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Fireworks, Unicoi Animal Shelter and more in Tuesday's Forum

Staff Report • Jul 11, 2013 at 8:27 AM

Having only been a resident of the town of Erwin for a year now, I have found much joy in volunteering at the Unicoi County Animal Shelter. Being involved some there has helped me to feel more at home in this town.I have gotten to know the people who work there, volunteer there and care for the animals there. All of those people put forth a lot of effort in providing foster homes for animals when the shelter gets full so that they don’t have to be euthanized. I have seen first hand the genuine concern and the hard work involved in making that shelter a real shelter for homeless animals. The staff there has already built up such a great place — a place the creates contentment in my heart just knowing that while the animals are there, they are being taken very well cared for. The director, Jessica Blevins, goes above and stretches far beyond to get foster homes and animal rescues to take animals so that euthanasia is a rarity. It’s impressive how many animals she moves out of there and into homes.I deeply fear that the “pound” that may be reopened will only be a death sentence — a temporary holding cell awaiting euthanasia. It’s depressing to think about. Furthermore, a lot of money is involved in providing the proper shelter, nourishment and medical care for animals that are in a shelter. I feel that reopening a pound will be merely a half-hearted attempt at a dog confinement, since cats don’t seem to matter.Instead of wasting money in that way, it would be more prudent for the town of Erwin to delegate that money to furthering and continuing the good that is already being pursued at the Unicoi animal shelter. There is already so much bad in the world. I hope that the town of Erwin will be a part of the good and choose to have a shelter, not a pound. JULIE JOHNSONErwinImmigrationI can’t believe Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander voted to reward and legitimize those who entered our country illegally. Our senators failed to connect some dots and their votes will create higher unemployment and raise state taxes to cover alien health care. Under Obamacare, businesses with more than 50 workers that employ American citizens, with no qualifying health insurance, would be subject to pay almost $3,000 in fines per worker.Note the emphasis on American citizens. Soon-to-be-legalized immigrants wouldn’t be considered American citizens, and thus not eligible to receive subsidies under Obamacare until they earn their citizenship 13 years later. Under the Senate bill, businesses can bypass fines and instead pass health care burdens on to Tennessee taxpayers.Employers can simply hire soon-to-be-legal immigrants, even from surrounding states, and replace American workers for the next 13 years and not have to pay $3,000. Also, this 1,100-page bill states that employers will be given an additional $3,000 for each soon-to-be legalized immigrant they hire. Hiring Americans would disqualify an employer from getting the added incentive. Only amnesty immigrants need qualify. So these Republican senators voted for larger government, spending more and giving incentives to hire future amnesty illegal immigrants over American workers. CHARLES THOMSONJonesboroughBan fireworksI love watching a fireworks display. It is beautiful, breathtaking and makes me proud to be an American. However, I feel that fireworks should be banned within all city limits. In Elizabethton, according to city ordinance, people are allowed to shoot off fireworks until midnight. I have been hearing them since three hours before dark and it is now, as I write this, 10 p.m. Another two hours? They are, primarily, a safety concern, can damage property, a terrible reminder to combat veterans, an annoyance to neighbors who may have to work early the next day or may have a baby or ill family member, and frightening to pets. I also find it ironic that fire companies encourage the sale of fireworks.There are always incidents of injury, both to body and personal property, every year across this nation. Occasionally, even the pyrotechnic experts have an accident. Many organizations, churches and ball teams offer spectacular fireworks displays throughout the week of July 4th. Most of these displays have additional entertainment and are free of charge. They also provide a much safer environment for all to enjoy the fireworks. Perhaps it is time to change this city ordinance.KAY A. NAVEElizabethton

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