Adventures in Variety: Writing for “Locally Crafted”

tumblr_inline_o3dhtcF8bt1sd9kh0_500One of the most enjoyable aspects of working independently is getting to work on a wide variety of projects.

Some days, I write editorials for daily newspapers. Other days, I might be asked to write a video script for a nonprofit agency or funny copy for a company’s billboard campaign. Seldom has a week gone by in the last couple of years when I haven’t written or edited (or both) website copy for a business or organization, and I’ve had a blast managing social media campaigns for school systems, manufacturers, and charitable organizations. I am currently working on two major copywriting campaigns for a major hospital, as well as drafting some marketing copy for a top regional university, and I recently completed the latest in a handful of opinion pieces on public policy that I’ve been recruited to write for a major PR firm in the nation’s capitol.

Adding to that variety are the articles I’ve had the pleasure of writing recently for Windstream Internet’s “Locally Crafted” blog. A great site for travelers, “Locally Crafted” seeks to provide readers with the nation’s best in independent local culture—from small business owners and craftspeople to artists and entrepreneurs. During my time writing for them, I’ve profiled:

The Crash Pad—An upscale hostel located in the heart of Chattanooga’s revitalized Southside district
Paradise Garden—A folk art oasis created by the famed preacher, R.E.M. album cover artist, and “Tonight Show” guest, Howard Finster
Wildseed Farms—A stunningly gorgeous wildflower farm (and much, much more), located in the Hill Country of Texas

All of these spots are offbeat, fantastic, and worth your time in you’re ever in the area. Click on the links to learn more about them, and check out “Locally Crafted” for more great suggestions.

Why David Carroll should be our next superintendent

b383c5d1e1534a7fc6ecf6c774fb06e447145_mediumAs you’ve probably heard by now, the Hamilton County School Board will vote on Superintendent Rick Smith’s request for a buyout March 7. Whether the school board agrees to the buyout or not, Smith’s time as superintendent is essentially over, as he’s requested (through his attorney) to be placed on paid leave through June 30.

Smith’s departure means that, once again, the school board will have to find a new superintendent sooner than it had planned or wanted. And though the selection process has yet to begin, I’d like to nominate someone: WRCB co-anchor and “School Patrol” reporter David Carroll.

Many in the community would likely agree that there is something slightly off with our superintendent recruitment and retention efforts. We could stand to shake things up a bit. We would do well to explore new avenues in our search for candidates, while at the same time looking for someone with a solid knowledge of the school system.

I propose that Carroll is that candidate.

Read the rest of this article at

A recipe for combatting hate

844b02dc47fe1035d49de63f75270e1c51019_mediumA couple of Aprils ago, a group of Nazis came to Chattanooga. They were part of a group called the National Socialist Movement (NSM), and a few days before they arrived, I penned an open letter to the organization, asking them to reconsider. (You can read that letter here.)

I had no illusions that my letter would change their minds. And it didn’t.

(In all fairness, I never actually sent them a copy. I figured the surprisingly tech-savvy separatists probably had a Google Alert set up that would let them know about pieces like mine, but I have no idea if they actually read my letter or not. If they did read it, they disregarded it, much like they disregard the dignity of anyone not exactly like them. But I digress…)

A few days after my letter was published, roughly two dozen members of the group gathered in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse, struggled to be heard over a bigger and louder crowd of protesters, and then left town. And that was that.

As the Nazis’ visit faded from the headlines, I couldn’t shake one of the half-serious questions I had asked the group in my letter: Did their hatred of other cultures also apply to other cultures’ food?

Read the rest of this article at