November 18, 2005

An e-mail from Denny Bridges, Church Administrator, Immanuel Baptist Church, Lexington, Kentucky concerning last week's article.

"I know that you write your articles and date them prior to being placed on the web site but I am not sure all are aware of this and with the recent incident at Campbell County High School, I would either post an update to your article or at least change the date (November 10, 2005). It looks as if you wrote this article today with no mention as to what happened at CCHS. I know this not to be the case but others may not see it that way. Yours in Christ! Denny"

You are exactly right Denny. My article was posted the day prior to the terrible tragedy at CCHS. As a long time high school principal and now an elementary principal, my heart goes out to all those so tragically affected. We all need to keep them constantly in our thoughts and prayers. And we certainly all need to be extremely aware of the growing tendency all over this country toward violence in our schools.

Principals and teachers everywhere are becoming more and more apprehensive every day toward the dangers that they now face in what should be the safest place students and staff can be outside the home and church. I have actually heard school administrators in recent years say that they expect to be the victim of violence as they try to enforce their schools' established rules for student conduct.. And sadly, in many instances, parents are more the problem than the solution..

At our school we constantly emphasize security but we all know that there are certain things that no one can anticipate or prevent. Only with a drastic reversal of society's declining belief in guidance, loving but firm discipline, and respect for those in positions of authority can there ever be a reversal of what is now happening in schools every where - that promises to grow worse.

Our Veterans Day observance was a beautiful thing and I want to thank organizer Herman Heath, Jake Bennett, Boo Leach, Sarge Collins, the Jellico Honor Guard, our active and reserve military personnel, veterans that included those who have just returned from Iraq, our World War II veterans aptly called "our greatest generation", everyone in attendance and certainly everyone involved in conducting such an outstanding activity. It was good to have our Tenn State Senator Tommy Kilby here along with Kentucky State Representative Charlie Siler. And I especially want to thank Congressman Lincoln Davis who went well beyond the call of duty in making it to Jellico in time for the ceremony. Knowing the effort he had to make to be here and his busy schedule afterward - plus his very visible humility in honoring our veterans - is something that many of us will not soon forget. Our deepest appreciation to Congressman Davis.

If you have not tried the new trail (and an old trail) at Indian Mountain State Park, I would recommend that you do so.. The trail around Ballard Lake has been extended to the corner of London Avenue/Dairy Avenue by a new bridge just constructed for that purpose. The trail around the pond is .75 of a mile but the extension has probably increased that to the neighborhood of a mile - and possibly more if the entire route is taken in.

If you enter or exit from Dairy Avenue you will walk on some coal left from the days when a huge coal tipple was located on that property that had two or three railroad sidings for loading of the large coal gondolas. The tipple was operated by Saxton Coal Company that strip mined the fields that after land reclamation, now make up the Park. But even earlier and around the turn of the century, the property included a bed for a planned railroad (the Cumberland Railroad) that went into bankruptcy before it could ever begin operation. As I understand it, that railroad had gone to the point of constructing bridges and even a tunnel in southern Whitley County when it was prevented from having its tracks cross the already existing tracks running north and south through the Boston/Lot area that belonged to the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.

Another trail is available that I used to walk with great frequency but had not been on for several years until last week when Kenny Ivey and Carl Davis reminded me of its availability. The section of the Park on the "other side of the road" running parallel to the pond that furnishes our water supply is open and has a trail that leads through the very thick woods that have grown up on the spoil piles during the past 50-60 years.. That trail is utilized by the Cumberland College (make that University of the Cumberlands) Cross Country Team and other track runners for training purposes. It is .6 of a mile and makes a very good nature trail - and was especially beautiful when the leaves were in full color. But it is a good walk for exercise during any season.

Mrs. Martha Harrison, Pensacola, Florida has contacted me again concerning her desire to start a fund to help with our downtown renovation project. She is especially interested in knowing whom to send contributions and in what fund donations would be placed.

We certainly appreciate your offer Mrs. Harrison as well as another offer that I received recently. But any funds donated to the City of Jellico would go into our general fund with the purpose for the funds specified.. That way we can insure that they are subject to an annual audit.

