Category Archives: Columnists

Featured articles from our publications.

Gas tax makes no ‘cents’

Scott Frith
Government/Politics columnist

Gov. Bill Haslam has announced a wide-ranging tax proposal that would add 7 cents per gallon on gasoline and 12 cents per gallon on diesel fuel. As part of the governor’s plan, the sales tax on groceries would be lowered by one-half a percent (a 50-cent decrease on a $100 grocery bill) and the Hall income tax decreased.

Most would agree that Tennessee’s bridges need work. Although our state ranks near the top of states in highway quality, we lie near the bottom in bridge health. In fact, one study by TRIP, a transportation research and lobbying firm, found that 19 percent of Tennessee’s bridges are “structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.” Supporters of the gas tax increase say that new revenue is needed to repair bridges and fund a backlog of state road projects. Also, they argue it’s only fair that drivers (who use the roads) pay for road improvements.

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He that ruleth over men

Lynn Pitts
Faith Columnist

Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel said, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.”

(2 Samuel 23:1-4 KJV)

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See how to run

Nick Della Volpe
Features columnist

Should you seek one of the five Knoxville City Council seats up for election this year? The primary is just seven months away. You and your family must decide if you have the time and the inclination to serve.

To start: Examine your district boundaries at knoxmpc.org. Visit knoxvotes.org for rules and forms. Get a petition signed by at least 25 registered voters from your district (get 50 to be safe). Appoint a treasurer before you raise or spend the first dime.

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The gift of snow

Lynn Pitts
Faith Columnist

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out of my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

(Isaiah 55:10-11 NRSV)

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Knoxville High’s influential principal

Jim Tumblin
History and Mysteries

“A firm, steady, stable and human person.” When W.E. Evans was honored at his retirement in 1955, those were the words his former students chose to describe their principal.

Having served one of Knoxville’s longest careers in public education, Evans retired in 1955 at the compulsory retirement age of 70. He served 33 years as principal of Knoxville High School, and after that school closed, moved to East High as principal for four more years.

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A closer look at 2016

Scott Frith
Government/Politics columnist

We all know that 2016 was a great year for Republicans (and a not-so-great year for Democrats), but let’s take a closer look at what happened and what’s ahead in 2017.

First, while the biggest political story of the year was Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential race, some observers were surprised by the size of Trump’s win in Tennessee. Trump won Tennessee by nearly 25 points – a higher margin than Mitt Romney’s 20-point win in 2012 and John McCain’s 15-point win in 2008.

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A holiday birding treat

Dr. Bob Collier
Nature notes

Our 520-plus National Wildlife Refuges, covering 93 million acres, offer great opportunities for folks to get out and enjoy nature. Their rivers, lakes, swamps, fields and mountains are home to a myriad of varieties of trees and flowers, bushes and grasses. That means they are also home to innumerable critters that people like to watch – big animals, butterflies and, in the case of birders, birds.

Over 200 of our National Wildlife Refuges were set aside specifically to protect, manage and restore habitat for migratory birds, and one result of that effort has been to yield a list of over 700 species of birds that have been seen in America’s National Wildlife Refuges. And the good people who manage those refuges have made many of them very birder-friendly, with wildlife drives meandering through all their different natural features, plus nature trails, photo blinds and observation towers.

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