I wish to give my perspective in reference to comments that recently have appeared in The News-Times concerning Harlem's Red Oak Manor and the change in the alcohol ordinance concerning the distance allowed between businesses and churches.
I have been a citizen of Harlem for more than 11 years, and I am a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I spent two long years in Iraq fighting to protect the citizens of Harlem and America. Unfortunately, I lost friends in Iraq, but I am proud to have had the opportunity to bear this burden so that the citizens of Harlem would not have to.
Scott Dean is an honorable man. He is my friend, and he is a patriot of this community. We need more citizens like him - citizens who take on additional responsibilities, citizens who spend more time trying to improve their communities instead of complaining about them.
If you stand against Scott Dean, then you stand against Bobby Cash. We need to support Scott Dean and Red Oak Manor more than ever now, especially in an economic time in our country when being a small business owner is harder than ever.
Here in Harlem we need to support our small business owners, because if we don't, one day we might wake up and all of the private restaurants and businesses will have gone bankrupt. When we lose small businesses in our fair town of Harlem, we lose a part of small-town identity.
I hope that most citizens feel the same way when I say that I never want to see main street become a brand-name restaurant avenue like the one exit for Thomson off Interstate 20.
When it comes to the negative comments made by the official from the Latter-Day Saints church in Harlem, I appreciate his insight.
However, the majority of the congregation of the church does not live in Harlem. The Red Oak Manor owners tried to work with the church at the beginning of the process, and they refused to cooperate.
The city ordinance concerning the sale of alcohol at businesses in Harlem now reflects state law. I am sorry if the existence of Red Oak Manor is interfering with the church members' relationship with God, but if I have to choose between Red Oak Manor and that church, I choose Red Oak Manor all day long.
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