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Ben Garrett

Write. Hike. Eat. Repeat.

I am a 30-something journalist from East Tennessee. My wife and I (and our twins, and dog, and 3 hermit crabs) reside on the eastern boundary of the Big South Fork, where I am editor-publisher of the hometown newspaper and she is an elementary school teacher.

Why I can’t condemn the Duggars

As I watch people on social media comment on the Josh Duggar fiasco, one thing I keep going back to is Daniel Hood at the University of Tennessee.

Hood was a 13-year-old in Sullivan County in the early 2000s when he participated in the brutal rape of his 14-year-old cousin. Hood didn’t actually rape her, but he watched as a 17-year-old friend did and even helped duct-tape the girl’s wrists. A jury found him guilty in juvenile court. 

Six years later, Lane Kiffin offered Hood a scholarship to play football at Tennessee — a move that athletics director Mike Hamilton signed off on.

There was compelling evidence that Hood should be given a chance by Tennessee. Knoxville Catholic High School had already given him a second chance, and he had earned a 3.8 GPA and a 27 on his ACT. He would go on to become a model student-athlete at Tennessee — never in trouble, never in the headlines.

In 2009, when Kiffin offered Hood a scholarship, many UT fans initially balked at the decision, but almost all of them gradually came around. Comments flooded the UT message boards that were along the lines of, “We all did things at 13 that we regret,” or “What he did as a child shouldn’t be held against him as an adult.” Fans embraced Hood with open arms.

As I read my social media feeds this week, some of my friends who I distinctly remember coming to Hood’s defense in 2009 are railing against Josh Duggar — he should never be allowed to work around children, they say. The Duggars’ show should be yanked by TLC. He and the rest of his family are hypocrites. 

Duggar was 14 years old when he apparently fondled several underage girls — including his sisters — in 2002. His parents — Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar — placed him in a treatment program and, from all indications, his behavior changed and was not repeated. His wife says he confessed what he had done to her two years before they were married. 

In other words, it appears — from all outward indications — that Daniel Hood and Josh Duggar are a lot alike. They committed pretty horrific and inexcusable sexual crimes as young teenagers, but they also learned from their mistakes and earned second chances.

Except Duggar shouldn’t be afforded a second chance, if you believe some folks on social media, because he’s a Christian.

Well, they don’t say it in so many words, of course. But it’s apparent enough in the words they do say.

That isn’t to say that everyone has to be okay with what Duggar did. You don’t have to feel that TLC made a mistake in pulling the show and its reruns from the air, or that everything should be hunky-dory in light of these allegations. 

But when I see specific people who I recall defending Daniel Hood now condemning Josh Duggar, I can only shake my head. 

Truth is, many people in America despise the Duggars because of who they are and what they stand for, and they’ve been waiting for an opportunity to tear them down. And so the second chances and forgiveness that exists for secular America doesn’t exist for the Duggar family. 

Again, that isn’t to say that everyone who is truly disturbed by these appoints is just looking for an opportunity to bash Christians. I know some Christians who have a real problem with what was learned about the Duggar family this week. But I think we can all agree that for some of those — and the number is perhaps significant — who are so vehemently critical of the Duggars right now, the family’s faith and their public stances on issues involving faith are a primary reason why.

And that’s sad. Not surprising; in fact, it should be expected. But sad still.

I’ve often said of folks who wind up on the wrong side of the law that mistakes don’t define character; it’s how we respond to them that defines our character. And, by all accounts, the Duggars responded to this in a way that positively defines their character.

The media has feigned disbelief that Jim Bob Duggar didn’t report his son’s transgressions to police, using words like “bombshell” and “shocking” and “disturbing” to express their dismay. But as social commentator Matt Walsh aptly points out

I know I’m opening myself up to serious criticism here, but let me be honest with you: If my own son, God forbid, came to me and admitted to doing what Josh Duggar did, I don’t know that I’d immediately run to the cops.

Would you? Is it really that simple? The decision to have your child arrested as a sex offender would be an automatic thing for you? Really?

I guess I’m just a horrible person then.

I’ll admit that when I first read that Jim Bob Duggar didn’t notify police, my reaction was, “Whoa!” Then I thought about it. How many parents would go to police in situations like this, as opposed to trying to get help for their child in a manner that did not include law enforcement? None of us truly knows, as individuals, how we would react until we’re placed into a situation like that. But I think we can safely say that most parents — almost all, probably — would react the same way Jim Bob Duggar reacted.

