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VOL. 5 NO. 10


School board will ‘buy local’ |

March 8, 2017

Fridays are for jammin’

at Carter Senior Center

By Scott Frith

Scott Frith is a local attorney. You can visit his website at

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Songwriter Bobby Johnston (right) and friends get together every month at Carter Senior Center to jam.

By Esther Roberts

Singer Gracie Bruner entertains the crowd.

They were young, enthusiastic fans during the careers of musical legends such as Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley and Irving Berlin. Now young-at-heart and still enthusiastic, the seniors who participate in the weekly Guitar Jam at Carter Senior Center keep the music, and their memories, alive. “The center opened eight years ago,” center coordinator Tara Stirone explains. “One couple, Janice and Cliff Wade, decided

to organize a weekly Guitar Jam shortly after we opened.” “We started with three pickers,” says Janice Wade. “Now, we typically have 20 or more musicians and upwards of 50 in the audience.” Guitar Jam is held every Friday from 2-4 p.m. Any and all seniors are welcome. “If they already play, that’s great,” says Janice, “and, if they don’t play, but want to learn, that’s great, too!” Some of the regular participants, including Bobby Johnston and Ronnie Hughes, introduce their original compositions to an enthusiastic audience. Others, like Sam Fulton, contribute by playing

one or more instruments. Gracie Bruner sings and two-steps, while Herman Hickman dances in his signature red shoes. The performers “pass the mic” so everyone has a turn to play their favorite tunes. The audience is full of folks tapping toes and clapping hands. Some are inspired to dance to a favorite tune. Everyone enjoys the good music and good company. But for the silver hair and wise eyes throughout the center’s multi-purpose room, one can envision a classic high school dance at the gym, complete with the “cool” crowd who slips out a side door to grab a smoke. To page A-3

A new home for Old North Abbey By Carol Z. Shane “Let’s see,” says the Rev. Aaron Wright of Old North Abbey, “there was the house behind Fourth Presbyterian. Then there was Fourth Presbyterian. Then there were other houses, then we were above the KARM store, then we were at First Presbyterian.” Wright ticks off all the locations that Old North Abbey, part of the Anglican Church in North America, has inhabited in its seven years in Knoxville. Those days of wandering are over, however, with the congregation’s arrival this month at their permanent home on Fairmont Boulevard, where they held their first service on Feb. 19. “We don’t know what we’re going to do with

all this space!” says Wright. “We’ve always been pretty nomadic.” Already in the close-to-10,000square-feet building there are brightly painted, neatly planned children’s rooms. The sanctuary has been stripped of carpet and the window shutters are gone, flooding the room with light. Wright points out some changes that will occur in the altar area; steps and partitions will be removed in order to create a more open space with better flow for formal observances throughout the liturgical year. He’s thrilled to be able at last to create a space for the ritual-filled Anglican services from which he and his parishioners derive great comfort and strength in their beliefs.

“There’s a discipline and a rhythm that gives us the freedom to live into our faith,” he says. “We follow the story of Jesus. We practice comAaron Wright munion and feetwashing; it allows people to step into Jesus’ world for a little bit. And I think to participate in that story is good for us as humans – it’s a story that’s bigger than us.” Wright grew up in Knoxville and attended Karns High School but then left for seminary in Indiana. He met his wife, Brenna, when he was pastoring a church

in Kansas and returned to Knoxville in 2010 as a co-founder of the church he now serves. The Wrights have two children – Phoebe, 4, and Shepherd, 1. When Old North bought the building last November, it also inherited three upright pianos, a full kitchen and hundreds of coat hooks. “Sometimes we think just coats came to church here,” Wright jokes. “They’re everywhere.” But he admits it’s a happy predicament. “Part of our story is that we’ve been so thankful for churches allowing us to use their space,” he says, “but it’s been great to see the parish come through and live together.” Info: 865-214-7610 or visit

Will rezoning bring resegregation? By Betty Bean While some worry that the proposed middle school rezoning plan will undo years of desegregation efforts and land Knox County Schools in federal court, the two players most likely to be on opposite sides of the courtroom look at the issue from very different perspectives, but do not seem overly concerned about that possibility – for now. “This (plan) is a good first step, as far as it goes,” said NAACP president John Butler, who filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights after the agreement to build a new Gibbs Middle School was unveiled.

