Letter: Church Women United thanks all who contributed to Blankets+ campaign

To the Editor:

Church Women United in the Oak Ridge area thanks and blesses the many people in our community who contributed to our 2015 Blankets+ campaign this spring.

Foremost, we are thankful for the donations of many women from diverse church traditions—including AME Zion, Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, God in Christ, interdenominational, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Unitarian—who respond to CWU’s calling to celebrate unity in diversity and to pray and work for a just, peaceful, and caring society.

In addition, we are thankful for Blankets+ contributions from members of Calvary Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, Kern Memorial Methodist Church, Solway United Methodist Church, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, and United Church, Chapel on the Hill. [Read more…]

Letter: Gives thanks, says this year’s Police Week a ‘great success’

Police Week at Oak Ridge Police Department

This month, the law enforcement community celebrated Police Week 2015. For those who do not know, in 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation that designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week.

Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, D.C., to participate in a number of planned events that honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Here in Oak Ridge, the Police Department celebrated on a smaller scale, honoring officers everywhere with a ceremony at the Police Station on the 15th. The week was also marked by a proclamation given by the City Council declaring an official Police Week in Oak Ridge.

I represent a group of wives of police officers in Oak Ridge. We worked to make this the best police week ever for our husbands and the rest of our blue family. We organized meals, snacks, and treats for the officers, and hung banners of love and support in the station to let them know we “see them.” [Read more…]

Letter: Shares Heitman story, encourages support for loved ones

To the Editor:

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website, 41,149 lives were taken in 2013 from suicide. According to the website of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, people who kill themselves exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. The more warning signs, the greater the risk!

Talk

If a person talks about:

  • Killing themselves
  • Having no reason to live
  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Unbearable pain

Behavior

A person’s suicide risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased, especially if it’s related to a painful event, loss, or change:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to kill one’s self, such as searching online for materials or means
  • Acting recklessly
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression

Mood

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Loss of interest
  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation
  • Anxiety

These are shocking. I should know. I was married to a man, who was smart, driven, and someone who, on the outside, had a very laid-back demeanor, and was extremely confident. I had known this man for 13 years. I was married to him for three before he ended his own life. You might be very familiar with this man. There have been some who have taken to the Internet to blog about him and his situation, and there has been some press about him over the last 3.5 years since his passing. Sadly, there have been a number of half-truths and pointing of fingers, and that process has defamed the characters of some citizens and a respectable city.

I am not writing to point fingers, or to publicly humiliate anyone. I want to raise awareness in hopes it helps someone else—awareness about Alex Heitman and what he experienced. I will also add that the information that I am providing is not new information and has been shared with all parties involved at one point or another since Alex’s passing. [Read more…]

Letter: Community Mediation appreciates support at Big Ed’s Memorial Golf Tournament

To the Editor:

Community Mediation Services of Anderson County deeply appreciates the support and enthusiasm of golfers, sponsors, volunteers, and the Oak Ridge Country Club at the 14th Annual Big Ed’s Memorial Golf Tournament. Thanks to you, at-risk youth and families in Anderson County continue to have a way to peacefully resolve difficult issues with solutions they themselves determine.

The golf tournament also honors Big Ed Neusel and David Neusel and their legacy of giving much to others while seeking recognition from none.

We look forward to seeing you in 2016 on the last Friday in April at the 15th Annual Big Ed’s Memorial Golf Tournament. [Read more…]

Letter: Encourages students, parents to attend discussion on student loans

To the Editor:

High school seniors should have applied for their financial packages within the last several months, and colleges push the loans, along with grants, scholarships, and job offers.

They and their parents need to understand what they are getting themselves into when they have to start paying the money back in the July after they leave college with or without a degree or good-paying job.

I personally know a young lady who was dropped in January by a university after seven semesters because her gradepoint was 0.3 point below the required gradepoint for her field, and she had to get a job. She cannot return to finish for one year, but she has to start paying on her college loans of $20,000, July 1, 2015. [Read more…]

Letter: Lunch 4 Literacy thanks 2015 sponsors

To the Editor:

Each year in March a special group of generous company sponsors pool their resources and, along with individuals from our community, support the annual literacy program of the Altrusa International Club of Oak Ridge and Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club. The Lunch 4 Literacy event raises between $15,000 and $20,000 routinely, which allows our community to support exceptional projects that promote literacy and ensure attention is given to the literacy needs that, without the generosity of our sponsors and individual contributors, could go unmet.

