Make Radiation Visible Workshop Is Saturday At UTC

Friday, February 21, 2014

As part of its campaign to Make Radiation Visible, a Tennessee Valley environmental group, BEST/MATRR, is offering a Rendevous for Action Workshop Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at UTC, Room 124 in Holt Hall next to the University Center on 5th Street. The workshop offers free training on safe and scientifically sound methods for monitoring and recording radiation in the community. The group has an ongoing radiation monitoring program in the valley, and invites citizens to join their monitoring teams or to create their own. 

The workshop will be led by BEST/MATRR's Monitoring Project director, Garry Morgan, and
by Lou Zeller, executive director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, a
league of environmental groups in seven southeastern states.  BEST/MATRR, a local group of concerned citizens in north Alabama and Tennessee, is the Bellefonte Efficiency & Sustainability Team / Mothers Against TN River Radiation, a member chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL). More can be learned about the group and the issues on their website at MATRR.org.

Mr. Morgan is retired from the U.S. Army Medical Department with experience and training in Radiation Protection, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Decontamination and emergency response in military and civilian medical care settings, with military experience in Personnel Reliability-Nuclear Surety inspections. Mr. Morgan's training will include protocols of the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and State of Alabama Department of Health Radiation Control. Mr. Zeller will be training in data analysis methods of the Technical Education Research Centers Statistics in Action program.

BEST/MATRR has been monitoring radiation in the Tennessee Valley, and is linked to a
real-time online network of groups and individuals monitoring around the country. The group
published a preliminary 52 page report last summer, Radioactive Emissions and Health Hazards Surrounding Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama. The monitoring in north Alabama is ongoing, but they have expanded their range to include east Tennessee from Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant, 17 miles from Chattanooga to Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant near Oak Ridge and Knoxville. They plan to publish a report on that area later this year. 

They launched a national campaign to Make Radiation Visible last month in Washington,
DC, as part of a multi-group committee meeting with Nuclear Regulatory commissioners,
Environmental Protection Agency radiation specialists, and other government officials. With the
Make Radiation Visible campaign, the group proposes a plan to reveal these invisible
toxins for public health and safety. 

First, they call on the NRC to upgrade monitoring rules, replacing outdated quarterly averaging, currently reported only once a year, with real-time online data about radiation levels around nuclear power plants. Second, just like odor markers for natural gas and propane, they ask that visible dye-markers be dispersed with emergency radiation plumes, providing immediate warning about where the radioactive releases are traveling – which could be a critical life-saver for the public and first-responders. Third, they call for public health alerts when these known carcinogens and mutagens are released into the environment.  

Says campaign developer, Gretel Johnston, “We have weather alerts, smog alerts, and even pollen alerts – why not radioactivity alerts when these poisons are both routinely and accidentally
released into our air and water? We are alerted to other hazardous substance spills, why not
radiation? The people being exposed to these toxins deserve to know the levels of radioactivity
in their environment – when it is released, not a year later.” 


Fairbanks Receives Backing Of Police Unions

Randy Fairbanks, the GOP nominee for the District 1 seat on the Hamilton County Commission, has received the endorsement of the two police unions in Hamilton County – the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Rock City Lodge 22 and the International Brotherhood of Police Officers (IBPO) Local #673.  Both unions represent police officers and deputies from every police department throughout ... (click for more)

NRA Endorses Chuck Fleischmann

The National Rifle Association has endorsed Chuck Fleischmann for re-election. In a letter to Rep. Fleischmann, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund thanked him for his "steadfast support of the Second Amendment" and congratulated him on his "A" rating. They also thanked him for his stand against President Obama and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ... (click for more)

DA Looking Into Issue Of County Commission Candidate's Campaign Sending Filled-Out Request For Absentee Ballot To Elderly Voters

The District Attorney's Office has been provided with documents that a County Commission candidate's campaign sent filled-out requests for absentee ballots to elderly voters. Kerry Steelman, election administrator, said there have been four instances in which such requests came from the Elect John Brooks campaign. He said state law says in Section 2-6-202:  (3) A person ... (click for more)

Graham Says County School-City Lawsuit Settlement "Stinks," But County Commission Approves It

The County Commission on Wednesday approved a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Hamilton County Schools against the city of Chattanooga, though several commissioners said they were not happy with the deal and Commissioner Joe Graham said it "stinks." Commissioner Graham was the lone no vote. He was joined by Commissioner Tim Boyd in a failed effort to defer it a week. ... (click for more)

The Truth- From Weston’s Sister

I try not to read the negative articles and opinions about my older brother. Growing up around politics, I learned a long time ago that thick skin is not only necessary, it’s paramount. But this time, the lies and the rumors and the inaccurate information has gone too far. It’s too ridiculous for me to ignore. So let’s clear a few things up: Weston and I do not “come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oscar Brock’s True Passion

I don’t pay much attention to the Hamilton County School Board. Once the moon and the stars aligned behind Superintendent Rick Smith, you hear very little, if anything, from the nine-member council that oversees an annual budget of almost $400 million and employs 4,480 people. So chew this for a minute: approximately 2,000 of those people are not teachers. Yes, there are 78 principals ... (click for more)