Tar Heel thanks Tennessean helpers

Dear people of the great state of Tennessee:

A couple of weeks ago, I had a letter to the editor published in this newspaper. I was doing a state report on Tennessee and asked you to send me some information.

Your response was overwhelming. I have tried my best to send a personal thank-you to everyone, but if you sent something and have not received a personal letter, please know how much I appreciate the time, thought, effort and money that you expended to help me with my project. I learned so much, and I will never forget this experience.

On May 18, we had a big "State Fair" where we got to display the information and items we received. The people of the great state of Tennessee were well represented. Thank you again.

Wayne Hill

Charlotte, N.C.

Signal's identity being threatened

As small towns across America are enacting legislation to deter chain stores from opening, the Signal Mountain Town Council is considering rezoning a residential parcel so that a 38,000-square-foot Food City with a pharmacy can be built in the middle of our small town. Why? Council members say it's to increase revenue. But is it such a simple equation?

Consider that a chain store's typical strategy is to undercut local stores' prices and run them out of business —in this case Pruett's and Signal Mountain Pharmacy. On average, local businesses reinvest twice as much of their revenue back into the local economy than chain stores do.

Also worthy of attention is the 2016 study by the Bleakly Advisory Group, which found that Walden Plateau's demand for additional retail space over the next 10 years would be 9,000 square feet — a fraction of the size of the proposed Food City retail space.

This retail experiment is likely to result in a net loss of revenue. What is worse, it would mean the loss of our small town identity and the quality of life we value so highly.

Annette Allen

Signal Mountain

Resident happy with road fixes

Thank you, thank you, thank you for improving the entrance, exit and merge lanes located at Highway 58 and Champion Road. What a wonderful improvement, plus the partial resurfacing on Champion Road.

Also, many thanks to the county for the "curve" signs and slow-down treads on Champion Road. This has helped to slow down the drivers in this dangerous curve. Again, many thanks to city and county highway departments for the improvements.

Jerry Rutherford

'Despair': Addiction a tragedy for many

Re: "Portrait of Despair" (May 26):

Interesting article about opioid and meth addiction and tragic statement about our society and the families of the addicts affected. I don't know if I'm supposed to feel sorry for or judge the people in the article.

The article says the county profiled is poor. In many cases, so are people pushed into drug use. Drug dealers and users who assist dealers find the weakest members of society to prey on.

The court system does not address the many innocent, struggling people pushed down by drug users. People committing domestic violence are put in jail, released on parole and go back to their weak victims and abuse again. Police get used to going to certain homes. Orders of protection are violated by the innocent because they don't have the courage to stand up to these abusers. Personal property is pawned. Judges are pressured into releasing people because jails are full. The cycle goes on.

"Meth is death" is not a misused phrase.

Who do you suggest needs protection? The poor people who now find themselves in jail or the innocent being raped by those not yet in jail.

George Patten


Trump getting a generous pass

The Bible, and indeed history, is replete with flawed people who rose above their shortcomings to become transformative forces for peace, justice and love in the world. But the recent letter writer who glossed over President Trump's "shady past" to declare that he is receiving "unfair persecution" is just another example of how Trump has played the evangelical right. The writer stated that Trump is serving based on the will of God and admits he is not perfect. Would such benevolence be accorded Bill Clinton, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton? Would the evangelical right accept their presidencies as the will of God and rush to their defense when unfairly persecuted? I think not.

Character matters and President Trump severely lacks the character required for the presidency. We have had presidents whose personal morality could and should be called out, but they never sought to tear down our institutions that keep us free and safe; to use the office for their own personal gain and give credence to their fragile ego.

Division, hate, discord and untruthfulness are what we have settled for in this president. It would be wise for us all to heed Jesus' teachings in the Beatitudes.

Rebecca Rochat

On inclusion, God's laws trump man's

A retired United Methodist minister, the Rev. Charles Neal, wrote a letter to the editor, saying, "When our leaders gather in February 2019 to decide the way forward [on the LGBT community to have the same rights and privileges as other members], I pray they will act with the same grace as the Supreme Court [ruling] that all Americans are entitled to marry the person they love."

While an increasing number of Americans fail to observe moral law, that is no reason for altering churches' standards. If the church teaches homosexuality is excusable, so are dishonesty and unkindness.

The Supreme Court does not make laws for the church. God's laws always speak of his truth and grace. God's love always embraces those who fall short. Some church leaders are trying to turn into sacrament the unholy same-sex marriage. All church members fall short; therefore, when we meet any person who falls short, we have an obligation to extend the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.

I pray when the church leaders gather, they will consult the one who is above the Supreme Court. That's how the church can best meet all people's spiritual needs!

Amos Taj


We can all agree on some UnifiEd work

Since many in District 1 asked, I served on UnifiEd's APEX Steering Committee, which gathered information from approximately 4,000 Hamilton County residents. Those responses were categorized and the results published. Politics were not discussed; I was there. I am not an elitist and certainly not liberal. I am extremely conservative and, like everyone on the committee, want the best for Hamilton County kids.

While we all do not agree on the findings, I do advocate having conversations. I believe open enrollment is the answer. When a school has room and parents/guardians can provide transportation, children should be able to attend any county school they choose. But it's not feasible for the county to bear the cost of that transportation.

One concern is to recruit and keep good teachers, perhaps giving them incentives to work in lower-performing schools. It's worked before. Future Ready also is solid because our students can get a diploma and earn industry certification. Hopefully, the school board will be able to work through the transportation issues.

For those who think our school board is terrible, you've not been to a meeting. I thank them for their hard work and service.

Steve Slater