That’s simply parental instinct. Once police are involved, the courts become involved. Josh Duggar would have been removed from the family, placed into state’s custody, and spent time in youth rehab facilities. (And, as a side note, teens who are placed in those facilities are often exposed to a criminal element that can lead them further down the path of self-destruction. Obviously that wasn’t the case for Daniel Hood, but it’s the case for too many juvenile offenders who wind up incarcerated and placed in programs intended to help rehabilitate them.) 

I think most families would act in a manner to preserve their family and keep it intact, if they felt that was possible. 

If young Duggar’s behavior had continued and more girls had been victimized because appropriate action was not taken to stop his behavior, I would be at the front of the pack in calling for the Duggar family to be wiped from any position of influence within American society. But that didn’t happen.

Many of those who are so critical of the Duggar family are tossing about words like “hypocrite,” scoffing at the entire Christian faith. Again, I turn to Walsh, who’s much better with words than I and, as is almost always the case, hit the nail squarely on the head with his thoughts on the situation:

A Christian failing to live up to his faith does not make him a hypocrite. It makes him cowardly, perhaps. It makes him selfish. It makes him flawed. It makes him sinful. It makes him any number of things, but not necessarily a hypocrite. A hypocrite is an insincere person who misrepresents his own beliefs. But saying that you believe something is wrong, only to turn around and do it, doesn’t prove that you never held that belief. It just proves that you were too weak to stand by it.

Actually, we don’t even know if Josh Duggar was a person of faith at the age of 14. (I’m sure that information is out there, but I’m too lazy to dig for it.) But assuming that he was, Walsh is exactly right when he points out that even though Duggar’s behavior was “horrendous” and “disturbing” and “evil,” Christians do make mistakes, “which is the whole reason why Jesus died on the cross.” 

That doesn’t excuse what Josh Duggar did. It isn’t an attempt to minimize what he did. But let’s not forget that he was a 14-year-old when these things happened. There are a reason why juveniles are treated differently by our system of justice — because, as a general rule, we don’t want mistakes committed by our youth to define their entire lives.

While recidivism is quite high among sexual offenders as a general rule, research has also shown that the passage of time greatly reduces the risk of recidivism across all types of crime. That’s why, in most states, juvenile records are sealed. For all intent and purpose, it’s as if the crime they committed never occurred. Later, as an adult, when they’re asked by a potential employer at a job interview whether they have a criminal record, they can legally say no. 

In America’s juvenile justice system, people aren’t supposed to be raked across the coals for offenses they committed as juveniles. Josh Duggar was never charged with a crime. Maybe he should’ve been, but that’s a different argument. Even if a secular Josh Duggar had been charged with a crime as a 14-year-old, the passage of 13 years without recidivism would be enough to make it okay in the minds of most Americans. Walsh points out several examples of celebrity types who have been excused in the court of public opinion for sexual-based offenses — and many of them occurred after those examples were adults. 

So why is the sauce that’s good for the goose not also good for the gander? If anyone can come up with any logical reason other than “because the Duggars are a prominent Christian family,” I’m all ears.

Forget that the entire Duggar family is being raked over the coals for this, or that their show was canceled. The real tragedy here is that this father of several young children and a contributing member of our society has lost his job, probably had his life ruined, because of a double standard that exists within our society — a double standard that has roots in a growing hatred for Christians and Christianity.

Again, this isn’t an effort to excuse what Josh Duggar did. That sort of thing is inexcusable — for an adult or for a juvenile. As a father, I would be horrified to learn that my 14-year-old son did the things that Duggar apparently did. And, as a father, if I learned that my daughter had been molested by a 14-year-old, forgiveness is not a word you would ever hear me mutter. But forgiveness is one of the basic tenets of Christianity, and it’s hard to make a legitimate argument that what Josh Duggar did delegitimatizes his testimony…let alone the testimony of his father and the rest of his family.

Josh Duggar should not be treated differently than anyone else in a comparable situation because he’s a Christian or a member of a prominent Christian family. Just from my personal social media feed, I think it’s safe to say that he has been.

That’s outrageous!

It was time for Tennessee to ditch its classic 3-stars logo for an updated look, apparently. So the state paid $46,000 to a Nashville marketing firm to design a new logo. The result? This:

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This is out of control

If the American news media doesn’t make a concerted effort to take a responsible stand on the issue of the use of force by law enforcement, the chaos we saw in Baltimore is going to become a common occurrence in American cities.

