Tennessee editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:
The Johnson City Press on remembering the doughboy:
Many likely pass by Memorial Park Community Center without giving a second thought to the sentry standing at the entrance to the grounds.
The regal doughboy statue has guarded the site almost continuously since 1935 when American Legion Kings Mountain Post 24 erected it to honor American military personnel who died in World War I. For decades, fans and students filed past it on their way to watch Science Hill High School play football. We can’t help but wonder how many took the time to read the inscriptions or even knew why the doughboy was there at all.
The doughboy temporarily was dismounted in 2012 after the football stadium’s demolition. The reconditioned statue, including replacement of the missing bayonet, was returned to the site in 2013 as the centerpiece of Veterans Plaza at Memorial Park.
Johnson City’s doughboy is one of Ernest Moore Viquesney’s World War I memorial statues, “The Spirit of the American Doughboy.” According to a website devoted to the Viquesney statues, about 135 originals and replacement replicas are still mounted in the U.S., but our doughboy is the sole one in Tennessee.
That’s a distinction we should never allow to go unnoticed or taken for granted. The sacrifices the doughboy represents are key lessons in our history and a testament to a core value — fighting for the greater good.
Twice since the original World War inscription was mounted on its base, the Kings Mountain Post has updated the doughboy with new plaques. Twenty-five years ago, a new inscription honored the dead of World War II and the wars in Korean and Vietnam. And on Memorial Day this year, a third was added to honor all who served from 1974 to present.
As we approach the 75th anniversary of what arguably is the paramount point in modern American military history — the D-Day Invasion of June 6, 1944 — visits to Johnson City’s doughboy are especially in order. If you can’t make a special trip, the next time you attend an event at Memorial Park, please take a few moments to stop by Veterans Plaza. If you have children or grandchildren, take them, too. Point out the World War II plaque. Talk about the Normandy invasion and its importance to their lives today.
Explain why the symbolism of the doughboy matters to them and to all Americans.
Kingsport Times-News on Sullivan County jail problems:
Longtime Times News columnist Bruce Shine is a Kingsport attorney with a history of successfully suing Sullivan County. Shine sued the county in the 1970s for firing employees who failed to support the road commissioner’s campaign and sued the sheriff’s department for failing to pay overtime.
Shine wrote recently that in each case where constitutional rights were violated, he sought a settlement but the county refused, obligating taxpayers to costly decisions. He wrote that a recent declaration by Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy that the county is “violating constitutional rights of each prisoner every day who is incarcerated” in the county jail is another lawsuit waiting to be filed.
“The facts for a lawsuit are simple. The two facilities together are certified to house about 622 inmates. The inmate population in recent months has topped 900, and Cassidy said it will hit 1,000 this summer. While a lawsuit on behalf of inmates will take an effort by an attorney, the result is clear that a federal court will conclude, as Cassidy has stated, Sullivan County is and has daily violated the constitutional rights of its inmates,” Shine wrote.
“Of course, a lawsuit will result in legal fees and cost to Sullivan County, and the law firm which represents the inmates will be paid at anywhere from $240 to $300 an hour,” Shine wrote. “The failure of the GOP County Commission to act now, not withstanding the cost of building a new jail and legal fees for both sides, will cost the county mightily.”
“We in Sullivan County have given the county commissioners ample opportunity to build a new jail. They have refused consistently to measure up to their responsibility,” Shine wrote. That failure to act was detailed in a story where multiple commissioners said they believe something must be done to help Cassidy with the jail, but they will not consider a tax increase.
The primary objective of local government is to balance necessary public services and investments with available revenue streams. Over many years of watching it up close, we have found that those elected to manage these decisions take one of three basic approaches: an open mind, intransigence, or what we like to call the head-in-the-sand approach.
On the subject of the jail, it has been the head-in-the-sand approach whereby the commissioners do not look at the problem with the thought that if they don’t look at it, then it will simply disappear.
