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PressTalk - February 5, 2004

ē I cannot believe how ridiculous people think that they can blame the intelligence community for an intelligence failure that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Before we would have put any one of our men and women at risk, we needed to have some hard evidence and none of this hearsay. Anybody worth their salt knows that to be true. And if they really cared about our men and women in the armed forces, they absolutely, positively would have found out the facts before we committed a single person or a single dollar to any engagement in Iraq.

ē I am 12 years old (and) I would like to have my classes in a real school, not a portable. I thought we paid taxes for that.

ē Holy Cow, have you heard the latest George Bush deficit numbers? Five hundred billion dollars and growing. And he wants to go to the moon? It would be more cost effective to send him to the moon and get a fiscally responsible president in his place. No child left behind; youíve got to be kidding? Who do you think will have to pay back this national debt that heís burdening our country with?

ē I am a Knox County school student. My school is not big enough and it needs repairs. Our buses are way overcrowded. Why canít we do something here for me instead of those lucky kids in Iraq who are getting new schools every day?

ē Farragut and other elementary schools in Knox County would not have to put up portables if they would have split sessions for kindergarten.

ē I read the original comments regarding the relative ineptitude of the Farragut High School football program and coach Eddie Courtney. And Iíve also read the rebuttals praising coach Courtney for his character and behavior. Having followed Farragut athletics for several years as well as having been a part of a highly successful athletic team in the past and having coached young men for several years, I can confidently say that having a successful program and having a head coach with high character that is a good role model are not mutually exclusive. Iíve heard many positive remarks from the players and parents associated with coach Courtney, but none of those remarks have been related to his coaching or organization skills. Farragut is the largest school in East Tennessee, if not the state, and is blessed with many fine athletes. However, the Farragut football team has been consistently at or near the bottom of the district ever since Courtney took over as head coach (1996 season). They are ill prepared both physically and mentally for games, and the play-calling is unimaginative and ill-conceived and players show virtually no skill development as they go through the program year after year. In short, coach Courtney may be a fine man, but he is woefully inept as a high school football coach. Itís about time the largest high school with the most resources in the area began to put a product on the field that the school and the community can be proud of.

ē I am calling in response to the overcrowding at Farragut High School. As an involved parent of a senior at Farragut High School I am aware of students attending the high school by using someone elseís address that lives in Farragut when they donít. They live in another area. I witness this every school day in my own neighborhood when three students exit the school bus and then they get picked up by someone in a car and leave our neighborhood. I know that some parents rent apartments and houses so their children can attend FHS. Perhaps the solution to the overcrowding situation would be to raise the quality of education in the other high schools in the Knox County school district to appeal to these Farragut border crossers.

ē I find it very interesting in reading the Letters to the Editor concerning endorsements for Karen Carson that none of these people are in the 5th-District and can vote for her. I do not think she is the best candidate, I think Brian Hornback is by far the best candidate. I have a problem with her having a child who is in a private school and not in the public school system. And I just think that Brian Hornback is the best candidate, heís kept all his promises. He works harder than anyone I know to improve the 5th District and to get things done. And I think he should continue as our school board representative.

ē I am in a position as a parent to more closely evaluate the character of teachers within the Knox County school system. I have several children in it. I went to the Farragut open house (recently). In one class I was one of four parents that showed up for open house. The teacher expressed a little disappointment that no one else had showed up. But she didnít seem terribly sad about it ... for privacy reasons I wonít tell you how, but I see them when they are brought out of there cookie-cutting mold. My child has been treated decently by his teachers during the time that he has been at Farragut High School. I have been pleased with many of them who care about him as a person and as a student. In spite of his good fortune so far, I am dismayed by the frantic and impersonal treatment that I get at the school. When I make calls to some of the secretaries, some of the teachers and some of the administrators, I always brace myself for the legalism. The people who are there are human beings, and maybe their stress levels are high. However, that doesnít excuse the assembly line treatment that I have sometimes received. I have seen this rushed lack of courtesy more often than it should be seen. So, I will still brag on coach Courtney. I called him a southern gentleman ... Iíve seen how he acts. I will also brag on those lovely classroom teachers and I wonít forget those in administration who treat us like people rather than numbers ... the negative exists too ... It drains the spirit when the parents are wary of the teachers and the teachers are wary of the parents. I donít hear of many kind words in Farragut, and that is sad.