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Knox County Law Director Bud Armstrong said desegregation was not the primary purpose of the 1991 rezoning plan that closed schools and bused inner city kids to distant parts of the county. He cited a 1991 opinion by U.S. District Court Judge Leon Jordan that found no evidence of intentional discrimination by Knox County Schools. Jordan said the only question the court could ask was “whether the motivation in adopting the plan was invidious discrimination on the basis of race, and the Court finds that there was not.” Armstrong said: “They did not close Gibbs and move them to Holston Middle School because

those schools were segregated. Conversely, if they reopen Gibbs, it won’t be to resegregate those schools.” Whether intended or not, the rezoning will result in some schools having a higher percentage of African-Americans while others have lower. To paraphrase former school board chair Sam Anderson: We can be sure black kids are treated fairly when they are sitting next to a white kid and both are treated the same. That’s what the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1954 (Brown vs. The Board of Education): “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Are we entering the post-Brown era?


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Knox County has built new schools in recent years only in predominantly white communities. “Now that you are zoning (minority students) back in, we need to Armstrong have facilities and staffs looked at and steps taken to eliminate inequity,” said Butler. He wants new, state-of-the-art middle and high schools staffed with faculties who understand the needs of minority students. He will not withdraw the complaint, even after Buzz Thomas, interim superintendent, asked him to do so.

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The Knox County Board of Education is picking a new superintendent, and some are surprised that both finalists are from East Tennessee. Don’t be. Political trends swing like a penduScott Frith lum. When looking for new leadership, folks often go in the opposite direction. Not convinced? The best local example may be in the county mayor’s office. Remember those feuds between Dwight Kessel and Victor Ashe? By 1994, voters grew tired of the bickering and elected Tommy Schumpert on the promise of peace. For the most part, Schumpert succeeded. Yet, as he finished a second term, some viewed his “getting along” and calm demeanor as not aggressive enough in promoting economic development. They looked to then-County Commissioner Mike Ragsdale, who possessed enough charisma and sound bites to fill the entire City County Building. Ragsdale was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006. But then, voters elected Tim Burchett, who couldn’t be more different. Think Lexus sedan vs. beat-up Jeep Cherokee; tailored suits vs. a brown Carhartt jacket. You get the idea. The same pattern emerges with the superintendent of schools. State law changed in 1992 to require school board appointment of superintendents. In 1999, our board picked Charles Q. Lindsay, a Mississippi native best remembered for relocating principals and getting directly involved in the messy politics of school board campaigns. Lindsay left in 2007. The next year, the board hired Jim McIntyre, an education technocrat, whose roots in Boston (and lack of political skill) couldn’t have been more different from Lindsay’s southern drawl and political brawling. McIntyre left last year. And now the school board appears to be buying local. Finalists are Bob Thomas (assistant superintendent since 1990) and Dale Lynch (superintendent of Hamblen County Schools since 2001). Thomas is the favorite to win. Do not be surprised. Both are the opposite of McIntyre.

A-2 • MArch ShoPPer -NewS arch 8, 8,2017 2017 •• PNowell orth/E ast Shopper news

health & lifestyles

Surviving spring allergies While the sunshine is refreshing, one thing that the spring season brings is not welcomed. Allergies are perhaps one of the most underdiagnosed problems in America today, and in East Tennessee in particular. When looking at yearly published lists of the worst allergy cities in the United States, many cities in East Tennessee are at the top of the list. Even though allergies in our area are common, appropriate diagnosis and treatment of them is no easy task. It is important to identify what is causing an allergic reaction to develop effective allergy management. In many cases, patients are not receiving the best treatment. “There are many people who have been tested and treated with shot therapy for 10 to 15 years who are still suffering from symptoms,” says Fort Sanders Regional ear,

nose and throat physician Mark Gurley. He assures that using different types of testing results in forming the best treatment plan for allergy sufferers.

