My thanks to Rep. Richard Floyd for his opposition to those "prepared to honor county commissioners' request to change state law to allow local whiskey distilling."
My late father, Sheriff Rex A. Richey, would heartily agree. Elected by independent voters mostly for three terms in the 1950s, he was a teetotaler. He saw the ravages of alcohol on his own family. A gesture I witnessed was his immediate indication of his aversion by turning the goblet upside down at events he attended.
Few would dispute the fact that many criminal acts involve drinking, with lives ruined, death penalties and life imprisonment.
At 83-plus years, I am glad to pray and agree that "about 10 jobs" hardly is worth it.
BETTY RICHEY SMITH
For years the feminists have told us to stay out of their bedrooms. Now they say "stay out of our bedrooms, but send us a contraceptive." I don't see the logic. Somebody help me out on that.
JOHN COLE, East Ridge
Parents voicing their concerns at the Hamilton County Commission are showing how voiceless they are within the school system. The underlying fact is that our public school officials do not respect parents and make every effort to exclude us from policy-making and problem-solving.
What needs to be made more public is that the culture of educators is to see parents as stupid and lazy; therefore our children are inherently flawed and need to be disciplined, with the means of such being in the form of constant verbal abuse, intimidation and humiliation of children. Good teachers and families have no voice to address these truths.
The fixation on discipline and exclusion is simply easier than accepting that the method of education is antiquated, ineffective and abusive, and that the denial of responsibility for failing academic achievement, retention, compassion, and guidance is a matter of public trust.
Parents need daily communication with teachers on academics, quarterly school forums with principals, a parents' advisory board, seminars on federal standards, parent-volunteers in the classrooms, a parent representative on the school board, and three-minute speaking time during school board meetings without pre-approval for as many parents who want to speak. Empowering parents is best policy.
ANGELIA STINNETT, Hixson
Every day I drive through the Shallowford Road construction. The inconvenience is aggravating, as is the wear and tear on our vehicles and our nerves. We who get stopped so a large machine can navigate through become irate. When the chance comes to move ahead, nobody thinks about the guy who also has been waiting, trying to come out of a side street.
Think about the construction crews: the heat, the cold, the dust, the mud, the freezing rain, the dangers of speeding drivers!
Lighten up, folks! These guys are doing their best to get us safely to our destinations. They don't deserve the scowls we give them as they rush to finish their work before the heaviest traffic or the approaching holiday arrives. Instead of a harsh look, try a smile or a wave as you pass; don't dangerously speed by those who hold the "stop" and "slow" signs to get you safely through.
Remember: tomorrow you may be the very one who wants to turn left into your street, holding up a wildly frustrated line of cars behind you, only to find that nobody in the coming traffic will stop to let you through.
Regarding the article on complaints by parents of special education students, (Nov. 30), did anyone else notice school board representative Jeffrey Wilson's comment at the end of the article, "I'm hoping there's a middle ground where the administration will get involved and help these parents"? That's what we need -- more school board representatives who see these parents' concerns as "someone else's problem." Gee, now why haven't I ever voted for this guy?
It's been over one month since Superstorm Sandy slammed the Northeast, and I think we should be aware of how our Southeast Tennessee community has answered the call to help. Thanks to the volunteer and financial effort of our own American Red Cross, we've made a difference in many people's lives this holiday season. A record 19 local volunteers have answered the call to travel to New York and New Jersey, working in shelter and feeding operations, mental health and more, surpassing the previous record set during Hurricane Katrina.
The community's financial support was evident during last month's Red Cross weekend Drive-in and Donate fundraiser that brought in over $30,000 for Sandy relief. This act demonstrated the compassion and generosity of our community and the willingness of Red Cross volunteers and staff to take up residence at Ross's Landing on Friday and for two days at seven area Walmart stores, enabling shoppers to donate.
We should count ourselves fortunate to live in a community where corporations, government, media and neighborhoods can come together to support such an active American Red Cross.
As chairman of the board of directors, and on behalf of the board, staff and volunteers, "thank you" for supporting the American Red Cross mission.
OSCAR BROCK, American Red Cross Board of Directors
Recently we Americans chose who will sit in the Oval Office for the next four years. Voting is a tremendous responsibility and privilege and should be treated as such. If you do not agree with either candidate completely, choose the one that is closest to the ideal, and vote for him.
However, you must know the positions the candidates take, and sources like political ads, skin color and any Website that ends in ".gov" are poor informants. You can go to the campaign Websites, the interviews and debaters that the candidates have done, and previous campaigns, for good information.
Voter fraud is a vast problem that can sway elections, and I believe it has. During this election, there were men claiming to be officials in at least one town who tried to collect absentee ballots, regardless of the fact that you mail them in.
As citizens of this great nation, it is your responsibility to cast an informed, educated and legal ballot. All it takes is 30 minutes on a computer and that will do it.
CHARLIE KRAMER, Cleveland, Tenn.
A few years ago, we watched preparation for a large and "much needed" shopping complex on Highway 153. The large acreage was completely rearranged. Giant earth movers leveled, dug, graded and filled for months at a cost of millions. Structures were demolished, people relocated. The results? Two stores and acres of vacant land -- nowhere near the glowing promises made. Granted, these stores are popular, and great things still may happen, but no prospects yet.
Now on the other side of Highway 153 another, far more devastating proposal seeks zoning changes to allow 190 acres of green hillside to become a sprawling multiuse development. The area is served by the narrow Boy Scout Road, and is the watershed for North Chickamauga Creek, a precious natural resource.
Topping the hill on 153, toward Highway 27, there is a distinct sensation of leaving urban sprawl behind and entering a rich, green vista of mountains and valleys. When will we learn that every piece of green space does not have to be developed, just because someone has a plan, that the highest and best use of certain pieces of land is to just let it be.
When will we "just say no."