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Columns

  • GLIMPSES: Growing up with Kingston’s Santa

    By MARK BANKER

    Thirty-one years ago last week, a letter from Santa Claus arrived at our home in Albuquerque, N.M. Addressed to our 5-year-old daughter Tollie, its return address was “North Pole Village, 37763-0070.”

    Santa reminded Tollie that Christmas celebrates Jesus’ message of love and inquired what she had done to help “someone else have a good Christmas this year?”

  • GLIMPSES: From happy days to ‘Bitter 2016’?

    By MARK BANKER

    Like many successful candidates, Donald Trump provoked and benefitted from a dramatic shift in our national mood.

    More than his opponents and most pundits, he grasped that the anger and bitterness of 2016 emerged when disturbing recent developments collided with idyllic recollections of a not-too-distant past.

  • GLIMPSES: Legacies among the L’s of history

    By MARK BANKER

    Sometime in my 40 years as a teacher-historian, I envisioned “the five L’s” to help my students grasp and remember these insights.

    Land — lots of it, and a vast treasure trove of resources — assured our nation’s material successes and its many spinoffs.

    Location. Until recently, two wide oceans and unthreatening neighbors saved most Americans from the physical and emotional scars of invasion.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Gatlinburg fire sparks memory of another

    Watching the reports of the fires in Gatlinburg earlier this week reminded me of a devastating wildfire I witnessed 25 years ago.

    Wildfires were not uncommon in California when I lived there in the 1980s and 1990s. It is a big state and the fires always seemed to be happening someplace else. It never really occurred to me that such devastation could ever touch my life.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Roane does up Christmas right

    Thanksgiving provides us an opportunity to give thanks for what we have.

    All around Roane County during the past few weeks, I saw great examples of people and organizations giving thanks and helping others.

    With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror it’s now time to look toward the Christmas holidays. A lot of events are planned to celebrate the winter holidays, including the Christmas parades in Kingston, Harriman Rockwood and Oliver Springs.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Roane does up Christmas right

    Thanksgiving provides us an opportunity to give thanks for what we have.

    All around Roane County during the past few weeks, I saw great examples of people and organizations giving thanks and helping others.

    With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror it’s now time to look toward the Christmas holidays. A lot of events are planned to celebrate the winter holidays, including the Christmas parades in Kingston, Harriman Rockwood and Oliver Springs.

  • GLIMPSES: Glimpses from a lame-duck era

    By Mark Banker

    Since the November election, mixed signals and contradictory messages from our president-elect have bewildered Americans of almost every political persuasion.

    For a few more weeks, we should all take a deep breath and recall that the lame-duck period between election and inauguration days is a longstanding feature of our uniquely American system of government that has often roused anxieties.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Curmudgeon’s perception of election results

    Gentle reader, the quadrennial presidential election is finally over, and barring some catastrophe, Donald J. Trump will take the oath, and enter upon the office of our president come 20 January, 2017.

  • GLIMPSES: Reflections on our recent election

    By Mark Banker

    A few immediate reactions to last week’s election.

    First, the worst that I envisioned actually occurred — but in reverse! For the fifth time in our history, the popular-vote winner did not win in the electoral college.

    While one candidate more than hinted that he might challenge such a result, the other deserves praise for respecting our precious tradition of a peaceful transfer of power.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Internet access hot election issue

    The Nov. 8 election is drawing near. In fact with early voting starting next Wednesday, the election is practically underway. I heard a report just this week that the temperature of the election has reached such a fever that there might be enough votes cast during early voting to decide the presidential election in some states.