published Friday, September 28th, 2012

Drew's views

HEADLINE: More than 100 turn out to welcome home local wounded veteran

THE RECAP: A crowd of over 100 well-wishers cheered and waved American flags as U.S. Army Spc. Andrew Smith and his wife Tori arrived Thursday morning at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.

Smith, who lost parts of both legs in a March bomb blast while on combat patrol in Afghanistan, is home for 10 days leave and will appear at Covenant Presbyterian Church and his former high school, Chattanooga Christian School, before continuing his rehabilitation at Walter Reed National Medical Center.

DREW'S VIEW: If you missed your opportunity to greet Andrew Smith at the airport on Thursday, there's still an opportunity to give him the hero's welcome he deserves when he is recognized at halftime of Chattanooga Christian School's homecoming football game tonight.

Let's fill the stands and show this courageous Chattanoogan our appreciation for his devotion to our country.

The game begins at 8 p.m. on the CCS campus at 3354 Charger Drive in Chattanooga.

•••

HEADLINE: UT student hospitalized after taking alcohol rectally

THE RECAP: A 20 year-old University of Tennessee student was admitted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center's critical care unit after his blood-alcohol level reached "well over" 0.40 percent after ingesting alcohol by a method known as "butt chugging." After the student was admitted to the hospital, UT police investigators determined the student received the alcohol enema at the Pi Kappa Alpha house when they saw fraternity members passed out in their rooms with "bags from wine boxes, some empty and some partially empty, strewn across the halls and rooms."

DREW'S VIEW: Sure, ingesting alcohol anally allows the alcohol consumer to become inebriated faster than by consuming it via the time-tested traditional method of drinking it. But there had to be other benefits beyond a quicker buzz that led houseful of Pikes to stick rubber hoses up their rear ends and funnel wine into their bowels.

Maybe they didn't want the red wine to stain their teeth. Perhaps they were enjoying a delicate piece of flounder and they feared the wine pairing would overpower the light, flaky fish. There might have been a long line for the restroom and they wanted to reduce their need to urinate -- although I'm not sure that administering a red wine enema would reduce the demand for the bathroom.

In the end, you have to give this den of aspiring colonoscopy technicians credit for being classy. They could have poured cheap vodka from a plastic bottle in their butts or funneled Natural Lite up their fannies but, no, they used wine.

They took butt chugging to a new level of sophistication.

•••

HEADLINE: No change for Polk County property tax rate

THE RECAP: The Polk County property tax rate will not change, according to the 2012-13 budget approved by county commissioners. The tax will remain at 2.18 cents per $100 of assessed value, the same as last year.

DREW'S VIEW: While Polk County leaders should be commended for not raising taxes, it is a hollow victory for taxpayers. Polk County's property tax rates are significantly higher than the three Tennessee counties that border it.

Polk County taxpayers pay a tax rate of 2.18 cents, meaning the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $545 in county property tax. (In Tennessee, property tax rates are paid on 25 percent of the appraised value of residential and farm property and 40 percent of the value of commercial and industrial real estate.) McMinn County residents pay a property tax rate of only 1.56 cents -- or $390 in annual property taxes on a $100,000 home. Bradley County property is taxed at 1.79 cents and Monroe County taxpayers pay a tax rate of 1.95 cents.

With the tax rates that much cheaper just a few miles away, it makes you wonder why anyone would choose to live in Polk County. The county's policy makers need to get their spending under control so they can reduce their property tax rate before Polk County residents realize that they're being ripped off and begin leaving in droves.

"Drew's views" is a weekly roundup of Free Press opinions about topics that appeared in the Times Free Press over the past week. Follow Drew on Twitter: @Drews_Views.

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