Letter: Wells would bring conservative values, ethics to school board

To the Editor:

Aaron Wells is holding a fundraiser this Thursday night, September 25, between 6 and 8 p.m. at Razzleberry’s in Jackson Square. He is running for a non-partisan seat on the Oak Ridge Board of Education. Congressman Fleischmann and Lawrence Hahn will be attending the event, and Anne and I would love to see you there.

Aaron values the importance of inspiring, high quality teachers in education. He wants to help Oak Ridge schools maintain their superb reputation in the future, especially since his own child will be going through this school system. [Read more...]


Letter: Urges voters to meet Callison, a ‘proven strong leader’

To the Editor:

I want to personally invite you to come to Razzleberry’s Ice Cream Lab and Kitchen in Jackson Square on Wednesday, September 24, from 5 to 7 p.m. to meet and support Kelly Callison, who is running for Oak Ridge City Council in the upcoming election.

I’ve worked personally with Kelly on the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission and on several boards in Oak Ridge. Kelly is a proven strong leader who understands the problems facing Oak Ridge. He is results-focused and has shown his ability to work with and lead teams of leaders to solve problems. Kelly is chief operating officer for Information International Associates here in Oak Ridge.

I’m convinced that Kelly will be a great asset for the City of Oak Ridge as a Council member. I urge you to come spend some time with Kelly on September 24, and I think you too will find him to be just the kind of Council member Oak Ridge needs.

I look forward to seeing you on September 24!

Austin Lance

Oak Ridge

Letter: Encourages candidate forum groups, objects to ‘harassment’

While state and federal elections (at least here in Oak Ridge) are somewhat uninspiring this year, with many races either uncontested or practically so, our municipal election has drawn an unusually high number of candidates. That there are several open seats where incumbents chose not to run—two on City Council and two on the Board of Education—is probably the reason for the larger number of candidates.

Ten are running for four seats on City Council, while eight are competing for three seats on the Board of Education.

The League of Women Voters is doing its usual outstanding job of hosting candidate forums, but despite standing-room-only attendance at the first of those, it’s inevitable that not everyone was able to attend. Fortunately, several other interested groups have also scheduled candidate forums or meet-and-greet events: the Oak Ridge Schools’ PTA/PTO Council, the Chamber of Commerce, and Democracy for East Tennessee.

It’s important to get to know the people who seek to represent you, to hear their views on issues of interest, and to see how they respond to questions.

Unfortunately, one member of Council who is not up for election this year is seeking to eliminate some of these opportunities, based on the fact that they’re scheduled to be held on city property. The Chamber of Commerce is situated on land leased from the city, although they own the building. The PTA/PTO forums will be held at Oak Ridge High School, and have been promoted through the schools (as most PTA/PTO activities are). [Read more...]

Letter: CONTACT Care Line helps those in need by phone, chat, text

To the Editor:

Many articles in recent weeks have been reflecting on the suicide of Robin Williams and providing national help lines.

For over 40 years, right here in our community, CONTACT Care Line has provided a listening ear to those who are lonely, in crisis, having a bad day, or just need someone to talk to. CONTACT Care Line, serving the 865 area code and beyond, is a local nonprofit staffed by trained volunteers who are available to listen seven days a week, 365 days a year, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The number to call to reach a listening ear is (865) 584-4424. All calls are confidential.

CONTACT recently added a local chat service (CONTACTCareLineTN.org/chat) and a text service ((865) 407-2TXT) available Monday-Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Chat/text specialists also take Suicide Prevention Line crisis chats from across Tennessee between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays. [Read more...]

Letter: We should be in this together

Note: This is a copy of an August 20 letter sent to city officials.

Dear Mayor Beehan, Mr. Mark Watson, respected Council Members,

I’ve written to you several times in the past regarding the implementation of community gardens in, or rather starting in, the Highland View neighborhood, where I currently reside. Because of my desire to help eliminate hunger in my community, you appointed me to the Anderson County Community Action Commission, which I’ve accepted as a great honor.

My sole focus was on getting food, easy sustainable food, into this area so that families, despite their circumstances, could build something together which, in turn, would increase the sense of community and bonding that comes with dirt under the fingernails and a cold beer after for those old enough.

It is with regret that I inform you that the grant we’d hoped so fervently for from the Lowe’s Community program did not go through. We are, instead, sitting on an acre-and-a-half of land that could have been centrally located, cleared for the sole purpose of raised gardens being built and established, educating anyone that wanted to learn about gardening food, the installation of fruit trees to add better variety to the tables more commonly filled with processed foods, and the naive ideal of success. [Read more...]

Letter: Commissioner-elect says ‘thanks,’ offers tips to November candidates

Theresa Scott Thank You Sign

Submitted photo

To the Editor:

Since May, I have knocked on doors and visited with residents, homeowners, and voters of District 7 while campaigning for a seat on County Commission. I heard from many about their frustrations at several candidates in various races who chose to gain attention by means of mail, recorded phone messages, and numerous yard signs throughout their neighborhoods and on the main roads.

