A visit to Easter Island

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

The first week of February, I visited Easter Island in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,300 miles east of Chile, which owns the island. It had been on my bucket list for years. Two other Knoxvillians who have previously visited Easter Island are Will Skelton, active greenways advocate and retired attorney, and Jeff Chapman, well respected director of the McClung Museum on the UT Knoxville campus.

Getting there is part of the adventure, as one flies to Santiago, the capital of Chile, overnight and then flies five hours west over the Pacific to the island, which is partway to Australia from Chile. There are daily flights to the island from Santiago. Otherwise, one goes by ship, and they are infrequent.

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Tom Jensen: Legislative pioneer

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

In the 1970s, Tom Jensen was an important person if you had business before the Legislature and lived in Knox County as he was the Republican leader of the House for eight of the 12 years he served (1966 to 1978).

Jensen led the effort for a truly independent Legislature. He helped change the way things were done in a Legislature where the annual salary was $1,800 a year in 1967 and there were no offices for the members.

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Slate of women campaigning to head Knox Dems

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

A slate of women candidates is looking to take over leadership of the Knox County Democratic Party. The candidate for chair is Emily Gregg, a senior majoring in Classics (with a concentration in civilization) at the University of Tennessee.

She got active in KCDP as a freshman in 2012. The Nashville native is making the rounds of district meetings during the run-up to the March 25 countywide reorganization convention and was a featured speaker at both the Democratic Women of Knoxville and the First District Democrats last week.

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Creative ways to build sidewalks

Nick Della Volpe
Features columnist

We need your help.

As a city councilman, you often hear from neighborhood groups and individuals about the need/desire for more sidewalks, a safer way to get around the neighborhood on foot or bike. In a May 10 Shopper article, I wrote about the five criteria the city’s engineers use to assign priority to sidewalk segments to build.

Let’s focus on quantity. Currently, Knoxville builds roughly a mile-plus of new sidewalks and rebuilds another mile-plus of reworked/repaired walks each budget year. How can we build more?

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