2023 KACL Classes and End-of-Term Field Trip

KACL Class Descriptions, Spring 2023

March 14 – April 21

Tuesday 10 a.m. – Noon

March 14: Historic Scotland (Continued). Gene and Mary Ellen Eubank will continue the epic saga of a two-week tour of historic and very scenic Scotland. A look at some of the bloody and brilliant history of the Scots. (Join KACL for coffee and cake on the first day of class, as we celebrate our 30th anniversary!)

March 21: Travel by Train. Dave Petke’s presentation will feature his photography from recent train travel trips, north, south, east and west, relying on his own digital photographs and supplemental images from the internet due to his 35 mm slides misplaced in the move to a new home. Worldwide, travel by train is very common. Not so in the United States and Canada. Yet, Amtrak in the U.S. and Via Rail in Canada offer some wonderful ways to see the countries from a different perspective than by car or airplane.

March 28: The Dead Sea Scrolls Research. Travis Williams, professor of religion, Tusculum University. He will present his research on the New Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Travis has published numerous books and articles in these areas, including History and Memory in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Remembering the Teacher of Righteousness (Cambridge University Press, 2019) and The Dead Sea Scrolls in Ancient Media Culture (Brill, 2023). The Dead Sea Scrolls have profoundly shaped modern perspectives on ancient Judaism and early Christianity. Even though this collection of texts does not mention Jesus, it provides unique insight into His teaching and ministry. This lecture will explore the radical nature of Jesus’ message of the kingdom of God in light of what the Scrolls reveal about ancient views on ritual purity.

April 4: Decision Making in Life-A Calculus. Mike Stewart has a lifetime of experiences with Decision Making, some good, some not so good. Join Mike as he provides an overview of the framework he has developed for individual and group decision making. This framework is the result of 28 years military service, a further 15 years of industry experience, and the last six years of presenting, discussing, and refining this framework. He will include life’s domains: physical, mental, moral/spiritual, and financial. Scenarios and stories from Mike’s experience and hopefully some of yours will be explored.

April 11: Scottish/Scots-Irish Influences Upon Appalachia. Ted Olson, associate professor of Appalachian Studies, ETSU. He will demonstrate the influence Scottish/Scots-Irish have had on the Appalachian Region.

April 18: Autism, Challenges and Opportunities. Jo Cullen, executive director, The Jeremiah School. This program will be an overview of what autism is, its impact on school age children, and the challenges it presents going forward in to adulthood, particularly when trying to find employment. She will then talk about Jeremiah School, its mission and vision, programs and plans for the future.

Wednesday 10 a.m. – Noon

March 15: Historic Scotland (Continued). Gene and Mary Ellen Eubank will conclude the epic saga of a two-week tour of historic and very scenic Scotland.

March 22: The Dark Ages, The European Tipping Point. Lisa Rolen grew up in the shadows of Ancient Rome in North Africa between Leptis Magna and Sabratha, in the ancient city of Oea, modern day Tripoli. She will show how the early Middle Ages came to be and its food history legacy. Until recently, the “Dark Ages” referred to the European economic and cultural upheavals that took place from about 400 -1000 CE. And it’s an unpopular term these days. But the “Dark Ages” were dark, literally. The darkness was the result of a dramatic climate event. That very real darkness was a tipping point which changed the European continent forever. The Roman Empire sputtered out, finally coming to an end and the transition to the “new-and-improved” Holy Roman Empire began. Food ways were retooled and cultural hierarchies were reimagined. In the midst of all this change, a new religion was born in the Arabian Peninsula. It went viral, sweeping across North Africa into Spain bringing its food ways and intellectual capital with it. These events changed the course of western European history.

March 29: Tennessee Donor Services. Nick Shepherd, external affairs coordinator. When you sign up to give life through Donate Life Tennessee (online or through the DMV), your wishes will be carried out by Tennessee Donor Services.  Learn more about the donation process.

April 5: Boone Lake Association. Frank Hahne, CEO. The Boone Lake Association (BLA) is one of the oldest established environmental groups in the state of Tennessee. It was formed in 1983 to oversee the water quality of Boone Lake. Why is there a need for such an organization? Boone Lake is the most used lake for its size in the TVA chain. It is surrounded by five municipalities, three of which discharge wastewater into the lake or its tributaries. Boone Lake has an unusually large watershed for its size spanning over 600 square miles. There are over 600 streams and tributaries that feed Boone Lake.

April 12: Parallels and Divergences: The Lives and Literature of Truman Capote and Harper Lee. Frequent KACL speaker Fred Sauceman, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and history and a Master of Arts degree in English from ETSU, will examine the lives and literary works of these two contrasting giants of Southern literature. They were childhood pals in the small town of Monroeville, Alabama, and they would go on to reach the top of the literary world, as two of the most celebrated authors of the 20th century. Truman Capote and Harper Lee dictated stories to each other when they were in elementary school and typed them up on a typewriter given to them by Lee’s father, Amasa Coleman Lee. Yet as adults and as accomplished writers, they were decidedly different. Capote’s output of novels, novellas and short stories was prolific. Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960 and wouldn’t publish again for 55 years, when Go Set a Watchman appeared, seven months before her death. Capote sought the limelight, making regular appearances on late-night television shows, dancing at New York’s Studio 54, and publicly feuding with fellow writers like Gore Vidal. Lee protected her privacy, even after To Kill a Mockingbird brought her international fame. With only a few exceptions, she avoided interviews and strictly limited her public appearances.

