Letter: Sheriff vows to continue crime-fighting, make county safer place

Paul White

Paul White

To the Editor:

Since I was first elected in 2006, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has implemented many changes and programs to better serve the citizens of Anderson County.

The Sheriff’s Department was reorganized to be more efficient and more effective. Emphasis has been placed on enforcement for the prevention, detection, and investigation of crimes. This reorganization has placed more deputies on patrol and investigating crimes, resulting in more arrests and crimes solved.

We have focused the efforts of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department on drug enforcement and in reducing property crimes such as burglary and theft. These efforts have paid off as overall crime numbers have fallen and are continuing to decrease.

Crime prevention programs such as Neighborhood Watch were reinstated and a dedicated crime prevention officer works hand-in-hand with the community to help in reducing crime. [Read more...]

Letter: Vote for Nolan if you support schools, teachers, students

To the Editor:

Like many of you, I received a campaign postcard promoting the re-election of Rep. John Ragan. My first reaction was, “Who are these kids?” Obviously, with their emblazoned uniforms, they did not look like students I know from Anderson County, Clinton, or Oak Ridge schools.

Look at the fine print on the postcard, and you’ll see it’s paid for by the Tennessee Federation for Children PAC. This is a Washington D.C.-based group that spends lavishly to pass unlimited school voucher legislation. Its ally is the controversial Michelle Rhee’s Students First that gave Ragan an award last year for his efforts to dismantle public education. They later rescinded it after an Oak Ridge resident launched a petition drive that garnered 57,000 signatures from people protesting Ragan’s efforts to legislate bigotry.

My question to voters is this: Whose interests is Ragan representing? The answer is clear: Out-of-state interests seeking to exploit our children for their own profits. [Read more...]

Letter: Small business endorses John Ragan in House District 33

NASHVILLE—The National Federation of Independent Business, Tennessee’s leading small business association, has endorsed incumbent John Ragan of Oak Ridge in the race for the 33rd House District. The endorsement was made by NFIB/Tennessee SAFE (Save America’s Free Enterprise) Trust, which is comprised exclusively of NFIB members.

State primaries are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 7, with early voting beginning July 18 and ending Aug. 2. NFIB expects to announce general election endorsements later this summer. The general election will be held Nov. 4.

“NFIB supports candidates who support small businesses and who are dedicated to protecting our free enterprise system,” said Jim Brown, state director of NFIB/Tennessee. “John Ragan has consistently voted to reduce burdens on small businesses and stood with them time and again in the 108th Tennessee General Assembly.” [Read more...]

Letter: Marsh a man of integrity who seeks to help community

To the Editor:

Michael Marsh is a man of integrity who seeks to assist his community in developing new initiatives that will bring about opportunities for economic growth through encouraging small businesses and less taxes due to careful budgeting and spending of existing revenue. The results would mean more money for the citizens and community for their investment into creating more jobs, more affordable housing, and greater protection through service agencies. Michael and his wife, Wanda, have operated a successful and award-winning auto service business in the District 7 for over 25 years. Their positive service and customer satisfaction testify to their loyalty to this district as well as the entire Anderson County.

Michael and Wanda are involved citizens in the community and Oak Ridge Schools and have the largest Wildcat banner in the world over their business. [Read more...]

Letter: Creasey has served religiously, saved taxpayer money

To the Editor:

I have felt compelled to write a letter in support of Jerry Creasey for re-election to Anderson County Commission.

Jerry does not represent me as my commissioner in Oak Ridge. But he has served religiously, trying not to discriminate against anyone.

He has served on the Anderson County ADA oversight board to help the elderly, as well as all ages, to see that disabled rights are enforced and that state and federal laws are met.

Recently, the Oversight Committee has helped inspect the facilities at volunteer fire departments, the new Anderson County jail, and the addition of a new elevator in the Courthouse. The new second-floor bathrooms are now ADA-compliant. [Read more...]

Letter: Donation made to Animal Shelter in honor of Kuhaida

To the Editor:

Everyone can remember walking into high school first the first time and having that nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach. I remember walking into Oak Ridge High School after moving from New York a week earlier—knowing no one, having no idea where my first class was, with people that spoke differently than I did, with a huge teenage chip on my shoulder.

That first day, I was blessed to meet Valerie Becham, now Kuhaida. She had a glow about her and turned what started out as a horrible experience into a wonderful transition. From that first day of school, she welcomed me, and we started a fantastic and unforgettable friendship.

Valerie was one of the most compassionate, loving, energetic, and humble people I have ever met. She would do anything for anyone at anytime. Her four children were blessed to call her Mom and her greatest passion was her family. [Read more...]

Letter: Urge City Council, residents to invest in schools

Dear members of City Council and fellow citizens:

We are writing this letter in response to the Fiscal Year 2015 budget decisions made during the June 9 Oak Ridge City Council meeting. The Council’s overwhelming vote to maintain property tax rates at the same rate they have held steady at since 2009 may bode well for the short-term pocketbooks of our residents, but the long-term results are disconcerting and disheartening for many.

City Council is alienating the tax base that it needs to nurture. The young professionals, business owners, and families with school-aged children who once flocked to this city but now trickle must be heard by Council. These families have the disposable income to spend in Oak Ridge stores, and will pay the property taxes for decades to come that will keep this city viable. Yet at this Council meeting, our voices were not truly heard.

