The International Festivals & Events Association Boards were pleased to visit Chattanooga recently. During our stay, the warm and welcoming hospitality of your community was obvious: From airport drivers to hotel and restaurant staff; tourism officials to police and media representatives; festival sponsors to political leaders; and, of course, the Riverbend volunteers. At every level, the pride and awareness that your community shares -- for where they have come from and where they are headed -- forms an obvious bond you have successfully created by working together toward common visions.
Riverbend, like celebrations embraced by other cities, is an ideal vehicle to bond your community together and to celebrate and share with others what is important to you. As the global organization that represents the power of festivals/events worldwide, we recognize the quality of life, economic impact, tourism, brand and image that Riverbend drives and signifies for Chattanooga. These would not be possible without the support and partnerships that exist throughout your city.
Our world needs more examples of what communities can build when they work together, and we wish Chattanooga much success in the years ahead. Thank you for making us feel so welcome.
STEVEN WOOD SCHMADER, International Festivals & Events Association
As a geoscientist, I'd like to respond to the June 4, op-ed piece about fracking:
To characterize the production enhancement of hydrocarbons from shales as a "get-rich-quick scheme" is shameful. Bad operators exist, but hundreds of thousands of wells have been safely fracked in vertical wells since 1949. Horizontal wells targeting organic, finely grained and impermeable layers (shales) are the new development The upper portion of these wells (through any potential potable shallow aquifers -- less than 3,000 feet), is vertical. After a 90 degree turn to horizontal into a target shale (a source, reservoir and a sealed trap), the well will be cheaper and more productive.
A vertical pilot hole is drilled and sampled when uncertain of an aquifer depth or a target shale, or in a new area. Impermeable rocks have to be hydrofracked, and a hydrologist must assure that any aquifer is sampled from monitoring water wells (before and after), cased, and casing is well-cemented.
With thorough knowledge, not emotion or political vogue, we can ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels. We need cleaner alternatives to get us there: conservation, renewables and fracked natural gas from shales in the USA, instead of from abroad.
Referring to the new building on North Market Street: What's wrong with bright colors? After all, everything in this world is changing or, as is politically correct, "evolving," so why not colors? Should all buildings be painted beige, brown or dark green to be acceptable?
I personally like the colors chosen, and maybe others do too. A suggestion: a slight modification merely for critics to be able to claim victory, but good for the owner/designers challenging the status quo. Stick to your guns.