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Columns

  • Glimpses From a Teacher Historian: How people remember the past can shape our collective future

    Last week a good friend advised that I use “fewer big words.” While I share his disdain for pompous prose, my focus today is another big word.

    Historiography, formal study of how humans remember the past and speculation about how that influences our behavior, is largely a scholarly concern that leaves everyone else puzzled and bored. That response, I believe, contributes to today’s polarization.

    Our confusion begins with contrasting views about the very nature of history.

  • A View From Lick Skillet: Would Trump entry rules fit any of the Trumps?

    Gentle reader: Where to begin? Since last we talked, all manner of old topics remain yet unresolved, and new ones keep coming to the fore. No one can doubt that we are the recipients of that ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times!”

  • Going With the Flo: America built on idea of ‘One Nation, Under God’

    By Flo Charles

    Have you been sickened lately with the news that’s intent on destroying your confidence in our nation and its authentic leadership? I have been!

    It was so refreshing to read about the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. and the fact that on the aluminum cap atop the Washington Monument are two words: Laus Deo.

    No one can see the words; most people are unaware that they are there.

  • Glimpses From a Teacher Historian: ‘Blackberry winter’ saw loss of some Kingston treasures

    By Mark Banker

    In the brief span of “blackberry winter,” Kingston folk lost a grand old home, learned that a longtime business would close, and said goodbye to one of our most beloved and colorful citizens.

    On Friday, May 3, I visited with Edith Miles. A dear friend of my parents, Edith was a constant in my life.

    With warmer weather, Edith looked forward to returning more regularly to a favorite spot on her front porch facing out on Third Street. My ever-thoughtful wife, Kathy, suggested that I place a bluebird house in her front yard.

  • Wading Through the Numbers: Why is it that Roane County has three debt funds?

    By Ron Woody

    In previous articles we discussed how the county’s accounting structure is similar to a large company. Roane County’s 108 million dollar budget is made up of 24 smaller companies (funds).

    Monies do not get comingled among the companies (funds) outside of limited amounts of authorized transfers or indirect cost.

  • Going With the Flo: There is a threat to our freedom in this country

    By Flo Charles

    With freedom comes responsibility!

    We are in a very dangerous time in America. Warnings have repeatedly been dismissed that would have shown, more than ever before, our increased vulnerability.

    More than 90 Americans ran for office at the national, state and local levels in 2018, seeking to build a powerful Muslim political infrastructure by engaging in American politics to increase Islamic influence.

    Out of the 90, 50 won political offices from municipal to federal levels.

  • A View From Lick Skillet: Will we be lucky enough to ‘muddle through?’

    Gentle reader, when we returned from lunch on Tuesday, our telephone answering machine was blinking, indicating there was a message thereon. And there was. It was one of these scam messages, purporting to be from the Social Security office, warning that we were in a heap of trouble because a warrant had been issued for our arrest for all manner of fraud and criminal conduct for which we were going to be arrested real soon! But to get the matter put right, we should immediately call 800-936-8151.

  • Wading Through the Numbers: Providing rural services of fire protection and animal control

    By Ron Woody

    Previous articles addressed the question of whether the county has an emergency fund and how the county operates an ambulance department like an independent business in the fund structure of accounting.

    This third article focuses on rural fire service and animal control. Rural Service means a service available to residents who live outside the boundaries of city government.

  • Glimpses From a Teacher Historian: Father, daughter both worry about current political climate

    By Mark Banker

    Last week’s reflections on Biblical justice revealed influences from my most immediate and important forebear. Today’s debt goes to my most immediate and important heir.

    Tollie Jean Banker was born in Albuquerque in 1980. Carrying the names of three men — great-grandfather, grandfather and father — and growing up in culturally-rich New Mexico imprinted our daughter in ways Kathy and I could not have foreseen.

  • Environmental sampling complete at Swan Pond

    By John Shaw

    jwshawjr@comcast.net

    The Swan Pond Sports Complex and Lakeshore Park were created as part of the cleanup and rehabilitation activities associated with the Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash release at the Kingston Fossil Plant that occurred on December 22, 2008.

    However, serious health impact concerns arouse during cleanup worker court proceedings as to the hazardous nature of coal ash.