Thursday, November 29, 2012

Issues before the town council

I continue to hear from folks that they appreciate my attempts to keep people informed about the goings on in Signal Mountain. I will continue to try to be as informational as possible. Improving communication was a major goal of mine and, while not as successful as I'd like, much was accomplished.

As many of you know, the Council meets during the work day once a month in "agenda meetings". While these were originally initiated for the sole purpose of preparing the agenda for the upcoming Monday night meeting, they have evolved into work sessions where many controversial topics are discussed. Unfortunately, these often don't get the scrutiny that they deserve (in my humble opinion).

I'd like to point out a few items that I think might have general interest. The Council is apparently considering the idea of allowing beekeeping in residential neighborhoods (including front yards). Also, the Council is looking at converting the swimming pool to a salt water system. I've swum in salt water pools in Florida and it wasn't appealing to me, but I honestly don't know if this is the same thing. Nonetheless, those of you who use the pool might be interested.

When I was on the Council, I discovered that Signal Mountain bans rock climbing in the town limits. Since this area is world-renown for this activity, I tried to get the ban lifted, but was shot down by the Town Council. This is again on the agenda and hopefully they'll reconsider.

There is talk about putting a crosswalk across Taft Highway between the shopping centers. Sounds like a great idea, but the primary issue might be the cost. Hopefully a designated cross-walk with a sign would be reasonably within the budget.

Finally, with Fox Run and Windtree entering the town the end of the year, Bill Wallace very appropriately encouraged the council to slow down on board appointments for the New Year to allow residents of those neighborhoods to apply. If you live out there (or anywhere in the town) and are interested in volunteering on a board, go to the town website ( and apply.

Here is the agenda for tomorrow's "agenda session":

1.      Discuss Tentative Agenda for December 10, 2012 Regular Meeting
2.      New Employee Introductions
3.      Bee Hive Location
4.      Sewer Moratorium Update – Cleveland Grimes (10:30 am)
5.      Pool Salt Water System – Robert Moss (12:00 pm)
6.      Climbing – Britt Reynolds (1:00 pm)
7.      New Street Criteria
8.      Crosswalk Ordinance
9.      Administrative Hearing Officer Ordinance
10.  Christmas Train
11.  Board Appointments
12.  Council Strategic Planning
13.  WRUD Interconnection
14.  Any Other Business 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Another Signal Mountain Parks Board member speaks out

This letter was provided to me by Tish Gailmard, long-term member of the Signal Mountain Parks Board in response to the ouster from the Parks Board of Dr. Jeff Duncan by Town Council member Annette Allen:

Dr. Jeff Duncan’s term on the Signal Mountain Parks Board “was allowed to expire without public vetting nor a direct vote.” This is a true statement and one that the citizens of Signal Mountain should be aware of before they vote in the upcoming election.
Dr. Duncan challenged the Parks Board to think harder and more open mindedly about the proposed donation of conservation easements over town-owned lands to an outside land trust.  Bill Fronk, secretary of the board, took it upon himself to state that the board was in favor of the easement. I am also a member of this board and I voted on no such proposal. Jeff notes “that there had been no vote by the Parks Board nor Town Council adopting the position detailed in Mr. Fronk's letter as the town's policy” which is completely accurate.
Furthermore, the next action in this story is even more appalling to me. When Annette Allen, current Signal Mountain Town Council member seeking re-election, asked Jeff to withdraw his application for a new term as a Parks Board member, she clearly had an agenda even though she states her rationale as identifying a qualified replacement who was retired and had more time.
The Signal Mountain Parks Board is run by a few who are well intentioned, but do not handle business properly. Many ideas are discussed, but the work that is passed is biased and close minded. A board is meant to be a consulting entity to guide practices. Board members bring expertise which helps the board wisely discuss matters. Unfortunately, the current Parks Board acts on the input and desires of a select few. While trails may be maintained and built, new ideas that can affect the future of Signal Mountain’s town owned lands and other important and lasting decisions may be in jeopardy. 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Dr. Jeff Duncan's reply to Parks Board

This is Dr. Jeff Duncan's reply to Bill Fronk's recent letter trying to change history about Jeff's removal from the Park's Board. It is followed by some more information I have since obtained. Your Town Council in action: 

Signal Mountain Town Council:  "Move Along Folks...Nothing to See Here"

My name was recently invoked in an opinion piece supporting the re-election of Annette Allen to the Signal Mountain Town Council (TFP, 10/29/12).  In it, Bill Fronk suggests that a "rumor" about my dismissal from the Parks Board is false, stating, "we should not allow rumor to replace fact." 

