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Letters to the Editor published May 19, 2010
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Nobody should convict Allen before his trial

Editor, Ceres Courier,

I was appalled by the story about Columbus Allen in the April 28 edition of the Courier. From the headline to the end of the story, this kind of biased reporting is what caused the taxpayers of this county to have to foot the bill to move the trial to Sacramento. It would have been bad enough as an opinion piece; as a news story, it was horrible.

"Another delay of justice," says the headline. Well, no. It was, sadly, another delay of the opening of the trial to see whether Columbus is guilty of the shooting death of CHP Officer Earl Scott. If he's not guilty and the murderer is still out there, it's another delay of injustice. And the reason for the delay? The county isn't paying for paralegal help or a second attorney, which is necessary in potential death penalty trials. The county counsel's excuse, according to the story? It takes weeks to process these payments. Weeks? These motions have been on the table for months. Have you ever actually been in the courtroom and heard the judge chastising the District Attorney's office for not providing documents and other items requested by the defense months ago?

Then there are all the assumptions by Deputy DA Allen Cassidy, reported as fact: That Columbus was driving with a gun (really? There has been none found). Then there's the information that Columbus "had traces of gunshot residue consistent with firing a gun toward the right side while seated behind the wheel." My goodness! No trial has begun and so no evidence has been entered, and yet we know Columbus was behind the wheel and shooting out the right side? Did you know that witnesses from that evening say Officer Scott had someone standing up outside the car? Or that the suspect was described as a Hispanic or white man with short hair?

I loved the part about a computer "used by Allen" that had rap songs about killing cops. We don't know who else used the computer and we don't arrest all the big-name rappers out there who write similar, awful lyrics. Nor did we ever arrest Peter, Paul and Mary for singing about a guy who stabbed a woman with a knife or the writer of the song with lyrics that said, "I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy." Come on!

There were many more details in your story that would convict Columbus. I didn't see a single comment by his attorney, nor any "facts" about him being the dad of two delightful little boys, or his positive history as a Ceres High wrestler or the obstacles in life he has faced, starting as a child.

No one wants the murderer of Officer Scott to go free. Neither should anyone convict Columbus before his trial even begins. Shame on you, Jeff! You're a much better journalist than that.

Sue Nowicki,


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Recognizing unsung heroes

Editor, Ceres Courier,

This week, May 16-22, is EMS Week, a time to recognize the unsung heroes who come to our aid when we dial 9-1-1 in a crisis. Residents of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa and Stanislaus Counties are fortunate to live in a place that has successfully implemented a system of care to address severe heart attacks. This means that when you or someone experiences a heart attack and calls 9-1-1, you are activating that system and care starts immediately. Research shows that such systems save lives and help survivors achieve the best possible outcomes.

Every day my work reminds me of the importance of the chain of survival -- from that first emergency call through arrival of EMS professionals to treatment at a hospital ready to receive them. I have met countless volunteers and supporters of the American Heart Association whose timely care in a system such as yours made the difference for them and their families. Please join me in thanking your Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa and Stanislaus County hometown heroes for all that they do to improve emergency health care in your community.

Roman J. Bowser

Executive Vice President

American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate

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Column right on mark

Editor, Ceres Courier,

I read your comments regularly - do not always agree with you - but most of time you give me something to think about. Your "California needs a law like Arizona's" was right on the mark till your "the halls of the state Capitol are filled with spineless gutless political whores." I find it hard to take someone serious when they let their learning slip away. I would be the one that makes statements as that or others in a coffee shop.

Now that is said. California could use a law same a Arizona's even more so. But we do have laws that could salve the problem, but no one has the guts to enforce it. In California the fine for hiring an illegal immigrant is a maximum fine of $10,000 per illegal.

Also some time back California passed English as the legal language of California. All the companies that run ads have to know English and Spanish to work. I wonder how they would fare in a court of law. Seems any job that deals with the general public you have to know Spanish or you do not work. California is closed off from the natural migration of America. If someone from the Great Lakes area or Little Rock came to California and fell in love with not being waist deep in snow would not be able move here unless they work above the general public - or know Spanish. California is no longer united and in time there will be a clash. I hope I am not around when that happens... but it is coming.

No matter what America does to stop the flow of illegal immigrants the Mexicans will be up in arms. just as in Nevada when the town passed its law that no foreign flags be flown within the city limits. Only the Mexicans yelled discrimination. In this area the Mexican flag is flow everywhere; they even got away with putting it above the American flag at a school.

At the coffee shop, by the time the coffee is gone the world is running a lot smoother. We have no idea as to how to put things in motion or how to get out and get others to back us. If Obama thinks we do not matter or care then let's show him.

We all read you column.. so please do not become a coffee shop philosopher. Leave the ranting and raving to us.

Thank you and keep up the good work.

George Lightner,


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Letter carriers are grateful

Editor, Ceres Courier,

The letter carriers of the Ceres Post Office wish to thank all the citizens of Ceres who participated in the local food drive. We were able to collect 2,400 pounds of food that was split between three food banks that participate with us.

This year, nationwide, the postal service and letter carriers have collected over 1 billion pounds of food since the drive started 18 years ago.

Once again thanks to those who have helped by donating to the NALC Food Drive and we'll see you all next year.

Walt Butler,


NALC Br.#4850

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Letters to the editor will be considered for publication but must be signed with the author's name, address and telephone number. Letters should contain 250 words or less and be void of libelous statements. Letters may be sent to The Ceres Courier, P.O. Box 7, Ceres, CA 95307, or emailed to