Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24, 2011 Joke--From Sen. Stacey Campfield's blog

Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville, formerly Rep. Stacey Campfield,  has spoken at local anti-illegal immigration events in Morristown.

He has a blog, and this week he had a really good post/joke on government bidding. For your entertainment, click here:

His serious posts make for interesting reading, too!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 20, 2011 Council Meeting Starting Time Changed to 5:00 PM!!

There was some especially good news at yesterday's meeting of the Morristown City Council. Meetings in the future will take place at 5:00 PM instead of 4:00 PM.

The later starting time is a plus for citizens who are still at work at 4:00 PM.  The vote to change the time was 5-2 with Gene Brooks, Bob Garrett, Chris Bivens, Paul LeBel, and Kay Senter voting YES and Claude Jinks and Mayor Danny Thomas voting NO.  [Mayor Thomas voted YES on this measure two weeks ago, but voted NO today on second reading.]

The 5:00 starting time was proposed by Gene Brooks in 2009 but failed when only Brooks and Kay Senter voted YES. With three new members on the council after the May 2011 election, the vote was very different this time.

Oddity: Bob Garrett voted NO on changing the meeting time back in 2009, but voted YES in 2011. Click here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 19, 2011 Council Rejects Mayor's Appointment of Mike Minnich to the MUS Board of Commissioners

A routine appointment to fill a vacancy on the Morristown Utility System Board of Commissioners?  Nope. Bizarre? Absolutely!

Click on the video above to see the City Council vote on Mayor Danny Thomas's appointment of Mike Minnich to the MUS Board of Commissioners. [The appointment begins at 00:25.]

Bob Garrett decides he wants to talk about George McGuffin before he votes. Mayor Thomas points out that this is a mayoral appointment submitted for Council's approval or disapproval and calls for the vote. 

When the vote is taken on the Minnich appointment, it is YES: Gene Brooks, Claude Jinks, and Danny Thomas. NO: Bob Garrett, Paul LeBel, and Kay Senter. ABSTAIN: Chris Bivens.  With the Bivens abstention, Minnich didn't receive the required four council votes.  

Bob then wants to talk again about George McGuffin. Thomas states that Garrett is out of order, gavels Garrett down, and threatens to have him removed. Paul LeBel, Garrett's sidekick, steps in to take up for Bob.

According to City attorney Dick Jessee, who is George McGuffin's brother-in-law, MUS must submit another list of three names from which Mayor Thomas will again select a nominee and put that name out for an up or down vote. [The new list of 3 nominees may include the two not already voted on]

Bizarre! Watch the video again.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 10, 2011 Morristown City Council Votes on Moving Meeting Times from 4 PM to 5 PM

There was an interesting and encouraging twist at the end of last week's City Council meeting.

Right before adjournment, Councilmember Paul LeBel moved to add an item to the agenda to move the council meeting time from 4 PM to 5 PM.

LeBel's motion to add this item to the agenda passed 5-0 (YES: Garrett, Bivens, LeBel, Senter, and Thomas; ABSENT: Gene Brooks, who was sick; and Claude Jinks, who had been hospitalized for heart problems.)

After getting the item on the agenda, LeBel then made his actual motion to change the council meeting time from 4 PM to 5 PM on first reading and to hold a public hearing and second reading on July 19, 2011.  Bob Garrett seconded the motion.  After a brief discussion, the motion passed 5-0.

[SIDENOTE: Bob Garrett voted against this same time change in November 2009 when it was brought to the floor by motion of Gene Brooks and second by Kay Senter.] 

This is a positive move by the Mayor and councilmembers to have meetings at a time when more people can, and hopefully will, attend.

Monday, July 04, 2011

July 4, 2011 Independence Day

The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. 

Hostilities between the British and the American colonists had already begun over a year before when the "shot heard round the world" was fired at the beginning of the battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.

Paul Revere's famous "midnight ride" to warn his fellow patriots that the British were coming is commemorated in the following poem.

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--

One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay

The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,

And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.
Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,

And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,

Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,

In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,

And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent

On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,

Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.

And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

Scurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;

That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,

And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,

That rises after the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,

And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.
It was two by the village clock,

When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze

Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,

Pierced by a British musket ball.
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,

From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,

And only pausing to fire and load.
So through the night rode Paul Revere;=
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---

A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,

Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.