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presstalk 671-TALK

• Since 2004, the Pilot Corporation has refused to comply with the Farragut sign ordinance, which requires a ground-mounted sign to replace the illegal pylon sign at the Campbell Station location, which was changed when the station was remodeled. And their attorney claims the sign is legal because the change was merely maintenance. To this I, and many others I am sure, would say, “Bull.” It’s about time for Pilot and the part owner running for governor to do the right thing and tear down the illegal sign and install the approved ground sign. Doing this before the early voting starts would be a very positive thing to do. Just “git ’r done.”

Editor’s Note: The Pilot sign issue is being handled by Town attorney Tom Hale.

• The debate over red light cameras continues at the local, state and now at the federal level. I read where our representative in Congress, John [J.] Duncan [Jr.], is calling for an evaluation of their effectiveness and whether the camera citations are just another way for the Town and the cities to squeeze more money from the citizenry. I personally do not like the cameras and avoid locations where they’re installed. I understand their use may reduce T-bone type accidents, but they surely increase the possibility of rear-end accidents, which is my concern. Whether the camera installations are there to reduce accidents or whether they’re just an easy way to increase the Town revenues in Farragut, I believe we need to find out. It’s imperative for someone in the Town Hall who is knowledgeable should document the increase or decrease in accidents caused by the cameras, both T-bone and rear-end accidents. And 2, the number of tickets issued by [Ben] Harkins, [Town photo enforcement manager], and 3, the amount of revenue realized by camera fines and how this money is divided between the camera manufacturer and the Town. Perhaps this information has been published, but not lately and not inclusively. I believe the people in Farragut would love to have this information and know if the camera fines are just a Big Brother rip-off or if they’re truly in our best interest as far as safety. Several states have outlawed the use of the cameras, based on violations of their constitutions or because they were considered a nuisance by the citizenry. Apparently, Congressman Duncan has had enough complaints in our area to warrant his concern. I cannot judge the merits of the red-light cameras without more of the facts I mentioned above, but I firmly believe because it’s so contentious, that anyone ... [disconnected].

• Hi. This is the gentleman speaking. I did talk to you about red-light cameras, but I wasn’t allowed to get in the last paragraph of my letter. Let me try that — I’ll give you the last paragraph of my letter. … because it’s so contentious that anyone running for the elected offices in Farragut should state his position on this issue, along with any actions he or she would take to resolve all of the dissension the cameras have caused. This will take some courage, but any candidate who’s worth his salt — and I’m speaking primarily to the Mayor and Aldermen — should not avoid this issue and speak out now. The time is right. Thank you. Bye.

• Via Thank you town of Farragut for having a few red-light cameras at intersections. I was recently crossing a street in Farragut controlled by a red light. I waited on the sidewalk until the light turned red and the cross signal indicated walk. As I entered the crosswalk I noticed a vehicle approaching the intersection. The driver was looking away from me and to the east to see if cars were approaching. She accelerated, nearly hitting me, to run the red light and proceed west. If a camera had been installed, perhaps it would have recorded this driver’s license tag for a moving vehicle charge. You drivers in Farragut don’t care about pedestrians. Slow down before you kill someone.

• My comments are: I’m not enjoying presstalk anymore because y’all only have about three subjects and I’ve always enjoyed getting my paper because y’all have so many different subjects that everyone in Farragut is talking about. I wish you could write more if they were shorter and people didn’t talk so long on them, because some of these are too, too long — the same things over and over, every week. But I’ve always enjoyed reading it and I hope y’all redesign it. Thank you.

• I’m calling regarding the comment in today’s paper regarding the yellow and white cat in Bent Tree subdivision. This person recommended that the cat be taken to a vet. I have two pets: one has a heart condition; the other has kidney problems. I can’t afford to take the cat to the vet. It seems to me since this person responded, they should be the one to come over to the neighborhood, get the cat and take it to the vet.

• After reading today’s paper, it seems I’m not the only one dissatisfied with the local cable company. They send letters regarding the bills are going up; when I call to get a better price for a package I can’t afford, I get a person’s name for a price for six months. But when I receive my next statement, it is more than what I was told it would be. They don’t honor their prices, and they also switch the channels using the Internet as an excuse. But we know it’s just to raise prices. I also want them to stop calling and trying to get me to switch my phone company and the Internet service. I will never give them any more money. So stop calling me.