To that end, I agree with Mr. Fronk.  But just because something is rumored does not preclude it from being true.  What’s puzzling is why Mr. Fronk would choose to bring up this so-called rumor in supporting the re-election of Annette Allen to Town Council when relatively few people knew or cared about the issue previously.  It seems akin to the cop standing in front of the murder scene telling passersby “there’s nothing to see here.” 

Whether I was kicked off, removed, terminated, axed, or whacked is a matter of semantics.  The bottom line is that after seven years of service, and after being asked in writing by the town manager if I would to serve another term (to which I responded yes), my term was abruptly allowed to expire without public vetting nor a vote.

Why did this happen?  Here are the facts; you can decide for yourself.  Last October, I wrote a letter to the TFP voicing concern regarding Ms. Allen's proposal to donate of conservation easements on Town-owned lands to a land trust.  It was in direct response to a letter by Mr. Fronk reportedly on behalf of the Parks Board promoting the donation.  There had been no vote by the Board nor Town Council adopting the position detailed in Mr. Fronk's letter, yet Mr. Fronk enthusiastically supported the action,  implying it was the official position of the Board.  I felt obliged to provide Signal Mountain residents an alternative view about the long-term ownership of their public lands.

Soon after my letter was published, Ms. Allen requested that she and I meet to discuss the issue.   At the end of the meeting, we cordially agreed to disagree.  A week later, she called and requested that I withdraw my application for a new term on the Board, stating that she had identified another qualified candidate.  I respectfully declined to withdraw my application.  At the next Council meeting, my replacement was appointed. My term was simply allowed to expire without a vote nor any record of public discourse.

I'll be the first to admit I have a busy schedule and a family, although I'd like to correct Mr. Fronk's assertion that I'm a "senior executive."  I'm simply an ecologist with expertise in natural resource management and passionate about raising my children in our great community.   None of this should disqualify me nor anyone else from service on Town boards, nor should voicing differences in opinions.  Unfortunately, my case is not isolated, and some members of Council (Bill Wallace excluded) have developed a pattern of eliminating those who choose to speak out.  One example is the ousting of previous Mayor Paul Hendricks in a behind-the-scenes power-fueled maneuver.  And, there are other examples.

Openness and diversity of opinions are essential components of sound democratic governance.  I believe Ms. Allen and others on Town Council are missing the mark in that regard, and I plan to vote accordingly.  There is in fact something to see here—a political practice lacking in principle--and it's time for change.

Dr. Jeff Duncan
Former Parks Board Member

Dear Editor,

Recently there was a letter from Bill Fronk, Secretary of the Signal Mountain Parks Board stating that "In 2011 the Parks Board recommended the appointment of a new member instead of re-appointing Dr. Jeff Duncan". This was in response to the fact that Dr. Duncan, a National Parks Service employee, professional ecologist, Scout leader and long time member of the Signal Mountain Parks Board was refused reappointment to the Parks Board after publicly disagreeing with a position taken by Signal Mountain Town Councilmember Annette Allen. I asked for a copy of the minutes for all the Parks Board meetings for 2011. There were 2 meetings, in April and May and there is no mention in either of these minutes of Dr. Duncan or other appointments. Honna Rogers, Signal Mountain Town Manager told me "I believe there was a third [meeting] (going off memory), but I do not have minutes for it.  I don't think the Parks Board had a vote regarding Jeff.  It's not customary for the Board to discuss or vote on member reappointments.  The Council makes that decision, often with input from the Board Chair." Mr. Fronk seems to imply (and Ms. Allen has also claimed) that Dr. Duncan was removed for missing these two meetings. Of interest is that Tish Gailmard, another member of the Parks Board also missed both meetings yet remains on the Board. Also, Mr. Fronk himself spends summers in Michigan and, from what I understand the Parks Board essentially shuts down in the summer since he is not here (they apparently didn't meet again the rest of that year and there are no minutes for any meetings after March of this year except for some trail maintenance activities). I believe this subterfuge of creating political cover after the fact is self-evident. 

