incoming (2006-37)

Rick Murphree

Clean Ears

Most specifically, your statement that when he was hired back, it “was much to the chagrin of contractors and subcontractors…he did such a good job, local contracting firms were relieved when he left town.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Denark Construction was happy to work with Bigler and together complete the Knoxville Convention Center on time and on budget. We have remained friends and even looked for opportunities to work together.

Bigler is tough, but fair. Most important is his “no nonsense” attitude about urgency and his ability to find solutions and give the contractors clear answers and direction. We would love to see him managing projects in Knoxville again, including any projects in which Denark might be involved. He’ll look out for the public’s money, refuse to compromise on quality, make timely decisions, and will not waste people’s time or money in pointing fingers.

Those are the same qualities that Denark, our subcontractors, and most of those in the construction industry embrace and welcome as well.

Raja J. Jubran

Harsh Reality

When it is cold and rainy out, this principle becomes real, and the immediate understanding of it becomes very sharp and as painful as bare feet slogging through ice and snow in tennis shoes with no socks and nowhere to go to get warmed up either. Try walking around in the cold snow for a few years with extreme dental pain and ghosts harassing you like a swarm of bats flying at your face from any number of childhood trauma, let’s go with childhood molestation just for kicks, and every time you want a little time indoors and the moment of peace it gives to sit by yourself with a cup of hot chocolate in a McDonalds and just drink in the warmth and the respect that comes from being alive and an adult with even marginal human rights left.

Instead, because of folks like you, L. Wylie, you now have to only go to a shelter where your things are in danger of being stolen every second, where you’re treated by staff like you are the AIDS virus itself given legs and set to walking… So the next time you want to flip out some flippant remark that will probably rob many of those precious life-affirming minutes, try just try to have empathy.

People really don’t ask you for change because they want to ruin your lovely Market Square vista. Where did you get such an exaggerated sense of self-importance? Hey, maybe from the same place that tells some it’s alright to torture other humans because “they” are really bad guys, eh?

Forrest Darden

Damning People is Too Easy

Given how the Square and downtown growth have combined, one could probably rightly assume that this growth would have happened without the West family, but one must also admit the amount of time and energy they have put into promoting the area for the benefit of more than just themselves.

I take offense at Julie Wallin’s use of the term “drug merchant” [in her Sept.7 letter to the editor, “Squaring Off”] in that it belittles and hinders the discussion we should all be having. The war on drugs is a failure in any way one chooses to view it. Throwing around inflammatory terms such as drug merchant only serve to vilify people and further cloud the possible discussion that we sadly aren’t having, a discussion based on truth as opposed to a ranting screed based on truthless rhetoric.

I know the West family a little as do my children. I am no less likely now to let my children interact with them than I was before their trouble began. I have watched both Scott and Bernadette interact with my children as well as children of other families. What they may or may not have done in regards to drug sales has absolutely no bearing on the personal qualities that make up these individuals.  To see Scott West discuss dinosaurs with your six year-old son tells more about his person than any amount of legal documents.

Before we damn drugs and purveyors of drugs, we would do ourselves nothing but justice to take a much wider view of our concept of drugs both legal and illegal. In an age where legal drugs have all sorts of detrimental side effects, an age where drug commercials make millions in revenue, the truth of marijuana should and must be made known. To lie about the uses and dangers of marijuana does no service to anyone but law enforcement agencies that would find their usefulness greatly diminished should the truth be allowed into the discussion.

Damning people is easy. Calling them names is easy. Furthering the lies told about drugs and drug use is easy. Keeping up a curtain of lies and dishonesty becomes more and more difficult as people fall through the cracks of jail time and too often addiction. 

But we won’t discuss these things. We won’t address honest uses of marijuana or the addictive nature of other drugs. We won’t discuss the cost to society of ever-longer jail sentencing or addiction issues.  That would be harder still, and we’d eventually have to admit that we were part of the problem. If you damn people and drugs with no real knowledge of those people or those drugs, then you are part of the problem.

Samuel Hull

Fewer Children, My Behind 

The way to improve the intellect of our school children is not through the dumbing-down process now being used. Forcing teachers to promote kids who are not ready to advance isn’t helping them. Giving the kids less to learn so they can concentrate on fewer bits of knowledge with a goal of raising their grades ain’t (whoops) the way, either. It may look good right now, but what about these kids in the future?

Last year, a South Carolina student was arrested for committing a felony during his senior year in high school. His parents and friends were stunned. He was a straight-A student with a 3.84 average. Then I saw him interviewed on television. He could hardly speak intelligently.

Straight-A student? I remember on the same show hearing mothers complain that the S.C. schools weren’t teaching anything to their kids. They claimed the school system spent the entire year prepping the kids for six rounds of proficiency tests and that the teachers’ salaries were based on the overall grade of their students.

Wonderful! And Tennessee is ranked below South Carolina in education.

When I was a kid (uh, goes grandpa again) we stayed on a subject until we learned it. No learn. No advancement. The old readin’, ritin’ and ’rithmatic was a necessary evil that is used every day of your life. Ever check the handwriting, spelling and math (without a calculator) of a computer generation child today?

If we want to teach our children to be the future leaders of a great nation, Mr. President, dumbing-down won’t cut it. Let/make the teachers do their job. Good ol’ discipline and basic knowledge need to be implanted in students from the beginning. The rest will follow.

Trying to convince these children that anyone can grow up to be president of this great country by getting good grades without the knowledge from a good education is wrong. This will only hurt today’s kids and tomorrow’s leaders.

And besides, you’ve already proven that point to the rest of us.

Woody English

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