Allergy symptoms

■ Fatigue – although most people do not realize it, fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of allergies and ofFort Sanders Regional ear, nose and throat physicians Mark Gurley, MD, William Merwin, MD, Clyde Mathison, MD and Leonten results in diminished ard Brown, MD work to manage patients’ allergies on a case-by-case basis to discover effective treatments for each individual. academic or work performance. skin prick. This test is equal in sensitivity to to which they react. This allows the body to ■ Itching or rash eventually recognize the offending allergen ■ Runny nose: Clear nasal drainage is a the RAST test. ■ Intra-Dermal is a less common as a normal part of the environment, rather common report with allerform of allergy testing where a small than as an attacking entity. gies. ■ Restless sleep patterns: amount of the suspected allergen is placed ■ Antihistamines: Histamines are just Dust or feather allergies can just beneath the patient’s skin. The skin one of many substances released during an flare up due to the exposure is then examined for any reactions. This allergic reaction. They are usually associattest is more sensitive than either RAST or ed with swelling, redness and itching. Antito an allergen in your bed. Multi-test. ■ Itchy, watery eyes histamines prevent or counter the release ■ IDT (intra-dermal titration) is ■ Gastrointestinal disand effects of histamines. tress: Allergies can cause where an actual level of response to an al■ Steroids: Topical steroids are creams nausea, irritable bowel symp- lergen is obtained, similar to RAST, but the used on the skin to reduce itching, redness patient is directly tested with a suspected toms or diarrhea. allergen as described in the intra-dermal and rashes. Nasal steroids are administered method. This is arguably the most accurate in a nose spray and are used to decrease irTypes of testing ritation and reaction in the nose and ears. In■ RAST is a safe, simple method of diagnosing inhaled allergies, the haled steroids are administered through an kind most commonly associated with upper blood test with no risk of alinhaler or nebulizer to reduce inflammation respiratory symptoms. lergen exposure to the paand reactions in the lungs. Systemic steroids tient. All testing is done in are given by injection, mouth or intravenousAllergy treatments a laboratory where the pa■ Avoidance: In some instances avoid- ly and are usually reserved for recalcitrant or tient’s blood is exposed to ance of the offending allergen may be all severe allergic reactions. different allergens. If you are suffering from allergies and Do some old-fashioned spring cleaning. The ■ Multi-test is a common that is needed. In all allergy cases, avoidlack of fresh air during the winter allows dust to need treatment from an ear, nose and test performed by placing ance is recommended. collect in corners and closets. ■ Allergy desensitization: Shots, throat physician, visit drops of allergen serum on the patient’s skin and expos- sub-lingual drops or other methods of grad- findaphysician to locate a physician at Fort Make your bed an allergy-free zone. Use the ing the patient with a small ual exposure of the patient to the allergens Sanders Regional.

Preparing for

SPRING SPRING ALLERGIES! ALLERGIES! 10 Tips to Help You Combat Sniffles this Season


hot cycle to wash your bedding and, if you are severely allergic, buy special allergen-proof pillows, mattresses and box springs that have tight fabric weaves to keep out dust mites.


Wash towels and linens in hot water.

Use the air conditioner when you’re in a car. Riding with the windows down lets allergens blow into the vehicle.



Don’t smoke, and insist that smokers in your household smoke outside the house and car. If you or someone you know wants to quit smoking, visit

Consider designating certain rooms in your house as “pet-free” areas where you can breathe easily.



Buy throw rugs even if you have carpeted rooms. Throw rugs will help the carpet stay allergen free.

Minimize clutter in order to minimize the dust in your house.




Buy a dehumidifier. Dust mites don’t do well in humidity below 45 percent.

Mark your calendars for the 2017 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon events – and lace up your running shoes! The races are set for Saturday, April 1 (5K race and the popular Covenant Kids Run) and Sunday, April 2 (half-marathon, two- and fourperson relays and full marathon). The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon has grown to become the largest competitive road race in East Tennessee. As in previous years, all races will have an exciting finish on the 50-yard line inside Neyland Stadium. For many, it is the thrill of seeing themselves on the JumboTron as they cross the finish line that

inspires them to participate in the events. But the best reward may be what runners gain by the entire experience. Proceeds from the marathon benefit the Knoxville Track Club’s youth athletic program and Covenant’s Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center Innovative Recreation Cooperative (IRC), which encourages people with disabilities to pursue leisure and sports activities. To learn more or to register, go to www.knoxvillemarathon .com. Covenant Health employees may get 50 percent off the registration fee by using the entry code COVENANT2017.



Install new air filters or invest in an air purifier.

Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon races set for April 1-2

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North/East Shopper news • March 8, 2017 • A-3

Seven Islands State Birding Park is East Knox asset As a young adult from Northport, Long Island, with no concrete plans for a career, Justine Cucchiara had no idea that someday she’d end up loving her job as lands manager of Seven Islands State Birding Park, now part of the Tennessee State Park System.

Carol Z. Shane

The route that got her there was circuitous, but Cucchiara firmly believes she’s right where she should be. “I want to make sure that people continue to connect with nature. Being able to share that exuberance and fascination with it is important to me.” With a lifelong affinity for water and wildlife, she lived aboard a 37-foot sailboat for several years based out of Beaufort, N.C., and worked as an observer for the state’s marine fisheries. “That’s how I first became interested in natural resource management,” she says. After that, she moved inland to Asheville but, as

a lifelong flatlander, underestimated the impact of moving to the mountains. A Craigslist ad from Beardsley Farm led her to East Tennessee to teach aquaponic farming to at-risk kids. “I made more friends in two weeks in Knoxville than I’d made in eight months in Asheville,” she says. She also decided to pursue a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Tennessee, but “I got in the wrong line,” she says. She was loaded onto a bus and taken to the UT agriculture campus, where she ended up in the office of Dr. Richard Strange, a professor in the department of forestry, wildlife and fisheries. Cucchiara decided that would do just fine. She ended up earning her bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fishery science with a minor in forestry. Along the way, she says, “I made a pest of myself” in pursuing a position with CAC AmeriCorps – a ninemonth term with Legacy Parks Foundation at Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge. “I served two of those terms and then they kept me on, creating a position for me as science research coordinator.” When the refuge became

