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…]


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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…]

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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…]

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…]