Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Southern Baptist Convention Makes Eternal Impact

The Southern Baptist Convention has been led this year by Bobby Webb. It has been a Great year for the Convention. I am grateful that my denomination has been served by this man of God. As the Southern Baptist Convention converges on Nashville, TN for the annual meeting. 449 professions of faith have been made, due to the efforts of those attending and going out into the community with a witness that made an eternal difference.

Nashville will be better than the Southern Baptist Convention found it.

Dr. Jerry Falwell and Judge Roy Moore

Dr. Jerry Falwell speaking to the pastors conference prior to the Southern Baptist Convention sys "We will have to deal with Hilleary in 08". I appreciate the Dr. Falwell has always stood for what he believes without fear of repercussion or threats of intimidation.

Judge Roy Moore spoke at the pastors conference. "separation of church and state doesn't mean separation of God and government. Rule of law doesn't mean rule of man. Without acknowledgement of God, there would be no first amendment."

We are blessed to have two men that are unashamed to speak without fear of repercussion and threats.

Anderson County Judge Buddy Scott Will Retire

This mornings Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that Anderson County Judge James B. "Buddy" Scott has informed Tennessee Governor that he will step down on September 2. Judge Scott served the criminal and circuit courts in Anderson County.

A 17 member panel will interview prospective candidates, they will submit three names to the Governor to consider for appointment for the remaining one year of Judge Scott's term.

The one name that has already surfaced is that of Don Elledge, Chairman of the Clinton School Board. I have watched Don Elledge as a Chairman and a progressive school board member. The only difference that I would have with Chairman Elledge is that he is a Democrat and I am a Republican. That could be to his advantage with a Democrat Governor making the decision.

Chairman Elledge has positioned himself to run for the elected position next year.

All eyes will be on the Governor to see who he appoints to this position. Will he continue with his "conservative mantra" or will he show the real Phil Bredesen with a liberal appointment of someone that has not been active in the community.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Merit Construction low-bidder on Gibbs Elementary

Merit Construction (the Construction Manager at Risk) of the New West Knox County High School. Merit has become the low-bid General Contractor on the New Gibbs Elementary School.

The interesting news is where o where is the Athens, TN based Webb & Sons long time low bidder on all Knox County school projects. Is Brickey Elementary complete, yet? They are probably still working on the punch list.

The four competing general contractors for the Gibbs project were:

Merit Construction
Blaine Construction
Johnson & Galyon
Rouse Construction

all Knox County companies. That is a little good news.

PBA, KCSFD or What

This issue continues to spin round and round. I attended the Knox County Commission Finance Committee today. This is my best stab at the issues and what is really going on. Dale Smith, Director of PBA in response to Commissioner John Griess questions, stated that he and PBA were requested by Superintendent Lindsey to evaluate the contracts and propose the arrangement that the board ultimately rejected on June 1, 2005.

Commissioner Mike Hammond explained, that at the board meeting, that he attended that the Board Chair and Superintendent made the point that their staff was covered up. Then the staff (Doug Whitted and Doug Dillingham) countered that NO that is not true, they can handle it. Mike Hammond, Operations Director for a number of radio stations, explains that had he attempted the same thing he would be unemployed at this time.

The bottom line is this: Merit Construction has informed Dale Smith if they are not moving dirt within 45 days August 2005, they will exceed the 24 month schedule. The Lewis Group has not provided the early work packet. The second piece of property is not purchased. Are you seeing where this is going?

The PBA of today is a professional organization with experienced professionals running the organization. Dale Smith, Blaize Burch and all others are competent, organized and know what it takes to bring a project on-time and under budget.

The PBA of yesterday Mike Edwards, Vern Patterson, Mike Cohen were not the PBA of today.

The School Board has promised this project in August 2007, the only way to ensure a $40 million dollar facility by August 2007 is for Dale Smith and Blaize Burch to be watching over The Lewis Group and Merit Construction shoulders.

Ericka Mellon of the Knoxville News-Sentinel was the only official member of the media in attendance at today's meeting. I was the only other interested community member in attendance. Interestingly, No member of the School family of the A.J. Building was in attendance.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Saturday Stunner

You have the right to remain silent. Anything that you say will be misquoted and used against you.

Monday, June 13, 2005

WATE TV 6 crosses the line

This evening, the local ABC affiliate WATE TV 6 in their coverage of a stand-off in Jefferson County has crossed a line, that is reprehensible. The stand-off began as local law enforcement officers attempted to serve a domestic violence warrant on an adult male. In this evenings coverage, WATE records for all to see the reaction of the elderly mother being told for the first time that her son was dead due to a self inflicted gun shot. I realize that you guys at WATE have been trying to boost your ratings through shock journalism. This was over the line, in an attempt to garner improved ratings.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

A Customer

A Customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us - we are dependent on him. He is not an outsider in our business - he is a part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him....He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.

How different it would be, if every business or service entity would ensure that all employees had this belief in their minds and hearts. If every employee would treat every customer in this way. There would be less aggravation, less ill will and more positive attitude in our community, region and world.

