Barry Paschals Feb. 9 column, Healthy diet from Atlanta, is a very unfair portrayal of the Augusta Mini Theatre. He owes the theater and the Augusta community an apology. As the citizens of this community are working together to serve and promote the good of our city, it is very unfortunate that he would address the news in such a negative and divisive manner. ... It appears the only thing he has against the Augusta Mini Theatre is that former Sen. Charles Walker saw the good that it was doing for the youths and senior citizens.
Why demean an organization that has been a vital part of our city for more than 25 years, has received numerous honors and awards, including recognition by former Gov. Carl Sanders with a Governors Award for the Arts? No, the Augusta Mini Theatre is not a perpetual charity case. No, it is not a questionable organization.
Paschal wrote, Grants to the theater were supposed to pay for providing self-esteem-building programs in juvenile jails. Using your money and mine, the Mini Theatre organized a few plays that got thumbs down reviews from justice officials. Who are the justice officials? Why are they not speaking for themselves? A few plays? I wonder how many plays Paschal has personally attended? I have attended more than a few.
Regarding the self-esteem issue, has Paschal visited our juvenile jails and asked the students how the theater has impacted their lives? As for the your money and mine, I prefer my part of the money be used to fund plays and other services of the theater, rather than to build more youth detention centers and hire more officers to police children who could have been saved by placing our resources in the right places.
... Considering the contributions the Augusta Mini Theatre has made, I find it hard to understand why Paschal would boast that the Mini Theatres funds are about to be erased. When we cut services that promote the growth and development of our children, that we are actually cutting the growth and development of our city, state and country.
... The citizens of this community will not sit by and watch politics destroy our community. We will contact the governor, the Governors Office of Planning and Budget, the Juvenile Justice System and state Sen. Randy Hall, R-Augusta, to assure that the needs of our children are treated with the highest level of respect and concern. We will insist that decisions be made on facts, not on politics. An organization that has survived for 25 years is much more than Walkers funding conduit.
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