A friend of mine from Kentucky recently served on a contract crew restringing fiber optics cable for EPB in our area. He said he has served in similar fashion on crews in many different disaster areas across the nation. Normally crews are sent into a devastated area in their own trucks where they will sleep on their time off. They eat the food they bring with them until a local church or the Red Cross sets up a facility to feed them at some future point. Showers, changes of clothing, etc., are nonexistent.

Contrast that with the amenities offered the contract workers by the EPB staff assigned to attend to their needs. They were offered motel rooms to sleep in and bathe and change clothes daily. They had three catered meals per day provided by local vendors as well as bags of snacks to take into the field for break time consumption.

Bottom line: He and his coworkers were elated with their kind and attentive treatment afforded them in the Chattanooga area tornado work by the professional EPB staff. Also, many folks came out from their damaged homes to thank the workers for restoration of their cable services and to offer them snacks.

Thanks to EPB workers for a job well done and thanks to our local citizens for their warm welcome 0f those who came from other areas to assist in our hour of need.

Ronald E. Cumbie


Where are right-to-lifers in this pandemic?

There have been countless protests and demonstrations, both pro- and con-, about so-called "right-to-life" issues: death penalties, abortion, Black Lives Matter, gun rights vs. mass shootings, euthanasia, etc. Now, however, when the president and many state and local officials have decided that reopening the economy is more important than saving tens of thousands of lives, it is eerily quiet.

It doesn't seem to be a question of scale. The virus will kill many more people than the death penalty does or mass-shootings will. It doesn't appear to be a question of race. The virus doesn't care what color your skin is. It doesn't seem to be a question of choice. Women can choose to end their pregnancies, and young adults can choose to go to beaches and "virus parties."

So why aren't activists, evangelicals, religious leaders, political and movement leaders up in arms protesting, ranting and causing disturbances showing their outrage over the deaths of so many additional Americans? This appears, to me, to demonstrate complete and total hypocrisy. Are we most interested in re-election and self-satisfaction? Does the "sanctity of life" apply to yours but not mine? Why?

Can anyone tell me?

Jim Wassin


TVA 'renewable' agenda on track

For the first time in more than half a century, the first three months of 2020 have seen TVA drawing more power from renewable resources than from coal-fired power plants, according to a refreshing report in a recent Times Free Press report. Instead, the electricity in our homes was brought to us by clean, cost-saving nuclear, hydro, natural gas, wind and solar sources.

TVA President Jeff Lyash says the utility is well on its way to meeting its target of reducing carbon emissions by 60% below peak 2005 levels in 2020 and a 70% reduction by 2023. It's the kind of coherent agenda that is to be commended among those who call the shots in our public sector as we confront the climate crisis with the urgency it requires.

Hats off to TVA for, as its chief says, proactively positioning us for a greener future. May others follow suit.

Julie Van Valkenburg, Signal Mountain


Mail-in voting should be expanded ASAP

Tennesseans need to know they can vote absentee by mail in certain limited circumstances. Those circumstances include being 60 years of age or older, being a full-time student outside the county of their residence, being in the military, being disabled (as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act) and a few others.

For a full list go to

Here you will also find questions and answers that will tell anyone eligible to vote absentee how to do it. What you won't find, however, is the ability to vote absentee if voting in person would put you at risk of a life-threatening illness like COVID-19.

My husband and I are 60-plus and have already requested our absentee ballots for the Aug. 6 election. However, our son, who is currently laid off and living with us, is not eligible to vote absentee. He can choose to either vote, and risk the lives of his parents and himself, or not vote. That is not a choice any American should have to make.

Tennessee's legislators must act to make vote by mail an option for every Tennessean. Our lives and our democracy depend upon it. Call or write your legislators today.

Sandra McCrea, Signal Mountain


Faulty comparisons unhelpful in debate

A frequent letters to the editor contributor has twice used invalid comparisons to belittle people, medical and science professionals and leaders around the world for their actions motivated by "fear" of COVID-19. Comparing COVID deaths over a period of basically three months (February-April) to annual totals for flu and traffic deaths assumes COVID-19 deaths will stop today. Also note that deaths climbed slowly in the early months while President Trump ignored the threat. COVID illness and death are acute, requiring aggressive medical care. Many people, including Tennesseans, are faring better than many other parts of our country.

Staying in our comfortable homes watching Netflix, cooking and using FaceTime, Zoom and Twitter was draconian and communist compared to our ancestors crushed by the Great Depression and WWII? We couldn't do it for seven weeks? Our biggest concern was toilet paper and hamburger meat. Such suffering, such sacrifice!

Shunning "computer models," shall we wait until this virus takes 1 million lives before we take any of the few actions deemed thus far to decrease the number of cases and deaths? I think anyone who has lost a loved one or faced the uncertainty of a positive test might disagree that reaction has been overblown.

Sandra Rice, Sewanee


Get straight on what socialism is and isn't

The writer of of a recent letter, "Capitalism more damaging ... " has a few things right, but not everything. His selection of reading matter is, may I say, just a bit one-sided?

Unfettered capitalism is surely abused by the greedy — or careless of all but their own interest — capitalists. But so is socialism; only the danger here is the creeping growth of bureaucracy — those faceless hordes of government functionaries eager to protect their own little fief.

Capitalism offers opportunity; which, no doubt, some grasp selfishly. Socialism offers protection, which is a chimera and ultimately degrades the vitality of the country.

Social Security — that fund is our money, taken from us (and our employers) over the years and returned (grudgingly) to us later. It's not my fault that the politicians (on both sides) have neglected to invest it wisely. Medicaid? That might be socialist, but Medicare is definitely not; I pay for it every month and co-pay more. I have thousands of receipts to prove it.

Bill Laudeman, Red Bank


It's one world; we can't do it all

It's one world, isn't it? Two men in a rowboat rowing in opposite directions will cause the boat to spin In circles ... what a waste!

If you extensively and expensively insulate your home and leave the doors and windows open ... what a waste! If we (U.S.) go full bore, AOC green, wrecking society and our economy (even more than the virus) and if China, India, and others continue polluting, what have we accomplished? What a waste!

China might then pick up our shattered remains and turn the whole world gray.

It's one world, isn't it?

We (U.S.) should do no more until the rest of the world comes up to our present standards. Otherwise, we'd be leaving the doors and windows open on our "one world."

Richard Barger, Monteagle