A National Party No More - The Conscience Of A Conservative Democrat

I have just completed reading United States Senator Zell Miller's book A National Party No More. This is an excellent book for anyone that has a interest in politics or the operation of government.

I now understand why Governor Bredesen believed in the lottery for scholarships and for a pre-k program. This is the exact route that Governor Miller took as Georgia's Governor. I disagree with the lottery, on the grounds that it becomes addictive and hurts the middle to low income families. The families that can least afford to have a financial drain on their pocketbook, all for the dream of finding the pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow. The pre-k program, is a financial impediment on the backs of taxpayers of this state. I have three children that were in different forms of pre-school, but that is my responsibility as a parent and not the governments.

He details how his views have been shaped over the years. I was impressed with his detailing how he came from being a pro-choice democrat to realizing the devastation of abortion. How he came to the conclusion that ultimately led to his decision to change his position to respect life and become a pro-life democrat.

He ends the book with a great story about offering his opinion when it is sometimes not wanted or needed. However, his conscience that was shaped by his single mother to he and his sister, raised in the North Georgia mountains of Young Harris could not allow him to be quiet any longer.

Here are a few excerpts that impressed me:

Senator Miller makes a point in Chapter 9 If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin to be considered in the aftermath of Operation Tennessee Waltz.

"Most Americans must surely wonder why we are reduced to begging. After all, those elected to Congress are paid $150,000.00 a year, which puts us in the top 5 percent tax bracket (that bracket the class warfare warriors call the "super rich"). In some cases. That's not enough to live on and so it seems spouses have to work as lobbyists. Now I have nothing against spouses working-mine has held jobs most of our fifty years of marriage. But as a lobbyist? Seeking to influence legislation? Give me a break. Talk about "gathering ye rosebuds while ye may." It gives new meaning to "pillow talk." I cast no aspersions on the ones who do this, nor do I doubt their honesty. But in a business where "perception" is just about the same as "reality," it looks suspicious as hell. It looks like someone's riding the gravy train. It does not pass the smell test."

"It is time to put duty before dollars, not only in Washington, but in our statehouses as well. The present system is rotten to the core."

In Chapter 18 A Culture of Greater Expectations, Senator Miller talks about the problem with teacher unions and what the schools of tomorrow will look like. He talks about the public demanding smaller schools, I would disagree with his assertion that smaller schools are academically superior.

Two examples: One, the Farragut High School Class of 2005 have been offered more than $8.3 million dollars in scholarships (this does not include lottery money) The Valedictorian and Salutatorian are headed to Harvard University.

Two: In Bill Bennett's 1992 book The De-Valuing of America, the former Secretary of Education says on page 86 " Despite the fact that parents and teachers alike tend to prefer small classes, research does not show any strong positive correlation between smaller class size and achievement. The critical factor - as common sense and experience testify - is not the size of the class but the quality and command of the teacher. Some teachers, like Escalante, can hold the attention and motivate the work of one hundred students at once. For other teachers, to teach one student would be too hard."

The remaining majority of his chapter on public education I agree with. Here is an example.

"Research tells us that kids remember 10 percent of what they hear, 20 percent of what they see, 40 percent of what they discuss, and about 90 percent of what they do. Yet we still stand the teacher up in front of rows of desks and assume that if the kids are quiet while the teacher's talking, they must be learning."

Here is another excerpt from Chapter 18.

"Think about private schools for a minute. How do they do it? They know who their constituency is and they are accountable to it. They know what parents expect for that $20,000, and they deliver it. They set high performance standards and create a culture that meets those greater expectations.

Now think about public schools. When parents and taxpayers are unhappy with public schools, superintendents are sometimes fired and school board members sometimes lose elections. But those who actually make most of the decisions are insulated from the parents and the taxpayers inside the education bureaucracy, safe in their cocoon, from public pressure and accountability."

"Schools must belong to their communities, not to government. If parents, businesses, volunteers do not have the opportunity to participate and contribute in meaningful ways...If they do not have a sense that the school will be accountable to them, then they will see no point in being involved."

This book is a MUST read...

Thursday, June 09, 2005


I have found a group that I really like. Pillar is a Christian Rock band that have been featured on MTV2 and Fuse. Travis Wyrick, from Knoxville is the producer for this project and all previous Pillar projects. Their song Frontline is the featured song for the youth movement Battle Cry.

In 2005-2006 you will witness a lot of promise from Americas youth as they flock to these stadium events to accept the Battle Cry. A Generation that will take a stand and be counted.

Ron Luce is one of the organizers and instrumental in these stadium events that will move from the west coast to the east coast.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Is it 2007? What is the definition of complete?

According to WBIR TV 10 website, the Knox County School Board is closer to a NEW West Knox County High School. Several School officials have made comments at public functions and in PTA/PTSA publications that the school will open in August 2007. Now Karen Carson is indicating in this WBIR story that if the school is not complete that students still need to be put in there. The Knox County Codes Enforcement, State Building Inspectors and the County/State Fire Marshals may have something to say about that.

