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letterstotheeditor


Airborne looking for ‘Lost Trooper’; FIS offers thanks

to the community; Slow down on Northshore Drive, Gary says; Farragut resident calls for warning light at intersection; Mother comments on local judge; Steeplechase resident questions Watt Road extension; Pasley responds to Dogwood Arts financial media coverage;


Airborne looking for ‘Lost Trooper’



With the deaths of so many World War II veterans occurring daily, we are trying to locate all airborne troopers to record their deeds. Membership is vital as we want to unite them with their comrades. Younger troopers are also important as they will carry on the ideals these veterans fought and died for over the past 65 years.

The 82d Airborne Division Association is looking for the “Lost Trooper.”

These are any airborne veterans that served in the military over the past 65 years. Our association has more than 28,000 members including the active troopers at Ft. Bragg, N.C., and our veterans.

Our chapters are active in their local areas holding regular meetings, dinner-dances, mini-reunions, annual picnics, school programs parades and our National Convention.

Names and addresses are available upon request by members. Our members include veterans from the 11th, 13th, 17th, 82d, 101st and today’s special forces.

There is NO generation gap in the Airborne. Airborne is the only requirement.

Activities across the nation include:

• Lynchburg Chapter Spring Fling, May 17-20

• All American Week Fayetteville, N.C., May 22-28.

• 24th SW Memorial Airborne Days, Houston, Texas, June 9-11

• Sun City Fiesta IV, El Paso, Texas, June 30 – July 5

• 60th National Convention Orlando, Fla., Aug 9-12

• National Airborne Day in the USA, Aug. 16

For complete details and material for membership: Write to: Airborne Today or call 1-937-898-5977, 5459 Northcutt Place, Dayton, OH 45414; e-mail srgabn@aol.com



Respectfully requested,

Shirley Gossett

Membership Chairman



FIS offers thanks to the community



Our staff would like to extend appreciation for the support you provided us during the recent loss of our beloved principal, Dr. Robert Frazier.

Thank you for the many calls, cards, flowers and other expressions of sympathy.

As a staff, we certainly appreciated the thoughtfulness shown by the Farragut community as well as many of its individual

citizens.

We are comforted by your kindness along with the many wonderful memories we have of such an extraordinary leader.



Sincerely,

FIS Staff



Slow down on Northshore Drive, Gary says



This is an open letter to all West Knox County residents who travel Northshore Road west of Concord Road. The message is simple. Please be aware of the children’s sports fields opposite The Cove at Concord Park and SLOW DOWN through that area.

The posted speed limit through this zone is 40 mph, but many motorists whiz past our ballpark at a much higher rate of speed.

The fields are in use nearly every day of the week throughout the spring and fall. Nearly 1,000 children participate in Farragut Baseball, Inc., programs. Counting siblings and friends who come to watch the games, some 2,500 children are in the park each the week.

The baseball league takes safety very seriously and has policies in place to safeguard its players – from protective netting at our fields to faceguards on our batting helmets to background checks on our coaches. Parents are vigilant, too, watching their own and other children. But children are impulsive and unpredictable. Tragedy can strike in a matter of seconds – before even the most responsible adults can react.

Last Saturday, one of our players was struck by an SUV traveling west on Northshore. He could easily have been seriously injured or killed. By some miracle, he was not and should be OK in a few days.

You could have been that driver. The child could have been yours. Please slow down. Watch for children near the road. The few seconds you spend driving more slowly past the ball fields could save a life.



Thank You,

Jeff Gary, President

Farragut Baseball, Inc.



Farragut resident calls for warning light at intersection



There was another head-on crash last night [Everett Road at Kingston Pike, 8:30 p.m., Friday, April 30].

Two years ago farragutpress printed my suggestion that a flashing yellow caution light be installed to warn eastbound motorist of the sharp curve ahead.

This would not be a waste of money, because the same caution light could remain to alert motorist to the traffic signal when and if it is finally installed. It too will be blind to eastbound traffic.

