incoming (2005-32)

Rural School Problems

Weasel Ways

What Were You Thinking?

Eco-Smart Would be Different

No New Jobs!

I have raised one child and am still raising another child in north Knox County. I have watched various programs be cancelled and/or never implemented due to funding. I have been told that if I want my child to have access to diversity in curriculum to send them to a magnet school (which we finally did for our high school child).

I am under the impression that the Knox County School district is a school district for all of Knox County’s students. I find it not only sad that Knox County acknowledges and works to fix only the inner-city problems, but severely neglectful to many of the more rural schools.

Many of the more rural schools not only lack in programs but lack in cultural diversity; these schools struggle with many similar issues to those of the inner-city population. Academically and socially, these schools also have desperate needs—needs that aren’t being met by administrators and politicians. I don’t begrudge the funding and attention given to the inner city, but wouldn’t there be greater overall impact if we treated the problems of our school system in a holistic approach rather than operating with tunnel vision?

I would welcome an article that shared with the public the problems (aside from the lacking building structures themselves, which also receive less attention and funding than the inner-city schools) faced by schools in the more rural areas and how school administrators and politicians are addressing them. Course selection and activities are dramatically less than what is implemented at the inner-city level, as well as various social issues.

As far as I know, the approach currently used is to have the rural county children put in for transfers to the magnet schools.

Liz Diamond


Weasel Ways

Of course many of us care. But so what? The ruling elite of the country do not care. Our anger, concern and disgust are largely ignored by the media, and it is generally futile to protest. A letter to Congress on almost any matter is either ignored or—eventually—elicits a form letter thanking you for your views, saying that they will be considered, and offering help if the writer has a problem of any kind.

At all levels of government—city and county, state and national—the only people who are heeded by elected officials are those who are affluent enough to contribute to the re-election campaigns that keep the “people’s representatives” at the public trough. The rest of us are just peasants!

Bush II will weasel out of this. Just watch.

Arthur Chesser


What Were You Thinking?

1.) Ms. Jane Doe went to the emergency room twice in a month. Look how much she cost us. Put her name on the list.

2.) Mr. Jones had an extra prescription called in for a blood thinner. Doesn’t he know he could have taken aspirin? Put his name on the list.

3.) You checked to make sure none of the employees of TennCare had relatives on the list. If by chance one did get dropped—how does that make you feel?

4.) As enrollees sign up, their names were going in a hat to be drawn later.

You can keep up with someone getting an extra prescription, but you couldn’t keep up with this. You used the system and people’s lives like it was a game. I hope when you lie down at night you can get a good night’s sleep, because there are so many that won’t. (You know who you are.) As far as getting decent treatment after being taken off TennCare, you need to be with someone and see firsthand what they go through.

Last thing: I can see why they have the Smokies. You blow a lot of smoke up yours.

Ella Evans


Eco-Smart Would be Different

With world oil-production projected to peak and then begin declining within one to 10 years, high-energy prices are certain in the near future. Why not build infrastructure now in Knoxville that will take the assumption of future high-energy prices into account and follow the implications out in its design? To do so would mean building housing that is energy efficient, produces all it own energy from solar panels, processes all its own waste through “living machines,” is designed around pedestrians and not cars, has plenty of garden space and replaces ornamental landscaping with fruit and nut trees. 

Knoxville would be on the forefront of bringing permaculture design into urban planning. It would also build upon Knoxville’s history as a demonstrator of renewable energy in the energy-themed World’s Fair of ’82. What better city to be a model of eco-design than the home of the Sunsphere?

Buildings along the riverfront with solar panels on the roofs, gardens on balconies, fruit trees along the river, people walking and biking to work, and clean water flowing out of its sewage pipe could serve as a model of sound, smart living in the future. It is unique, yet not a gimmick. It is inspirational, but also economical. Eco-design is timely, yet won’t become irrelevant in 10 years’ time.

Chad Hellwinckel


No New Jobs!

In March 2003, Tate & Lyle (A.E. Staley) announced a possible $70 million expansion with joint venture partner DuPont Chemicals to manufacture PDO, a bio-chemical polymer, at the Loudon plant. In April, Staley applied for a construction permit to build a new plant for DuPont’s PDO process. But, just one day after the EPA named Loudon County as a non-attainment area for violating eight-hour ground level ozone standards, TDEC approved Staley’s permit. Several appeals followed. One argument was a challenge to TDEC’s permit issuance for purportedly using erroneous netting computations.

Residents were assured the PDO expansion would be minor. But now comes word of another expansion, right on the heels of the first. Tate & Lyle’s latest press release includes two plant expansions, one in Loudon, and the other in Lafayette, Ind. The $75-million Loudon expansion proposes a 37 million gallons per-year increase in ethanol capacity, and an increase to DuPont’s bio-chemical PDO, and environmental improvements intended to reduce emissions. But no new jobs are expected.

A $100 million expansion at the Lafayette-north plant will increase capacity by 50 percent, while proposing to decrease overall emissions by 15 percent with the installation of new emission control equipment including thermal oxidizers. In June 2004, Tate & Lyle announced a $30 million expansion at its Alabama plant, followed in July of news of an additional $45 million expansion to double its plant capacity size.

Sound familiar?

Both will increase production capacity without significant job growth.

Pat Hunter

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