The county and city: A rising rift | Opinion |

Nearly my entire family is split by county and city. Four of my siblings, a few nephews and a host of cousins graduated from Sullivan County Schools. However, my older

Source: The county and city: A rising rift | Opinion |


City school systems and their rich uncle | Opinion |

First off, let me say, I like Mark Vance. The Sullivan County Commissioner and I met a long time ago and are connected via social media. Furthermore, I can appreciate

Source: City school systems and their rich uncle | Opinion |

Helping with Handouts Can Hurt

3081a82a-fdea-11e6-a6d1-53d92cd7be4fRecently, I’ve had the chance to be a contributor to our local paper, the Bristol Herald Courier. It is a lot of fun to write for them and I am learning how to write for a newspaper. So far, I’ve written two pieces for them. The first contribution, Fatherhood: A Challenge and Reward, is a reworking of something I wrote earlier. The second contribution,  Helping With Handouts Can Hurt, is my latest contribution. It may prove to be a bit controversial; it deals with an issue that a lot of towns are facing: how to help those in need.

Bristol is a great community. It is where my wife and I both grew up and where we felt compelled to return to when we left St. Louis. It is beautiful here. The mountains speak deeply to my soul and the people are warm and caring. Like a lot of small towns, Bristol has suffered its share of economic downturns. However, in the last few years, our downtown (State Street – because it is where the border of TN and VA meet) has seen a revival. It is fantastic.

With that revival, however, has come a rise in people asking for money on the street. I wrote an article for the paper speaking to that issue (Helping With Handouts Can Hurt). If you have time, read it over and give me your thoughts.


A Poet? Can I Call Myself a Poet Now?

Last month I had one of those great moments that come along infrequently for guys like me. Frankly, I was not sure what to do with it but it’s something that blew me away. I’ve waited a while to share it here – largely because I wanted to give the people who gave me this award time to change their minds. They haven’t so I feel it is okay to go ahead and let others know.

From time to time I write poems. Some of them I have posted on here. I do not normally submit them for publication but last fall I did. I’ve been working on a Master of Arts in English at ETSU (its a long story but it is a great experience). I submitted two of my poems to the Mockingbird. It was a blind submission (which means no names) and Joseph Campana (a poet, critic, and scholar of Renaissance literate at Rice) selected my poem (“River of Salvation”) as the winner of the 2017 Mockingbird Prize for poetry. Another poem (“Midlife”) was also selected for publication.

What most people do not know about me is that I have been writing poetry for years. I’ve never called myself a poet because, well, I’d never published any. Now, I have and I am blown away. Just thought I’d share that here.

Mockingbird Poems