Category Archives: Columnists

Featured articles from our publications.

The marble king

Jim Tumblin
History and Mysteries

Cotton had once been king and the railroads had dominated for a time but, by the late 1880s, another industry had assumed a major role in East Tennessee’s economy. Knoxville became a leader in the marble industry, and the industry was so big that Knoxville became known as Marble City.

Although the first extensive developments were in Hawkins County, shipments from Knoxville via the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad were three times as great by 1881. There were 11 quarries operating in Knox County by 1882, and 300 workers were employed. By 1906, it was estimated that the county’s marble industry generated $1 million annually.

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Notes on a peculiar winter

Dr. Bob Collier
Nature notes

The month of February has certainly added on to what has been a peculiar winter. Our big weather has been a 2-inch snow on Jan. 6 and 7; since then we’ve had mostly spring weather. Warm temperatures, occasional showery days. The temp reached 77 degrees on Feb. 12, an all-time record for the day. The trees haven’t come out yet (at time of writing), but the allergists hereabouts report that they are already making pollen. Allergy season has begun.

We had jonquils blooming for Valentine’s Day, and blue, and blue-and-white, violets are in bloom in my yard. I noticed a small fruit tree of some sort down on Woodland Avenue on Feb. 15, covered with pink blossoms. Up along Grove Drive in Fountain City is a very large Chinese, or saucer, magnolia, usually the earliest tree to bloom out in the spring (and usually the first to get frozen back). We noticed it had big pink buds ready to go on the Sunday of Feb. 12.

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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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