Letter from Prison: Y-12 protesters’ statement on second anniversary of break-in

Transform Now Plowshares

Note: This is a copy of a letter sent Monday from the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center by Sr. Megan Rice, on behalf of the Transform Now Plowshares.

We send warm greetings and many thanks to all who actively engage in the transformation of weapons of mass destruction to sustainable life-giving alternatives. Gregory Boertje-Obed (U.S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas) Michael Walli (Federal Correctional Institution McKean, Bradford, Pennsylvania), and I are sending you some of our observations and concerns on the second anniversary of our Transform Now Plowshares action.

On July 28, 2012, after thorough study of nuclear issues, and because of our deepening commitment to nonviolence, we engaged in direct action by cutting through four fences at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the U.S. continues to overhaul and upgrade thermonuclear warheads.

On that day, two years ago, when we reached the building where all U.S. highly enriched (bomb-grade) uranium is stored, we prayed and also wrote messages on the wall, such as “The Fruit of Justice is Peace.” (Realistically, the higher and stronger fences built as a result of our nonviolent incursion can never keep humans safe from inherently dangerous materials and weapons.) We acted humbly as “creative extremists for love,” to cite one of our most important and revered leaders, Martin Luther King Jr.

There are a number of reasons for what we did. We three were acutely mindful of the widespread loss to humanity that nuclear systems have already caused, and we realize that all life on Earth could be exterminated through intentional, accidental, or technical error. [Read more...]

Letter: Support stadium renovation, attend Temptations Revue

Randy McNally

Randy McNally

To the Editor:

One of Oak Ridge’s best assets is the tremendous support our community displays for our schools. Our citizens have greatly supported our schools, whether they are alumni or their children attend, or simply as a member of the community.

There is an upcoming event that needs our support which is a kickoff fundraiser for the renovation of the Jack Armstrong Stadium and Blankenship Field. This is the Temptations Revue, a musical featuring Nate Evans. It will be coming to Oak Ridge High School Auditorium on Saturday, August 9, at 7:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Oak Ridge Quarterback Club, with all proceeds going toward the stadium and field renovation project. [Read more...]

Letter: Legislature’s inaction on Medicaid has life-and-death consequences

To the Editor:

Some years ago, we cruised around on a small sailboat in the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina and spent one stormy night at the dock in Belhaven, N.C. So we perked up when we saw the mayor of Belhaven speak on the Lawrence O’Donnell Show on July 1 about the closing of the hospital there because the state will not expand Medicaid and the conglomerate that recently bought the hospital, instead of keeping its promises, for improvements, wants to close the hospital, leaving the residents of this Inner Banks town to fend for themselves and hope they can get to some other hospital from this remote small town when they have a heart attack or some other emergency.

The mayor of Belhaven says that the effect of closing the hospital in this town of 1,700 people is devastating economically to the town because of the number of people it has been employing, besides causing needless deaths among its citizenry.

I wonder if the state legislator for the 33rd District in Tennessee has given any thought to the real life-and-death consequences of the Tennessee Legislature’s inaction in expanding Medicaid. Is he aware that from one to three Tennesseans die each week because they do not have health care (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)? Is he aware that he and other legislators are literally responsible for the deaths of actual, real Tennesseans, economically disadvantaged people,who could be healthier and more productive if they were able to get health care on a regular basis? And who could expect just to live by getting health care? [Read more...]

Letter: State employees endorse Nolan in District 33 House race

NASHVILLE —The Tennessee Employees Action Movement proudly endorses Caitlin Nolan, R-Oak Ridge, in the race for the 33rd House District.

“We are delighted to endorse Caitlin Nolan’s campaign,” TEAM Administrative Committee Chairman Bryan Merritt said. “Caitlin understands that it is our state employees who make government work and that quality services for the citizens of Tennessee depend on a motivated, effective and efficient workforce. Caitlin Nolan is a leader that state employees can trust to carry their voice to Nashville, and that is why she has our support.”

TEAM is the political action arm of the Tennessee State Employees Association. Founded in 1974, TSEA represents the rights and interests of 40,000 state employees in Tennessee and has a rich history of improving the lives of its state employee members. For further information, visit TSEA’s website at www.tseaonline.org.

