Blog Archives 8/1/07-10/31/07

Is Loudon position conflict of interest?

In many states, school districts are fiscally independent. It seems that is not the case in Tennessee, where county commissions control funding while the local school boards oversee spending within the district, a relationship frequently described as adversarial.

I was, therefore, somewhat disconcerted to read that in Loudon County the principal of Loudon County's Highland Park Elementary School, David Meers, is also a member of the Loudon County Commission.

It seems to me that there are several potential areas of conflict of interest in this situation. Of course, the one that most readily comes to mind is the fiscal relationship between the school district and the County Commission. Compounding this is the supervisory relationship between the superintendent and the principal.

With input from the district staff, a superintendent typically prepares the budget for school board approval and then is responsible to the school board for its implementation. Would a principal who also serves on the County Commission have undue influence in this and other district decisions?

How would the superintendent evaluate the performance of a principal who also has the power to control district funding?

Francie Entz Loudon 10/31/07 (

Dear David Divelbiss 10/28/07
You are correct Shannon Littleton is costing the taxpayers thousands of dollars per year by settling every case out of court, but this does not bother him.  He is smiling all the way to the bank.  I just saw in the Newsless Hearld that the LC city council had adjusted their budget for City Attorney pay from $45,000 to $101,000.  LCUB gives him a matching amount plus all the lucutitiate benefits (retirement, health insurance , life insurance, workers comp., 401k pension, vacation, sick leave, expense paid trips, etc, and etc,) Its impossible to list tem all.
This is another way the Mayor has taken care of his family and friends.  Another example is the General Managers salary at LCUB has increased form appox. $80,000 per year to approx. $150,000 per year under the current Mayor.  These increases went to the Mayors father-in-law, which increased the father-in-laws cash pay out at retirement from approx $400,000 to over $1,000,000.  Yes that is 1 million dollars which the Mayor and his wife will inherit one-half.  Is this white colar crime, conflict of interest, or all the above?  They must stay up late at night to figure ways of getting the taxpayers money.
LC 10/31/07

Dear Betsy Ross,
You said "I ran into a past member of the Loudon County School Board and I couldn't believe what he told me. They said that he tried to get a plan for a new school and was told it would never make it because they were only single A in sport". I was told something similar but, mine went this way "go with what looks good on TV". Now we must ask the question in the eyes of the administrative principal included  "what looks good on TV"?
Good teachers?......... NO
Good Students?........ NO
Fire safe school ?.......NO
Good education ?.......NO
Good Principal?.........NO  (LHS hasn't had one of those in years)
Good football?.......... OH YEA!!!!!
I was around for the additions of Loudon High School and let me tell you first hand what they got. 9 small class rooms 1 very large football locker room 1 very large football weight room and 1 VERY LARGE office for the football coaching staff supplied with some of the most high tech video equipment known to man (gotta watch those football tapes you know). I have no problem with LHS football or any other athletic program I feel it is a wonderful past time and in some cases keeps kids busy and out of trouble, but it is still a past time it should not be the bargaining tool for which schools get funding for the education of our children. I have a problem when so much money is put into a game and some teachers don't have enough materials to properly educate. I have not been in LHS in 4 years but  no one can convince me they are as over crowded or in as bad a building as Greenback children. I am not a person who thinks if the Mighty Redskins lose the world stops turning and because of that some would label me as a BAD REDSKIN but I label myself as one who would like to see ALL the children of Loudon County and Lenoir City School systems succeed. Lets keep up the fight for the children of Greenback who have been seen as second class citizens for so many years.
L. South 10/29/2007

In the article You Break It You Bought It, regarding Landmark America's lawsuit against Lenoir City, the final sentence reads:  
"The trial is set to go to court in December."
To me, that sounds rather funny.
Does anyone out there know of a single lawsuit filed against the city while Shannon Littleton has been City Attorney that has gone trial?
Does anyone even know of one he has fought, rather than settled out-of-court with a big bill for the taxpayers?
David Divelbiss 10/28/07

No way we can let that council get their hands on the money. God help us all if they do.

Sick Of All Of Them 10/26/07

I agree with Van about the Lenoir City Recorder-Treasurer position.  This should be voted by the people of Lenoir City and not a few out there wanting to make it much easier to get to the bank account.  If they change the charter to appoint the position, then it should be someone who is qualified and one that is learned in the profession such as a CPA or one that holds a  bachelor degree in finance and accounting.  The person should have some knowledge of municipal budgets, expenditures, revenues, and auditing. That might be the only way I would vote to change the charter to allow the appointment of the recorder-treasurer.  You have too many at city hall that want a good job for their unqualified kin folk.  That job is too technical for just anybody to waltz in there and manage.  When the mayor allowed certain people to come into that office and make it hard on the personnel a few months back, he should have known that there was no one qualified to take that job.  I hear that there are many problems and that the city's auditors are there on a daily basis trying to keep things straight so that the city does not get into trouble.  That has cost the taxpayers money that they never had to spend before.  Now they want to change it so their good buddies or family member can have a good job whether they are qualified for the job or not.  It is a shame that the mayor and city council let this happen.  Poor planning on their part.  Hopefully there will be residents running for those jobs that really have our city at heart and not just a campaign promise.  We need good honest, responsible, intelligent, compassionate, people in our local governments.  Lenoir City needs a good house cleaning of the ones who do not fit that description.  We don't need these good ol' boys getting into our bank account at city hall. 
Yours truly,
Betsy Ross 10/6/07

The News Herald has always been  a joke.  Run  by puppets of the  local  government even when  I was  a kid selling them on the street  ppl  wouldn't buy them.

Paper Boy 10/26/07


If anybody thinks it is a good idea for city council to appoint the city treasurer, the person who handles all the money, I've got some land on the moon to sell you. If they get their hands on that position, there will be no stopping the crooks.

Mike 10/25/07

I agree that it is highly important for the taxpayers of Lenoir City to keep the position of City Treasurer/Recorded an elected position.  To find a prime example of what would happen if it is changed to an appointed one we need to look at the position of General Manager of LCUB.  An inadequate lineman with only a high school education with no financial or engineering experience was over promoted to the position of General Manager.  LCUB is one of the largest Utilities in the TVA region and is in dire need of expert expertise in finance, electrical engineering, rate making, etc.  Because of politics and back room deals, it has been given the most incompetent Manager in the TVA region.  The only qualification that was considered in this appointment is that he is the Mayor's father-in-law.
B. Lane LC 10/25/07

I am so glad to see someone has finally taken the news Herald to task on their shoddy paper. They have so little news that the name newsless herald fits just right. Besides If you really want to know what's going on in Loudon County just visit this web site.

