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Columns

  • From the COUNTY: Much to ponder with school plan

    By Ron Woody

    With all the Facebook chatter and newspaper articles, I thought it would be beneficial to reduce to writing some points and issues that have been or will be considered as we progress forward in our understanding and implementing a plan of education for the future.

    In fall 2015, the first discussions began in regard to the future of education in Roane County. Some of the first community meetings took place in summer 2016 and continued through winter 2016.

  • GLIMPSES: Unite over brazen Party solicitation

    A self-imposed early deadline and the nauseating nonstop commentary coming out of Washington make this a good time to vent a personal peeve.

    This less-than-earth-shattering concern, however, is hardly mine alone. If citizens from across the political spectrum came together to address this annoyance, we might begin to rediscover the endangered American tradition of governance.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Reason says we should have health care for all

    Faithful, long-time readers should be aware that there is likely no one any more devoted to the principles of personal responsibility than the old curmudgeon.

    However, he is also devoted to the corollary of those principles, or what some might well regard as being, in fact, an integral part of those principles, that is to say one should be fully, personally responsible for his own actions or those actions which he has caused or precipitated, together with the natural, reasonably anticipatable consequences arising therefrom.

  • GLIMPSES: Church Called Bethel turning 200

    By Mark Banker

    My parents, Gene and Katy Banker, joined Bethel Presbyterian Church on Jan. 7, 1951 – two months after they moved to Kingston and three weeks before I was born.

    In those days when Bethel was open, our large family was there. But Biblical names did not deter we six Banker sons from youthful irreverence. Our squirming on Bethel’s second pew and the stern glances they evoked from Mom and Dad doubtlessly distracted (and perhaps amused) other worshipers.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Use Republican Rule to defer school decision

    Gentle reader, you no doubt recall that Emerson said that ‘A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.’ Events of the last few weeks have caused us to wonder what the great Ralph Waldo would have said about folks whose chief consistency consists of inconsistency.

    We refer, of course to our Roane County School Board for they have proven themselves to be remarkably consistent in their inconsistency.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Class of leaders soak up Roane

    I spent the past eight months enrolled in classes for Leadership Roane County.

    Our class traveled to government offices, businesses, social and health services, entertainment venues and law enforcement facilities, where we listened to a variety of elected officials, county employees and volunteers who work together to make Roane County a great place to live and work.

  • GLIMPSES: History’s best lesson? Common sense

    By Mark Banker

    Fifty-seven years after singer Sam Cooke crooned, “Don’t know much about history …,” that oblivious lyric echoes in our own historical moment.

    Case in point: President Trump’s recent assertion that his was the “most successful first 90 days in history” — a dubious claim that few Americans even questioned.

  • GLIMPSES: Community effort saved courthouse

    By MARK BANKER

    The old Roane County Courthouse recently lost one of its most colorful and influential champions.

    Rachel Parker’s passing rekindled my desire to share in this space the bold effort that saved that beloved historic structure.

    When I left Kingston for college in 1969, it was THE Roane County Courthouse and one of only a few antebellum Greek Revival courthouses actively operating in Tennessee.

  • GLIMPSES: We pay for the past, and the future

    By Mark Banker

    In the Feb. 13 issue of this paper, Roane County Executive Ron Woody observed, “Nobody wants to increase the tax, but everyone wants the service.”

    Our state legislature is still debating the target of Mr. Woody’s concern, Gov. Haslam’s proposed 7-cents-per-gallon increase in gas taxes. But our Executive’s candor is less debatable.

    “Everyone,” he continued, “wants better roads.” The big question, he clearly implied, is who pays for them?

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: State eyes open government legislation

    Last year the state legislature looked at several bills related to open records and open government.

    This year the legislature is again considering several bills related to transparency in government.

    Several of these bill were referred to committee to be reviewed. One bill that could be up for a vote this session involved the release of records pertaining to investigations of police shootings conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.