April 19: Domtar: Present and Future Operations. Tori Gilliam, training and development leader. Tori will explain and answer any questions about the reconfiguration at the Kingsport Mill and resuming operations after being idle for nearly three years.

Wednesday 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

March 15 – April 19: Great Decisions.  This program, cosponsored with the Friends of the Kingsport Public Library, is held at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education. The series will provide commentary on current topics of international interest and time for guided discussion following each presentation. This program will require purchase of a booklet of background information for $25 (not included in the KACL membership fee).


Register for this class only with Joe Zoeller at kptgreatdecisions@gmail.com and provide your name, email and phone number.  The $25 booklet payment may only be made by check, payable to the “Friends of the Kingsport Public Library.” Purchase booklets: Kingsport Public Library, 400 Broad Street, Kingsport, Tennessee.

The order of topics may change.  Topics include:

  • Iran at the Crossroads (Discussion Leader: Mary Ellen Eubank)

  • China and the United States (Discussion Leader: Gail Preslar)

  • Global Famine (Discussion Leader: Rick Currie)

  • Climate Migration (Discussion Leader: Bob Funke)

  • Energy Geopolitics (Discussion Leader: Leslie Lynch)

  • Economic Warfare (Discussion Leader: Joe Zoeller)

Thursday 10 a.m. – Noon

March 16: SMILE Foster Closet. Rachel Lawson, executive director. Rachel will discuss how this nonprofit organization focuses on the needs of foster children, as well as foster families, kinship, and at-risk families. We are dedicated to supporting foster families that care for children who might otherwise have no place to go. Our team of loving, compassionate volunteers step in to help provide essentials, allowing foster families to focus on what matters most – loving kids and helping put smiles on faces.

March 23: Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. Carl Silverstein, executive director. Carl will discuss what makes our region so crucial for conservation efforts, threats including real estate development pressure, climate change impacts, risks of overuse of fragile habitats like the Highlands of Roan, legal and other tools that can help conserve the mountains, and what individuals can do to help.

March 30: Photographic Journey of an Italian Excursion. Rick Currie, attorney, retired, and photographer. Rick will take us on a visit to the Hidden Villages of Tuscany, Lerici, Bay of Poets, Cinque Terre, Carrara, Mediaeval Hill Towns and Pisa. The Kingsport Times News spotlights many of Rick’s remarkable photos and he is a favorite of KACL audiences.

April 6: Kingsport Fire Marshal-Mission and Operations. Chris Vandergriff, Kingsport fire marshal. Chris will discuss the mission and operations of the Kingsport Fire Department Fire Marshal’s Office, which is to protect the lives and property of the citizens and visitors of the City of Kingsport through code enforcement, public education, plan reviews, fire investigation, training, and food truck inspections.

April 13: Branch House Family Justice Center. Brittany Fleenor, coordinated community response specialist. Brittany will share the history and services of Branch House. The center advocates for and empowers survivors through unified community engagement, education, and collaboration. Branch House is a haven for survivors and offers compassionate support for victims of domestic or sexual violence.

April 20: King’s Port: Gateway to Tennessee. Tom Lee, associate professor of history, ETSU. Tom is a native East Tennessean and specializes in the history of the U. S. South.

FIELD TRIP:  April 21, 10 a.m. 

Cost: $20 per person (Cash only, paid April 21)

Unicoi County Heritage Museum and Catered Lunch

520 Federal Fish Hatchery Road, Erwin, Tennessee


Via Interstate 26, Exit 36

Turn left onto Harris Hollow Road

Turn left onto N. Main Avenue

Turn left onto Federal Fish Hatchery Road

Registration Deadline: Friday, March 17, 2023 at Noon.

Tour the Unicoi County Heritage Museum, housed in a turn-of-the-century home originally built for the superintendent of the National Fish Hatchery in Erwin, which showcases the county’s history in uniquely themed rooms and includes the Clinchfield Railroad Museum adjacent to the Heritage Museum. 

Catered Box Lunch: (Select your preference 1, 2 or 3, when you register)

  1. Chicken Salad Croissant/Chips/Cookie/Bottled Water

  2. Ham and Swiss on Whole Wheat or White/Chips/Cookie/Bottled Water

  3. Chicken Salad over Lettuce/Chips/Cookie/Bottled Water

Reservations are required: call (423) 354-5200 or email baysg@etsu.edu

Registration Deadline: Friday, March 17, 2023 at Noon.

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