Did he really say that? 

"Some of the very same people who want new schools also oppose development that could help pay for it...you can't have your cake and eat it too."
Doyle Arp, as quoted in today's News-Herald.
Pardon me, but isn't development what got us into this pickle in the first place? Do Big Developers and their mouthpieces like Arp really expect us to believe they are the solution, rather than the cause, of rampant growth and school overcrowding? Does the word "delusional" come to mind?
--Zeb 1/31/08

In response to Ward M,
You obviously think the Sheriff and Tellico village have been and are currently in cahoots, I am sure I cannot change your views on that score.I never had a doubt that the county had volunteers before I arrived and I certainly do not think of  you or the people of Loudon County as  barefoot ignorant rubes or any other derogatory term.
You are misinformed how the car came to be. The Sheriff did not approach the community, but he was approached by a person in the community through his agents. If others in the county had done likewise I am confident that efforts would have been made to determine a need for  such a program or some other program to meet that communities needs. Is politics involved, hey these are elected officials and I'd be naive to think politics isn't a motivator, that doesn't make things wrong because an elected official seeks to satisfy his base..
You feel the man in the photo is not deserving of a take home car, yet after I laid out all he does for both the fire department and Sheriff's Dept., without compensation, you would still begrudge this man of an aging vehicle with over 136,000 miles on it. Operation of said vehicle comes with restrictions and cannot be used as an addition to family owned vehicles. Has hatred so blinded you that when someone gets a small benefit it offends you.
The man in the picture would love to see the county as a whole benefit from such programs as the COP and one day hope to see it spread to other areas within the county that is the intent of this pilot program. Tellico Village is an experiment that will either succeed or fail on it own merits.
Instead of being critical of what is going on here wouldn't it serve you and the community at large to investigate what is happening and maybe enjoin with us rather than being exclusionary and accusatory. I will admit I am relatively new to the area and do not know all the political infighting that has preceded my arrival and in truth I could care less. There are many of us who wish to be very much part of Loudon County in every way I am one for sure. I chose to live here, I was not forced to do so. Since you do not know me you are equally in error to think I view the people here as "Rubes" or barefoot and ignorant. If I thought that I would have chose to live elsewhere. I hope this clears the air on that
You are correct that I assumed you were not a volunteer in your community and for that I say Mea Culpa. If you are in fact a volunteer in any way shape or form then the matter of the " the man in the picture" having a small benefit for his service should be understood by you. This benefit has come to him only after many years of faithful service, which I must add once again was uncompensated. This was earned by merit not favoritism.
I have no objection to keeping this line of communication open as long as it remains civil. If you truly wish to learn more about the activities here I suggest you make that intention known and come see for yourself. There is nothing to hide from you or the people of this great county.
Anonymous in Tellico 1/31/08

I can't wait to hear the school board members who will be running for reelection try to make their case as to why they should be reelected. What could they point at that they had accomplished to deserve another term? I can hear it now. Vote for me. I threw away millions of dollars and allowed the schools to fall apart.

Jerry Audie Lenoir City 1/30/08

Back to anonymous in Tellico Village,

You seem to think you people are the only people in the county to do volunteer work. Let me assure you, long before you arrived in our county, we had plenty of people doing all manner of volunteer work and we still do. Difference is, we don't feel it necessary to toot our own horns.

Ever heard of the Loudon County Rescue Squad? An all volunteer organization that responds to a geographic area ten times the size of the village with five times the population. Know how many free cars Sheriff GuiderAikens ever donated to the squad? 0.

Ever heard of the Greenback Volunteer Fire Dept.? Notice the name? VOLUNTEER. Cars 0

Ever heard of the Philadelphia Volunteer Fire Dept.? Notice the name? VOLUNTEER. Cars 0

And the list could go on and on. I am sure the "other man" in the picture is all you say he is and does all you say he does, but why is he and his organization more entitled to free county cars than any other volunteer organization?  

Lastly, you automatically assume that I don't do any volunteer work for the citizens of Loudon County. Since you do not know me, I can only assume that your general opinion is that none of us poor ignorant rubes running around here barefoot and stupid could possibly have enough since to help anyone but ourselves. I doubt that anything I could say would change your opinion.

At least be adult enough to admit the truth. The free car hand outs in the village are merely a political ploy and pay back. Isn't it a strange coincidence that those persons and organizations who have been the recipients of cars, emergency equipment and other little perks, and you know what I mean, are the same persons and organizations who stuffed envelopes and mail boxes for Sheriff GuiderAikens in the last election? It just is what it is.

I will tell you this, I have been personally involved in many worthy causes over the last fifty years, but the volunteer activity I participated in that I am most proud of was many years ago when I carried a sign to help protest against the government when they stole the farmer's land to create Tellico Village. Maybe you should gather your facts.

Ward M. Ward M. A smarter villager 1/30/08

To John S. 2/26/07

I will take back my suggestion that all school board members should be voted out. But those wanting to remain in office had better get out and make us understand what they have done over the last four years that should entitle them to another four years. How did they vote on the issues. Who voted to buy the 2 million dollars worth useless land on 321. Who voted to keep Headlee and Hemilright and so on and so on. If there are any deserving another term they better make their case to the voters or at least to me.

Pamela S. 1/29/08

The old Rexall property where Matt the Brat wants to move city hall to belonged to the late Mose Waller. Two of his daughters are listed as the owners as of Jan 1,2008.  JANET WALLER CLARK and NANCY WALLER WHITSON. I have no idea if there is any connections. Maybe Matt is just that dumb.

Mark L. Lenoir City 1/29/08

Rexall Property Owner 

Check out this website for property records.   http://www.assessment.state.tn.us/

2nd District Voter 1/29/08 

In response to Ward M.'s complaint about the " Free Cars" donated to Tellico Village. I would like to respond to your comments by first saying you need to get your facts straight. The newspaper is the last place to get facts from, you should know that by now sir, If you wish to learn the truth it would be wise and prudent of you to go to meetings where such things are discussed and learn first hand what the Sheriff has in mind  not only for Tellico Village, but the county as a whole. You do the citizens of the county and yourself a dis-service by making statements that are full of non-truths. The Sheriff or his agents have no need to defend their actions based on your statements which are wholly slanted and in plain language erroneous.

