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Arms ‘amazed’ over farragutpress editorial

Dear Editor:

I am amazed at your editorial of October 14, 2004, Ourview, in which you stated “the wheel tax is wrong and so too is an increase in property tax.” Your view does not reflect your ongoing coverage over the past three months in which you editorialized for a new West Knox County High School. Ironically, your October 14 front-page story covered the Knox County School Board’s revised capital plan with a $40 million appropriation toward a new high school. The same story also reported the pay raise for teachers and other certified school employees. Where do you think the funds come from for the new high school and teacher raises? Like Mayor Ragsdale said at the last County commission meeting, “it’s not free.”

For you to say that both the wheel tax and the property tax are wrong equates to saying Knox County should not build a new high school. Mayor Ragsdale has made it perfectly clear that without an increased revenue stream that the 32 capital projects proposed in this year’s budget simply cannot be built. These projects not only include the new West Knox High School, but new parks and park expansions, new senior centers, two branch libraries and other needed projects county wide.

Quoting your editorial, you state “it is the job of government to attract business to the area to help defray the cost of operation the government and not constantly increase the burden on the citizenry.” As editor, have you not been keeping up with the County’s progress?

Knox County has had the lowest unemployment rate of any major metropolitan area in the state for 18 straight months. It has averaged a rate of 2.8 percent, which is, by any economist, full employment. The “Jobs Now” program has resulted in new jobs, new businesses and business expansions. One of the top priorities in attracting new businesses is a strong education system, which is a primary focus of the current Knox County budget. And as far as “defraying the cost of operating the government” how about operating with over 100 fewer employees than Knox County had two years ago.

For the record, Knox County has had only one property tax increase in the last six years. In these six years, Knox County has opened four new schools…Brickey Elementary, West Valley Elementary, Hardin Valley Middle and Karns Middle. Three of these four schools serve citizens in your newspaper’s circulation area. In addition, Knox County has recently completed a multi-million dollar expansion of Bearden High School. All of these projects were much needed investments in our school system that have a positive impact on the families of many of your readers.

In closing, let me say that it is a difficult decision to vote for a tax increase. But it is also difficult to rezone students from one high school to another. Since Farragut High School is now several hundred students over capacity, much more rezoning is coming unless a new high school is built. The current Knox County budget is one that will move the entire county forward. Your readers should be grateful that Commissioners John Griess, Craig Leuthold and Mike Hammond have the fortitude and foresight to vote for a progressive budget and the revenue to stream and support it. I hope your readers are just as progressive and vote “yes” for the wheel tax.


Mike Arms

Chief-of -Staff

Knox County Mayors Office

FMS PTSA expresses thanks

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the Farragut Middle School PTSA, we would like to extend a sincere thank you to many in the Farragut community who helped make the PTSA’s donation drive and Back to School Blues & Barbecue a success.

We appreciate the unswerving support from the FMS principals and staff. First and foremost is principal Richard Dalhaus, who worked in concert with us and believed in the possibility of the PTSA raising money without catalog sales and graciously gave us shelter when the rains of Hurricane Ivan forced our outdoor event indoors.

We also salute the generous parents at FMS. Our goal in the donation drive was $20,000. To date, we have raised $18,500. Additionally, more than 600 families, students, staff and friends attended FMS PTSA Back to School Blues & Barbecue, making it a festive night for all.

The Farragut business community also showed they care about the schools in our community. A very special thank you goes to FSGBank and Branch Manager Andy Wade, who made a major monetary contribution to the PTSA to help ensure the success of the drive. Other businesses that donated time or items include Buddy’s Bar-B-Q, WIVK Radio personality Jack Ryan, Knox County Sheriff’s Officer Robert Cook, Ritway Inc., Madison Day Spa, Christ Covenant Church and Farragut High School Drama Dept.

We tip our hats to the two bands who provided the “blues” part of Blues & Barbecue; both bands, Blue Planet and Unhandled Exception, played only for tips, and we recognize their generosity and awesome talent.

Many volunteers enthusiastically gave their time to manage both the donation drive and Blues & Barbecue. We thank them.

Finally, we send a special thank you to FMS PTSA President Kim Kazmier, who possessed the vision for a night where families can eat together, listen to live music and come together as a community. Additionally, her desire to find a way to raise much-needed funds without asking children to sell products is so very much appreciated.

With this support and true concern for what is good, it is a pleasure to live, work and send our children to school in this community. Thank you, Farragut.


Amanda F. Johnson

Angie Hensley

FMS PTSA Ways & Means Co-Chairs

Towing FHS football fans’ vehicles wrong, visitor says

Dear Editor:

I was a visitor of your city during the weekend of October 8, 2004. Imagine my dismay when, while attending a football game at Farragut High School, cars were towed from a nearby business. Worse yet, the tow trucks blocked the exit of the lot so people, who were informed by a loudspeaker at the game to move their cars, could not do so. I would ask this business owner: “Where is your sense of community?”

A member of your sheriff’s department explained that this owner was within his legal rights to have (cars) towed as he does not like the trash people leave in his lot. I would offer a suggestion to this owner: why not hire a high school student to collect a nominal parking fee and then pay him/her to collect any trash left on the premises? Or better yet, contact the high school’s community service organization and ask them for their assistance in this matter. Either of these options would be better than infuriating the local community.

If I lived in your community, I would organize a boycott of this business. As it is, I am seriously reconsidering moving to your city when I transfer to the Knoxville area.

Sincerely yours,

Cindy Apley

Reader supports Downen

Dear Editor:

To everyone who lives in the 14th District: I hope you will vote for Keith Downen for State Representative. It is been my privilege to get to know Keith and his family through the East Tennessee Victims Rights Task Force, and I am proud to be able to vote for him and ask you to do the same.

Keith is the director of the “Adam Downen Memorial Race for Responsibility.” Every spring since their son was murdered by a drunk driver, Keith and Wendy have worked tirelessly not only for and at the race, but also to encourage members of our community of all ages to “Make the Promise,” not to drink and drive.

Although the Downens were seriously betrayed by our criminal justice system, instead of wallowing in self-pity, they have stood up and spoken out to help make our community a better and safer place to live through their volunteer work with the East Tennessee Victims’ Rights Task Force and MADD. Their dedication and strength of character is astounding.

Keith is a man of principle. He has not taken even one cent of PAC money for his campaign. Keith wants to make a difference in Nashville for our entire community, not just for special interest groups.

I have heard so many people say over the years that it is truly a shame that we never seem to have honest, ethical, hard working class Americans run for office. Well, now we do. His name is Keith Downen. Please make sure your vote counts.

Thank you,

Jeanne Dotts Brykalski


Readers praise FUD’s McCarter

Dear Editor:

We are writing to commend and recognize a fine public servant Mr. (Ralph) McCarter for his years of selfless service to the citizens of Knoxville and Farragut.

Every time we’ve had any situation requiring attention in relation to the water-sewer services offered by the First Utility District in Farragut, Mr. McCarter was but a phone call away. He has inculcated this sense of service to the community in virtually all of the staff he supervises also. Mr. McCarter is a shining example of what a true public servant ought to be in the way he/she handles situations that invariably arise, treating those that they serve with humility, pride and empathy.

Farragut and Knoxville residents are fortunate to have Mr. McCarter overseeing affairs in our area in his capacity as General Manager for the First Utility District. He deserves special commendation and recognition.

Best regards,

Rusi & Navaz Taleyarkhan



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