The Mountain Press ■ Sevier County’s Daily Newspaper ■ Vol. 25, No. 301 ■ October 28, 2009 ■ www.themountainpress.com ■ 50 Cents Wednesday Walden’s center to get cinema INSIDE Work on 5-screen theater could begin next month, open in May By DEREK HODGES Staff Writer 5Get ready for a fright Cult film star Sid Haig to appear at Ripley’s Haunted Adventure Local, Page A3 PIGEON FORGE — It looks like local residents will have a new option for going to the movies come spring after Pigeon Forge Planning Commission members unanimously approved a site plan that will change the face of Walden’s Landing. The proposal calls for locating a movie theater in the Parkway shopping center. Developer Ned Vickers, who could not attend Tuesday’s Planning Commission session because he was at a trade show for cinema owners, told The Mountain Press he plans to open five screens by May with construction possibly starting next month. There is a potential for expansion to nine screens. “This theater’s meant to draw a couple hundred thousand people each year, and we’ve had a feasibility study done that shows we can expect that,” Vickers said by phone. “We’ve had a great response so far. I’ve never had a project that was so positively received.” At the beginning of the year, things weren’t looking so good for the idea. At one time Vickers, who works for Holrob Investments, was in talks with a company that hoped to open a dinner theater in the middle of the complex where a miniature golf course now sits. Several tenants protested the idea and one even filed suit, saying the construction would block views of their businesses. Since then, Vickers has settled the lawsuit and revamped the plans. The current proposal calls for locating the movie theater at the back of the shopping center in six suites that have traditionally been hard to fill. See cinema, Page A5 ‘He cheered us up when we were sad’ Boyds Creek remembers special dog 5Celebrities in the news Springsteen cancels Kansas City show due to death in family Page A6 Weather Today Partly Cloudy High: 70° Tonight Partly Cloudy Low: 47° DETAILS, Page A6 Obituaries Ruby Prince, 73 Elaine Myslak, 80 Virginia Caustic, 67 Mary Ogle, 75 DETAILS, Page A4 Index Local & State . . . . . A1-6 Calendar . . . . . . . . . . A3 Nation . . . . . . . . . . A5-10 Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . . . A7 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . A8-9 World . . . . . . . . . . . . A10 Money . . . . . . . . . . . A10 Classifieds . . . . . . A10-13 Advice . . . . . . . . . . . A14 Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . A14 Corrections James Lee Parton had not just been released from an alcohol treatment program the day he was involved in an accident that took the life of Ray Reynolds, Parton’s daughter said Tuesday in response to a guest column by Ray Reynolds’ widow that was published in the Tuesday edition. He was scheduled to begin a treatment program the day after the accident. Parton was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in connection with the 2000 fatality and is due to be paroled this year. The Mountain Press is glad to set the record straight. By ELLEN BROWN Staff Writer Around 80 students at Boyds Creek Elementary School honored the memory of search and rescue dog Cherokee on Monday morning, which was just more than a year after his death. The students, who gathered around a red maple tree planted in remembrance of Cherokee, had read to the dog every week as second-graders in Mary Clark’s class. It was part of the HABIT program — “Human Animal Bond in Tennessee” — in which the school had participated for five years. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your teachers letting you come today,” Clark told the children. “I have learned that an animal’s presence can truly change the way you feel. When Cherokee entered the classroom, everyone calmed down. Curt Habraken/The Mountain Press Boyds Creek Elementary School second-grade teacher Mary Clark, holding red folder, talks about the impact of having Cherokee visit the school had on the students. He cheered us up when we were feeling sad.” HABIT volunteer Anne Hayward had noticed the program was being done in schools throughout the country before she helped bring HABIT to Sevier County. “We thought, ‘Why can’t we do this?’” she said. “The dogs are always thoroughly evaluated for the HABIT program, but they’re even further evaluated for the reading program. They have to be good with children. “Cherokee was one of the first dogs we put into the classroom. One of the reasons he was so memorable is because he knew exactly what to do. He would put his head in your lap while you read to him. This dog was remarkable in every way.” Raised as a leader dog for the blind, Cherokee was diagnosed with a potential problem with one elbow, so he was redirected to serve in the HABIT program. “He was wonderful See dog, Page A4 Paws with a cause: Miss Ellie cutest dog contest semifinalist By ELLEN BROWN Staff Writer Miss Ellie sponsor Fee and her owner, Dawn Goehring, have promised to donate the $1 million to the Sevier County Humane Society if their pooch takes first The Comedy Barn Theater’s Miss Ellie, place. winner of the pedigree division of the “This has been a community effort, and World’s Ugliest Dog Competition, has landed a spot among 11 other semifinalists we are so grateful to everyone,” said Jayne in the All American Pet Brands Cutest Dog Vaughn, Sevier County Humane Society director. “If Miss Ellie wins, the entire comCompetition. munity will benefit.” “Miss Ellie has the most votes of all the Vaughn and Goehring filmed a video semifinalists,” said David Fee, Comedy Barn co-owner. “We will be shocked if she’s about the shelter’s financial needs titled “Miss Ellie Humane Society Mission” on not in the top four. But to get to the grand www.youtube.com. Viewers can see the prize, we’ll need extra support from the peeling paint, leaking ceilings and cages community.” that have to be hand-tied shut because The top four semi-finalists will be there are not enough funds to repair the announced on All American Pet Brands’ Curt Habraken/The Mountain Press cages. Web site on Nov. 12. The $1 million The Comedy Barn’s Miss Ellie received the most grand prize winner will be announced on votes of all the semifinalists in the All American See contest, Page A4 Thanksgiving Day. Pet Brands Cutest Dog Competition.