I will however remark about a comment you have made about " someone in the photograph". If you knew that person as I do, you would know that he has been and still is a servant to this community and to the county as well. He works tirelessly to assist the sick and injured at all times of day and night without compensation. He donates many long hours to both Tellico Village and The Sheriff's Office without compensation sans the take home car you refer to. If that bothers you why don't you try getting up at 4am to answer the calls of the sick and injured in Tellico Village. Why don't you offer your service to the community in any regard you see fit to serve, I think not my dear complaining fellow citizen. You and those like you do well to point out what you perceive as an injustice without gathering facts first, had you done that then maybe I would not have had to respond to your commentary.

Anonymous 1/29/08

          I am Very Disturbed hearing information about town about the Mexican Mama Cita's Snooping Around town then telling their men folk who and where to Steal from. I don't know how true this is, But! I have Seen these Ladies walk my Alley to the next Alley looking around. There has been a lot of Theft and Attempted Theft about town recently. There is No Justus  these days, Except take the Law in your own hands and Protect yourself and your Home. I say Ship  the Thieving Misfits to Iraq {without weapons}! Our Mayor is just about as good as our current President! Need I say More? BEWARE! A Guy  Recently got his Wallet lifted while Shopping inside  the  Wal-Mart Store ! Found it later floating in the creek near-by ! Look-out for yourself, no one will.  I know most everyone who has Paid in Taxes will be receiving their Tax Return money within the next few months, Protect it  so you'll still have it to spend instead of a Thief spending it for you,              

All American Thief Hater 1/29/08

Now Mr. Arp says under his administration that if people are told that money is for that then that's where it will go.  Fine, but people should have been told that money was going for new schools instead of remodeling his new office.  He sits in his new offfice, while evacuation's are taking place at Greenback School.
It is a sad day when elected officials cannot serve the people in offices that were fine for the previous adminstration.  When Mr. Arp was elected by the citizens of Loudon County, I am sure that the last thing on their minds was spending money for him a new office.  He was elected to help us, not hinder us.
I think we should now take a look at the County Commission, the school board and ask the question, are they hindering us or helping us?   If the answer is hindering, then it's time for replacement. 

Joanne Greenway 1/28/08

Does anyone know who the Rexall property belongs to???  I know you can find out by calling the court house and checking and I will probably do that tomorrow, I just wondered if anyone knew. I am curious to find out and am willing to bet that it will be some friend, relative or co-worker of Matt-the-Brat. Why else would he want to move there, spend thousands to rebuild it, and move out. Just think about it, someone will be getting their property totally restored, which will increase the value of it when they sell after City Hall moves out AND they will get to collect rent too for the time they are there. It's a smaller version of a TIF. All the improvements done at the taxpayers expense, and the owner is the one who profits in the end. I heard that Shannon Littleton owned a lot of property in town, is the Rexall property one of his?? If so that would explain it. City Hall is fine where it is, and the building doesn't need to be sold and as far as this big interest in it from several buyers that was bull, only one person wants it, and guess what they will still want it later.
Connie - L.C. 1/28/08

I did as John S. suggested and researched the news articles. In the July 3, 2006 article in the News Herald, it states very clearly that Walker and Tate voted NO and Marcus abstaining from the vote for the 321 property purchase. I can only imagine what could have been accomplished in our county schools with that 2.2 million dollars. In the meantime property purchased sits vacant for years. One project at a time should be completed. Then move on to the next. Instead the board has property at several different locations in the county and no money to do anything with them. The board cannot spend money and then cry they don't have any. All the while our county schools have roof leaks, heat/air problem, fire safety issues and all around general maintenance problems. It's time to get priorities in order and actually give the children what they "NEED".


In reference to the re-election of members with no education or experience, how about just getting some people who have common sense and aren't afraid to step out of their comfort zone and go against the grain for the sake of our kids. Start asking questions and doing your own research on these important issues. Don't just accept what is spoon-fed to you. Hold off on the vote and find the answers to the many questions that arise on some of these items, and then make an informed decision.


Watching in LC 1/27/08

In response to the comments made by Ward M., I would like to say the following:
How many of the county officers that drive unmarked cars use those cars for their personal use? How many of them drive their patrol cars on weekends, say like to the races at Bristol? Or how many use their county gas cards to put gas in their motorcycles? How many of the officers have cell phones that are paid for by the county that they use for personal calls? How many are getting paid a salary for being at work and never show up for days at a time?  I think if you look into these questions you would be very surprised at the answers you get.  There is so much going on the people of Loudon County don't know, but I don't think it will ever change because no one wants to do anything about it.  But, I ask you, do you really want ANOTHER member of the Loudon County Sheriff Department in a position of control over your tax dollars?
Just watching from the porch........... 1/26/07

Your blog  entry is quite interesting in that you do not like anyone currently on the board of education.  I am sorry you do not like who is in there currently but you are right, we do have a choice to decide who to vote for.  But let me remind you that each member represents his or her area of the county and that those people have a voting record just like the big guys in the senate and other state offices.  Please look at each persons voting record on the board and what they voted for or against and see which ones voted to spend (waste) money and those that were against it.  I do not believe you can label all the members as bad because each person has only one vote and one voice.  To give you an example, look at the ones that voted for the wasted money on the property on hwy 321 and those that adamantly voiced their opinions against it, there are newspaper articles. Also recently look at the board members that violated their own policies to get their agendas voted on without discussion from the full board and then trying to make the others look bad by exploiting the students as their excuse to move so quickly, this is where the money gets wasted. I know one bad apple spoiles the barrel but give each person on the board their dues.  There are those that have their own interests and those that have the publics interest at heart but one or two cannot defeat a majority vote.  Look to those that have been on the board a long time and those for a short time and you will see why we are having school problems.  Those with no education or experience should not be reelected.
John S. 2/26/07

