Union Democrat staff

Church has lost 'best priest'

To the Editor,

I have known Father Michael Kelly for 25 years. I first met him as my parish priest at St. Patrick's here in Sonora and since that time, Father Mike has become a dear family friend.

I believe that Father Mike is innocent.

I feel that sadly, in today's world, many look at a priest and see a pedophile. I am terribly disappointed in how the Church dealt with pedophile priests in the past. I know there are pedophile priests but I know Father Mike is not one of them.

My heart breaks for anyone who may have been abused by their priest.

However, I feel it is far too easy today for attorneys and plaintiffs to walk away holding very large bags of money, leaving behind them good, honest, innocent men who have devoted their entire lives to honoring God and the Church.

I am glad Father Mike left, not fled, to his homeland of Ireland. His health was failing at an alarming rate. Enduring tremendous stress over a four year period, all the while, knowing his own innocence. He left for his homeland and the loving arms of his family.

His life as he'd known it for 39 years here, ended in the few moments it took for the verdict to be read. The church, in my opinion, has lost it's "best priest ever" and now, I cannot help wonder, how many other innocent men have been or will be wrongfully defrocked.

Lynne Brown


Tears from

Iraq War

To the Editor,

We should offer sanctuary and a free airplane ride to America, for all of the women and children in Afghanistan, then remove all American troops and leave all the Afghan men to chew themselves to pieces as they seem to wish.

We should also waterboard George Bush and Dick Cheney with the tears of all the widows and orphans they created with their Iraq War!

J.W. Smith


Cut them off

To the Editor,

Am I the only one who is totally against sending money (billions) to countries who hate us and murder our personnel? The U.S.A. must use common sense and to those who say there's more to it, be real! Duh! It seems so obvious, you don't respect us, then no money for you. We're adding billions to our deficit, probably financing your violence against us. I say cut them off!

Mary Green


Fire tax

To the Editor,

In response to Mr. William C. Marrs' letter dated Sept. 13, he wonders why voters in Tuolumne County and other rural counties are not outraged over the fire tax fee being forced upon us.

I for one am!

He asks, "What are we going to do about it?" He suggested everyone write to Governor Brown. That's one way.

I suggest everyone that has a computer to go online to the web address: www.firetaxprotest.org

If voters who want to challenge the fire tax fee and claim a refund, simply follow the instructions, fill out the forms and mail them to the agencies listed.

If you don't have access to a computer ask your friends or neighbors to do it for you and also let them know!

Russ Truman

Twain Harte

The rest of the

Soap Box story

To the Editor,

Soap Box Derby winner, Betsy Smith (Union Democrat, September 7) is in good company here in Sonora. In 1939 the Sonora Union Democrat co-sponsored the very first Tuolumne County Derby.

In 1940 and 1941, before the war interrupted the event, Sonora boys qualified for the National and International finals in Akron Ohio. Neither won the event, but in 1941 Dick Davis (age 16) was awarded the title of Pacific Coast Champion. His "coaster" was sponsored by the

Union Democrat and once rolled down Washington Street between the Red Church and Coffill Park.

It is on display at the Tuolumne County Museum along with other soap Box memorabilia.

You can learn more about this historic tradition by reading the rest of the story in the Historical Society Chispa publication Vol. 38, No. 4. Call 532-1317 to learn how you can acquire this publication or participate with the Tuolumne County Historical Society to keep our history alive.

Bob Rogers