- Area does not pay a living wage

With a 3 percent unemployment rate, those who want jobs have them.

As a social worker in daily contact with people struggling in our community, I have to challenge your statement that a three percent unemployment rate means that those who want jobs have them. Some people have a low wage/no benefits job that they had to take because they were on TANF and were not allowed to go to school to improve their skills so that they could get a job that paid a living wage (one that allows you to pay 30 percent or less of your income for housing). Some people are working two or three of those types of jobs to try to make ends meet, but they are vulnerable to losing their jobs if they are ill or injured or if one of their children is sick. Without insurance, and with PeachCare insurance for children in low-income families being restricted more every day, their job security is very shaky.

I challenge The Valdosta Daily Times to do some research to find out how many people have the kind of job they want, wish they had a better job but have no way of getting the skills and how many people in this new metropolitan statistical area are unemployed for some or all of the above-mentioned reasons.

The 2-1-1 of South Central Georgia Information and Referral Service, LAMP, Salvation Army, Coastal Plain EOA, the Workforce Investment Act office, DFCS, Department of Labor and other agencies in this town can tell you about daily encounters with people trying to make a living who just cannot get by on the wages they are paid in this "low unemployment" area.

If you want and do not have a job that pays a living wage then this area has an unemployment problem.

Jane F. Osborn, MSSW

Associate Director,

2-1-1 of South Central Georgia

- Deep Woods Deer Fest well attended

"We all have gifts to bring, and our gifts are different." The beauty of was so evident Saturday during Lanier County's Deer Fest 2005. Different talents blended together to make our project more successful than any one person or small group could realize.

Patterned after a similar celebration in Ozona, Texas, Georgia's Deep Woods Deer Fest was "brought into" by the Lanier County community and surrounding counties. We had participants from age 98 to toddlers and infants in strollers. The event's volunteers were awesome-nearly 100 local people and neighbors taking on assignments they know best and following through in a superb manner.

Enthusiasm and generosity were overwhelming for our family-oriented festival. Its concept was imposing, but its outcome was humbling. This community came together for the good of all.

We are glad that this county and its surrounding communities were able to "envision the vision" of this significant community project. Present and future thanks are extended for everyone's support and commitment to this cause.

Larry Lee, General Chairman

Georgia's Deep Woods Deer Fest

- Saying no is the right answer

As a former director of Marine Corps Recruiting I read with some interest an article, "Say 'no' to military recruiters," written by columnist, Charley Reese. If his solution to our nation's problems are not anymore correct than his "facts" concerning our military recruiters, and national leaders, then he lacks a sense of balance, and it probably is far from that which will help our nation. The press has long taken a liberal approach on fact vs. fiction but his article was irresponsible, divisive, slanderous and vicious.

The general tone of negativism that pervaded his thoughts concerning our military recruiters was incorrect and unfortunate. There are a tremendous number of benefits available to young men and women who elect to serve our country. Our recruiters provide that useful information. To say "no" to our recruiters is not a solution to any problem.

Gene McDaniel,


Colonel, USMC (Ret)

- Library patron changing lives

Two years ago, Wilmon J. Stanley entered the Salter Hahira Public Library in need of a computer on which to create a financial report for his church. Library staff instructed him in using Excel, a Microsoft Office program. His efforts consumed weeks until one day, something just clicked, and Stanley couldn't get enough. To make a long story short, he learned so much that it was suggested that he'd make a great teacher. What happened after that, no one could have predicted.

Stanley is now affectionately known as Professor. Over the past year, this Korean War veteran and retiree has "graduated" three students and presently teaches nine, two of whom are about to graduate. He has taken frightened novices and turned them into pros, their personalities noticeably transformed. Unarguably, Stanley's methods touch the whole person. The information he provides, free of charge and from the heart, opens doors and enriches life. Still, he claims that no life has been more enriched than his own.

Professor Stanley demonstrates the vital role public libraries play in people's lives. More importantly though, and this goes without saying, public libraries are lifeless without the people who breathe life into them with their needs, hopes and dreams. The proof is in the Professor. Years ago, the Gates Foundation placed computers in public libraries desiring to provide access to all. One can't help but think that their vision included the Professor Stanley who might emerge.

Thank you, Professor, for all that you do for the Salter Hahira Public Library and for the reputation of public libraries everywhere. Most of all, thank you for what you are doing in the lives of others.

Janet H. Register, Branch Manager

Salter Hahira Public Library

- Remembering Ossie Davis

Ossie Davis and his family moved from Waycross, Ga. to my hometown of Valdosta when I was in the second grade. Ossie is seven years older than I am, but his brother K.C. joined my second grade and we became fast family friends. Ossie did not finish high school in Valdosta. He wanted to finish with his classmates in Waycross, so his family boarded him with friends and he graduated from the segregated Center High School in Waycross.

Ossie was in and out of Valdosta when I was growing up. He was a real role model for all of the students at Dasher High in Valdosta. He was there for all of us. His sister, Essie Mae, was my teacher in my last year of high school. She went away to college in Alabama and came back to Valdosta to teach for a year and then left for Atlanta University to get a master's degree. The first year she was enrolled at Atlanta University, I was a freshman at Clark Atlanta University. The second year we were in Atlanta, Martin Luther King Jr. enrolled at Morehouse College as an accelerated student. Also at Morehouse College was the late Samuel Sheats and Larone Bennett, the writer.

Ossie was really a playwright and he was in and out of Atlanta performing someplace or speaking at one of the colleges. He was a student at Howard University for a while. He often came to Valdosta to see his parents. It is interesting that Ossie was always in and out of my life. When I graduated from Clark Atlanta I enrolled as a master's of art student at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. There I had the opportunity to visit Ossie and Ruby Dee at their Manhattan apartment.

Ossie was very active in the civil rights movement even before it became popular for blacks to speak out against racism. Ossie was a man who had character and integrity. He worked and struggled in the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King Jr. He never forgot where he came from and never forgot the people who helped him get there. I remember the times we talked about the injustices in our lives but, he always kept his spirits high. He came to Clark and spoke to the students about being better and working harder than the whites in the system. He would often say, you have to be better and you must work hard to help your own people. Ossie was a caring man. He threw a big 100th birthday party for his mother in 1998 in New York. I was right there celebrating with Mother Davis, who died at 105 about two years ago.

Ossie came from a family that nurtured and encouraged their children to be the best they could be. He has one brother, William Davis, Ph.D. who teaches at St. Phillips College in San Antonio, Texas. All of the Davis' were people who excelled. They were my friends. I'll miss Ossie, but I have good memories of our times together. He made us all proud. He was a man to be respected. He was dignified and a credit to all mankind. This is his legacy: Humanitarian.

Thank you, Ossie.

Maurice Morse

Altadena, Calif.

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