- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:


June 25

The Commercial Appeal of Memphis on surveillance cameras in neighborhoods and police overtime for the mayor’s security detail:

Public officials are entitled to go about their business without having their homes violated and their children scared by trespassing protesters.

That includes Mayor Jim Strickland, whose round-the-clock police security detail began in December 2016 after protesters held a “die-in” on his lawn.

The trespassers didn’t damage anything or hurt anyone, but some approached his house and peeked in the windows while his children were getting ready for school.

As The Commercial Appeal’s Daniel Connolly reported in Sunday’s editions, the mayor’s 24-hour security detail, assigned by Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings, cost taxpayers more than $200,000 in 2017. The costs are mounting.

“It’s sad that we have to spend taxpayer dollars and use limited MPD resources like this,” Strickland said in a statement released by his office.

“But when it comes to the safety of my family, including two children, I defer to Director Rallings’ advice. … Overtime for these officers is well earned. The security provided is necessary and justified.”

You could make a strong case that a round-the-clock security detail is “necessary and justified” for thousands of people in Memphis - including most children in high-crime neighborhoods.

The mayor’s two children deserve to be protected from harm.

So did Jeriyah McFarland, the 10-year-old girl who was shot in the arm while she slept in her Whitehaven home in March.

So did Gabrielle Harris, the 14-year-old who was killed by gunfire as she washed dishes inside her family’s home in Whitehaven in January.

So does every child in this community.

Few families and neighborhoods can afford to provide round-the-clock security for their children - although some are more able than others.

Thanks to the proliferation of SkyCop surveillance cameras, flashing blue lights have become as common in higher-income, low-crime neighborhoods as they always have been (for other reasons) in lower-income, high-crime neighborhoods.

Residents of the stately Belle Meade neighborhood in East Memphis are chipping in to install nearly a dozen cameras at nine entrance points.

That will add to the more than two dozen cameras already stationed around East Memphis residential areas. That’s more than higher-crime areas such as Whitehaven, Frayser, Raleigh and Hickory Hill combined.

City taxpayers cover each camera’s annual operating costs of $42,000, no matter which neighborhood can afford to buy one.

Taxpayers also are covering police overtime costs, not just for the mayor’s security detail but for the entire community.

As Connolly reported, Memphis police racked up $27.3 million in overtime last year. That’s $3 million more than Atlanta and $18 million more than Nashville.

Memphis has fewer commissioned police officers per 1,000 residents than Jackson, Tennessee, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas, not to mention larger cities such as Atlanta, St. Louis and Detroit.

Strickland and Rallings are working to replenish and expand the ranks, but it’s a slow process that will take several years.

Meanwhile, the Memphis City Council has been adding more SkyCops to the budget, divvying them up evenly among the districts. Still, more affluent neighborhoods have the advantage. Each camera costs about $132,000 to buy and install.

SkyCops are one way to fill the public safety gaps. Police overtime is another. That’s why it’s more important than ever for the city to be fair and judicious in allocating those scarce resources to families and neighborhoods that need them most.

Protecting the mayor and other more affluent Memphians is important, but don’t the less fortunate and less safe among us deserve equal protection?

Online: https://www.commercialappeal.com/


June 22

Johnson City Press on the death of longtime Tennessee Volunteers broadcaster John Ward:

No voice was more revered in the state of Tennessee than John Ward’s. Even The King himself, Elvis Presley, was second to the Voice of the Vols in many a Tennessee resident’s mind.

To generations of sports fans, Ward was the University of Tennessee. If you knew nothing else about UT, you knew “It’s football time in Tennessee!” meant the Vols were ready to play.

Although it had been nearly 20 years since Ward called his last game for Tennessee, his death Wednesday at age 88 brought pause to anyone who enjoyed a good football or basketball game. His voice was in our homes, in our cars and still in our heads.

For more than three decades, Ward brought his classic, energetic play-by-play style to radio listeners across the state, never missing a football game until his retirement at the end of the 1998-99 season. Tuning into a Vols game meant listening to one of the nation’s best broadcasters.

