Union Democrat staff

Veterans Museum

To the editor:

Have you ever been to the Tuolumne County Veterans Museum on Washington Street? If not, then it's time you did. It isn't just a place made of stone with windows that let in the sunlight. It has a tall door that welcomes people from all over the world.

Inside is a breathtaking key to the past and present. It honors fallen soldiers and those who still are defending our great America. It's a place where family members tell stories of the pride that they carry. It showcases all of the services. It provides volumes of information on all of the wars.

I'm sure not many of you have wondered how it all gets organized and is kept so nice. It takes hours of work for all the upkeep. Once a year it is closed down, and the reorganization begins. Every case needs to be dusted. New paint added. New plexiglas replaced, if needed. Additional shelves are constructed and put up to hold lots of new donations. The repair supplies are paid for by donations.

The museum is manned by volunteers. It is hard to get help for a few hours a day. They are required to sit at the desk, welcome curious guests and encourage them to sign the register. It's difficult to fill that spot when someone leaves. It means the person in charge will have to change his plans and fill that time until someone else can be found.

I would like to thank Steve Wilson the curator of the museum for all of his hard work dedication. All you do it truly appreciated.

R.J. Sweatt


Libraries vital

To the editor:

The book. A set of pages, with printing on them, bound together. A container of information or imagination. Its basic design, appearance and purpose have remained unchanged for a thousand years. Simple to make and easy to care for. Durable. But bulky and expensive to print.

Modern media has a great many advantages. Fantastic amounts of information can be stored in very small spaces. Vast amounts of information can be filed, sorted, manipulated, sent, received and recalled in very little time. The price per word or picture stored is negligible compared to the printed page. And it does audio!

But books have one distinct advantage over newer media. Books do not require an interface. Most other methods of information storage and communication necessitate a computer, DVD or CD player, TV, telephone, radio, or mp3 player to retrieve the information inside.

A book requires a reader. The necessity of an interface device would not be so worrisome if not for the fact the complicated devices are always changing. Rapidly. As soon all the data is transferred to the "new media" it is time to adapt to the new "new media."

Libraries are increasingly repositories of the new media and a hub for Internet access. And they are increasingly being pushed out of government budgets. But libraries have an advantage over the competition - they contain books. As more and more books are being digitized, having a repository of printed matter is essential. Keeping our libraries vital will help keep a vast realm of knowledge safe.

Leni Barker


Hard-working citizen

To the editor:

Fact: Mervyns, Gottschalks, and now the Standard Mill have closed. Fact: Our other only large employer is the prison, and the employees have had their pay cut 15 percent to date. Fact: Bankruptcy and foreclosures are skyrocketing. Fact: Fuel continues to climb. Fact: PG&E has no competition and seemingly can do as it pleases. Fact: The Tuolumne Utilities District can continue to charge you for water even though you have left your home, it is vacant, and no water is being used.

Fact: No income means no spending, which inevitably means S.O.L. to small businesses. Fact: Our president has given money to power mongers - banks, auto industries, etc., none of which has helped people in difficult economic situations. Fact: Divorce is cheaper. A single mom raising two kids won't receive a $500 PG&E bill, as her payment is fixed.

Maybe that's the goal. Our governor, once idealistic, wanted to cut such welfare type programs but the Barbara Boxers of this world wouldn't have it. Instead she wanted to add to spending by funding birth control to welfare recipients.

So, the only way to help California was to take the money from the hard-working state employees. Why is this OK? To whom does this make sense?

Lastly, fact: It's OK to say, "Bush sucked." It is racist to say, "Obama sucks."

A fed up, hard working, close to welfare, "not a racist" citizen of these United States,

Aileen Cappa



To the editor:

If you missed the small article in the Sept. 24 edition of this paper, "Report: Too many vets wait a year for claim," it could be because it was printed on the bottom of the last page of the last section.

It was an AP piece stating that the Veterans Affairs Department's inspector general said that too many disability claims were taking over a year to process. He was referring to veterans who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An audit was released that showed that 11,000 veterans had claims pending over a year and were unnecessarily delayed. The report recommended changes such as improving the workload management and hiring more claims processors.

This is outrageous. Do we really want our government running our health care? I think not.

Tracy Russell