Roy Exum: A Walk In April’s Garden

Wednesday, April 02, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

As I took my first sun-drenched walk through my April garden, it was hard to believe that just one week ago it hosted a gusty snow shower. There are jonquils now blooming by the score but there are some hardy weeds as well. So let’s take a look at what I’ve found …

A JONQUIL to Sheriff Daron Hall of Davidson County (Nashville) whose re-election campaign literature includes a “Get Out Of Jail” card like the one you find in a box of the game Monopoly. Everybody knows it is just for fun but the sheriff says that’s just about all anyone ever asked him for during his first three terms of office. The cards are a big hit.

A WEED to the fact an average ticket to watch the Boston Red Sox this season will cost a kid $52.32. Another to watch the Yankees in New York is going for $51.55 and the Major League average is now $27.93, which shows why there are so many empty seats at games. Most people can’t afford to go to major league parks any longer.

A JONQUIL to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, whose inauguration promise in 2010 was to “make sure we’re not a city too big for love,” will soon be getting married. Mayor Reed, embattled this winter after a freakish ice storm left the city in gridlock, will marry his longtime girlfriend Sarah Elizabeth Langford and the happy couple is already expecting a baby, according to reports.

A WEED to the NAACP in Nashville after they claimed a portrait of new Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason made him look “too racist.” Akailah Harris of the NAACP said the freehand painting was “reminiscent of the minstrelsy era in which black people’s skin was darkened and their lips were made whiter in order to exaggerate their race in order to put them in a sharp contrast with the white race.” The painter profusely apologized and, after revealing all he had to go by was a picture, will try again on the side of a building on West End Avenue.

A JONQUIL to a study conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation that learned 89 percent of the veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan would sign up again. While 51 percent said they knew a former soldier who had tried to commit suicide, a full 90 percent were proud of their contribution to their country.

A WEED – what else – to District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray who on Monday signed a bill that decriminalizes possession of up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana in the U.S. capital. It makes possession of less than one ounce of weed a civil violation with a penalty of $25, which is less than a parking ticket. Before this week possession had been a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

A JONQUIL to Kwasi Enen, a senior at William Floyd High School in Long Island who just got acceptance letters from all eight universities that make up the Ivy League. The admission rate to one of the private universities is just 8.9 percent so his feat is impressive. With both parents working as nurses, Enen will pursue a medical degree. Can you name all eight? They are Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.

A WEED to Catholic Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who is now apologizing for “a lapse in judgment” that resulted in a lavish $2.2 million manse that he built in Buckhead for himself. He wrote, “I am disappointed that, while my advisors and I were able to justify this project fiscally, logistically and practically, I personally failed to project the cost in terms of my own integrity and pastoral credibility with the people of God of north and central Georgia.”

A JONQUIL for rebounding car sales. Figures for March were released yesterday and Chrysler, spurred by the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and truck sales, was up 13 percent. Toyota was up 4.9 percent and Ford was up 3 percent. GM, with over 6 million cars recalled, delayed announcing its figures while Volkswagen suffered a 28 percent drop. Oh, and the average cost of a vehicle last month was $31.995.

A WEED for the fact Chattanooga is sixth on this year’s list of “Allergy Capitals” that is sponsored by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Last spring Chattanooga was third so maybe things won’t be as bad as they could be. Louisville, Ky., was first with Memphis, Baton Rouge, Oklahoma City and Jackson, Miss., rounding out the top five. Behind Chattanooga are Dallas, Richmond, Birmingham and McAllen, Texas. Knoxville is 16th, Nashville 25th and Augusta – where next week’s flowers at the Masters will be stunning – is 31st.

A JONQUIL to California’s Jim Zetz, 62, who has stage 4 pancreatic cancer but staged a wedding last weekend for his 11-year-old daughter. No, she didn’t get married but, worried that his time on earth is dwindling, he wanted her to remember the day her dad walked her down the aisle. Jim gave Josey a promise ring and pastor Gary Galbraith got it right when he told the beaming girl, “Your dad may not get to see you get married, but he is here to walk you down the aisle today. The daddy and daughter relationship is one of the most special relationships in life.”

royexum@aol.com



Families In Public Schools Fight Common Core, But Won't Get Out

The alarm among Christians who patronize government-run schools has a clear cause. Common Core, the name of the latest spate of reform, promises further control by Washington. What are moms and dads to make of the opposition to Common Core, particularly if they are Christian or home educators? How worked up should we get?  We’ll let Tony Perkins of a Washington G Street ... (click for more)

Questions About Bus Stops

The attack of the young man at a bus stop brings to mind something that I have been wondering for some time now.  Why do we have bus stops all over town that are often just a sign on the side of the road, no pull off area, no shelter and often no sidewalk?   I have also noticed that on Brainerd Road there will often be a stop at almost every block or street, so it seems, ... (click for more)

Boy, 16, To Face Murder Charges In Criminal Court On Triple Lookout Valley Slayings

A Lookout Valley youth who was 15 at the time of his alleged involvement in a massacre in the valley will stand trial as an adult. Jacob Allison, who is now 16, was taken by the sheriff's office to the Hamilton County Jail after a transfer hearing in Juvenile Court on Friday morning. Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw said under state law he has jurisdiction over rehabilitation ... (click for more)

Justin Wilkins Selected As Deputy Chief Of Staff For Mayor Berke

Native Chattanoogan Justin Wilkins will serve as Mayor Andy Berke's deputy chief of staff, it was announced Friday. Mr. Wilkins has spent the last several years serving as the Tennessee state director for multiple advocacy and electoral organizations, including Organizing for America and Organizing for Action. Prior to that, he worked as project manager at Profit Plans LLC ... (click for more)

Notre Dame's Kareem Orr Looking For Big Results

(This is the 16th in a series of preseason stories on new high school football coaches, or veteran coaches at a different school, and top players in the Chattanooga area) Notre Dame’s football team has won 18 games in the first two years of Charles Fant’s time as the Fighting Irish head coach. The Signal Mountain Eagles have beaten Notre Dame in both of ... (click for more)

McCallie's 97-Yard Drive Proof Of Dominant 44-0 Win In Opener

With the game in hand, McCallie’s offense unleashed an impressive third-quarter drive that exemplified Cleveland’s inability to handle the Blue Tornado offense Thursday night at Finley Stadium. The Blue Raiders’ only real scoring threat ended at McCallie’s 3 on successive incomplete passes by quarterback Austin Massey to intended receivers Eric Goodwin and Rod Dennard. McCallie ... (click for more)