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Columns

  • ’Round Rockwood-July 9

    Don’t need to mention the heat. Each of us has felt the enormous heat, especially our farmers who do most of their work outside. Helping animals find some shade is a challenge to anyone trying not only to find some place for the many cows, little calves and horses that will suffer from the extra heat out in their pastures with little or no place to go to find shade in the near 100-degree heat every day and little or no rain in sight.

  • Looseleaf laureate: Heat wave? We all need to chill

    Oppressive heat is upon us.

    I spent several years in the deserts of Arizona, so I know a thing or two about extreme heat.

    Out there, we left oven mitts hanging next to certain outside doors because the afternoon summer sun could make door knobs dangerously hot.

    Summer there was like winter here: it was the time you stayed in, took it easy and tried very hard not to over exert yourself.

    With summer temperatures consistently above 100 degrees out there, we learned to take it in stride, even though we longed for cooler days.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Woody right to anticipate new money needs

    As you no doubt know, gentle reader, the incumbent superintendent of schools, Toni McGriff, is in process of leaving that post.

    As regular readers know, we did not approve of her selection, and subsequent events have proven that position correct, at least in the eyes of most responsible citizens.

  • Credit debt can be managed — with care

     While recent reports indicate that credit card debt had declined over the last year, much of this decline is due to financial institutions writing off delinquent debt and not due to consumers reducing the amount they owe.

    A study from Nerd Wallet indicates that the average household still carries $6,772 in outstanding credit card debt and paying down debt is an ongoing struggle for many consumers.

  • Clean air push officially down to wire

    Chattanooga’s top air quality official told U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander that without recent improvements in air quality “the site of the new Volkswagen plant behind us would be a vacant lot.”

    Bob Colby, director of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau, joined Alexander at a recent press conference at the Volkswagen site.

  • Director of Schools Toni McGriff issues her last State-of-Schools report: Schools to go deeper into core curriculum

    Each year seems to be more challenging than the last in public education.

    In 2011-12, Roane County teachers and principals implemented a new evaluation program.

    In both cases, student achievement counts 50 percent of the total score on the individual evaluation.

    Simply put, that means that student test scores are critical to the evaluation of school personnel.

    Since our main focus is student achievement and every decision made is geared toward improving student achievement, it is not unrealistic to measure us that way.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Misreading Wisconsin recall vote’s meaning

    Last week demonstrated once again how narrow and how uniform is the view of the “Chattering Class” in the news media, and likewise how like a pack of fox-hunting hounds they are in the main.

    If one of them thinks he or she has detected the vulpine scent, off said detector goes, baying as loudly as possible, and all the rest of the little chatterers goes a-baying after him, whether any scent be detected or not.

  • The Big Easy fights hard for newspaper

    Shortly after I wrote a column celebrating esteemed investor Warren Buffet’s purchase of a major newspaper chain, some  less heartening news about  the newspaper business followed.

    The publishers of the daily New Orleans newspaper, The Times-Picayune, announced plans to cut publication to three days a week.

    The Roane County News publishes three times a week, but it is in a small community and smaller advertising market.

    In New Orleans, readers, community leaders and even advertisers are not taking this change lying down.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Why do some insist that progress is bad news?

    Gentle reader, as we are sure you are aware, The Sky is Falling, The World is Ending, Armageddon is Here and the Lord is Losing, and besides all that, Elvis is Dead!

    All this gloom, doom, death, and disaster is the inescapable conclusion to be drawn from the talk of the “Chattering Class” to be heard on the mass media in the last few days.

  • Once again, suicide plays out in the news

    In one of these columns some months ago, we explained why the suicide of a local woman was not mentioned — outside of a simple obituary — in this newspaper.

    In contrast, last week a case of suicide was splashed prominently across the top of the front page of our June 1 edition.

    Why the difference?

    The suicide of J.T. Woods was big news for a number of reasons.

    Primarily, it was news because Woods was a public figure, a man running for the office of property assessor.