Letters to the Editor for April 20, 2017

first_img Share Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here. Special to the PRESSEditor:The Friends of the Port Isabel Public Library wish to thank the local business community for being supportive of our fundraising efforts during the past year.  This assistance has allowed us to successfully raise funds to provide programming and resources for the Port Isabel Public Library, particularly in services to children and their families.Laurie MageeSecretaryDear Editor,I find myself writing this letter to set straight those who deny that the LVRA receives subsidies in it’s operation of the Town’s marina. There are two types of subsidies, one is a “direct” and the other “indirect.” If an individual qualifies for Section 8 housing, that person does not receive any direct monies to pay the difference in the rent they are paying and the market rent rate. The difference is made up by taxpayers, when we pay our taxes, and the government then pays the developer the difference, this is an “indirect” subsidy for the benefit of the tenant. Or perhaps you can look at it this way. Our Town requires a certain amount of money to run its operations. But what would happen, if that big house around the block, did not pay any taxes. Well you and I would see an increase in our taxes, to make up that difference. Again the big house owner is not receiving any direct monies, but if you and I have to pay the shortage in the town’s tax revenues, that big house owner is getting an “indirect” subsidy, at our expense. There is nothing wrong, if a municipality offers a tax abatement or other incentive to get a new business to locate within its city limits. New businesses can bring jobs and other economic stimulus to a city. Make no mistake, the LVRA for the last 46 years has not paid a dime in tax revenues to the town. The taxpayers of Laguna Vista, have made up that lost revenue and have been subsidizing the LVRA.In fact, the LVRA could not exist without being subsidized. Had the town, last year, sold the marina (with a reversion clause if the property ceased being operated as a marina) for $1, the LVRA could have easily incurred a property tax bill for approximately $10,000. That could make those very reasonable yearly memberships have to be increased to an approximate $800 per year. With that kind of increase, you would definitely see a decrease in memberships, yearly membership fees would have to be increased even more and the death spiral of the LVRA would commence. So please, don’t tell me that the citizens of Laguna Vista don’t subsidize their marina operations.Those that deny that the town is subsidizing the LVRA want to distract the overwhelming taxpaying majority of Laguna Vista. If they were honest, they would recognize the sweet deal they got from the town 46 years ago and be thankful. Most LVRA members, I have spoken to, think the bayfront property should be shared. It is just a few, who want to keep “their” bayfront property private and not opened to the rest of us. Laguna Vista’s town slogan is” Gateway to the Bay,” but in reality only to those who have a “key.”Herb HoustonLaguna VistaDear Editor,I recently answered a written call from the Southern Poverty Law Center for Anglo Saxon or White people to volunteer to combat white racism. It seemed to be an excellent idea. I have an opportunity now to combat racism and deconstruct the arguments put forth by the LVRA on why they should continue to lease the entire area that they control now. They should not.During the April 11 workshop, I asked the representatives of the LVRA Why they did not build a 100 foot lighted pier to attract members who do not own boats. My question went unanswered; but it is obvious why they never have. They do not want any members who do not own boats. The LVRA needs to remember that they will never get title to the area that they lease. They need to remember that Robert Moore is no longer mayor and the opposition to them is growing.The unlimited public comment period at the workshop where supporters of the LVRA and the letter in the April 13 issue of the PRESS were loaded with racism. Contrary to what modern racists want people to believe, a person does not have to belong to the KKK or openly advocate the superiority of the white race to be a racist. Modern racism manifests itself in a myriad of different forms, but I’ll confine the scope of racism to what the supporters of the LVRA said at the workshop and Elizabeth Etheridge’s letter published in last week’s PRESS.Every supporter of the LVRA at the workshop spoke of the horde of outsiders, even MEXICANS, would come to use our little proposed park. The proposed park could easily be designated as a viewing and recreational area for Laguna Vista residents. Any attempt to differentiate your group from “the others” is racism as you are white. It is cultural chauvinism if you are a member of a minority group; but the vast majority of speakers who spoke in support of the LVRA were white; therefore those were racist expressions. Whether anything is racism or cultural chauvinism has to do with whatever group is dominate in any given society. We are talking about the USA where Anglo society is dominate.The supporters of LVRA also used a lot of phony narratives and doomsday scenarios to support their basic racist underpinnings. This is quite similar to what the Steve Bannon wing of Trump supporters do. Hordes of outsiders are not going to come to Laguna Vista to use our little park, shop at all our stores or dine in our fine restaurants. People from other areas actually come here to visit South Padre Island.Some of the LVRA supporters need to go visit the Laguna Heights Park that has access to the Laguna Madre; that is if they are not afraid to rub shoulders with a lot of Mexican Americans and EVEN MEXICANS. There is nothing but parking space there.There were a whole lot of LVRA supporters at the workshop who said that they live on Beach and would move out of the area if our little park is opened. I hope that they do; it is always good when racists leave your community.I went into the meeting with an open mind if the LVRA would have built a lighted and covered pier. They ignored my question and subsequently showed their true colors. I totally support our little park and want to see the influence of the LVRA on public life in Laguna Vista dwindle down to nothing. I want to thank the majority of the Town Council for conducting the workshop in a fair and impartial manner.Walter BirdwellLaguna Vistacenter_img RelatedLetters to the Editor for Nov. 9, 2017Special to the PRESS Editor, It’s no secret that Port Isabel has had its fair share of turmoil in recent years, but it’s a relief to see our city finally moving forward. As reported in this paper, the city has been working to upgrade its finances, its infrastructure and its…November 10, 2017In “News”Letters to the Editor for April 12, 2019To the Editor, We are sorry to see Dina Arevalo go. In the past four plus years she’s been the only personality of the Padre Press whom we’ve come to know, and we shall miss her. Good luck, Dina, in whatever your new endeavors will be. Sincerely yours, David A.…April 12, 2019In “News”Letter to the Editor for Nov. 2, 2017Special to the PRESS Editor, Cameron County Commissioners recently voted to approve short-term tax abatement agreements with Rio Grande LNG that will help bring great benefits to our Rio Grande Valley (RGV). I and many other residents agree with this bold move by our County Commissioners. For many years the…November 3, 2017In “News”last_img read more