Letter: Supports Ragan, urges end to negative campaigning

To the Editor:

Never did I ever think I would be writing a letter to be published in a newspaper. However, I cannot sit idly by while my husband, Rep. John Ragan, is portrayed as anything but an honorable servant of his fellowmen.

We have been married for 43 years. He is the father of two wonderful children, and the grandfather of a precious little girl. He has supported our children in everything they ever wanted to do, even as he served on foreign shores to protect their freedoms and the freedoms of all our citizens.

He taught them through example the values of service beyond self. Furthermore, he demonstrated with action what it means to serve our fellow countrymen with honor, integrity, and honesty. He also taught them to revere our Heavenly Father and live each day for His glory. [Read more...]

Letter: Picks Clement based on experience, knowledge, compassion

To the Editor:

The children of Anderson County deserve the best juvenile judge Anderson County can offer. Careful thought must be given in the selection process to ensure our children will receive a proper review and disposition of their respective cases, starting with the first day the new judge is in office.

As a retired volunteer court-appointed special advocate (CASA), I approached my selection by first attending a forum to listen to each candidate present his experience and answer questions. I selected Mr. Clement based on his expressed experience and the quality of his answers to questions. I concluded he had the legal knowledge, juvenile court experience, life experience, and the compassion and tolerance along with a strong commitment to consider the need of the child first in all decisions.

I considered his opponent as ready for internship. [Read more...]

Letter: Frank earns ‘Realtor Champion’ endorsement

Terry Frank and Jennifer Roche

Jennifer Roche, KAAR governmental affairs director, presents Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank with the organization’s Realtor Champion Endorsement. (Submitted photo)

Submitted by Terry Frank

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, a Republican seeking re-election in the August 7 election, has received an endorsement as a “Realtor Champion” of the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors’ political action organization.

The Knoxville Area Association of Realtors, or KAAR, covers 12 counties including Anderson County and has 3,000 members. KAAR donated $1,000 to Terry Frank’s campaign from the RPAC (Realtor Political Action Committee), the nonpartisan fundraising arm of the National Association of Realtors’ governmental affairs programs.

RPAC’s mission is to identify candidates for elected office on the local, state, and national levels who will work with Realtors to promote and protect the American Dream of home ownership. [Read more...]

Letter: Shelton has experience, operates with integrity

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Tim Shelton, our Anderson County Register of Deeds, who is seeking re-election.

Tim has a total of 22 years experience in the Register of Deeds office and has served as our register for the past 12 years. He has consistently run his office with professionalism and integrity, and he has extensive knowledge of the state laws that govern the records and services that his office maintains and provides.

During Tim’s 12-year tenure as register, his office has been recognized twice as the best Register of Deeds office in the state. Each of his staff members are certified public administrators and provide friendly and exceptional customer service

Also, since 2002, Tim’s office has receipted in over $20 million and has accounted for every penny. His office has not received a single negative audit finding since Tim was elected.

If his office were mishandling money and operating at a deficit, as his opponent would lead us to believe, that would definitely have been reflected in annual audits. [Read more...]

Letter: Register of Deeds proud of record, won’t run negative campaign

To the Editor:

Having served as Register of Deeds for Anderson County these last 12 years, I am extremely proud of my record and all that the office has accomplished during that time. I have served the citizens of our county with the utmost of integrity and have worked hard to earn their trust. However, to now have my opponent question my integrity merely for the purpose of winning an election is both disappointing and insulting.

While I welcome constructive criticism and respect those with differing opinions on office policy and management decisions, I absolutely detest negative campaigning and in particular the use by my opponent of mailers and phone calls which mislead and deceive the voter. His use of individuals from other parts of the state calling on his behalf stating the office is short $300,000 is totally false. This would be a violation of state law and would be exposed during our annual state audit by the state comptroller’s office. Additionally, the District Attorney’s office would be notified as well as the county mayor and others. We have always accounted for every penny collected in the Register of Deeds office, and we have never violated state law. [Read more...]

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...]