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I would like to say how much I appreciate the thought and the activities provided by the police departments of this area, in particular Red Bank and Soddy-Daisy.

The recent Chip Smith funeral procession was blessed by about 40 police cars from area agencies. I wish he could have seen it. I know how he felt about each agency. In particular, I would like to thank the Red Bank Police Department for what they have done for Chip's son, Logan. They have taken him out to eat. They let him ride in the funeral procession. They also put together $13,000 for Logan backed originally by Shane Dockery on Facebook.

I, Jerry Smith, Chip's father, will personally see that this money will be used for Logan only. We will never forget how great our police are and how savage our community would be without them. Thanks so much from the bottom of our hearts.

Jerry and Alma Smith

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Time for Gov. Lee to shut down state

It is time for us to get serious about this sickness. We do not want to be like Italy or Spain. Gov. Bill Lee should shut down the state. He should start doing everything in his considerable power to get whatever medical supplies that are needed to our hospitals and medical professionals now. He should be bold and brave. Tennesseans will rise to any occasion.

Mayor Jim Coppinger should follow suit. The rest of us should stay home and fly our flags to show ourselves and each other that we are serious and shall overcome this!

Don Loftis, Soddy-Daisy

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Wake up! Don't put us into more debt

The coronavirus has caused major problems and revealed others. My financial adviser told me to keep six months of reserve money. Why have the airlines and cruise lines not done that? Why is our first cry to the federal government and not taking care of ourselves and our families? Are we not independent Americans? Have we no pride?

I understand this is a once-in-a-lifetime emergency, but we should all be prepared. Do not give the airlines money; give them loans to keep people on the payroll. Give small businesses loans to keep employees on the payroll. Hey, restaurants around Ringgold have morphed into drive-thrus. They know what to do to stay alive. The problem isn't a stock market crash or economic woes; it's scientific. It's the coronavirus. If we solve the disease, our economy will come roaring back.

Everyone wants to work. After all, this is America.

A trillion dollars is insanity! A trillion dollars is $7,100 borrowed for each taxpaying American. Each taxpayer already owes $167,000 in the federal debt! We need to wake up!

Gerald Whitely, Ringgold, Georgia

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Should Spanish flu be 'American flu'?

Mr. President, in light of recent near consensus by virus disease researchers that the so-called Spanish flu that afflicted more than 500 million people and killed at least 40 million of the world's population in 1918-1919 was caused by a virus that mutated and erupted in Kansas, would your insistence that we call the COVID-19 agent the "Chinese virus" demand that we re-label the earlier scourge "the American flu?"

William Baxter, Tullahoma

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Mail-in ballots for November, please

We are in uncharted territory. It will be impossible to safely conduct a traditional general election in November in this unprecedented health environment. So, government should plan for innovative, alternative methods to maintain voter participation.

Two U.S. senators have introduced legislation that will enable and fund states to allow "vote-by-mail." Most states already do this. It's nonpartisan.

As a citizen voter, I call upon the members of the election commission and Administrator Kerry Steelman to work with Gov. Lee and the federal government to make mail-in ballots a reality.

Even if the proposed legislation doesn't pass, Tennessee, let's get ahead of this. Leaders have a whole seven months to make vote-by-mail happen. It's common sense. We just need the leadership and political will. The alternative is chaos and patchwork decision-making.

You should know, at this present time, if you are over 60, you can request an absentee ballot to vote, without needing a reason or excuse. Contact the election commission at 423-493-5100.

Let's not put anyone at risk. It is my constitutional right to vote. In the midst of this frightening contagion, don't make me choose between the possibility of getting fatally ill, and democracy in action.

Kerry Lansford

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Prayer never cured pimple, pandemic

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has asked people to pray about a pandemic virus. That's just dandy. When government fails to work, try another thing that fails to work.

We need medical necessities, research, hospital beds, COVID-19 tests, leadership — all things that are real. Prayer is not action — it's talking to an imaginary character as that's easy to do. Real work is harder.

We also need leadership, not excuses. Gov. Lee has been behind the eight-ball from day one on the virus. While he has slowly acted to flatten the curve by his indecision and prayers, people are sick and many will die.

Prayer has never cured a pimple, much less an pandemic. Prayer is not needed — science and leadership are, but maybe that's beyond this governor's comprehension and ability.

Stephen Greenfield, Cleveland

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Apocalypse not here but coming; get right

I don't think [evangelist Perry] Stone's messages are mixed if you provide biblical context.

Leviticus 26:14-16 clearly warns if we disobey God that he will appoint ".. a sudden terror, consumption and fever that will waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away."

Deuteronomy 28:20-24 provides the same penalty for disobedience: "The Lord will smite you with consumption and with fever and with inflammation."

COVID-19 is not a sign that the apocalypse is here but rather a warning that it is coming, so get right with God.

Catherine M. White

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With kids home now, time to Be SMART

As children and teens are home from school for an indefinite amount of time, parents are prioritizing keeping our kids safe from the effects and spread of COVID-19.

Firearms are the #1 leading cause of death for children in Tennessee! An estimated 4.6 million children in the U.S. live in a household with at least one gun that is stored, loaded and unlocked.

Parents have a lot to juggle as we deal with school closures and increased precautions around COVID-19 that affect us. But we can't wait for another completely preventable, unintentional shooting by a child or teen dying by gun suicide to be a wake-up call — take action now.

The Be SMART program was created to keep unsecured guns out of the hands of children and teens. Take these simple steps to help prevent unintentional shootings: Secure all guns in homes and vehicles; Model responsible behavior; Ask about firearms in other homes your child visits; Recognize the role of guns in suicide; Tell your peers to Be SMART. Let's do our part to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them, including our children's, and Be SMART.

Judy Gallagher

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