published Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Letters to the Editor

Proposed mining bad for the area

A public meeting is scheduled on Thursday to hear public opinions on the development of coal mining north of Chattanooga along the Cumberland Plateau. Iron Properties, which owns 35,000 acres of mineral rights on the Cumberland Plateau, is test drilling and developing plans for six large coal mines dotted along the Plateau in Rhea and Cumberland counties with plans to build a large coal-processing plant in the region.

Property values decrease in coal areas by 20 percent, and mineral tax revenues are outweighed historically by infrastructure cost increase.

Coal produces counties which are some of the poorest in the state.

The Cumberland Plateau has a treasure trove of scenic areas offering outdoor activities to many people from the Chattanooga area, including hiking, fishing, biking, hunting and swimming in an area rich in history and culture.

The coal-mining industry's impact on our state's budget averages a net loss of $3 million a year, whereas Tennessee's mountain-driven tourism industry brings in over $14 billion a year and employs close to 500 times more people than the state's coal industry.

If you love the Cumberland Plateau, please attend this meeting at the Dayton Courthouse at 6 p.m. Thursday.

ILAEKA VILLA, Grandview, Tenn. (Rhea County)

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McConnell case a blot on justice

I have lived for 78 years, and I have never witnessed a more obvious miscarriage of justice than the one involving Col. Thomas McConnell.

Everyone involved, except the grand jury, dropped the ball. I have never been more disgusted with public officials; beginning with the police investigation and secondly with Judge Derby, who should have dropped the charges when McConnell came before him.

What this poor man and his family have had to endure is beyond belief. If you are a grandfather as I am, and say you never patted your grandchildren on the leg or even their little bottoms or rubbed them on their backs, then you are a liar or don't love your grandchildren as much as some of us. I have done it many times, and did they sometimes push my hand away. You bet!

You have to be brain dead to believe a grandfather would do something inappropriate to his granddaughter in the presence of her mother, grandmother and their priest. Shame on Superintendent Rick Smith for not reinstating McCullough immediately. To say he has to consult the system's attorney shows a lack of leadership and is a slap in the face of Col. McConnell.

WILBOURNE C. MARKHAM SR., Walden, Tenn.

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Comment on racial differences wrong

Brandt Ayer, publisher of The Anniston Star, authored "Blueprint for Change Stranger: Democrats and the South" in the Perspective pages Sunday. I found the article both condescending and erroneous.

The phrase that demonstrated most how out of touch this man is with not only the South, but the rest of the country was "... and to young adults racial differences have all but disappeared." I am 60 years old and as white as can be, but I know better than that.

I would encourage Mr. Ayer to talk with people of all ages, race, and genders before making such broad generalizations that have no basis in fact.

JANE ELMORE

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