• Recycling of electronic equipment, or e-waste: please do not drop anything off at the local Goodwill stores or any Goodwill pick-up point. They throw this equipment in the dumpster. I have seen it, and I was just told that by the West End store that they do that. Please do not take anything to them.

• I want to report on the traffic light at the corner of Campbell Station Road and Kingston Pike — how long is the yellow light supposed to last? I think it is dangerously short. I think this is on purpose so that a traffic violation via the camera can be enforced more often. I think it should be timed; I think it should be set to the appropriate time for the industry. I think someone should look into the traffic light at this corner; the yellow light is less than one second long.

Editor’s Note: According to Town Engineer Darryl Smith, the Campbell Station Road/Kingston Pike intersection yellow lights are four seconds long, the industry standard. According to Smith, that has been verified by a neutral third party.

• Signs, signs, signs; everywhere signs. I use this opening line to discuss the sign ordinance in our beautiful Town and other violations of codes enforced [inaudible] by one individual who resides in an ivory tower, who apparently has failed “Common Sense 101.” Mr. [Dan] Barile [editor], I’m talking about the illegal Pilot sign on Campbell Station Road. And if you check back in your archives, on September, first of September, 9-8, 9-15 of 2005, there were columns and an article. Also look at January 19 ’06, June 15 ’06 and now June 10 ’10. Pilot Corp. has been in violation since the remodeling was done and refuses to comply even though a lawsuit was filed to enforce compliance, and even though a ground-mounted sign plan was submitted and approved. Council for Pilot says that changing the sign was maintenance. To this, I, and many others, would probably reply, “B-dot-dot-dot.” You know what I mean. If all of you will remember the unyielding position taken against Steve Williams, the Icearium, the restaurant truck parked behind Walgreens, the fight with Pfizer, Inc. over the Stonecrest billboards, Rick Terry’s magnetic sign on his car and etc. But in the same light, you continue to allow illegal signs at Pilot while the Gander Mountain and Best Buy was [sic] allowed a variance to have two signs, a front and a back. But then you still fight this hotel owner on the Outlet Drive who actually has improved the looks of the location …

Editor’s Note: Both Gander Mountain and Best Buy are allowed two signs because of their proximity to the Interstate and Campbell Station Road. That’s why at this time the Outlet Drive hotel doesn’t qualify for a large Interstate sign — it’s too far from Campbell Station Road.

• Via I have not complained about the “Calming Islands” on Grigsby Chapel Road. I may have thought the road was too narrow for the islands but on the other hand, if they slowed traffic and maybe saved a serious injury or a life, they were probably worth it. They have never been pretty but NOW!!! The islands are overgrown, full of weeds and are an embarrassment to all the homeowners in subdivisions on Grigsby Chapel. They look as though they were installed in a third-world country whose treasury somehow found money to build the structures but lacked the funds to maintain them. These “Calming Islands” are a disgrace to the entire town of Farragut and this neglect cannot be blamed on the previous administration.

• Via e-mail: I have to agree with [U.S.] Rep. [John J.] Duncan [Jr.]’s opinion that red-light cameras are basically a money-making racket. Driving is hard enough already without the distraction of these red-light cameras. Every time I approach one of these intersections I’m watching the light to see if it is going to change on me — and not the traffic ahead of me. I also have to worry about somebody ramming me from behind because I’m coming to a “complete stop” on right turns — a law that used to be enforced about as often as the one against jaywalking. Most accidents are the result of speeding, texting, tailgating, and drunk driving, and red-light cameras don’t catch any of these offenders. It’s time to put red-light cameras on the ballot and let voters decide if they want them.

• Via e-mail: I just wanted to thank Farragut High School band director Ron Rogers for inviting alumni band members to march in the [Independence Day] parade. We had a blast! I hope it becomes an annual event and I hope we can have even more alumni participate (especially those from the ’80s or older generation). On a more personal note, it was almost one year ago, July 8 to be exact, that I was diagnosed with breast cancer and have had two rounds of chemo, two surgeries, and am halfway through with radiation. I really appreciated the opportunity to get out there and tell cancer who is boss! I hope to encourage others to do the same. Thank you so much for the great time and I’ll be there next year!


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