routine vet costs as well as unexpected costs, like those 2 a.m. colic emergencies for example

Fact: There are MORE unwanted, ill cared for, starved, neglected, horses than there ever were prior to slaughter bans

Fact: The MARKET is FLOODED since ANTI-SLAUGHTER bans have been put in place

Fact: Animals in the equine family are turned loose every day along the roads because people do not care and cannot afford to feed these animals

Fact: Equine rescue ranches were over-populated and under-resourced since the anti-slaughter and the situation has only gotten increasingly worse since the lack of food and water here in Texas

Now with the wildfires the situation is dire!! SOMETHING MUST BE DONE TO ALLEVIATE THE EQUINE WORLD, INDUSTRY, AND RESCUE RANCHES!! The sooner the better for all involved!!

The Government has bottomed out the horse market, made it impossible for good quality bred and trained horses to be of value. Over-populated are the wild mustangs that are now starving and inbred.

Medicine can tell you what happens to humans genetically when their genes don’t make it out of the shallow end of the gene pool and the genetic problems passed along. Do you think it is no different in the equine world? Is it any more fair for anti-slaughter groups to protest and eventually get banned the most economical, sanitary, and effective way to take care of problems like overpopulation, genetic defects, neglected, starved, abused, unwanted animals of the equine world? ONLY to have the alternatives being shoot them and let them lay or dig a big hole, dump them out in the national forests, land preserves, or highways, give them to charity groups who are over populated and underfunded?! Not many are willing to or able to have the time and finances to “humanely euthanize” an animal of that size. NO not all should be killed, BUT in the same respect NOT all should be subjected to a life that entails all the possibilities that many of these animals go through every day!! I am standing up for the Equine Industry and asking that our elected Texas officials help to restore humane slaughter in the United States. Remember it isn’t just the anti slaughter groups that vote too!!

Tara Morrow, Naples

Dear Editor:

When I was assigned to the great state of Nebraska (courtesy of the USAF) the Ogallala aquifer was considered a major source of water for many states.

The Nebraska governor has had questions re: the pipeline from Canada crossing this major aquifer. When Nebraska has concerns re: the aquifer, then I have concerns.

Without that water, we will not need much oil. Why does this oil need to be transported to Texas via a pipeline?

I traveled all the way across Nebraska on the way to FE Warren, Wy. It seems like we have more and more in common with some of the western states.

FE Warren was about 40-50 miles north of Colorado.

I spent about five years in those parts of the country (courtesy of the USAF).

Mary J. Minor, Ore City

Dear Editor:

In the midst of the worst drought conditions Texas has ever seen, coupled with historic wildfire outbreaks, we've all been praying for those who have been affected by this sudden and horrible tragedy. And we thank those who have served us and saved us: our firefighters. Sadly, some would take this tragedy and spin it for cheap political gain. We have recently seen the bald assertion that the “Tea Party” and conservatives are to blame for some of our community's fire losses, claiming these heartless monsters have “slashed” the Forest Service's wildfire fighting budget. Let's talk about the facts.

Not only did your Texas Legislature not "slash" the Forest Service budget, we increased it. Texas operates on a two-year budget cycle (referred to as a biennium), and during each Legislative Session, the Legislature approves the budget for the following two years. For example, in the just-completed session, we passed the budget for the 2012-2013 biennium. The Texas Forest Service normally receives around $72,000,000 to $75,000,000 for its normal operations during the two-year budget cycle. In addition to this amount, the legislature provides extra money for special circumstances - such as wildfires. Here are the total funds provided by the Legislature for the Texas Forest Service during the last four legislative sessions:

2005 $119,100,000

2007 $120,600,000

2009 $108,800,000

2011 $196,400,000

Some in the media have chosen to look only at the Forest Service's regular operating budget (the $72,000,000 to $75,000,000) to claim that the Legislature has committed malfeasance and reduced the Forest Service budget. But a simple look at the entire state budget tells the whole story. The Legislature passed an additional $81,000,000 for wildfire fighting during this last session. As the situation continued to worsen, in the Special Session we approved another $40,000,000 for the Forest Service. These numbers combine to get to the $196,400,000 approved during this last session. Going from $108.8 million to $196.4 million is hardly a slashing of the Forest Service budget.

Our Texas Forest Service is a remarkable organization, and like so many of our state employees, the folks who work there give the people of Texas dedicated service. We are very thankful for the Forest Service personnel and for the work they do alongside our volunteer firefighters.

The state budgeting system in Texas recognizes that agencies like the Forest Service need a certain amount of funds to operate and fulfill their normal duties to the people of Texas. We also recognize that when emergencies and special needs arise, the Legislature should provide additional funds to make sure these folks have the resources they need.

That's why in Texas—unlike Washington DC—we have a balanced budget. And by God's grace we were able to balance the state budget while still providing an extra $120,000,000 for the Texas Forest Service to help in this crisis.

State Rep. Bryan Hughes, (R-Mineola)

Dear Editor:

I have read the article “Commissioners Debate Budget” in the Sept. 3 issue of The Gilmer Mirror.

To say that I am disappointed in the senior Republican Commissioners, Crittenden (Pct. 1) and Crabtree (Pct. 3), would be a gross understatement.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), Upshur County Texas’ average gross salary/wage for full time employment is $31,200. Your article reports that our Commissioners make $41,000 annually for what has become a part-time position.

It appears that our public servants are making approximately 31 percent more than their average constituents.

Now, let us examine this. What do we call these hard-working constituents? Employer? Boss? Or perhaps we can use the Biblical term master?

It is an uncommon practice for the servant to make more than their master.

The point I am trying to make here is this — a public servant should never make more than the average voter/constituent, employer, boss or master.

Government is not a product-producing endeavor. It exists for the good of the people. I, for one, do not want a part-time official bringing home more than the mean salary of an Upshur County resident.

My congratulations go to the two junior Republican Commissioners, Hefner (Pct. 2) and Spencer (Pct. 4), for their courage and wisdom. It is not popular, nor is it easy, to bring a runaway budget in line with what is reality.

These two men are demonstrating what is true GOP conservative values. I am glad that someone with a “R” behind their name gets it.

I urge each of you to contact your elected official. You can leave them a message on their county office phone by dialing 903-680-8399. Listen and follow the menu. Leave them a message. After all, they are your public servant.

Rhonda Pope, Gilmer

Dear Editor:

Our East Texas area is loaded with a lot of people that understand that helping your neighbors is the right thing to do.

The support of the Volunteer Firemen fighting an unprecedented number of wildfires is a prime example.

Donating and hauling food, water and fuel to the ones manning the fire lines.

East Texas is very patriotic as evidenced by the Flag Displays on the National Holidays.

The support the American Legion has received with Operation Troop Appreciation from our banks and many individuals and groups is truly outstanding.

I am very proud of having served my country and very proud of being a member of the American Legion, which is an organization that was formed by veterans for veterans way back in 1919.

There are no surviving WWI veterans anywhere in the world. The basic Foundation was sound back then. The Legion programs and issues are constantly evolving and are as up-to-date as tomorrow’s newspapers.

We are constantly being renewed.

This year we will have a joint booth shared by American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars at the Yamboree Exhibit Building in Yamboree Park on Oct. 20-22.

There will be some drawings and raffles, but mainly to answer any questions about veterans and veterans’ families’ benefits or what the organizations have to offer to new members.

Please stop by while enjoying the Yamboree.

Jerry Holsworth, Commander,

R.E. Peppy Blount American Legion Post 320, Gilmer

Dear Editor:

It was my pleasure to attend a fundraiser for David Simpson at the home of Upshur County Commissioner Cole Hefner on Sept. 13. There were several of our elected officials there: State Representatives Bryan Hughes, Leo Berman, Erwin Cain, and George Lavender, all who firmly support David Simpson as our new State Representative. Also present was County Commissioner James Crittenden. It was good to be able to speak to David in person. I believe he is a very honest, sincere person who will stand up for what he believes in. As many of you may know, he tried very hard to get a bill through this last legislature which would stop TSA from doing intrusive body searches.

I am sorry to say that there were not as many of our citizens at the event as we would have liked. It is a shame that some of our people are not interested in getting to know their politicians or in supporting them. We need to elect people who represent our point of view and If you are just taking the word of your neighbor or friend, don’t blame anyone but yourself if you get someone in office who is only in office for what it will do for him. We have a prime example of this in the White House now.

J.L. Martin, Big Sandy

Dear Editor:

We lived in New Mexico for four years surrounded by a million acre-national forest and NM's average rain fall is less than half of ours here in Gilmer. Every community had a volunteer fire department.

One of the first things they told us was to make an evacuation list and post it on the inside of a cabinet door.

The list starts with your most important things and where they are located. I know you are thinking that you don't want a thief finding your list and getting your valubles, trust me if they want them they can find them also what is important to you, the theif may not think is . My list started off with my pets and where the pet carriers are, then important papers, medicines, pictures, stuff you cannot replace. You might even want to pack a bag if you the fire danger is high. Another reason for the location of your stuff is so if you are at work and you have a neighbor you can trust they can help evacuaute you.

If you think you can remember everything, so be it. But there was a lady in NM that had to evacuate her home and got so shook up that she grabbed a 5-lb. bag of flour and left. Luckily she didn't lose her house.

We had an 83-year-old neighbor who when the fire danger started going up she started packing her truck (she had a camper shell on it). The higher the danger got the more stuff she packed. This year she did have to leave her house but the fire missed her.

Fire is devastating because it consumes everthing in its path, and just leaves charred remains behind. Don't let it happen to you, support your local fire fighters, pray for them and thank them when you see them!

Tanya Maberry, Gilmer

Dear Editor:

I am shocked and offended by a headline that was obviously added to a front-page story last Wednesday, Sept. 14.

It said, {One result of Tea Party’s ‘scorched earth’ budget tactics}.

The “opinion & analysis” story about the wildfires and fire departments’ needs did not provide any facts to substantiate that disparaging headline nor did it even mention the Tea Party.

As a member of the Upshur County TEA Party, I think it grossly unfair to assert blame on those citizens who are supporters of this conservative grassroots movement.

We are not responsible for the record-breaking drought, excessive wildfires and extreme demands being placed upon fire departments?

However, yesterday I was pleased to read the following news release, “State leaders have requested the Texas Forest Service expedite the distribution of $27. million for Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program and made an additional $5 million available to pay for firefighting equipment and other expenses resulting from the unprecedented wildfire season this year. The TFS will be getting more information out to volunteer fire departments within the next few days, said Director Tom Boggus.”

I want to commend the Pritchett Volunteer Fire Dept. who has worked many long hours to stop fires in my fire district and in many others. Everyone is surely aware that this emergency situation will last until we receive adequate rainfall.

It is imperative that everyone serves as a crime watcher to stop illegal burning.

In the meantime, citizens can continue doing what good neighbors do — provide encouragement and support of fire departments in our area with monetary donations, fuel credit cards, hot meals, beverages, snacks, bedding and other items.

They need our prayers for protection too !

Sandra S. Click

Pritchett Community

Dear Editor:

As a lifelong Texas resident, I feel the need to write concerning the approval process of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project.

As I am sure you are aware, this project is awaiting a Presidential Permit for the pipeline to cross the U.S./Canada border.

I am a 34-year pipeline construction worker and a Texas taxpayer.

I am tired of sending our wealth to countries that use the money to attack our way of life.

With Canada having the world’s third-largest oil deposit, it makes perfect sense to purchase as much oil as we can from our friendly neighbors to the north.

I have personally witnessed the precautions and safety measures that Trans-Canada upholds to construct and operate their pipeline systems.

I can honestly say from a safety standpoint, they are one of the best pipeline operators in our country today.

If a pipeline is built right, it is the safest and most economical way to transport any liquid.

With over 13,000 construction jobs and 118,000 spin off jobs hanging in the balance, and an estimated $600 million dollars in new tax revenues for the communities, what better way is there to stimulate the economy?

This pipeline comes at a time when we need jobs, friendly oil supplies, and private sector investments in our country.

Trans-Canada has pledged to transport up to 15 percent of this pipeline’s capacity with U.S. oil production to be picked up along its proposed route.

This means that Montana and North Dakota oil producers will be able to send their products to market at a more favorable price than they now have.

I understand that as a country we need to look at as many environmentally friendly approaches as possible.

Environmental studies show that carbon-dioxide emissions from oil sands are only two percent higher than those of Venezuelan crude currently being refined on our Gulf Coast.

I am for reducing our carbon footprint by choosing natural gas powered vehicles, wind power, solar power and nuclear energy, but we cannot get here overnight.

From where we sit today we are committed in the near future to oil.

At the present time it makes perfect sense, even “common sense” to approve the Keystone Pipeline with Canada being the largest supplier of oil to the U.S.

