Letters to the Editor: May 13 Edition

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By The Staff

Commissioner speaks against allegations

I read the April 22 paid advertisement that Dr. Sterling Watson submitted to your newspaper announcing his candidacy for the District 2 County Commission seat.  As a current member of the Gadsden County Board of Commissioners (to whom he referred several times) I feel obligated to respond.

First, let me say I am a friend of Sterling and his family.  I have known him a long time and we have often discussed Gadsden County politics and current issues.  On most topics we agree and we candidly discuss our disagreements.

The reason I am writing is to provide my opinions on some of the issues he mentioned.  I am also writing to express my surprise and disappointment in how Sterling unfairly targeted the current Board of County Commissioners, the county administrator, the county attorney and the Gadsden Hospital Inc. Board of Directors.

Sterling stated that the county is in a state of confusion and in a very weak financial position due to poor decisions being made by the current BOCC.  Nothing could be more misleading.  I have personally spoken with Clerk of Courts Nicholas Thomas and his staff on several occasions and have been assured that the county’s financial position is improving rapidly.  This is due in large part to proper budgeting, eliminating unneeded and overpaid positions and contracts, prioritizing needs, and placing tight controls on departmental expenditures.  Current policies and procedures put in place by the present BOCC, the county administrator, and his staff are showing positive results.  We are not confused – we are headed in a sound, sensible and rational direction.

Sterling is also critical of the manner in which the current BOCC and the Gadsden Hospital Inc. Board of Directors are working to reopen the hospital.  Bottom line is that the voters mandated the reopening of the hospital and we have done so in a manner that does not cripple the county financially and allows for future growth and sustainability.  The partnership with HCA and Capital Regional is the only way this could have been achieved.  I salute the hardworking volunteer hospital board for this great accomplishment.

Sterling accuses the present county commission board members of promoting racial division.  While I recognize we have a small group within our community who feeds off of racial division, I strongly believe that many Gadsden County citizens have more common ground than differences.  I believe most of us want to work together in a positive and productive manner that allows for disagreements to be discussed in an open, honest and respectful way.   

I am thankful for those who are willing to seek public office and I have come to appreciate individuals and organizations that focus on positively promoting their principles and policies.    It is disheartening to observe local political races focus on negativity, personal attacks and false information.  Those who choose to participate in this behavior are not showing effective leadership.  I encourage those of us in politics to lead by example.  Our future generation of leaders is watching.

Gene Morgan

Gadsden County Commissioner, Dist. 3

Students, think before you drink and drive

High school prom and graduation are big milestones in a teenager's life. On April 19, our beloved daughter, Crystal Shannel Riley would have celebrated her 19th birthday. This would have been her senior year, during which she would have made memories to last a lifetime.

But due to a reckless teen driver, she was killed and I face physical and mental pain daily. I wanted to write this letter to all the parents of seniors and beginning drivers, to ask you to remind your children of the importance of being careful behind the wheel of a car, to not drink and drive, and to be cautious drivers.

Johnny, Joycelyn and I, with the help of the Florida Department of Transportation, have placed a memorial marker road sign off of Highway 90 at the East Gadsden entrance in memory of our daughter as a reminder to the Class of 2010 and others to make good choices while driving. This is my appeal to all parents, and to the seniors: enjoy your evening and be responsible.

Cynthia Hayes-Riley


Reader thankful for care at local facility

Often times, when good things happen, we do not share and today, my desire is for the county to know how blessed I feel we are as a people to have River Chase Nursing Home available to those who have this need.

This past summer was a very hard time for me and the family as our husband and father was stricken with cancer. As this disease progressed, we made the decision to place him in River Chase for care. As the days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, my family and I visited him every day and many nights. The staff was outstanding to my husband and I. He had no needs that were not seen to. The staff was caring and compassionate.

Dr. Kent and Dr. Whiddon were also most caring and dutiful toward my husband. They were so willing to make him comfortable and also helped me to deal with his forthcoming death.

Again, I wish to praise River Chase and their efforts to minister to our community. Thank you for serving our county in such a humane way.

Mary Frances Williams