Last week I talked with Daniel Wright, the young man at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church who leads the youth there. He was excited to share a couple projects that the church had going on.
On Friday, the young folks took a bunch of non-perishable food items down to Prater Road where the people at East Ridge United Methodist Church operate a food pantry for the less fortunate. I met the pastor there, Ken Sauer, only one time; he had offered his church up back in September of 2015 when Superior Creek Lodge was closed and many, many families had nowhere to turn.
Yesterday, the people at Jones Memorial went up to the East Ridge Middle School and volunteered there doing some painting in the old school. Today, more people from Jones are spreading out in the community just doing nice things for folks, like helping the elderly get groceries from the store to the car.
Wright and his crew at Jones have been offering free lunches to kids all summer. He was very excited about a grant the church received to put a curtain up in the gym to wall off one side for lunch and the other for recreation.
It makes me feel good knowing that we’ve got people like Wright and Sauer quietly doing good things in our city.
Man, Thursday’s Agenda Workshop session of the City Council meeting was dynamite …and I mean that in a good way.
City Manager Scott Miller, who has been on the job for about a year, rolled out a plan for actually doing something with the old McBrien School. He told the council that he would like to hire a planner/architect to come up with a master plan for renovating the old building to become the new HQ for fire and police. It would also house the city’s Animal Services Department and Streets Department. Those departments are down on Yale Street in an area that sometimes floods.
Miller said the city could sell the prime real estate that the fire and police currently occupy on Ringgold Road to help fund the renovations.
He wasn’t done quite yet. Miller proposed the construction of a multi-use pavilion. That pavilion would have a basketball court under its roof and could also double as a farmers’ market. It would also have some kind of stage where bands could perform concerts.
Wow … the return of “TOWN HALL BALL,” only with fruits and vegetables!
Still not done here. The Pioneer Frontier playground will be renovated, incorporating some of the original features built with the blood, sweat and tears of the volunteers who labored on it back in the 1990s. How about a splash pad for the kids to enjoy during the dog days of summer. Oh, yeah!
Stopped in to talk to the city’s newest attorney the other day at his office in the Pioneer Place office building on Ringgold Road.
Well, that’s not quite accurate. Estes Cocke, who took his undergraduate at Vanderbilt and went to law school at UTK, has been practicing law since the mid 1970s between Memphis, Chattanooga and the corporate headquarters of Emerson Russell’s outfit.
I’ve heard Cocke’s name for about as long as I’ve paid attention to East Ridge politics, but I’d only been casually acquainted with the man through his work on the city’s Industrial Development Board.
I sat down in front of his desk to talk for a few minutes about his leaving the employ of Emerson Russell and starting a new law practice here in East Ridge. He told me that he once had an office in East Ridge many years ago. In fact, it was the very same office, Suite 105, that he is occupying now.
Cocke began telling me about how when he got out of the U.S. Army – he was an ordnance expert in Europe during the Vietnam era – he started prospecting for a job in Memphis, where his brother lived.
“I started with the tallest building I could find and went to the top floor knocking on doors,” he explained of his quest to be hired by a top-notch firm.
Cocke said when he worked his way all the way down to the ground floor he went to the next tallest building, and so on.
Turned out he ended up in the offices of Walter Buford, known as the “King of Torts.” It was there he learned personal injury law, he said. When he got appointed by a judge to defend a man on criminal charges, violating Buford’s rule of not taking any criminal cases, he left the employ of the firm. That led, he said, to practicing criminal law.
“I wanted to be F. Lee Bailey,” Cocke said of the highest profile criminal lawyer of the era, and maybe ever.
An hour and a half later, after talking about everything from Curtis Adams to his fifth great-grandfather founding Hollins College in Virginia, I had a new appreciation for Cocke as a raconteur. I also believe I made a new friend.
If you need legal help, you might want to start with Estes.
Looking forward to playing golf on Friday, August 4 at Brown Acres in a fundraiser for the East Ridge Alumni and Supporters Association benefit.
This is the second year for the tournament that was overflowing with players last year. The money raised will go to help build amenities at the newly-renovated Raymond James Stadium/Shanks Field.
The alumni association will hold a party on Saturday, Aug. 5 at East Ridge Motors. There will be a barbecue and a band playing. For more information go to the group’s Website.