Early voting is going on right now and I hope people get out and vote. Unfortunately, a vote for follow-the-leader Leo Bradshaw is a vote for Mayor Doyle Arp.
I recognized Mayor Arp's high-priced rolly polly attorney and a bunch of people going into a big room and they closed the door. They had food and lots of papers. How much did that little gathering cost us taxpayers?
By the way the columns outside Arp's office are indoors and are every bit as tacky as Doyle Arp.
When will our newspaper investigate all the spending, cronyism, nepotism and corruption? Now you can see why kids go to schools in unsafe buildings while Arp and his cronies live like royalty!    
Tired of crooks 1/25/08

All you people out there so disturbed by the antics of the school board. Cheer up. In August this year we, the voters of Loudon County, will have the opportunity to fix over half of the problem. Six of the school board members terms will be up and they will have to seek reelection to keep their seats. Seems to me, all of them would be ashamed to even think of asking us to give them another four years on the board. To do what? Make things even worse than they already are? I can't even imagine how any of them could or would even start to campaign. What could they say? Reelect me, I've done such a great job so far. If it weren't so sad it would be laughable.

Seats to be up for reelection;

1st District, Bill Marcus & Scott Newman
3rd District Larry Bass
5th District Freddie Gene Walker & June Klinstiver
7th District Nancy Paule

OK voters, it's time to put legs to your complaints. If you don't like what you've got then here is YOUR chance to do something about it. It's not enough to just say I don't like the ones that are there, there have to be alternatives. Some body has to run against the incompetent  incumbents. Who will step to the plate? Will it be you? It's easy to complain about the problems. It's a lot harder to commit to help solve the problems.

With out any doubt, the current crop of board members has been disastrous for Loudon County schools and tax payers. It's time for a major change.

Pamela S. 1/25/08

Well, I see Sheriff GuiderAkins has given away another county car. The News Herald reports that GuiderAkins has started a new community program whereby he gives Village people a police car compliments of the tax payers. Now, why is it that the village people are deserving of a county car but other communities of the county are not entitled to get a free police car. How could there be so much crime in the village that they get a free car? How bout the Buck Town community? No crime there? No need for a community cop car there?

Let's call it what it is. It's pure political pandering at the expense of the tax payers. Free car, free gas, free insurance. I think most everyone including the village people can see what is really going on. Having come so close to loosing the last election, GuiderAkins is buttering the pot good and early. Oh and this is not GuiderAikens first car give away to the village people. One of the gentlemen standing in the posed picture has been driving a county cruiser for a long time. So that's two free cars for the village. Maybe GuiderAkins could do like Opra and just give every villager a free county car. That should cinch him the next election.

Ward M. A smarter villager 1/25/08

Mr. Mayor and Council of Lenoir City:


Why are we selling a building that is paid for to move into and renovate a building that we do not own?  If you can get $700 k for city hall now, I am sure you can do the same when you have the new city hall built.  This decision would be a waste of taxpayer’s money again!  After you renovate the building for someone else, is the landlord going to pay you back for all the money you spent there? No, he will not.  The landlord will have a brand new building to rent, for significant money, and the taxpayers will pay for his remodeling. This sounds somewhat fishy to me!  City Council, I do hope you will stand up to the mayor and not let this happen.  This kid is on a spending spree that will hurt us badly if you do not go along with Vice-Mayor Hines and stop this ridiculous waste of funds.  Most people that I have spoken to are against this.  Stay in your building for a couple of more years and get the new one built. It will not cost you anymore to do this. You are just asking for trouble if you sell and move to a building that doesn’t even have the room for your offices.  The building doesn’t have a fire proof vault which is something you must have in order to make sure all the records and cash are safe.  That building is a fire trap like most of the buildings on Broadway.  I think we all remember the fire that took out the entire block a few years ago.  I do hope that you will do the smart thing and wait until you build the new city hall and not even think about moving to a place that is not suited for a government building. 


Betsy Ross 1/25/08

There certainly hasn't been much discussion on here about the election. Does everyone realize there is an election going on? It's the responsibility of every citizen to do their patriotic duty and get out and vote. Otherwise we could end up with a Hillary or even worse, a Barack Hussein Obama. And in the local election if you don't vote you could get Doyle Arp back in control of the assessor's office. That could be worse than having Hillary or Obama. Leo Bradshaw is just a puppet for Arp and if Bradshaw gets the job, Arp will be running the program. After all, Bradshaw has done such a great job with school maintenance hasn't he? NOT.

M. Summit 1/25/08

In today's News-Herald Shirley Reno ran a campaign ad in which she claims to be in favor of "Open Records".
Did I miss something significant somewhere?
Mayor Arp has spent a good deal of the Loudon County taxpayers' $$$$ defending his obstinate policy on public records. As with most governments in this country, it is the legislative body that controls the purse strings.

Many of us felt that the County Commission should have threatened to defund his defense if he didn't settle the suit by simply agreeing to obey the law. Instead, the commissioners (including Ms Reno) sat passively by and let the Mayor flush those public funds down the toilet. If Shirley Reno claims to favor "Open Records", I'd sure like to know where she was when it mattered.

My 2nd point may have more to do with the state of Loudon County government than with Ms Reno.

We now have the spectacle of an incumbent commissioner campaigning on the premise that she favors the county government obeying state law (like it's a choice or something!). Do you ever see such a thing anywhere else?

Can you imagine a candidate for sheriff running a campaign ad stating that he "opposes deputies accepting bribes from motorists" that they stop for traffic violations?
How about a candidate for City Recorder telling us that he/she "opposes city officials embezzling city funds for personal gain"?!
But Ms Reno favors "Open Records", according to her ad. (Pssst! Shirley! That's already the law in this state!)