Former Dairy Queen manager charged with manslaughter in bullied teen’s suicide

first_img Related iStock/Thinkstock(GLASGOW, Mo.) — A former Dairy Queen manager accused of bullying a Missouri teen to the point that he took his own life has now been charged with involuntary manslaughter, following the suicide of her former employee just days before Christmas, according to court documents.Kenny Suttner, 17, died on Dec. 21, 2016 after he committed suicide outside of his home in Glasgow, Missouri. Earlier this month Harley Branham, 21, Suttner’s former manager from his part-time job at a local Dairy Queen, was charged with the felony of involuntary manslaughter in connection with Suttner’s death, the documents say.The move comes after the Howard County Coroner’s Office performed an inquest into what caused the death of Suttner. The verdict of the inquest, filed Jan. 31 and released by the Howard County Coroner’s Office, found that Suttner had been harassed, “both at Dairy Queen and at school.”The coroner’s jury of six people said that they found Branham, “was the principal in the cause of death.”Branham, who made her first court appearance Tuesday, denied the bullying allegations brought against her.“There’s a lot of people at Dairy Queen saying I was the reason,” Branham testified during the inquest, “but I don’t understand why it would be that way.”Branham’s attorney, Jeff Hilbrenner, told to local ABC News affiliate KMIZ-TV in Columbia, Missouri, “We look forward to the opportunity to present additional evidence and reviewing the evidence that the state intends to present in court.”Branham did not enter a plea Tuesday and is out on $25,000 bond. Her preliminary hearing is set for May 25, 2017. If convicted, she faces up to four years in prison.Dairy Queen’s corporate headquarters said in a statement that their Fayette, Missouri location “is independently owned and operated by a franchisee. American Dairy Queen Corporation does not employ the employees at the location and did not hire, employ or supervise the manager. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Suttner family. We are still in the process of gathering information but understand from the franchisee that the manager is no longer employed at this location.”Suttner was a junior at Glasgow High School at the time of his death, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. The Glasgow School District, found negligent by the inquest’s six-person jury, said in response to the inquest that they were not permitted to fairly defend themselves at the hearing.April Wilson, the special prosecutor who filed the charges against Branham, said that the inquest that generated the charges had about 20 witnesses, and that “each witness was able to testify to different and specific instances to which they had knowledge of Kenny being bullied,” in an interview with Good Morning America that aired Wednesday.Wilson said that during Suttner’s time at Dairy Queen, “there is one specific time that Kenny is standing next to the fryers that have hot grease in them and a cheeseburger is thrown at him and there were some disparaging remarks made to him about do it right or get out, and of course it was much more harsh than that.”She added that some witnesses testified that Suttner was also forced to lie on his stomach on the floor in order to clean “under machines that could be moved, but he was forced to do it on his stomach.”Wilson added that despite the unusual charges, she is treating this case as she would any other. “In this case, I come into the picture really little too late. The one person I want to talk to in this case is Kenny Suttner, and I can’t talk to him,” Wilson said.Mike and Angela Suttner, the parents of Kenny, said that they hoped this case would help enact change to prevent other cases of bullying.“It is long overdue that the issue of bullying be brought to light so that we can all work together to make change,” Mike and Angela Suttner said in a statement.Mike and Angela Suttner also expressed their appreciation to their community for the support during the difficult time for the family.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img read more