June 10/22/07

Van and Sarah

My congratulations to Austin for passing the bar

Bob 10/22/07

Response to: Loony In Loudon 10/11/07
You wrote:
<<It's rather obvious why Commissioner/Principal Meers wants another tax hike for the schools. More money for the schools means more money for him. If there is a vote on a tax increase, Mr. Meers should not be allowed to vote for the obvious conflict of interest.>>
You are absolutely right. This is what happens when you have county employees serving on county commission. The body supposedly responsible for oversight of the county government is composed of the very people they are overseeing.
Look to Knox County and see where this leads. Is this where we are headed? Property tax increase......another sales tax increase (in spite of a budget surplus)..............In the future you may even be paying a $30 "wheel tax" when you renew your license plates. Get enough of those people on commission, and they'll show you how adept they are at confiscating & spending your money!
A point of interest on this: There are at least two more current or retired county employees trying to get on county commission. In the race for 2nd district commissioner, both Tony Arden and Larry Proaps want the job.
I understand Captain Tony Arden to be the fourth in command at the Sheriff's Department (assists Davis, who assists Aikens, who assists Guider in running the department). Is Guider taking a page from the Tim Hutchinson playbook? Get your own "faction" on county commission and you can get your budget requests fulfilled - even requests based on phony numbers like the last one Guider turned in.
As for Larry Proaps, I believe he was one of Tim Guider's Deputy Sergeants. He was also School Resource Officer & is a member of the Loudon County School Board. If he comes campaigning at your door ask him about that vote he cast to buy that expensive property on Hwy 321, and just what he intends to do with it now.
Never anonymous,
David Divelbiss 10/21/07

It's rather obvious why Commissioner/Principal Meers wants another tax hike for the schools. More money for the schools means more money for him. If there is a vote on a tax increase, Mr. Meers should not be allowed to vote for the obvious conflict of interest.

Loony In Loudon 10/11/07

Thank you both Van and Sarah for taking the News Herald to task , I agree totally.

The newspaper's job is to report the news, and not take sides. The problem is that what it does print is sometimes not the truth. A perfect example of that is the statement in at least three papers that said that the petitioners in the public records suit abandoned Pat Hunter, when neither had a choice in the matter.
It would be nice if the paper would print the whole truth about the entire goings on, but we know they will not step on political toes to do so. I'm paid up this year, but will not be renewing my subscription next year, unless things change drastically.

JoAnne Turner 10/11/07

Seems like the News-Herald just picks and chooses what they want to run in their so-called paper.  I requested to the News-Herald in a very timely manner to run a picture/invitation for my mother's 80th birthday celebration.  My mother taught at Lenoir City High School over 30 years.  I thought that maybe some of her peers and students might want to come by and wish her a happy birthday.  The time came and went and no invitation was put in the paper.  When I inquired why this was not in the paper when requested, the answer was, "I have no excuse or reason"!  I never ceased to be amazed...

Sarah Shaver, 10/9/07

I was so discouraged to see that my commissioner wanted to make sure that Mayor Arp got his forty-nine dollars back for the inflammatory propaganda he had stuffed in the employee pay checks. To my fellow Loudon countians. Not all of us in Tellico Village are as gullible as our supposed representative, Don Miller. We know Mr. Arp is no friend to Tellico Village. Wake up Don. He is making a fool of you and us.

Franklin Tellico Village 10/9/07

Concerning your article on Pat Philips wanting to retire as a county employee and be rehired as whatever- my opinion is that the whole county would benefit if he went home to stay. Who do they think they are kidding?  This is clearly their own spin on trying to make the LCEDA a non-governmental entity (therefore not subject to public records, state audits, or any other nose into their business).

The inter-local agreement is published on the internet (as well as the comptroller having a copy). They cannot pull it from the clerk's books like some of the other things that have been changed (in my opinion) there, so they are going to assume the public is not wise to their tricks. If the auditors do their job, my bet is Philips will be drawing his retirement in the state pen.

The pubic would do well to keep an eye on Mr. Philips and Doyle Arp. Keeping a close tab on grants and how they are spent (or not) may be the answer to our school problems and our development woes. We are being sold out piece by piece in the name of progress, but the only ones seeing to benefit are them. If Mr. Philips wants to go home, I will gladly pay his cab fare to do so.

Tired of the corruption and lies in LC   10-9-07

You know what makes this thing so bad to me about our county schools?  I live in Lenoir City, and my tax dollars support both school systems.  I am not counted as living in the county because I am a city resident and I have heard this from different elected county officials. I did receive my county tax notice from Estelle Herron, County Trustee, and my county tax are more than my city tax.  Hummmmmmm but then I am not a Loudon County resident.  Seems funny to me for some reason.  I do want good schools for the entire county and not just Lenoir City.  I have interest in my county schools because of nephews and nieces attending those schools and I do care what happens with their education.  Greenback has been left out year after year when schools in Loudon County were rebuilt or high dollar remodels were done on them.  That hasn't been that long ago.  They were built for then with no thoughts of growth and now are too small.  We as taxpayers have spent millions of dollars on schools that are hurting again.  But to bring us back to Greenback, there has hardly been anything done for the kids there. I think it is their turn. Greenback school has been put on the back burner time after time.  I sure do hope Mr Headlee has a plan for these kids and not put their education off again. I am proud of our city school system.  They seem to have made good financial decisions and just recently built a vocational school with funds they built into their fund balance.  Their fund balance is still in very good shape.  I applaud them and shake their hands because all the children who attend the city schools have been provided a good place to learn and the opportunity for a good education!
Betsy Ross 10/7/07

I attended a school board meeting on Thursday and Director Edward Headlee announced that on Thursday, November 1, at 6:00 pm at the Courthouse Annex in Loudon, three (3) building plans will be announced and discussed. 
Over the years, the community of Greenback received little to no consideration. In the meantime, the old aging school fell into further disrepair and neglect. It's time to right a wrong. Please show your support by asking school board members and commissioners to prioritize and build a New School for the children of Greenback.
Thank you,
Pat Hunter  10/4/07

I personally had one school board member tell me, not third party, that he could not justify spending the amount of money at Greenback because there was not enough children.  I asked him if they had not paid taxes in Greenback all these years?  Go look at the other schools in the county and then look the teachers, children and parents in the eye and say they have the same schools as Philadelphia, Loudon, Highland Park, Eatons, North Middle and Steekee.  I don't think there is a school board member alive that could do this and not feel guilty. Keep the community schools in the communities.  Just think, recently there was talk about making Steekee a K-8 again.  The schools are the heart of the communities.