Justine Cucchiara, lands manager for Seven Islands State Birding Park

a state park, Cucchiara underwent 14 weeks of training in law enforcement to qualify for park ranger status. She was promoted to assistant lands manager, and then awarded the plum: lands manager, which includes a residence on the property. Now she’s working toward a master’s degree in habitat restoration and management. “I get really focused on the park and it becomes my whole world sometimes,” she says. “Going back to school is good for me.” One new project she especially wants people to know about is the Wild Yards Garden, which showcases native plants and offers information about how to turn your property into a sustainable, bird-centric wildlife habitat. As you might imagine, it goes way beyond hanging out the feeder. But it’s not only desirable, it’s doable. “It’s important that, as leaders, we continue to make parks relevant and important to individuals. I am responsible for this little piece of dirt,” Cucchiara says of the Seven Islands’ 416 acres. “That is my mission and I have accepted it!”

Photo submitted

Jammin’ at the Carter Senior Center Yet these seniors are gifted with a grounded realism that only comes with faith and time. They join as one voice to sing “Amazing Grace” and “Beyond the River” with a matter-offactness that is both poignant and profound. The self-awareness that there are more decades behind them than before them is apparent as they sing, and yet their zest for living is inspiring and infectious. Perhaps with age comes the

keynote of wisdom sought by so many people much younger: the wisdom to live – truly live – in the “now.” Stirone adores her clients with an affection that is genuine. “We provide services, such as computer classes and a fitness center, to more than 2,000 seniors here,” she explains, “and my staff and I love them like family. The hardest part of this job is when one of our clients passes away.” In addition to the weekly

spring 2017 Songwriter Ronnie Hughes (at left) sings original material at Carter Senior Center’s monthly guitar jams. Sam Fulton (at right) has taught himself to play numerous instruments, including the banjo. Photos by Esther Roberts

COMMUNITY NOTES ■■ Alice Bell Spring Hill Neighborhood Association. Info: Ronnie Collins, 865-637-9630. ■■ Beaumont Community Organization. Info: Natasha Murphy, 865-936-0139. ■■ Belle Morris Community Action Group. Info: bellemorris. com or Rick Wilen, 865-5245008. ■■ Chilhowee Park Neighborhood Association. Info: Paul Ruff, 865-696-6584. ■■ Edgewood Park Neighborhood Association. Info: ■■ Excelsior Lodge No. 342. Info: Bill Emmert, 865-9336032 or ■■ Family Community Education-Carter Club. Info: Anne Winstead, 865-933-5821.

Guitar Jam, the CSC hosts a monthly potluck supper, monthly café-and-matinee, quilting groups, yoga classes and special events such as the annual Turkey Trot. The Carter Senior Center is at 9040 Asheville Highway and is open MondayFriday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Any Knox County resident over age 50 can enjoy any benefit provided by the CSC free of charge. For more information: seniors

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■■ First District Democrats. Info: Harold Middlebrook, haroldmiddlebrook@gmail. com; Mary Wilson, ■■ Historic Fourth & Gill Neighborhood Organization. Info: Liz Upchurch, 865-898-1809, ■■ Inskip Community Association. Info: Betty Jo Mahan, 865-679-2748 or ■■ Oakwood Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association. Info: Bill Hutton, 865-773-5228 or ■■ Old North Knoxville, 6:30 p.m. each second Monday, St. James Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 1101 N. Broadway. ■■ Parkridge Community Organization. Info: Jennifer

Montgomery, citywhippet@ ■■ Second District Democrats. Info: Rick Staples, 865-3853589 or funnyman1@comic. com.

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■■ Thorn Grove Rebekah Lodge No. 13. Info: Mary Jo Poole, 865-599-7698 or ■■ Town Hall East. Info: Eston Williams, 865-406-5412 or; info. ■■ Town Hall East Neighborhood Association. Info: townhalleast@gmail. com. ■■ Send changes in this list or new announcements to News@ShopperNewsNow. com

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A-4 • MARCH 8, 2017 • NORTH/EAST Shopper news