I hear the sirens frequently, and feel the pangs of realization that someone else is hurting because they tried to negotiate this curve too fast or perhaps without sufficient air in a tire and lost control. Please help!



Harry Hogan

Farragut



Mother comments on local judge



I’ve read with a personal interest the stories and letters to the editor about the 4th Circuit Court election.

The most recent letter to the editor from Linda S. Brown infuriated me to write a response.

I assume from her letter that Ms. Brown has had no experience in Judge [Bill] Swann’s Court. In November 2005, my daughter sought an order of protection against her husband for domestic violence. That order was signed by Judge Swann’s Court but was never heard.

On Dec. 1, 2005, my daughter was told to appear in court to give witness to the order of protection against her husband.

Guess what, Judge Swann never addressed the order and temporary custody was given to her husband who the order was against; she was not allowed to see her daughter again for 15 days. Again, on Dec. 16, 2005, she appeared in court and was threatened by her husband’s attorney that if the order was not dropped she would not see her child.

There was no fairness in Judge Swann’s Court that day.

Custody remained with the abuser.

On Jan. 22, Judge Swann signed an order giving custody to my daughter based on the results of drug tests ordered by his court for both her and her husband. Her tests were clean, his were not.

The next day, Judge Swann rescinded that order, saying: “Oops, sorry, I did not know what I was signing.”

This is a judge that affects peoples’ lives and he DIDN’T know what he was signing?

Give me a break.

I suggest next time you write a letter to the editor you have some facts to back up your statements. You show me your facts and I’ll show you mine. There are hundreds of stories like this one. All one has to do is listen to the facts.



Sincerely,

Judy Leidner

New Jersey



Steeplechase resident questions Watt Road extension



I find it appalling that the [Farragut] Mayor and [Farragut Municipal Planning] Commis-sioners would mislead the Steeplechase homeowners into thinking that a public discussion of the Watt Road extension would take place before a decision was made.

But, guess what, the Mayor made an announcement at the last planning meeting that land had been purchased for the extension and it would line up with Triple Crown Boulevard. The public discussion does not take place until May 4, item No. 3 on the FMPC workshop agenda.

I have attended the planning meetings every time the property across from Steeplechase has been on the agenda for many years. I have also been told on many occasions that the extension would intersect Old Stage Road, west of Triple Crown Boulevard, as shown on the long-range plans. TDOT made a presentation last year concerning traffic flow on Old Stage Road and stated that there was not enough traffic to warrant a traffic signal at the intersection of Kingston Pike. The Board approved a $65,000 contract with Wilbur Smith Associates to evaluate the extension to determine the best place to intersect with Old Stage Road. I expressed my concerns at that time and was told that a public discussion would be held to discuss the findings before a decision would be made.

The Steeplechase homeowners have requested that the extension not be completed because of safety concerns with transients from the Interstate coming into our subdivision. We recommended that the money be spent to widen Old Stage Road and place traffic lights at both ends of Old Stage Road, if needed. It’s less than a half-mile to the intersection of Highway 11.

I hope the Mayor and Commissioners will at least listen to the input at the May 4 meeting. See you there!



Sincerely,

Sherman Patterson

Farragut



Pasley responds to Dogwood Arts financial media coverage



Editor’s Note: Ed Pasley, former executive director of the Dogwood Arts Festival and Farragut-area resident, penned this letter in response to recent media coverage of the financial state of the festival.



Now that the Dogwood Arts Festival volunteers, staff and board have completed their busiest weekend of the year and have a little bit more time, I would like to add some perspective to Mr. Doug Mason’s story of Saturday, April 22nd headlined “Debt Dampens Dogwood.”

To say that debt has held fast to the Dogwood Arts Festival for numerous years is an accurate statement. But accuracy hardly reflects the full story. Just after the 2000 Festival, financial obligations, short and long term, stood at roughly $150K. Since that time, the debt went down and hovered in the area of $60 to $70K. In 2004, the debt went down to $24K. 2005 was back up to $70K and now we are looking at $150K again in 2006.