Top Marine testifies on explicit photo scandal

first_img Related iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Marine Corps commandant, Gen. Robert Neller, answered tough questions from U.S. senators on both sides of the aisle Tuesday about the growing scandal of explicit photos being shared on the Marines United Facebook page and other websites.Neller called the actions of Marines engaged in cyberbullying female members of the corps “truly disturbing and unacceptable.”He told the Senate Armed Services Committee, along with acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green, that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is investigating the allegations and will hold any service members involved accountable.But some senators were not satisfied with the military leadership’s response.“When you say to us ‘it’s got to be different’ that rings hollow,” Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said. “I don’t know what you mean when you say that. Why does it have to be different because you all of a sudden feel that is has to be different? Who has been held accountable?” Gillibrand pressed Gen. Neller about how commanders would be held responsible as well.“It is a serious problem when we have members of our military denigrating female Marines who will give their life to this country in the way they have with no response from leadership,” Gillibrand said.“So if you’re dedicated to fixing the culture of the Marines and all the services, what do you plan to do to hold commanders responsible who fail to get this done?” she added.Neller has acknowledged that the sharing of explicit photos online is linked to a broader cultural problem that must be addressed.“I’m responsible,” Neller responded to Gillibrand. “I’m the commandant. I own this, and we are going to have to, you know, you’ve heard it before, but we’re going to have to change how we see ourselves and how we do, how we treat each other. That’s a lame answer, but ma’am that’s the best I can tell you right now. We’ve got to change, and that’s on me.”On Friday, Neller made an impassioned request to women who may have been victims of the military’s nude photo sharing scandal to step forward, so that those responsible could be held accountable. As of Friday, he said “less than 10” female victims had been identified.On Tuesday, Neller told the committee that a “small number” of victims have come forward, but he repeated the need for others to speak out about online harassment they had received. Secretary Stackley said a tip line set up for service members to share information with leadership had received 53 calls as of Monday.It’s estimated that 30,000 people had access to the Marines United Facebook page, a private Facebook group originally established several years ago as a support network to help fellow Marine veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder from combat, Neller said. A link posted on the site led to another internet storage site where some members of the group posted explicit photos of female Marines; the link and separate site have since been removed by the internet service provider, according to Neller.Both Neller and Stackley said that about 500 Marines United members had accessed the link that contained the explicit photos. They did not have a breakdown of active duty military personnel who were involved in that site, versus veterans or civilians. Stackley said anonymity can make it difficult to identify individuals online.The other military services are also looking into reports that photos of female service members from all of the services were posted on additional websites.The Marine Corps has the lowest percentage of female members among the five military services, with women making up about 7 to 8 percent of all Marines, and it has focused recruiting efforts on increasing the number of women in uniform.Neller addressed the relationship between some male and female Marines in Tuesday’s hearing.“I mean and the female Marines are a small group in our corps,” he said. “And for whatever reason, there are still some number, and I don’t think it’s separate from the sexual assault issue, but this issue of denigration of women, objectification of women, misogyny, however you want articulate it, are just bad behavior is tied to the way that some … male Marines look at women in the Marine Corps.”In his opening statement, he asked female Marines past and present to trust that the “problem” will be corrected.“I know I’m asking a lot of you right now, but I ask you trust the leadership of the Marine Corps to take action and correct this problem. I ask you to trust me personally as your commandant, and when I say I’m outraged that many of you haven’t been given the same respect when you earn the title Marine,” he said.Neller listed several examples of female Marines who have been killed recently in the line of duty, asking male Marines, “How much more do the females of our corps have to do to be accepted?”“We have to commit to get rid of this perversion to our culture. Enough is enough,” Neller added. He did say that he believes this scandal is “not indicative of the great majority of Marines.”Active-duty service members who take and share explicit photos of someone without their consent can be punished through the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) under varying articles.Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., suggested active-duty Marines should be dishonorably discharged to send a “signal” to deter others from similar behavior.Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., suggested that veterans convicted of these actions could lose benefits coverage.“We need to make it a very frightening proposition for people going forward to be captured in this sort of activity,” Tillis said.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img read more