First kids who were brats! Green celebrates magnet schools month with expo By Kip Oswald My mom has called all of us Oswald kids brats at one time or another, but in researching about the “first kids,” I found some real brats! This week, I will tell you about Tad Lincoln and the Roosevelt boys and their f r iends known as Kip the White House Gang! Thomas “Tad” Lincoln was the youngest of the four sons of President Abraham Lincoln. He was called Tad because he reminded his father of a tadpole with his large head and small, squirming body. Tad was 7 when his father was elected president, and he became known for his pranks in the White House. He did things like ring all the White House bells at the same time and set up a toll gate for anyone wanting to see his father. Because he was in the White House during the Civil War, he played war games, built a fort on top of the White House and followed the soldiers who stood guard around the house. The soldiers even

allowed him to fire their guns, and he had a special uniform and sword, as well as a pretend military post at the White House. Tad Lincoln took it so seriously, he ordered extra guns for the servants, trained them in how to use them, and then replaced the real soldiers who were on duty. When he went to bed, the President found the real soldiers and put them back on post. Quentin Roosevelt was just 4 years old when he came to live in the White House for the eight years his father, Theodore Roosevelt, was president. He had two sisters, three brothers and a lot of friends. In fact, this group became known as The White House Gang, and their pranks were quite famous. I already told you about when Quentin and his friends wanted to make his brother Archie feel better. They took their pony into the White House elevator. They also dropped snowballs off the roof of the White House onto patrolling policemen and threw spitballs at the portraits of the earlier presidents. After Mom read about these kids, she said that maybe we didn’t have any brats in our house after all! Send comments to oswaldsworldtn@

In celebration of Magnet Schools Month and Black History Month, Green Magnet Academy opened its doors to the community for an expo featuring student work and a wax museum. The wax museum featured students portraying African-Americans who made an impact on history, including Barack Obama, Maya Angelou, Mae Jameson, Ella Fitzgerald and George Washington Carver. Each student was required to research a person, create an outfit to represent and share their findings with parents and students during the expo.

Ruth White

Hallways were lined with student work to show parents and guests how different grades teach and how the students learn. Some of the displays included a weather station, water rockets, wind energy, earthquake towers and “say cheese,” which involved student-created paper mouths filled with teeth used for reinforcing basic math skills.

Aya Vanlandingham portrays Mae Jameson, the first AfricanAmerican woman to travel into space, Sept. 12, 1992.

Anna Belle Burnett chose Sadie T.M. Alexander as the person she researched for the GMA wax museum. Alexander Ladarrell Miller did an excel- was the first African-American lent job sharing facts about woman to receive a law dethe 44th president of the gree from the University of United States, Barack Obama. Pennsylvania Law School.

Sophie Burnett portrayed Maya Angelou at the Green Magnet Academy expo in celebration of Magnet Schools Month. Photos by Ruth White







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North/East Shopper news • March 8, 2017 • A-5

The marble king Jim Tumblin

of the River and became its president, with George W. Ross as secretary-treasurer. Ross’s son, John M. Ross, succeeded Patrick in 1886 but eventually sold to the W.H. Evans Co. Perhaps the most interesting of all the companies was established in 1878 by John J. Craig (1820-1892). Over the years it eventually morphed into John J. Craig Co. and its subsidiary Candoro Marble Works, where the marble was finished and artists such as the Italianborn sculptor Albert Milani (1892–1977) created elegant monuments. The patriarch of the family was succeeded in the business by his son John J. Craig Jr. (1860-1904) and then by his grandson John J. Craig III (1885-1944). With quarries near Friendsville and Concord, as well as in South Knoxville, the company became the foremost producer of pink Tennessee marble by the early 1900s. Born in Lauderdale

News from Office of Register of Deeds

Mixed results in February By Sherry Witt On the heels of a redhot start to 2017, local real estate and lending markets cooled off a bit in February. For the month that Witt ended Feb. 28, there were 774 property transfers recorded in Knox County. While that number bested both January and last February’s totals, there was a substantial decrease in the value of properties sold. The aggregate value of land transferred during the month was $155.6 million, which was about $73 million less than January’s total, and nearly $25 million behind the pace set during February 2016. With only 19 business days on the calendar, February suffered from a lack of sizeable commercial transactions. Coming in the middle of winter, February is traditionally the

slowest month of the year for real estate activity. Increases in federal rates had an effect on mortgage lending, as only about $221.9 million was borrowed against real estate in Knox County, compared to almost $280 million in February of last year. Last month’s total also fell well short of the $314 million loaned in January. The largest real estate sale recorded in February involved multiple lots in the Hardin Valley community in a development known as Hayden Hill subdivision. The properties sold for $4.24 million. The largest mortgage loan of record was a construction Deed of Trust in the amount of $7 million filed on real estate in a commercial development off Merchants Road on Merchants Center Boulevard. It remains to be seen whether February’s activity will be a trend or just a brief aberration in what has been a stellar 12-18 months for the local markets.

