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Unicoi County animal shelter, new state laws and more in Sunday's Forum

Staff Report • Aug 1, 2013 at 10:24 AM

First, please know that many citizens of both Unicoi and Washington counties appreciate the public service attitude of the Johnson City Press in keeping everyone, especially our city and county government officials, aware of society’s responsibilities for animal control. And second, thanks so much for providing this public forum on the issue of a misguided concept of a second animal shelter run by Erwin city officials. They make an unfounded claim to save money by abandoning support for the excellent Unicoi County Animal Shelter. Perhaps their so-called savings would be used for additional retreats at popular resorts. My family has personal experience with adoptions from the Unicoi County Animal Shelter and we greatly admire Jessica Blevins and her staff for the wonderful job they do. The shelter is clean and the staff is pleasant despite the emotional stress involved in their work. The shelter is sincere in its mission. There is no record in this country of saving taxpayers money by duplicating services.LES BRYANTJonesborough New state lawsJust wanted you to know that we appreciated the Press giving us an update on all the new state laws taking effect as of July 1. To many of us, all this mumbo-jumbo about new laws is confusing, so it is very helpful that you presented this information in a concise way so we can digest it easily.In the same paper, I want to thank you for the positive news item about making a house a home and the work Habitat for Humanity is doing to help worthy families have a home.It is wonderful to have positive news such as this to counteract some of the ugly things that are happening in our world today.JUDY BOLYARDJonesboroughLow-income patientI fall into the class of people who are considered the working poor. I work five days a week — as many hours as I can — up to 38 hours weekly. I have been using public assistance health care because my insurance does not cover my needs. Thyroid problems run in my family. After an ultrasound, four goiters were discovered. Still, different public assistance professionals cannot agree. I have been told it’s my teeth, a muscle, contact with a kitten or stress. But I feel something there and feel swelling/discomfort. The conflicting diagnoses leave me wondering.Is there a doctor who will see a low-income patient, as myself, for low or no cost?I need answers.DAWN POPEElizabethtonGrave mistakesTwo individuals met on a dark, rainy night in Sanford, Fla. Two different people on two different missions. One returning home. One watching and protecting a neighborhood. Sadly, both parties involved made grave mistakes.The fact as I understand: Trayvon Martin struck the first blow. Why didn’t George Zimmerman use his gun then? Because I believe he never intended to “harm” the young man. But, within seconds, both men faced imminent danger — what are your choices?Bottom line: self-preservation. Under Florida, law, the jurors made the only verdict they could.JERRY L. NORRISAftonWilderness ActAs a hiker, I thank and support Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker for the reintroducing of the Tennessee Wilderness Act, which would protect miles of trails for all ages to enjoy.In 1968, when I came to Johnson City to attend college, the first place my aunt and uncle took me was Cherokee National Forest and I fell in love. The beauty of the mountains and the waters gave me a chance to recharge away from hectic college life. I loved the Cherokee so much I stayed in the area after college. I have now taken four generations of my family to my favorite places, such as Big Laurel Branch and Sampson Mountain. People near and far come to enjoy this area for all sorts of recreation, including fishing, camping, hiking, hunting, bird watching, horseback riding, photography and many more. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, 58 percent of Tennessee residents participate in outdoor recreation each year, generating $8.2 billion in consumer spending and $2.5 billion in wages and salaries.I hope that Congress passes this measure into law to make this incredible vision a reality. CATHERINE MURRAYJohnson CityLiberal belittlersI tend to be conservative and thoughtful in most aspects of my life and also respectful of the opinions of others whether or not I agree. As a result, my basic nature is offended by the argumentative, unyielding, sarcastic and belittling demeanor liberals often assume during a political discussion. This brought to mind the July 2 column written by Connie Schultz.Although I read her entire column, what I found rather interesting were the last two paragraphs where she used the word “fortunately” while addressing the facts from the U.S. Census Bureau that 2043 will be the final year of the white majority. She seemed delighted about that prospect, and hopeful she’d live long enough to witness whites as she put it, become “history.” I was surprised though, that she didn’t mention the numerous ways our country will be affected by the additional 123 million people that bring about that shift.I imagine that if I keep reading her column, eventually she’ll find a way to dump those inevitable issues on the evil Republicans.M. RAMSEYGrayObama’s commentsWhy would the president of the United States even make a comment about the Zimmerman murder trial? He’s the president and should have never expressed his personal thoughts to the press because he is the president of all people of the United States and not just one race, color or creed. It made me furious to see and hear our president actually giving credence to the racial part of the trial instead of the murder itself. I am not aware of what evidence the jury had, but they didn’t have enough evidence to convict Zimmerman and that should be the end of it for all those not personally involved in the case, including the president of the United States. JIM WILSONJohnson City

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