Bo 10/4/07

Tired of Lies, I am  concerned with all the children of Loudon County and Lenoir City.  I have heard things about Greenback all my life and why they shouldn't be helped with schools, etc.  Not only the Single A deal but that all the property owners in Greenback were farmers and factored into the tax base as greenbelt properties.  In other words, the farmers weren't paying their fair share of property tax so they shouldn't be given any good schools etc.  I don't think that person was lying to me either.  I was just saying that if Loudon County can't do all the schools at one time, I felt that Greenback should be given priority over the other ones as far as who they should help first.  I was appalled when I saw the nurses station in the paper and the fact that there is mold in that school.  I think we should put all our children first in this county and not just in Greenback but my opinion is that Greenback has been left out too long.  The only fault I have about the schools in Loudon County are that they weren't properly thought out when they were built.  Just like the Georgia interstate system the highways have always been built for today and no thought about future growth. You can build bigger schools now better than you can 20 years later.  They just need to think about tomorrow rather than right now before they start driving nails. This is my opinion and this blog is something that Van has given us so that we might express that.  I am sorry it is not the same as your opinion but everybody has one and I will never dress you down for having one. Thank you. 
Betsy Ross 10/2/07

To one that is tired of lies.    First of all I am speaking first hand not by some one else.  My mother graduated from Greenback High School in 1937, I graduated from Greenback High School in 1969 and parts of Greenback school was prior to 1937 and as of 2007 still parts of Greenback school  is prior to 1937.  So how many other school in the county has parts of their school this old. Not many if any.  As as far  Greenback getting on the band wagon for other children not just theirs.  Well I will tell you that there is no community like Greenback, that the people come together to help all, not just the Greenback area, or the Loudon County area, the Tennessee area, they join together and support and help all.   I am proud to say I am from Greenback and I for one think it is time that we are given a fair hand for our school and community.   And think of all the taxes that have been paid by our Greenback citizens  from 1937 to 2007  come look and see how much Greenback has received from our taxes.   So one that is tired of lies, better find out first  who is wearing the sheep's clothing.
Joanne Greenway 10/2/07

Betsy Ross, the school board member you talked to lied to you. Being single A has nothing to do with Greenback problems or any of the other schools. Some schools have children that are  "hanging out of the windows" because of no room.  You have school board members that think that they are always right and the others don't no want they are doing.  Pride and wanting to make a name for themself is what this so called coalition is trying to gain. Don't let any of the school board members ever tell you that they are doing all of this for the children. This is also a lie!!  As for the nurse's office, I know of one nurse that has to practically sits on a commode to do her duties. All of our schools are in dire need not just Greenback. Greenback need to get on the bandwagon of wanting to help all of the children in Loudon County instead of just their children. All of Loudon County children deserve the best!!  Don't think what you read in the paper is the "rest of the story", it's not by a long shot.  Come election time, please, make sure you know who to vote for.  If you are a good reader of people you can tell if they lie to you or not. Some board members like to blow a lot of smoke, some like to talk alot to make an impression. Beware of those that wear sheep's clothing. 
One that is tried of lies! 10/2/07

I cannot say that I am happy about hearing of another lawsuit being wagedafter reading that Pilot is taking us to court. However, I was happy to hear who in my opinion was caught red handed again- Russell Newman our dear planner. From personal experience, I know that the man changes- or ignores rules and regulations when it suits him. This is not the first nor will it be the last time the man has lied. I had hopes that the county would do something, but realize that having someone do your bidding can affect the amount of money in some officials pockets.

Newman has destroyed the beauty of this county by smoothing the way for some developers and has made a nice little nest egg himself with his unethical-if not illegal deals. Mulberry street property and the property that he and developer Cheng bought on Watt Cemetery road come to mind. County Commission knows about his side deals and choose to ignore it. In my book, they are just as unethical. But whoever said the officials in Loudon County have ethics?

Tired of the corruption in LC 10/1/07

I just couldn't believe my eyes when I opened the News-Sentinel and read the story about Greenback school.   This is a shame for our county.  These children deserve so much more and I don't care if they are just Single A in the sports arena.  Yep that is correct.  I ran into a past member of the Loudon County School Board and I couldn't believe what he told me. They said that he tried to get a plan for a new school and was told it would never make it because they were only single A in sports.  Hey Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the kids of Loudon County and not football, basketball, soccer, baseball or even dad blame tidly winks!  They deserve a good education. Get off your backsides and do something for these kids!  That is why you were elected!  Do your job and quit letting your petty politics get into the way of these children.  I couldn't believe the picture of the nurses station.  I almost cried when I saw this.  Loudon County School Board and Loudon County Commissioners, you should be ashamed of this!  Stop your piddling and make this your first priority.  I pay for two school systems anyway, so if it makes a difference, go up on the property tax a few pennies and designate it to build a new school at Greenback.  Give them what they want, as far as the K thru 12 they are requesting.  It has worked all of these years so build them one school and give them the quality they need to educate them and get them on their way to making a good life for themselves.  It is your elected duty to do this!  This is an emergency and this school should be put in front of the line for priorities!  It is simple as that! 
Betsy Ross 10/1/07

 Did you hear Someone at Eaton Elementary Lied about her son laps on the Rainbow Romp? Always cheating... My daughter ask why would a mother lie about that mommy ? My response was once a cheater always a cheater...
Denise P. 9/2707

Why would we have two school systems? Seems like it would make a lot of since to only have one. I guess that's why there are two. Rarely do politicians display since.

A parent 9/27/07

I'd like to add one more thing to the Leo- on-the-job post. Leo is paid to do two jobs- maintenance director and purchasing agent for the county. Even my bad math says that those two jobs pay more than tax assessor would. Would YOU give up a good paying job for less pay? My bet is that if you had a friend in government that could slip a little under the table for doing a favor here or there- you just might.
While on the subject of money, Gordon Harless is paid about 50,000 for being the animal shelter director. I have not seen a salary for his EMS or his convenience center jobs. Does this same government friend slip something under the table for those two jobs? Can we add security guard for the mayor to his list of jobs, since his home seems to be the county building these days?

Tired of the corruption in LC 9/25/07

I have a question, if Leo Bradshaw is running for property assessor does that mean that Susan  Kyker Huskey will take his place as county purchasing director?  It seems that would be a conflict on interest considering her  relationship with the captain and the chief deputy of the sheriff department? Makes one wonder what kind of items they will be writing purchase orders for. 
Bob in LC 9/25/07

 On Butturini's Bankruptcy

Wow, I don't see how anybody  could survive on eleven  thousand dollars a month.
I get  paid around 25 hundred a month  and thought I  was doing really well.

Tom 9/25/07


Dave Divelbiss made some good points and observations "Leo-on-the-job-for-you"


When Joe Webb went before the Grand Jury, why didn’t he do some real digging and add Leo Bradshaw’s name, Mayor Arp’s trusted lieutenant, to the list? Bradshaw is the Maintenance and Purchasing Director. He is paid to oversee the maintenance of all county buildings, schools included! Where oh where has Leo been, when schools were falling into disrepair and neglect?