Paul M. Hendricks, MD
former Mayor of Signal Mountain 

Recommendations for Signal Mountain Town Council

As most of my friends know, I am supporting Bill Wallace for Town Council again this year. I have known Bill since serving with him on the MACC Board while I was on the council. Bill is thoughtful and independent and has been a voice of reason on the Council. He is a man of conservative inclinations and, while we may disagree on national politics, his approach to our town has been exactly what I want in a representative, fiscally responsible and open. As Richard Casavant once told me "potholes don't have parties"! His background is in communications and that shows in his constituent responsiveness. He opposed last year's unnecessary tax increase. He also opposed significantly increasing the salary of the town manager at the same time that the council was dipping into the general fund to balance the budget. He felt that an increase like that should also be associated with more commitment to the town than a 60-day notice of resignation.
He believes in smart, responsible growth but not in obstructionism that will only drive up our taxes and turn Signal Mountain into an elite community where only the wealthy can afford to live.

Bill has been attacked vociferously by friends of the current council majority for taking these positions. Several of the early letters attacking Bill attracted my attention. They included detailed attacks on some obscure votes. However, I didn't recognize the name of the writer of this letter or of some follow-up letters. My curiosity was aroused and I started trying to find out who these folks were. Extensive searching of public records and internet presence was without result. I contacted the newspaper who researched the letter. They informed me that they were "unable to confirm the address of the author" of the first letter and pulled the letter from running in the community news. At this point, I am convinced that these letters were written under a false name by a supporter of the Council majority candidates (Lusk and Allen) who had intimate knowledge of the details of some of these obscure votes, but didn't want his (or her...) name known. I would strongly urge the candidates to either confirm that the writers of these letters are real people who do live in Signal Mountain or disavow these letters and reveal if they know anything about their origins. These kinds of dirty tricks have no place in Signal Mountain politics.

Beyond Bill, my choices will be a bit surprising. Obviously, I have major differences with the current Council majority. Their approach to local government is secretive and many of their public comments have been filled with errors (whether intentional or not I can't say, but ignorance is as bad as deceit).  Their approach to citizens volunteering to work with the town through town boards and through private fundraising has been extremely exclusive of and vindictive towards anyone who disagrees with them. This is clearly indicated by the vicious attacks leading to the destruction of the MACC/SMArt Foundation and the recent removal of Dr. Jeff Duncan from the Parks Board for disagreeing with Annette Allen on the issue of handing control of our public parks over to outside groups which, while honorable groups doing great work, are not controlled by the town of Signal Mountain. Frankly, this is the point. Ms. Allen and the council majority do not trust the citizens of Signal Mountain to protect our public lands and want to remove any control from the Town's responsibility. I find this attitude to be outrageous.

Therefore, I've decided to offer my support to Joe Dumas. Joe and I have had many disagreements over the years. Frankly, I suspect we will have more in the future. However, Joe is smart. Joe cares about this town. Most of all, Joe is honest and open. Agree or disagree, you will know where Joe stands. He will not hide or tell you one thing while doing another. I hope that he will recognize that he represents the citizens which means that sometimes you have to vote for what the people want, even if it may not be what you would want yourself. However, I think it is time to give Joe a chance to add his voice to our community. He and I have had some very serious (diplomats would call them "frank"!) discussions. I have learned that he can change his mind on things. That is an important trait. He is trained in the sciences like me which gives me hope that he will look at the facts and make his decisions based on those facts rather than picking out (or making up) facts to fit his pre-conceived ideas as our current council majority is prone to do. You can be sure that he will keep a close eye on the finances of our town and be sure they are spent wisely and efficiently.

