Quick shotJack Daniel’s has the marketing. George Dickel has the whiskey (“Gettin’ Jacked Big Time,” May 29).BOB HOLLADAYsenor100@earthlink.net (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Overseas supportThank you for your article on Randy Piper (“Gettin’ Jacked Big Time,” May 29). We are collectors of Jack Daniel’s. It’s just like collecting wine, except we don’t open our bottles. I feel it is wrong what the ABC has done in the last year. They are stealing from innocent collectors to line their own pockets. The other raids you spoke about, the people could not afford to carry on the cases. We live in the U.K. but were in the U.S.A. in February, when one of the accused went to court. He did not stand a chance: The ABC officials were laughing as if they had won the lottery once again. Thank you for printing the truth and helping normal, innocent collectors.BEVERLEY DARCYsweetxpea1957@aol.com (Dartford, Kent, U.K.)
Eye the ryeJust wanted to say thank you for the article on Randy Piper and the Tennessee ABC (“Gettin’ Jacked Big Time,” May 29). It is about time the truth came out instead of the ABC’s version, which is total crap. I enjoyed the fact that your article portrayed Randy as the good guy he is and the ABC as the true organization of questionable character. When it comes time for them to sell the collection, I hope that someone compares the confiscated list to the sell list to make sure none of the rare bottles ends up in some ABC employee’s private collection.WILLIAM CALVERT61mailbox@comcast.net (Huntsville, Ala.)
Collecting supportI am an avid Jack Daniel’s collector and personally know and respect Mr. Randy Piper. I want to thank you for the cover story that presented his side of the story in a fair and well-stated manner (“Gettin’ Jacked Big Time,” May 29). I and many other collectors await the settlement of this issue and hope that the state legislature will act to give us new laws to protect the hobby of many people around the globe. I appreciate the story and send kudos to Elizabeth Ulrich for presenting Randy’s story the way it was and is.BECKY THOMASroundcorner@bellsouth.net (Lynchburg)
A bigger challengeNashville residents should say thank you to our illustrious Metro Council, especially Goodlettsville’s Rip Ryman, whose brilliant thinking and God-fearing tongue have gotten the city of Nashville into a possible federal lawsuit by arbitrarily changing the zoning classification of 13 acres of property purchased by Teen Challenge, a ministry for teen and adult alcoholics and drug addicts (“Zoning for Jesus,” May 29). Even after Teen Challenge jumped through all of the hoops of zoning requirements and building permits, Mr. Ryman, who continues to mouth “no comment” to the media, and some members of the Metro Council refused to repeal the zoning ordinance, forcing Teen Challenge to sell their property at auction at a loss.
This has managed to get the attention of the Justice Department, which is currently investigating the city’s actions to see whether the city may have violated a federal law protecting religious organizations from discrimination in zoning decisions. Metro’s law department, which explicitly asked the council to repeal their vote to approve the zoning change, has now essentially admitted guilt in a motion filed in the lawsuit and asked the federal judge in the case to go ahead and award damages. Teen Challenge is asking for $650,000. Yes, that is $650,000 of taxpayers’ money, and this episode could mean Nashville is denied federal funding as a part of the penalty.
As a resident of Goodlettsville, I am embarrassed that some of my neighbors and Mr. Ryman have managed to get national media attention showing how ignorant, backward-thinking, foul-mouthed and discriminating they are.
Teen Challenge is well known for reaching out to people from all backgrounds, with particular emphasis on the urban poor, women and ethnic minorities with drug and alcohol problems. The program, with over 170 centers throughout the world, is offered at little or no cost to the individual, as all funding comes through grants, volunteers and fund raising. This organization has chosen to deal with society’s illnesses head on, and while I don’t agree with all of its methods, at least it is making a serious effort to deal with some of society’s most serious issues, resulting in an 86 percent success rate.SHEILA A. HOBSONsheila.firstname.lastname@example.org (Goodlettsville)
Willing and ableForemost, thank you for your coverage of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts’ Conte Community Gallery exhibit The Artist’s Voice: An Exhibition of Tennessee Artists with Disabilities (“Fixed Beauty and the Struggle to Create,” May 29). Reviewer Maria Browning wrote that the show’s theme made “it difficult to approach any of the pieces on their own terms….” Ironically, those of us living within the disability community often find this the case as individual human beings—our disability comes first or exclusively, too often, in societal perception. As a member of the exhibit’s committee—but writing only on my own behalf and as an active local disability arts advocate/volunteer—it’s my personal vision that art helps those without disabilities to see the beauty and potential of those with such challenges, for art to transcend those barriers. For me, part of the joy and the success of this long-anticipated show is the opportunity to showcase the wonder of our capabilities at all levels of functioning: intellectually, physically and artistically. The only unfairness comes from a too-frequent lack of art education, opportunity and exposure. As we move closer to full societal integration, my dream is that these will not be obstacles in our future.LEISA A. HAMMETTlahammett@comcast.net (Bellevue)