David Divelbiss 1/24/08
Lenoir City

If the Loudon County School Board takes a trip to Gatlinburg, everyone of them that goes should be arrested for stealing government money. That's exactly what they are doing. They just have the shamelessness to do it right in front of everybody. These people have to go.

Ray L Loudon 1/24/08


I would like to address our out of touch board of education. Their plans for a junket at tax payer's expense is just the tip of the iceberg. These people have thrown away literally millions of dollars. Not too long ago, a whole bunch of them loaded up on an airplane, some with families in tow, and jetted off to Orlando to "see the accomplishments" of a blue ribbon school." Edward Headlee and the entire board should be held criminally liable  for the waste of government funds.

Johnny Pearson 1/22/08

I am appalled that the school board would have the audacity to even consider taking a trip to the mountains while the school kids can't even have adequate heat in some rooms.  This is a perfect example of just how out of touch the men and women on the school board actually are with reality. Why on earth do they need to go to Gatlinburg to talk about  Loudon County school matters. Of course it's so the public can't attend and hear just how utterly incompetent they really are. If they want to go to Gatlinburg, fine. But let each one pay their own way. I bet the trip would get canceled real quick. I'm just beside my self. I can't believe they would do that with all the messes they have created. I say they all have to go. Is there no way to get these people out of office? What about official misconduct? They're certainly guilty. Does anybody else not see a major problem here?

Mary B. Sick of the whole bunch 1/22/07

Well I guess we now know how to get things done for the school system, send them on more paid retreats.  It is a shame that we are paying monthly for Larry Bass to represent the school system and that it still takes a taxpayer  retreat to really get more accomplished by him and the other board members. I think the retreat should be held at one of the school's that is need of repair or  rebuilt , in a room with no heat or air conditioning, bathrooms that doesn't  work, not passed by fire marshal's and yes they brown bag their own bologna sandwich, moon pie and rc cola.  And I bet more could be accomplished than they will ever know.  But we all know that this will never happen.  Taxpayers  please remember all this and all the other foolish spending that has been and is still being done by our elected officials.  It is a shame that these official's can't find money to help our school's but can find money to give them an expense paid retreat, and vote themselves pay raises.       
Joanne Greenway 1/22/08

I've been reading over the blog page for the last hour. I am shocked that so many of you seem to be surprised at the actions of Doyle Arp. How can that be? The man has been bilking the county for the last twenty-five years. Just about every family member and friend of his is in one way or the other on the county pay roll and he managed all that from the assessor's office. From the mayor's office he has almost unlimited power to hand out jobs and favors to anyone he wants. And of course he is doing just that. If you believe the outcome of his election, you people wanted him as mayor so you got him. There is a good chance he will bankrupt the county if the commission doesn't stand up to him and get him under control.

Arp is what he is, he has always been what he is and he will always be what he is. You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear and he is about the biggest sow's ear there is.

A good ol boy from Loudon 1/21/08

I too, want to encourage everyone to go to the polls and VOTE. I know there are some out there who think their one vote cannot make a difference, but it does. The reason poorer areas receive so little attention is because the people running for office know there is poor voter turnout, and a defeatist attitude in some districts- mine included.
I read in the Newsless Herald today that Leo Bradshaw is trying to get the school board to hurry and make a decision about the firm to do repairs in LHS. Am I wrong in thinking this job is supposed to be bidded out?  Is this job intended for another family member or friend of King Arp?
I also encourage everyone to cast their vote for Chuck Jenkins for property assessor. He is doing a great job and will continue to do so if elected. If Leo Bradshaw is elected, in my opinion we hand the county taxes back to the Arp reign of terror and we sure do not want that!

A concerned voter 1/21/08

I encourage all voters and/or taxpayers to please vote NO on the sales tax increase! Historically in Loudon County it doesn't appear to help the schools and children when we (the taxpayers) pay higher taxes whether from higher property taxes or higher sales taxes.

Don't take my word for this as you can do your own investigation. Just take the time and go look through the minute books of past County Commission meetings. I suggest starting about year 1989. Count up all the loans, bond issues, and tax increases that have been voted on in the name of school needs. It is way up in the millions! I think the taxpayers have been very generous to our schools and our children over the years. In my opinion the problem has been the mismanagement of the public monies by our elected and appointed officials. I believe the failure of the County Executive/Mayor, County Commission and the School Board over the years to make sure the money was spent on school repairs, books and other school needs is the problem. 

I believe too much money has gone into administration instead of being spent on the children for books and school maintenance. I believe the County Officials have used School funds on other County projects. If you investigate the bond issues, many times the bond loans were lumped together, such as school repairs with industrial land and infrastructure needs. You may be able to guess here which one come up on the short end---the schools and children.

I am one that has requested detailed independent comprehensive audits of county taxpayer monies be done occasionally. County Commission nor other officials would vote to do this. WHY? What do they have to fear or hide? There are still questions concerning a $12,500,000.00 bond issue for the schools, where did all the money go and when, how and where was it spent? How much taxpayer money is presently being used to pay back this loan? Giving these same leaders more money is not going to help the problem and could just make things worse in the time to come. It is time for citizens and voting taxpayers to draw the line and say No to giving more of our hard earned money to these elected and appointed officials that in my opinion have NOT been using our public monies wisely!


