12:09 PM EDT, September 19, 2011
Remembers explosion well
The article about the Willoughby family and the gas line explosion 50 years ago brought back some terrifying memories.
I was 8 years old, lived a couple of miles away on Cunningham Lane, and was sure we were under attack by the Russians. There had been lots in the news about nuclear bombs, and at Trapp School we were instructed on “duck and cover,” practicing by crawling under our desks (the old desks on runners) in case of nuclear attack. It was already a scary time, and my imagination created awful images, made worse by the thunderous explosion, the shaking of the ground and the sight of the flames reaching hundreds of feet in the air just over the hill.
I was playing with my cousin Debbie, who was just a toddler, and my first instinct was to get her to her mom, my aunt Della Williams, who was next door at my grandparents’ house. I ran as fast as I could, stumbled and fell. She got a small cut in her head from her hair barrette, but I got her to her mom.
Everyone was agitated, trying to figure out what was going on. Our grandmother, Ida Mae Combs, was the calming person, telling everyone to settle down, we would find out what happened when Uncle Cecil went over there to see. We eventually heard about the Willoughbys’ horrible experiences, and I remember being told they had “only the clothes they had been wearing and some of those were burnt off.” Like the rest of the community, we helped as much as we could. It is good to see those two sisters looking healthy and happy. I wish them and their cousin Sue Staton all the best.
Learn the truth about taxes
Based on letters to the editor and news articles, it is apparent people do not want a tax increase of any kind. I hope people understand that the president’s jobs proposal and the attendant tax changes continue the 2 percent reduction in Social Security taxes for individuals.
The president got this passed into law for 2011, but this provision expires at the end of the year. Many Republicans, including our two senators, appear to oppose, for Mitch McConnell was quoted as saying the legislation “was dead on arrival” in the Senate. Learn about the bill and contact your elected representatives with your thoughts.
Setting the record straight
Let me set the record straight again. I never obtained information from the city clerk on anyone’s salary. My information came from the city's own budget books.
In the city budget, page 27, is listed the salary of the mayor and commissioners. Also, you will find on the same page “Training and Travel” for seminars, workshops, mileage, lodging, etc., $3,700. On the same page you will find “Duplicating and Printing for Agenda” copying, budget copying, etc., $1,000. Page 28 is where anyone can locate the “Employee Appreciation” at $8,000.
In the city's budget, pages 35-41 is the salaries and wages of $287,000, not including the overtime, “Cadillac” retirement and insurance benefits. This department has listed seven employees. Page 40 is where you can find “Training and Travel,” seminars, workshops, conference, computer training, $4,500 and “Education Reimbursement,” $6,000.
Let's look closely at the following: “Duplicating and Printing,” personnel forms, procurement forms, copy machine maintenance, ID badges and employee cookbook, $1,900. On page 41 you will find “Other Materials and Supplies,” miscellaneous materials and supplies; uniforms and boots at a cost of $1,000. Please note that under this you will find where employee cookbook has been transferred to the “Duplicating and Printing” column. Who are the uniforms and boots for in this department? “Employee Cookbook?” Really, should my taxes ever have been used for this expense?
Every department has it’s own budget, and each department will show what is allocated for training, travel, etc. You can obtain your own copy of the city's budget for approximately 5-10 cents per page, and you can purchase only the pages you want.
Debbie O. Rose
Taxed too much
Taxation is the art of plucking the feathers off the bird without killing the bird. All the feathers have been plucked off. It's time they realized the bird doesn’t have any feathers left.
Responds to Conway
Leland Conway has a 5-point plan that he thinks will create jobs.
He suggests broadening the base and simplifying the code. Simplifying the code is a good idea. Lowering taxes has been tried. We have the lowest rate in the last 50 years, and job growth is still slow.
When you hear the phrase “broaden the tax base,” think “tax the poor.” If you are supporting a family on $30,000 a year, Conway wants you to pay 10 percent, or $3,000. If you make $1 million per year, with no deductions you would pay $150,000, down from the $350,000 under the current maximum rate. This is class warfare; the rich have declared war on the poor.
Let’s eliminate the corporate tax breaks and loopholes that allow General Electric to pay no tax on $14 billion in profits, then we can talk about lowering the rates to a reasonable 20-25 percent.
Conway suggests taxing capital gains at the rate for regular income. I agree. Let’s do that.
He also suggests winding down the EPA’s power. Some streamlining and simplifying is probably a good idea, but if you’re old enough to remember when the air was unhealthy in Pittsburgh or LA, rivers caught fire in Cleveland and toxic chemicals were buried in a residential neighborhood at Love Canal, then you know the value of the EPA. Let’s not go back to those days.
Conway wants to abandon Obamacare. I would like a government-run single-payer system like those in other countries and that we have a form of here with Medicare and the VA. I know people who have lived in those countries and they like it, it’s cheaper, and the people are healthier. Always remember that an insurance company's main goal is not to provide health care, it’s to make a profit.
Jobs will only be created when there is increased demand for goods and services.
Shifting the tax burden from rich to poor, lowering corporate taxes, a dirtier environment and increased profits for insurance companies won’t increase demand.
When average people have a decent income, a healthy environment, and are not living in fear, they will increase demand.
Cut the city budget
When I read the letter in Wednesday's paper from Commissioner Book attacking Debbie Rose, it infuriated me. I would think this leader of our city could find better use of the taxpayer’s money than attacking a concerned private resident.
I think it’s obvious that Rose “did” her homework. Maybe that’s why Book is so mad! I think Rose’s letters to the editor have proven the city could cut more from the budget.
Instead of Book using all his energy attacking a concerned resident, he should be using his energy to stop the waste in local government.
Help the taxpayers by cutting the budget.
Objects to beer sales
More beer sales is all we need in Winchester. Board members Rick Smith, Dwain Gay, Kenny Book and Bob Jackson voted for a waiver since rules and regulations set forth by the parks and recreation department prohibit the possession of any alcoholic beverages in any park or recreation facility.
Only two board members, Charlie Eury and Lewis Willian voted against it, and the other two, B.J. Wasson and Ronda Miller were a no show.
We have had beer downtown at our cheese tasting and later at a wine tasting. What next? Sell them beer and arrest them.
We are going backwards, not forward.
Not best for our community. Concerned Christian,