Commissioners, this issue is not going way. Columnist Shine hit the proverbial nail on the head with his not-so-subtle warning that a lawsuit looms if something is not done about the jail situation. Others have warned that the overcrowding is an explosive situation. Neither scenario bodes well for the commission nor the financial health of Sullivan County.
Get your heads out of the sand and face this problem head on. Or give up your seats to people who have the intestinal fortitude to act. Right now the inaction is a collective gross dereliction of duty for the Sullivan County Commission as a governing entity.
Harsh words? Yes. It’s that serious.
Cleveland Daily Banner on accredited nursing programs:
Few midsized cities like Cleveland can call themselves home to two higher education campuses; even fewer enjoy the amenity of having a pair of accredited nursing-degree programs within those institutes.
But here, we do.
Thanks to Lee University, and its bustling, five-year-old School of Nursing — which is currently ranked as the best such program in Tennessee — and Cleveland State Community College, whose longtime nursing-degree curriculum was recently reaccredited for another eight years, we bear the luxury of having not just quality but quantity in this field of study.
In recent months, Lee University’s School of Nursing — still in its infancy by the calendar — earned a No. 1 ranking for 2019 Best RN Programs in Tennessee, as determined by RegisteredNursing.org, a respected career-education website.
We have written earlier in the year of Lee’s successes in this curriculum. So today, we turn our attention to Cleveland State, a longtime two-year institute with an extended history of quality nurse training within its diverse line of academics.
In spite of its longstanding, and positive, image within the field of nursing, CSCC fell upon hard times in recent years when its centerstage program lost certification. All that has now changed, and the future became even brighter in mid-May when the community college received notice that its longstanding nursing curriculum has been reaccredited for the next eight years.
The achievement is not just a piece of paperwork. It came hard-earned as CSCC administrators, faculty and staff took up the cause in a collective mission to reclaim its rightful status among nurse-training providers.
During the fall of 2018, a team from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) visited the campus to complete a thorough review of the school’s progress. The team must have been impressed. In March, the ACEN Board met and affirmed the continuing accreditation of the CSCC nursing program.
The ACEN team visit last fall included an in-depth evaluation of all six standards and a focused assessment of the program’s revised curriculum.
The ACEN Evaluation Review Panel found plenty for which members were impressed. Panel members determined one nursing program strength to be its full-time faculty, 60% of whom already have, or are pursuing, doctoral degrees.
Another strength discovered by the panel is the revised curriculum, one that now adopts all associate-degree nursing programs in the College System of Tennessee.
The new curriculum begins with a “Fundamentals of Nursing” course, and proceeds with three “Medical Surgical Nursing” courses; these courses progress from chronic conditions to acute conditions, and finally complex medical surgical topics. The new curriculum also includes specialty courses like women’s health, pediatrics and mental health.
Nancy Thomas, director of the CSCC nursing program, believes the improved curriculum went a long way in reinstating the college’s accreditation in nursing.
“We feel like it’s strong,” she told our newspaper. “Even though it is incredibly rigorous, we believe students will be more successful, and we will see more making it to completion and passing the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Exam).”
The CSCC nursing student pass rate for 2018 was 92%, and the first class to graduate under this common curriculum will graduate in August. Currently, CSCC has a 100% job placement rate for the school’s nursing graduates.
A familiar adage applies to the CSCC nurse curriculum story: The sky’s the limit. That’s because in August construction will begin on the college’s new Health and Science Building, a facility with state-of-the-art capabilities in nurse training. The academic building is expected to open in Spring 2021.
Assuredly, the longtime Cleveland State Nursing program is back on track.
Sometimes we encounter the occasional bump in the road. Other times our journey takes a few unexpected twists and turns, and disquieting winds along the way.
It happens. It happened to a solid CSCC program steeped in tradition and unrivaled in success.
But now it’s back. And we credit the people who led the surge: Administrators, faculty, staff and students; in short, the Cleveland State Community College family.