Loudon County Taxpayer 1/20/08

To: Zoe 1/16/08
You wrote:
<<<For five years now, Principal Meers has voted for his own raise. He is also the one pushing this sales tax increase for guess who, the schools. Who does he work for? The schools. Anybody else see a conflict?>>>
Yes, the conflict is obvious. It's also absurd to think that someone can do an honest evaluation of somebody they have to go to for their department's funding.
Bob's message actually related to Captain Tony Arden, who is running for County Commission. Here's the scene:
1. Tony is the FOURTH in command at the Sheriff's Department.
2. Guider and/or Aikens has to do an employee performance appraisal on this guy.
3. Guider had a hard time getting his budget requests approved by the commission last year (he even resort to filing a lawsuit for a brief period of time).
4. The conflict of Arden being a commissioner should be obvious.
Another critical issue is the fact that Loudon County Commission's job is the oversight of county government. Can employees provide oversight of themselves?
For the answer, look to Knox County. Should our Sheriff be allowed to get his own "faction" started on Commission?
Such conflicts are obvious, but they are still allowed under state law. The legislature has not made it illegal for county employees to serve on commission, probably trusting voters to know better than to elect such people. (And Knox County pretty well blows away that: "The-voters-will-know-better" theory.)
David Divelbiss Lenoir City 1/20/08

I was just wondering if someone could tell me how and why that the General Sessions Court Clerk, Lisa Niles, could install well over $30,000.00 worth of new cubicles in that office.  After seeing the office, I also wonder how it could pass muster with the Fire Marshall.  There is at least one exit blocked that I know of.  From what I gather, there is another new set of desks ordered to replace the 'OLD' ones that were purchased less that 2 years ago.  These have been estimated at $20,000 - $30,000.  Where is this money coming from other than the fact that after her 'lawsuit' for new employees, she hired 2 Arp relatives?  But yet, she can't give existing employees the raises that commission approved.  If any one can answer this, please, let the rest of us know.

Just Wondering in L.C. 1/18/08

This will be my only response.  I'll try to be as systematic as possible.

First of all, who wouldn't ultimately want to sit in a circle and sing koom by ya with the entire world?  If you consider a wonderful, final scenario where we can all just accept everyone else and no one is trying to blow each other up, then yes, I would like to do that. I think every right thinking person would.  However, that's not what I'm advocating here.

What I am advocating here is a persistence in our chosen way of life despite our fears and despite our adversaries.  What exactly are we fighting for here if not our society?  If we're willing to compromise our core principals simply to feel safe, why not give up entirely and become Muslim extremists ourselves?  It would sure save a lot of time and bloodshed. Of course we need to learn from our past. 

The World Trade Center attacks (and let's cut to the quick, those events are exactly why we're having this conversation in the first place) exploited a very large hole in our security; one that was easily fixed by installing metal detectors and locks on the doors to the pilots' cabin.

As far as being proactive or not in our so called "war on terror", I believe we're just going to have to disagree.  That is a sticky situation with a thousand and more nuances to it that I'm fairly certain neither of us fully comprehend.  In my gut, I dislike it and I dislike where that foreign policy has taken us.  Yes, we needed to respond to the WTC Attacks.  I think we just needed to stop before now.
And the children; invoking them is the ultimate coup d'état of every keyboard philosopher.  I simply cannot see how children attending a fenced in school complete with armed guards and car searches can ultimately do our society any good.  There is no doubt in my mind that these students would grow up with a dreadful fear and hatred of our government, who not only required them to go to school, but treated them like criminals while they were there.  The only way to make Algebra worse is to fill the schools with upjumped security
guards with machine guns that can frisk and abuse students as well.  Don't think it won't happen; it already is.  When that generation grows up, they will only add to our problem.

Finally, as far as your cat versus the Mac truck parable, the only problem I have with it is the United States being the cat.  If anything, we're the truck. Ricky, I honestly appreciate the zeal you have in your arguments.  I don't agree with them, but in your own mind you've only got the best interests of our country at heart.  Know that I feel a similar thing.  The means are different, but the ends are the same.  The real threat to this nation are those who are not involved; who don't keep up.  They allow power hungry politicians to do what they like without a second question.  This country is for the people and by the people, and free discourse of citizens is a benchmark of keeping it that way.

-Mr. Underhill 1/18/08

There seems to be some scholarly debate on whether Benjamin Franklin or Richard Jackson was the originator of that quote.  Apparently it first appeared in a book that both men worked on, with later editions attributing the sentence to Franklin.  Either way, both men were important founders of this country, and I believe the truth behind is not varnished by this ambiguity.

To angry mom,

Yes, commissioners and school board members are paid. Boe members receive $300.00 per month or $3,600.00 per year. For years commissioners received $500  per month but last year commissioners voted themselves a raise that is tied to the mayor's salary. Each time the mayor gets a raise so do commissioners. Their pay is now $620 per month or $7,440.00 per year. You can decide if this is money well spent.

And by the way BOE members and commissioners are entitled to county health insurance.

Andy 1/17/08

Mr. Underhill,
It is very obvious that you would like to hold hands in a circle with everyone and sing coom by ya.  Lets be real for a moment.  I would argue that the measures that I speak of are not a knee-jerk reaction that is made in response to fear.  I am simply stating that we should be a proactive government, with the safety of our schools and children in mind.  I am a conservative, and do not believe in the government taking away freedom.  However, in a situation such as the freedom to walk in and out of a school as you please, or just walking onto an airplane with whatever you want without being checked, you would be ignorant by not learning from the past.  Mr. Underhill, I don't know what hill you are living under, but the time for being proactive in our war on terror has been present for a while.   It is not, "A group of people in a cave halfway around the world that don't like us very much."  Terrorism is alive and well in the U.S.  I guess you would rather wait until something else happens and there are a lot of dead children lying around that could not defend themselves with their bravery.  There is more than just one type of terrorism in the world.  Furthermore, bravery has nothing to do with protecting our children.  It is only wise to learn and prevent such horrible actions from happening in our own community.  There is a fine line between bravery and stupidity.  After all, was the cat that ran across the road brave or stupid that got killed by a mighty mac truck.  The cat surely saw it coming, so why wouldn't it take measures to prevent it happening?  So what say you Mr. Underhill? 
Ricky -  Lenoir City 1/17/08
p.s. Do your research and you will find that Ben Franklin didn't write that quote.  It was a man by the name of Richard Jackson.