The latest is this tweet from the Associated Press:

The AP is filing story after story that goes to great lengths to point out the race of police officers vs. the race of perpetrators. In this story, the city appears to be following procedure in a case where the use of force appears to have been justified by the police officer. Whether the man was armed is immaterial once he attacked the officer. And, once he attacked the officer, both his race and the officer’s race became immaterial. None of that stuff deserves to be the focal point of the story, much less the focal point of the tweet. But the AP continues to slide down a slope towards journalistic mockery.

Not surprisingly, the AP is catching plenty of flack — as well it should. Readers are accusing the news agency of race-baiting and fanning the flames of racism, and both those claims are hard to refute.

Shame on the AP.

Is this too far?

It’s a fine line in law enforcement: agencies want stories that generate positive press for them, yet they have a certain professional image to maintain.

If not for local law enforcement agencies or individual officers dropping a line when something goes down, I would miss many of the stories that I cover as a journalist. The sheriff will call to let me know that such-and-such happened, or the chief of police will text to say that an important arrest is about to be made.

But how far is too far? Yesterday, Lake Mary Police Department (Florida) tweeted that it was responding to a shooting incident involving George Zimmerman, even before its officers arrived on scene:

LMPD makes its tweet seem even more tacky by including the #Zimmerman hashtag.

Not surprisingly, the police department caught some flack. One Twitter user responded, “Looking for some publicity or what? Why would you tweet about a case before officers were even on scene?” Another called it a “weird” tweet and several said it was PR stunt by the police department. One user, who I would agree with, tweeted, “Unprofessional much?” while another asked, “Are you hear to protect people or be paparazzi?”

This isn’t an isolated incident. When popular rap artist “Nelly” was arrested on felony drug charges in Cookeville by Tennessee Highway Patrol last month, the Tennessee Department of Safety quickly pushed a news release highlighting the hip-hop star’s arrest.

I thought the Tennessee Department of Safety’s news release was pushing the envelope. And the Lake Mary Police Department’s tweet, especially with the #Zimmerman hashtag, was completely over the line.

Clearly the public is going to be much more interested in certain cases than in others, depending on who is involved. But why not leave it to the news media to hyperbolize and stick to the task of protecting and serving? Self-serving efforts to generate public attention are uncalled for.

And that’s especially going to be true if Zimmerman — who was shot at and slightly injured — turns out to be the victim in this case.

New England Patriots v Houston Texans

That’ll show ‘em, Roger

In the wake of its report revealing that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knew about his team using deflated game balls, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell today suspended the hall-of-gamer quarterback for four games, plus fined the Patriots $1 million and stripped the franchise of two future draft picks.

And Roger Goodell continues his long tradition of laughable responses to his league’s star players.

Apparently Goodell didn’t get the memos from most of America (here and here) that he had to come down hard on Brady and Belichick if he wanted to maintain any level of relevance.

Instead, he issues another slap of the wrist — to Brady. Belichick skates scott-free.

This is the same league that suspended Terrelle Pryor five games — one game more than Brady — for receiving free tattoos in college . . . yet comes up with this yawner of a punishment for someone who is mocking the very integrity of the league and the game itself.

And the real kicker? When the NFL suspended Pryor, it cited the game’s integrity.

But Pryor was just a rookie then; hadn’t even played his first snap of NFL ball. He was hardly a star at the professional level. Had he been, it’s conceivable that Goodell might have patted him on the back and asked him to start paying for his own tattoos.

The court of public opinion has judged Brady more harshly than Goodell’s court of jesters ever will. Brady’s legacy is forever tarnished — as it should be.

But if you’re looking for the NFL’s integrity, pack a lunch and get ready for a long journey. Because it’s still missing in action.

gis_ikaria

Live like an Ikarian

I was sitting in the john today, reading AARP magazine (don’t ask), and this article caught my eye. Interesting stuff:

Our team of demographic and medical researchers — funded by AARP and National Geographic — found that an amazing one in three Ikarians reaches 90. (According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only one in nine baby boomers will.)

What’s more, Ikarians suffer 20 percent fewer cases of cancer than do Americans and have about half our rate of heart disease and one-ninth our rate of diabetes.

Most astonishing of all: among the islanders over 90 whom the team studied — about one-third of Ikaria’s population who are 90 and older — there was virtually no Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. In the United States more than 40 percent of people over 90 suffer some form of this devastating ailment.

channel_catfish

Do catfish sting? You bet!