So, please vote for Bill Wallace. I also urge you to vote for Joe Dumas. As for a third vote, I know Frank Preston to be a fine man. Mutual friends have reassured me that he will be independent. I do have concerns about the fact that Lusk and Allen supporters seems to almost uniformly support him which makes me think that they see him as a "rubber stamp". I hope they are wrong. I do hope that Frank gets elected and adds another independent voice to Signal Mountain politics. I have never liked "tickets" in local politics. I didn't like "Farmer/White" or the "Recall" ticket or the "Keep Your Council" ticket and I don't like this "Allen/Lusk/Preston" ticket. This was no reflection on the individual candidates, but obviously one assumes that those on a "ticket" feel a commitment to "stick together". That has caused immense grief in Washington, DC and I don't want it here. Our Town Council members should be independent voices making their own separate decisions. They should be able to agree on one issue and disagree on the next and move on. It is obvious that is not currently the case and electing the "status quo" will only continue this lockstep approach to our local government. Thanks for listening!

Paul M. Hendricks, MD

Friday, September 28, 2012

Signal Mountain Mirror slander

Dear Signal Mountain friends, 

The Signal Mountain Mirror today is continuing a personal and fraudulent assault on the many good citizens who were part of the MACC Foundation, formerly Friends of MACC. I once considered Andrew Clark a friend and I frankly don't know why he has decided to use the Mirror to attack this organization by printing false information that we have repeatedly refuted to him. He will not respond to my emails requesting explanations and corrections to the falsehoods he has printed over the last few months about the former MACC Foundation. 

The Fall Hodgepodge festival was given to the MACC Foundation by its founder to raise money for the MACC. The Foundation changed it's name last January (to the Signal Mountain Art Foundation) at the town's request and attempted to broaden it's outreach to support other arts organizations in the community such as the Signal Mountain Playhouse, Bachman, public schools, etc. This was due to the financial success we had achieved over the previous 1 1/2 years when we had donated nearly $50,000 to the MACC. We had planned to continue to sponsor Fall Hodgepodge, as we did for the last four years, as a fundraiser for the MACC. Over that period of time we had grown the event, added music and children's events and increased attendance and financial success each year. Instead, the town seized control of the festival and hired an outside professional event planner. The Foundation decided not to fight this seizure and to gift the ev
ent, which the Foundation owned, to the town rather than engage in a legal battle over ownership. The Foundation Board of Directors subsequently decided to dissolve primarily because of the ill will generated by these events. Whereas previously, the MACC had received 100% of proceeds from Hodgepodge after expenses, it will now receive 55%. 

The article in the mirror today refers to the Foundation as a "splinter group" which is not true because we never "splintered" off of anything. The article in the Mirror today claims the town "salvaged" the event which is a gross misrepresentation of the facts since the festival was never at risk. The Mirror claims the Foundation planned to stage the event "independently" of the town which ignores the fact that the event was always "independent" of the town, sponsored by a private organization to benefit the MACC. It was never owned or operated by the town. The Foundation payed rent to the town (now being waived for the organizer hired by the town) for the facilities. The town is also now providing insurance for the event, which it never did for the foundation. The town charged the foundation for providing security. This is a scurrilous and slanderous article and I feel forced to get the truth out and to defend the integrity of the many fine people who volunteered their time and money over the years to support the MACC through the MACC Foundation.

I do want to be very clear that, while I am disappointed about the turn of events, my main goal is to present the facts and to protect the reputation of the organization that I briefly led. I wish no ill-will to the MACC or the Hodgepodge event. I have no ill feelings toward the Chattanooga Market or Paul Smith who leads that organization nor do I assign any blame or responsibility to them for the turn of events. Everything I have seen and heard about Paul and the Chattanooga market has indicated they are a top-notch organization of great integrity. They were asked to do a job that they are successful at and I think that they were a great choice. I know that his organization will do an excellent job with Hodgepodge. I feel we had inherited a great event and made it better and expect that the Chattanooga Market will continue that tradition. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Signal Mountain Town Council race noncompetitive so far

