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Columns

  • Dick Hettrick and his legacies of good work

    By MARK T. BANKER

    Author’s note: The following three premises are essential to this column.

    1) None of us sees the past or present with absolute clarity; 2) Each of us has the capacity for glimpses of informed insight that draw from and reflect our personal values; and 3) Cordial, forthright exchange of those insights enhances our mutual well being.

  • GLIMPSES: Remembering the Civil War — lessons and legacies

    By MARK T. BANKER
    Author’s note: The following three premises are essential to this column.
    1) None of us sees the past or present with absolute clarity; 2) Each of us has the capacity for glimpses of informed insight that draw from and reflect our personal values; and 3) Cordial, forthright exchange of those insights enhances our mutual well being.

    At the end of 2014, editor Terri Likens and I discussed restarting my  “occasional” column in the Roane County News.

  • If they call or email, they’re not the IRS

    Friends, the IRS will never call nor email you about taxes or penalties you may owe.

    I saw that line time and again over the summer, when the Internal Revenue Service sent out an almost-continuous stream of press releases warning taxpayers about schemes in which swindlers attempt to separate law-abiding citizens from their hard-earned dollars by evoking the name that sends chills through most Americans.

    I’m now glad I did.

  • See you soon, football

    “Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes ... well, he eats.”

    Out of all of the random life lessons the Coen Brothers snuck into cult-classic “The Big Lebowski,” that one line by The Stranger, played by Sam Elliot, may be the most significant.

    After the confetti cleared Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium, one thing was clear. The Seattle Seahawks ate — although some might say they choked — the bar, bringing an unwelcomed end to football season.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Educational mismanagement — top to bottom

    Well, Gentle Reader, this week let us discuss education and the sad fact that sometimes the very folks we have placed in charge of the education of our young are themselves sadly lacking in the basic skills of clear thinking, sound reasoning, and basic factual knowledge.

    This unhappy happenstance occurs at all levels, sad to say, running from the ivied halls of academe to the basic neighborhood institutions of kindergarten upwards.

  • An open letter to sports parents

    Dear sports parents, this is an intervention.

    Not for all of you, though. In fact, many of you are free to go but I would advise reading hanging around to read the rest of this. If for nothing else the fact you can point and laugh at the others next time you’re at a game.

    No, I’m not writing this for the normal supporter of their child’s athletic endeavors (no matter how bad they may be).

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET:

    Before we begin today’s contribution, we must do a bit of “housekeeping.” Regular readers were no doubt astonished when reading last week’s column to have come to the final paragraph and discovered that it had nothing whatsoever to do with the preceding topic, i. e. the Denny family and their building.

  • Protecting your right to know

    By FRANK GIBSON
    TPA Public Policy Director
    When governments create or authorize state and local agencies to create new programs, they typically require some measure of public disclosure as a form of public oversight and to make agencies accountable.

    As far back as 1789, during the first American Congress, that accountability has come in the form of public notices in independently published newspapers. Actions of the Congress were ordered to be published in three separate newspapers to ensure wide circulation.

  • The power of sports

    As of late, the sports world has suffered, like much of the news of the world, from bleakness, doom-and-gloom even.

    Stories about Florida State pigskin pariah Jameis Winston and his seemingly endless display of off-the-field shenanigans and the late, embattled former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno being given back his wins with the dark cloud of scandal that cloaked much of the sports landscape.

    But too often, what gets lost in the muck of this sea of negativity is the fact that sports has the power to bring together communities.

  • The Balancing act of governing

    By RON WOODY
    Roane County Executive
    As citizens, we often ask — and even demand — certain services of our government and then are reluctant when it comes to paying for them.

    Your local government is the government closest to the people, and this government, whether it be a county or a city, often struggles with balancing the funding requirements of one group of citizens’ needs or desires with other groups’ needs and desires. All this pushing and pulling could be called lobbying.