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Benefits of the arts, Dr. Hankal and more in Sunday's Forum

Staff Report • Jul 8, 2013 at 9:23 AM

At last the construction of a much-needed new Johnson City Animal Shelter and adjacent spay/neuter clinic seems close to becoming a reality. Alan Mautner’s recent letter in Forum expresses the importance of making the building of the shelter a community effort. Opportunities for donations should exist for people at all levels of the economic scale. He suggests the sale of bricks of varying cost to create a pathway at the shelter. This is an excellent idea. Additionally, perhaps sections of the shelter and individual kennels could be named for donors. Local businesses, such as One-Stop and others have shown past support through generous contributions to the annual Dogwood and Cattails Ball. For the actual building of the shelter plumbing and construction companies and others could offer some of the supplies and labor needed. Another source for community support is civic-minded groups such as Rotary, Lions Club, Monday Club and the Junior League. Grocery store checkout lanes, churches, fraternities, sororities and schools all offer opportunities for average people to contribute.The building of a first-class animal shelter is in the interest of our entire community and should not be dependent on the generosity of a few.ANNE SHERRILLJohnson CitySpay, neuter petsWithout a low-cost spay/neuter program, even a larger animal shelter in Johnson City will euthanize far too many animals. Prevention is the ultimate solution.MARY STAUSSJohnson CityUCAS fundingIt’s a terrible shame that pulling funding from the Unicoi County Animal Shelter was ever an option for the town of Erwin. The shelter we had before this arrangement killed more animals than it helped. I’m not in any hurry to see history repeat itself.PAMELA RENFROErwinCounty CommissionI get so sick of hearing that the Washington County Commission cares about how our tax dollars are spent. If they really cared about where our tax money is spent, they would stop letting taxpayers pay for their family health care insurance, retirement and travel expenses. We do not need 25 commissioners and I applaud the ones who want to reduce the number on the board. We as taxpayers can make a difference on election day. Just listen to who speaks out against things the most at the meetings and allows nothing to get accomplishedKeep your head held high, County Mayor Dan Eldridge. Don’t let them run over you. You have more support than you know.JERRY CARR Jonesborough ETSU footballLet me see if I have this straight: East Tennessee State University needed not one, but two athletic directors as well as a “special assistant for football” (Phil Fulmer) to carry out the process of hiring a football coach. And now that the coach (a personal friend of Fulmer) has been hired, Fulmer will still be employed to “assist” the program? It is public record that the first athletic director makes $134,000 per year in salary. The new coach will make a minimum of $160,000. The salary for Fulmer is not publicly listed. Considering tuition and fees at ETSU just increased (yet again) by 7.8 percent, I’m sure students and their parents would like to know how much money the university spent on a second athletic director and a special football assistant, as well as where that money came from. Are any reporters interested in finding that out? JO DUNNTelfordBenefits of the artsRandy Taylor’s letter in Forum on June 21 questioned the value of East Tennessee State University’s efforts to build a new center for the arts by implying that an arts education does not contribute to the job market. ETSU’s arts graduates are professionally prepared to enter the job market. Facts indicate sound employment numbers in the arts. The Americans for the Arts’ 2012 Creative Industries Report using Dun & Bradstreet data indicates there are 1,230 arts-related businesses employing 4,418 people in the Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District. Nationally, 3.35 million people were employed in 905,689 arts businesses representing 2.15 percent of all employees and 4.42 percent of all businesses in the United States. The 2011 Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, a national survey conducted by Indiana University, indicates that 67 percent of the respondents to the survey, both undergraduate and graduate alumni with degrees in the arts, were currently employed in the arts, arts education, arts management, design and museum fields. In addition to employment opportunities, the arts make important contributions to a community. The arts provide support to other businesses by purchasing advertising and printing services, paying for catering and hotel expenses, and renting equipment, among other needs. The arts provide funding to local and state governments in sales tax collected on registrations and ticket sales. The arts contribute to tourism efforts, to more livable cities, to K-12 education and to efforts to attract new businesses and their employees to communities. ETSU’s new center for the arts will provide greatly needed instructional space and appropriate facilities to train artists for the future. The center for the arts will be a catalyst for new opportunities of benefit to the citizens of Johnson City and the surrounding region. Arts businesses and the creative people they employ will stimulate innovation throughout our community. ANITA DeANGELIS Johnson CityHonor HankalRobert Houk’s column on June 23 praising Dr. Hezekiah Hankal was spot on. Recognition of this man has been long overlooked and is long overdue. I really can’t point to another figure in local history who gave more to humanity both physically and spiritually. Over many decades this man’s amazing accomplishments are still remembered by families whose lives he touched. Serving as a catalyst, the Boones Creek Historical Trust, with the help of Donald Shaffer, Mary Alexander and especially Sheila Jones, was able to locate several of his descendants and a joyous reunion followed. A public servant, a remarkable physician, a teacher, a preacher and more, at a time when country and communities were shredded by racial divide, Dr. Hankal brought healing in more ways than one. This area owes Dr. Hezekiah Hankal a lot more than name recognition. It is the least we should do.VICKI SHELLJohnson City

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