Roy Exum: A Walk In April’s Garden

Wednesday, April 2, 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



Not Thrilled With The Parking Rate Increase

Mark your calendars for?? Sept. 1—the day the Chattanooga Parking Authority has?? announced it will raise parking rates around the city. In addition to the rate hikes, the Parking Authority will extend enforceable hours from 4:30-6 p.m.  and will include Saturdays as well.?? The Parking Authority has allowed for a learning curve, however, saying that during the month of ... (click for more)

Tell Congress To Protect AmeriCorps

In June, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved separate spending bills that would reduce opportunities for young people to serve their county, by cutting the AmeriCorps program, by as much as 34%.  These cuts mean half as many AmeriCorps members serving with local programs like Southeast Conservation Corps. These members build local trails, remove invasive ... (click for more)

City, County To Spend Up To $300,000 To Improve Moccasin Bend Police Firing Range

The city and county will spend up to $300,000 to upgrade the police firing range at Moccasin Bend. The city and county earlier had made plans for an indoor firing range on E. 11th Street that would have cost over $3 million, but the plug was later pulled on that idea. Officials said a new portable building will be transported to the Moccasin Bend site. The project also ... (click for more)

Assessor Bennett, Former Assessor Ramsey In Jetton Camp For Assessor Of Property

Assessor of Property Bill Bennett and former Assessor Claude Ramsey recommended Sterling Jetton as the next assessor at a breakfast fundraiser at Wally's Restaurant in East Ridge on Saturday morning. Mr. Jetton, who spent 27 years in the assessor's office, is running against County Commissioner Marty Haynes in the March 1 Republican primary. Noting the political heavyweights ... (click for more)

Cleveland Hangs On To Beat East Hamilton, 18-15

Cleveland built an 18-0 lead – the third score came on Skyler Davis’ 91-yard interception return in the third quarter – and then had to hold on as East Hamilton mounted a comeback that fell just short in the Blue Raiders’ 18-15 victory Friday night at East Hamilton. Davis’ big defensive play gave the Blue Raiders the needed points to pull out the victory. “That was great,” ... (click for more)

Tyner Shocks Notre Dame In Overtime Thriller

Oh, what a difference a year makes. The Tyner Rams only won two football games a year ago and didn't make the playoffs for the first time in coach Wayne Turner's 24 years as their head coach. Now a season later, the Rams have equaled last year's win total, the latest being a 27-21 overtime victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a game where there were more momentum ... (click for more)