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.”

Where Is The Highway Patrol?

I am teaching my 15-year-old to drive in the North Georgia and Chattanooga area. I have warned her of the dangers of exceeding the speed limit both as a hazard to herself and in terms of receiving a ticket. What a liar I am.  Have you driven on the local freeways and highways recently? I never see any highway patrolmen helping to reduce speeding or pulling over those who ... (click for more)

Why I Am Voting For Esther Helton

I retired from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, with 37 years of state service in 2015. I graduated from East Ridge High School in 1969 and raised my son in this community. I am proud to be from East Ridge. Several months ago, I decided to learn more about East Ridge leadership by attending the City Council meetings. At the meetings, I met ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Lacie Stone Were At Swanky New York City Hotel While Bobby Stone Was Plying The River

Mayor Andy Berke's top advisor Lacie Stone accompanied him on a trip to New York City on April 12-13 and they ended up at a swanky spot where Ms. Stone's husband, Bobby, had taken her before. They sat at the Stones' favorite table.   Bobby Stone, who has accused his wife of having an affair with the mayor, has said that Lacie Stone told him that she and the mayor kissed ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 7; Blaze Ruled Accidental

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire on Saturday afternoon that displaced a family of seven. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 4:11 p.m. and responded to 3308 Dodson Ave. with five fire companies. Captain Wadie Suttles with Engine 4 said heavy fire was showing when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. As additional firefighters ... (click for more)

UTC Defeats VMI, 30-13; Mocs Seniors Gain 34th Career Win

UTC junior running back Richardre Bagley rushed for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns to lead the host Mocs to a 30-13 Southern Conference win against VMI at Finley Stadium before 10, 505 fans. "It's a huge confidence booster," Bagley said. "All credit goes to our great offensive line and receivers blocking down field. The coaches did a great job preparing us. Everyone ... (click for more)

Goetz Outlasts Huwe To Win Signal Mountain Pie Run

The annual Signal Mountain Pie Run is one of those races where you don’t have to be the first across the finish line to be the overall winner. It’s a prediction run, so the runner getting nearest his or her predicted time was honored with cash prizes. Gregg Sutton crossed the line next to the old Signal Mountain Junior High with a time of 46 minutes flat, which was exactly ... (click for more)