We can sit back and watch China buy it and then sell it to us at a much higher cost, or we can put American back to work!

Black Schroeder, Beaumont

Dear Editor:

“The nearest thing to eternal life is a government program.” — Ronald Reagan

I had a chance to witness first-hand a microcosm of what Reagan was talking about when I attended the Commissioners Court meeting on Thursday, Sept. 15. At issue was whether Upshur County should continue to contribute to the funding of the Gladewater library, which is geographically located in Gregg County. The amount in question is $4,000, which has been our county’s contribution for the past several years, but to our current court’s credit, has been removed as a budget line item for the difficult upcoming fiscal year.

A group of well-meaning taxpayers residing in southern Upshur County, and frequent users of the library in Gladewater, expressed their unhappiness with this decision. During the entirety of their many pleas for reconsideration, I was struck by just how much their position epitomized the reason we are experiencing fiscal catastrophe at all levels of our government.

By definition, they represented a “special interest group” lobbying for their pet program before a legislative body holding the purse strings, just like what happens in Washington! And just like in Washington, absent from the meeting was the average taxpayer.

Most Upshur County taxpayers will never use the Gladewater library, therefore, why should they have to pay anything for the library privileges of just a few. We all know that normally these sorts of efforts are successful. However, to the court’s credit, the request was voted down on a 3-to-2 vote, and funding for this item is zero for fiscal 2012.

Imagine if Upshur County had never contributed to the Gladewater library in the past (as should have occurred). Do you think that in these perilous financial times, a group would come to our court and request a $4,000 donation for that purpose?

I submit that they probably would have been laughed out of the room. However, since a precedent was set by previous courts, the donation had to be ponderously debated since, evidently, it has magically transformed into an “entitlement” of sorts. Is there no other way to resolve this without going after the suffering Upshur County taxpayer to fund an activity that benefits comparatively few residents? What’s wrong with user fees?

How about individuals using our centrally located county library in Gilmer combined with their trips to Walmart? I would bet that generally speaking, the group addressing the court on this issue are themselves governmental fiscal conservatives. With a little more thought, I feel they will see the slight hypocrisy endemic of their effort.

Commissioner Mike Spencer summed up his reasoning (and vote) best with his comment that “We’re broke” as a county government, and indeed we are. Since he had nothing to do with previous court’s approval of this one expense, it stands as a good lesson to him and future commissioners on the caution they best observe when financial good times return. That is, be careful about approving expenditures like this no matter how benevolent and reasonable they sound at the time. After all, Reagan also said:

“Government always finds a need for whatever money it gets.”

Vance Lowry, Gilmer

Dear Editor:

We want to take this opportunity to say thanks to all the volunteers of the fire departments for your hard work and sacrifice in service to our communities.

Perhaps it takes a disaster like the recent fires to open the eyes of people and make them realize the importance of your putting your lives at risk, with very little sleep and rest.

Let’s not forget to thank the families of the firemen, because they make it possible for you to your jobs.

Gerald and Joyce Payne, Simpsonville

Dear Editor:

Like most everyone, I have read articles and heard news reports which spoke of the ordeals that citizens and fire-fighters alike have had in dealing with fires in East Texas.

We have been spoiled in past years with good rainfall and lush foliage that has never been combed-back, thinned-down or groomed properly. Such procrastination has bred complacency and people have tended to ignore a major problem: dry brush and tall grass being a firetrap.

Just a few days ago, a bad fire broke-out near the town of Diana. I have a cousin who lives in that area and when I heard news of the fire, I drove up there (since he was gone at the time) to wet-down the area around his house, as well as herd some livestock to a safer area which was more visible to his home; so if an outbreak of fire occurred, my main objective would be to contain the immediate area, to save human life, animal life, and my relative’s home and belongings.

I wish that the Texas Department of Public Safety would coordinate with the Forest Service as well as the Dept. of Transportation and do “controlled burns” (done by officials ONLY with a water-truck following closely behind). With continued HOT and VERY DRY conditions predicted for future days...fire danger will be an ONGOING THREAT.

Careless people are still apt to to toss cigarettes out of cars. If, say, a 15-foot swath was burnt by OFFICIALS along the shoulders of MAJOR ROADS such as US-271, US-259, TX-154, TX-300 Highways and along Interstate I-20 ....it might not prevent all fires—but it would go a long way toward being a “firebreak.”

We cannot afford to get complacent and think that the worst is over. Until we get meaningful rain—the Danger is still there.

James A. Marples, Longview

Dear Editor:

Folks of Upshur County, we have a situation that is going to bankrupt our county if we do not get it settled.

We have a visiting judge and two visiting attorneys that are taking the county to the cleaners.

It is my understanding that the judge receives $1,000 a day if he works one hour or eight hours.

I do not know what the lawyers get, as the judge has ruled that they do not have to explain their billing to the county commissioners.

I went to the June 30, 2011 hearing, and the lawyers for the defense proved that what the suspended county judge did was legal.

The visiting judge could have dismissed the case that day and saved the county a lot of money.

While I am not a fan of the suspended judge, it was proved that he acted legally.

I don’t see how Jimmy’s wearing the tape on his mouth was disrupted, since he was quiet and the court proceedings were not interfered with.

I also believe our District Attorney decided to recuse himself because he realized he had filed a case that couldn’t be won. In my opinion, the DA should pay the expenses that have accrued since this fiasco began.

I am the one that was addressing the Commissioner’s Court when the decision was made to stop having public comment.

I think everyone concerned should apologize, withdraw their complaints, and go on with their lives.

Upshur County’s money can be utilized in more beneficial ways then this ongoing trial.

L.E. Rinehart, Gilmer

Dear Editor:

The behavior of the executive and legislative branches of the government during the recent debate on raising the nation’s debt limit is a clear example of complete dysfunction in two of our nation’s highest governmental entities.

It is abundantly clear that the vast majority of federal and state politicians work to further their own perceived benefit at the expense of the hard working middle-class men and women of this great nation.

The retired, the disabled, the poor (working or not) and the children of today were and are given little priority in the halls of Congress.

We, the people who are not elected to or work for the government, must begin to care far less about politicians and instead focus our attention on ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors, our communities, and last but not least, our great nation. In doing so we need to accept as fact that elected federal and state representatives will not and/or don’t know how to restore “hope for the future” to our culture, so desperately needed during our current social, political and economic decline.

