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FOUNTAIN CITY

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UNION COUNTY

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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Knox County Schools already tests for safe water

Sandra Clark
Editor

Last week’s story about legislation introduced by state Rep. Rick Staples implied a problem with drinking water in public schools since Staples wants to require school systems to test it. His bill (HB0631) was scheduled to be heard by the House Education & Administrative Planning subcommittee on Tuesday, March 28.

Meanwhile, we checked with state and local agencies to clarify the current status of school water, especially in schools built before June 19, 1986, when the federal lead ban took effect.

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Roberto has website for council race

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Former Election Commissioner Andrew Roberto, 40, who lives on Hayslope Drive in the new Westmoreland, is an attorney and is also running for the District 2 (Duane Grieve) seat on Knoxville City Council. He is a single parent who shares custody of his two daughters, Kylie and Hannah, with their mother.

He is the only candidate in this district who currently has a website at www.electroberto.com. The website does not yet specify his stands on issues. He wants to “give back” to the community. He wants to spend time listening to voters. He attends Cokesbury United Methodist Church. While a Democrat, he favors nonpartisan elections for city office.

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Witt embarks on race for clerk

Sandra Clark
Editor

Sherry Witt is a well-liked, respected county officeholder who will find herself out of work in late 2018. So the register of deeds for 10 years is seeking to become Knox County clerk. “There’s an opening in the clerk’s office and I’m applying,” she says.

Term limits will kick in next year for Mayor Tim Burchett, Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones, Witt and Clerk Foster Arnett. In addition, Cathy Quist Shanks has said she will not run for re-election as clerk of Circuit and Sessions courts.

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How long are your arms?

Lynn Pitts
Faith Columnist

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

(James 2:14-17 NRSV)

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