“American Idol” hopefuls perform Prince songs and more, as the top 7 becomes the top 5

first_img Related ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) — Sunday night’s episode of American Idol saw the seven remaining contestants performing two songs: one, a Prince song, backed by his longtime drummer Sheila E.; and the other a song from the year each was artist was born, for which they were mentored by Nick Jonas. At the end of the show, two artists were eliminated.Here’s who America chose to move on: Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Gabby Barrett, Michael J. Woodard, Cade Foehner and Maddie Poppe.Catie Turner and Jurnee were sent home.During the show, host Ryan Seacrest a 40-plus city summer tour featuring all of the top seven artists, as well as season 8 winner Kris Allen, kicking off July 11 in Redding, California, and wrapping up September 16 in Washington, D.C. Details are available at AmericanIdolLive.com.Here’s how it all went down:Jurnee tackled Prince’s 1986 hit, “Kiss.” The judges approved of the performance, including Katy, who told Jurnee, “You look like a snack.” She went on to praise her for moving around the stage the way Prince would have, but urged her to move even more for her next performance. She returned later with Brian McKnight’s “Back at One,” from her birth year, 1999. Katie admitted that it wasn’t her favorite rendition of the song, but she knew Jurnee had that in her. Bryan agreed, as did Richie, who praised her for keeping her cool on stage, in the midst of chaos.Gabby Barrett performed “I Hope You Dance,” Lee Ann Womack’s hit from 2000 — the year she was born. Jonas, addressing the camera during rehearsals, said her performance brought him to tears, but thought the 18-year-old could “lean into the song” even more. Afterwards, Luke called it “maybe one of the best vocals we’ve heard in this room so far.” “You know what was wrong with that performance,” asked Lionel, before answering his own question with, “Nothing.” For her Prince song, Gabby chose “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore,” which Luke described as a “mic-drop moment.”Michael J. Woodard delivered a rendition of Prince’s I Would Die 4 You.” Lionel was impressed with Michael’s ability to take the iconic Prince song and “own it.” Sheila E. agreed, calling Michael “amazing,” adding he’s “an entertainer and he sang his butt off.” Woodard returned with a song from his birth year, Céline Dion’s 1997 hit “My Heart Will Go On,” from the movie Titanic. Katie compared Woodard to Idolalum Jennifer Hudson, declaring the 21-year-old could “win an Oscar [and] a Grammy…the sky’s the limit.”Cade Foehner added a rock edge to Jewel’s 1995 hit, “Who Will Save Your Soul.” During rehearsals, Nick advised Cade to “find a connection to the song beyond just the arrangement. Richie’s only critique was that he could sense Cade struggling a little at the beginning, but added that he eventually “took the song to another place.” The rocker also drew praise from the judges later with his cover of Morris Day and the Time‘s 1984 hit “Jungle Love,” written by Prince.Once Catie Turner got over her excitement over meeting Jonas, she revealed the song choice from her birth year, 2000 — Britney Spears’ “Oops!… I Did It Again.” Luke urged her to start believing she’s a star, and Lionel agreed, explaining that Catie was bringing a style all her own to the table and for her to “own it.” Unfortunately, Turner kicked off her next performance — “Manic Monday,” the Prince composition, recorded by The Bangles — by forgetting the first few lines. That didn’t faze the judges ,though, who assured Catie that in spite of the glitch she was still a contender in their eyes.1999 was the year Caleb Lee Hutchinson was born, and he chose Lonestar’s hit from that year, “Amazed.” Nick addressed Caleb’s awkwardness on stage, by advising him to lock eyes with someone in the audience. Afterward the performance, Lionel urged Caleb to do his own thing, instead of letting someone tell him what to do. Caleb’s next performance — a country take on Prince’s “When Doves Cry” — earned praise from all three judges.Maddie Poppe’s version of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” the Prince tune popularized by Sinead O’Connor, drew a standing ovation from all three judges, including Perry, who praised Poppe as an “artist,” before suggesting that should could even be this year’s Idol winner. Bryan called the performance “mesmerizing.” Maddie returned later with Sheryl Crow’s 1997 song “If It Makes You Happy.” Richie called Poppe a star, regardless of who America voted into the top five.American Idol returns Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC with special guest Carrie Underwood.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img read more