So, we must assume this great task ourselves, personally and collectively. But by excluding all politicians from this endeavor, the path will be easier than it appears.

Let us remember what the late Philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Genius can inspire others to recast our institutions, remould our manners, and regenerate faith in ourselves.

Ray Gattavara, Auburn,Wash.

Dear Editor:

Enjoy your Labor Day holiday? The reason we celebrate Labor Day is largely because of the contributions made by unions to the betterment of America’s workers. The numerous beneficial influences of organized labor cannot be ignored. Most of the benefits workers now enjoy are directly attributable to unions. To cite but a few: the 40-hr. work week; paid holidays and vacations; sick leave; grievance procedures, collective bargaining and generally superior wages.

Unfortunately, succeeding generations have come to take those benefits for granted. Those benefits came about because of unions and soon became the norm for union workers and many non-union workers as well.

All American workers owe a debt of gratitude to Organized Labor for its achievements.

Paul G. Jaehnert, Vadnais Hts., Minn.

Dear Editor:

It sure does seem like a lot of dishonest Upshur County people have been able to either get themselves into public office or on the taxpayer dole where they don’t have to account for how they spend yours and my money! Once they’ve gotten the job, they’ve obviously felt like they could do whatever they decide they want, because after all, we’ve elected them to make the rules! It doesn’t matter if State or Federal law says otherwise, since “this is Upshur County” don’t you know?

We’ve even got pillars of the community giving “testimonies” about how our District Attorney is on some kind of wild-eyed, revengeful “political witch hunt,” and making a big to-do over nothing. Nevermind that he’s sworn to root out corruption wherever he finds it, even when it’s among his own personal friends! Nevermind that untold thousands of taxpayer monies have been misused or unaccounted for! It’s supposedly just SO embarrassing to have Upshur County be made such a joke !

What I can’t figure out is who finds it funny? I sure don’t. I find it sad that anyone would rather let the stealing and cheating just stay covered up with good ole boy backslapping. But, it is especially disappointing when people who have a reputation of being community leaders assume this “ostrich” position. Even worse (and truly embarrassing) is when they join in with the bad-mouthing “pack” mentality that cleaning up crime is a bad reflection on our county!

Why wouldn’t decent, honest, hard-working people who live in Upshur County be proud to know that if someone has robbed them, or stolen their rights in some way they weren’t even aware of, they have a public official who is going to protect them? Billy Byrd sure isn’t making any more money for himself just by doing his job. We live in a time when many elected officials abuse their power for their own gain, and they only get more bold, the longer they are allowed to get away with it. I, for one, will gladly tell people who want to criticize Upshur County, if you’re a thief, stay out of our county! We have a DA who will prosecute you!

J. L. Martin, Big Sandy

Dear Editor:

My name is Jeff Walston, and I am a movie producer from Whitehouse. Years ago we produced a movie in the East Texas area. We had several prop items of a military nature donated for use from locals in the Longview area. After shooting the project, it was my understanding all items had been returned to the owners.

We are now in Shreveport working on a movie project and it recently came to my attention that we still had military recorded and items of a historical nature in our possession, but no information on who lent them to us.

We would really like to get these items, records and a photo album back to the family of this veteran. We need some help to do that. The father of the Sergeant killed in World War II, was named Mr. James Authur Adkison. He resided at R.F.D. #2, Gilmer, Texas on 24 Aug. 1949. It is my understanding that family should still reside in Gilmer.

The items we have possession of would be very valuable, memory-wise, to family members. I know they would be to mine if the tables were turned. Our only wish is to see that these items get back into the hands of the family, at no cost to them. We did not use them in the movie, so they must have just been put on a shelf and forgotten until now.

If you are a family member of Mr. Adkison, feel free to contact me at 903-780-3670.

Jeff Walston, White Horse Entertainment

Dear Mrs. Greene:

From the first time I made the front page of The Mirror on Valentine’s day 1961, Thursday has meant one thing: The Gilmer Mirror would be in my mailbox. The paper has chronicled much of my life. My scrapbook is filled with clippings reporting my activities as a Camp Fire Girl, high school student, young bride, proud parent, and teacher. It seems my younger days are now remembered in the “yesterday” photo on Page 4. The Gilmer Mirror is an Upshur County treasure and I thank you for your dedication and commitment to excellence.

My purpose today is to applaud the new electronic subscription. Not to be confused with Gilmer Mirror online, the electronic subscription is the entire paper, in living color, with each page and article as they appear in the paper copy. My New Year’s resolution was to do one “green” activity; the electronic Mirror certainly fulfilled that aspiration. No delivery cost; no paper of which to dispose; and, if I happened to need the type larger, just a click of a button and it could be read from across the room. Should I forget to cut out an article, I use the search feature and hit the print key, or to send the article to friends there is e-mail.

As parents are sending students back to school and off to college, I recommend the electronic subscription. It is a connection back to “home,” a hello from old friends, and a reflection (as in a mirror) of the wonderful people who live/lived in Gilmer. Whether checking the weather on Mortgage Hill or the lunchroom menu, my life would not be complete without my weekly view into “The Gilmer Mirror”.

As the cheer goes:

“I’m from Gilmer

Couldn’t be prouder.”

Debbie Chandler Cannon

Dear Editor:

FORTY DAYS IN A ROW 100 DEGREE PLUS

STOCK MARKET PLUMMETS

CONGRESS IN DISARRAY

VISITING JUDGE SAYS SPECIAL PROSECUTOR’S BILL TO BE HIDDEN FROM TAXPAYER’S

PRAYER NO LONGER ALLOWED IN VETERAN CEMETERY

NEW VISITING JUDGE ASSIGNED WHAT?

Are you gettin’ like me and ’bout ready to cut your own throat? How will we ever get any relief? Words don’t exist to describe the feelings of the majority of Upshur County folks. We are sick of this mess the District Attorney’s Office got us into. Well, Elliott, he had to do something, didn’t he?

After all, a citizen got his feelings hurt, didn’t he? Had that oh lip pouched out, marched right on down there to the DA’s office and demanded justice. Yes, he needed to do something, a mature man with no axe to grind, would of called all the parties together, had a little pity party for Mr. Jimmy, patted him on the back and sent everyone about their business. A 4-inch piece of duct tape. Be hard to afford the whole roll, based on what this four inches will cost us, the taxpayers. Then the Judge says we, the taxpayers, don’t even have the right to see what the Special Prosecutor is spending our money on. Mr. Taxpayer, have you ever felt like you have been taken hostage?

