Not sure how it happened, but somehow several of the letters sent from Hamilton County to the North Pole this Christmas got rerouted to me.
Sure, there are a lot of similarities between Santa and me.
We both could stand to lose a few pounds. We both have round faces. We are each quick to admit that the Mrs. is our better half. And a lot of people think we say the same things over and over. (Ho-Ho-Ho from one; "Now, about those bike lanes" from the other.)
Here are some gift suggestions for some folks around town from a local and unofficial Santa representative:
» For Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, a swanky set of mustache tools. Friends, you cannot operate a 'stache that star-studded without some help.
» Speaking of sweet whisker wearers, may Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond have a smooth ride as he and his department tackle the monster issues of a new jail and trying to better serve the mentally ill in custody. Hammond has a lot on his plate in 2018.
» The city's top cop, relatively new chief David Roddy, may he have the chance to be as good as advertised. The early returns have been aces.
» For Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, may he figure out what's next on his horizon. I mean, no one wants the mayor to struggle, right? (Here's betting that ol' Andrew already has a plan, don't you think?)
» For Bryan Johnson, the new Hamilton County schools superintendent, here's a Christmas wish for some help, because while the extra funds Hamilton County schools got from the County Commission and Coppinger were a start, until the halls at the central office become centrally focused, the rest of this is rearranging deck chairs on the Casey Barge.
» For Jeremy Pruitt, the new UT football coach, may he find a directness of purpose and communication his predecessor could never grasp. And Coach Pruitt, know this: UT fans do not care about slogans and buzz words beyond playing hard, competing and winning. So the first time something like a clever coach's fortune cookie comes calling — say five-star hearts — just remember silence can be golden.
» For Bob Doak, the outgoing leader of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, may he find a hobby to help pass the time. May we suggest darts, and here's betting a picture of a certain county official could serve as Doak's target of choice.
That's all the letters we received, but as we all continue to get ready for Christmas, I have two Christmas wishes:
First, for those who read my offerings, and especially those who offer the thoughtful feedback, both supportive and critical, please accept my thanks for your time.
And second, with the news that the Sack Pack program in Chattanooga is under financial crisis, we ask that anyone who can help to please do so. There is more in the pages of today's paper, but know this, the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, which sponsors the program that feeds more than 1,700 kids in eight area counties, needs our help.
The Sack Pack program is strapped, and Food Bank officials said it will cost more than $100,000 to continue operating through the rest of the school year.
To donate or for more information, go to chattfood bank.org.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Contact Jay Greeson at firstname.lastname@example.org and 423-757-6343.