Signal Mountain's Town Council elections occur every two years. There are three spots on the 5 member council on the ballot. This year, incumbents Annette Allen and Bill Lusk are running for re-election. Councilmember Bill Wallace has apparently decided not to run again. Local activist Joe Dumas has qualified for the third spot on the ballot. Unless there has been a very recent addition, we currently therefore have three candidates for three spots. The same thing happened four years ago, the last time Allen and Lusk (along with Susan Robertson) were up for election. Frankly, I find this to be a sad comment. If anyone out there is interested in running, the deadline for submitting qualifying petititions is Thursday, August 16. If you're interested, go the the Hamilton County Election Commission website: for more information.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Music Man

OK, it's time to start making plans to attend the Signal Mountain Playhouse production of The Music Man starting tomorrow, July 6 and continuing every Friday and Saturday in July at 8pm each evening. Productions are at the Signal Mountain Playhouse, located behind the town hall off Taft Highway.

This SMPH production features:
Greg Glover as con man Harold Hill
Kendra Gross as librarian/piano teacher Marian Paroo
Don Strickland as Mayor Shinn
Patti Gross as Mrs. Paroo
Janet McInturff as Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn
Brandon McCrary as Marcellus Washburn
Noah Huseman as Winthrop Paroo
Mary Eliza Hendricks as Amaryllis
Dick Gee as Charlie Crowell, anvil salesman
Frank Harrison, Michael Smith, Glenn Showalter, Paul Hendricks and Bob Roza as the River City Schoolboard/Barbershop Quarter (+1)
Becky Gardner as Zaneeta Shinn
Harrison Holmes as "bad boy" Tommy Djilas

and a host of others playing the citizens of River City trying to get itself out of the "Trouble" it finds itself in when Harold Hill blows into town and alerts them to the sinful temptations of its new pool table and how he can fix the problem "with a wave of my hand" by forming a boy's band (for a reasonable fee with a small deposit in advance and the balance due on delivery).

Tickets on sale at the Playhouse every Friday and Saturday at 6pm. Bring your folding chairs and have a great time listening to such great songs as "76 Trombones", "Trouble" and "Till There Was You".

Monday, June 11, 2012

Update on Signal Mountain Town Council elections... new candidate

I noticed today that Dr. Joe Dumas has picked up papers to run for the Signal Mountain Town Council. Incumbents Lusk and Allen have both qualified for the election. The deadline for turning in a petition is August 16 at noon.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Upcoming Signal Mountain elections

I know I've been mighty quiet lately. I've been trying to keep my head down! However, I think it is time we all started focusing on upcoming elections. While presidential races get a lot of attention, there are some important local races going on.

I'm sure everyone is aware that there is one candidate on the ballot for school board and another write-in campaign recently started. Dr. Jonathon Welch was the only candidate who qualified for the ballot. After that deadline, Mike Harvey decided to throw his hat in the ring as a write-in. I am remaining neutral in this race. I hope that the discussion will center around the issues affecting the school board and that both men will present their views on those issues and what they would do on the school board. Obviously, I am particularly interested in what made Mike Harvey decide to jump into the race so late. A write-in campaign is obviously an uphill battle and will take a lot of work.

Last, but certainly not least, there will be a Signal Mountain Town Council race in the fall. Allen, Lusk and Wallace's seats are all up for election. I know that Lusk has picked up papers to run (and I believe may have already qualified) and I have also been told that Annette Allen has qualified for re-election. I haven't heard from Bill Wallace, yet. The deadline to turn in petitions to run is August 16 at noon. All potential candidates should be getting prepared. As you know, Signal Mountain races have changed considerably in the last few years (when they are contested) and do require some preparation and planning. I am happy to share my own views privately with anyone considering running and you are welcome to contact me. I'm sure I will be commenting on issues as the race proceeds. All of the current incumbents now have records which are public and can be reviewed. Feel free to use this blog as a forum for commenting on any local issues. I also have a Facebook page for the League of Signal Mountain Voters which I have created as a forum for discussing local issues. If you are on Facebook and would like to join that group, just ask me. It is open to all. Here's the link:

Stay tuned!

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Orchard Band at Giggle Cafe this Friday night

The Orchard Band will be appearing this Friday night at Giggles Grill ( which is at the Comedy Catch at 3224 Brainerd Road in Chattanooga. We'll be performing from 9-11. Come on out for some good food and good music!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Donate your gently used outdoor gear and clothing for a good cause!

