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Columns

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Gatlinburg fire sparks memory of another

    Watching the reports of the fires in Gatlinburg earlier this week reminded me of a devastating wildfire I witnessed 25 years ago.

    Wildfires were not uncommon in California when I lived there in the 1980s and 1990s. It is a big state and the fires always seemed to be happening someplace else. It never really occurred to me that such devastation could ever touch my life.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Roane does up Christmas right

    Thanksgiving provides us an opportunity to give thanks for what we have.

    All around Roane County during the past few weeks, I saw great examples of people and organizations giving thanks and helping others.

    With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror it’s now time to look toward the Christmas holidays. A lot of events are planned to celebrate the winter holidays, including the Christmas parades in Kingston, Harriman Rockwood and Oliver Springs.

  • GLIMPSES: Glimpses from a lame-duck era

    By Mark Banker

    Since the November election, mixed signals and contradictory messages from our president-elect have bewildered Americans of almost every political persuasion.

    For a few more weeks, we should all take a deep breath and recall that the lame-duck period between election and inauguration days is a longstanding feature of our uniquely American system of government that has often roused anxieties.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Curmudgeon’s perception of election results

    Gentle reader, the quadrennial presidential election is finally over, and barring some catastrophe, Donald J. Trump will take the oath, and enter upon the office of our president come 20 January, 2017.

  • GLIMPSES: Reflections on our recent election

    By Mark Banker

    A few immediate reactions to last week’s election.

    First, the worst that I envisioned actually occurred — but in reverse! For the fifth time in our history, the popular-vote winner did not win in the electoral college.

    While one candidate more than hinted that he might challenge such a result, the other deserves praise for respecting our precious tradition of a peaceful transfer of power.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Roane does up Christmas right

    Thanksgiving provides us an opportunity to give thanks for what we have.

    All around Roane County during the past few weeks, I saw great examples of people and organizations giving thanks and helping others.

    With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror it’s now time to look toward the Christmas holidays. A lot of events are planned to celebrate the winter holidays, including the Christmas parades in Kingston, Harriman Rockwood and Oliver Springs.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Internet access hot election issue

    The Nov. 8 election is drawing near. In fact with early voting starting next Wednesday, the election is practically underway. I heard a report just this week that the temperature of the election has reached such a fever that there might be enough votes cast during early voting to decide the presidential election in some states.

  • GLIMPSES: Perspectives on the Electoral College

    By Mark Banker

    Last week, two respected polls projected that the votes of as many as 40 percent of Tennesseans will not count in the coming presidential election.

    Some readers may assume that recent bombshells about the Republican presidential nominee must have overshadowed such shocking news. Others will see this as proof that our elections are indeed “rigged.”

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Challenge wasn’t a race. Really.

    Let me be clear: The Kingston Lions Club Moonlight for Sight challenge walk at Fort Southwest Point last Saturday night was not a race.
    It was a personal challenge.

    So it can’t be said that I lost, because there were no losers, only winners.

    The Lions raise money for charity, specifically to help those with vision impairment. Everyone who participated was a winner.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Poor state of Roane education — Part III

    What we suspected when we first learned of the deplorable showing of our Roane County high school students on their ACT exams (which as you will remember showed them to be tied for next to last place on the East Tennessee schools reported on in the News Sentinel, and well below the state average, and even farther below the national average,) was that this is a systemic problem directly traceable to the folks in charge of education in the county, viz. the Board of Education and their minions.