Honest Abe 9/24/07

Why would city officials even consider giving Overholt any tax breaks? They have to know as soon as he gets what he wants he will sell out and be on to his next big deal. It's all just a bunch you of you know what. City council better wake up and smell the roses.

A city tax payer 9/24/07

I'm glad to see that readers of this blog have already detected the ploy of Arp & Company to regain control of the Assessor's office - by getting yes-man Leo in there.
Doyle Arp was visibly unhappy when he lost control of that office. Upon becoming Mayor, he wanted his hand-picked & hand-groomed protégé to take over the office. But some county commissioners had other ideas. Some commissioners had received more than enough complaints about Arp's willingness to use "reassessment" as a revenge tool against those he didn't like. If you made Doyle & company mad, your property taxes could sharply increase. I know people that this happened to. (Isn't that the kind of retaliation that causes people to remain anonymous on this blog?)
Doyle & Co. seem to have a coherent plan for helping Leo Bradshaw win. It appears to me that the Loudon County News-Herald (gag! cough-cough!) is following the plan.
Look at the September 19-20 issue, page 8A. There you will see a photograph of Leo in motion, distributing the layout for the new courthouse annex elevator.
This is the second "Leo-on-the-job" photo that the newspaper has run recently. The first was a picture of him at Loudon High School, during the delay on it's opening. In that photo he poses for the camera, as the paper reports him to be overseeing the work crews there.
Bullies need the means to retaliate. It's very important to them.
Expect more of those "Leo-on-the-job-for-you" photos in that so-called "newspaper" in the coming months. These people know the power of media-images also.
Never anonymous,
David Divelbiss
Lenoir City 9/24/07

I'm not really sure who this should be directed to, Loudon County Drug Task Force? Billy Hall maybe? Not really sure...but here is my complaint....INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY BY THE COURT OF LAW...It has been brought to my attention that there are some
T-Shirts that are for sale for $5.00 each, that says: LOUDON COUNTY MAKING DRUG DEALERS CARS AVAILABLE TO YOU, and on those shirts is PICTURED, front and center, a Black PT Cruiser, and a maroon Caprice Classic, I know who these cars belong to....there is not another PT Cruiser in the world that looks like this one, same sticker on front windshield, same special ordered body kit, same small low profile tires, I took a picture of the T shirt myself and was able to zoom in and locate things on this vehicle that only the person that drove this vehicle, and ones who knows him, would be able to see on this vehicle, and make no mistake this is it......This is not right, this person has not had his day in court...and the PT Cruiser, is TITLED to a Parent not the one accused of committing this crime.  The Constitution of the United States of AMERICA, Amendment number 5: nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation, Amendment number 14 DUE PROCESS...What is wrong here?  I realize there is proper punishment for any person breaking the law, but for now this person has just been accused of breaking the law, and he has not had his day in court, so I would consider, by advertising this persons car for sale, and also stating him as a DRUG DEALER this itself is breaking some kind of law....and bet your bottom dollar I am going to find out....

Signed: IM not done with this.....9/24/07

Sherri, Mac, and Raymond:
The "so called" Loudon County board of education, also, goes to Nashville annually to the fine Opryland Hotel. They also wine and dine. Some actually drink too much. It also makes me want to "puke" when the statement is made "they are doing all of this for the kids". This statement is not TRUE. If the school board is not careful on how money is spent my grandchildren and your children and their children will be paying the debt of millions of dollars board members want to spend. I would love to tear my house down and build a new one but my budget won't allow me to and it would not be a practical decision. Bobby Johnson needs to read the laws before he makes a decision. The chairman has to go by what the board wants, not the chairman. Hopefully come election time these people that don't know what they are doing will be BEAT! I personally will be working hard to get them BEAT!  The board needs to put their "personal gain" behind them and start working for the people of Loudon County. 

Johnson 9/21/07

Comments concerning Mr. Bradshaw being a "yes man" are completely incorrect.  I have known and worked with Mr. Bradshaw for over 30 years.  He has always been a very dedicated and conscientious employee in both industry and government positions.  I am glad he has announced his desire to become LC Property Tax Assessor.  He will do an excellent job for the citizens of Loudon County.
A concerned LC citizen - 9/21/07

Sherri and Mac,

You're both right. They all go to Gatlinburg.

School safety was on everyone’s mind when the Loudon County Board of Education held its annual retreat in Gatlinburg. (News Herald)

Lenoir City is broke, LCUB is broke, the BOE claims they're broke. So why are any of them spending thousands of dollars going on junkets at the tax payers expense?

This just once again shows what a disconnect exists between our elected officials and reality.

Raymond 9/20/07

To: Sherri in Loudon:
I think if you had read correctly you would notice that the LC city Council and LC Utilities board went to Gatlinburg for a retreat not the School Board.
Lenoir City Council and Lenoir City Utilities Board (LCUB) recently met for a weekend retreat in Gatlinburg to discuss plans for a new municipal building or buildings to house city hall as well as many other government and public offices. Fifteen members between both bodies attended the two-day retreat, which took place in the seventh floor ballroom of the Clarion Inn and Suites. Lenoir City and LCUB split the cost of renting the meeting room as well as the overnight stay of the participants.
Mac in Loudon

After reading your "election 08" it was a surprise to see Arp's new yes man, Leo Bradshaw, in the running. I was there when Jenkins was appointed and it did not sit well with Arp to see Mrs. Smith loose to Mr. Jenkins. In my opinion the last thing we need in this county is Arp controlling the tax appraisals again., which is exactly what will happen if Bradshaw gets the seat.

Tired of Arp in LC   9/19/07

I was reading the news  paper and noticed that the BOE goes to Gatlinburg for work shops. 15 plus people in hotel rooms and to rent the meeting room and not to mention food drinks. Why don't they rent a place here? I'm sure it would be cheaper. BOE doesn't  have enough money to run the schools properly. They have enough for Gatlinburg!!!!!!!
Sherri  Loudon 9/19/07

Bad week for the Marcus tag team. She got a smacked down her insurance scam, he got a smack down on trying to dump Headlee.

Laughing in Loudon 9/18/07

Another good argument to secure the armory.

ET man gets 15 years for plot

A schizophrenic ex-guardsman who admitted a plot to blow up a Tennessee National Guard armory in Lenoir City and kill a retired sergeant and a captain racked up a 15-year prison term Monday.

Ivan Duane Braden also becomes the first East Tennessean to be officially labeled a terrorist under a provision in federal law that boosts the penalty range for acts of terrorism.

The sentencing brings to a close a case that has spanned nearly three years and saw Braden deemed mentally incompetent and then mentally rehabilitated through medication.