To Bob in Lenoir City 1/15/08

Legally, it is not a conflict for a sheriff deputy to run for county commission no more than it is a conflict for a county principal, David Meers to be on commission. Is it a good idea? Absolutely not. No matter what they might say, you know they will always vote for what would be in their best interest not what is in the best interest of the citizens. They couldn't help it. For five years now, Principal Meers has voted for his own raise. He is also the one pushing this sales tax increase for guess who, the schools. Who does he work for? The schools. Anybody else see a conflict?

It is a shame that of all the quality, qualified people in Loudon County, no one of any stature will run for office. All we ever get are those who want nothing more than to butter their own bread.

Zoe 1/16/08

I would just like to know what if anything is ever going to be done about the school situation on Loudon County? I have 2 sons that attend school in Loudon county. One is a middle school student at Fort Loudon Middle school and anyone who doesn't think there is an overcrowding problem in this county just needs to drive by the elementary and middle school, it looks like a refugee camp with all the portable buildings set up everywhere.  My oldest son is a senior at Loudon High school and as of right now they have no place to hold their class night because the auditorium is CONDEMNED and no one is allowed in it. 

I have read how horrible the conditions are at Greenback high school also and I guess I just don't understand the reason the county mayor can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to remodel his office and we can't give our kids a decent or for that matter not even a safe place to attend school?? I keep reading about all these workshops and meeting the school board and county commission keep having but  when is something actually going to be done about it? It seems from that the school board can't even have a meeting without members getting into arguments with each other so why should they be given decision making authority when they can't even agree with each other?  I have another question if anyone could answer it would be appreciated, are the school board members paid at all for their service? What about county commissioners? 
One Angry MOM! Loudon 1/16/08

I am very sorry you feel that way.  Your opinion is part of a growing and very real trend in this country that I am not at all pleased with.
This trend is, of course, the desire to place safety over freedom.

People in this country are scared.  Whether they have any real reason to be scared is a debate left for another time.  My problem is not with people being frightened, however, it is with the cowardly responses such as yours to such feelings.  These reactions are
knee-jerk, and signify a severe lack of backbone in our society. People of the United States need to learn to be brave again.  Being brave isn't about not being scared; being brave is about mastering that fear and making responsible decisions anyway.

Fencing off a school, posting guards at the door and searching cars is not being brave. Bravery is the only way to assure a decent way of life for ourselves and future generations.  We have to be brave enough to stand up and go on with our every day lives without requiring armed guards on every street corner.  We have to be brave enough to put freedom in front of our knee-jerk responses to fear.

We have to realize that ultimately, any freedom-crushing "safety" measures such as Ricky has suggested will only make us less safe in the end. Bravery and freedom are our only hopes to be happy and safe. Sadly, we have devolved to this state from a group of
the bravest men and women on the planet - people who fought a world spanning empire without even shoes on their feet simply because there was a tax on tea; to a group of people willing to surrender every freedom we have fought so hard to win because there is a group of people in a cave halfway around the world that don't like us very much.

You cannot pay for safety with freedom.  You should not be tricked into believing such is so. Our founders knew this from the very beginning, but we have forgotten it. Rational choices are not made when caught in the grip of fear.  Look deep down, fight the fear, and dare to be free.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." 
--Benjamin Franklin

-Mr. Underhill 1/16/08

I was so happy to hear that Mr. Bobby Johnson has been appointed to fill the term of his father, Blackie Johnson.  I was also happy to hear that he will resign the school board if elected to the Lenoir City Council.  I do not think it should be allowed to serve on the school board, council, and utility  board.  Next time the charter committee gets together, they should implement this change.  It has nothing to say in the charter to keep this from happening but it should be put there.  That is a conflict of interest for a city councilman who serves on all of these boards to be voting budgets, etc. for all those departments of the city.  Bobby Johnson will do a wonderful job and he will vote with respect of the citizens. 
Betsy Ross 1/16/08

In regards to the current county commission race I had a question about "conflicts of interest"  .  It seems that it would be a conflict of interest for Tony Arden to be a county commissioner  since it is the county commission that decide who among the "salaried" county employees( which he is one) get raises and how much, is this not correct?  And also a conflict for him to be in this position since he is a Loudon County Sheriff Department employee, I mean one employee of the sheriff department is a Lenoir City city council member another is a school board member and now Mr. Arden is running for county commission.  Seems to be kind of a monopoly developing here.  I just wondered what other citizens thought about all this?  I am sure someone will have some comments about it so what do you think?
Bob in Lenoir City 1/15/08

I would like to bring up a subject that I believe is a disaster waiting to happen.  I truly feel that one of the next things that will happen to this country is an attack on our schools.  It sends horror down my spine to think about how vulnerable our schools are to any sort of an attack.  Anybody at about any time can walk into any school in Loudon County, and go into any part of the building without really being noticed, unless you look bad.  If you don't believe that, just try it. 

Our children are not protected.  One S.R.O. (school resource officer) for 1 to 3 schools a piece will not cut it.  For instance, Lenoir City Schools has one S.R.O.  That means one officer will be at one of those schools throughout the day.  Its not hard to figure out which one he is at because his car is in plain sight.  If someone decided to go into a classroom of their choice to do whatever they will, they could.  There is nothing to stop them. 

If you think there isn't anyone in Loudon County that would do such a thing, WAKE UP!  Just buy a police scanner and listen to some of the calls that come out.  There are plenty of crazies here.  I feel that it is past time to beef up security at a level that you know someone is coming.  I feel that it should be a priority.  There are enough wasted tax dollars in this county to go around, and if you don't believe that, again, WAKE UP! 

While I complain about the current security issues, I will offer some simple solutions.  I believe that every school in this county should be fenced off.  I believe that every car that comes through this gate should at least feel they are being checked.  During active school hours, there should be a guard at the entrance that checks in every visitor.  At least with this method, you get a warning that someone might be coming.  In the current system, the school doesn't go into lock-down until and incident has already happened.  I believe that every door on every school should be locked from the outside 24/7.  There should be one entrance and exit that is guarded by and armed guard or officer.  We need to be proactive here, not reactive.  If we are not, we will be sorry. 

