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• In reference to a caller [Feb. 2], why would we, the people of Knox County, not vote for Dr. Lee Martin for the Knox County School Board? It’s unlikely we could do better. Here’s a man that’s been successful and is willing to give back to the community. ... his ability to find unique solutions no one else thought of. Right now the school system is in desperate need of solutions that seem to be beyond the grasp of our current school board and its administrators downtown. The caller goes on to brag about Farragut High School ranking at the top of the state. He conveniently leaves out that this is for public schools in a state that ranks at the bottom in every national ranking, whether it be dollar spent per student or ACT and SAT scores. Somehow, the argument that we don’t need to change anything because we’re already the best of the worst rings hollow. So why wouldn’t we want someone who is experienced first-hand at the benefits of a well-run nurturing and challenging school that focuses on the development of character, leadership and commitment to service? Or does this frighten you?

• I’m calling to offer a big thanks to the gentleman who takes the initiative at Farragut Intermediate [School] in the mornings, and volunteers his time to direct the traffic. A big thanks goes out to him. I wish that the school administration would walk down there and see the situation sometime and realize the problem exists, and they would be able to keep a traffic person there for 30 minutes in the morning, so this guy wouldn’t have to do this. But I am grateful to him, and want to offer him a great big thanks. I know our school system is stressed financially, and that this is probably a minor problem, but it’s a very visible problem when all us parents bring our children in in the mornings. I feel like it’s got a very simple solution, and we have had a traffic person there some, but they seemed to have disappeared lately for some reason. If the county commissioners are reading this, surely one of them can find a few dollars somewhere to pay for somebody to be there.

• Yes, I’m calling to find out what do the west side people know in regard to the School Board looking at staggering school start times for high school to help decrease transportation costs. Talk is they’re talking about starting the high school between 9 and 9:30 in the morning. My question is how is this supposed to decrease the transportation costs on the west side when the middle and high schoolers ride the bus together? My concern is that this will cause children to get home even later, which will, in turn, cause everyone’s [inaudible] activities to begin later, cutting into social activities and other school activities, not to mention that the high school kids have a higher dropout rate and absentee rate. How are the parents suppose to make sure that the kids get out of bed and into school like they’re supposed to? Where are the elected officials at, and the news media? Why are they not posting minutes from the school board meeting and forwarding them out to the people in the county by PTA school newsletter or e-mails? If we wait for the Board of Education to post the site, they are two months behind schedule. And this information is supposed to be discussed at the Feb. 16 [inaudible] meeting. What does the west side know?

• I moved to Farragut five years ago and I frequently walk the town’s greenway system. In the last year or so I’ve become concerned about a growing problem — homeless drifters moving along I-40 through the town. There’s a steady stream of these people moving between the Watt Rd. and Lovell Rd. truck stops, following I-40/75. They use the greenway and bordering fields as open-air bathrooms and the protected Turkey Creek Wildlife Area as a campground. Their waste and garbage can be spotted all along this route. One day a couple of weeks ago I was walking my dog there and I encountered two separate groups of these people as well as two more individuals, either stumbling along the trail or sleeping in the brush. One of the groups consisted of a woman and two men accompanied by an equally filthy, sick-looking dog. Families with small children, unaccompanied women and residents like myself use this greenway for its intended purpose and have, I feel, the right to do so in safety. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that many of the smash-and-grab car break-ins reported at the Cracker Barrel and Baymont Inn parking lots are attributable to these vagrants. I know many people will say I should have compassion for these poor unfortunate folks, and they have to sleep somewhere. I say, let’s see how tolerant you are after you’re out walking your dog and he gets into a pile of human excrement left by one of these “poor souls” within a quarter-mile of at least a half-dozen public restrooms. Maybe a Farragut sub-station of the Sheriff’s Department is the answer. Considering this problem, the car break-ins and the weekly loser-fest at Cotton-Eye Joe’s, it may be justified.

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That’s it. The forum is open for comments regarding anything you have on your mind — local politics, world affairs, sports, religion, community affairs, city-county unification or anything else.


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