What happened? Can’t this be controlled better? Maybe, but in the context of the numbers given above, I ask you to consider the following increased expenses beyond the Festival’s control. Increases the Festival had to take on while trying to address its debt and still produce an annual springtime celebration.

Liability and Event Insurance: In 2002 the DAF paid approximately $13K a year for coverage. In 2003, this jumped to $33K and has since settled in at $29K per year. That is an initial jump of 157% in 1 year and a sustained 127% increase. Insurance is essential.

Our major fund-raising event, the annual House and Garden show: costs for venue rental and support services paid to the Knoxville Convention Center have taken some significant leaps. In rounded numbers, the DAF has taken on the following increases:

• 2001: Old Convention & Ex-hibition Center, $29,000

• 2002 : Old Convention & Ex-hibition Center, $36,000

• 2003: Old Convention & Ex-hibition Center. $46,000

• 2004: New Knoxville Con-vention Center, $94,000

• 2005: New Knoxville Con-vention Center, $106,000

• 2006: New Knoxville Con-vention Center, $92,000.

2002 was SMG’s first year managing these facilities. That year, electrical drops for exhibitors went from $10 per drop to $50 per drop — a 400 percent increase in one year. In addition, food service and catering became exclusively controlled by KCC with no outside food and/or beverage allowed. DAF was no longer able to bring in donated food or take catering sponsorships that had reduced overall expenses greatly in previous years.

In fairness, the increased space in the new Convention Center does allow for more exhibitors and revenue opportunities, which have helped but it takes years to build a stable, annual, financial increase to offset the present expenses.

Security Costs: This year alone, security costs for our events went up 20 percent. The Festival uses and appreciates the KPD officers that handle our needs. We feel they should be compensated for their time but they do represent a substantial annual cost.

All of these infrastructure costs must be covered before we even begin to talk about entertainment and programming expenses, also essential to our operations.

More commonly understood is the effect bad weather can have on our events and subsequently our event revenues. While we do have more good weather than bad, one bad day at a key event and the negative impact can be substantial. In 2002, tornado warnings and high-wind thunderstorms forced our media sponsors to warn their audience to stay inside. This resulted in a $50K loss on an outdoor concert. It happens.

And in the last year, support for Katrina victims along with other rising charitable needs in our community took a toll on donations and sponsorships. No complaints here as there are other human service priorities far above the DAF, but added into the overall formula described above, the depth of the Festival’s challenges becomes quite visible.

Not only has the DAF taken on these economic challenges and delivered a building celebration each year, it has in the past 5 years,

• Given over $17K to Knox County Schools for Arts Education, more funds will be raised for Arts Education on May 11th with the Hounds on the Town auction.

• Given over $60K worth of building supplies to Mission of Hope for their efforts — these materials coming from the House and Garden show when finished.

• Assisted the Kidney Foundation in raising over $20K by hosting their annual playhouse auction at the House and Garden show

• Planted over 500 dogwood trees in the area, in Farragut and along the Trails over the past 2 years

• And produced the largest military parade celebration in Knoxville since the end of World War I with this year’s Celebrate Freedom parade — 20,000 people and 1,500 soldiers from the 278th.

How many organizations, not-for-profit or for-profit, do you know of that can continue to remain financially vibrant under these challenges? How many of those same organizations operate totally without debt?

Obviously, I have a bias in this situation. But rather than see the same old problems with debt lamented by so many in our community, I choose to see the whole story and praise the strength and dedication of the volunteers, board members, staff and sponsors of the Dogwood Arts Festival for taking on these economic challenges, head on and effectively.

Mr. Mason’s report may have focused a flashlight on a problem for the DAF at this point in time. But the large spotlight is on the enduring spirit of the people behind the Dogwood Arts Festival — past, present and future. The Festival will emerge from this situation and grow even more as an institution. I only wish that a larger portion of the community and some media outlets would see the DAF for the remarkable part of Knoxville’s history that it is. And the remarkable cultural asset it can be in the future if more people rolled up their sleeves and helped these fabulous volunteers push this organization forward.

Clever headline though ... .



Ed Pasley

Executive Director

Dogwood Arts Festival

 

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