Roane lawmaker could become lone ET voice on TVA board

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Another name being mentioned for the TVA board of directors is state Sen. Ken Yager from neighboring Roane County, who chairs the legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee. He is a former county mayor and would be an interesting choice given the massive TVA spill several years ago in Roane County. However, if nominated and confirmed he would have to resign his state Senate seat to serve. He cannot do both at the same time.

At present, there is no one from East Tennessee serving on the TVA board for the first time in recent memory.

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Digging up bones: Regulations are a good thing

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

I heard from the cemetery woman again this week. This time she called me. Her English was better than my Spanish, but that didn’t get us anywhere, so she got my email address and sent me a bill. Best I can make out, if I don’t pay up, she’s going to dig up my grandmother.

My grandmother, my Mamita, lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her name was Luci Gonzales and she laughed a lot. She was deeply religious and was always making deals with God. Once, when my mother had diphtheria and almost died, Mamita told God she’d beg money and give it to the church in exchange for her baby’s life. Mama got well, and Mamita hit the streets with a tin cup. At a time and in a place when educating women wasn’t a big priority, she made sure her girls went to college. She saw ghosts in odd places, and once demanded to be moved to a different room in a Venezuelan hotel because there was a ghost under her bed. She sent me sparkly jewelry and big fancy dresses for my birthday and Christmas and Easter, and visited us in the winter because she loved to play in the snow (we’d go to the Smokies to find it).

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It’s spring! But – what’s green?

Dr. Bob Collier
Nature notes

If you’re reading this column on Wednesday, April 5, then you’ve already enjoyed two weeks of official springtime. And it’s been nice – after three nights of hard freezes, we’ve been having warm days, cool nights, occasional rain showers. The redbuds have rebounded from the cold snap into their usual luscious spring glory, and the cedars and elms are making pollen (Achoo!).

Most of the trees, though, are still a little skeptical of it all; the buckeyes and wild cherries are barely starting to peek out with some leaves. The wily walnut trees know better. They’re waiting, as the seed packets say, until “all danger of frost has passed.” Nevertheless, as we drive around in our part of the world here in Knox County and nearby environs, we are seeing a lot of bright, spring-fresh new green leaves. But notice – uh-oh – they seem to be growing on only a couple of kinds of plants. Tall bright green trees, shorter bright green undergrowth bushes.

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