Do you remember back in ’69, when Shorty Kellums went out to Californy, to visit with Uncle Jed and Granny? Well, he stayed 17 weeks. Then when Cousin Pearl Bodine showed up, I think you get my drift. It’s time for these unwanted lawyers to go back home. What? No, I am only talking about the ones involved in these trials.

I have never been accused of being the sharpest knife in the drawer, but eight months and they can’t get a misdemeanor trial off the ground.

In previous letters, I called on the commissioners to consider reducing their salaries by $16,250 each, which would pay the salary of the road engineer. These men are still being paid a full-time salary when they do not work like full-time employees. DID YOU KNOW! Commissioner Mike Spencer had his salary reduced by $16,250 to go toward the engineer’s salary. Let me say it again: Mike Spencer volunteered to reduce his salary since the day he took office. Voters, you need to talk to YOUR commissioner. I do not see how a man can take what he hasn’t earned. That’s about the same as taking something that’s not yours. Judge Bowling, talk to them about this.

Oh yeah,someone said, Elliott you must be the County Judge’s Boy or the Sheriff’s Boy. Let me tell you something, I am Upshur County’s Boy. Red and yellow, black and white, I just know when I see something that’s not right and I just want to stand on the side of right. When all this mess first hit the news, Mr. Coulter said these officials needed a little starch taken out of their step-ins, I don’t disagree, but they do not deserve to have their lives, careers and their good names smeared in POLITICAL mud. Please tell me anyone who will benefit from this circus? What? What, I wish you would let me alone, I’m gonna tell it like it is! The only beneficiaries are the Visiting Judges and the Lawyers, none of whom are on my favorite list. What? I don’t care if you already knew that, I’m gonna keep preaching the gospel, this whole thing is wrong!

Just one man’s idea.

Elliott Dean, Gilmer

Abraham Lincoln said, (Elliott) you can keep your mouth shut and let others think you’re an idiot, or you can open your mouth and prove it. Go figure.

ar Editor:

As of Jan. 1, 2010, section 23.01 of the Texas Tax Code requires the County Appraisal Districts to include foreclosed and distressed home sales in valuing our homes for property tax purposes.

In fact, the law requires the CAD to include these distressed sales for the last three years while limiting non distressed sales to the previous 24 months.

Upshur appraisal district is not following this law.

Numerouus times in sworn testimony Upshur CAD employees have refused to follow this requirement of law.

I have requested that they produce just one example of foreclosed home sales being used in property valuing and Upshur CAD has not been able to site a single example.

In fact, they have stated that they “do not use foreclosed property in valuing property.”

We taxpayers, the victims of this disregard of the law, deserve an Attorney’s General review.

When our public tax officials do not follow the law or directly violate the spirit of the law they should be held accountable by the officials who pay their salaries.

In many, many cased this has caused homes in this district to be overvalued and thus overtaxed.

We must all pay our fair share of taxes, however, when our homes are overvalued and it is permitted in direct violation of the laws of the State of Texas everyone loses.

Our Public Officials should not be permitted to follow only the laws they choose, but all laws.

If this violation of law is allowed to continue unchecked, what liberties will be next?

What constitutional right will be next to fall?

For a copy of Texas Tax Code 23.01, HB 1038 and Legislative notes please call 903-241-4931.

J.D. Davis, Lone Star

Dear Editor:

Our American Legion Peppy Blount Post 320 is doing pretty well for our first 15 months of existence.

The Post has won several performance awards and recently was at 186 percent of membership goals for our 2011 year.

We are hoping to launch some new school student achievement recognition programs for this coming school year.

Our help to Veterans and their families is becoming known in the Gilmer area.

Our Peppy Blount Post 320 is family oriented, and available to help all Veterans obtain the benefits they have earned even if they are not members of our post.

We may not always have the answers at hand, but we know where and how to get them.

Post 320 meets the third Monday of each month at the DAV building across from WalMart. Doors open at 6 and the meeting start at 6:30 p.m.

Jerry Holsworth ,Commander, American Legion

Peppy Blount Post 320, Gilmer

Phone contacts: 903-843-4324, cell 903-399-2818 (Jerry)903-680-2414,

cell 903-790-2691 (Bradley)

email: oldgwh@aol.com

Dear Editor:

What is wrong with our elected officials?

What is so hard about putting an end to excessive, often frivolous spending?

What fool wants to raise taxes, instead of correcting the spending addiction?

Why are programs in the U.S. bearing the brunt of proposed spending cuts?

How many trillions fund other countries?

What’s wrong with following the “concept”, KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID?

Here’s a message to all self-serving, power grabbing politicians.

This country’s in trouble! Suck it up, all you arguing buffoons!

Stop spending money you don’t have!

Stop promising money you don’t have!

And if you want to push a fear mongering theme, here’s a thought.

If our seniors don’t get their rightful retirement, then you should be relieved of your salaries.

How about it citizens? Want to recall some defective politicos?

Sherri Little, Upshur County



Dear Editor:

We want to express our sincere thanks and gratitude for the kind assistance offered to us on the evening of July 15, when passersby saw two 80-year-old plus seniors struggling with a flat tire in Gladewater.

Not only did they offer help, unasked, but they put their plans on hold to assist us.

One went to a store and bought two cans of fix-a-flat, the ladies invited my lady into their vehicle to keep cool and they all successfully got us “on the road again.”

Of course, they refused to accept any payment, even for the fix-a-flat.

It is wonderful to know we still have caring and thoughtful people in this great country of ours.

Again, my deepest thanks go to those who offered the much-needed help.

Lewis Shepperd and Gloria Tankersley,Gilmer

Dear Editor,



Everyone is looking to save these days. If you have an older vehicle that needs engine work and can’t afford to buy a new vehicle right now, one way to repower your wallet is to repower your engine.



Repowering is a sensible economic option that saves big money in the long run. For the cost of an average down payment on a new car or truck, you can repower your vehicle with a remanufactured/rebuilt engine and gain years of reliable service without monthly car payments and higher insurance rates.



With repowering, a vehicle’s engine or an identical one from another like-vehicle is completely disassembled, cleaned, machined and remanufactured/rebuilt. Unlike used or junk yard engines with an unknown performance and maintenance history, repowered engines are dependable, reliable and backed by excellent warranty programs.



Repowered engines run more efficiently, getting better gas mileage than a worn out or junkyard used engine. This extra advantage will repower your wallet every time you fill up. To learn more about the benefits of engine repowering, visit www.enginerepower.org.



