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Letters to the Editor:

By Staff
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Editor,
A lot of good people in this town have waited a long time for someone to come in and turn this area around. Many rural towns around Atmore are in rapid delcine.
The monopolies of the larger businesses, as well as the lure of the larger cities and towns, lead to a delcine in population, with the closure of small town busiensses and essential services. Doctors and nurses leave for better pay. Grocery stores and department stores board up and move on.
All of these things are impacting negatively on the major goal to create jobs and attract tourists, so that consumer spending and popoulation growth can be sustained and our essential services and businesses are maintained. The common message is to plan, be creative, give the community ownership and do soemthing.
Break the monopolies held by the few, which entails more than the absence of competition, it entails the impossibility of competition. This process ensures that the distribution of wealth will rema in the same channels, going to approximately the same people. The rich get richers, and the middle class just work harder while they watch their town die a slow death.
We needed the Indian casino, the chicken factory and a Georgia-type lottery, but they were voted down. It is just these type businesses that are critical to long-term rural community survival. Not only do they provide job revenues, they also attract many new people to our community, both senior citizens and young people.
The public perception of Indian gaming have been politically and economically harmful to the recent attempts, giving the tribe more directo control of programs that affect them – to pull out of centuries of devastation and feociously enforced poverty, just by (false) reasoning.
I was born and raised in this year and, after years of traveling the USA, I once again call Atmore home. I love this town and I hope that I don't live to see a boarded up Main Street, but I'm afraid that it might not be too far from reality, as it has happened to hundreds of towns over the last 50 years. Many small towns have died slow deaths, losing one at a time their schools, banks, grocery stores and its citizens.
I fear on day that someone will place a stone marker on the edge of town that will read:
Here WAS Atmore, Ala., a small town from which came people with big hearts and empty wallets.
Remember there are three types of communities: ones that make things happen, ones that watch things happen and ones that wonder what happened. I hope we don't become the latter.
Ray Harrell,
Atmore
Editor,
Tort reform, a euphemism intended to mislead, is afoot in Georgia, as it is on the national level. President Bush, far too many legislators, and the healthcare industry blame malpractice lawsuits for the medical crisis. Those lawsuits are not the problem. Insurance companies that demand outrageous sums of money for coverage are the problem.
Do those insurance company moguls really think that most of us don't know that their slippery business and accounting practices and lost investment income are to blame for their price-gouging of policyholders?
Placing a cap on malpractice lawsuits would have devastating consequences for nursing home residents and their families. A civil suit is nearly always their last recourse to seek justice when abuse, neglect, and even homicide occurs in a nursing home, justice which must be sought in a civil court since access to criminal courts is virtually always denied them.
Tort reform would blunt the effectiveness of civil suits, denying residents and their families even the lesser justice of a meaningful day in civil court. Even more to the point, it would remove the last incentive, which is money, that most nursing home owners have to provide at least adequate care.
If a cap is to placed, it should be placed on insurance premiums, not on malpractice lawsuits.
Instead of trying to impose their will on the legal system with no regard for the well being of old and disabled people in nursing homes, those self-serving insurance company nabobs should spend their time setting their financial house in order and President Bush, legislators, and the healthcare industry should work to bring the unregulated insurance industry to heel.
Jane Marshall
Clarksville, Tenn.
Send signed letters to the editor by fax at 368-2123 or drop them off in person at 301 S. Main Street.