In fact, mental illness is both what drove Braden to plot the armory attack and to confess it before he carried it out.

“Determining the appropriate sentence in this case has been extremely difficult,” U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips said at Monday’s hearing.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Braden, 22, in October 2004 after Braden, who had been on his way to Iraq as a guardsman but was booted out of training because he confessed urges to shoot fellow soldiers, showed up at an outpatient clinic operated by Peninsula with a stunning tale.

He intended to break into the armory and take hostages, including retired Sgt. Maj. Robert Williams, who had delivered Braden the news that he would not be allowed back in the Guard until he was cleared by a medical board.

Braden planned to periodically kill hostages until his demand that his commanding officer, Capt. Charles Leslie, be delivered to him to be beaten and killed. He would then blow up the armory.

Guard The Crossroads 9/18/07

To: Not Happy In Loudon 9/13/07
I may know the answer to one of your questions:
<<<........why is it taking so long for the Centre 75 development to get established?>>>
It seems Loudon City had decided they want industries, but without the trucking industry to service them (kind of like wanting schools with no teachers or janitors, or wanting strip malls with no traffic or parking problems).
I'm willing to bet his vague ordinance supposedly prohibiting truck stops wouldn't be a problem if someone with a surname like Carey or Duff wanted to build one at exit #72. But there are no Haslam's with the Pilot Corporation who can claim "I-was-born-and-raised-here-in-Loudon-and-I've-lived-here-all-my-life".
I'll also bet it's easier to get the Japanese to open up their markets to investment by "outsiders".
David Divelbiss 9/16/07

Dear Loudon countians;
I have a few questions that I hope will make it to the right people so that they may be asked.
  • this county is getting a lot of high end housing that I am sure pays its share of taxes. A lot of tax dollars generated from the village and from the areas on the outer edges of the county near Knox and now Rarity Point in Greenback.      
    where are all the dollars going?
  • We have a substantial industrial base that keeps increasing there profit margin. do these companies not have to pay taxes?
    if so where are all the dollars going?       
  • With all the publicity in Knox county about misuse of money and county issued vehicles do we not think it is time to look at how many non-worked related miles are put on some of our departmental issued vehicles? And while we are at it why do we not establish guidelines for who gets these vehicles? The sheriff department has a lot of unmarked vehicles that are used as a persons primary mode of transportation whether is on or off duty. Does the county still furnish a vehicle equipped with Blue lights and siren to a Ms. Helton of the Baptist association for her to drive to and from home and work with tax payers footing the bill for vehicle and fuel everyday?
  • Is it true that the LCEDA uses tax dollars to buy food and alcohol for potential developers?
  • If the LCEDA is doing such a good job why do we only have one food market in Loudon?
  • If they are doing such a good job why is it taking so long for the Centre 75 development to get established? I am 50 and I would like to see the promised KFC go in while I still have my teeth.
  • Did the LCEDA audit ever get results? if so where can we find those results?
  • LAST but not least......IS IT NOT TIME THAT NANCY MARCUS GET VOTED OUT OF OFFICE...she is in the news for all the wrong reasons and putting too much effort in trying to make it harder on the spoke that support the wheel.
If anyone can answer any of my questions please post.....thank you and Get our troops home

Not Happy In Loudon 9/13/07

Someone must have really stepped on Anonymous 9-4-07 toes. Something must be very wrong for he/she/it to use such vulgar language. I don't worry about what is happening but I am concerned. I know that in time "God will prevail.
A concerned citizen about corruption in our fine county. 9/11/07

I have a couple of questions for you. Have you personally been to the armory and talked to the military personnel there? I have. I found out about why they rent the armory out. Maybe you should if you haven't. They were more than kind to share the information with me. I have also talked with the law enforcement agencies in the area and found out there have been no complaints nor DUI's. I don't know where you get your information but you are way off base. I also found that the armory is only allotted a certain amount of money PER Quarter for armory maintenance and up-keep. Lack of proper funding is a driving force. I also found that it costs an awful lot of funding to maintain armories, and maybe you should dig into your pockets and help them maintain.
I do agree with you on the subject of "Illegal immigration and the associated problems are certainly not unique to our community but are a nation wide problem that is driven by the booming economy. Where there's plenty of work and plenty of money, the illegals will follow." This country has too many Americans that are sitting at the house doing nothing because they are lazy. Employers hire the People from south of the border because they are not afraid to work hard for their money. Too many Americans want things given to them. If they would get out and work, illigals wouldn't have any reason to come here.
Next question is, where exactly does your ancestors come from? Have they always been Americans? The only true Americans are the Native American Indians.
In closing, (This is for anyone who reads this and is concerned) I urge you to go down and talk to the people at the armory and find out the real story is.
DS in Lenoir City 9/11/07

Armory Revisited

Last weeks story on the illegal immigrant parties at the National Guard Armory at Eaton's Crossroads, generated a lot of interest in both those who agreed that this was inappropriate activity and those who defended the activity. I received a number of emails and a couple of blog posts taking issue with my position on the use of the armory by illegals. Some questions were relevant and worthy of response.

My investigation into the parties was prompted by concerns brought to my attention by residents and law enforcement. It had nothing to do with prejudice or profiling based on any skin color. The only group I hold prejudice toward are criminals who openly violate the law. If you break the law, that is a crime and therefore makes you a criminal. Currently the law makes it a crime to be in the USA illegally and until that changes, those who are here illegally are criminals.

"Innocent until proven guilty" is a statutory requirement applied to the government, not a requirement enforced on the people. It's true that I don't have a law degree but I do have a degree in common sense and applying the simple percentages of our school system, 90% of those in attendance at the party would be illegal aliens. Surely no one would be naive enough to suggest that all those at this one event were legal.

I will never reveal the sources of information for articles unless those involved agree or request to be named in a story. However in the case of the Armory it could be that those responsible for actually renting the facility feel trapped in a politically correct environment where, what ever action taken could be held as the wrong action. Maybe the bigger question is whether a military installation such as the Armory should ever be open to mass public events in this era of terrorism and just plain craziness? If a lack of proper funding for the facility is the driving force for open events, then changes at a higher level should be taken.

And finally, to the personally degrading remarks, I know some find it necessary to be critical of others success to justify their own failures.

Illegal immigration and the associated problems are certainly not unique to our community but are a nation wide problem that is driven by the booming economy. Where there's plenty of work and plenty of money, the illegals will follow. Until the state and federal government gives local agencies the tools, resources and authority to address the problem, it will get worse.

