• 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.

  • The General Assembly is once again hard at work for the good of their constituents.

    What act of brilliance are they taking on now? One that would make it a crime to wear your britches too low.

    Bill sponsor Rep. Joe Towns said he proposed House Bill 2083 in response to complaints from people who think many young people wear their pants too low.




    “Recession? What recession?”

    Those were surprising words shared in a telephone call some days back with a former colleague and dear friend.