Ken Carter

Chairman

Engine Repower Council

7101 Wisconsin Ave.

Bethesda, MD 20814

(734) 975-7903

ken.carter@us.mahle.com

Dear Editor:

On July 14 a fire started in a hay pasture on Hawk Road in Diana.

The Diana Fire Department was called and they responded immediately and thanks to the hard work of all the firemen the fire was extinguished before it could get into the woods.

We would like to publicly express our thanks to these hard working volunteers who have done an outstanding job this summer with all the fires that have happened.

Thank you all again.

Linda and Steve Sides, Hallsville

Dear Editor:

It is unconstitutional for Judge Parish to take away Sheriff Betterton’s, Commissioner Lloyd Crabtree and Judge Dean Fowler’s First Amendment rights without a trial or due process.

All U.S. Supreme Court casaes would be 9-0 verdict if judges were not bias.

When a judge or DA recuses themselves, they are admitting bias.

Three votes were required to remove public comment from Commissioners Court, only two indictments were issued. This proves this move was politically motivated.

The motion to quash should have been upheld.

L. Hoyt Crabtree, Big Sandy

Dear Editor:

Here is a story to add to your collection of good things in a world that is so sad sometimes. Saturday, July 16, while I was on my way home to Texarkana, Ark., I had a flat. I didn’t know where I was except that I had just come through Ore City about eight miles before. I was on the other side of an over pass, and that was all I knew. I got out to change the flat, and discovered that my jack, and wrench was missing.

I got out my cell phone and called 911, but was told that police officers don’t change flats. I called wrecker service after wrecker service only to be met with busy signals or no answer. If that wasn’t bad enough, my phone was going dead and I didn’t have my charger. I made a call to my husband in Texarkana, and told him the situation. I tried to explain to him where I was but as I was talking the phone went dead. I was in big trouble. I had less than a quarter of a tank of gas, and because it was so hot I had to run my air conditioner none stop.

My husband was still two hours away from me, and that was if he was able to find me. I began to get a little scared thinking about what could happen to a female on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, when I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a police car pulling up behind me. It was Officer Tim Hall and his partner, Officer Aaron Bradley.

I started to tell them what happened, and Officer Hall said “O, someone called us and you can just use my phone to call your husband” and handed it to me. They then proceeded to take out my spare, and when I told them I had no jack or wrench they pulled one out of their police car. They fixed the flat in 10 minutes, talking to me the whole time about how those things happen all the time and that it was no problem to help me. I know that changing flat tires in the boiling heat isn’t in their job discription and I am so very greatful for their help, and I sure hope that the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department knows what wonderful officers they have working there. From the depths of my heart I thank them a million times.

Robbin Dickson, Texarkana, Ark.

Dear Editor:

Catholic Bishop Corrada will give Puerto Rico an East Texas flair

I read news reports where the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, (which also includes Gilmer) — Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Rio, S.J., has been appointed to be the new Bishop of Mayaguez, in his native Territory of Puerto Rico. I initially met Bishop Corrada for the very first time, some years ago, at a Mass at the Catholic Church in Jefferson. After the Mass concluded, he and I had an opportunity for an extended one-on-one personal conversation. Bishop Corrada was highly impressed with my knowledge of History and our mutual desire for a "true and lasting Peace" in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and elsewhere in The Holy Land region. Bishop Corrada praised me on my receiving a papal knighthood award, since I am a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. It was bestowed during the pontificate of the late Pope John Paul II. A few years later, I became a member of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gerard, which is the relief arm or charitable arm of yet another papal group: the Order of Malta.

Bishop Corrada's gentle demeanor and capable administrative style made him a good Bishop for the Tyler-area Catholic Diocese which encompasses 33 counties in northeast Texas. Now, as he is transferred back to his native Puerto Rico, I wish him: "Godspeed and good luck." I hope he will successfully guide the flock there with due diligence and compassionate care. To do so, he must continue to use his Staff, called "the crozier" or "Shepherd's Hook", in a kind and prudent manner to gently induce people to follow virtuous Judeo-Christian principles found in The Holy Bible. His task will be challenging .....and I wish him well.

James Adolph John Marples, Longview

Dear Editor:

Two hundred, thirty-five years ago our new nation declared its independence from oppression.

In the second paragraph of our declaration it is written, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I never thought I would live to see the day where we are again being oppressed, but this time it’s mostly from within by those that do not believe as our forefathers did, that our great country was built on the beliefs of a Christian philosophy. The wording of “by their Creator” 1776 should be proof enough. Read the biographies of the signers of our Declaration and what you will find is in each and every one of these Patriots beats the heart of a religious man.

Today we have people that want to stop us from flying our national ensign, our flag. Others are saying we or our government cannot use the words God, prayer or religion without insulting them even at the burials of those that are fighting for these freedoms. Even though they are in the minority they are eating the roots out from under this country. Is it not supposed to be that the majority rules?

The U.S. Constitution 1791, First amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” That was in reference to the Church of England. “(O)r prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of thte people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

I ask why these same people, these dissenters, cannot be more respectful of where they are and how this country came to be, especially those that were born here. Once upon a time the history of our founding was taught in our schools, the real history, and not some teacher’s or professor’s opinion. Once upon a time people came from other lands and assimilated into our culture and our country learning our laws and history while still holding onto their own roots. Today many come here to tear apart what our forefathers have built; not learning our language, wanting to inject their old country laws and fly their countries’ flags above or in place of the United States flag. I ask of them “What is your purpose of coming here if you want to be a part of this society? I say to you, assimilate or leave!

We do have a great country and I am proud to be a part of it and a believer of a higher being. I am not going to be intimidated by anyone about my right to praise God or to fly our flag anywhere I want even on Government property. If you don’t like what you see or what you hear, that’s okay just close your eyes and walk away while we throw a party for the Greatest Nation on earth and praise God for making it happen.

Happy Birthday America and May God keep blessing you.

C.R. Bragg, Stephenville

Dear Editor:

I read with interest your 6.9.11 article entitled “Longview Paper Attacks DA Byrd,” referencing a series of articles in the Longview News -Journal regarding District Attorney Billy Byrd and the “hot check fund.” Attack is the right word. The Journal’s articles (there are at least four) would be laughably inaccurate but for the fact that they accuse an elected official, professional, father, effective prosecutor, and committed member of the community of a crime. The editorial standards of the Journal must be non-existent. I do note that the original, print, title of the first story was “Files: Upshur DA Misused Funds,” and that the title was changed in the online edition during the day; so even though the Journal’s editors are asleep, its lawyers aren’t. Ms. Lane baselessly accused Upshur County’s Criminal District Attorney of a crime, apparently without independently researching the facts, the law, or even giving Mr. Byrd the courtesy of a call to respond (until several articles had been printed on the Journal’s front page). The Mirror apparently has better editors, lawyers, or both.

