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Opinion

  • By MARTHA M. LAFFERTY

    On March 19, state Rep. Julia Hurley entered the Roane County Courthouse with her Chinese crested dog, “Pepper.”

    When court officials noticed her dog tagging behind on his leash, they proceeded to evict her from the courthouse.

     In the aftermath of this incident, comments regarding Rep. Hurley’s actions and information regarding service animal requirements flooded the media.

  • By KEN PAULSON

  • Infant Jayden Thomas Mittleider, 6 days, of Coalfield, passed away Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011, in University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville.
    He was born Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in University of Tennessee Medical Center.

  • Gov. Bill Haslam presented his State of the State/Budget Address to the General Assembly outlining his proposals to deal with the state’s current budget crunch, while working towards reforming education and making our economy stronger to welcome new jobs to Tennessee. 

    The $30.2 billion balanced budget is almost $2 billion less than the current 2010-11 budget of $32 billion. 
    It contains no new taxes and maintains essential government services by focusing reductions in administrative areas to minimize any impact felt by Tennessee taxpayers.

  • By LEONARD PITTS JR.
    Lyndon Johnson once said of Gerald Ford that  he “played too much football with his helmet off.”
    Theodore Roosevelt once called William Howard Taft “a fathead with the brains of a guinea pig.”
    Harper’s Weekly once described Ulysses S. Grant as “a drunken Democrat dragged out of the Galena (Ill.) gutter.”

  • No, TVA can’t fix all the harm it has done with the disastrous ash spill late last year.

    But its $43 million reparations package is a huge step forward.

    We also agree with officials that most of the money should be pumped into improving Roane County schools — then, perhaps, used for recreation opportunities for residents.

    And by recreation opportunities, we are not talking about league sports and ball fields, but biking trails and other opportunities for the exercise and amusement for residents of all ages.

  • Recently we learned of a discussion involving a handful of local officials who were complaining that the newspaper hasn’t been “nice” to them.

    We are surprised when we see experienced people in office who feel that “being nice” is our role in covering them.

    Our role is not to be nice or mean — although we certainly try to be fair and civil.

  • The best thing about being an American is that built into our government system, our very core, is room for disagreement.

    “No two on earth in all things can agree,” Winston Churchill once poetically said. “All have some daring singularity.”

    What also makes America great is that our government, done right, allows plenty of room for discussion, debate and questioning.

    That is, unless the process is hijacked by people who have no interest in civil discourse, facts and learning anything.

  • We recently alerted you to a loosely organized boycott of Tennessee tourism by coal miners upset by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s commendable stance in opposition to mountaintop removal coal mining.

    We stand with Alexander on this issue, and we are happy to see others rallying to keep any real boycott, if it really develops, from hurting our fair state.

  • We have been critical of TVA on these pages, of that there can be no doubt.

    But our gripe is with the policymakers, the people high up who call the shots.

    Many of the rank-and-file workers and managers are hard-working people who have, we know, expressed their consciences when they saw what they consider a sign of trouble.

    These people are our friends, our family members, fellow members of our community.

  • Every Roane County resident and every TVA ratepayer should be shaking in fury, if not fear, at the latest report from TVA’s own watchdog.

  • We’ve been pretty critical of our state legislators this year, and, we believe, with cause.

    But we’d now like to address an area where they deserve strong praise.

    We’re talking about legislation the Tennessee General Assembly passed last year to deter the escalating crime of metal theft.

    The legislation, which went into place last fall, imposes stricter requirements on those buying and selling metal.  

  • When word got out that officials were investigating possible terrorism in connection with the TVA disaster, few of us expected that there was anything to it.

    And we were right.

    However, there’s no arguing that ours has been a community hijacked by this disaster.

    Even outside the immediately impacted area, our concerns, and those of our public officials in very trying economic times, have been steered to deal with this problem.

  • We have grave concerns about Roane County Constable Mark Patton’s fitness for duty.

    As for the suit seeking to have him disqualified from elected office, we’re comfortable letting the honorable Judge Russell Simmons deal with merits of that.

    We come here today with another concern — the impact of name-calling and obscene gestures that seem to be in ample supply.

  • We have a letter to the editor on Page 5A noting that the foundation that supports the Kingston Public Library is seeking the donation of books for its ongoing library sale.

    We encourage everyone to go through their bookshelves and pull books they don’t expect to reread and donate them to this good cause.

  • It’s hard to characterize TVA’s role in the ash spill cleanup thus far: The fox guarding the henhouse or the chickens guarding the henhouse?

    Neither is good.

    But however you look at it, it is clear the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s increased role in the cleanup effort is an improvement.

    Already, concerned residents are being afforded some comfort with new indepth toxicology and health testing. And as you can tell from our stories on Page 1, the EPA seems to have an improved focus on communication.

  • Roane County is blessed with some wonderful historical treasures.

    The old Roane County Courthouse in Kingston is high on the list, but so is the Temperance Building in Harriman, the Carnegie-built Harriman Public Library, which is nearly 100 years old, and the Southern Railroad Depot in Oliver Springs.

    So far, caring people who understand the importance of these treasures — both for tourism and for the cultural heritage of the residents — have helped these structures survive.

  • Former Roane County elections administrator Tony Brown lost his job because of politics last Friday.

    Brown is a Democrat. But a change in the state legislature, from a Democratic majority to more Republicans in power, meant that Republicans also get the edge in county election commissions across the state by three GOP members to two Democrats.

    And as a result, and not unexpectedly, Brown was ousted and a Republican was put in his place.

    We (and the state attorney general) have issues with that process, but that is another matter.

  • Already local election signs are popping up like daffodils around the county.

    Democracy, indeed, is a beautiful thing, but sometimes the process can get ugly.

    Sadly, some of Roane County elections get a case of the “uglies” now and then, and we expect a few races in the June 2 election to hit a few sour notes before the ballots are tabulated.

    One thing to be on the lookout for are unsigned “slam” sheets that spread unsupported rumors and innuendo in an attempt to sway the vote.

  • Deregulation.

    That’s a word we’ve heard a lot in the news lately.

    Extremes in deregulation in the finance sector have been blamed for the severe economic crisis we currently are trying to survive,

    Extremes in deregulation of coal ash storage may be to blame for the massive environmental disaster Roane County faces today.

    This week, a congressional panel told TVA officials they can expect more oversight as a result of last December’s massive ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant.