Tennessee editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:
The Daily Times on the danger of leaving kids alone in cars:
You may have seen prints of “The Scream.” It’s kind of unforgettable, those compositions of modern art by Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch. The artwork displays a wavering human being with open mouth, wide eyes, hands placed to the side of the head — all together a vision of a person seeing an object of horror.
Just imagine the horrified face a parent would see reflected in a car window when returning to a parked vehicle where they had left a child behind in the hot sun. Heatstroke kills.
Charges levied against a Chattanooga couple Sunday in the death of their 11-month-old daughter serve as a reminder that such events do happen and all too often — over 800 times since 1990.
KidsAndCars.org has made it their mission to warn of the danger of forgetting to look before you lock. The site offers a few facts about the greenhouse effect in vehicles:
. The inside of a vehicle can reach 125 degrees in minutes.
. Eighty percent of the increase in temperature happens in the first 10 minutes.
. Cracking the windows does not slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature.
. Children have died from heatstroke in cars in temperatures as low as 60 degrees.
. A child’s body overheats three- to five-times faster than an adult’s.
In over 55 percent of cases when caregivers leave children in vehicles where they later die, the adults did it absolutely unawares. It can happen to the most loving of parents. Nobody’s perfect.
Prevention and safety tips are mainly common sense. Here are a few:
. Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat of your vehicle.
. Create a reminder to do so, like putting in the back something you’ll need such as your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or briefcase — even your shoe.
. Another mental reminder is to keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When placing the child in the seat, move the stuffed animal to the front passenger seat as a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
There are devices of various sorts on the market that are designed to alert a caregiver about to leave a child in a vehicle. A check of internet sites will turn up several of those.
If you do see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911. If the child seems hot or sick, get the kid out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.
And always, always, always: Look before you lock!
Johnson City Press on crumbling infrastructure:
Cliches sometimes apply, and in the case of maintaining our nation’s infrastructure, “Pay me now or pay me a whole lot more later” sums up the situation very well.
Crumbling infrastructure is a serious problem. Aging roads, bridges and schools present a public safety hazard. Inadequate water supplies pose real obstacles to the health and economic well-being of many communities.
Hidden community benefits like sewer and water systems can be a hard sell even in the best of times, but today’s political climate makes the prospect of approaching strapped taxpayers with costly projects even less palatable to government officials. And with state and federal funding help for infrastructure dropping, local officials must find ways to shoulder more of the burden through local revenues.
A recent report by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations finds Washington County needs public infrastructure improvements totaling more $836.7 million. Press staff writer Brandon Paykamian reports the county’s top three areas of need are $227.8 million for transportation; $194.2 million for water and wastewater; and $176.3 million for post-secondary education.
President Donald Trump has called for an ambitious $1 trillion funding program to upgrade this country’s infrastructure. The president has proposed his infrastructure package be financed through both public and private funds. Given all the distractions that plague the Trump administration these days, we doubt such a plan will become a reality anytime soon.
Our best hope is that elected officials from the courthouse to the statehouse will do a better job of deciding which projects should go to the top of the list and how they will be paid for. And politicians must do a better job of making the case for these infrastructure improvements to taxpayers who feel they are already being asked to do too much.
It’s time for all public officials to begin serious planning and prioritizing for the future. Failure to do so will leave the next generation of Americans without the schools, roads and public utilities it will need to compete in the global economy.
The Tennessean says Nashville deserve an MLS team:
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber gave every indication over the weekend that he was impressed with Nashville’s “can-do” attitude, creativity, culture and friendliness.
How could he not be? The CONCACAF Gold Cup match between the U.S.A. and Panama on Saturday drew 47,622 enthusiastic fans - a record for a soccer match in Tennessee.
They endured 90-degree heat and that famous Nashville humidity at Nissan Stadium to mark this milestone.
Garber was wined and dined on Lower Broad and at the Governor’s Mansion, and he witnessed first-hand that Nashville is hungry and ready for one of four new MLS expansion teams.
The competition with 11 other cities will be fierce, and they’re all bigger than Music City — from Indianapolis to San Antonio and from Tampa to Sacramento. However, the city’s growing success and prosperity has been noticed around the world, most recently because of the Nashville Predators’ success in competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup tournament.
“Nashville is very much like Major League Soccer,” Garber said. “It’s a city on the rise.”
The key for Nashville to win one of the teams when a decision is made in December is to ensure it has all three legs of this three-legged stool: Strong ownership, public support and a stadium.
Businessman John Ingram and partners Bill Hagerty (the U.S. ambassador-designate to Japan) and Will Alexander are leading the effort to attract an MLS team.
Garber indicated he had full confidence in their efforts. They and others who made this weekend successful should be commended.
The record-breaking match and the excitement from the crowds outside Bridgestone Arena during the Stanley Cup demonstrated that there is enthusiasm for professional sports that can unite and galvanize a city.
Then, there is the issue of the stadium. While there is no professional soccer stadium in Nashville now, the weekend match will undoubtedly accelerate plans, if the city wants to be truly competitive.
The politics around sports stadiums are always tricky as it involves a great expense — possibly $150 million — and taking a significant amount of land to build it.
Earlier this year, Mayor Megan Barry proposed the Nashville Fairgrounds as the site for a pro soccer stadium, and Garber visited the area during his stay in Nashville.
In 2011, voters overwhelmingly fought back an effort to redevelop the Fairgrounds. Will public support be there for this effort today?
An MLS professional soccer team, of course, would be a triple crown for a city that has a resurgent football team in the Tennessee Titans and an outstanding hockey team in the Predators — all beneficial to growing city pride, economic development and tourism.
This past weekend, Nashville showed that it earned an MLS professional soccer team.
MLS officials should agree at least that the city deserves one.