Those living with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones deserve better


When I was 17 years old, I helped to care for my grandmother, who lived with Alzheimer’s.

This experience impacted me in a tremendous way. Even 23 years after her death, I still remember the heartache of watching her slowly fade away.

For the past 10 years, I have volunteered as an Alzheimer’s advocate, in memory of my grandmother. Most recently as part of this work, I have reached out to Congressman Chuck Fleischman, Sen. Bill Hagerty and Sen. Marsha Blackburn to encourage their support for the cause.

The issue: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is blocking access to FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments.

This is the FIRST TIME EVER that CMS has denied this type of coverage. CMS says that it is not reasonable and necessary for people living with Alzheimer’s to have access to FDA-approved treatments without barriers.

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On the library book controversy


The Courier News has published multiple articles about an explosive controversy over library books in Anderson County libraries.

Some of these articles have mentioned the law, but I do not recall any that have actually delved into the law.

Therefore, please see the following review of two of the 17 library books at the center of this controversy, “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” and “Let’s Talk About It,” in relation to Title 39 of the Tennessee Code as summarized below:

T.C.A. § 39-17-911 states that unless accompanied by the person’s parent or legal guardian or by an adult with the written permission of the parent or legal guardian, it is unlawful for any person to knowingly make available to a minor: any picture, photograph, drawing, or similar visual representation or image of a person or portion of the human body, that depicts nudity, sexual conduct or excess violence; or any book or printed matter, which contains explicit and detailed verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual excitement, sexual conduct or excess violence; and that is harmful to minors.

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It takes a special type of person


It takes a special kind of person to argue with the wisdom and words of Benjamin Franklin.

We have a lot of those “special” people in Anderson County who opt to chant CNN and DNC talking points.

Like it or not, we have a republic. The founders knew that the structure of a republic would negate mob rule, which would be a foregone conclusion with a democracy.

This is why many Democrats nationwide (and locally) want to twist our republic into a democracy today. Of course, the “mob rule” of their liking will always be referred to as “peaceful protest.”

If it is not to their liking, it will be referred to as an “insurrection” and the writ of habeas corpus will disappear entirely. It is called tyranny, and we are there today as a result of a compromised and corrupt justice system (FBI, DOJ and IRS). In essence, it is mob rule via corruption, and it is steered by the Biden administration.

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We love and appreciate each one of you


To our community, friends, and church family,

Isaac meant the world to us. We can’t tell you how much your thoughtfulness and love have meant to our family. We appreciate your cards, messages, notes of love, meals, showing up at our doorstep, and prayers.

Thank you for sharing your memories, pictures, and funny stories that you had about our precious Isaac.

He loved his teachers, Sunday School friends and playmates.

We know he’s watching over us all.

May we keep his memory alive by loving others, doing good for those around us, and living life to the fullest.

We love and appreciate each of you.

Ron, Nel, Todd, and Tippi Shrader

Casey Jones and the Cannonball Express

From the Mountains

Trains played an important role in the 1800s and that resulted in many young men like John Luther Jones wanting to become engineers.

He grew up in Jackson, Tennessee. When Jones turned 21 years of age in 1885, he applied for a job as fireman with the Illinois Central Railroad. The railroad hired the tall young man, who seemed much older than his years.

After five years as fireman, he fulfilled his lifetime dream by becoming an engineer on a freight train. His record included some minor infractions but he developed a reputation for bringing in his train on time.

When Illinois Central offered Jones the chance to be the engineer on a passenger train in 1897 he jumped at the opportunity. He had his engine equipped with a Whippoorwill whistle that he learned to blow distinctively. It began softly, then the tone would rise before dying away to a whisper. People living near the Illinois Central right of way learned to recognize his distinctive whistle.

Jones was known for keeping his big engine “as shiny as a new penny.” Wallace Saunders, a black engine wiper, was responsible for that and he idolized Jones. Later he would play a big role in the continuing popularity of John Luther Jones even in the modern era.

Soon thousands of people along Jones’ route came to know John Luther Jones by his wave and from his distinct train whistle. His fireman waved to those on the opposite side of the train.

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The thread of humanity

Lorene Fugate uses sewing skills to help children in Mexico

Jerry Hopwood, president of Backcountry Mexico Missions, joins Lorene Fugate as she shows off a quilt she sewed at Commonwealth Senior Living in Oak Ridge. - Ben Pounds
Lorene Fugate makes her quilts in her room at Commonwealth Senior Living in Oak Ridge, but those quilts are traveling miles away to help children in Mexico.

Lorene has made 246 children’s quilts and 200 little bags for Backcountry Mexico Missions, which is based in Oliver Springs.

Newborn babies in children’s hospitals in Hermasillo and Guarijio and children who live in the town of La Mesa Colorada in the mountains have enjoyed these quilts and bags. She started making them in 2020.

“This is an amazing accomplishment for someone who will be 99 years old on July 16, and has macular degeneration in both eyes,” her daughter, Bonnie Herrell, told The Courier News. Fugate said she is legally blind. She said her vision difficulties make sewing slower and more difficult.

“I just don’t think anything about it and never dreamed I’d live this long,” she said regarding her upcoming 99th birthday. “But I’m just thankful I’m able to do something at this age.

“I’ve sewed, and I’ve sewed and I’ve sewed,” Fugate said, regarding her sewing work throughout her life, starting in seventh grade.

“Mama sewed, and I just picked it up,” she said.

Fugates’s machine is about 50 years old, but is still working well.

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