And speaking of donations, that was a wonderful gesture on the part of the Buck family to donate $ 1,000.00 to our Jellico Library on Veterans Day. The donation was made on behalf of their brother Albert, a Vietnam Veteran, in honor of Gregory Hicks and Barton Siler, both killed in Iraq. The money will be utilized for updating our computers and records keeping in the library and make procedures for check-out and return of books much more efficient.

Orin Buck recently commented to me that he sure was surprised when he first saw some of the crowds that our activities draw to Jellico.. As stated many, many times, one of our main goals is to revitalize our downtown as well as getting it renovated. Hearing such a compliment from someone living in the Miami, Florida area is very encouraging that we are making progress toward achieving that goal.

I mentioned above some of my latest e-mail. And I also received an e-mail from a local who is very complimentary of what has been taking place in Jellico to make improvements. But he also mentions a problem that others have cited. David Napier writes,

Just a few lines to say that I appreciate all that has been done for Jellico by the present administration! Sure has changed from what it once was! Thank you for what you have accomplished. And just knowing what the opposition was to improving the town, I'm sure that makes the victory much sweeter.

I would like to comment about something that I think is hurting our town, and that is the parking lots at some of our stores Some of those parking lots are in sad shape! Sweeping them before opening up would be a great help in appearances! A dirty and littered parking lot is the first thing a person sees when they get out of their cars! I know that it turns me off personally so what does it do to visitors to Jellico?

I recently went to one of our discount stores in Jellico and the parking lot was horrible. And when I went into the store, my feet were sticking to the floor when I walked . That can't leave a good impression of the businesses in Jellico.

I'm not trying to be negative, only trying to give some input that perhaps would be helpful. Thank you for allowing me to give my two cents worth."

We certainly appreciate the compliments David and it is a source of pride to now drive or walk through our downtown and see how things are progressing. But it would have been great if the opposition you mention would have joined in the efforts when we first started attempting to bring our downtown back. And it would be interesting to see what Jellico would look like now if they had joined in. But we are still determined to get the job done and will eventually succeed.

It is easy to tell from your e-mail that you are not mean spirited and clearly interested in seeing the efforts continue to have our town present a much more appealing appearance. An appealing appearance certainly cannot hurt any local businesses and it is our belief that it can help them greatly. Hopefully business owners/managers will agree!

Everyone is reminded of our Jellico Christmas Tree and street decorations lighting on Wednesday, November 23rd. The program will start at dusk (approximately 6:00 PM.) but everyone is invited to come earlier and drink hot chocolate (and sing if they like) until the activity begins.

As always, Jake says that the program will end in plenty of time for folks to make Wednesday evening prayer services at our local churches.

In an earlier article I asked that businesses and residences go all out this year with the Christmas decorations in view of the fact that a lot of liberals want to ban Christmas as a Christian holiday. (Thank heavens a Board of Education in Florida recently failed in an attempt to do so.) And as I drive around town and out among our residences, I see several decorations already in place and signs that others are going up. That's great and I hope that even more will join in -especially where they are very visible from our highways and front streets..)

An e-mail from Carla W. Devine states: I got the DATE (Sun, 12/11) for the Jellico Christmas Parade from your website, but no TIME was listed. Could you please e-mail me the start time for the parade?

Happy to do so Carla! And for you and all of my readers, our annual Christmas Parade this year will be held on Sunday, December 11th.. All units are to report to Jellico High School where the lining up will begin at 2:00 PM and the column will move out at 2:30 PM..

Wow! Can you believe that Vanderbilt, our next opponent, scored 43 points on Kentucky and lost by 5 points. That 48 to 43 Wildcat victory in Nashville put more grey hairs in mine, Bob Daniel's and Bobby Teague's heads.. Our winning streak against both of those schools is in real danger of becoming a thing of the past. Both teams consider Tennessee to be their main rival and both have a way of playing well above their talent level when facing the Vols - especially Kentucky on the frozen tundra where we will be going this year. I'm already getting cold! Brrr!

But double Wow! What about that basketball recruiting class just collected by our new coach Bruce Pearl. Almost every recruiting "guru" places this class in the top ten or twelve classes in the country this year and one of the signees who played against some of the best players from around the county last summer in camps and all-star games, stated something to the fact that he believes it to be second only to Ohio State's top rated class. In fact the strength of the class was apparently one of the reasons he signed with Tennessee. Season ticket sales are going to go up!

JOHN CLIFTON, Mayor, City of Jellico

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