Many of us would watch a game on television with the audio muted while listening to Ward on the Vol Network. Fans did the same in Neyland Stadium or Thompson-Boling Arena with headphones.

He was just that good.

In fact, he was named the Best College Announcer in the Country in 1976 and received the Tennessee Sportscaster of the Year Award an unmatchable 28 times. Yes, that’s 28 times in 34 years.

Amazingly, calling the Vols was more of a hobby to Ward than a job, as he was a highly successful advertising and TV production executive in his other life.

A 1954 UT law school alumnus, Ward first lent his voice to a Vols basketball game in 1958 but later entered the Army. He returned to the basketball booth in 1965 and stayed.

Three years later, he was in Neyland, where he developed his trademark touchdown call, “Give, him, SIX - TOUCHDOWN, TENNESSEE!”

Ward retired on a high note as Tennessee captured the 1999 national football championship and the Eastern Division Southeastern Conference basketball title.

Ward’s name is forever enshrined in Knoxville. The broadcast level of the Neyland Stadium press box bears his name, as does a pedestrian greenway on the campus.

To merely say John Ward will be missed is woefully inadequate. Legends like this come once in a generation.

Online: http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/


June 23

Cleveland Daily Banner on summer safety:

… Days into summer and the inevitable plea is already being heard from distant corners of our community to the downtown district, “Gee-whiz, is it autumn yet?”

Not quite. Ask us again on Sept. 23.

Like a furnace, the season of white-sand beaches, dark tans and air as thick as molasses arrived last Thursday. But for most in our region, it came as no surprise. It was already hot; at least, for several days just prior to summer’s official approach.

Spring did its best to linger, but last week’s early highs in the low-90s (prior to the Thursday rains), and heat index values that pushed 100 degrees reminded us another season of change is upon us . like it or not.

Truth be told, if not for lawn mowers that must be pushed, gardens that demand attention by the day, gutters that fill from the debris of late-afternoon storms and inside thermostats that strain against the outside sun . summer might be OK.

But, like any part of life, it carries its share of hazards when safety is not foremost in our minds and our actions.

For this reason, we borrow today a slate of tips from the American Red Cross that - if followed - can help all to survive the coming summer heat and welcome the crisp air of our beloved autumn in about three months.

But until that time, consider these suggestions, as taken from the www.redcross.org website. And remember, most tips for surviving the heat aren’t as much rocket science as they are common sense.

And before we begin the Red Cross list, let’s commit to one of the most important - yet too often forgotten - reminders; that being, hot cars.

In five words, “Hot cars can be deadly.” This applies to children - infants, toddlers and all ages - and it also pertains to pets. The frightening point is in the heat of daytime summer, the inside temperature of a car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Prolonged exposure to these stifling conditions can easily take human or animal life.

As mentioned, defenses against extreme heat are common sense, yet they bear repeating:

. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids; avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

. Avoid extreme temperature changes (for example, running in and out of heavily air conditioned buildings into excessive outside heat), and back again.

. Wear loose-fitting, light-weight, light-colored clothing; avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.

. Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.

. Postpone outdoor games and activities.

. Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat; take frequent breaks if working outdoors.

. Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.

. Check on animals frequently to ensure they are not suffering from the heat; make sure they have plenty of cool water.

. If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should choose places to go for relief from the heat during the hottest part of the day; such locations include schools, libraries, theaters and malls.

It’s also critical to understand, and to be able to identify, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The American Red Cross offers these tips:

. Heat Exhaustion: “If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness or exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing, and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1, or the local emergency number.”

. Heat Stroke: This is a life-threatening condition. “Signs include hot, red skin that may be dry or moist, changes in consciousness, vomiting and high body temperature. (If these signs are evident, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.) Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

Summer is supposed to be a season of relaxation. But too often, what we think is relaxing can often parallel over-exertion.

For the coming summer, keep it cool. Keep it slow. And keep it safe.

Doing all these things will help to assure we’ll be around to breathe in the miracle of autumn’s first kiss.

Online: http://clevelandbanner.com/

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