• Glimpses From a Teacher Historian: Kingston Christmas memories

    By Mark Banker

    Rather than risk association with the likes of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch in this my last column before Christmas, I will resist returning to my recent promised reflections on controversial political matters.

    My last two pre-Christmas day columns focused on my father, Eugene Banker and his longtime role as Kingston’s Santa Claus. Today, my attention shifts to Mrs. Claus.

  • Going With the Flo: Comey interview similar to watching dishonest child

    By Flo Charles

    James Comey’s answers to the questions about the FBI leadership reminded me of the training sessions my husband and I took to understand how to help kids placed in foster care.

    It was an intense training where you have the symptoms of a consistent lying character, but you are trying to help that child become a functioning credible asset to society.

    Mr. Comey’s behavior demonstrates a type of behavior we studied. Unattached children lie all the time, not just once in a while.

  • Glimpses From a Teacher Historian: Should electoral college change?

    By Mark Banker

    As expected, several readers gently criticized my recent optimistic musings about our county’s controversial schools issue and the matter of Medicaid expansion in Tennessee.

    Undaunted, I shift my focus today to several even more controversial issues on our national stage.

    And yes: I am fully aware that these reflections about the electoral college and nature of the U.S. Supreme Court will affirm for some readers the adage that “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

  • Going With the Flo:Trump honors his pledge by pushing for a border wall

    By Flo Charles

    Through all my years of public service to organizations and the Republican Party, I am still learning to watch the company I keep.

    My stepfather repeatedly warned me, “Your friends are like elevators; they can take you up or take you down.”

    It is the same with politics. Candidates will promise whatever necessary to get the votes and contributions, then renege on their promises and use their newfound positions to wipe you out if you resist their control and influence.

  • Glimpses From a Teacher Historian: Hoping for progress in Roane

    By Mark Banker

    Now that children have sent their “wish lists” to Santa, many of the rest of us are contemplating New Year’s resolutions.

    Still others will dismiss both of these uniquely seasonal obsessions as naïve.

    Since my perennial resolution is to venture as close to cynicism as I can yet not succumb to its cancerous snare, I will err on the side of optimism as we close out 2018.

    Whatever one makes of my rose-colored views, they are firmly rooted in good and fruitful soil.

  • Going With the Flo: God’s Word tells us to support our President

    By Flo Charles

    Writing about President Trump again wasn’t my intention; now it seems necessary!

    I support our President because God’s Word says to!

    God is Sovereign - we are responsible.

    In Deuteronomy 6, God promises to cast all our enemies from before us, if we do what is right and good.

    Supporting our president is doing what is right and good. It’s obedience to God’s authority!

  • Glimpses From a Teacher Historian: Common goals unite opposites

    Last week, opinion-editorial pages from an array of newspapers and web-sites offered advice to readers who hoped to avoid heated debates with kin and others about politics and other controversial matters as they ate their Thanksgiving meal.

    If we six “Banker Boys” had reconvened last Thursday, perhaps that advice might have been helpful. But, in my brothers’ absence, unpleasant discourse was not an issue in our household.

  • Going With the Flo: Christians staying home is why Right lost the House

    By Flo Charles

    The greatest problem in America is spiritual apathy.

    Too many Christians didn’t care enough to get involved, but helped push our nation to the edge of the abyss.

    Christians could have prevented this, but stayed home during midterms and didn’t vote.

    Therefore, the House was lost!

    The average midterm turnout since 2010 for people who identify as Protestants (Evangelicals) averaged 55 percent.

    This midterm, 47 percent of people who identify themselves as Protestant voted.

  • THE VIEW FROM HERE: A lesson in tobacco


    Many years ago, I had a supervisor at work named Andy. He was a displaced Yankee, having been transferred here from Chicago.

    Andy was a good guy and he worked hard to fit in, but his mouth betrayed him to any local.

    He just didn’t talk “right” and try as he may, he never mastered our beautiful East Tennessee twang, so every time he spoke, his displaced (or misplaced) status as a Yankee was confirmed.

  • A View From Lick Skillet: Donald John - he has a problem, how bad is it?

    Gentle reader, hard as it may be to believe, it is still some two months until we reach the half way mark of the current administration of Donald John Trump. So, more than two years yet remain until that administration by law comes to an end. Considering the turmoil, chaos, and disgraceful happenings that have already occurred, can you imagine what lies in wait for us?

    Mayhap a benevolent Deity will provide relief to the Republic. One can only hope.