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presstalk 671-TALK

• For presstalk, I would like to leave [a comment] in your newspaper on the issue April 23 with [The University of Tennessee men’s basketball head coach Bruce] Pearl and Brandy “Buxom Babe” [Miller]: where is your sense of humor? This picture shows three quotes most of us know: “If you have it, flaunt it;” “Blondes have more fun” and “There’s no fool like an old fool.”

• No wonder why [former Mayor W. Edward “Eddy”] Ford [III], [former Vice Mayor J. Michael] Haynes and [Town attorney Tom] Hale insisted on hiring Dan Olson as the budget director instead of seeking his resignation. He’s worth every dollar the Town is paying him. So far, he’s made a $2 million mistake in capital projects, used the wrong starting numbers for the budget, and misjudged the local sales tax revenue by $200,000. I can’t wait to find out what he’ll spring on the Town next week. Come on [Mayor] Ralph [McGill], it’s time to fix this problem too.

• I’m a relatively new resident of the Farragut area and I just wanted to make a comment that I think the old Kroger would be a marvelous place for a new senior center [and] community center. Perhaps the city of Farragut and [Knox] County could work together on that. The Strang Center, which I do go to regularly, is just entirely too small for the functions they should be able to have there. And a community center would be a nice addition for the Farragut city too, with a large meeting place room.

• I am calling to thank the town of Farragut for the calming islands on Grigsby Chapel Road. I am quite amazed at how effective they have already been in just quieting the traffic and making you feel safer. And I appreciate so much the wisdom of the Town to place those. I know it’s hard for people to adjust to change, but this change is a wise one, and I appreciate it so much. I live just off Grigsby Chapel, travel it many times a day, and am delighted at the new look, and the feel and really, the safety feature of it all. Thank you so much for resisting the pressure to change this back to the way it was. You’ve done a great job and it is appreciated. Thank you.

• I was wondering when the town of Farragut would get around to mowing along Old Stage Road, along the sidewalks that they’ve put in. The grass is so high on either side of the sidewalk that you can’t even see the sidewalks.

• Via e-mail: Concerning what should go into the old Kroger building, I don’t have an opinion, but would love to see it cleaned up, along with the empty bank building that sits right on Kingston Pike. Whose responsibility is it and can the Town of Farragut not enforce some kind of fine for allowing a building to sit empty and not maintained for such a long period of time? These buildings are eyesores on the town, especially since they are on the main road of Farragut and so visible. Even if they can’t lease them, they should be required to maintain proper maintenance on them.

• Via e-mail: You asked a couple of weeks ago what businesses we’d like to see come to the area. It would be great to have a craft store in Farragut like a Michael’s or AC Moore. Either of those might work in one of the vacant buildings. Additionally, I think it would be awesome to have a Dave & Buster’s restaurant/

upscale arcade in the area. They have a fantastic menu and it would provide a lot of family fun as well as provide a venue for teen and adult parties and office gatherings/celebrations. That may be dream that will never be realized, but I thought I’d throw it out there.

• Via e-mail: Everyone is so upset over the Grigsby Chapel calming islands, why did they not consider using permanent speed cameras instead of those expensive concrete islands? Certainly would have been cheaper and a lot less intrusive. Now that the County has decided to widen Campbell Station Road we are going to need to slow the speeders down there as well. Again speed cameras will work. Just ask the City of Paradise Valley, Ariz.; they have had great success with the cameras. We do not have the manpower to use police to catch speeders, but a $150 speeding ticket by a camera will do the trick. Slow down and drive the speed limit and you won’t have a problem.

Editor’s Note: We’re adding just a few notes for clarification. “Everyone” is not “upset” about the islands (See previous presstalk). Depending on how you look at it, only about 1,600 people, at most, of the Town’s 20,000-plus residents are “upset,” based on the votes cast against incumbents. Many of the anti-island presstalks printed were from the same core of callers. When the Town holds (most recently April 23 BOMA meeting) or held talks about the islands, the opposition didn’t and doesn’t show up. The County or Knox County isn’t participating in the Campbell Station Road widening project. The town of Farragut and Tennessee Department of Transportation are cost-sharing the project. Town leaders are, and have been for some time, debating how many red-light cameras are needed at intersections. This debate has gone on for more than a year. Speed cameras also require police monitoring, as do red-light cameras. The town of Farragut has no police department and would have to contract with Knox County Sheriff’s Office to assist in that undertaking. The Town chose the GCR islands as calming devices because they are more cost efficient in lieu of police manpower.

• Via e-mail: Toll booths on the calming islands? Brilliant! Now we’re getting somewhere! This is a serious consideration. I’ve put my mind to it and have, if I may, two thoughts. First, I believe we should erect only “exact-change” booths on the calming islands. The average motorist is thundering through Grigsby Chapel these days at approximately 27 mph (with absolutely no regard for the speed limit) therefore I propose exact-change tollbooths over the “E-Z Pass” booths or “Make-Change” booths because the former encourages speed. (Have you ever driven through an “E-Z Pass” lane on the Massachusetts Turnpike? — Lordy). And the “Make-Change” booths only bog traffic down due to full stops — heaven forbid. My second thought is that we should stay on course with the sidewalks and calming curbs and make the booths out of cement. Growing up in New York/ New Jersey and being of Italian roots, politics and cement have always been of special interest. Moving here, I have watched the Town’s abundant use of cement with undivided attention. There are cement sidewalks all over the place. It was suggested a sidewalk go from one end of our subdivision to the other — a big, expensive project that warranted, from my point of view, close scrutiny as to who would be awarded the “contract.” We have the walks, the cement calming island curbs, and we could have cement booths too. Look, cement is a multi-purpose commodity. For example, where I come from the “family” believes Jimmy Hoffa is in cement. Landfill. My final comment, I have to admit, is not my idea, but that of a friend who is an astute thinker. He thinks America should try these calming islands in Afghanistan. These could be the catalyst for world peace. As he suggested, look how calm Hawaii is. All islands.

Editor’s Note: All good ideas. One note: anyone we’ve ever seen driving 27 mph has a growing multitude of SUVs tailgating them from their point of origin to their exit from GCR. Our staff has been cursed and saluted with hand gestures for driving the speed limit.


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