Letters to the Editor for March 29, 2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Dear Editor,

UM baseball experience unlike West Fla. letter

Dear Editor,

In your last newspaper you printed a story, or should I say editorial, from an irate mom of a college baseball player from the University of West Florida that downgraded our Montevallo community, the University of Montevallo and more importantly the integrity of Greg Goff, head coach at the University of Montevallo.

On that Saturday she spoke of I, my wife and 13-year-old daughter spent the entire day at Kermit Johnson field to enjoy two baseball games. We sat on the deck in centerfield opposite the guys that she accused of doing all of this bad stuff.

I can assure you that the worst thing that any of them said was the word suck. I can also assure you that if it had gotten any worse, I would have taken care of this. Having known Coach Goff, his wife Tina and their kids for three years, and for such a good man to be blasted for something so minor is terrible.

It was a wonderful day of baseball, cooking out and having a great time.

It also bothers me that this newspaper would print something that comes from someone from Florida for one day and decides to blast our coach, community and college.

Montevallo is a great place to grow up and to raise a family.

Maybe the Shelby County Reporter should come hang at a game and see how much innocent fun it is. Not real sure any of you know where the University of Montevallo is.

Thanks for your time.

Bret Jones


Help needed to stop parole of Michael Ellison

Dear Editor,

My name is Tara Hunt Jewell. Yesterday myself, my family, the Mims family and the Duke family along with a host of friends, attorneys and law enforcement from different areas of Alabama attended a parole hearing regarding Michael Ellison.

While his family begged for his release stating his accomplishments and good behavior in prison, our side begged for him to serve his full 16-year sentence.

Most people are not aware of how heavily involved Michael Ellison was in the brutal murders of the four innocent lives of Randy Duke, Dedra Hunt, Chelsea Hunt and Chelisa Hunt in Pelham in 1997. I am writing to enlighten you.

Michael Ellison helped to plan these murders, drove the get-away vehicle, helped to obtain the guns that were used during this gruesome crime, disposed of the weapons and valuable evidence and stood at the Pelham Police Department and provided false alibis and stories of their uneventful weekend to the three families who lost loved ones.

The four involved went to Michael Ellison&8217;s home and planned and plotted these murders carefully.

Michael Ellison originally was the one who was to go inside to do the murders but at the last minute handed the gun to Brandon Samra and said he didn&8217;t want anyone to drive his truck. It was stated yesterday that he did not have prior knowledge of the murders and he did not know the children were present.

After reading Michael Ellison&8217;s original statement, that was a proven lie. He knew about the murders the night before and he also knew the girls were at their mother&8217;s for the weekend.

He even wiped down the shells, gun and clip for fingerprints.

Now let me ask you why he would do that if he didn&8217;t expect the murders to happen.

What I fault him most for is the fact that he could have made an anonymous 911 call at any point and chose not to do so.

If he would have done this at least one of the four lives could have been saved, the murders did not happen upon entry to the home they occurred almost 30 minutes after the boys went inside.

In the meantime, Michael Ellison was driving around waiting to be paged.

Another statement that is like a thorn in my side is that the Ellison family has suffered more that any family involved. I truly resent this statement.

How can Michael Ellison&8217;s father say that?

There is no doubt that his family has suffered but convince the Mims family who lost a daughter and two grandchildren.

Or let&8217;s tell my brother that who wakes up everyday without his children. He went from being a daddy one day to the next day never to hear the words &8220;Daddy&8221; again. Now let&8217;s tell the Duke family that.

No you cannot ever justify to me that their hurt is worse than anyone else&8217;s. On holidays, they can go to see Michael Ellison, do you know where we go on Christmas day to visit our loved ones?

The cemetery.

Michael Ellison will get out one day but as for Randy, Dedra, Chelsea, and Chelisa, they got a life sentence because they are never coming home.

I am asking our citizens to continue to write letters for next time so Michael Ellison in 2010 will not be a free man. Please send all letters with his AIS# 203434 and name to: The State of Alabama Board of Pardon and Paroles, P.O. Box 302405, Montgomery, Al 36130.

Tara Jewell


Arc provides resources for those who need them

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to the letter published on Feb. 8 regarding services for individuals with mental retardation (or developmental disability). As the director of The Arc of Shelby County, an agency that supports individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, I regret that our services are not known to the author of the letter or her relative.

We provide a variety of services for children and adults, including employment assistance, information and referral to community services, advocacy services and socialization opportunities through People First, an organization for, and coordinated by, individuals with developmental disabilities. This group meets monthly and welcomes new members.

We have also found that the Shelby County community is very supportive of individuals who wish to participate in existing community activities, regardless of whatever challenges an individual may have. As an agency, we are committed to assisting individuals to become full, participating members of their larger community, not just in segregated activities for special individuals.

As for additional resources, I would like to mention Chilton/Shelby Mental Health Center, Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Workshops Inc. and the Special Olympics as Shelby County area programs that provide services to adults with challenges.

Karen Stokes

The Arc of Shelby County Inc