Van Shaver, Blog Host 9/10/07

First let me say that I am totally appalled that we would allow those crossing into the US illegally to be allowed to party at our Armory or any other Armory for that matter while the Guardsmen are trying to protect the border. That is actually a slap in the face to them. I for one am a firm believer that since I am a US Citizen obviously residing in the US ( Lenoir City ) to be exact, when I proceed to checkout at our local Walmart I shouldn't have to select a language before I slide my debit card. I am where I am supposed to be and I don't think I should have to select my language.
It makes no difference if it's one party or twice a week, it makes no difference if they smoke, or drink. The bottom line is that they shouldn't be here at all. Why, as many soldiers as we have lost would we want to slap any of them with such stupidity as allowing them to party at the Armory ?  I say we should start contacting all of our representatives, and then thank Van for making this "secret" public.
Very Concerned in LC 9/8/07

MAX-The Moron
Oh please. The job they (EDA) does is stressful, no I do not have one of these county jobs but I do know for a fact the bust their a**** day in and out trying to figure out how to make things better. Its people like you and your friend Van Shaver that keep that from being done. The roads are not their fault, talk to Sean Giles on that one. I agree that Doyle Arp is screwing things up, and I know him personally, but he has shot this place to crap. BUT I do feel that if you knew the h*** the EDA goes through no one would sign up for a so called tour of duty. I know I wouldn't. Their insurance SUCKS, benefits are not great, and you know they don't get that much time off otherwise they would spend it with their families where they belong. And also my mommy doesn't control what I do and hasn't for many years. Freedom of speech, well kinda is allowed in this town as long as it doesn't offend you or Van right? I can say WHAT tever the h*** I want to WHO ever I want WHEN and WHERE I want. I don't get on this site to get the news I get on here to laugh at you retards who have nothing better to do with your time then sit at home eat chips, drink a beer and get on THAT THAR INTER-NET THINGY and see what THEM THAR COUNCILMEN are doin' in the big town of Loudon. Get off my d*** case. I can speak my mind if I please and last time I checked you aint my momma either and you, Van, or my momma don't control what I say or do. So shove it up your a** jerk.

Today, I would like to address some recent comments and writings made about the National Guard armory in Lenoir City.  There are several in discrepancies in those communications that I would like Mr. Shaver to address.

Let us first start with the border missions that these troops have been called to perform. Operation Jump Start, the calling of National Guard troops to the border, is not for the arresting of illegals. The troops are there to perform support missions so that the  Border Patrol Agents can police the border.  National Guard members are not involved in actual law enforcement at the border.  Matter of fact, the troops are instructed to do nothing but report the sighting of an illegal crossing. So, the first discrepancy is that these soldiers are not "charged with enforcing immigration laws" nor are they "charged with arresting illegal immigrants."  The soldiers at any armory have no more control over illegal immigrants than your local bag boy.

Secondly, he makes his case about these events hosting illegal immigrants on a regular basis.  I would have to claim that as not being so.  He has only spoken of the two, and from my knowledge that is the only Hispanic parties that have been held there.  That in itself is not a regular basis.  If you only went to church two times you wouldn't consider yourself a regular attendee.  If you had smoked pot twice in your life, you wouldn't be a regular drug user.  The other point to this discrepancy is that Mr. Shaver has no proof that these attendees were indeed illegals.  Do not get me wrong when I say that illegal immigration is a problem and a widespread one at that.  I believe that our great system has something as innocent until proven guilty.

You spoke of "state officials" telling you that the armory would not be rented for those occasions anymore.  I was wondering if you could more clearly define those state officials.  I believe that the state has no formal regulation on armory rentals, leaving it to the local armory employees.  You spoke to the state, did you speak to the local soldier's at the armory?  If not, why?

In dealing with armory rentals over the years, it is my understanding that part of most armory policies on rentals include a section on
alcohol usage.  I believe that an off duty law enforcement officer must be employed by the renter if there is to be any alcohol consumption.  I would like to know, other than the one party that you spoke of, what other events have you known of that included alcohol?  You mentioned in your piece about various events.

I could go on and on about immigration and such, but will not.  In closing you make a statement on this very blog page not to make false accusations yet your website seems to be full of those.  You also mention about hypocrites that drag others through the mud for personal gain.  I am wondering if that might be you.................................

Time to either go in and start checking green cards, volunteer to police events that might contain any illegal act, volunteer to give rides home upon failure of a Breathalyzer, or just move on to a far better subject.

Kingston, TN 7/9/07

I would like to address commissioner Nancy Marcus latest attempt to hurt every Loudon County employee. For what ever her reasons are, she has been on a three year crusade to change our insurance policy to the point that some of us could not afford to continue to work for the county. Unlike Mrs. Marcus, not all of us make sixty thousand dollars a year and can afford another hit to our pay check. While it's true the county has made sure the upper class employees and friends and family of our elected officials (Mr. Arp) have received huge rises, those of us not related or buddies in the right circle and on the lower end of the pay scale can barely make ends meet as it is. I know Marcus can not understand that.

Mrs. Marcus keeps telling us that her motives are about saving the county money. What a liar and hypocrite. At the very same time she is trying to cost us money in the name of saving the county money, she has voted for herself and other commissioners a hefty pay raise, voted for huge raises for "certain" employees, voted to expand the county office building for hundred of thousands and voted to buy all the commissioners new lap top computers which probably none of them could even turn on.

As a county employee I am outraged at Mrs. Marcus on going attempt to punish us for her bad decisions. As a first district resident you can bet I will be doing everything I can to make sure she never gets elected again.

One of many very angry employees 9/7/07

Dear Van,


I have viewed your video several times trying to identify the problems that you point out, but it seems that I need your help.


You say that there is a problem with people drinking at the event, but I did not see any booze, BYOB, or otherwise, in your video, or anyone acting in a disorderly, drunken manner. I only saw some water bottles, Mountain Dew, Coke, and other soft drinks. What I saw actually made me smile. There were children having fun, people dancing to a slow melody, others sitting and talking. No one was acting in a threatening way or even talking loudly. They were not even smoking outside! Talk about a good Christian gathering.


So, what was it that you saw, Van, that troubled you so much? Was it that you came in, didn't recognize anyone there, and no one noticed you? No one shook your hand?


The people at the armory that you videotaped don't seem to be white, but I could not tell if they were undocumented immigrants or not. How can you tell?   Is it because they are brown skinned, wear cowboy hats and speak a different language? I must tell you that I am as brown as they are, can speak another language, and yet, I am as American as you and I try to serve my community and country in every way I can, just as you do. In fact, from all that I have read and know about you, I would venture to say that you and I have a lot of things in common, with the exception that I actually hold a 4 year degree from an accredited university and did not get my money from my dad's produce store.


