Thank You

Dear Editor, 

The family of Rev. Lester Byrd would like to express their appreciation for every act of kindness shown to our family during the illness and passing of our loved one – all the thoughts, prayers, visits, food and flowers. A special thanks to the ministers, Reverends Terry Winstead, David Marshall and Thomas Holt, the singers, who did a great job, Avalon Hospice and Smith-Reagan Funeral Home for their help and kindness shown. Also, a very special thanks to Donna Ramsey, who spent the entire night and day at Dad’s side during his passing. God bless you all.  

The family of Rev. Lester Byrd


Open For Business

Dear Editor,

Spring 2020 has been like none other. What should be a normal time of planting flowers and preparing for baseball and warm summer days on the lake has become a life of social distancing and pondering the meaning of “new normal.” 

At Walters State Community College, I have talked with students, faculty and community members who are confronting the challenges of daily life during an unprecedented public health crisis. Never before have we seen nearly everything cancelled and the trajectory of our lives so quickly shifted. 

Amid the widespread human and economic toll, however, inspiring stories of perseverance are everywhere. Restaurants, food stores and other essential businesses have found creative ways to continue serving the public. Churches are staying connected with ongoing outreach and service ministries. And public schools, despite the shortened school year, are serving the needs of students.

We at Walters State are particularly proud of our alumni who are serving their communities in areas such as health care, public safety, restaurant and hospitality. As ambassadors for the college during these extraordinary times, our alumni exemplify Walters State’s constant commitment to its core mission — to transform lives through education. 

In line with that mission, we began in mid-February discussing the implications of the coronavirus for our operations. Our focus at that time was on how we would identify and continue essential functions in the event our campuses had to be closed for two weeks. As continued campus closures have become a reality, that early and comprehensive preparation has paid dividends. 

Planning discussions began with the knowledge that delivery of education is what we needed to focus on first. This is why we have worked so hard to convert more than 75 percent of our courses from traditional face-to-face classes to online instruction. These include speech classes and hands-on learning programs such as our technical education courses and related lab components. Some were easy to convert, while others may require students to connect in small groups with instructors over the summer. The result is that all our students have the opportunity to complete coursework and finish strong.

We quickly realized that all face-to-face, non-classroom student-service operations also must be converted to online or telephone communication. Services such as tutoring, advising, new student orientation, registrations, student interventions and even student activities must be conducted online or by phone. With creativity and a focus on student success, we have made solid transitions in these areas as well.

During the past month, I have sat in on classes and conducted meetings via videoconference or by phone. I have watched from every angle as the heroic efforts of our students, faculty, staff and community supporters have become the backdrop for beginning the celebration of Walters State’s 50th year.

These are challenging and difficult times for our college, community, nation and world. And yet there is no better time to communicate strongly that we remain 100 percent open for business. Walters State is here for you now, and we will be here for you for the next 50 years.

Dr. Tony Miksa

WSCC President

Good Leadership

Dear Editor,

Donald Trump tweet November 8, 2013: “Leadership: Whatever happens, you’re responsible.  If it doesn’t happen, you’re responsible.” Then, March 13, when asked about the lag and delays in testing for COVID-19 he said, “I take no responsibility at all.”  So, in essence, he abdicated his duty as the leader of this country, according to his own definition, which he amply demonstrated when he decided to leave all the decisions regarding stay-at-home, supplies and testing to the states. 

His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, having achieved peace in the Middle East, was put in charge of the supplies from the National Stockpile and said that, in spite of the stated mission, those supplies were for use by the Federal government, not the states. The mission statement for the National Stockpile was changed the day after he spoke to align with it’s new stance. Then, April 13, when pressed about the states determining when they will re-open, Trump claimed that “the President of the United States calls the shots.”  He also stated that the states “can’t do anything without the approval of the President.” and “When someone is President of the United States, the authority is total.”  

When asked about what gave him the authority to re-open the country, he said “Well, I have the ultimate authority.” I can’t help but think that if Obama had said something this idiotic, the guns would be coming out all over Grainger County and heads would be exploding. But all we got was a couple of letters from Trump apologists whom, like Trump himself, have no problem calling previous statements he has made and that have been recorded on paper, in audio and in video fake news. 

And, Barbara, I have never said that Trump hasn’t read the Constitution (although he says himself that he never reads), only that he doesn’t understand it and sure doesn’t read about or understand history. The fact that he backed up on those remarks the next day doesn’t make him a genius, but does show another facet of his lack of leadership. I can recommend several books for you to read about Churchill, Lincoln and others, if you really want to educate yourself and understand what a real leader is, because we don’t have one now.

As a country, we needed and still need timely, accurate and universal testing with immediate results for this pandemic, and we still don’t have it, especially since a vaccine is most likely over a year away.  Trump says that we have tested three million people, more than any other nation, but that is one percent of the population.  Even here in Tennessee, we have only tested 1.2 percent of the population. If we don’t have universal and immediate results from testing, then any decision we make concerning re-opening the economy is with bad data. I doubt that any farmer would plant a crop because one percent of the seed has been tested and a portion of that one percent germinates. 

