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UNION COUNTY

Pension surprises

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

The five re-elected members of City Council are in their final four-year term; they’ll have served eight years by 2017, when their new term expires. They will be the next-to-last council members to receive a city pension as the new charter limits pensions to persons who worked 10 years or more. With term limits, no one will serve on the council or as mayor more than eight consecutive years.

This means Vice Mayor Nick Pavlis will be eligible to receive $153.28 a month upon concluding his current term as he will be 63 then. Brenda Palmer, Duane Grieve and Nick Della Volpe will be eligible for $171.04 a month as each will be 65 or older when their terms end in 2017.

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What’s next for Larry?

Jake Mabe
Features/Politics columnist

When cable television was relatively new, country-music singer Jim Ed Brown used to host a show from Nashville called “You Can Be a Star!” Think of it as a lower-budget, Music City version of “American Idol.” Winners got a record contract.

Hadn’t thought about it in years until R. Larry Smith made the surprising announcement that he was withdrawing as a candidate for the 7th District Knox County school board race.

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The earliest birds arrive

Dr. Bob Collier
Nature notes

Polar vortexes, snow and ice, used-up snow days, rain and gloom. By the first week of March, I imagine there aren’t many of us who wouldn’t love to see spring burst forth. Now.

For the hardy birdwatchers among us, there is one more happening we would really like to see – the arrival of the spring migrants. It’s our biggest happening of the year!

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Unity gets new owner with familiar name

Sandra Clark
Editor

In our quest to discover “where the jobs are,” we found a homegrown business that has provided jobs along with compassionate community service for 35 years. We also found an indomitable woman with an inspiring story. Come along.

In 1979, a young man completed his doctoral coursework in Risk and Insurance from The Wharton School of Business in Pennsylvania. A graduate of Harvard University, he moved to Atlanta and started a company that now conducts more than 125 comprehensive ASOP#3 actuarial studies each year. The firm develops comparative benchmarks for key actuarial, demographic and operating statistics. It’s developed software for the profession and propelled the founder to several high-profile boards and consulting contracts worldwide.

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Opting out: parent says K-2 testing harms daughter

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Jennifer Nagel’s 7-year-old daughter spent her snow days reading a book. That might not sound like a big deal, but to Nagel, it’s almost miraculous, because reading has been an ordeal for her daughter, who has an undiagnosed learning disability. Nagel says her daughter’s teacher has been very helpful, but the school system has not. So she started looking for solutions on her own.

Almost by accident, she found a critically acclaimed series of books co-written by actor Henry Winkler and the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity for and about dyslexic kids – who knew the Fonz has a master’s degree from Yale, and dyslexia?

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UT Athletic Board goes silent

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

The UT Athletic Board is meeting behind closed doors after years of being open. The News Sentinel has gone to great lengths to criticize this change.

It is apparent that the university went to great lengths to ensure nothing comes out of the meeting that suggests remotely what is happening. No minutes are taken, and no reports are written. Clearly, they have had legal advice on how to avoid disclosure.

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