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Columns

  • 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%).

  • State Rep. Julia Hurley’s Capitol Week Review

    The “Tennessee Health Care Freedom Act” passed the House this week, meaning the legislation is now on its way to the Governor for his signature.
    This bill’s passage is part of a larger effort by the General Assembly to not only encourage job growth, but protect the valuable jobs already in Tennessee.
    The legislation was an integral piece for many legislators’ agendas over the last two years.

  • IMPRESSIONS by Johnny Teglas

    Spring’s a comin.’
    I mentioned that last week in this space.
    And on Sunday evening at 7:41 p.m., that’s exactly what happened.
    Old timers in these parts warn me not to get too excited.
    After all, the running joke is that if you don’t like the weather in East Tennessee, just give it a minute.
    Spring actually kind of “sprung” on us several days earlier.

  • A View from Lick Skillet: Look out Constitution! Big Bill Ketron strikes again

    That noble document, the Constitution of the United States, is ofttimes praised and supposedly relied upon by the rabid, radical, right-wing, reactionary Republicans, yet, how often they do go on ad nauseam about some action they propose which is plainly and specifically outlawed by the said Constitution.
    Take for instance the issuance of currency.
    Article One, Section Eight, Clause Five, vests in the Congress the power to coin money.
    And, Article One, Section Ten, Clause One, forbids any state from coining money or emitting bills of credit.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: The buzz of spring is worth the noise

    It was Monday — the Monday after the spring-forward time change.

    For me, that is typically the hardest Monday of the year.

    I had come home, taken care of a few errands, then quickly succumbed to my overwhelming, but unusual need for a weekday nap.

    I always seem to need a nap the Monday after the spring-forward time change, despite the lure of an extra hour of evening sunlight. Sometimes I miss Arizona, where the time never sprang forward or fell back.

  • Impressions: Which legislator won’t answer the call?

    Perhaps, our friends in the state legislature are a little busy about right now.
    I’ll grant them that courtesy. After all, their efforts on our behalf in Nashville are critical.
    Still, I have to wonder why a recent call I made as a representative of the newspaper industry to Sen. Ken Yager’s office has gone unanswered.
    I clearly spelled out my name to the friendly staffer, clearly gave my callback number, and clearly explained that I was calling concerning a specific subject — Senate Bill 115.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: That wearisome rain also can revive

    The original point of this column was to complain — bitterly, I might add — about the recent rains.

    The rain that flooded my basement early last week.

    The rain that poured down in buckets near Chattanooga where I spent an otherwise fun weekend.

    And Wednesday, what did we get?

    Here’s my checklist: more dreariness, more cold, more flood advisories — more rain. By quitting time, my sorry, soggy soul was saturated.