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Columns

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: My spring of falls and other thoughts

    What is it that makes spring air seem so wonderfully soft?

    Perhaps it is the perfect combination of temperature — an easy warmth — and moderate humidity, but somehow, I think a gentle breeze and the perfume of new flowers also play into the mix.

    I’m dubbing this season my spring of falls.

    I’ve gotten in a couple more hikes in since I last wrote, and I’m beginning to lose count of all the waterfalls I’ve seen.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Wouldn't true patriots pay more to save country?

    Well, Gentle R­eader, the news over the weekend was dominated, as it probably will be for some little time, with the manoeuvres, machinations, and manifestoes concerning the government’s budgetary plans and actions.
    After much ado, more than halfway into the fiscal year, apparently there has finally been agreement as to the 2010-2011 federal budget. You have read and heard about it ad nauseam no doubt, so we will not go into the subject in any detail.

  • 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.