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On Thanksgiving Day, it was a delight to read the responses of TFP reporters and staff members about what they are most thankful for. I am a 75-year-old "newspaper junkie" who is distressed over the decline of print journalism over the last 25 years or so, so to read the stories of these people and their commitment to a fine profession was very encouraging to me.

In my view, the declining influence of the "fourth estate" is the most direct cause of the sordid state of today's politics. I am very grateful, therefore, to be able to read the Times-Free Press because it is still a very high quality paper that is clearly the very best in Tennessee. The editorial, sports, local news and entertainment (especially Barry and Lisa) sections are very strong. I especially like David Cook (the conscience of Chattanooga), and Clay Bennett, the best editorial cartoonist in the country, and occasionally I even find that Clint Cooper makes a good argument.

Thanks to all of you. I look forward to reading your paper for the next 75 years.

Joe Porter

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TVA's big salaries keep weeds in place

After reading in your paper the astonishing salaries of the CEOs at TVA, I now realize the real reason that there is no money to clean up Chickamauga Lake's water weeds that are ruining our shorelines. It's because it is going into excessive salaries of the top executives.

Our water should be clean and clear. It is their responsibility since they own up to the 690 line and tell each homeowner what they can do on it. But, we have to pay for their lack of interest.

Faye Shelton

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Zoo doing vital hellbender work

The Chattanooga Zoo is helping to maintain local biodiversity and conservation on many levels, such as, intaking wildlife rehabilitation until they can be moved to a more permanent location or released. Some animals that were deemed unfit to return to the wild due to the severity of their injury or human interruption remain in the care of the zoo or are moved to larger rehab centers.

The Chattanooga Zoo teamed with Lee University to survey the wild populations of hellbenders In efforts to help establish a breeding system for these disappearing organisms. In captivity hellbenders have never been bred successfully; however, the zoo is hoping to change this with its new research. Hellbenders are an endangered species listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. This program also is helping maintain biodiversity and conservation.

It is important to maintain Hellbender populations because Hellbenders provide important roles in their aquatic environments. Hellbenders contribute to the overall health of their habitat by maintaining crayfish populations, contributing to biodiversity and being bioindicators of overall stream health. Hellbenders offer many ecological services to their environment and are a vital resource for many streams.

Carmen Black

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Solar panel program boon for our city

Chattanooga is known as a sustainability city for many reasons. One of the recent reasons is its residents being able to benefit from the cheap solar energy in Chattanooga through a program called SolarShare, offered by a partnership of EPB and TVA. It is Chattanooga's first community solar project and offers people and businesses a simple and cheap way to benefit from solar power. Customers are able to use electricity generated from roughly 4,408 solar panels located along Holtzclaw Avenue near downtown.

EPB's cheapest option only charges $5 a month per solar panel, which allows lower-income customers to benefit from the clean energy solar panels provide. This isn't the only affordable aspect of this program, as customers also are able to benefit without having to worry about construction, maintenance or liability of the panels. This means no long-term commitments or contracts. There are other options that involve more commitment, such as a 20-year license that gives them a monthly bill credit. The electricity generation would be similar to having solar panels on your roof. With programs like these benefiting Chattanooga, hopefully the city will continue to become more sustainable.

Kyle Baker

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On homelessness, more can be done

Chattanooga is doing wonderful work to move the bar on homelessness. We need more done because there are solutions. As a city, Chattanooga needs to move the needle from status quo to progressive management of resources on a citywide basis. The HOPE VI program that took place first in Atlanta, Georgia, back in the 1990s and then spread throughout U.S. HUD programs is still the quintessential model for ending the systemic causes of homelessness.

Funding from the government has changed since then, but with the correct political will more can be achieved than we are currently willing to maintain. It will take more than landlords. It takes the school boards, the police departments, the city government, and Chattanooga's affordable housing systems along with bankers, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, design firms and lawyers, business owners and citizens like you and me to invest in creative design and financing to build mixed-use, mixed-income housing projects to change the structure and face of historic neighborhoods once and for all.

If all of Chattanooga would start to build this way, overcrowding and overbuilding would be a welcome problem to have. In one word, vision.

Lynne Marchetti

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Will saying Pledge help our Congress?

Every morning I hear on the radio or a Nashville TV station a group of children saying the Pledge of Allegiance. After listening to some of the impeachment hearings, I have come to believe every time our elected officials meet, especially in Congress, they must say the Pledge of Allegiance.

During the hearings, and afterward, elected officials ignored the truth given by people who took an oath and swore to tell the truth. In fact, one politician suggested the witnesses were just giving their opinions when they were asked to speak. Some members of the Senate, Sen. John Kennedy (Louisiana) and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee) tried to discredit some of these witnesses, and suggested all the evidence presented did not prove anything. Witness after witness presented evidence proving their statements, and each witness testimony was collaborated by other witnesses.

It is a sad day when we ignore the truth. Have we come to a place where we allow a handful of politicians to tell us what is truth and what isn't? Are we so lazy and apathetic we just don't care? I care! To every politician, your allegiance is to the American people, not Donald Trump.

Jimmy Bradford, Tullahoma

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