Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:
The Johnson City Press on a proposal to eliminate the Appalachian Baseball League:
Say it ain't so. They can't take our baseball away from us, can they?
The Appalachian League might be a thing of the past if a proposal made by Major League Baseball passes. MLB wants to reorganize the minor leagues and the plan reportedly includes eliminating the two Advanced Rookie leagues, the Appalachian League and the Pioneer League.
In Johnson City, the Cardinals games have become a summer-long form of entertainment for entire families. TVA Credit Union Ballpark has turned into a virtual amusement park, which is one reason the franchise continues to flourish.
The team has won the league's promotional award several times, thanks in no small part to an exciting atmosphere created by the current administration put in place by Boyd Sports.
What's better on a warm summer night than having a hot dog and a cold beer while watching a baseball game? And in the rookie leagues, it's all done on an affordable basis.
With $5 tickets, $1 sodas and beers on many nights and food promotional discounts, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to attend a Cardinals game. That's one reason more than 80,000 fans went through the gates this year. It was the fourth year in a row that the franchise attendance record was broken.
If MLB has its way, it will all be taken away after the 2020 season.
In all, the MLB proposal, originally reported by Baseball America, calls for the elimination of as many as 42 teams. Eighteen towns would be without Rookie League baseball. Many of these municipalities have had baseball for decades and have poured their souls — and resources — into supporting the home team.
That's where it might get dicey for MLB. Hopefully the towns don't go down without a fight.
Johnson City taxpayers footed the bill for the new lights at TVA Credit Union Ballpark. It's true that Science Hill also plays its home games there, but the city wouldn't have coughed up more than half a million dollars for lights just for the high school team.
The city of Elizabethton was basically forced to come up with $1.5 million to renovate the clubhouse at Joe O'Brien Field under the threat of the Twins moving elsewhere.
Now that taxpayers have ponied up the cash, the possibility of the league disbanding has to be harrowing.
If the proposal passes as it stands, MLB is likely to be subject to numerous lawsuits from cities that were told to spend taxpayers' money for ballpark improvements only to have the teams vanish into thin air.
For now, the proposal is just that — a proposal. Further negotiations will take place with offers and counteroffers being made before anything is decided.
The next negotiations between MLB and Minor League Baseball are scheduled for November. Hopefully whatever agreement is reached doesn't ultimately include taking cities like Johnson City and Elizabethton out of the ballgame.
Save for a stretch in the '60s and early '70s when the Phillies and Yankees were here, Johnson City has been affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals since 1939. An attack on the Appalachian League is an attack on our history and our way of life.
If you'd like to express your displeasure with MLB's proposal, write to Commissioner Rob Manfred at The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, 245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor, New York, NY 10167 or call 212-931-7800.
The Crossville Chronicle on Alzheimer's disease:
An estimated 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's dementia — a number expected to rise by almost 14 million by 2050.
While this horrible disease robs individuals of their memories, it is also the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability and poor health.
Alzheimer's disease attacks the nerve cells and brain tissue. Over time, the brain shrinks, disrupting all its functions. Before current tests can even detect the disease, it is forming plaque and tangles in areas of the brain that govern learning, memory, thinking and planning. Individuals may have trouble organizing their thoughts, expressing themselves or handling money. It can also impact personality and behavior.
Everyone experiences a memory lapse here and there, but when should you become concerned? One of the most common signs of this disease is forgetting new information or important dates or events. Some patients find themselves relying more and more on memory aids and asking the same questions over and over.
People may also have changes in their ability to take on tasks they once did well, like following an old family recipe or losing track of monthly bills. They may have trouble driving to a familiar location, they may become confused or forget where they are or how they got there.
Alzheimer's can also impact balance, judging distance or determining color. They may struggle with their vocabulary — calling familiar objects by the wrong name.
While Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disease, new tests and treatments are being developed. Early detection and treatment can slow the progression of the disease. Drugs can help treat cognitive symptoms.
New treatments are slow to emerge, though researchers are studying new drug therapies to target the way the disease works, inhibiting the development of plaques and preventing tangles from attacking brain cell transport systems. There are clinical trials underway to test the effectiveness and safety of these new therapies.
But these new treatments can be a far away for patients and families waiting on new treatment options. To help speed the process, drug makers, government advisers and nonprofit foundations have formed the Coalition Against Major Diseases to share data from clinical trials that will help speed up development of new treatment.
Recently, Crossville hosted the annual Alzheimer's Tennessee Plateau Walk and the Scarecrow Festival to raise funds to help Tennesseans living with Alzheimer's and other dementia diseases. This organization offers a helpline where people can call for information, support and referrals. Call 1-800-ALZ-4283 or visit alztennessee.org to access resources and information you and your family need.
The Johnson City Press on the economic benefits of keeping Tennessee parks clean:
We are blessed to live in one of the world's most beautiful places, yet we can't seem to respect the gifts afforded us by our mountains, forests and streams.
Volunteers spend thousands of hours cleaning up after careless and downright destructive neighbors who discard their garbage along our highways and backroads and into our woods, lakes and rivers. What comes out of Boone Lake alone each year is a disgrace.
And our economy suffers for it.
That was never more evident than in the letter a frequent visitor recently sent to Carter County officials about the conditions in the Watauga River she found on a fishing trip.
"The Watauga Dam Campground is by far one of our most favorite places in America as we love to fly fish for trout," Florida resident Cindy McClure wrote to Carter County Mayor Rusty Barnett. "We have been coming to your area for about four years now and really really love ending the summer there. Your river is so spectacular, so clear, so loaded with trout and unfortunately so loaded with trash."
McClure's letter got the attention of Ed Jordan, founder and chairman of Keep Carter County Beautiful, an organization dedicated to protecting the county's environment. Jordan agreed with McClure's assessment that enforcement of Tennessee's litter laws is lacking in the area. In a response he penned to McClure, Jordan called enforcement the region's "weakest link."
While stricter enforcement is in order, particularly as a deterrent, we would argue that our local law enforcement agencies are up against a societal deficiency. They would find themselves becoming solely the trash police given the level of the problem.
We are our own worst enemy when it comes to our image. If the region is ever to dump its backwater image, we have to stop treating our home like one massive landfill.
If a regular visitor who loves to fish here is concerned enough to write the mayor about the old tires and other refuse dumped in the river, imagine the impression the junk must make on a first-time guest. Imagine the impression it would make on a family considering relocation. Worse, think of how it might look to an executive considering a business or industrial development here.
It's another hurdle in the recent initiative to better market this region to tourists, potential residents and employers. If our outdoor recreational opportunities are a linchpin in that equation, the beauty must be less sullied.
Yes, getting tougher on offenders will be key, but fixing the problem will mean a grassroots cultural shift.