At a homeschooling convention I attended last weekend at Opryland, there was a booth for an adoption agency. I had often watched a program featuring couples adopting children and noticed, with few exceptions, they got their child from foreign countries. Why? The adoption specialist said our government chooses to place most children in the foster parent system for years before allowing them to be adopted. The system has few children under age 8 it is willing to release for adoption. I have been a foster parent for 15 children from babies to teenagers. Generally, the older they were, the longer they had been in the system, and the more problems they had. I beg readers to call their congressmen and say you want easier adoptions for babies and young children. Then those wishing to adopt a younger child won't have to go to a foreign country to get one. Just call 202-224-3121 to get in touch with your senators and congressman.
-- DR. TOM HERZOG
Nothing against Weston Wamp personally, but with the way things are messed up in D.C. at this time, it will take a person with a strong desire to improve the mess we are in now. The GOP will have to take both houses for starters, and to have someone doing an on-the-job training tour at taxpayer expense is not good timing. I am not a Chuck Fleichmann fan either, but to serve you have to learn how to serve. To serve the American people, Wamp should take a tour as a grunt in the military. There is where you can learn to serve. Serving builds patriotism and honor and a willingness and desire to make things better. This country has enough lifetime politicians sucking it dry. If you do get the office, I hope you do a better job than the last few; we've had some losers in the 3rd District. We need someone with horsepower and a willingness to try to make it better. Don't make it just a job to keep you off the street or to pass on your dad's ideas.
-- JAMES BEACH
In reference to the Sunday, March 23, front page article "Political spending deserves scrutiny:" I find it offensive for an elected official to use tax dollars to put his or her name on a bench, school or any public building. This gives the impression they personally paid for the item. I have used my hard-earned dollars to pay for benches at my alma mater for family members who attended. If elected officials want their names on a bench or building, they should pay for it with their own money, not my tax dollars. I suggest officials who used tax dollars to put their names on a tax-funded project use their personal dollars to have their names removed.
-- JANE ELMORE
If CSLA is such a high-performing school, wouldn't the school district be better off spending millions of dollars spreading its culture into other schools instead of spending it on brick and mortar for one small school?
-- BILL HAYES
I'm a CSLA parent in District 1. Before [a recent] County Commission meeting, another parent and I stopped Fred Skillern, my district commissioner and asked him to support CSLA. He basically told us he would not support CSLA: "I've been on the commission for 34 years and seen a lot of schools built." Yes, and schools have been built in his district in the past 15 years. After the meeting, he complained about the amount he has heard about schools in the last few weeks. I'm appalled. Rhonda Thurman, the District 1 Board of Education representative, has been rude and negative on the radio. She never sent a child of hers to a District 1 school. She is uninformed about magnet schools, admissions procedures, activities, etc. I'd love to seminar this with her. Seminar is a weekly activity in Paideia schools (CSAS and CSLA) where students in grades K-12 learn to respectfully disagree. Ms. Thurman needs to practice. Mr. Skillern and Ms. Thurman have both been invited to CSLA. They have never come. Do they represent my ideals? No! I'm fed up with being represented by "leaders" who are negative, unprofessional and have their own agendas. Come on, District 1, take a stand.
-- STEPHANIE HOPPER, Soddy-Daisy
I am writing to encourage your vote and support for Pam Fleenor for chancellor. I have known Pam since 1988, a short time after she began her career as a lawyer. It is easy to write about her academic and professional achievements and that she has conducted herself with the highest degree of professionalism as an advocate for her clients while being respectful of her adversaries. All of these are excellent reasons to vote for her. There may be a better reason. I have had the opportunity to see Pam as a mother and spouse. Her children participated on a community swimming team coached by my daughter. And even though swimming wasn't her children's primary sport, they were there every time, on time, ready to do what the coaches asked, smiling and saying "yes ma'am" to the coaches. Pam and her husband often were asked to collect groups of children for races, often as young as 6, sometimes as old as 14. And they were always ready, on time and smiling. Pam's ability to organize folks, and have them meet their obligations with a smile, is why she has earned your vote.
-- BILL COLVIN Lookout Mountain
I urge your support for Joe Manuel for chancellor in the Republican primary. Joe has the experience, brainpower and courage to make the difficult decisions that face our Chancery Court judges, and he has long been active in the Hamilton County Republican Party. Despite serving in important leadership positions and other volunteer roles for the Republican Party over the years, Joe is not a politician. He is a lawyer -- a very good one for 35 years. Joe has handled every type of case a chancellor is likely to be called upon to decide. Despite his successes, he has no ego and remains willing to help other lawyers work through legal issues to arrive at the correct result. Joe has owned and operated his own successful law firm for many years, which says something about his character and industriousness. As anyone who has "signed his paycheck on the front" can attest, striking out on one's own and leaving behind the security of a firm requires courage and a willingness to do right in order to do well. That's why I support Joe Manuel for chancellor.
-- JOE DeGAETANO
We have recently gotten to meet Pam Fleenor, who's running for chancellor in just a few weeks. Learning of Mrs. Fleenor's experience with Alzheimer's sufferers, neglected children and the mentally ill captured our attention and our support. Like many other families, our family has had the need to become caregivers for several family members. Never would we have thought of how important it was to have a judge who has hands-on experience with conservatorships and with the fragile and frail. The difficulties that families face as caregivers are already numerous. Facing a compassionate judge who knows the legal obstacles that can arise in getting the best help for your family member is so very important. Based on what we've seen, we'll be voting for Pam Fleenor and ask others to do the same.
-- ROBERT and SHIRLEY TUCKER