We have no contact tracing in place and Trump, instead of marshaling the Federal Government whose job it should be, has left it up to each individual state to come up with their own solution.  Then, he criticizes the states when they follow the guidelines the Federal Government has put in place, but only the ones with Democrat governors, again showing that he is a unifying leader.

There’s an old saying that says, lead, follow, or get out of the way, and since Trump has decided not to lead ... well. 

We hear from the President, as well as certain others from the Republican party, that testing is really no big deal and we should just go back to work, not knowing whether our fellow worker next to us is infected or not. It is almost as if they feel, as Bill O’Reilly put it, the people who have died and will die from this virus, “are on their last legs anyway,” which I’m sure is comforting to the relatives of the deceased. But let’s not lose any sleep as the economy and Trump’s re-election is much more valuable than American lives. I hope and pray that responsible parties make themselves heard, and maybe, our anti-science dear leader will feel the pressure to do what is right instead of what is profitable, although it looks doubtful. 

Besides, if we do open the country up and get a spike in the death rate, Trump will never take responsibility for it anyway because only a true leader takes responsibility for his actions or inactions. I don’t know too many people that would feel like dying so that someone else’s 401(k) can show a profit but, please, keep writing those letters defending him so that he can say that you are ready to sacrifice yourself and your family for the sake of his bank account. 

Since Rush Limbaugh equated the risks we face with COVID-19 with the ones we faced with World War II and 9/11, maybe the names of the deceased will be put on a monument and will be honored with reverence since they gave their lives for our economic well-being.

Charles Patten

Powder Springs

God’s Help

Dear Editor, 

I’m Sick. No, not from the COVID-19 virus. I’m sick at my stomach from listening and watching the news on TV, with all the ignorance, hate and contempt for President Trump, America, Americans, our God, and family, and the holier-than-thou bigoted hypocrisy spewed by every godless Democrat, liberal, progressive, Socialist, Atheist, RINO and Muslim about the COVID-19 virus etc., and how every life matters. Yes sir/madam. 

Since 1973 when abortions became legal, there have been only 40 to 50 million babies murdered. Unbelievable. Yep, “every life matters” alright. you godless hypocrites, and God’s happy with us? Are we dumber than we look?  

President Trump in three years helped make America the greatest, wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world. Americans were on top of the world, like never before in our history. Then, in March 2020 and in about 31 days (by divine intervention) Americans and the world were cowering, hiding in our houses. All businesses, churches and restaurants closed, fearing for our lives. Why? China? Trump? No. It’s about our God not being in or part of America anymore. It’s a fact.

Mr. Schumer (D), a godless Senator from New York, threatened two Supreme Court Justices for even thinking about changing America’s abortion laws. Our esteemed, who-am-I-today Senator Graham (R), South Carolina, and chinless, spineless, gutless most of the time Senator McConnell (R), Kentucky, both gave Senator Schumer a thumb’s-up. There was no criticism or condemnation for his threats. Why?  

If you or I threaten a Supreme Court Justice we’d be looking through bars, but it’s no big deal anymore. Do you know why? It’s called liberalism. It’s sick and disgusting, but “the rain falls on the just as well as the unjust,” (KJV, Mat. 5:45).  

It’s very simple what’s happening in America and the world today. It’s liberalism vs. conservatism. An age old question is: “If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is there to hear it, does it make any sound? 

I’m so thankful for Grainger Today allowing me to speak and be heard. Thank you. “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; not to speak is to speak, not to act is to act; God will not hold us guiltless.”- D. Bonheoffer, Germany 1941.  Speak up and act. We can/will protect and defend our God, family and country’s conservative principles. It’s our beliefs, laws and traditions that made America the greatest nation on Earth.  Again, my many thanks to Grainger Today, our founding fathers, KJV Bible and our God. Pray to our God for forgiveness and for not allowing liberalism to replace conservatism. Restore America, please.

Why should liberalism replace conservatism since conservative Americans now, regrettably, acquiesced their conservatism to accommodate you who’ve been offended? And God’s rewarded us with the COVID-19 virus and a financial crisis. That’s why we’re cowering in our houses in fear, terror, etc.  Fools, we’re putting God back in our homes, schools, nation, churches, etc., now. Understood? Pray you do. God help us please.

It’s time for an old-fashioned fire-and-brimstone come-to-Jesus meeting to put God back in America, ASAP. Pray for America and the world, please. 

FYI: God, through the centuries, intervened in Adam’s, Noah’s, Lott’s and Moses’ time. We’re not alone. “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord,” (KJV, ROM. 12:19).

Pray for our God’s forgiveness and that we’re not too late. Pray for God’s help putting God back in our lives, nation, etc. Vote Trump. God Bless America.

Wells Sommer