Columbus a city worthy of pride

June 23, 2014 

What a treasure of a city you have! I am here in Columbus for the second year to attend the Miss Georgia Pageant (my daughter is a contestant). I have throughly enjoyed your city and I have not even done the typical tourist events. I cannot believe how pretty the landscape is (and so well maintained) around the River Walk.

I absolutley love the historical home district, especially the homes that have such beautiful gardens. The amount of statues, fountains, historical buildings and historical markers/signs are great!

I have walked and walked the area called "Uptown" and just am delighted. Today, we rode bikes all the way to Fort Benning and the Infantry Museum! The Riverwalk is just a gem, so well maintained, as are the streets -- I have seen that funny looking street cleaner vacuum machine every day. It is so pleasant to be able to walk around a downtown area; we are from Atlanta and live in a suburb, so this living is quite a treat. The market on Saturday morning and the band on Saturday night at the University really add to the quality of life here in Columbus. I plan on going to the Springer Opera House and the Columbus Museum before we leave.

I just wanted to write and tell the people of Columbus that this is an outstanding town and I hope they never take it for granted!

Julie Starling

Canton, Ga.

Wasting public money

L-E story: "Muscogee County School District officials are urging parents and guardians to avoid long lines by registering their children now if they fit one of two categories:

• New to the district.

• Moved within the district and haven't given official notice of new address.

Instead of waiting until the week the 2014-15 school year starts Aug. 7, parents and guardians can register their children now, Mondays-Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at their assigned school or the central registration office in the Muscogee County Public Education Center, 2960 Macon Road. Schools and district offices are closed Fridays through July 18 …"

And the MCSD Board throws up its hands when trying to find ways not to waste tax dollars.

Good grief! How many students are really in either category that makes it worthwhile staffing an office for seven weeks instead of just the week before school starts?

n addition, the School System has announced it's going to pay everyone for a 40 hour week when they are only working 8 hours per day for 4 days … Now throw in the increased electricity costs for 6 unneeded weeks of staffing, and it runs into quite a bit of money. Hey, John Wells … thought you were claiming you were on top of our financial situation … yeah, right.

Hal Kirven

Fortson

The scary truth

I am writing in response to an opinion piece from June 7, 2014 titled "A national epidemic of armed mental illness." The title seemed to imply there exist armies of deranged people with guns just itching to kill anything that moves.

Ms. Sanchez' article wasn't saying that at all, but was actually an indictment of the mental health system in this country where someone needing help can't get it.

I am concerned at attempts to stigmatize those with mental illness as being crazed gun-toting maniacs. It is difficult enough to live with a mental illness, which is already stigmatizing, without painting those afflicted as weapon-wielding nuts. What few laws passed in recent times trying to control gun violence have all had significant portions dealing with mental illness. What we don't want to admit is that most killers are people just like you and me, and this terrifies us more than any monster. So we scapegoat the mentally ill, thereby freeing us from having to look at ourselves in the mirror and saying, "It's you."

According to NAMI, 25 percent of adults deal with mental illness in a given year. We are not going to fix this problem by locking them up. No one benefits from stigmatizing these people, but everyone would be better off if they could access adequate mental health services.

The NRA likes to refer to the "slippery slope" whenever any restrictions on gun ownership are proposed. But there is another slippery slope that comes from stigmatizing a class of people. From 1935 to 1939, over 300,000 "mentally defective" Germans where sterilized. Then from 1939 to 1941 over 70,000 were killed in gas chambers. This was the beginning of the holocaust.Let's stop stigmatizing those living with a mental health disorder.

Lawrence Washington

Columbus

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