Letter to the Editor

Child with albinism

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the Aug. 7 article "Special shirt allows child with special needs to use city pool." I read this article with great interest as my son, Nathaniel, is the child that has albinism.

I would like to point out a few things that did not get mentioned in the article, but first I would like to make a correction about the article.

The article says that I stated that my son "suffers" from albinism. I did not say that Nathaniel "suffers" from albinism, I stated that he is albino. Quite frankly, the only thing my son "suffers" from is living in a city that has a lack of knowledge concerning disabilities.

As for the "special shirt" that the pool manager gave my son, it's a starter swim shirt that anyone can buy at Wal-Mart. Mr. Potthoff failed to mention that Mrs. Crocker had stopped by my apartment and said that Nathaniel could swim in a T-shirt as long as it is a white T shirt.

Mr. Potthoff also didn't mention that the doctor's note was presented to the pool manager on July 22, and the pool manager would not accept it.

Mr. Potthoff says that the pool staff did all they could in this situation which I find amusing. The pool staff did what the city ordinance told them to do, in this instance, it didn't allow my child to swim with his shirt on, though I told the pool manager that my child is albino.

There is a fine line here. Yes, the pool staff followed the rules set forth by the city. Fortunately, individuals with disabilities of any kind have a different set of guidelines that separates them from the rest of us and those guidelines supercede the rules the city sets.

Had the pool staff done everything they could in this situation, Nathaniel would have been allowed to swim with his shirt on without any question as soon as I told them "I'm sorry, my son is Albino, I will not take his shirt off."

In this situation, I cannot blame the pool staff for what happened as they were just following the rules. This is being put on the city, as they are the ones who make the rules and they are the ones who did not train the pool staff on how to properly handle a special needs situation.

With proper training by the city, this occurrence never would have happened. The sign you want to put up should have been put up a long time ago, about the time you put the lift chair in.

One last thought. Our City of McCook wants people to stay here, or move back here after college. If you treated people a little better, they might want to stay or come back. If you want to know what it's like to be a colored person in the 1950s, come to McCook; the city will help you with that.


Misty Schmidt,


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  • You tell them girl. If the city of McCook want people come back, they need to upgrade somethings in this city. Like new things: more low-income housing, new bigger High School, put some stores on the Eastside of town so when people that drive in from the Eastside don't have to stop people and ask where is the closest place to eat on that side of town. Do something.

    -- Posted by AmberLea on Mon, Aug 11, 2008, at 3:06 PM
  • Yes This Town has that problem

    If You NEED HELP CALL nebraska complaints

    1-800-642-6112 thay will help get this out

    we need to put a stop to what mccook is doing

    and get the pepole to know whats going on

    we cannot keep living here if the price keeps going up and no one cares about it

    -- Posted by ralphstevens on Mon, Aug 11, 2008, at 3:37 PM
  • Perchance, there would have been no problem if the mother, Misty, expert in Albinism problems of a child, had addressed the problem to the proper authority, the City councel. Then, this, above, article may not have been necesary.

    The pool manager has rules to follow, as set by the council, and has not the authority to overrule them, nor is the manager responsible, I feel, to be knowledgable of, or trained in, pan-disabilities.

    Sorry, but I, for one, disagree with your logic, and complaint.

    I grew up in McCook in the forties, and 'fifties.' Your last paragraph is offensive to me. Ask Al Cuellar, Mickey Stubblefield, and Bob Ortiz, Ray Gonzoles, and others, who grew up in the McCook area (exept Mickey, he didn't). If they say I am wrong, I will happily render apologia to you, and them, for any part I may have had in discriminatory behavior, as would, I further feel, any other McCook area resident, of that or any era.

    I'm sorry if my words are harsh, but I do not know how to otherwise address remarks I deem false, accusative, intimadative, and unfounded.

    If possible, please show me a better place to live in, more free, helpful, and understanding, than the McCook/Nebraska/USA area, other than in Christ, of course. Shalom in His name. Arley Steinhour

    -- Posted by Navyblue on Mon, Aug 11, 2008, at 5:20 PM
  • In answer to AmberLea's response; Be thankful for what you don't have: You don't have to worry about shelter from the next major storm. Be thankful you don't have to worry about people coming into you home and taking everything you own just because they can! Be thankful that you don't have to pick the bugs out of your food before you eat it. Be thankful you don't have to boil your water befor eyou drink it.

    What I am trying to say is; be thankful for what you have!

    I just came back from a deployment to Myanmar and Thailand. People there would trade places with you if you really want.

    Very Respectfully

    Doc Hayes on Okinawa

    McCook Resident in the Navy

    -- Posted by DocBonesaw on Wed, Aug 13, 2008, at 5:14 AM
  • I think that a lot of people are entirely too quick to label any condition a "disability", and I believe that the Americans With Disabilities Act is one of the most abused pieces of legislation in US history.

    Obviously, I wasn't there, and only know what I've read about the situation, but it appears to me that the end result of the "lack of knowledge" was a DELAY of service, not a DENIAL of service, and that this was quickly rectified.

    People really need to examine the proper role of government, and what we want it to do for us -- at our own expense. Governments, at all levels, have limited control over economic issues. They do not, for instance, control prices or what businesses come into an area. Most often, the best thing that government can do to stabilize prices and encourage entrepeneurship is simply to get the heck out of the way. When government meddles in the private sector, it invariably generates unintended and often perverse consequences as the market adjusts to the new artificially introduced variables.

    History has shown that governments can neither tax, nor borrow, nor spend, nor regulate their citizens into prosperity.

    I have lived here for nearly 15 years, and have not observed a racist culture, only a handful of racist individuals.

    I see a paradox here when it comes to "upgrading" McCook. Those who seem to want it the most are not capable of doing anything about it, and those who are capable of doing anything about it do not seem to want to.

    -- Posted by Owen McPhillips on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 1:05 AM
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