Support Clean Water!


Mary Beth Sutton (on the left above), a long time friend of mine heads up a group which promotes clean water, both locally and in the Caribbean area ( This flyer advertises a fundraising activity for her excellent organization. So, if you find any ski gear or surfboards or other outdoor stuff that you've, ahem, grown out of, here's your chance to put it to a good cause. Here is a link to an article about her: 


Looking for work
I received the following request from Anthony and Barb Amabile who I mentioned recently were closing CLS Lighting: 

As you know we’re closing the retail store and I will continue with the Electrical business. 

Barb on the other hand is actively seeking a full time position of employment and can do just about anything from outside field sales to inside sales or management office /clerical.  She has held numerous sales positions, customer service and secretarily and has a lot of hands on experience with running  a business.

If you could put the word out if anyone knows of any positions that she may be well suited for.  She has been self-employed for the past 8 years and has extensive knowledge in technical areas like electrical, electronics, communications, etc.

Thanks very much!

Anthony Amabile
Signal Mountain Electric, LLC
TN State License  #00064329
Hamilton County Electrical License # C-477
Main Offices:  423-591-1632
Electrical Service Emergency: 423-838-9220
1238 Taft Highway, Suite 112, Signal Mountain, TN  37377
Or Visit us on the web:
Now Serving all of Chattanooga TN and we’re in the Yellow Pages and
Licensed and certified area dealer, installer and service provider for Kohler and Generac Generators!

Friday, March 16, 2012


I am concerned about the future of Signal Mountain business. Most of you have probably heard that Seventeen Ninety, the excellent new restaurant recently opened by Rick and Nancy Adams of Southern Star fame has closed. I have just found out that another business, CLS Lighting is also closing. Anthony and Barb Amabile moved to this community and opened this business, but have been unable to attract enough customers to keep it open. Fortunately, in both cases these business owners have alternatives. Southern Star will continue to serve excellent sandwiches and salads. Anthony is a Master Electrician and also runs Signal Mountain Electric Service. He is available for electrical work and also specializes in generator installation. You can reach Anthony at 591-1632 or his cell at 838-9220. Snoda and I have had Anthony work on some things at our house and we can vouch for his quality and integrity. As they close the retail shop, I understand they will be selling lightbulbs at 15% discounts, so drop by and wish them well and stock up on bulbs.
I don't have any magic answers, but clearly we can all try harder to patronize our local businesses. Perhaps you can save a few dollars at Walmart, but giving your business to your friends and neighbors pays dividends for your extra investment. As a town, I have long been concerned that we are not friendly enough to businesses. Many of you know that I have had concerns about our Design Review Commission. Everyone wants our town to be attractive, but empty store fronts are pretty ugly, too. If no one can see your sign and don't know what your business is, it is hard to make a go of it. I have seen the amount of harassment our town has given to new businesses in town (on top of WWTA and other regulatory agencies). I think this needs to be seriously looked at.

I have heard rumors of other businesses teetering on the edge of closing, too. I urge all my fellow Signal Mountain residents to check local before going "off the mountain". We have some excellent restaurants up here, but we won't if they don't have customers. Check out the Mountain Business Associations website to find out about some of our businesses. Obviously there are many more who aren't members of the MBA, also. All of our businesses are important, check 'em out! If any local businesses would like for me to mention them in a blog, I am happy to do so. Just send me a brief write-up and an image if you'd like and I'll put it on here. My rates are cheap (free!). Just doing what I can to help.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Songwriter Concert at the MACC this weekend

This Friday night, March 9 there will be a concert at the MACC featuring several excellent singer songwriters. This is a preview of the songwriting workshop being held Saturday and will feature many of the writer's/singers who will be leading the workshop. Robert and Alice and I (The Orchard Band) will be opening with a few original compositions of our own. Those of you who came to the Karen Shropshire Memorial Fund Concert at the shopping center last May heard several of these folks perform. This will be a great show. I hope we can fill the hall! Be sure to call ahead to the MACC for the "cheap seats"!