If you think that they are undocumented simply because they are brown, which I don't think that you would be so shallow and nearsighted to do, then we do have a problem, because there are so many people here in America who are American despite being brown. But I think I have a solution to this "distinguishing" matter which you might like: why don't we have everyone who is a citizen wear some kind of symbol on the outside of their clothing so we know that they are citizens,  just like they did in some places back in the 1940's?


You, Mr. Shaver, have a huge burden on your shoulders. Your website and blog are read and taken very seriously by many people in Loudon County . So, I urge you to be very careful in you generalizations and statements when it comes to an entire group of people.   I believe that it is a far greater crime to incite hatred for others than to have a party at a local facility. And, if alcohol, drugs, and bad intentions are what you are looking for, I urge you to attend the Armory when they have one of those toughman contests, unless you afraid of having a substance abuse relapse.


You are right, Van, this situation is unacceptable, intolerable and must be stopped: Please refrain from using the incredible sacrifice that members of the armed forces give as an emblem for blind hatred and xenophobia. Our soldiers, our community, and your readers deserve better.
J. H.
Loudon County 9/6/07




Those are from the bible as well, and they weren’t just suggestions they were COMMANDMENTS.

Explain how Illegals are not doing all three and I’ll hush.

Brian Jenkins 9/6/07

If the story I read on this site about the illegal aliens using the Armory is true, and apparently it is, then I am outraged. Who is in charge of allowing that to happen? Somebody should be fired or court marshaled. This is a travesty to our military. I for one will be contacting every federal and state official I can to register my complaint. I want to thank Mr. Shaver for once again bringing us the real story.

Mildred G. Loudon 9/5/07

Why are you going off like a cocked gun?  Are you guilty?  Van Shaver has done a great job for this community by keeping us informed.  There ain't no hiding from him.  He works for the public and I think he needs to get himself involved again in our government.  He doesn't put up with wasteful or incompetent government.  He knows exactly what he is talking about when he tells you about some of these jokes elected or appointed as our leaders.  He looks into things before he reports them and doesn't slander anyone.  So if you are guilty, Van will report it.  Keep up the corruption, and we will hear about it.  Thank goodness for Van Shaver.  I am proud of him for the job he does.
Keep up the good work, Van Shaver!
Betsy Ross 9/5/07

I am shocked that LCEDA would be associated with such a potty mouth as yourself. The reason Van is concerned with LCEDA is he cares about this community, and not the welfare of a few! What kind of work do you really think gets done down there on a daily basis? Do you think any body has a hard job? Bad benefits/retirement/insurance/vacation ect.? How about stress? Do you think they feel any pressure from  the struggling economy? I am sure they are doing an outstanding job whatever it is they do on a daily basis.
Who in their right mind would not like a gig like this? Do you have any idea what their job descriptions are? I think 90% of the
taxpayers in Loudon County would sign up for a tour of duty there (LCEDA) if they realized what a gravy train that is. No accountability what so ever!

Ride around Loudon county and tell me what kind of planning has been going on here in the last 20 years? Roads are over crowded, Schools are overcrowded, go try to pull out at Ford Road and Muddy Creek or Shaw Ferry and Hwy 11. How about bringing Adesa Drive onto Hwy 70 This is real smart! Commercial use at Dixie Lee Junction 70 and 11 This is another example . It is a  wonder their has not been bad wrecks at both.

If you do not Like Van Shaver do not look at this sight. Sounds to me you already know this is where you can get the real news in Loudon County. Van tells it like it is! The Truth Hurts. Sounds to me like you may have one of these Government jobs where you swing on the Tit of the taxpayers too! Your momma should wash your mouth out with soap !!! Open your eyes to what is really going on! Keep up the good work Van! Do not let this idiot bother you sounds like she , he or it is in the Fraternity.

Max     Lenoir City Loudon County USA 9/5/07

(I wasn't sure if this was meant just for me or if the sender wanted it blogged. But in an effort to always be fair and balanced here it is. I bleeped the profanities. Van)

Why are you so concerned with LCEDA? (Loudon County Economic Development Agency) I was just wondering I have been reading you blogs and realized you are almost annoying to them. Or at least you are to me. You know I know every person in that office and I do believe they are doing an outstanding job. I also think that yes its public knowledge what the county employees make but do you really have to display what Pat and Kathy make? I think its very immature and almost a**hole of you to diss them as much as you do and do you have  a clue what slander is? Because thats what you are doing to these people and as far as that goes you are just some backwoods reckneck son of a b**** who gets his kicks from tourturing people and blogging about bulls**t you have no clue about. Maybe I will blog about your extra long finger nail on your pinky finger. Did you know that makes you look like I cocaine addict....hmmm...maybe we should start that load of s**t on you and see how you feel. Mind your own f******g buisness and leave the EDA alone A**HOLE!!

Anonymous 9/4/07

Let's say I break into your house

A lady wrote the best letter in the Editorials in ages!!!  It explains things better than all the baloney you hear on TV.

Her point:

Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that the US might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely.

Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests. Let's say I break into your house. Let's say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say, "I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors.  I've done all the things you don't like to do.  I'm hard-working and honest  (except for when I broke into your house) .

According to the protesters:

You are Required! to let me stay in your house, You are Required to add me to your family's insurance plan, You are Required to Educate my kids, You are Required to Provide other benefits to me & to my family. My husband will do all of your yard work because he is also hard-working and honest, except for that breaking in part.

If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my RIGHT to be there. It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself.  I'm a hard-working and honest, person, except for well, you know, I did break into your house.

And what a deal it is for me!!!  I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of cold, uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and bigoted behavior.

Oh yeah, I DEMAND that you to learn MY LANGUAGE!!! so you can communicate with me.

An American 9/3/07

Callie, has been in trouble for years, now she is married into the Good ole boy system. A leopard never changes its spots...

P.S Why is it Callie Rodgers Elder Davis  never makes the News Herald or the Daily Digest when every other Deputy's wife that does something wrong gets her name PLASTERED across the front page...GOOD OLE BOY SYSTEM AT WORK AGAIN!
Pathetic 8/30/07

Why doesn't  the local newspapers ever run stories about Callie Davis?  Everyone else's dirty deeds are put in the paper.......why is she special?
Wondering? 8/30/07

To the newcomers who think that we keep electing these fools over and over.... has it occurred to any of you that maybe the votes are changed, not counted correctly or not counted at all? Does anyone really think that Van lost so badly or that Matt Brookshire could have won as dog catcher? Corruption touches more than mayor's and sheriffs departments.

JT LC 8/30/07

Seems to me like there are too many foxes and if they keep feeding they will soon run out of hens. It appears that Doyle Arp and Robert Bowman are not happy with the judges ruling last week. Free Access to public records is about to be challenged once again. Robert Bowman must think the judge misunderstood and is now taking the fight to another county to make him understand. I think every citizen in Loudon County should have a front row seat for this. Either the judge will take care of Bowman once and for all,
or he will hang himself by reversing his decision. How many people show up to witness the show may determine  the outcome.