ē Iím calling in regards to the over-crowdedness of the Farragut schools. I went the board meeting on that Monday (Jan. 26) and didnít feel that we got much information from that. However, they are interested at looking at other property. I think they should look at McFee Road before a builder develops it and condemn it and take it. Or, since they were so concerned about the increase in growth thatís going to happen in the Hardin Valley area, they should look at building a school out on Dutchtown, Mabry Hood and Sherill Lane, that corner intersection right there by Pellissippi where the roads are already developed. Thereís no windy roads coming from the west side to get to a school. It would alleviate all of the children that live at Cedar Bluff and go to Bearden, thatís 400 students; that go to Farragut (from Cedar Bluff), thatís 400 students. And then thatís another 100 students off of Karns. In the process of that they could rezone any areas like Lovell Heights, right there on the corner, or get down to Canton Hollow. Anything that was up in the upper portion of the west side that could go to the new high school. That would alleviate the pain of Farragut being so crowded. It would also take the people from Hardin Valley when they start to grow and build up and need a new high school. They can bus them to that area. I just think that is probably a better place to go to school than down at the very end of Northshore and Choto.

ē Iím calling in regards to all the parents that live in the Farragut or Knox County area (whose children) attend the Farragut schools in regards to over-crowdedness. I believe we made a little bit of headway when we had the forum on (Jan. 26). I feel that every parent should be at every single board meeting that they hold, which is the first Wednesday (of every month) at 5 p.m. And then they also hold workshops twice a month. All this information can be taken off of their Web site, the Knox County Education Web site. And I feel like if more of us show up for these things, the faster weíre going to get a school; or I honestly think they will drag their feet 10 to 15 years and the problem will not be solved.

ē I want to thank you for a chance to respond to the Editorís note regarding coverage of private school sports. Number one, most of the private schools in West Knoxville are in the Farragut School system, which extends to Cedar Bluff. Technically they are not in Farragut, but they are in the Farragut school system. Two, if it werenít for private schools, Farragut schools would be ever more crowded than they are already. Three, the problem with the argument that the staff of the newspaper is too small to cover private schools is that when private schools do play Farragut and they win, the newspaper does not take the opportunity to highlight those games. If the newspaper is not biased, then why are those games relegated to such a small space? Four, Bearden (High School) is obviously not in Farragut, but does get special attention. For example, the varsity basketball game between Bearden and Fulton (Jan. 22 issue). I am confused about the priorities of our neighborhood newspaper.

ē Iíd like to comment on the Everett Road, Kingston Pike controversy. I live in Fox Run subdivision and I hate that intersection. It one of the worst in West Knox County that Iíve ever seen for trying to pull out. They either need a light there or the police need to make the traffic on Kingston Pike slow down because it is really, really hard to get out.

ē I would personally like to see all or most West Knoxville sports teams covered in your paper, especially the private schools. But as a parent of a Farragut Middle School student, I read a comment last week (Jan. 29 issue) about how every time the Farragut Middle basketball teams win, thereís a story. Since I have recent copies of the Farragut paper, I went back and did not see stories on the FMS teams in the Dec. 4, Dec. 11 and Jan. 8 issues following wins. That part of last weekís comment was simply wrong. But while I enjoy reading about the Farragut Middle teams in your paper, I would like to see them mentioned each week if possible, win or lose.

(FMS did not play any games leading up to the Jan. 8 issue. Ė editor.)

ē Iím calling concerning the Kingston Pike and Everett Road situation. I really feel we need a light placed there (to slow down) activity traffic. If you were trying to make a left turn onto Kingston Pike from Everett Road thereís no way you can see the oncoming traffic from the west due to where the line is set and the bridge is in view and is in the way. So I think a light is the solution.

ē Iím calling in reference to the Kingston Pike and Everett Road intersection. That has got to be one of the most dangerous intersections in Farragut. They need a light up there desperately.

ē I live in Fox Run subdivision, and I saw an article in your paper regarding the accident that happened on Kingston (Pike) and Everett (Road). Iím thinking maybe that a signal light would help prevent such accidents in the future. Thatís my opinion, having a signal light on the intersection of Kingston Pike and Everett (Road).

ē Iím calling in regards to the forum that was held at (Farragut) High School (Jan. 26) in regards to over-crowdedness at Farragut. I think it is a great idea for them to use the old Kmart warehouse building as an alternative until a new school can be built. Putting all the ninth-graders over there I think is a tremendous idea. They do not have gym classes from what I understand, so they could basically have their own ninth-grade campus and help alleviate the crowdedness at the high school as a temporary situation until they are able to finally build a new high school in this area.

ē I live in the Fox Run subdivision and I was calling about the Kingston Pike, Everett Road (situation). I was hoping that there would be some looking into possibly getting stoplights there. Itís really dangerous. At the corner we have to gun our gas to get across it. Itís kind of a heart-pounding event. Iím hoping to see if we could look into it more and possibly finding a solution before something terrible happens.

ē Iíd like to express my appreciation from one of our best new corporate citizens of Farragut, the radio station West 105.3. It is so refreshing to have a brand new business with an original format. Iím excited about their presence in Farragut, and we should celebrate that.

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