There is something of a debate among the fishing community about whether catfish sting.

All my life, I’ve heard and read about the painful sting of catfish and I’ve laughed it off. So you get finned by a catfish…it’s gonna hurt a bit but it’s no big deal; everyone who fishes long enough is going to get finned. Right? Right?!

I’ve caught catfish my whole life and never once have I been “stung.” I’ve had my fingers roughed up by their teeth, but never have I been stung.

Until yesterday.

Fishing at a local lake, I caught a small channel catfish. As I tried to get him off the hook so I could pitch his butt back into the water (channel cats are the worst-tasting of all catfish and not worth keeping, in my book), it happened. He caught me right on the tip of my middle finger with his dorsal fin.

And, oh boy, did it ever hurt.

And bleed.

I was pacing the shoreline, bleeding like a stuck pig, slinging my hand in the futile (but involuntary) effort to wave off the pain, which resulted in blood splattering me from head to toe. The bleeding stopped soon enough, but then the swelling began, with a throbbing that went from the tip of my middle finger all the way to my shoulder.

Do catfish sting? You better believe it.

I suppose I mostly scoffed at the notion of a catfish stinging because of guys like this fellow, a professional catfish guide who proclaims the whole stinging thing a myth:

Catfish don’t “sting”, let’s go ahead and get that out of the way now.

Catfish whiskers don’t sting. Their barbels or fins don’t either. They can cause some discomfort though (if you’re not careful)

The same guy goes on to point out that it’s the smaller fish (like the one I caught) and channel cats (like the one I caught) that you especially need to look out for:

The tip of these spines are pointed and very sharp (especially on smaller catfish, and especially channel cats).

He also points out that these spines contain venom that is injected into sting victims:

The spines contained in the dorsal and pectoral fin contain a venom that causes edema (swelling) and ahemolytic (causes increased blood flow in the area of the injury) if these spines puncture the skin.

So that begs the question: if these spines stick you, and they release a painful venom, aren’t we just debating semantics when we say they don’t sting?

The bottom line is that most people, including the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Biotechnology Information, calls it what it basically is — a sting. Here’s what the NCBI has to say about it:

Numerous species of fish are capable of inflicting painful or even dangerous stings by means of dorsal or caudal spines provided with complex venom glands. Catfish and stingrays have stings, not spines.

Here’s what eMedicineHealth.net recommends as treatment for catfish stings:

• Immerse the affected area in water as hot as is tolerable usually relieves pain from a sting.

• Spines should be removed with tweezers.

• The wound should be scrubbed and irrigated with fresh water.

• The wound should not be taped or sewn together.

• Oral antibiotics are usually recommended for catfish stings that become infected. Antibiotics should be taken if infection develops for at least five days after all signs of infection have resolved. Potential drug allergies should be checked prior to starting any antibiotic. A doctor can recommend the appropriate antibiotic. Some antibiotics can cause sensitivity to the sun, so a sunscreen (at least SPF 15) is also recommended for use with such antibiotics.

• Pain associated with a catfish sting may be relieved with one to two acetaminophen (Tylenol) every four hours and/or one to two ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) every six to eight hours.

While I was spraying blood and cursing under my breath, my fishing partner went and released the fish (which was flopping around on the bank with my hook still in his mouth) back into the water. I almost threw him in the water to chase the fish down and pull it back out…I wanted to cut his head off and throw him on the bank as a warning to his catfish brethren to keep their dorsal stingers to themselves.

A panoramic view from Angel Falls Overlook.

Destination: Angel Falls Overlook

I know I blog about Angel Falls Overlook in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area quite often. It’s a year-round favorite of mine. Part of the allure, for sure, is that the trailhead is five minutes from my house — making it a quick and convenient trip. But there’s just something magnificent about the panoramic view of the Big South Fork River from the vantage point high above Angel Falls.

It’s hard to find much solitude at Angel Falls Overlook these days. Even leaving the trailhead at 7 p.m. yesterday and hiking up for a sunset view from the top, I shared the overlook with a hiker who said she was camped nearby. It’s the single-most photographed site in BSF Country and one of the best vantage points between the Smoky Mountains and the Ozarks.

A panoramic view from Angel Falls Overlook.

A panoramic view from Angel Falls Overlook.