County, Ala., on Sept. 20, 1820, John James Craig came to Knoxville in 1839. He married Mary C. Lyon, whose home was on what became Lyons View Pike. Craig began his career as cashier of the Union Bank and, in 1858, began construction of an impressive mansion on 11 acres that now are a part of the University of Tennessee campus. He called it Lucknow, but it eventually became Melrose. The house was almost completed when the Civil War broke out, and Craig sold out and moved to Cincinnati. The family, including the three children who grew to maturity, W.L., John J. Jr. and Mary, returned to Knoxville in 1869. Many more generations of John J. Craigs have continued to make the company a strong presence in the industry for over 125 years. John J. Craig IV and John J. Craig V continued until recent times to serve as officers in the business. In 1926, John J. Craig III, like his grandfather, built an elegant mansion.

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His was called Craiglen and was located on Westland Drive, featuring Tennessee marble throughout. It has been called the most elaborate and beautifully detailed of all the Barberdesigned homes. Patterned after a palazzo in Florence, Italy, it has two wings connected by a loggia with six sets of Palladian doors. Several terraces provide views of two acres of gardens and woodlands with exedra, ponds and herb gardens. The marble columns, walls, ceilings and floors provide a museum-like example of the beauty of Tennessee marble. Locally, the Craigs provided marble for the U.S. Post Office on Main, the State Office Building on Cumberland, the Criminal Court Building on Gay and interior marble for some of UT’s buildings. Several Washington, D.C., buildings were also constructed with marble from the Craig quarries: Smithsonian Museum of History and Technology, AFL-CIO Headquarters, Australian Chancery and, most notably, some of the stone for the National Gallery of Art, at one time the largest marble building in the world.

U-Haul Company of Tennessee has added Brian Sandefur at AA Pawn & Title Loan as a neighborhood dealer. AA Pawn & Title Loan, 1824 E. Magnolia Blvd., will offer U-Haul trucks, trailers, towing equipment, support rental items and instore pick-up for boxes. Hours of operation for U-Haul rentals are 10 a.m.6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. After-hours drop-off is available for customer convenience. Info/reservations: 865521-0992

Albert Milani (1892-1977). The Italian-born master sculptor is probably working on the American eagles used on the U.S. Post Office Building between Main and Cumberland. Photograph courtesy of the East Tennessee Historical Society

Rock of Ages

East Tennessee’s Marble Industry Through May 14, 2017 East Tennessee marble is prized the world over. There are only two months left to visit the exhibit that describes the industry that launched the stone’s fame and crowned Knoxville as the Marble City! The marble industry was once an important sector of East Tennessee’s economy. Beginning in the mid-1800s, demand for East Tennessee marble increased, it being sourced for the interiors and exteriors of homes, businesses and government buildings in Tennessee and across the country.  Occurring in a vein in what is called the Holston Formation, Tennessee marble is actually a type of crystalline limestone. It resembles marble when polished, and architects and builders cherish its pinkishgray color. It also occurs in gray, dark burgundy (“cedar”) and some variegated shades. Visit the exhibit at the East Tennessee Historical Society Museum at 601 S. Gay St. (across from the Tennessee Theatre). M-F: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. • Sat: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. • Sun: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m., 865-215-8830. Exhibit closes Sunday, May 14, 2017.

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Cotton had once been king and the railroads had dominated for a time but, by the late 1880s, another industry had assumed a major role in East Tennessee’s economy. Knoxville became a leader in the marble industry, and the industry was so big that Knoxville became known as Marble City. Although the first extensive developments were in Hawkins County, shipments from Knoxville via the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad were three times as great by 1881. There were 11 quarries operating in Knox County by 1882, and 300 workers were employed. By 1906, it was estimated that the county’s marble industry generated $1 million annually. The pioneer marble company in East Tennessee was in Rogersville (Hawkins County). Founded in 1838 by S.D. Mitchell and Orville Rice and operating as the Rogersville Marble Co., its quarry provided marble for interior furnishings such as floors, doors and mantelpieces. By 1850, its water-powered finishing machinery was used to produce monuments and tombstones. In 1873, William Patrick founded the Knoxville Marble Co. near the Forks

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last words Sickness or sin?

