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Columns

  • Ken Yager's Legislative Week in Review

    The State Senate approved a wide range of bills this past week, including a proposal to curb abuse of prescription pain pills, legislation to address illegal immigration, and several measures to benefit police officers across the state.   
    Meanwhile, Senate Committees reviewed 20 departmental or government agency budgets as members examined the 2011-12 proposal submitted by Governor Bill Haslam.  

  • Impressions: A lot of sunshine, a little nap ... oh, what joy!

    Oh, what joy!
    A  long, lingering recession and a long, hard winter finally seem to be behind us.
    At least that’s how I felt Thursday morning when I stood at the front door of the Goody’s store grand reopening in Rockwood.
    The sunshine was harsh, but smiles were prevalent.
    I chatted with about three dozen eager customers lined up to catch the early-bird specials at the store.
    One lady mentioned she was in town from Memphis and looking forward to some excellent purchases.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Spring road trip — wouldn't change a thing

    You know how it is with road trips.

    With the wrong people, nothing can be miserable. With the right ones, little in life can be more fun.

    I’m coming off of one of the latter.

    I’d promised a friend a couple of counties over I’d drive him up to retrieve his motorcycle from Western Kentucky.

  • Religion in school battles heating up gain

    By CHARLES HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Just when First Amendment principles seem to be working in public education, new fights over student religious speech threaten to reignite culture-war battles in schools across the country.
    It's little known that many public schools made significant progress toward getting religion right over the past decade.

  • A view from Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen: If you're going to preside, learn the Rules!

    Generous reader, we would propound to you the following proposition: No one should allow themselves to be elected, selected, or appointed to the position of presiding officer over any board, commission, or other governmental body without first thoroughly familiarizing himself with the provisions of Robert's Rules of Order.

    The validity of this proposition is clearly demonstrated by the current brouhaha arising out of the Roane County School Board's proceedings in relation to the employment of Toni McGriff to continue as Director of Schools.

  • IMPRESSIONS by Johnny Teglas

    Forgive me if I was a little glum last week. I didn’t mean to be out of sorts.
    March 30 just happens to be a sad day in my world.
    You see, it was my daughter’s birthday.
    Ashton Julianne Teglas was born March 30, 1987. For most, you would think it would be a happy time.
    She would have turned 24.
    Notice I wrote “would.”
    Those who know me well also know she didn’t live to see her first birthday.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Man's love of community contagious

    On a recent late winter Friday afternoon, I headed to Rockwood to take up Wayne Pugh on his offer to show me around his beloved hometown.

    I rendezvoused with Pugh — a retired railroad man — at Junior’s Restaurant, where he sipped on coffee, and I ate a grilled cheese sandwich before we hit the road.

    We paid our respects to Junior, the restaurant proprietor and namesake, and a few other locals before we walked out the door.

    And thus began one of the best educations I’ve ever had on Rockwood.

  • Impressions: Mowing tips – for when winter’s long gone

    I fired up the little red lawn mower.
    All it took was three pulls. That’s because last fall I took measures to ensure the 20-inch push machine I bought in 2001 would be with me through another mowing season.
    First, I emptied the gas tank. Then I changed the oil. And, finally, I installed a new spark plug before storing it in a corner of the garage.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Some causes worth running for

    I’ve never been a grand marshal before.

    That changed Saturday when I was honored by the Michael Dunn Foundation as grand marshal of the first ever Run for Dunn 5k race. I was also honored to be able to meet and stand alongside the very Michael Dunn for whom Roane County’s Michael Dunn Center is named.

    It was a proud day for me.

    I’ll admit to some relief when the race organizers informed me that instead of a starter’s pistol, I’d launch the runners and walkers with an air horn.

  • A view from Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen: When things are good, leave them alone!

    The Bureau of the Census has done its work and begun issuing reports on its findings as to the fluxuations in population throughout the nation.
    Insofar as Roane County is concerned our population has increased over the past decade by something over four percent (4.4%), to 54,181.

    Our sister county, Anderson, with which we share the two cities of Oliver Springs and Oak Ridge, increased a little less than one percent more (5.3%).
    And our southern neighbor, Meigs added six percent (6%).