The lack of literacy skills is a serious problem within our communities. The reality is that often simple but effective programs can have a profound impact on individuals that enable them to realize their full potential in life. Without these very effective efforts made possible by grants from Lunch 4 Literacy, people in our communities, limited by a lack of basic skills, continue to fail in areas many of us take for granted. Until you have personally encountered illiteracy and its awful adverse impact, it is hard to fully appreciate the value of simply reading and understanding what is read. Through the continuing supportive efforts of our sponsoring companies we are making a difference in our communities! [Read more…]

Letter: Citizens Police Academy increased respect, appreciation for ORPD

To the Editor:

We graduated from the third Oak Ridge Citizens Police Academy on March 30. It was such an honor to be a part of this group. Both of us already had deep respect and appreciation for the men and women of the Oak Ridge Police Department, but what we learned in the Academy increased our respect and appreciation for them exponentially.

A few things we learned about the officers and their jobs were:

The many tools they use in their job: [Read more…]

Letter: Now is our chance to help MMC Hospitality Houses

Dear friends and fans,

Are you in it to win it? You know I am! And this time, I’m not talking about a football game. I’m talking about the game of life.

Right here in Oak Ridge, we have a place that’s helping people in need win in the game of life—the Hospitality Houses of Methodist Medical Center. When patients are traveling long distances for medical care or when families from far away need to be close to hospitalized loved ones, the Hospitality Houses are there, free of charge. [Read more…]

Letter: What is a volunteer firefighter?

To the Editor:

Question: What is a volunteer firefighter?

Answer: A volunteer firefighter is no different then those who get paid to do this job. In fact, when you think about those who work in the paid fire services, they too are technically a “volunteer” because nobody held a gun to their head and told them they have to do that job.

Every firefighter must remember that the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards do not differentiate between paid firefighters and volunteer firefighters in relation to who has to comply with what standards. Every firefighter is expected to do the job safely, quickly, and efficiently so that lives can be saved, property can be salvaged, and our communities are protected. [Read more…]

Letter: Transparency good, but information should be correct, properly investigated

To the Editor:

It is understandable for editorials, op-eds, letters to the editor, etc., to be emotional and one-sided. It is typically strong feelings that stimulate such a piece to be written. I think it is appropriate, however, for our leadership (paid and unpaid) to use decorum when expressing their views. And I think it reflects poorly on a community when one member of its leadership decides unilaterally what is important or develops a cause based on accusations and uninvestigated claims. It is divisive and undermining to the remainder of the group.

There are always at least two sides to every story. As a leader, it is tempting to authoritatively address only one side of a story and to utilize selective input to make a case. It is also tempting to address it in a renegade fashion and for it to become a cause célèbre. But the risk is that it gives that person in leadership a false sense of power and righteousness. [Read more…]

Letter: PBA chapter president hopes for fair, thorough investigation of ORPD

Editor’s note: This is a copy of a March 3 letter to Oak Ridge City Council.

Dear Oak Ridge City Council members:

I am honored to communicate with you today regarding a very important issue affecting the members of the City of Oak Ridge Police Department. Many of them are affiliated with the Knox County Chapter of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association.

Before I discuss the issue at hand, I want to give you a very brief background regarding the PBA. We are not a union. We do not engage in union activities such as work disruptions or strikes. We are respectful when working with the administrations our officers serve. I’ve found most problems can be resolved if both parties come to the table with an open mind and a willingness to compromise.

The law enforcement officers from Anderson, Loudon, Roane, and Knox counties that make up our chapter depend on our local chapter board to monitor situations and protect their interests. Mostly those interests are confined to the following: a fair working environment and returning home safely at the end of a watch. [Read more…]

Letter: Praises Baughn, says City Council needs more like her

To the Editor:

I would like to commend the outstanding job that Trina Baughn is doing on City Council. Of all the members of City Council, she is the most knowledgeable about the city’s massive and rising $186.4 million debt. Trina Baughn understands the history of how this debt was accumulated; she also has developed a strategic plan to help the taxpayers resolve this debt.

While Oak Ridge slipped deeper into debt, past City Councils have wasted and squandered taxpayer funds on law firms in Washington, D.C., to lobby for more money for Oak Ridge’s government facilities, as if lobbying rather than the qualifications of local scientists could swing federal funding to Oak Ridge. The taxpayers derived zero benefit from those lobbyist payments or the largesse City Council has bestowed on the Chamber of Commerce over the years. [Read more…]