Neighbors battle over mental health facility Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones want to divert nonviolent, misdemeanor offenders with mental health issues to a 24-bed urgent care center for psychiatric treatment rather than take them to jail. Burchett has patched together a funding package through partnerships with Helen Ross McNabb Center, the state and the city of Knoxville. Officials, starting with then-Atty. Gen. Randy Nichols, have worked eight years on this, and now it’s at risk of blowing apart. A crucial use-on-review vote comes before MPC on Thursday. I’ve written more on this for the Karns edition, which you can read online, but last week’s public meet-

Sandra Clark ing was mind-bending. After a mother told of her son’s adult-onset schizophrenia, a man stood to say, “It’s not a ‘sick’ problem, it’s a ‘sin’ problem.” He said offenders should go to jail and added that we’re just becoming too soft. It’s probably the first time Tim Burchett has been called “soft.” Neighbors have legitimate concerns about the location of such a facility, but surely no one in 2017 can question the need and the moral imperative for it. Let’s build this center.

John Butler to run for City Council Knoxville NAACP president Dr. John A. Butler will be a candidate for City Council in this year’s elections. Butler is presiding elder of the Knoxville District, AME Zion Church, and pastor of Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church in Mechanicsville. He will contend for the district seat now held by Daniel Brown, one of five termlimited incumbents who will step aside in December. John Butler In 2015, Butler filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Knox County Schools demanding better facilities and more representative faculties in inner city schools. “I am offering myself to serve as the advocate for District 6,” said Butler. “I want to advocate for District 6 and for other parts of the city.” Butler, who served on the Asheboro, N.C., school board before coming to Knoxville with his wife, Donna, and their three children in 2007, was a captain in the U.S. Army National Guard/Army Reserve and holds three earned degrees. He chairs the FAITH Coalition (which aims to reduce HIV and AIDS) and volunteers with Knoxville Save Our Sons Advisory Committee, Beck Cultural Exchange Center, Great Schools Part-

A-6 • March 8, 2017 • North/East Shopper news

Tennessee track stuck in reverse Speaking of athletics directors, did you spot Dave Hart at the bus stop, waiting for Tennessee’s one-man track team to come home from the Southeastern Conference indoor championships? It is understandable if the departing director was busy elsewhere. His reconstruction plan for the once famous Volunteer program isn’t going very well. But for Christian Coleman, it wouldn’t be going at all. The junior sprinter scored 18.25 points, about the same as all other UT track and field athletes, men and women, combined. Coleman, relay reserve at the Rio Olympics, won the SEC 60, was second in the 200 and ran a leg on an eighth-place relay team. Others boosted the scoring total to 23.5 points, bad enough for 10th place, far, far behind real track teams. Tennessee women were worse. They scored 13.5 points and finished 12th. Hart’s choice to rebuild the track program, Beth Alford-Sullivan, is in her third year as director. Her results are much like her predecessor’s, the honorable J.J. Clark. He got fired – after his people recruited Coleman.

Coleman was virtually hidden at Our Lady of Mercy, a small Catholic school on Evander Holyfield Highway outside Fayetteville, Ga. At 5-9 and 159, he considered himself a very fast defensive back and wide receiver with an invitation to continue football at 1-AA Valparaiso University. Life-changing events occurred in the spring of his senior year. In the Georgia Olympics, he set records in the 100 and 200, won the long jump and anchored Mercy to a gold medal in the 4x100 relay. He ran fifth in the 100 and 11th in the 200 at the New Balance Nationals and was suddenly sought as a big-time track talent. “My life could be a lot different,” said Coleman. He realizes he could be grinding away in spring football practice where the game doesn’t matter all that much. “I thought track was a

able last outdoor season. The school doesn’t have an indoor track. It does have track history. Several coaches were responsible. Chuck Rohe put track in the headlines and won an astonishing 15 consecutive SEC titles. Stan Huntsman built on that. Back in the era of dual meets, he led the Vols to a 93-26-3 record, 20 SEC titles and Tennessee’s first NCAA championship. Ex-Vol Doug Brown lasted long enough to go 53-8 and win four SEC titles and another NCAA crown. Bill Webb did rather well – 521, four SEC and two NCAA titles. Terry Crawford and Clark were big winners with the women. Clark got promoted with the merger. You don’t really want to know what happened after that. Right now, the Vols do not have a competitive track team. They have one of the finest sprinters in the world and others in similar colors who don’t accomplish all that much when it is time to run, jump or throw. Coach and athletes remain hopeful. Maybe the new AD will fix it. Marvin West invites reader reactions. His address is

Currie selected on split vote

Betty Bean nership, KCS Disparities in Educational Outcomes steering committee, Knoxville Smarter Cities Partnership and TVA stakeholder group “Energy EfficiencyInformation Exchange.” He is the past president of the Knoxville Interdenominational Christian Ministerial Alliance (KICMA) and served seven years as a member of the Knoxville Police Advisory and Review Committee (PARC). If elected, Butler said his goal will be to boost community engagement, economic development and small business development with the aim of growing living-wage jobs. He will have the enthusiastic support of former county commissioner Diane Jordan, who said she is excited that Butler plans to run. “He’s our hero,” she said. “Nobody took us seriously until he filed that complaint, and we would have lost Vine Middle School if he hadn’t done it. He has earned our support and I’m going to do everything I can to help him get elected.” Butler will join a crowded field of candidates in the Aug. 29 primary, which will be decided by Sixth District voters only. The top two vote getters in each district will run citywide in the Nov. 8 General Election.

