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Today's Opinions

  • Each and every letter read by Santa personally

    To all the children of Roane County:

    Thank you for all your letters to Santa. Some of the letters were sent directly to the North Pole and did not appear in the Roane County News. Mrs. Claus and I wanted you to know that we received them and enjoyed reading them.

    It turns out that all the children in Roane County were on The Nice List.

    Thank you to all of those who left milk and cookies out for me on Christmas Eve. I was very hungry.

    My reindeer also ate some of the cookies.

    See you next Christmas!

    Sincerely,

  • Good fishing from lake weeds only temporary

    I moved from Southern California to Kingston a little over four years ago.

    The Imperial Valley has the largest open canal irrigation system that I know of. The aquatic weeds invaded the canals, the lakes and waterways there, and almost took over, meaning it hindered fishing, boating and the vital water delivery to farmers in the Imperial Valley.

    To think it is a good addition to Watts Bar Lake and should not be addressed is to not understand the extent of the destruction that that weed can and will cause.

  • From the EDITOR’S Desk: Weeds a blight on Watts Bar fun

    Back in November I managed take one last tour of the year across Watts Bar Lake in my canoe.

    As I cruised along the Kingston waterfront my paddle kept getting stuck in large patches of weeds. When I raised the paddle from the water it was covered in clumps of weeds.

    These are not ordinary weeds. These are non-native — also called invasive — weeds.

    These weeds, including hydrilla, milfoil and spiny leaf naiad, grow thick in the shallow water.

  • One citizen, one vote a fair and equal system

    Every news story and opinion discussing the merits or faults of the Electoral College reflexively references the need to protect the interests of the people of the smaller states.

    But while such interests may have existed in the 1700s, when each state was founded by a distinct sect, nationality or ethnicity, such distinctions by state no longer exist.

    There is no longer a peculiarly distinct interest of the people of Tennessee any more than there is of the people of New York, Virginia or California.

  • INSIDE the First AMENDMENT: First Amendment will work — if we still have it

    Our First Amendment freedoms will work — if we still have them around to use.

    Those five freedoms — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition — have been challenged at various times in our nation’s history, as many would say they are today.

    But the very freedoms themselves provide the means and mechanisms for our society to self-correct those challenges, perhaps a main reason why the First Amendment has endured, unchanged, since Dec. 15, 1791.

  • 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?”

  • Well-placed angels gave help in hour of need

    One of the lyrics in a song by the group Alabama is written with the following words: “They come to us in the darkest hour.”

    Recently, while serving as a physical education assistant to Ryan Townsend at Ridge View Elementary, I suddenly became disoriented and slowly wandered over to a chair.

  • 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.