I am referring to “Upshur County DA paid employee bonus checks from hot check fund, documents show,” “Upshur County district attorney didn’t get commissioners’ approval on employee bonuses,” “Above the law?: Does Upshur County’s top lawyer have a double standard?,” and “DA: Gag order may extend to hot check fund.” The stories all seem to call for the prosecution of or resignation by Mr. Byrd concerning his handling of the “hot check” fund in Upshur County. Unfortunately, the stories are almost entirely wrong, and make me wonder the motivation for writing them. No one expects Ms. Lane to be a lawyer, but given the fact she is not, one wonders why she would go to such lengths to sound like one and what lawyer advised her in writing the stories.

A hot check fund is statutorily funded from the prosecutor’s fee from hot check prosecutions. Tex. Code. Crim. Proc. 102.007. Basically, the legislature wanted to encourage prosecutors to collect on hot checks so normal citizens can have come comfort that they can pay by check at stores and restaurants. Upshur County businesses were traditionally underserved by hot check prosecutions when Mr. Byrd took office, so he and his small staff built the organization and expended the effort to take on and organize that task when he took office. A prosecutor has sole discretion to expend the "hot check fund," limited to the office's expenses and employee salaries. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 102.007(f). The fund is not subject to the control of any other official and does not require approval of the Commissioners Court; in fact, the county has no authority to require a budget for the fund, Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. No. DM-357. Whether a particular expenditure is authorized depends on two factors: (1) whether the expenditure is related to the official business of the office, and (2) whether any constitutional or statutory provisions prohibit the expenditure. Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. No. JM-0313 (1985). The attorney administering the fund need not obtain the approval of the commissioners court prior to making expenditures from the fund. Id. The law is pretty easy to find, even for a non-lawyer. Just google “Texas Hot Check Fund” and the first entry explains how the fund works and cites the relevant law and opinions. The 1990 opinion cited by Ms. Lane concerns drug seizure funds and achievement bonuses—neither of which are at issue, from what I have read.

“Defray” and “supplement,” when used in reference to salaries and expenses, are words that have been used synonymously. Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. No. JC-0348 (2001). The precise nature of the alleged “bonuses” determine whether they run afoul of the Attorney General’s opinions; where they for work already performed or for some other reason? Could they have been made for the purpose of encouraging a good group of people to stay at their jobs the next year? Isn’t that the traditional basis for a bonus? Why would Ms. Lane leap to the conclusion that these were “achievement” bonuses or bonuses for past work—especially in light of her apparent failure to simply ask Mr. Byrd?

Ms. Lane’s reporting does not befit the normally high journalistic standards of the Journal.

First, Attorney General opinions are opinions, not law, and are generally limited to the facts stated in each opinion. There would be no basis to prosecute anyone on the basis of an Attorney General opinion; thus, her entire premise is incorrect. Second, even relying on Attorney General Opinions, the latest, a 2001 opinion not cited by her in the first three articles, yet finally mentioned in her last, fourth, article, authorizes the use of hot check funds for employee pay. Third, even if the breathless reporting is to be believed, Mr. Byrd owes the county the interest on approximately 250 dollars for two months. How much is that? How much interest do you get in your checking account for 250 dollars over two months? A gallons of gas? A dozen doughnuts? Apparently, Ms. Lane’s recklessness was belatedly recognized by her editors or the Journal’s legal department; as mentioned above, it did not go unnoticed by many that her first article’s title was changed (online) from one that outright accused Mr. Byrd of a crime to a somewhat less defamatory title. Unfortunately, no effort was made to research the matter for the next two days/articles, and, apparently, Mr. Byrd wasn’t even asked for a comment until the fourth article.

Sadly, Ms. Lane can’t simply apologize for accusing an attorney, elected official, father, and committed member of his community in her last article. It is worth a read of her fourth article to see how she begins with an acknowledgement that someone thinks she is wrong but ends with a “yes but” argument that simply restates her position from the first three articles. I have seen this sort of non-apology many times, as have the parents of most teenagers.

The Journal, and Ms. Lane, owe Mr. Byrd an apology.

L. Charles van Cleef, Lawyer, Longview

Dear Editor:



With millions of people hitting the road this summer, two things will be on their minds – getting to their destination safely and the high price of gas.

To avoid the inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down miles away from home, the Car Care Council recommends a pre-trip vehicle inspection to make sure your vehicle is safe for travel and getting more miles to the gallon.

· Schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy.



· Check the brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.

· Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause the engine to lose power.

· Check the hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.

· Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Underinflated tires reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy and uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.

· Check that the gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.

Also, by avoiding aggressive driving, observing the speed limit and avoiding excessive idling, you will spend less on fuel and have more money for summer fun.

To help you drive smart and save money, visit www.carcare.org and check out the free digital Car Care Guide.

Rich White, Bethesda, Md.

Executive Director

Car Care Council

Dear Editor:

Three Upshur Officials Face More Charges

Are you like me and wondering what the heck is going on? I thought we brought in a visiting Judge and Special Prosecutor to try these officials on charges handed down by the grand jury months ago. Lets have court, or send these guys home..

Maybe you have heard that a gag order prevents any of the parties, including local attorneys from discussing the case. So, I'm wondering why is this in the paper every few days. You might think the grand jury would want all these details to be kept quiet, as we want to make sure we can have a fair and impartial trial in Gilmer.

Oh, you mean it didn't go to the grand jury, so these allegations could be checked out or the accused questioned, before this gossip was published in a regional paper. That's right, this lawyer just dreams up charges to suit his agenda, takes an affidavit to the county clerks office, files it and its becomes public information. I'd bet four-bits he calls the media before he even goes to file the papers.

This reminds me of the Salem witch hunt. Most of what little respect I had for the law I have pretty well lost. I mean, how do you respect a man who is willing to crucify decent folks in the paper, when their not even allowed to defend themselves. Sounds like a man who might slap a woman to me. I mean I wanted to really express my discuss with strong words but Sandy slapped me and told me to behave.So, I will just say this guy looks like a lily-livered fraidy-cat to me.