The argument that we continue to hear is that “our schools have plenty of money” and that the schools “need to learn to live within their budget.” The Oak Ridge Schools have proven that they can do this, but what is the cost of this attitude? How does this foster a strong relationship with not only the schools and their employees, but the families and students? How can the Schools continue to maintain excellence without, at the very least, inflationary and cost of living increases, when really it takes much more? [Read more...]

Letter: Will not vote for tax increase, wants better communication with schools

Note: This is a copy of a June 2 letter from Oak Ridge City Council member Anne Garcia Garland to Parker Hardy and members of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce. 

Dear Chamber:

The Oak Ridge City Council has always supported the needs and beyond of the city school system. This current council has lived in that tradition. We honor and appreciate our students and our teachers and have voted to provide whatever can reasonably be provided. We have also weathered the annual School Board predictions of educational catastrophe if the increased budget projections are not allocated.

This town depends upon the base of education and economic largesse of its original homeowners at the beginning of the 1950s for its sense of pride and place in academia. It is, however, that early well-being and the growth and optimism of the early post-war years which have created a myth of extraordinary wealth and erudition with which we are burdened today. Our reality is that we are a lovely small Southern town with great diversity of education, income, and opinion. We are neither young nor old, rich nor poor, progressive nor conservative. We are all of these descriptions and many between.

This town created a wonderful culture and honored its natural environment in such an outstanding manner that it has attracted citizens from neighboring counties to live and work here. Perhaps because we did not have a large stock of new or above-average priced homes, we have not attracted a large number of the professional transferees to the federal facilities in the past couple decades. After all, “youngish” professionals selling homes in more expensive markets need the tax protection of buying comparably priced homes in this area. [Read more...]

Letter: Three Rotary clubs launch successful Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boats Close Race


To the Editor:

What happens when three Rotary clubs in an East Tennessee city work together? In Oak Ridge, a three-club collaboration over the past year culminated in a highly successful inaugural Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Race Festival. The exciting event was launched on Saturday, May 31, at the Oak Ridge Marina off Melton Lake Drive—one of the three best rowing venues in the United States.

The leadership of the event started with Mark Watson, Oak Ridge city manager and president of the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge. He met frequently with the presidents of the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary and Oak Ridge Sunset Rotary clubs, and they persuaded their club members to serve on the organizing committee and as volunteers at the festival. Key Rotarians who made the event successful were Leslie England, Keith Kahl, Jim Sumner, and Oak Ridge City Councilman Chuck Hope (who was in charge of logistics and served as a liaison between the Rotary clubs and the city of Oak Ridge).

By the third week in May, 30 teams, including one from Chattanooga and three from Kentucky and North Carolina, had registered. Three teams came from the Oak Ridge School System and three from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). [Read more...]

Letter: Public safety is Lincoln’s highest priority

New structure helps grille deliver on its mission

To the Editor:

Lincoln’s Sports Grille is first and foremost a family friendly, sports enthusiast haven. It is a place where families and sports fans can enjoy a quality place to eat and watch a game. Lincoln’s recognizes that public safety is their first priority and is taken very seriously. Also, Lincoln’s acknowledges that mistakes have been made in the past, and over the last few months, steps have been taken to ensure their mission statement is delivered.

“Lincoln’s is the place where families, sports enthusiasts, and especially baseball fans come to enjoy quality food and drink, with top notch sports entertainment,” said Mike Lincoln, owner of Lincoln’s Sports Grille. “We take public safety very seriously, and always have. I believe with the new structure we have put in place, Lincoln’s will move forward on a positive path.”

Lincoln’s Sports Grille has been operating in Oak Ridge since 2010. The grille serves lunch, Tuesdays through Sunday, and dinner seven days a week. There is a clubhouse room that is available for private parties. Lincoln’s desire is to transport the sports enthusiast/customer back to their favorite ballpark memory while enjoying great food in a casual environment. Lincoln’s is open for business.

Letter: CASA volunteer outlines juvenile judge qualities

To the Editor:

When I started as a volunteer CASA in 1994, I had not given much thought to what qualities I expected of the judge other than an impeccable character. When I was preparing a report for a complex case and I needed the judge to read the report and conclude the same as I had—that the child needed to be removed immediately from what was planned to be its adoptive home—I started mulling over the qualities needed for a judge to effectively carry out his or her responsibilities and assessing what qualities the judge I was addressing had. I started the following list and it grew with time: [Read more...]

Letter: Dunkirk a candidate who can administer ‘justice with mercy’

David Dunkirk

David Dunkirk

To the Editor:

What does it take to be an effective juvenile court judge in Tennessee?

First, in my opinion, would be the ability to know, understand, and apply the laws that impact juveniles and their families or guardians.

Second, that person must have the demeanor to be a judge. He or she must recognize that the position is not based upon winning a popularity contest; or being a “glad-hander” at a community pancake breakfast, for example; or having the most and largest political ads in the local press; or having the most yard signs to the point their number appears to exceed the number of wild onions in a person’s lawn. That candidate must recognize the seriousness of the office and conduct him or herself accordingly.

Third, he or she must have outstanding credentials.

In my judgment, Mr. David Dunkirk exceeds these qualifications. [Read more...]