To say that our sons loved every minute of Philanthropy Camp would be an understatement. Talk about a memorable, life-affirming week. No wonder this "word of mouth" camp sells out so fast. To learn at a young age that we can make a positive difference in our community one choice at a time is truly inspirational. And that a true love of service and others can bridge differences and last a lifetime. Hats off to Camp Director Deborah Tepper and the fine folks at the Jewish Federation of Chattanooga and First Church of the Nazarene. What a special group of people. This unique, ecumenical partnership is clearly working and engaging a culture that genuinely promotes faith, family and community. Our sincere appreciation to all who made this camp possible.
- EDDIE & ROBIN GRANT
This is a thank-you note to the people of Chattanooga, St. Elmo, and the Chattanooga police force. Earlier this week a 19-year-old girl from our church family was missing for over 24 hours. She was found thanks to the caring actions of numerous police officers. Bravo to Chattanooga's Finest! This thank you is also addressed to the merchants in the Broad Street/St. Elmo area who let us put up flyers. Several businesses refused because it's against corporate policy, although the individual managers sincerely regretted having to refuse. But the ones who stick in my mind are those whose concern for a stranger showed in their faces, words and actions. I want to thank the small business owners and company managers who cared enough to get involved: Purple Daisy, Mr. T's Pizza, St. Elmo Deli, Mojo Burrito, BiLo, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Ovalle's Restaurant. At every single St. Elmo restaurant, they were concerned and glad to post flyers. When I took the flyers down after our friend was found, business owners and employees and customers all expressed their joy and ongoing concern for our friend. We are blessed to live in a wonderful city full of great people!
SUSAN LEA, Chickamauga, Ga.
Saturday, Sept. 7 TFP headline: Haslam: UAW win would hurt state: Gov. Bill Haslam is quoted as saying, "A lot of suppliers are saying, 'If the UAW comes into the plant (Volkswagen), I don't know if we'll be as close as we would to choosing Tennessee.'" We should challenge the governor to publicly name those suppliers. Volkswagen might be interested in knowing who the suppliers are in case those suppliers might not want to do business with every other VW plant in the world with union labor councils. Volkswagen seems to be quite successful with its formula of using worker input to improve its product line. I think the clearer message from our governor is, "We, in Tennessee, know how to run your business better than you do, VW!" An attitude like that is more detrimental to Tennessee job gains and recruiting industry than having a union in the Chattanooga plant. Gov. Haslam mentioned, ".... several folks say if UAW comes it will dampen our enthusiasm ...," and "... we're looking at Tennessee because it is a right-to-work state." Does the governor understand that there are currently unions in Tennessee? The right-to-work law, simply stated, says you cannot be forced to join a union in order to work at a job. It must be noted that if I have the right not to join, I must also have the inalienable right to join a union. JIM LEWIS Kimball, Tenn. Policies keep squeezing vets Re: Many vets' caregivers cut out from federal benefit, Sept 4. Thank you for the real stories of veterans and their families that are affected by policies that are getting squeezed more and more in a misdirected attempt to reduce the deficit. Although sequestration has bypassed the Veterans Administration this year, it's already cut services for veterans in other federal departments, like a program to help veterans train for new jobs or get homeless veterans off the streets. Now President Obama warns that the VA might not be exempt from sequestration next year, if Congress fails to replace it with smarter cuts. That could worsen the already long claims backlog at the VA, for starters. No one in Congress thinks sequestration is a wise way to cut spending. It cuts good programs that deserve protection along with the bad that should be canceled: special interest loopholes and giveaways, government pork, and lavish trips for bureaucrats. The Department of Defense isn't immune either. Critics say its new Joint Strike Fighter could be outmaneuvered by today's fighters, yet we're spending $1.5 trillion on this lemon aircraft. Every federal department should be scouring its budget to get rid of waste. Doing so would certainly make room in the budget for essential services for veterans.
THOMAS BANDZUL, Legislative Counsel Veterans and Military Families for Progress
Most of us are aware of the terrible mass loss of lives in nightclub fires. However, in the big picture, that number is actually very small. In researching I find nightclub fires worldwide since 1940 have resulted in fewer than 3,000 deaths. In comparison, in 2010 alone, according to the CDC, someone died every 169 minutes in U.S. home fires, or about 2,555 for the year. Keep in mind, that is in the U.S. alone, not the whole world as in the nightclub statistic. By comparison, in 2011, 33,367 in the U.S. were killed in automobile accidents. I did find the number one cause of fatal fires in the U.S. is smoking related, so why not ban smoking in nightclubs? The cost of a few "No Smoking" signs coupled with strict enforcement and mandatory annual fire prevention inspections would be a more cost-efficient compromise.
JOE KIRKPATRICK, Cleveland, Tenn.
In response to Councilman Chris Anderson regarding the proposed sprinkler systems amendment: What makes you think that fires only start with pyrotechnics? History shows that fires start in unknown ways all the time, and there is no way to control locked doors and overcrowding before those thing happen. If it is a business decision, say so, but don't try to convince others you are concerned with public safety.
DAVID SHARPE, East Ridge
Does the desire to have regulations in place to prevent senseless gun violence mean that I do not support the Second Amendment? Of course not! An American citizen should be able to obtain a firearm for his/her own protection legally. When the Constitution was written, the Second Amendment was to allow those who felt the need to own a firearm to protect their property, hunt for food and protect their families the right to do so. However, the intention of the Second Amendment was not so one could use a firearm to infringe on other people's rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our legislators must come up with laws to prevent gun violence. Now is the time because after the shooting at Sandy Hook, our country has been awakened. I do not have the golden solution to our problem; however, it cannot be ignored. Legislators must work together or we will elect new ones.
La SHUN WILLIAMS
Every day it seems as if God-believing people are being condemned for speaking out against gay marriage or having a public prayer at school sporting events. Same groups every time. The freedom from religion group or any number of gay activist groups. Are these relatively new (compared to 2,000 years of Christianity) groups afraid their members may be offended? Or converted to a different way of thinking? Or maybe they are just tired of hearing about someone else's version of God or marriage? Someone give me a reason, because any one of the above reasons can be used both ways. Maybe the religious groups are tired of hearing you speak out against their beliefs ... like there being a God, against the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, or that their children will be negatively influenced by atheism or homosexual dogma? Come on, now, give me a valid reason why you would put a stop to a group of people praying to a God you say doesn't exist or someone who speaks out against gay marriage. Shouldn't affect you if you are as committed to your cause as they are, have been, and continue to be.
MIKE HENRY, Whitwell, Tenn.