ChattState Chapel Dialogue

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
(The year is 2020. The setting is the James Catanzaro Wildlife Refuge at Chattanooga State. Two students enter the woodsy retreat on the edge of the Tennessee River and take seats on a bench near a stream.)
 
 Girl: What a wonderful place. No cars. No noise. No unfinished paper on "Seinfeld's" impact on TV comedy staring me in the face. Just bird songs and leaves rustling. It’s almost holy.
 
Guy: And to think this site came close to going the way of most green spots on campus.
Jim Catanzaro, the school’s former president, wanted to erect a multi-million dollar, 7,000-square-foot chapel with flying buttresses right here.
Girl: Get out!
Guy: Hey, no shoving. Yes, seriously. Catanzaro said students told him they needed a place for spiritual reflection and for meetings.
Girl: They couldn’t find anywhere to meet on a campus with more than 20 buildings? Help me, Rhonda!
Guy: And if it’s a church you want for meditation, well, this is Chattanooga. Pitch a penny and it'll wind up in a collection plate.
Girl: And what about the separation of church and state? UTC has two chapels, yes, but both were erected long before it became part of the UT system.
Guy: Even if you grant that a place of worship is appropriate for a college campus, the preliminary rendering of the chapel looked like a cathedral. I don't recall flying buttresses in mosques or synagogues. So much for multi-faith accommodation.
Girl: And how about the cost of heating and cooling and maintaining the chapel, not to mention the Carbon Bigfootprint created by such a structure. By the bye, how was the chapel to be financed?
Guy: Catanzaro said the private sector would fund construction costs.
Girl. But that would have meant precious private dollars that could have been directed to student scholarships, faculty raises and curriculum expansion would be squandered on … well, a monument to Catanzaro.
Guy: And then there was the major objection to the project. With so many of the earth’s species under siege, the plan would have destroyed yet another wildlife habitat. The space under consideration for development was -- and thankfully -- is a wetlands.
Girl: Moses, smell the roses.
Guy: People smelled the coffee and woke up. Members of the State Board of Regents heard so many complaints from folks fed up with wasted dollars and indifference to our environment they refused to approve the chapel.
Girl: Was Catanzaro angry as an old man trying to send soup back in a deli?
Guy: To his credit, Catanzaro gracefully accepted the rejection of his misguided plan and seemed pleased that the preserve was named in his honor.
Girl: He should have been pleased. This is a local treasure. Hard to think that every day places like this become rarer. Makes me tear up. But please don't tell anyone.

Guy: It's in the vault, my friend. It's in the vault.

Carolyn Mitchell


Rep. Holt: Republicans And Democrats Join Forces To Outlaw Traffic Cameras

Newly elected Senator Lee Harris (D-Memphis) and I would seem like total polar opposites politically. He's from the big city of Memphis; I'm from a small town in rural Tennessee; He's a Democrat, I'm a Republican; He's black, I'm white; He's in the Senate, I'm in the House. Unfortunately, many would draw a seemingly logical conclusion that we don't like each other-- that we would ... (click for more)

It Matters Who Leads

When I was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 2008 a constant and repeated refrain from Republican Leadership was; “it matters who leads.” In particular it was Senator Ron Ramsey who would often say “it matters who leads” as part of his stump speech as he traveled the state getting Republicans elected. Tennesseans believed him, and rewarded Republicans with not only majorities ... (click for more)

FCC Votes 3-2 To Approve EPB's Request To Expand Its Broadband Offerings

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to allow EPB to expand its broadband offerings to neighboring communities. Chairman Tom Wheeler and two other Democrats were in favor, while the two Republican members said the agency was acting illegally in overriding state law. EPB's phone, Internet and TV offerings have been far more successful than expected and ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Schools, UTC To Close Friday; Other Closings Announced

Due to remaining snow on some of the roadways and the potential for black ice overnight and into the morning, Hamilton County Schools will be closed on  Friday . School Age Child Care will also be closed. Employees who accrue vacation will report by  10 a.m.  and maintenance employees will report on regular schedule.  All classes are being ... (click for more)

Baylor Girls Lose In State Basketball Semifinals, 69-61

NASHVILLE -- The third time wasn't the charm for the Baylor Lady Red Raiders. Facing the Brentwood Academy Lady Eagles in the semifinals of the D-II Class AA girls state basketball tournament at Lipscomb University, Baylor came up short for the third time this season against the Lady Eagles by a 69-61 final score. It was a see-saw affair with seven ties and 13 lead changes, ... (click for more)

Region 3-AAA To Play Friday With Earlier Start Times

The Region 3-AAA basketball tournament, despite schools being closed, will resume on Friday at Ooltewah High School with four semifinal games on the schedule. While the matchups remain the same, start time for the games have been moved up to 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Ooltewah athletic director Jesse Nayadley said. While schools will be closed on Friday, Nayadley ... (click for more)