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…]

Letter: City willing to address questions, wishes county could say the same

To the Editor:

I can’t help but comment on the difference between our county government and the government of the City of Oak Ridge.

In Oak Ridge, questions have been asked about the city government, and most of the City Council said they had a duty to look into the issues and either address real problems or clear the names of the those being accused of wrongdoing.

Now look at our county government. I have been to too many committee meetings and full commission meetings to even count. We have meeting after meeting where the benches in the room are filled with concerned citizens. Many of us believe there is ongoing wrongdoing and abuse of our tax money in the office of the law director.

I and almost two dozen citizens put our names to paper to officially raise these issues, and there are many more who have given us support or who feel the same way. But no one on county commission seems to care. [Read more…]

Letter: Hensley wants to deny Baughn the right to serve, represent

To the Editor:

I was surprised to hear that Charlie Hensley even has a voice.

That when issues arise and he is not in charge of public discussion of important issues, he tries to silence or sweep things under the carpet.

This is so: That issues have no governing decision to bring the issue into a final end.

That’s like hiring a design firm for a Senior Center, then doing nothing.

The City Council wants everything to be status quo. [Read more…]

Letter: Please consider listening to officers’ concerns

Randy Myers

Randy Myers

Note: This is a copy of a February 2 letter from former Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Randy Myers to the City Council.

I wanted to respond briefly to the articles that have been written about the administration of the Oak Ridge Police Department. My comments are not directed at any one individual but only at the situation itself.

I’ve been in law enforcement for 25 years now. I know firsthand the stress that an administration can cause on their officers, but I wanted to point out something that most either do not know or just won’t bring it out.

No matter what agency you work for, there are issues within that department that some officer will complain about, or they simply just do not like. They may complain a little, but for the most part they move on with their life. [Read more…]

Letter: Thanks ORPD for armed intruder training at Roane State

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the Oak Ridge Police Department for the outstanding training they recently provided to Roane State Community College faculty and staff. The topic was encountering an armed intruder. Working with the college’s police department, the Oak Ridge Police Department organized a full day of intense, hands-on, practical training for approximately 100 faculty and staff members.

The department was a wonderful partner, committed to making sure the training ran smoothly. The officers who led the activities were excellent teachers—professional, enthusiastic, and caring. Our faculty and staff learned a great deal.

Safety is Roane State’s top concern. Thanks to the Oak Ridge Police Department, we are safer. On behalf of Roane State faculty and staff, thank you Oak Ridge Police Department for sharing your expertise with us.

Melinda Hillman

Vice President, Development and Community Relations

Roane State Community College

Letter: City may need to re-visit possible review board for law enforcement

To the Editor:

It is well-known that systems are healthier and work better when there is the opportunity for feedback.

The Oak Ridge City Charter provides for a Personnel Advisory Board for both city employees and school employees.

Missing, however, is a board for the members of our Police Department. [Read more…]

Letter: Commissioner Isbel asks President Obama to visit Rocky Top

Tim Isbel

Tim Isbel

Mr. President:

I am writing this letter to respectfully ask for your assistance in the resurgence of a small impoverished coal mining community that was very instrumental in the development of this great nation, during the Industrial Revolution, due to the ability to produce coal. Since the decline of the coal industry, this community has suffered economically and 50 percent of the current population lives below the poverty level.

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Tim Isbel, the Anderson County commissioner that represents this community of Lake City, Tennessee.

Just over a year ago, the mayor and city council of Lake City and myself set out to change the direction of the city. This city, nestled between Norris Lake and the Cumberland Mountains, has the assets of having two major interchanges off the I-75 corridor, an abundance of uninhabited property, existing infrastructure, and just 25 miles from Knoxville, Tennessee, and Interstate I-40. [Read more…]

Letter: Encourage residents, businesses to help support basketball broadcasts

Letter to supporters of the Oak Ridge community and Oak Ridge High School basketball:

We are writing this letter to encourage any Oak Ridge basketball supporters and supporters of the community in general to consider a contribution to help get the games on the radio.

The Oak Ridge boys’ team—state runner-up in March and coached by Aaron Green—is off to a school record 14-0 start and is an exciting and fun TEAM to watch play. [Read more…]

Letter: Former Council member remains committed to helping city prosper

Anne Garcia Garland

Anne Garcia Garland

To the Editor:

There is no way to fully thank the people who have supported and inspired me during my service on Council and the run for re-election. For all of you who voted for me and helped in the campaign, I am very grateful. The past five-and-a-half years have been challenging and fun and fulfilling.

I am proud to have served during an economically difficult period and to have participated in many positive efforts that have begun to reinvigorate both the commercial and the residential interests of our city.

To any and all citizens who have questions or issues, I remain committed to helping the city prosper. Please feel welcome to email me at [email protected] or write to me at 120 Outer.

And thank you again for allowing me to serve.

Anne Garcia Garland

Oak Ridge

Letter: Supports schools’ proposal for Preschool, Administration building

To the Editor:

Kudos to Dr. Bruce Borchers and the school staff for the creative and practical fresh look and proposal for resolving the dilemma of our 71-year-old pre-K and Administration building. I believe this solution is fiscally far more attractive and feasible than any alternatives that were suggested in the past. At this point, I am soundly behind it.

Kudos too, to Parker Hardy and the Chamber for being willing to discuss the possibility of letting their building be part of the plan. [Read more…]

Letter: Asks Council, BOE to work together to approve, fund Preschool plan

To the Editor:

We have a unique opportunity for this community to come together, not just for the good of the schools, but for the good of the people.

The Oak Ridge school system is a big draw for newcomers to the area. When our family chose to relocate to East Tennessee, the Oak Ridge school’s reputation was a large factor in purchasing a home here and joining this community. As our oldest moves through elementary school, I can say this was the best decision for our family.

Oak Ridge is filled with teachers who truly care for their students. And, the Preschool is no different.

The Oak Ridge Preschool is an essential, irreplaceable entity that serves so many families. Two of my children have had the privilege of attending the Preschool and growing through the care of the teachers and staff. [Read more…]

Letter from Oak Ridge clergy: Public statement on Ferguson

Yesterday’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson—who shot and killed 18-year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August—serves as the latest flashpoint for heated racial tensions involving our criminal justice system. Whether one feels Officer Wilson’s action constituted “a crime” or not, the reality is that young black males are at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts. Consequently, a tremendous amount of our nation’s racial history and tension gets exposed in reactions to such shootings because, regardless of the reason, the rate that blacks are killed by police is startling when set against the rest of the American population.  During these times of heightened racial frustration, it is critically important for the faith community to lift up a unified voice.

The Michael Brown case presents a unique challenge for racial harmony because the “no indictment” announcement was carried out in a way that highly frustrated many in the black community and went to great lengths to communicate that no crime was committed. As a result, many African Americans believe this case to be an attempt to “turn back the clock on race relations,” while many others see it as a successful demonstration of the effectiveness of the American justice system. So the question becomes, “How does the community of faith move forward in unity?”

First, we must draw inspiration from this situation. We must inspire our congregations to believe that God is still sovereign in spite of human brokenness. We must also inspire our people to believe that God, in His sovereignty, will ensure justice always prevails. Psalm 9:7-8 says, “But the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment, And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.” [Read more…]