Roy Exum: My Garden On March 1st

Saturday, March 1, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Oh, welcome…here it is the first day of March and my garden has changed since the ice and snow last month. Hark! What’s that sound? The birds are back, singing in the bright sun and, look over there, the first green fingers of the jonquils are sprouting from the ground. So with new evidence of spring more apparent with each day, allow me to sort between the promising sprouts and withered vines:

A PROMISING SPROUT to Mark Wiedmer, a fabulous artist with literally no writing experience who the late banker George Clark Jr. once brought by my office looking for a “chance.” Stupid guy – could have made millions doing portraits but, no, he ended up as a sports writer and next week he’ll have something to show for it. Mark, a brilliant columnist, will be inducted into a sparkling class of the Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame and the only question is what took ’em so long.

A WITHERED VINE to the Eagle Football Stadium in Allen, Texas, where large cracks have been found in its foundation and it has been closed indefinitely. You may remember it made the news two years ago when the $59.6 million, 18,000-seat facility was opened to the envy of every high school in America. The stadium has a sunken-bowl design and features a video scoreboard, multi-level press box, weight room, wrestling room, and an indoor golf facility.

A PROMISING SPROUT to seven-year-old Molli-Malone Wommack of Brunswick, Ga., who saw a classmate choking and turning blue in the school cafeteria, calmly administered the Heimlich maneuver, and saved the child’s life. Molli-Malone’s mother, a nurse at the school, taught her daughter the technique when she was five and school officials said the child had choked on a spoonful of corn. “You can choke on anything so be careful,” said the young heroine.

A WITHERED VINE to school superintendent Jose Fernandez of the Centinela Valley Union High School District in Lawndale, Calif., who was surprised when an emergency meeting was called by angry parents after it was learned his annual salary in 2013 was $663,000. Allegedly bankrupt when he took the job, Fernandez was also given a $900,000 loan at 2 percent payable over 40 years. One news account quoted one man as shouting, “You should all step down and walk away from this! This is ridiculous! This is nuts, this is crazy! I give my wife everything! I do anything I can for my wife! I’m sleeping with her! Who are you sleeping with?” one man shouted during the meeting. The school district has three high schools with a combined total of 6,500 students.

A PROMISING SPROUT to Vanderbilt basketball coach Kevin Stallings who just took up for his rival, the embattled Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin: “I think for people to speculate on his job is absurd,” Stallings said. “He's in his third year and that is ridiculous. He's doing a good job with their team. I think they're getting ready to make the NCAA tournament. It takes some time when you go in there and you have to change some things and change the way things are done.” (Vandy plays at UT today at noon, ESPN-2)

A WITHERED VINE to any Tennessee fan who has the audacity to believe the scandalized basketball coach Bruce Pearl will ever again coach at Tennessee. Not only did Pearl cheat, he lied to the NCAA and Tennessee athletic officials will never forget it.

A PROMISING SPROUT to Tyler Sexton, who was born 12 weeks prematurely and, after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy, underwent 16 surgeries. Today, at age 28, he is a second-year pediatric resident and says, “When I walk into a patient’s room, I can say, ‘I know what’s going on with you.’ I can instantly help them move past perceived barriers in their life.”

A WITHERED VINE to the countries of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan after they banned the manufacture and import of synthetic lace underwear, much to the chagrin of both women and men in the three nations. The claim is the material is unhygienic but as one Kazakh woman fumed, “Why don’t they ban something that is really harmful … like cigarettes and alcohol.”

A PROMISING SPROUT for Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who was asked this week about playing golf with President Obama: “I enjoyed it. People back home (in Tennessee) didn’t enjoy it so much, but I did. We had to quit on (hole) 15 because we had a Senate vote and the president was visibly wanting to play three or four holes and finish this. And I enjoyed collecting the 20 bucks from him that he lost.”

A WITHERED VINE to Preside Obama after Corker revealed the get-together and dinner afterwards accomplished little. “We haven’t had the ability to solve the major problems of the day because he’s afraid of his base,” Corker explained, saying if Obama asked him again, “ … I would say to him: ‘Please don’t do that again, OK? Unless you’re in earnest wanting to solve a problem, don’t do that again. You’re better off not acting like you want to solve a problem when you really don’t want to solve it. That breaks down trust.’”

A PROMISING SPROUT to Walter Williams, a farmer who lives just north of Jackson, Miss., and was surprised to wake up in a body bag at a funeral home. He had been declared legally dead Wednesday night and taken to be embalmed but now his delighted family believes his pace-maker stopped and then re-started. He, too, is happy to be alive but the funeral home workers still aren’t quite over the incident.

royexum@aol.com



David Carroll: I Heard You Could Use A Laugh

After all these rainy days we’ve had, let’s share a laugh or two:  Overheard from a favorite waitress:  "My doctor told me I have ADD-HD.  I don't pay attention that often, but when I do, everything looks really sharp."  A senior citizens group just invited me to speak at their next meeting.  The lady who called asked me, "How long do you talk?"  I ... (click for more)

Not Impressed With The Tax Increase

Mr. Smith did not impress me enough when he came to Lookout Valley and lobbied for support for his tax increase.   According to the draft supplied by Mr. Smith, the average pay for personnel in Lookout Valley Middle School and High School, including benefits, is $68,000.  That's not shabby; and then give a five percent pay increase: $2,727,929.36 divided by 40 staff ... (click for more)

Pedestrian Struck And Dragged An Estimated 4 Blocks Early Friday Morning Was Levi S. Youster, 22

Early Friday morning the Chattanooga Police Department responded to reports of a pedestrian struck near 400 Cherry Street.   Once on scene, officers found Levi S. Youster, 22,  suffering from serious injuries caused by being dragged by the vehicle an estimated four blocks.   He was transported to a local hospital and is expected to live. Investigators ... (click for more)

Flash Flood Warning Issued For Hamilton County; Cancellations And Road Closings Announced

A flash flood warning has been issued for Hamilton County for Thursday afternoon. It was reported t ramp from I-24 West to Cummings Highway was closed, due to flooding. The Chattanooga Fire Department reported  roads were underwater at 3rd and Roanoke. UTC softball’s Thursday doubleheader with non-conference foe UAB at Frost Stadium has been cancelled due to the ... (click for more)

Brewer Selected New East Ridge Girls Basketball Coach

(Story has been updated) Blaine Brewer admitted his becoming a head coach at East Ridge, or any other place for that matter, is ahead of schedule. “It certainly has happened quicker than I thought it would,” the 24-year-old Brewer said Friday. “I’m really excited though.” Brewer, who is from Memphis and attended Arlington High School where he played basketball and ... (click for more)

McClendon, Ex-Rhea Assistant, Joins Lyness' Lady Trojans Staff

Cheryl McClendon, an assistant girls’ basketball coach at Rhea County the past eight years, has been hired for a similar job at Soddy-Daisy High School, head coach Drew Lyness said Friday afternoon. McClendon has taught at Soddy-Daisy for the last 13 years and served as one of Rhea County coach Shane Johnston’s assistants for almost a decade. Johnston has resigned at Rhea County ... (click for more)