On the way out, as dusk was falling across the BSF River Gorge, a wood thrush began following me in the canopy, singing his tune. Male wood thrushes defend their nests by singing, and they aren’t accustomed to strangers slipping  through the woods after sunset. Or maybe he thought I was another bird — an ostrich, maybe.

I’ve never been an avid birdwatcher, by any means, but wood thrushes have one of the most melodic songs of any of the North American songbirds. It is what caused Henry David Thoreau to write:

“Whenever a man hears it he is young, and Nature is in her spring; wherever he hears it, it is a new world and a free country, and the gates of Heaven are not shut against him.”

Video: A wood thrush sings along the BSF River.

Bear Creek Fitness Trail

When I was in high school, “Bear Creek” was synonymous with fighting and drinking. Remotely-located yet just outside of town, the abandoned strip mines were a popular place for teenagers to hang out and party.

Years later, Oneida Mayor Jack E. Lay stopped by my office one day and picked me up in his truck, drove me to Bear Creek, and laid out the facility he envisioned. Standing in the middle of the improperly-reclaimed strip pit, Lay pointed out where a baseball field would once be located, a soccer field, a playground, and so on.

I told him he was nuts.

Several grants and a lot of intensive labor later, the Bear Creek Sports Complex opened. The Town of Oneida transformed those useless, worthless strip pits into a state-of-the-art sports complex that includes regulation-size baseball and softball fields, middle school baseball and softball fields, and Little League fields, as well as a regulation-size soccer field and AYSO youth fields. There are restroom facilities, concession stands, press boxes and, now, playgrounds.

This week, Bear Creek becomes even better with the Bear Creek Fitness Trail, a multi-use, natural surface trail that utilizes more of the reclaimed strip pit land adjacent to the sports complex.

The fitness trail is the vision of Joe Cross, president of the Big South Fork Bike Club. Cross has worked tirelessly for the last two and a half decades to expand mountain biking opportunities in Scott County, and his work is directly responsible for the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area becoming the only national park in the United States to receive the International Mountain Biking Association’s coveted “epic” rating.

Cross enlisted the help of his friend, former Appalachian Bike Club president Randy Conner, to design the Bear Creek Fitness Trail. Conner is an expert trail builder and laid out the trail to fit the terrain with humps and a few other natural obstacles, switchbacks, and elevation change that presents a mild challenge for beginners. Then, with the help of volunteers, the Big South Fork Bike Club built the trail.

At first glance, the bike trail is just a dirt path running through the middle of a bunch of weeds — an overgrown strip pit with large bare spots where nothing else will grow. There’s little that is attractive about it, and there are no trees to shade it.

Cross envisions planting some trees and plants along the trail, and installing some benches. But, for now, the 1.3-mile trail is what it is. Don’t sell it short, though. For mountain bikers or even joggers who want to get off the gravel and pavement but don’t have time to make the trek across the BSF River gorge to the real trails, the Bear Creek Fitness Trail isn’t bad. And, in its own way, the rolling hills covered with sage-looking weeds against the blue sky is somewhat scenic. The trail presents just enough of a challenge to make a few trips around it a decent workout.

I like to ride after work as a form of exercise. Until now, I’ve ridden on gravel roads at Scott County’s municipal airport on the other side of town when I haven’t had time to make the drive to the national park. This trail will fit that purpose just fine.

Here’s a video I threw together quickly that provides an overview of the trail:

A mind-numbing approach

It almost seems like an April Fool’s joke: The county with the second-highest unemployment rate in the State of Tennessee (higher than 10%) has proposed to eliminate the only funding it spends on economic development.

Unfortunately, it’s no joke. That proposal has been presented to the Scott County Budget Committee as a way of balancing its budget for Fiscal Year 2015-2016.

The Budget Committee was presented four proposals for balancing the budget when it met one week ago today. Two of them involved defunding the “Tourism Department.” 

The committee opted to forward three of those proposals, including one of the proposals that involved defunding “tourism,” for further consideration.

That proposal, which also calls for across-the-board cuts of five percent to all non-personnel budgets and eliminating funding to the county’s three municipal fire departments, would save the county about $185,000 — which would go a long way towards eliminating the $230,000 budget shortfall the county has for FY 2015-2016. A property tax increase of about two cents would still be needed to balance the budget. If the proposal were to fail, a property tax increase of about seven cents would be needed to balance the budget.

The idea of lowering the projected tax increase sounds good . . . until you pause to consider that the proposal would actually eliminate the only funding the county spends on recruiting industry. Then it doesn’t sound good at all. In fact, it sounds almost comical.

