Lena Horne- a beautiful voice and tireless spirit

Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Lena Horne-one of our nation’s most cherished entertainers. Over the years, she warmed the hearts of countless Americans with her beautiful voice and dramatic performances on screen. From the time her grandmother signed her up for an NAACP membership as a child, she worked tirelessly to further the cause of justice and equality. In 1940, she became the first African American performer to tour with an all white band. And while entertaining soldiers during World War II, she refused to perform for segregated audiences, a principled struggle she continued well after the troops returned home. Michelle and I offer our condolences to all those who knew and loved Lena, and we join all Americans in appreciating the joy she brought to our lives and the progress she forged for our country.

President Barack Obama

Keep West Sub open

I am a member of the South Austin Coalition Community Council and I have lived in Austin since 1967. Once West Suburban Hospital is sold to a for-profit corporation it will be easier for them to close the hospital. That is why we must get Vanguard and Resurrection to commit to keeping these hospitals open for at least 10 years. Employees and patients depend on these hospitals. I want to know what our politicians have done to make sure that Austin residents continue to have access to medical services in the future.

Delbert Vann
Submitted at AustinWeeklyNews.com

Investment needed in nursing staff, equipment

I have been a registered nurse for 30 years. I have worked in the Family Birth Center at West Suburban Medical Center for 13 years. I am very concerned that Vanguard, the for-profit company that wants to buy West Suburban, has not made any real commitments to keep our hospital open, and to invest in staffing and equipment to improve the quality of care. In contrast, Vanguard has committed to keeping all Detroit medical center hospitals open for 10 years and to invest $850 million to upgrade them. In order for West Suburban to better serve patients and to succeed financially, we need investment in better staffing and equipment. No amount of expensive marketing can overcome the problems of a hospital with inadequate staffing and aging equipment. I can tell you from my own experience that inadequate nurse staffing compromises patient care and limits nurses’ ability to act as autonomous professionals. By investing in better nurse staffing and working with us as professionals, Vanguard can improve the quality of care and as a result, the financial performance of the hospital. This will ensure that the communities who rely on services at West Suburban continue to have access to critical medical services.

Ethel Barbee
Submitted at AustinWeeklyNews.com

A ringing, singing endorsement

I’m so proud of the church’s progress in the Glorify endeavor [Church choir releases debut album, April 8]. Truly, trusting God has paid off. Pastor Acree’s passion for music and vision for the church has been manifested, as evident by such. To God be tha Glory! Congratulations, Voices, on a job well done.

Patty Ringo
Submitted at AustinWeeklyNews.com

National Guard presence a good idea

I applaud you in this effort [Ford wants National Guard on West Side, April 29]. I hear there is opposition. So to suppress that, you should have a comprehensive plan with an end date for the National Guard. When the neighborhoods see that there is relief-that children can play outside; that citizens have freedom to move about-attitudes will change. Just make sure that the NG is trained well for the situation. I wish you well.

Kevin Clarke
Submitted at AustinWeeklyNews.com

An end to youth violence needed everywhere

I love what’s going on [Forum tackles perils of youth violence, April 29]. I hope that maybe one day, this movement can setup a charter down here in Mississippi. I hope that I can receive more information on what’s going on. I’m willing to do all I can to help this program get started here.

Desmond Troupe
Submitted at AustinWeeklyNews.com