Suzy Q 8/30/07

District Attorney Russ Johnson openly admits that he used his influence and position to pull strings to get the fire marshal's office to back off on the life safety repairs at Loudon High School. So will Johnson be prosecuted? Will he be forced to step down? There seems to be no end to the corruption in Loudon County. Johnson as DA conjures up the old adage, The Fox Is Watching The Hen House."

Mark 7/28/07

You got it TV, I don't understand it either. The voters gripe and complain but come election day, they run to the polls and elect the same corrupt officials to lead our cities and county.  I don't understand it myself.  The county has one big patch of officials that have taken over that are in it for themselves and their families.  They are mean spirited and have protection from the city, county, and even the state.  Knox County has nothing on these "good old boys".  I would name a few of them but fear that something might happen to me if they ever found out who wrote this.  That is why I am glad Van doesn't reveal the names.  If people would think, they would know who I am referring to and it goes plumb down to the State of Tennessee.  The TBI, the State Reps, the State Senate, Comptroller's Office, have protected these corrupt officials.  If there are any investigations, they should bring in the Feds and quit messing with the locals to investigate.  I laughed myself silly when I saw who Russ Johnson wanted to investigate his predictiment.  They are all in the same crowd and heaven knows what else they are doing to get their way and fill their pocket books up with our money.  Just look around and see who is lined up together in the city and county and you will know who they are that are plain old crooks stealing right under your noses, taxpayers.
I still believe in America, we just need to do a little house cleaning!
Betsy Ross 8/28/07

I just had a relative sent to Lenoir City's driving school as part of their satisfaction of a speeding ticket. Apparently, Judge Terry Vann, co-council for Chief Deputy Tony Aikens, has appointed Aiken's daughter as driving school instructor. A very lucrative position. It just never ends. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

Mark LC 8/27/07

I've been reading this blog page for about a year now but have never submitted one till now. Not being a life long resident of this county, I feel I have a different perspective than some. Many of you seem to be surprised with the corruption of your local officials, yet you continue to elect the same ones over and over. What do you expect you will get? What message are you sending to the elected officials? Many of them were corrupt and everybody knew it before the election yet you voted to reelected the same people. This simply affirms to the corrupt officials that they can continue to flaunt their illegal and illicit activities. You asked for it, you got it. Stop complaining.

TVDAN 8/27/07

To Adam Not Surprised,
It is not just the Sheriff's department. And it is certainly not a new trend. Stealing county money has been going on for years. Back it the 1980's The County Court Clerk Riley Wampler. Who is a personal friend to Doyle Arp. Took $10,000 of tax payer money. Got caught, paid it back, and walked away. I am sure, if a true county wide all departments investigative audit was performed. We all might be surprised who has taken money and NEVER gotten caught.

Just Wondering 8/18/07

Question, why does the grand jury report to the mayor and the county purchasing agent ( I noticed the CC to both on your report)?
Is this more of the good ole boy system? Seems like no one goes punished around here lately. Maybe we need a new prosecutor?

Suzie Q 8/18/07

As a professional with six years of post secondary education and two degrees, I feel short changed. I should have joined the Loudon County Sheriff's department. Apparently the pay is excellent. According to records at the Blount County Court House, our own Loudon County Chief Deputy, Tony Aikens just bought himself a nice little mountain hide away in a gated community in Townsend for the tidy sum of $354,000.00. Congratulations Mr. Aikens. First the extortion charges dismissed, now a new summer cottage to get away from the rat race. Aint life grand.

Not Surprised 8/17/07

Is it just me or we starting to see a trend? Loudon County Deputy Drinnon gets caught stealing, pays back the stolen money and walks away. April Bowen, a Loudon County Deputy's wife, gets caught stealing pays back the stolen money and walks away. Deputy Aikens takes mans money gets caught pays back money walks away. Indictment dismissed three times. Deputy Arden indictment dismissed. Deputy Billy Hall indictment hung jury. The moral of the story, if you are affiliated with the Loudon County Sheriff's department you are apparently above the law.

Adam Not Surprised 8/14/07

Do we speak Spanish or English? 

My concern is… Friday when I went through my North Middle School 5th graders backpack I had a letter from the new Spanish teacher.  I guess all students are required to take Spanish and I do not have a problem with them learning a foreign language, but WHY is it REQUIRED and WHY can’t it be French?   My kids will get a passed or failed grade for this class.  The teacher wants the parents to work with their children each night on learning the Spanish words.  Why is it that they are concentrating so hard on teaching my legal, American, English speaking children, Spanish?  I’ve taught my children for 10 and 12 years how to speak English.  If I wanted them to know Spanish I would have moved to Mexico and raised them there.  Why don’t the educators teach all the Mexican children to speak our language—ENGLISH.

NOT SPEAKING SPANISH—Lenoir City 8/14/07

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

This is the question we should be asking our county school board members. Obviously the sheriff's department has it's problems but they pale in comparison the the antics of the school board. What these clowns have done must border on criminal but maybe they could claim insanity. From the million dollars they threw away on the 321 land to the Loudon High School mess, the board in their entirety has proven their absolute in competency to deal with the simplest of issues. All of them should resign for the sake of the children and the citizens of Loudon County.

Bobby Broils in Loudon 8/6/07

In regards to Sheriff Guider firing Bill Shirk again, I have a couple of comments.  First, the story I read says he removed items from the jail? I was told by a person close to the sheriff department it was a purchase order for toilet paper that he supposedly took out of the jail.  Second, if he was fired for that why is it that Tony Arden and Tony Aikens weren't fired when all the evidence involving Billy Hall and the inmate he supposedly assaulted disappeared from the jail? I mean do they seriously think people are stupid enough to believe that EVERYTHING involving that incident was lost? And Tony Aikens, he has been indicted what 3 or 4 times and on different charges besides the extortion charge and he wasn't fired?  And why is it that they are allowed to drive unmarked county vehicles on personal time while taxpayers pay for the gas they use? I guess in some cases depending on who you are or who you know in Loudon County there is such a thing as being above the law.  How do you go about getting one of these jobs? I want to apply.
disgusted in LC 8/3/07

Referring to the activities of the Loudon County Sheriff's Office as a soap opera is far too kind. In reality, it is a disgrace and embarrassment to the entire County.  It's all too obvious that there is no leadership in that office. Every manner of of immoral and often illegal activity is just accepted as business as usual. I understand that Tim Guider is an elected official, but when does it get to the point that some outside agency steps in to put a stop to the madness. We the people are surely getting the short end of the stick.

An Embarrassed County Resident 8/1/07