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It’s not the spirits of inmates past haunting Brushy

Guests check out whiskey samples in the gift shop at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary tourist attrac- tion, distillery and event venue Saturday, May 16, in Petros. The prison has reopened for visitors and tours after being closed for the coronavirus pandemic. - G. Chambers Williams III

There most definitely were more people trying to get into Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary than get out last Saturday, as the historic facility reopened to guests for the first weekend since the coronavirus pandemic shut down most tourist attractions two months ago. Some staff at the gift shop and restaurant building said the crowd was the largest they had seen in some time, as loads of people apparently were ready to get out and explore after being mostly locked down in their own homes over fears of the virus. It also helped that Saturday was perhaps the most springlike – or almost summerlike – weekend day of the year so far. Out in the parking lot, there were cars, trucks, sport utility vehicles, motorcycles and side-by-side all-terrain vehicles everywhere. But it was clear in the gift shop that people were trying to keep social-distancing in place. “Everything here is open, and people are enjoying themselves,” said gift shop worker Ashley Watson. Visitors also were out in numbers over the weekend for two other local tourist spots, the Museum of Appalachia in Norris and the Little Ponderosa Zoo and Rescue near Clinton, both of which reopened the previous weekend.

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Dentists’ offices are beginning to reopen

Dental assistant Amanda McKenzie of Myers Family Dentistry in Clinton does a temperature check on Jonathan Colangione, the practice’s financial coordinator. - Myers Family Dentistry

Clinton-area dentists have begun reopening their practices for routine dental care after being mostly closed for the past two months in response to the coronavirus pandemic. They are practicing some new safety protocols, they say, including taking the temperatures of staff and patients when they come in, wearing double masks and other special protective equipment, and keeping waiting rooms clear of patients. But some, such as Dr. Michael Beeler at the Masterpiece Smiles clinic on Bethel Road in Clinton, say many of the sanitation procedures are ones that dental practices already were using before the pandemic began. “Our sterilization processes are pretty much the same as they’ve always been,” Beeler said. “We’re wiping down everything. We have such good procedures in place that people should feel safe in a dental office. I like to think thoroughness and quality never go out of style.” The same is true at the offices of Dr. Thomas Myers in downtown Clinton, where practice manager Betsy Myers said hygiene has always been a top priority.

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America always produces heroes

Every crisis has new heroes. During the 9/11 attacks, they were the first responders running into burning and crumbling buildings as others ran out. Now, during the coronavirus pandemic, the most visible heroes are the health-care professionals who are saving others and risking their own lives while doing so. These heroes have much in common with the people that we honor today – America’s fallen veterans. They are men and women who have sacrificed their own lives so others could live. They are both elite and ordinary. They are elite in the sense of character. Giving your life so others could live is the ultimate definition of selfless. They are ordinary in the fact that they represent the diverse fabric of our country. They are rich and poor, black and white, male and female. They come from every ethnicity and background. In short, they look like any one of us.

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Memorial Day program televised

The director of Veterans Services for Anderson County regrets to inform all residents of Anderson County that due to the Coronavirus and the Governor’s Executive Order 30 related to gatherings larger than 10, that Anderson County’s 11th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony-originally scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, has been canceled. There will be a pre-recorded Memorial Day program shown on Channel 95 – ACTV at 10 a.m. Memorial Day. The program will include speeches from Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, Tennessee District 33 State Representative John Ragan and the keynote speaker, Oliver Springs Mayor Omer Cox, U.S. Air Force retired. The program will pay tribute to the men and women of the U.S. Military who have given of their lives to protect the freedoms we all enjoy every day, as well as remember all those lost to this current unseen enemy of COVID-19. The day itself is sacred and veterans need no reminder of the reason for it, but what about the general public, and more importantly the next generations? It is requested that everyone remember and show their support of our military past, present and future.

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