I'm going to tell it like it is. Our district attorney started all this because of a grudge match with the commissioner court, budget issues and personality conflicts. Our community and county are sick and tired of it. We do not believe this circus is being conducted in order to seek justice.

We are ready for it to end. I would bet any amount that our DA only has 18 months left to get this over with or he will be working pro bono. It's just pitiful.

Elliott Dean, Gilmer

P.S. I still believe in miracles. We hired a road engineer and he must have filled every pothole in the county, as there has not been one idiot to appear before the court to complain. Talking about the engineer, I seem to remember some conversation back when the elections were going on, of reducing the commissioner salary by $12,000 each to come up with the money to pay the man. Just a question to the commissioners, are ya'll really doing a full time job for full time pay. I would like to see this on your agenda.

P.S. AGAIN I have waited 24 hours and I still want to send this letter. You know I do not want to bash anyone, it's just so frustrating that Upshur County has so many wonderful people and great things going for it yet, we have to put up a bunch of grown men acting like Jr. High kids.

You know sometimes you just have to suck a little hind tit. It's time for some or all to show a little humility and respect for the majority of the citizens of this county and put an end to this.

Think of all the money that being spent and time being wasted and for what. Remember this all started over duct tape. My Daddy would of wore my butt out if I had pulled a stunt like Mr. Jimmie did. DUCT TAPE ON YOUR MOUTH Read it again! IS IT REALLY WORTH IT?

Dear Editor:

A tax whose time has come . . .

Some members of Congress are proposing a tax on stock transactions. Such a tax would have very little impact on most of those buying and selling stocks because of proposed tax limitations on ordinary transactions.

A stock transactions tax would incur extra costs mostly to those who are speculating by perpetually buying and selling the same stocks multiple times a day. It’s what’s known as ‘churning’. Those engaged in that practice usually turn a small profit on each transaction, but make many millions on sheer weight of trading volume. I fail to see how churning benefits anyone but the speculators.

Even though a stock transactions tax, as has been proposed, would be .0025%, it would have negligible effect on most investors. It’s estimated that a stock transactions tax would generate about $50 to $100 billion dollars a year in tax revenue -- no small piece of change!

It would be nice to see such additional revenue go towards payment of our national debt instead of into the pockets of Wall Street speculators.

Paul G. Jaehnert, Vadnais Hts., Minn.

Dear Editor:

Judge Paul Banner’s May 13th ruling marked his third and final finding in favor of the Upshur County Precinct Chairs who brought suit last year against Republican Party Chairman, Ken Ambrose, ending the speculation expressed by his attorney, “as to who had actually won.” While the undersigned were the named Plaintiffs, our suit was compelled by the Chairman’s illegal disenfranchisement of 11 of 14 Precinct Chairs elected by citizens of Upshur County in the 2010 Primary, who had not supported his candidacy.

After a contentious Organizational Meeting called by Chairman Ambrose last June, where nine chairs in attendance chose to adopt Biennial Bylaws, rather than participate in a ceremonial swearing of oaths, Chairman Ambrose carried through on threats made during and after his campaign, to replace those chairs.

After making unsubstantiated accusations against several specific chairs, Chairman Ambrose attempted to justify appointing their replacements and failing to include them in required meetings, by claiming they had abandoned their positions through declining to take the oaths he prescribed, including the commonly known “Briber
Comments
(3)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
J.V. Mumford
|
January 18, 2013
Dear Editor,

Question: why is it that the media including news papers.. never bring of the fact of the government LIES to the AMERICAN PUBLIC? WHY DO YOU ALL let them off the hook?

Just like this fact... please Read!

This is worth reading and thinking about. Pay attention to your next Social Security income, whether you get a check or an electronic deposit....note what it is now called...see below.. Have you noticed, your Social Security check is now referred to as a "Federal Benefit Payment"? I'll be part of the one percent to forward this. I am forwarding it because it touches a nerve in me, and I hope it will in you. Please keep passing it on until everyone in our country has read it. The government is now referring to our Social Security checks as a “Federal Benefit Payment.”This isn’t a benefit – its earned income!Not only did we all contribute to Social Security but our employers did too.It totaled 15% of our income before taxes.If you averaged $30K per year over your working life, that's close to $180,000 invested in Social Security.If you calculate the future value of your monthly investment in social security ($375/month, including both you and your employer’s contributions) at a meager 1% interest rate compounded monthly, after 40 years of working you'd have more than $1.3 million dollars saved! This is your personal investment.Upon retirement, if you took out only 3% per year, you'd receive $39,318 per year, or $3,277 per month. That’s almost three times more than today’s average Social Security benefit of $1,230 per month, according to the Social Security Administration (Google it - it’s a fact).

And your retirement fund would last more than 33 years (until you're 98 if you retire at age 65)!I can only imagine how much better most average-income people could live in retirement if our government had just invested our money in low-risk interest-earning accounts.Instead, the folks in Washington pulled off a bigger Ponzi scheme than Bernie Madoff ever did.They took our money and used it elsewhere. They “forgot” that it was OUR

money they were taking. They didn’t have a referendum to ask us if we wanted to lend the money to them. And they didn’t pay interest on the debt they assumed. And recently, they’ve told us that the money won’t support us for very much longer. But is it our fault they misused our investments? And now, to add insult to injury, they’re calling it a “benefit,” as if we never worked to earn every penny of it. Just because they “borrowed” the money, doesn't mean that our investments were a charity!

Let’s take a stand. We have earned our right to Social Security and Medicare. Demand that our legislators bring some sense into our government –Find a way to keep Social Security and Medicare going, for the sake of that 92% of our population who need it.

just wondering?
DESSIE SCOGGINS
|
February 07, 2010
I appreciate the ladies at Prichett, and their inviting Kay Bailey Hutchenson to The East Texas Area. I have followed her record closely and I think she would make a very qualified Governor of Texas. Thank you so much. Dessie Scoggins Longview, Tx dfscoggins

2
pipe dream
|
January 18, 2013
she is too weak to be governor.. so is rick perry.. we need some one that will do something about the run away problem of the wetbacks in this state..

they have done nothing .. just like the 535 plus one that want to spend spend and tax and tax.. and blame each other..

legalize 12 million illegals ,, executive orders that in your and mine privacy...

Put a stop to them collecting data about people..

before it to late.. need people who will stand up to these and many other monstrosities against the American people..

That is what we need .. not some lifer that just plays the game...