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Columns

  • Glimpses From a Teacher Historian: Mrs. Gertrude a pillar of strength

    By Mark Banker

    Last week’s tribute to a host of beloved teachers from the old Kingston Junior High School overlooked an important woman.

    She was especially loved by a few of our classmates, who joined us in the fall of 1963 when Roane County Schools belatedly integrated.

    Due to Kingston’s relatively small black population, only three black students transferred from nearby Greenwood School to join us in the seventh grade.

  • Glimpses From a Teacher Historian: Fran’s lessons not bound by classroom

    By Mark Banker

    Regular readers know where I stand on the future of Roane County education. But they might not understand why I am so determined that we adequately fund our public schools.

    After all, I am a 67-year old taxpayer with no direct heirs in the county who taught most of his 40 years in private schools.

    Here’s my answer: I begin each day early with a stout cup of coffee. On my better days, I pause and reflect briefly on the many things for which I am thankful. Prominent on my lengthy list are a host of teachers.

  • A View From Lick Skillet: Thoughts on the legal profession and Trump

    Gentle Reader: As you may know, the old curmudgeon was admitted to the Bar in the spring of 1959, and practiced law for over a half century thereafter, until he decided it was time to retire a few years ago, but the Roane County Bar Association very kindly allowed him to remain as an emeritus member of that organization.

  • Going With the Flo: Our country needs statesmen with courage and convictions

    Maintaining an attitude of gratitude for God’s goodness and divine intervention for America is so satisfying to the soul, creating a harmonious atmosphere. God gave us a strong and merciful president.

    President Trump commuted a life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old great-grandmother who had served 22 years behind bars for getting involved in drug trafficking following a terrible period in her life.

    She lost her job of 10 years because of gambling, got divorced, then lost her youngest son in a motorcycle accident.

  • Glimpses From a Teacher Historian: School plan top Roane issue

    By Mark Banker

    By the time you read these words, the Aug. 2 election will be upon us.

    Thanks to early voting, some of you will have already fulfilled your civic obligation. Others of you have pretty much made up your minds about candidates and key issues and will, like me, show up at the polls next Thursday.

    Sadly, many of our neighbors will contribute to Tennessee’s dead-last ranking for voter turnout.

    Special thanks to the 13 candidates for Roane County Commission who responded to the Roane County News’ candidate survey.

  • Going With the Flo: Only God knows what those babies could have been

    Regardless of the reasons given for objecting to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the widespread fear is that he will be instrumental in overturning Roe vs. Wade.

    So excuses and opportunities to abort unwanted pregnancies flood our land. Jesus is omniscient and knows the motive of our heart.

  • Guest column: Alliance a return on investment

    Recent articles and social media posts have shown a lack of understanding about the structure, purpose, and activities of the Roane Alliance.

    The targeted audience for the activities and initiatives of the Alliance and its partners primarily reside outside of the county, except for Chamber activities. I hope this column and those to follow provide clarity and explanations for why and how the Roane Alliance was set up and how it invests the funds provided from public and private sources.

  • Glimpses From a Teacher Historian: Here’s hoping pause is temporary

    Last week, the Roane County Commission approved property tax rates for 2018-19 that will not fund the school board’s proposed $67 million plan to consolidate Rockwood, Harriman and Roane County (Kingston) high schools at a site adjacent to Roane State Community College.

    Afterward, both Interim School Director Gary Aytes and County Executive Ron Woody reportedly agreed it is time to put the school board’s ambitious K-14 plan on pause.

  • A View From Lick Skillet: They’re not conservatives, they’re reactionaries!

    Gentle reader: We don’t watch a great deal of television, so you may have seen much more of the current TV advertising battle among the GOP gubernatorial candidates then we have, but the other day we saw one that seems to represent one of the great problems not only for our state, but for the nation.

    The upshot of this ad was that of the four candidates, two are in fact conservatives, but that one is not as he claims a conservative, but a MODERATE!

  • Going With the Flo: God blesses sacrifices; just ask Walter and Barbara

    By Flo Charles

    Walter and Barbara wanted to see the fireworks in Kingston on July Fourth.

    However, we learned that someone had a need. Our family tradition and God’s Word says to help anyone who is in need, not judging them as how why they got into the situation.

    God is merciful! He says, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13)

    As Oswald Chambers says, “I have never met the man I could despair of after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.”