Times are not what they used to be no matter how bad you want it.  You cannot make peace with the whole world because some of those people do not want peace.  A lot of those people are mentally disturbed and just don't care.  I beg you to do a little experiment.  The next time you go to a store, a school, or even just a public place, try something.  Take a stapler, a spoon, something not very dangerous and stick it in one of your pockets.  Pretend that you have some sort of a deadly weapon.  You will notice that you can go anywhere with it, and no one will know or even care.  You will not be stopped, or searched.  How do they know what you have in your pocket?  They don't.  Get my point?  You may have a pack of rubber bands, or you may have a device capable of taking 15 lives in a matter of seconds. 

It is time to wake up.  We need to protect our most precious possessions, our children.  Ignoring the problem, or saying some kind of peace chant will not solve this.  Please take the time to respond to this blog.  Maybe it might get enough attention to make our local govt. take action.  I would love to hear your thoughts. 
Ricky 1/15/08

If the story of the ten million dollars the school board has thrown away is true, then all the board members should resign now. That's ridiculous that they can't manage the money better than that. It's no wonder the kids have to do with out stuff just so all the friends and families can have jobs.

Doug 1/13/08

I just read the article by Pat Hunter about the Loudon County Tech Center or as we call it around here, the old vocational school. I had no idea that the facility was in such great shape. In fact I just never thought about the place. Knowing what I know now,  I have to ask why on earth would the school board even consider going out and building a new school when they have a perfectly good facility sitting there unused. A great building with lots of room to expand if needed and the city is just about to make much needed improvements to Harrison Road.

This is just one more example of the total incompetence and mismanagement by the Loudon county School Board. These 10 men and women have continuously made decisions that have done nothing but waste the tax payers money and hurt the education of all county students. And they want more money? Where will it end.

Diana G. Loudon County 1/11/07

CARBON MONOXIDE – The Deadly Wallflower of Winter Worries

This time of year, as temperatures plummet, many Americans’ thoughts turn to buttoning down the house and cranking up the heat. Yet even though most people are aware of the dangers of idling a car in a closed garage, an alarming number are unaware of the equivalent effect from using common, carbon-monoxide-emitting appliances in a poorly ventilated home, or carelessly use such appliances incorrectly.

Being odorless, tasteless and colorless, carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent, insidious killer. It chemically suffocates victims by interfering with the action of oxygen in the bloodstream, and CO exposure takes the lives of nearly 500 people a year in the US and causes another 15,000 people to seek emergency medical treatment. Although the effects of CO poisoning vary depending on individual factors such as age, general health and length and concentration of exposure, its general symptoms are very like those of flu. These flu-like symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea, disorientation, tightness in the chest, fatigue and breathing difficulties. The victim’s skin may also take on a pink or reddish cast. 

Carbon monoxide is produced by burning carbon-containing fuel, from sources including vehicles; charcoal grills; appliances such as natural-gas stoves, water heaters and space heaters; wood-burning stoves and fireplaces; and in cigarette smoke. There has been no established safety range for CO exposure, although most experts agree those most at risk are the unborn, the very young and very old, and people with respiratory or heart problems.

Carbon monoxide is a natural and common gas which generally doesn’t cause problems in well-ventilated areas, but the old adage “better safe than sorry” definitely applies when it comes to keeping one’s family safe without sacrificing the cozy warmth of wood fires and handy kerosene heaters, the convenience of natural-gas appliances or portable generators.

In addition to carbon monoxide detectors, taking simple steps to prevent CO in the home can go miles toward a happy, healthy winter:

  • Do not use ovens and ranges to heat the home.
  • Be certain kerosene or gas heaters are well vented and are not used in enclosed spaces.
  • Open flues while using fireplaces and have chimneys inspected/cleaned yearly by qualified professionals.
  • Appliances and heating systems should be properly installed, adjusted and working according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Furnaces should be provided with adequate air intake and charcoal should never be burned inside homes, cabins, campers or RVs.
  • Stoves and heaters should be vented to the outside, and exhaust systems should be checked yearly for leaks.
  • Portable generators should never be used indoors, including basements and crawl spaces, even if well ventilated, and should be used well away from doors, windows and vents.

Danger signs of carbon monoxide emissions include streaks of carbon or soot around the service door of the fuel-burning appliances, no draft in the chimney, rusty flue pipes or appliance jackets, condensation on windows and walls of furnace rooms, soot in the fireplace, water leaking around the base of the chimney/vent/flue pipe, damaged or discolored bricks at the top of the chimney and rust on the vent pipes outside the home. 

Also to keep in mind, carbon monoxide detectors may go off without anyone feeling ill. If this happens, first be certain it’s the CO detector and not a smoke detector. Then see if anyone in the house is feeling ill, and if so get everyone outside and to medical help immediately. If no one else is ill, turn off all fuel-burning appliances, open windows and have a qualified technician inspect for leaks. If CO poisoning is suspected, get everyone out of the home and to a doctor, and do not reenter the home until a professional has determined it is safe.

Various carbon monoxide detectors are on the market, which range in sophistication from simple high-level alarms to those that have constant-level digital readouts. Some models even offer combination smoke/CO detection, or are available in energy-saving models. Don’t be fooled by cost or advertising; do research on various models, and remember what the device will be protecting.

Some things to keep in mind about carbon monoxide detectors:

  • They are not a substitute for common sense in respect to home heating safety, and the technology is always improving.
  • All CO (and smoke) detectors should be UL (Underwriters Laboratories) Listed; UL Listed detectors will sound an alarm before dangerous levels of CO have accumulated.
  • CO detectors should be placed outside sleeping areas. Be certain the detector includes an audible alarm that will wake the occupants of the house; most poisonings occur at night.
  • Avoid placing detectors near fuel-burning appliances; CO is emitted when these appliances are initially turned on and may cause false readings.
  • Do not place the detector within five feet of household chemicals.
  • A detector wired directly to the home’s electrical system should be tested monthly; battery-operated detectors should be tested weekly, with the batteries replaced each year.

 Resources: USFA.dhs.gov, NSC.org, USEPA, Underwriters Laboratories product safety tips, Consumer Product Safety Commission Document #466

Steve Sarten 1/11/07

County's precedent too free with tax breaks

While Knox County taxpayers were preparing for the holidays, Knox County commissioners were planning a $6 million gift for developer Tim Graham to help ensure a tidy profit on his new shopping center in Halls.

Tax increment financing (TIF) is meant for blighted areas of the county, not for new development. Conservatives should not be so willing to provide taxpayer welfare for developers and campaign contributors.

For Commissioner Scott Moore to favor this unprecedented use of TIF on a project that would appear to benefit himself and his parents makes all the scandalous spending on lobster dinners and drinks look like cheap stocking stuffers. This is a terrible precedent and a misuse of the public trust.

It seems nothing has been learned from recent scandals. It is time for the taxpayers to vote out Moore, R. Larry Smith, Mayor Mike Ragsdale and anyone else who believes it is OK for the county to give tax breaks to friends and relatives rather than attending to the real needs of the county.

Dana Fox Knoxville knoxnews.com

Local governments are too developer friendly

Why are so many city and county governments in East Tennessee suddenly willing to use taxpayer resources to help developers get rich?

If people want to develop a piece of property, they should be responsible for paying for whatever modifications or additions are needed to make that parcel usable. They can get investors to join in, if it's such a great deal.

If the parcel isn't suitable for development, then they should either pay for the changes needed or wait until such time as the infrastructure is available.

We don't want our government using our tax dollars to help a few select people line their pockets with thousands or even millions of dollars.

Steve Brooks Lenoir City knoxnews.com

TIFs the Season

Should local government subsidize suburban growth?by Matt Edens

What should we change about Knoxville in 2008? Surprisingly, I’ve had a pretty hard time coming up with something, particularly with regard to my pet issues of downtown and center-city redevelopment. As last issue’s Year in Review made clear, Knoxville’s center city made significant strides in 2007, despite the general real-estate downturn. I’m particularly happy to report that redevelopment is rippling out from downtown, weaving once forlorn neighborhoods back into the city’s overall fabric. Perhaps even more promising, the city, with its South Waterfront, Cumberland Avenue, and Downtown North initiatives, is taking some pretty serious steps to nurture inner-city Knoxville’s nascent renaissance.

But just when it appeared that “keep on keepin’ on” was the only advice I had to offer, developer Tim Graham got an early Christmas gift from County Commission: $5 million in tax-increment financing to support his proposed Willow Creek shopping center on Maynardville Highway. Graham justified the subsidy by claiming the $45 million retail development just north of Halls “will spur other development across the street and down the road.”

Graham’s got it exactly backwards. Look around at Knoxville and Knox County and you’ll see local government essentially fighting two big battles. Out in the county, the biggest challenge is funding to keep up with the ever-increasing demands imposed by new development: school overcrowding, traffic congestion. The city, meanwhile, struggles to maintain services with dwindling assets as wealth and population flow outward, propelled by sprawl. In fact, the county gets gouged twice. Not only does it have to meet the demands imposed by sprawl, but the blighted areas abandoned in sprawl’s wake also eat the heart out of its tax base.

That’s why TIFs make sense in the inner city. They provide the gap financing to put an underutilized asset back into economic production. That may require some infrastructure improvements, but it also utilizes a lot of other infrastructure that, due to the area’s blight and abandonment, may not currently be used at full capacity: roads, schools, utilities, even housing stock. The economic activity generated by the TIF-subsidized development also increases the value and productivity of surrounding properties, exemplified by how downtown’s success has spurred increased investment and higher property values in the neighborhoods around it. TIFs, in the center city, tackle the budgetary problem at its root, reversing decades of disinvestment.

A TIF like Graham’s, however, doesn’t do anything to treat the causes of local government’s budgetary woes. It doesn’t even treat the symptoms. If anything, since the soon-to-be shops at Willow Creek will be “a catalyst for development along Maynardville Highway,” it makes the symptoms worse. Rather than recapturing a past investment in an existing asset such as a condemned building or abandoned brownfield, Graham’s TIF can only encourage more sprawling investment the community can scarcely afford. It may even lead to additional blight, as displayed by Knox County’s increasing count of abandoned big-box stores.

Subsidies for suburban developers are hardly new, however. It’s just that previously, when the city and county wanted to subsidize a suburban development they simply cut a check. That was certainly the case with Turkey Creek or Graham’s own South Grove. Both developments benefited from several million dollars in direct subsidy for roads and other infrastructure, something critics of downtown subsidies frequently ignore.

I have to give Graham credit, though. By taking the subsidy in the form a TIF, he’s made them an issue. And that’s a damn shame. Not only does it compromise a truly useful tool for center-city revitalization, it clouds the larger issue, one whose consideration could truly make Knoxville and Knox County a better place. Why, with local government struggling to keep up with rampant suburban growth, are they subsidizing it at all?

by Matt Edens Metro Pluse

Dear Cindy Clabough,
 After doing a Google of your name I was wondering are you the Cindy Clabough that was on WATE with the Kirby salesman problem, or the Cindy Clabough whose son was at Hooters the other night when the gunman killed one and wounded another (with quotes in the News Sentinel and a story on WATE), or the Cindy Clabough that seems to have alot to do at Son Light Baptist Church, or the Cindy Clabough that operates the toinspire.com website, there is more but I think if you do just half of these your plate is full enough without worrying about Van and his website. You seem to have a need to be in the limelight alot.  Contrary to your (and alot of others) belief, we don't want any help from our big city friends to help run our county. Thanks anyway.
Mike B 1/4/07

Anybody want to bet that a close friend or family member will get the LC building inspector job? No qualifications necessary.

Mike 1/3/08