Monday, February 20, 2012

God speed, John Glenn

50 years ago today, one of my life heroes, John Glenn became the first American in orbit. This man, now 90 years old, served his country as a combat pilot in WWII and the Korean War, then as one of the original "Mercury 7" astronauts. He went on to a distinguished career as a US Senator. He capped this career when he was the oldest man to fly in space when he joined a space shuttle mission in 1998. He is still active and healthy and married to his childhood sweetheart, Annie. Please check out this video about his amazing first mission in space: John Glenn, First American in Orbit

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Tarzan, the musical at CCA

After you've planned on seeing "The Butler Did It , Again" at the MACC, don’t miss the premiere of Disney’s newest theatrical extravaganza, “Tarzan”, at the Center for Creative Arts.  CCA is one of four high schools around the country chosen by Disney to premier this show. It is a Hamilton County magnet school for the arts and includes students from all over Hamilton County, including the Signal Mountain area. Disney officials will be on hand for opening night.  The show is based on Disney’s animated film of the same name. 

The show stars senior, David Couter, as Tarzan.  Couter recently won recognition as the best high school actor in Tennessee at a competition held during the Tennessee State Theater Convention.  Co-staring as Jane is Brittni Rhodes, who won a Chattanooga Theater Center Miss Annie award last year for her performance as Penny Pingleton in “Hairspray”.  In addition to a dynamite cast and choreography by Lindsey Fussell, Tarzan will swing through the jungle with the help of the well know rigging company, Flying by Foy.

The show opens Thursday, February 16th and runs through Saturday the 18th with shows at 7:00 PM each evening.  Tickets at the door are $5 for students and $10 for adults.  Reserve seats are $15 each and can be obtained by calling 209-5942.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Butler Did It Again - photo!

As promised, here is a photo of the cast of "The Butler Did It Again":

Back row:  Lee Abelson, Keith Colllins, Tim Forsythe, Don Strickland, Rob Inman, Eric Schubert
Front row:  Kendra Gross, Shandra Burnett, Janet McInturff, Sandy McCrea, DeDe Young, Anne Roza.

to be presented February 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, and 25
at the Mountain Arts Community Center.
Tickets available at the door of each nights performance
or from the MACC office between the hours of 9-2 and 4-8 week days
at $12.00 per person. For group reservations call 886-5243.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"The Butler Did It Again" by Signal Mountain Playhouse at the MACC in February

The Signal Mountain Playhouse will be presenting their winter play this February. Here is a synopsis: 

The Butler Did It, Again! is a murder mystery spoof with thinly disguised characters from the classic murder mystery genre.  There's Miss Maple, a faux Miss Marple; Mrs. Danvers, the despised housekeeper in Daphne du Maurie's Rebecca; Rick and Laura Carlyle, based on the charming Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man; Chandler Marlowe, a combination of the famous mystery writer, Raymond Chandler, and the detective he created, Philip Marlowe; Louie Fan, a knock-off Charlie Chan; Tony Tallchief, based on native-American novelist, Tony Hillerman; and Ruth Dice, loosely based on Anne Rice, the queen of the vampire tale.  This group gathers for a weekend mystery party in an old Louisiana manse.  Unexpected guests, petty jealousies, and an escaped sanatorium patient set the stage for comedic catastrophe.  

Performances are at the 
Mountain Arts Community Center, 
809 Kentucky Ave., 
Signal Mountain 

every Friday and Saturday night from February 10th through the 25th.  Tickets are $12 at the door, which includes coffee and dessert prior to curtain.  Dessert service begins at 6:45 PM with curtain at 8:00.  For more information go onlline to or call 886-5243.

