Roy Exum: My Garden This August

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

As the prettiest last three days in the history of any July ever in Chattanooga wane, the morning sky brings us a promising August today. My garden, with nary a trace of the devastating drought we were forced to endure this time last year, is lush and full and -- my heavens – I can never remember when we were a full nine inches above our normal rainfall after the first seven months of the year. So, yes, I have orchids and onions in abundance so let’s see what we find: 

AN ORCHID to the arrival of Bryan Johnson as Hamilton County’s new school superintendent. School actually starts next week and here’s hope he hits the classrooms at a gallop. Registration for all public schools is Monday, Aug. 7, and the first full day of school is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 10. Motorists should watch for school zones. 

AN ONION to Senator Bob Corker, who I wrote with concerns about Hamilton County education and his return note read, “As with nearly all education matters, most educational funding originates and is controlled by Tennessee State, County and City governments. I would encourage you to contact your state and local representatives with your concerns.” Silly me, I thought he was still one of “us.” We were  friends when we went to City High School together. 

AN ORCHID to Harry Alford, a black columnist from Florida, who points out that since the Nissan plants opened in Canton, Miss., in 2003, 46 percent of the supervisors are now minorities and 62 percent of the general work force are minorities. There are more than 25,000 workers recycling $2.9 billion a year back into local businesses. His point: The UAW is trying to organize the Nissan workers and Alford claims “that’s like getting chickens to vote for Kentucky Fried Chicken.” 

AN ONION from those who fear heights for the “Europe Bridge,” a brand-new 494-meter single-file walking bridge (think 1,620 feet, or 5½ football fields, or one-third of a mile) that is part of a 13-mile hiking route between Zermatt and Grachen in southern Switzerland. It hangs as much as 85 meters (280 feet) above the Granbengufer ravine and there is one rule to walk it. “Do not look down.” Thank goodness heavy cables prevent it swaying during storms. 

AN ORCHID to the lives of ‘Dixie Jean’ Robbins, Dick Stoner, the irrepressible John Crimmins, Peggy Lane, Terri Farmer, Jake Butcher, Mary Katharine Moore and a bunch others who helped direct my path. “Good men must die but death cannot kill their names” (Indian Proverb) 

AN ONION to the Massachusetts Teacher’s Association for publicly refusing to support a state bill that would outlaw sex between teachers and students under the age of 19. The teacher’s union, with 110,000 members, states the bill is still under review after six months. Unbelievable! 

AN ORCHID to Paul Chabot, a conservative Republican, who is so fed up with California he just moved his family to Texas. He started a company, “Conservative Move,” and has already had over 1,000 inquiries. It is a fact some huge California companies are following his trail due to stifling taxes, liberal agendas, and quality-of-life concerns. 

AN ONION to the relentless and ever-increasing opioid epidemic that just took the life of the son of Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. Max died in Denver of an overdose and a memorial service is scheduled today. 

AN ORCHID for the news from the Federal Election Commission that at least 105 of the 241 Republicans in Congress will have opposition in the next election. If Washington is ever going to change it must be at the ballot box -- when you’ve finished your list of what Chuck Fleischmann and Scott DesJarlais have done to better our nation, send me the postcard. 

AN ONION to the new WalletHub survey that places Chattanooga at No. 142 out of 150 of the best and worst run cities in America. For the first time ever, Chattanooga is worse than Memphis (No. 141). The rest of the Bottom Ten: Flint (MI), Hartford (CT), Cleveland (OH), San Francisco (CA), NYC, Detroit and – you guessed it) – Washington DC. (Do you think State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen will request the state intervene and take over the operation of the entire city or just the five worst parts?) 

AN ORCHID for the WalletHub finding that Nampa (IN) is the best run of America’s top 150 cities, followed by Provo (UT) and Boise (ID). Others of note: No. 112 Nashville, No. 121 Birmingham, No.127 Knoxville, and No.137 Atlanta. 

AN ONION to the black family of three in Memphis who, after eating at the “On the Border Mexican Grill” and running up a $50 tab, put a fat “0” in the tip line and wrote a note that said, “We don’t tip white ppl, LOL.” Waiter Nathan Bergon said he was shocked, that he’s “never treated anybody any differently than anybody else.” 

AN ORCHID for Nathan’s friend, Brandy Sciara, who put the note on “Facebook” to “raise awareness.” Said Brandy, “When I saw the note I cried.” Then Brady put the note on a GoFundMe” page under “a place called home for Nathan.” At last report over $7,000 has been donated to make up for the lost tip and much of it – get this – has been given by minorities. “I’m not going to let this bring me down,” said the further shocked waiter. “I love what I do, getting to meet new people every day and interact with people from all backgrounds.” 

AN ONION for the horrifying news out of London – where there are very few guns – that the rival street gangs, instead of stabbing one another, are now hurling and squirting acid on each other. That’s right, as in hydrochloric and other types that blind and permanently disfigure people for the rest of their lives. The thugs carry it in the open, in plastic water bottles. Acid attacks jumped from 261 in 2015 to 454 in 2016 and now it is on a pace for two times per day in the city. “It is absolutely barbaric,” said London police chief Cressida Dick. Should I add that there are 12-year-old children who say they are carrying it “for personal protection” when they are caught? 

AN ORCHID for every high school student who realizes “It is not your latitude but your attitude, that determines your altitude.” 

AN ONION to five teenagers who watched, and filmed, a disabled man drown in Cocoa Beach, Fla., while jeering, “Ain’t nobody gonna’ help you, you dumb (expletive).” And, “Hurry up and die … we got to go.” Police have since charged the youths, ages 14 to 18, with misdemeanor citations. 

AN ORCHID to the exciting renovations to Miller Park and Patten Parkway downtown. The aesthetics promise to make the public areas a draw for the downtown area. 

AN ONION to the city for not taking action on the old Hotel Patten building, where its Title IX occupants have ruined the park by loitering, creating waste, and a hazardous environment. One current idea is to turn the building into UTC student housing. 

AN ORCHID when Chattanooga’s main thoroughfare returns to two lanes in either direction. And there are whispers, although faint, that “the worst run metro city” in Tennessee (according to WalletHub and gloating Memphis officials) may soon admit failure and remove the bicycle lanes that have made shambles of Broad Street.

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