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LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Good things, indeed, can come from bad

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By Terri Likens, Editor

I’m a firm believer in acknowledging our problems. I believe ignoring things only allows them to fester or blow up.

The good news is, serious concerns, when addressed, can turn into something really positive.

Case in point: the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Did you know that those soaring mountains we all hold dear were on the verge of ruin through logging and poor farm management?

In the 1920s, people started reacting to the threat, and against the odds, the national park was born.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing some good come from something bad.

That’s why a letter from reader Sarah McCoin caught my eye recently.

McCoin is a Swan Pond resident whose ties to that scenic peninsula go back many generations.

She wrote in Wednesday’s edition about a way to help the people who remained on that land after the 2008 TVA disaster at the Kingston Fossil Plant.

McCoin suggested the establishment of bicycle and walking trails, along with an environmental education center that would help educate people from all over the state.

I love the idea — especially if some of  the work could be incorporated into the cleanup efforts already under way.

 The effort would pump more life into a community that has been decimated by the ash that broke from its impoundment and rumbled across the landscape.

Except for all the activity involved in the cleanup at the Kingston Fossil Plant, much of Swan Pond has a ghost-town feel to it these days.

But we know how close this community’s residents are. We’ve seen them at Curtis Humphreys’ annual Swan Pond Community Picnic for the past two years.

Giving back to the environment through education at the site of one of the nation’s worst environmental disasters is one way to turn a terrible wrong into more of a right.

So is offering exercise and fresh air opportunities where people have had to deal with fear for the air, water and soil around them.

Is it TVA’s job to do this?

Not necessarily, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could partner with a determined group of local people and make it happen?

We think it would.