Adam Velk, director of the Green McAdoo Cultural Center, leads a discussion about voting and protests. - Ben Pounds
Green McAdoo Cultural Center Director Adam Velk has been challenging students and adults with questions about voting and protests.
His presentations relate to “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America,” a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibit that came to his museum in Clinton March 28 and was on display until Saturday, May 6.
The exhibit took visitors through a tour of voting and election campaigns throughout history.
It also covered other ways people influence the government, such as protests, petitions and lobbying.
Velk’s activities have related to those topics. He said he’s led discussion activities for more school groups than he could count.
More recently, the Anderson County Democratic Party participated in one such activity. He told The Courier-News he would also host the Anderson County Republicans if they asked. To him, the exhibit and activities go beyond partisanship.
“Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, voting is one of the best things you can do,” he said. He said that was a lesson from his mother.
Curator of the Coal Creek Miners Museum in Rocky Top Lisa Pebley shows a piece a jewelry made from coal from the Briceville coal mines. - Ken Leinart
They came together to celebrate, to pay homage, to share.
The Coal Creek Miners Museum’s Coal Miners Reunion Saturday was a time to reflect on a way of life.
It’s hard to pass on the heart of coal miners, to put into words the bonds that miners share, the experiences that only families of coal miners have in common, because coal mining is not just a profession.
It’s a way of life.
Take, for example, Margaret Fritts. She and her daughter and granddaughter were at the Coal Creek Miners Museum in Rocky Top Saturday morning. They are “three generations” of a coal mining family. It is part of their identity, part of who they are and how they describe themselves.
Margaret Fritts’ father, Lewis Emery Kesterson, was mine inspector in Briceville. And though Kesterson died in mid-1950s, the family is forever linked, through him, to the mines, and to coal mining.
And there is a hidden beauty in coal that only someone who is linked to mining can find.
Lisa Pebley, who is the curator of the Coal Creek Miners Museum, has found that beauty hidden in coal.
A veteran renders a saulte during the playing of “Taps” at the close of Memorial Day services at the Anderson County Courthouse on Monday, May 29. - Ken Leinart
“This is the day we pay homage to those who did not come home,” said Leon Jaquet, veteran services officer for Anderson County.
“The price of freedom has been paid with their blood.”
He spoke at the Memorial Day service at the courthouse in Clinton.
Memorial Day was celebrated in Anderson County with speeches, color guards, taps, prayers, wreath-laying and rifle salutes at Clinton, Norris and Rocky Top.
The speakers at Clinton were Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank; state Rep. John D. Ragan, a retired Air Force fighter pilot; and Zach Farrar, who served as a captain in the Marines and is currently vice president of Regions Bank.
“We do remember, we do honor, and we proudly stand with those families left behind,” Frank said.
“Courage is not the absence of fear,” Ragan told the crowd. “Without fear, courage has no meaning,”
As the people gathered remembered courage, Ragan also asked them to remember love, quoting John 15:13 where Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Ragan urged the crowd to engage in the battle for freedom by fighting against domestic terrorists who would take away our freedoms.
This summer’s Norris “Concerts on the Commons” series begins at 7 p.m. Friday (June 2) with a performance by The Rebel Mountain Band on the outdoor stage next to the Lions Club Pavilion downtown.
The Rebel Mountain Band is described as a “four-member, electric Southern rock” group.
Music genres in the concerts will also include bluegrass, country, classic rock, Mo-Town, and rhythm and blues.
There will be five concerts again this summer, with the first four on successive Friday nights through June 23, and the final one on Tuesday, July 4, as part of the Norris Day celebration.
All of the concerts begin at 7 p.m., except for June 23’s concert, which starts at 6:30 p.m. The performances conclude about 9 p.m.
There is no admission charge, but attendees are requested to bring their own chairs or blankets to sit on in the grassy area in front of the stage, on the grounds of Norris Middle School.
The July 4 concert will be followed by a 20-minute fireworks display.
The late Jack Mitchell, who was a longtime Norris real-estate agent and publisher of the Norris Bulletin, created the concert series 15 years ago.
Powell Clinch Utility District has been the sponsor of the series since its inception, responsible for paying the performers for their appearances. This year, PCUD will again sponsor the concerts, while the Norris Lions Club will be helping to sponsor the fifth concert.
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