Sadly, there’s nothing funny about the proposal. It reeks of personal vendettas and individual agendas when the county’s primary responsibility should be to the welfare of its entire citizenry and the sustainability of its local economy.

Justification is used for the proposal by simply terming it the “Tourism Department” budget. In Scott County’s annual budget, that is how the funding has long been labeled — primarily because the revenue generated by the county’s hotel-motel tax funds most of the budget.

In 1984, then-Scott County Executive Dwight Murphy and the leadership of the Industrial Development Board spearheaded an initiative to have the state pass a private act levying a 5% lodging tax in Scott County. There was stiff resistance, but the IDB helped persuade hotel owners and cabin rental owners to support it, promising the funds would go to tourism.

Since that time, the budget has been labeled “Tourism Department” for that reason. The budget largely funds two salaried positions, who serve both the Scott County Chamber of Commerce and the IDB. The remaining budget is spent on miscellaneous things, such as utilities for the relatively-new Scott County Visitor Center ($5,000 per year), office supplies, postage, and et cetera.

By saying that tourism is not benefiting Scott County, as Budget Committee chairman Sam Lyles said after Monday’s meeting, supporters of the proposal to cut funding sell it as an elimination of wasted expenditures. 

The truth, though, is that tourism is only a small part of what the budget accomplishes. More than two-thirds of the $68,000 annual budget goes to payroll for the two positions — an executive director and an administrative assistant. They spend the bulk of their time on economic development, and only a minute amount of time on tourism. 

As near as I can tell by breaking down the numbers, Scott County spends somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 each year on tourism. The true figure is probably closer to $20,000, but I was generous and put it at $30,000. That’s assuming that half the two employees’ time is spent on tourism matters, and that isn’t the case. Almost all other tourism-related expenditures are contributed by privately-owned businesses in Scott County.

The hotel-motel tax, meanwhile, is currently generating about $50,000 a year in Scott County. By eliminating the “Tourism Department” budget, those tax revenues would be used to balance the county general budget. 

But this issue is about more than reneging on a 31-year-old promise to lodging owners. By eliminating the “Tourism Department” budget, Scott County would also be eliminating every dime it spends on economic development . . . hence, my opening statement.

Every bit of Scott County’s efforts to enhance economic development and recruit industry are coordinated through the Chamber of Commerce and the IDB, by the two employees who are funded by the “Tourism Department” budget. The expenditures related to economic development, such as postage to pay for information packets that are mailed to industrial prospects, are also funded through the “Tourism Department” budget.

The rallying cry for defunding the “Tourism Department” has been that Scott County should not be paying for tourism and getting nothing in return. But a breakdown of the numbers reveals that Scott County is not actually paying for tourism with property tax revenues. Instead, the county is paying for tourism with the hotel-motel tax — which was designated for exactly that when it was levied more than three decades ago. 

And that same hotel-motel tax is supplementing Scott County’s economic development efforts, if you do the math. (The hotel-motel tax provides $50,000 for the $68,000 budget that funds both tourism and economic development efforts in Scott County. My math, which I referenced above, indicates that Scott County is only spending about $30,000 each year on tourism — as a generous estimate.) 

As a result of the hotel-motel tax, Scott County is only spending $18,000 in property tax revenues on economic development efforts ($68,000 total budget, minus $50,000 in hotel-motel tax revenues). For a county with the state’s second-highest unemployment rate to invest only $18,000 of local money into efforts to grow its economy is embarrassing. 

To cut out that meager amount of money under the guise of eliminating wasteful tourism spending, thus leaving the county with one of  the state’s highest unemployment rates spending absolutely nothing on economic development, would be downright outrageous.

Posts on this page
  • Why I can't condemn the Duggars
  • That's outrageous!
  • This is out of control
  • Is this too far?
  • That'll show 'em, Roger
  • Live like an Ikarian
  • Do catfish sting? You bet!
  • Destination: Angel Falls Overlook
  • Bear Creek Fitness Trail
  • A mind-numbing approach
Posts on this page
  • Why I can't condemn the Duggars
  • That's outrageous!
  • This is out of control
  • Is this too far?
  • That'll show 'em, Roger
  • Live like an Ikarian
  • Do catfish sting? You bet!
  • Destination: Angel Falls Overlook
  • Bear Creek Fitness Trail
  • A mind-numbing approach