Letters to the editor for September 26, 2007:

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dear Editor,

I remember in 2005 when ADOT announced that funding was approved ($48 million for Alabama) for the improvement of roadways and relieving congestion.

This money was primarily supposed to be used for the widening of I-65 from the Shelby County Airport (or Calera, I can&8217;t remember now) all the way to Gardendale. The announcement was for 10 lanes (five in each direction with one lane each way possibly used as an HOV lane).

Well what do you know, it&8217;s the end of 2007 and we still have only two lanes in each direction on I-65 south of Highway 119. And it&8217;s still and hour to downtown in the mornings if you get on I-65 northbound in Alabaster between 7-8 a.m.

All I want to know is, what happened? We sit and sit and sit some more (as the county explodes in population), and

now people ride on Highway 31 northbound from Alabaster to get to work in Hoover and avoid I-65 &8212; so naturally Highway 31 is a parking lot too, and there&8217;s no way around it.

People needing to get to Bessemer in the mornings try to cut through Alabaster to Helena and use Morgan Road, but the back roads are slam full too. Where are all those lanes that they said could be built in less than five years? Here we are two years after the announcement and traffic is only getting worse. Where did all that money go?

We house more people in our county than any other and it&8217;s still growing daily, but we can&8217;t seem to get any traffic relief. The people of Shelby County can now read the newspaper or even read a book while driving to work in the mornings.

John Abbott


My wife, originally from Thailand, and I have been working toward her U.S. citizenship for several years.

Starting with the visa to legally enter the country all the way through the documentation for naturalization, navigating the documentation and procedures of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has been nerve-wracking.

Last week everything fell in place and my wife was sworn in as a US citizen, it was a very rewarding experience for both of us. Thinking I was through with the endless forms and fees, I inwardly groaned when my smiling wife said, &8220;Now I can get a U.S. passport!&8221;

So, I reluctantly called the circuit clerk&8217;s office and left a message asking a few questions about the process for a naturalized citizen. Much to my surprise, within 30 minutes I received a called from Mary Harris, circuit clerk, who informed me what we needed to do and bring and then set up an appointment for the same day.

When we arrived, she quickly and efficiently walked us through the process and had us out the door in less than 30 minutes. Impressive.

Gavin DeFreese