The cast consists of many of your local favorites: 

Characters                                                                     Actors
Jane Doe - Attractive young woman                               Shandra Burnett
Chips - Family servant                                                    Keith Collins
Miss Maple - Dowager                                                   Janet McInturff
Mrs. Danvers - Sinister housekeeper                               Anne Roza
Linda Hayes - Fashion model                                          Kendra Gross
Chandler Marlowe - Tough private eye                            Rob Inman
Rick Carlyle - Debonair                                                   Don Strickland
Laura Carlyle - sophisticated                                            Sandy McCrea
Tony Tallchief - Western writer                                        Tim Forsythe
Louie Fan - ala Charlie Chan                                           Eric Schubert
Father White - English Vicar                                            Lee Abelson
Ruth Dice - Vampire writer                                              DeDe Young

I've been promised a "sneak peek" of photos soon, so keep watching my blog for more!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Future of Signal Mountain

In spite of my affinity for Calvin and Hobbes, I would like to resolve to blog more. This being an election year, I expect I will venture forth into national issues, however for now I'd like to discuss a place near and dear to my heart... Signal Mountain. As I have said before, I wasn't born here, but my daughter was... I wasn't raised here but my son was. I have lived in this community for over 18 years, longer than I've lived any place before. I have a great desire to see Signal Mountain continue to be a great place to live.

Growth continues to be a major issue for Signal Mountain. However, in spite of those who still worry about "unbridled" growth in the area, the facts (based on census data) are that the town is not growing at all and is probably shrinking. While some may find this a good thing, the recent tax increase passed by the Town Council shows the downside of our town's current policy. I have used my experience as a biologist and physician to guide my approach to town policy. I have in the past compared town growth to human growth. When our children are young, we all want to see them grow to be big and strong, but once mature, future growth can manifest as obesity or cancer. Thus a town has to be careful not to grow in an uncontrolled manner, metastasizing all over the countryside and dying from the center out. However, like in all science one cannot oversimplify. The reality is that even in maturity we are not stagnant. We must continually grow just to replace our body's dead cells and we should be continually focusing on nutrition and exercise so we grow healthy and build muscle, not fat. So, now that I've beat this analogy to death, we cannot allow our town to stagnate.  

When I joined the Town Council in 2006, we started on a growth plan that I thought we could complete in my four year term. First was to be a new Land Use Plan which we completed in my first year. We next planned to rewrite our town's zoning based on that Land Use Plan which was based on the progressive, environmentally responsible conservation development principles of Randall Arendt. We soon realized that we also need to rewrite our subdivision regulations as part of this process. We began this in early 2008 and have yet to finish. I have heard that the subdivision regulations are finished, after four years, but it is not clear if they have been formally adopted yet. They certainly aren't on the town's website and, if there have been major announcements of public hearings on these regs, I certainly haven't seen them and I do try to pay attention. At any rate, the truly "heavy lifting" of rewriting the zoning regulations has not even begun. I'm not optimistic about the outcome of this since the Planning Commission and Town Council's majority have long since rejected Mr. Arendt and his principles.

So, moving forward what is the vision for the town? This is a big year for our town. It is an election year and three positions (Lusk, Allen and Wallace) will be up for re-election. Also, at the end of the year we will grow through the process of annexation which was finalized a year ago. The neighborhoods of Fox Run and Windtree will both join our town. While this will bring some new income, it also brings expenses and the net effect is fairly minimal (about an extra $100,000 per year, if I recall, worth about 5 cents in property taxes). However, the true advantage of adding these neighborhoods is the addition of the intangible assets of these citizens, their talents and brain power. I find this most exciting of all.

This brings up an issue that I think needs discussion. I have heard discussed the idea of moving to having electoral districts in Signal Mountain. Red Bank and, I believe East Ridge (along with Chattanooga, of course) have district elections. As we expand not only in population, but more importantly in geography, it seems like a good time to start thinking about the idea of assuring representation of all areas of the town. I'd like to toss this out as a discussion point and hope to expand on it later. In all honesty, I don't know exactly what would be involved legally, but the first step is to decide if it is something to pursue. I would encourage my readers to consider commenting on this issue (or any issue) on this blog. If you prefer, you can email me ( and I will post your email as a comment if you give me permission.

Finally, I don't think it is premature to realize that our fair town will be 100 years old in 2019. That seems like a long time off, but it would be nice to consider starting some community based discussion on how we would like to celebrate our centennial.

So, our future can be bright, but we need to seize it and make positive decisions. We can determine what kind of future Signal Mountain will have. If you wonder if this is important, just go ask your kids!