Editorial: Three cheers

Feb. 07, 2014 @ 11:51 PM

Making college more accessible

Governor Bill Haslam’s announcement earlier this week at the State of the State address announcing a bold proposal to make community college and two-year technical college admission free to Tennessee students was a great step toward assuring the state’s economic future.

While it’s not yet been ironed out, and in fact may never pass, the dream would be a nice building block toward making the Tennessee labor force more attractive to businesses looking at the state for possible relocations.

Tennessee’s low taxes, coupled with a a burgeoning group of educated men and women seeking jobs could one day make our state a mecca for companies hoping to expand or avoid burdensome regulation in other states.

While there was some tapping of the breaks by legislators concerned over cost details associated with Haslam’s plan, if the governor can make the free tution available at no cost to taxpayers through lottery funds, the idea seems like a no-brainer.

Knitting good for the soul, and others too

Members of the Stitch and Chatter group — made up largely of life-experienced female citizens — like to say the group’s primary function is the chatter, but others who’ve received the group’s charity no better.

The knitting club, which meets at Fort Sanders Sevier Senior each Wednesday, has donated thousands of hand-crafted items to people in need over the years. They’ve created booties for babies, fashioned afghans for nursing home residents and even knitted prosthetic breasts for cancer victims — all while doing something they love.

“We give to charities, hospitals, everything,” coordinator Betty Heldman said Wednesday. “Usually it’s half going to babies and young people and half going to seniors.”

Last year alone the group gave away 148 afghans, 118 hats, 98 scarves, 86 knockers, 71 mittens, 68 baby blankets, 54 baby hats and 25 cat/dog rugs.

In their 14th year, they’re still going strong and stitching together quite a legacy.

PF’s Wildlife week a success

Another year, another record.

Pigeon Forge’s Wilderness Wildlife Week set a new attendance mark last week with nearly 28,000 checking out the presentation, walking the trails and learning the ways of old Appalachia.

“It’s the most successful year we’ve ever had,” Pigeon Forge Office of Special Events Manager Butch Helton said. “Our previous attendance record had been around 24,000.”

Even with a few bad travel days because of the snow storm that passed through, the event continued to grow, thanks in part to its new surroundings — the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge. With next year being the 25th anniversary of WWW, Helton said he’s expecting even bigger things next year.

“We’ve been kicking ideas around already,” Helton said. “We want to do some special things.”

We’re already marking the calendar.