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Today's Opinions

  • 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.

  • Pay attention to candidates who want to care for us

    Fifty-three years ago, President Lyndon Baines Johnson established Medicare and Medicaid, a boon to those most in need and to seniors.

    Since then, most of us in Roane County have used these programs to take care of our basic medical needs.

    BUT many today, throughout our great nation, feel unprotected and vulnerable because of lack of coverage. These are the people we hear about who decide to buy food for their family rather than renew a much-needed prescription, a very hard choice to make.

  • Make your vote to keep us clean and green

    Having spent the first half of my life in the factory-entrenched Midwest, I viewed Tennessee as paradise – the mountains, waterways, valleys and rolling farmlands all astounded my senses. My spirit sang, “home, home at last.”

    However, in my 18-year residency here, I have begun to witness environmental sacrifices to our waterways and air quality due to EPA regulations altered or lifted to increase industrial production.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Time for Miller to resign from school board and give up mayoral post

    This is an open letter to the mayor of Rockwood, Brillo Miller.

    Dear Brillo,

    I have known you most of your life. You grew up in First Baptist Church here. You loved sports; you were involved in church activities, the same as our daughter Sharon. The two of you graduated from Rockwood High School the same year.

    I know you are nearing 60 years of age.

    We voted for you. I read the Roane County News. I’ve noticed you are quoted often. I have a bunch of friends who are and have been school teachers since you have been in office.

  • 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.

  • No wheel tax has been one of Roane’s pluses

    Wheel taxes must be very popular in Tennessee because most every county in Tennessee has one.

    Not having a wheel tax is one of the few positives that Roane County has, and some of our school board members and commissioners want to mess that up too.

    A wheel tax is the most unfair tax anyone can think of. Well-to-do people, business owners, millionaires, billionaires, etc., will be paying the exact same amount as those people flipping burgers at a fast-food joint, welfare recipients, disabled folks, people on Social Security, the poor and middle-class workers.