And another thing ... seniors have right idea about East Lake crime

And another thing ... seniors have right idea about East Lake crime

March 7th, 2014 in Opinion Free Press

Let's hear it for the girls!

Chalk one up for the senior ladies of East Lake. With the fury of Peter Finch's character Howard Beale in the movie "Network," who famously said "I'm mad as h---, and I'm not going to take this anymore," several East Lake Courts residents say they are tired of crime in their neighborhood. They told Times Free Press reporter Yolanda Putman they're going to call police when they see illegal activity, and they're not worried about retaliation. "We don't want to live like people who have to duck and dodge bullets," said Jesse Lawrence, a former president of the residents' neighborhood association.

If some of their younger neighbors would do the same thing, crime in the area would take a nosedive. Too often in the past, when shootings and other assaults were committed in the area, people on the scene say they never saw a thing. Or, if they admit they saw something, when the case gets to court, they conveniently forget what they saw or deny they ever saw it. The residents' commitment not to ignore crime must become widespread -- and become the gospel in all parts of the city, especially higher crime areas like East Lake, if the city's recently adopted Violence Reduction Initiative under Mayor Andy Berke is to work.

United Way breaks $12 million ceiling

Kudos to the United Way of Greater Chattanooga, which raised a record $12 million during its 2013 community fundraising campaign. The organization is a sound place to put donor dollars, with the knowledge that all campaign contributions will stay locally and be used in areas that will improve literacy skills, increase family stability and help fund programs at 39 agencies. And all campaign dollars go directly into funding because the organization's endowment covers the campaign's administrative and fundraising costs.

The local United Way, in hitting its fundraising goal for 92 consecutive years, finally surpassed the $12 ceiling it had been seeking to hit for nearly a decade. The organization raised $11.9 million or more for three of the last six years but hadn't broken through. It first hit $10 million in 1990, then $11 million in 1998.

Dam funding still alive?

Although the executive director of the Tennessee River Valley Association said Wednesday funding to maintain or replace the Chickamauga Lock "doesn't look good for this year or next," a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R.-Tenn., said the available $81.5 million through the current fiscal year's omnibus budget hasn't been allocated for inland waterways projects by the Army Corps of Engineers, so there's still a chance some work on the lock could be funded. "We've encouraged them to spend the money in a proper manner," said Tyler Threadgill, a spokesman for Rep. Fleischmann. Yet, the Chickamauga Dam is still behind a couple of projects in funding, including the Olmsted Lock and dam in Kentucky and a dam project on the Lower Monongahela River in Pennsylvania.

Fleischmann, to his credit, has been a leader in trying to transform the way in which funds are distributed, pushing for the Water Resources Development Act currently in a Congressional conference committee to keep the inland waterways projects funding formula the way it is this year instead of reverting to a previous formula. Because of the formula in this year's budget, the $81.5 millionwas freed up for other dam projects instead of all going to Olmsted.

Chung's 'Dirty' advice

Connie Chung's recent advice to women at the Chattanooga Women's Leadership Institute's ninth annual Impact Dinner to tell a dirty joke, catch men off guard and brag on themselves was probably not as literal as it sounded, managing director Lesley Berryhill said Thursday. While she said the former network anchor was "brash" and "outspoken" in her remarks to the group of 750, that was just the way she handled her rise in the bruising, then male-dominated world of broadcast television. "What I took from it," Berryhill said, "is sometimes you just have to roll with it, to go with the flow, not to take offense" every time something untoward is said. Indeed, while neither sexual nor other kinds of harassment should be tolerated, we could use a little push-back from our oversensitive, easily offended culture.

Berryhill said Chung was stand-up-comedian funny, poking fun at her husband, Maury Povich, who was present, and alluding to her own "potty mouth." However, she said, referring to the former newswoman's advice about telling dirty jokes, "That's not me. I'm not going to do that. I think she was just saying you don't have to make everything sexual harassment."