Marvin West

good opportunity for me. I took a leap of faith, and this is where God wanted me to be.” Why Coleman chose Tennessee remains a mystery. There is one clue. In 2007, at age 11, he won an AAU national title in the boys’ long jump – at Tom Black Track. Things were some better back then. The Vols notched another SEC title. There has been a dropoff and it is still dropping. The recent SEC meet represented an uncomfortable decline from last year – which wasn’t very good. These Vols scored about half as many points as the 2015 joint effort. Tennessee cross-country results fit the pattern. Last October, male distance runners were a distant ninth in the SEC meet, 250 points behind champion Arkansas. UT women finished 14th (last). Coach Alford-Sullivan still sounds optimistic. She talks about how young is her team. She emphasizes improvement and personal bests, even when they are far behind scoring minimums. Beth isn’t getting a lot of help from the athletics department. Poorly managed restoration of Tom Black Track ran past the deadline and the facility was inoper-

Newly designated University of Tennessee Athletic Director John Currie was not the unanimous choice of the six-member search committee, this writer has learned from sources who declined to be named. Peyton Manning and t r u ste e Charlie Anderson voted for former coach Phil Fulmer, while Currie was John Currie the choice of the remaining four members. None are talking on the record. The hire was a strong surprise. Manning did attend the Currie news conference Thursday in a show of unity. Interestingly, Chancellor Beverly Davenport, who was not a committee member, participated in some of the closed interviews, which increased the number of women involved from one to two – but still there were no African-Americans. Davenport, who nominally named the committee, announced the list before she even arrived in Knoxville to become chancellor. She also flew to Kansas to interview Currie after interviewing Fulmer and perhaps others. It is felt Davenport want-

Victor Ashe

ed someone who had spent a significant part of their career outside Tennessee. Currie meets that standard. When Currie last lived in Knoxville, he lived on Hillvale Turn and his family attended Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church. They were active in the community, but the majority of his life has been removed from Knoxville. If Currie, who will become 46 on April 1, restores the Lady Vols name after his April arrival, it will go a long way to winning over people who have misgivings over this surprise choice. However, the people who in reality picked him may not allow him to do this. It remains to be seen whether he will have the freedom Dave Hart has had to do whatever he wanted as athletic director. The search was trusteedriven and owned. Davenport was the conduit by which it all occurred, but her main role was to approve the choice from her employers (trustees). It will be interesting to see how

she handles the search for a new provost and communications vice chancellor. ■■ Meanwhile, the state Senate Education Committee has added $450,000 for an “intellectual diversity office,” which UT President Joe DiPietro is less than happy about. He had no clue it was coming. Davenport needs to start getting to know local lawmakers so she can be a player. Unfortunately, UT’s credibility is weak among lawmakers in Nashville, and Davenport has not been prompt in responding to inquiries. ■■ Karl Dean, former Nashville mayor, has announced as a Democratic candidate for governor next year. If elected, he would be the third consecutive mayor to become governor, following Phil Bredesen of Nashville and Bill Haslam. Interestingly, Dean declined to criticize Haslam and called him a “very good governor.” This contrasts with several GOP candidates seeking to replace Haslam who oppose Haslam’s gas tax proposal, helped to defeat his Insure Tennessee proposal or separated themselves from Haslam’s disavowal of Donald Trump in the recent presidential campaign. It also contrasts with the state Democratic Party chair, who often criticizes

Haslam. Dean is already running a general election campaign (but he may face state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh in the primary). Appealing to Haslam Republicans, who may not be happy with the eventual GOP nominee, may be a bright strategy. The current GOP candidate most closely identified with Haslam is Knoxville’s Randy Boyd, former Economic and Community Development commissioner, who filed his campaign papers on Monday. ■■ Kelsey Finch, former city director, is considering a race for city council to replace former mayor and council member Daniel Brown, who is term limited. ■■ State Rep. Rick Staples turns 47 on March 12, and former Gov. Don Sundquist turns 81 on March 15. ■■ Doug Harris, former school board chair, and his wife, Carla, are back after 3½ months circling the world and visiting over 24 countries. They especially liked Bolivia, Peru and Chile. They were in Wellington, New Zealand, on the 10th floor of a building during a 7.8 earthquake, which was a challenging experience. They felt New Zealand was one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

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