Remembering 25 Years Of Friendship

Thursday, March 13, 2014
Let's take a trip to the summer of 1989. President George H. W. Bush was President, acid wash pants and loud colors were the style, and the airwaves were filled with the most awesome music. However, it was the summer that also was met with some skepticism. Both Valley View and John A. Patten graduated their last sixth grade classes. In fact, John A. Patten Elementary was closing its doors and that fall moved all their children to Valley View Elementary School making it K-5. However, unknown to us there was another item that would have a big effect when we went back to school.
We found out later a number of African-American students, who lived in St. Elmo, would be attending Lookout Valley Middle/High School. Now before this I had a few friends who were "black", but I did not know a lot of them. 

As the first day started I can only imagine what some of these youth were thinking especially as they crossed the railroad bridge on Cummings Highway. We at Valley View had a few students before then who were black. These were the Mason children so seeing more "black" children didn't bother me. However, as new youths came off the bus it was strange.  However, I became friends with many of them.

Over the next few month tensions were a little high, but many of the youths came together and became friends. In fact more African-Americans came with the closing of Kirkman High in 1990. Over the next five years we had some problems just like a lot of other schools, and uneducated children caused some issues. However, we became stronger and many of those children are friends to this day. 

Our savior loves everyone black, brown, white, straight, gay, atheist, Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, and so on. Today, I'm glad I have gotten to know everyone I have known over the years. Let's leave the color where it belongs in a box of color sharpies. 

To my friends Claude Pepe Mason, Chad Mason, Almondo Hill, Mark Clemons, the Patel Family, and others, thank you for being great friends. Lookout Valley High would have not been the same without you. I look back on 25 years, and I see some gains and some fall backs. However, as the old quote stated, "Rome was not built in a day." We just need to strive for showing love to one another.

Alex McKeel, Lookout Valley


David Carroll: Touched By Alzheimer’s, A Thanksgiving Love Story

I want to share a Thanksgiving love story. Those smiles belong to Jim and Andi Erwin of Collegedale, now married 45 years. Jim is 68, Andi is 63.  I met them last summer, and fell in love immediately. Andi is a talker. Full of life, with energy to spare. Jim used to be a talker, an award-winning one. In his youth he was a teacher and pastor, very well-educated. Simply put, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Pretty’ Seeking ‘Rich’

The story has been around for a while, long enough for the fact-checking Snopes.com to classify it as a “legend,” which means “great story but lacks validity,” so as we hope Tennessee’s football team can somehow beat 19 th -ranked Missouri in a rough-and-tumble game at Neyland Stadium tonight, allow me to share this because it is delightful just the same. The following is what ... (click for more)

Lookout Mountain, Ga., Raises Sewer Rates; Joins In Kudzu Fight

The Lookout Mountain, Ga., City Council on Thursday night approved an increase in sewer charges. The council approved ordinance 281 increasing sewer rates to $6 per 100 cubic feet of water from the previous rate of $4.77.  The new increase will be in effect in January 2015.    City Manager Brad Haven said the town will be replacing the flow meter for ... (click for more)

Police Investigating An Armed Robbery On Friday Night At UTC

UTC Police are investigating with the Chattanooga City Police an armed robbery in Lot 4 near Boling Apartments on Friday night. The suspects are described as two black men.  One was six feet tall, wearing a navy jacket, with medium skin tone and short hair.  The other suspect was reported to be 5’ 7”, wearing blue jeans and a long white T-shirt. The second suspect ... (click for more)

Missouri Hangs On, Turns Back Tennessee, 29-21

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Missouri pin-pricked Joshua Dobbs’ bubble of invincibility Saturday night at Neyland Stadium. The nationally ranked Tigers drove a stake in Tennessee’s heart with Maty Mauk’s 73-yard touchdown pass to Jimmie Hunt in the fourth quarter, held Dobbs in check most of the game and beat the Vols, 29-21, before 95,821 fans on a chilly night on the banks of the Tennessee ... (click for more)

Mocs Win Big Over Furman, Undefeated In Conference Play

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team put a cherry on top of its 2014 regular season with Saturday’s 45-19 win at Furman (3-9, 2-5 SoCon).  The victory gives the No. 9 Mocs (9-3, 7-0 SoCon) its first ever undefeated Southern Conference slate and its first nine-win season since 1979. Junior quarterback Jacob Huesman led the way with 257 passing yards ... (click for more)