(Mis)understanding Teacher Absences

By Sally Absher Mark Twain popularized the phrase, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Judging from the reaction to a couple of recent articles in the Knoxville daily paper about teacher absenteeism, this is still true. The first article, “Understanding teacher absences: Overall numbers show decline, but some schools, days […]

I Wonder Why

By Joe Rector I drove with fellow workers from a run to Atlanta to drop off cars and then hopped into a van for the return trip. We gabbed about a variety of topics, but then someone uttered that famous line, “I wonder why…” That set me to mulling over some of the things about […]

New movies, old themes

By Rosie Moore Here are the movies that won awards on the Golden Globe Awards show. Boyhood, Glory, The Theory of Everything, How to Train your Dragon 2, Birdman, Gone Girl, The Imitation Game, and Interstellar.  What in the world were these movies about? As I undertook the chore of learning the story of each […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson In these dark and cold days of winter it’s hard to see the days becoming longer even though the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year – is behind us. The Solstice was celebrated in ancient cultures for heralding a “return of the sun” and increasing sunlight hours.  Perhaps […]

Special Education Spotlight: Laci and Elise

By Sally Absher sallyabsher@knoxfocus.com For this week’s Special Education feature, The Focus spoke with Patti Quinton, the mother of four beautiful girls. Caitlyn, 20, is currently a junior at the University of Tennessee.  Kristen, 15, is a sophomore at the L & N STEM Academy.  Laci and Elise, 10, are in fourth grade CDC-A at […]

Tennessee In Congress: 1939

By Ray Hill Tennessee has been quite fortunate in oftentimes having an excellent Congressional delegation.  The landscape and economic condition of Tennessee would be much different had it not been for the ability of some of our Congressional delegation to secure projects for our state and keep them flourishing. 1939 was a difficult year for […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson Through some curious twist of fate the magazine Southern Living comes to our home addressed to me.  To the best of my knowledge my only subscriptions are dry as toast medical journals.  Though I’m proud to call myself a southerner, I’ve never leafed through the magazine of Southern Living.  You could […]

Rosie’s World: Good Luck Food

Well, here I am writing about food again. It came to my mind because of my tradition of eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day, which is a Pennsylvania tradition. Sauerkraut, directly translated “sour cabbage” has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria,. Fermented food has a long history in many cultures with sauerkraut being […]

Special Education Transportation Costs KCS Nearly $5 Million/Year

By Sally Absher One of the biggest concerns for parents of children with special needs is the issue of inclusion in the least restrictive environment. As taxpayers, we should all be concerned about the costs involved in sending students across town to segregated programs instead of using the money to more appropriately support students in […]

Focus on the Law: Same Sex Marriage

By Sharon Frankenberg, Attorney at Law As of the writing of this column on January 9, 2015, it is legal in 36 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for same-sex couples to marry. How did we get here? In many conservative states like Tennessee, the state legislatures have passed laws defining and limiting marriage […]

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