Odds and Ends
Day at the beach
20 10, 11:53am
No, I don't mind answering. I live in Eastern Tennessee. I live in the Valley, so we are surrounded by woods and mountains. The town I live in is a BIG science town and has a national lab in it, so our town is different from any other southern town. All the other towns are very homogenous in religion and race, while our town is very diverse in every way. People from all over the world come to work at the lab, so there are a lot of Korean, Polish, German, Indian, and even some Israeli and Arabic people here.
You can go from city to complete mountains in under 10 minutes, and the Smokey Mountains are visible at the tops of some of the ridges. We also have A LOT of lakes and rivers. So our town is also A ROWING MECCA, and people from all over North America (especially Canadians because they love the weather) come to row in our calm waters.
We also are big on the environment in Tennessee. Our fine for littering is $500, $5000 dollars per tree cut down, every house has a recycling bin that has a special pick up time and an reward system per pound, and the schools all have community gardens. Surrounding cities use a lot of hydroelectric energy from the dam run by TVA, some energy is provided to mountain communities by windmills, and many business, labs, and street lights are solar powered. Some coal is still used, but soon it will disappear. Coal mining was the big thing in all the towns around us, but now it is almost irrelevant and they are all out of work. Those towns are overrun with drugs and are very government dependent. Besides our town, all the surrounding towns are farming towns or old coal mining towns. But then there is also another really big city near us is known for there civil war history, football, and southern charm. Our school system is one of the nation's finest. We have a big STEM focus (we have the nation's 6th best robotics team), but I am a social studies person, so I take college level government and economics classes and am part of city boards and participate in Mock U.N. debate sessions on a regular basis. We also have a great orchestra program that I am a part of as well. I play violin, but dabble in bluegrass and Irish fiddle music (In fact my friend and I go to play in sessions at an Irish pub in the next city over). However, the small towns around us have poor education, which earn the south all our sterotypes like being stupid (which all of their issues are caused by poverty and lack of resources), so in short, we are not all illiterate, wife-beating, rapists (some of us are, I am just saying) like most people seem to think. When I go some where like D.C., I get treated like an idiot.
Our town is very strange because we where built specifically for separating Uranium for the Atomic Bombs during WWII. So it was built in the middle of no where to be kept a secret. Now we are very devolved, but the middle of no where-ness still remains so we are basically a city in the woods. My house is on a street and in the woods at the same time, to the point I have woken up with possums and raccoons in my house. You can literally sit at Starbucks and watch the sun set over the mountains here.
On the taxes thing, Tennessee does not tax individual wages, has some of the lowest property taxes, and doesn't have a lot of taxes on businesses because we get most of our taxes from sales tax, which is around 9.8%, and the lottery. So we are attractive for businesses and families because of our low taxes, which adds to our mixing pot of people. (I have a ton of friends from California who moved for that reason.)
About the Florida thing, YES, it does takes that long to drive to the beach. I don't know how, but it takes 4 hours to get to Georgia, and after that it seems to take FOREVER. We left a 12:30pm to go to Florida, got in the state around 1:00am, and got to our destination around 3:00am, and were on schedule. You can drive east to north or south Carolina, but that takes around 8-10 hours because of the mountains and frequent rock slides.