I was shocked to learn about a federal lawsuit that was filed against Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. the company employed by the TVA to remediate the ash spill site in Roane County. The allegations in the suit are very serious. Early on in the spill aftermath I raised concern about the impact on the health of the Roane County citizens due to the toxic constituents in the coal ash. We were told time and again by TVA that the ash was harmless. We now see internal documents that clearly outline the toxicity of the fly ash and see allegations that this fact was covered up and several workers on the site have become ill. There are even allegations of improper air quality testing. I immediately call on the TVA to completely audit their air and water quality monitoring protocol. I also call on the EPA to step in and take over on the spill cleanup and monitoring. I also call upon the U.S. attorney's office to look into the allegations of improper air quality monitoring. My main concern is the health and safety of the citizens of Roane County. And every step should be taken as soon as possible to make sure that the spill remediation is conducted properly and safely.
Blood Assurance needs donations
In a recent conversation I learned that Blood Assurance has been experiencing its usual summer slow-down in donations. There will probably be an increase in the number of blood product donations now that UTC and area high schools are back in session. Yet there is never a time of the year when we can assume that at any given moment the community will have an adequate supply of whole blood, platelets, plasma or red blood cells. It is important that each donor makes his or her availability known to Blood Assurance. I am proud to share my platelets (and occasionally, my plasma) with those whose lives I can save.
Yesterday my 89-year-old mother, Alice, saw the movie, "The Butler" with her friend Pat, both white. As they came out of the movie they struck up a conversation with two black females who had seen the movie and exchanged pleasantries. Pat was very complimentary of one of the women's necklace. My mother sat on a bench as the two black women came out of the ladies room and they asked if the purse on the bench was her friends Pat's. She said it was and the woman took off her necklace and put it in Pat's purse. When I was in the second grade at Missionary Ridge, the school was integrated. I remember seeing my future black friend Terry Bell sitting by himself in the cafeteria with tears running down his cheeks as people tossed the n-word at him. I also remember that during our Bible study hour, all of my Jewish friends were taken to the auditorium. I am so proud of this country and this city in that we have changed and elected an intelligent black president, a progressive forward-thinking Jewish mayor, and that a black female can extend a random act of kindness to a total stranger who is white. We really have come a long way.