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Jay Greeson

I'm not sure about the best way to introduce this topic other than to just jump in, so here goes.

The hottest Christmas toys this year range from making most of us feel like a kid again to feeling like we are from another planet.

According to Amazon.com, here are five wide-reaching options under the "Top 100 Toys" tab:

* The nostalgic: There are Hot Wheels and Play-Doh options. Somewhere, the 5-year-old in all of us just smiled.

* The nostalgic with the new: There are a lot of Lego options, from old-school to Star Wars to some robot-building and coding version of Legos that seems equal parts Toy Story and Terminator.

* The messy: Sure, slime in its various forms has been a childhood staple for years. Well, now we have the Whopped Cream Pie Face Cannon family board game. Nothing says after-dinner family time around the table like a pie cannon, right?

* The can-we-wait-a-few-more-years options: In between a claw machine of squishy toys and Cinnabun the Bunny, there was the You've Got Crabs card game. No thanks.

* The get-your-older-sibling-to-help-you-with-that category: This includes the Blue Bit Coding Robot, which beyond making sure it has batteries, seems pretty advanced for Santa and his cohorts.

Home for the holidays and beyond

The recent developments of the Scenic City soccer square-off are quite intriguing.

In one corner, we had the Chattanooga FC, who have laid a decade worth of ground work and developed a great relationship with a fan base and the city. That is valuable.

In the other, there is the Chattanooga Red Wolves, who are starting next year with big plans and bigger dreams of building a new soccer facility at an undetermined site.

It was announced this week that the FC just re-upped with Fort Finley as their home, and that makes sense.

But, and this is a big but, because there have been roughly a dozen teams in almost every sport pledging to come to town and make a stand if the Red Wolves create a new soccer den, then that likely will be a game-changer on so many levels.

Help them Rhonda

I receive a fair amount of, shall we say, "not exactly fan mail," and a lot of it comes when I raise some contradictory points about our county school system.

It's part of the gig.

Well, today, I want to commend Rhonda Thurman for continuing to be a voice of her constituency and her conscience.

As news came this week from this paper's Meghan Mangrum that Hamilton County Schools is going to vote next week about open enrollment at seven county schools, Thurman seemed to be the main voice of reason on the issue, at least in terms of transportation.

Rhonda, you keep being you, because unlike any of your board member peers, you seem to remember that the school leadership answers to the board rather than board members serving as mouthpieces for the agenda du jour.

We could fill this entire page on the merits and debates of open enrollment compared to shutting down underutilized — and dated — schools, but for anyone to think our public school system needs to jump through the expensive and logistically impossible busing needs for so few is somewhere between silly and irresponsible.

Saturday Star

Allow me to present a friend of mine who makes this space not because of his friendship but because of his commitment — year-round — to making his community better.

That's an open-ended and interesting word, community. Community can be found at a ball field or a church gathering or a zip code and so many other possibilities.

For my friend T.W. Francescon, well, all of those definitions apply and all those communities are better because of him.

Want proof? Well, T.W. is leading the Christmas fundraising drive for his local police and fire departments. He is among the people who deliver each year the Chattanooga Prayer Breakfast — an event that has its heart in the proper spot. He also can be found at several ball fields with his sons, regardless of season.

May we all enrich our communities as much in 2019 as T.W. has done in his various communities for years.

Until next time, friends.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and 423-757-6343.

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