When the signs were allowed to be posted at the Wildcat Den for early voting, it was as if there was a corrugated plastic explosion overnight. Some were so disgusted that they chose not to vote during that period. It is very unfortunate that such a distraction would cause someone to choose not to make their voice heard.

With another election coming up in just a few months, I would like any future candidates to take note of the following tips that could possibly help them reach more voters. When canvassing a neighborhood, keep in mind there may be a dog or child on the other side of a gated fence. Respect a resident’s privacy and do not solicit or trespass onto their property if signs are posted not to enter. You should not cross through the yard when going to the neighboring property but use the sidewalks. [Read more...]

Letter: Write-in House candidate says coal is obsolete

Leslie Agron EPA Clean Power Plan Hearing

Oak Ridge resident Leslie Agron testifies at an EPA clean power plan hearing in Atlanta on July 29. (Submitted photo)

Note: This is a copy of testimony given July 29 in Atlanta by Oak Ridge resident Leslie Agron, a write-in candidate in the Democratic primary for Tennessee House of Representatives on Thursday.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the EPA. Thank you for taking my testimony.

My name is Leslie Agron. I am from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. As the son of a Manhattan Project scientist, I was born and raised there. I grew up within walking distance of Appalachia.

I am currently a candidate for the Tennessee state legislature. I have previously served on Oak Ridge’s Environmental Quality Advisory Board. I hold an Executive MBA from The Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. Given that credential, the thrust of my remarks will be about business and business climate.

I hold that, contrary to industry remarks that coal makes jobs, coal is not good business. To be clear, in a historical sense, coal was very important to the development of America in the 19th and 20th centuries. During those historical times, coal very much enhanced the business climate of our country by supplying affordable energy when no other source of energy was available. [Read more...]

Letter: Prefer humanitarian aid to Gaza, rather than ammunition

To the Editor:

I see on television that our country is providing more ammunition for the Israeli government to slaughter residents of Gaza.

In spite of attempts by humanitarians from various countries, Israel has kept the citizens of Gaza malnourished and miserable by its blockade. It is now slaughtering men, women, and children like shooting fish in a barrel.

I would much prefer our country to provide humanitarian aid with my tax dollars, rather than providing more ammunition.

Paul Spray, MD

Oak Ridge

Letter: NRA endorses Ragan

To the Editor:

The National Rifle Association recently posted their candidate ratings for the Tennessee House of Representatives.

In the race for House District 33, State Representative John Ragan (R–Oak Ridge) received an A rating and the endorsement of the pro-Second Amendment organization.

According to a release from the NRA, Representative Ragan is their choice in the upcoming August 7 Republican primary. Since being elected to office in 2010, Ragan has supported various bill centered around protecting the Second Amendment rights of Tennesseans. [Read more...]

Letter: Anderson County Commission needs wake-up call

Anderson County is a wonderful place to live and work. Our economy should easily out-perform Knox County’s. Yet, we consistently fail to do so—and our County Commission seems to be asleep. Between 2000 and 2010, Anderson County grew at only 41 percent of Knox County’s growth rate. That’s unacceptable.

Over the next decade, Anderson County taxpayers will pay close to $2 million in salary and medical/dental/retirement benefits for its county commissioners. The commission needs to get focused and get busy. Our economy was dealt a significant blow when the commission opted for an expensive jail expansion. Commissioners could have sought support from a newly-elected Republican governor for more time to resolve jail overcrowding through less-costly administrative means—but did not. Instead, they chose the jail expansion, ignoring its impact on our taxes and our economy.

The commissioners made a second error when they passed the jail expansion without dealing with the new jail’s increased operating costs. This mistake drove jail costs even higher and raised the real possibility of a second tax increase. Thankfully, a second increase was prevented by the efforts of Mayor Frank. [Read more...]

Letter: Democrat supports Gallaher for Register of Deeds

To the Editor:

This letter writer supports Bill Gallaher, Republican, for Anderson County Register of Deeds.

I am a senior citizen on fixed income. I was born and raised on a farm at Andersonville and have lived in Anderson County my entire life. I retired after a life-long career as a librarian in Anderson County.

I am also a life-long Democrat, supporting Bill Gallaher. [Read more...]

Letter: Two greatest tasks—protecting taxpayers’ purse, public services

To the Editor:

When “how things are” and “how things can be” come together, growth occurs. However, not acknowledging “how things are” denies the opportunity for growth.

I wish to speak to you as if we were face to face. Whether you may agree with what I say or not, you will know that I am speaking from my heart. I want to talk about Oak Ridge because it is something that I am personally very passionate about.

The scientific achievements from Oak Ridge are extraordinary, with some of the best research in the world developed here. I am very proud of Oak Ridge and our contributions to the world. Whether exploring the deep structure of matter or the genetic code, our scientists are leading the way. But, we must confront the hard truth that we can no longer count on the federal government to carry us through. For decades, we have been avoiding this and other avenues of development. We’re starting to make progress but still have a long way to go. We need to create a balanced economy that will provide prosperity and economic security for the people of Oak Ridge and Anderson County. [Read more...]