Remember the Alternative School proposal at the Boys Club facilities. The School District officials wanted to use the facilities, however, the fire marshal said you have to meet the correct codes, and the centers never opened.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Knox County Board of Education meets to re-vise High School Construction Contract

The Knox County School Board will have a special called meeting on Monday June 6, 2005 at 5:00 pm. The two items on the agenda are:

To purchase the first of two pieces of property for the new high school. The site is located on Hardin Valley Road beside the Hardin Valley Elementary School.

To approve a revised construction manager at risk contract with Merit Construction. This is necessary because the board on June 1, 2005 rejected in a 2-7 vote to work directly with Merit, and not to spend $550,000.00 to add an additional layer of administration to re-negotiate the contracts through the Knoxville/Knox County Public Building Authority.

The two board members supporting an additional $550,000.00 of additional administration were Dan Murphy, Chairman of the Board and Fourth District board member and Karen Crason Fifth District board member.

Both of these items to be voted on June 6, 2005 will keep our West Knox County High School on track and on budget. The 7 board members and the Superintendent should be commended for keeping this high school a priority.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Knox County Bible Recess Federal Lawsuit

According to the Alliance Defense Fund website the lawsuit has indeed been filed. There is a link on the website, where you can read the compliant that was filed in federal court yesterday.

In examining the Knox County Schools website. All is quiet. No one is speaking form the School Systems point of view.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

He Said, She Said

The Knoxville News Sentinel has a breaking story about a Knox County School, he said, she said lawsuit. The interesting twist is that he is a fourth grade student and she is a principal.

On May 13, 2005 I posted about the confusion that occurred on the Hallerin Hilton Hill morning talk show on NewsTalk 100 in Knoxville. All sides had their position aired on the HHH show over the course of a couple of days.

Principal Summa along with Knox County Schools PR Guy Russ Oaks appeared one day. Attorney Pope and Luke Whitson's mother appeared on another day. There was and continues to be a difference of opinion between the two sides when each appeared on the HHH show and apparently today, as well. It appears that a judge or jury will determine, just exactly who is telling the truth.

Knox County Schools received a letter appearing to be from Attorney Pope and the school district responded via press release on May 13, 2005. No word from the school district since the filing of the litigation.

One solution can be for the school district to implement a Release Time policy. I will post about Release Time at a later date, until then let the litigation begin.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Location - You read it here first

This morning, I posted based on a couple of sources that the location of the New West Knox County High School would be on property located next to Hardin Valley Elementary School. This evening (6/1/05) according to sources at the school board meeting, contracts were provided to the board and media.

The contracts are for property located next to Hardin Valley Elementary School. The school district currently owns some additional property beside Hardin Valley Elementary School. However, it is not enough acreage for a comprehensive high school.

A high school would require approximately 40 acres or more.

Update June 2, 2005 - The Knoxville News Sentinel confirms it here.

New West Knox County High School - Another Layer of Administration

My source's indicate that this evening (June 1, 2005) 7 members of the Knox County School Board voted to keep the New West Knox County High School on track and on budget. This evening the Knoxville/Knox County PBA officials gave further explanation into the proposed $550,000.00 fee.

The $550,000.00 PBA fee would come from re-negotiating the architectural contract with The Lewis Group and the construction management contract with Merit Construction. With re-negotiation, it would result in a New West Knox County High School delay.

The seven board members voting to keep the high school on track: Sam Anderson, Indya Kincannon, Cindy Buttry, Chuck James, Diane Dozier, Jim Williams and Robert Bratton.

The two board members voting to re-negotiate both contracts and creating an extra layer of administration were: Dan Murphy and Karen Carson

Coach David Cutcliffe resigns

Coach David Cutcliffe former Assistant Head Coach at the University of Tennessee, Head Coach at the University of Mississippi and most recently the Quarterback and Assistant Head Coach at the University of Notre Dame has resigned in order to fully recover from his triple by-pass surgery.

I will disclose that our families have been friends for a number of years. My family and I have always moved our loyalty for a college football team, to wherever Coach Cut happened to be. We were happy to see our friend, end up at a top drawer job at Notre Dame coaching alongside Charlie Weis. What will I do with this Notre Dame fight song ring tone?

The way that Pete Boone and UM treated David and his family was the most disrespectful, moronic act committed in college athletics.

David is committed to his family before his career. But he is an all or nothing kind of guy to everything that he does. I am happy to see that he is taking time to fully recover and spend time with Karen and the kids.

Coach, we continue to pray for you and hope to see you soon. The fish are biting and I will be available.

Location, Location, Location of the New West Knox County High School

My sources indicate that the leading site for the New West Knox County High School is beside the current Hardin Valley Elementary School on Hardin Valley Road. This site is in the center of Farragut High School and Karns High School. These high schools are the most overcrowded.

In 2001, an expansion and renovation was completed at Bearden High School. According to the 2004 MPC study that expansion and renovation would serve Bearden High School for the next 7-10 years.