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Every weekend offers plenty to do downtown, but Aug. 17 seemed to be overflowing. The day started with the East Tennessee History Fair taking over the East Tennessee History Center, Clinch Avenue and Krutch Park. Dozens of historical groups offered displays and demonstrations on life as it

Read Betsy Pickle on page 3

Schroer and the parkway Does TDOT Commissioner John Schroer’s right hand know what his left hand is doing? The answer is not clear. Recently, Schroer has been saying that the extension of the James White Parkway (all of five miles, all in South Knox County at a whopping $21 million a mile) is now a regional issue, not a local issue.

See Victor Ashe’s story on page 4

NEIGHBORHOOD BUZZ ■ Tennova wants to rezone land on Middlebrook Pike for a new flagship hospital, closing ER functions at the former St. Mary’s. City Council will hold a workshop on rezoning the Middlebrook Pike land at 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, in the City County Building. Both sides will speak. ■ Fort Dickerson needs better access, and City Council may realign the entrance with Woodlawn Pike. A public hearing is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, at Flenniken Landing, 115 Flenniken Avenue. Engineering design consultants Cannon and Cannon Inc. will present final design and rightof-way plans. ■ Baptist Hospital’s former employee are holding a reunion from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at Tennova South Ambulatory Care Center, 7323 Chapman Highway, to mark the 5-year anniversary of the closing of Baptist Hospital. The reunion is open to anyone who worked at or was associated with the hospital, which operated from 1948 to 2008 at 137 Blount Avenue. Registration deadline is Sept. 12 at http://, 335-5275 or 218-7535 and leave your name, number and address. Mail donations to BHET Reunion Fund, c/o Patsy Boling, P.O. Box 611, Powell, TN 37849.

to lure customers By Betsy Pickle

When the going gets tough, South Knoxvillians get creative. To be frank, it’s hard to imagine Tea & Treasures being any more creative than it already is. But owner Jenny Wolf – facing the strain of the lingering Henley Bridge closure and the still-struggling economy – managed to come up with a new idea to lure customers. She held her second Tea & Treasures Marketplace recently and made downtown Vestal the place to be on a muggy Saturday. A consignment shop featuring works by 40 artists, plus antiques and housewares, Tea & Treasures is an adventure in sensory overload. But on Marketplace day, the magic spilled out onto the front and side lawns of the two-story frame house, built as a residence in 1905 at 4104 Martin Mill Pike. Artists and vendors set up in the shade of trees and canopies. Music from guitarists and harpists created a sweet aural backdrop. The rain stayed away, and the stream of customers grew as the temperature rose. Some of Wolf’s artists take their wares outside “from time to time just to create attention,” she said. “People had been saying, ‘We need to do a big event.’”

Above, Harper Em provides a relaxing musical backdrop for shoppers. Photos by B. Pickle

Marlene Burnett, left, shows Cindy Archibald and Rick Parks a handbag she made from repurposed cowboy boots. The July debut came together quickly. “We planned it within about two weeks,” said Wolf. She invited not only her vendors but also members of the South Knoxville Business Association. About 17 vendors attended in July. The Aug. 10 number was lower, but Wolf is hoping for a rebound on Sept. 14. She plans on holding the event on the second Saturday of the month as long as the weather cooperates. Musician Em, aka Cynthia An-

dreson, welcomed the chance to sing and play. The South Haven Neighborhood Association member has been playing harp – gothic and Celtic – since the 1970s; she also plays guitar and dulcimer. When she was younger, she made a living from her music. Guitarists Willow & Stone from Asheville also played for the artists and customers. Bobbye Edwards, the resident artist at Tea & Treasures, “performed” as well. Edwards painted on slate tiles that used to be part

of the roof at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. She said she’s not tied to any one surface. “Anything that stands still gets painted,” said Edwards, who paints on glassware, steppingstones and even canvas. The shop features her Personality Pigs, piggy banks with a ontraditional appearance. Carrie Bilbrey, who sells her accessory creations under the name

To page A-3

Clearing underbrush means better visibility for Knoxville Center Mall area

By Nancy Whittaker A packed room at Cracker Barrel on Millertown Pike brought city and state officials together with merchants and property owners around Knoxville Center Mall last Tuesday. City Council member Nick Della Volpe, who spearheaded the meeting, opened by covering his wish list for this area. Improved visibility, better signage, second chance exits and road improvements including the possibility of two-way frontage roads are at the top of his list. David Brace, Knoxville’s director of public service, and Steve Borden, Region One director for TDOT, agreed that removing the

underbrush and vegetation along the Mall Road and fenced areas could be added to their scope of work. While trees will be protected, both officials agreed that removing the underbrush will open up the area for better visibility. Borden explained that federal highway restrictions make adding new signage “tricky,” because TDOT can’t place signs for a particular business along an interstate in an urban area. However, he recommended rebranding the area in order to attract some of the 60,000 cars which pass by every day, and possibly renaming the streets to match the new brand. Any changes in exits or the

Nick Della Volpe and Steve Borden discuss problem areas for mall traffic. Photo by Nancy Whittaker

frontage roads would have to be requested by the city and an Interchange Modification study would have to be completed by the state. Della Volpe plans to present such a resolution to City Council, requesting this impact study. Although this study usually takes about 18 months, the first steps to remove the underbrush will begin shortly. In jest, state Sen. Becky Massey

suggested that everyone could stop by and scoop up a cup of dirt each night and before too long there would be better visibility. With more than 2,000 jobs provided by merchants in this area, Della Volpe wants to make sure that short- and long-term goals are met. Judging from his enthusiasm, he will continue to make things happen.

Dismantling the house that Pat built Develop and Demonstrate Loyalty. Loyalty is not unilateral. You have to give it to receive it. The family business model is a successful one because it fosters loyalty and trust. Surround yourself with people who are better than you are. Seek out quality people, acknowledge their talents and let them do their jobs. You win with people. (Number 3 of Pat Summitt’s “Definite Dozen” rules to live by)

7049 Maynardville Pike 37918 (865) 922-4136

By Betty Bean

NEWS Sandra Clark | Betsy Pickle ADVERTISING SALES Shannon Carey Jim Brannon | Tony Cranmore Brandi Davis | Patty Fecco

August 26, 2013

Shop puts treasures in plain view


Downtown makes noise

Jenny Moshak and Hank Peck in Moshak’s 2008 Mercedes File photo by Betty Bean

Gen. Robert R. Neyland required his teams to study his Seven Maxims and apply them to the game of football. Pat Summitt required her teams to study her Definite Dozen and apply them to their lives. Unlike the General’s rules, the Definite Dozen were not sport-

specific. They were Summitt’s tested and true keys to success, and she practiced what she preached. She acted on this principle while celebrating Tennessee’s eighth national championship in 2008 by naming Jenny Moshak the season MVP. To page A-3

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2 • AUGUST 26, 2013 • Shopper news

health & lifestyles

Fort Sanders named a NICHE site for elder care Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center has been designated as a Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) hospital by the New York University College of Nursing. Fort Sanders joins a distinguished network of hospitals that demonstrate dedication to improving the quality of care provided to older adults. NICHE is a nationwide effort to better meet the unique health care needs of aging adults across America. Covenant Health is the first health care system in the state, and the only one in East Tennessee, to implement the specialized services that NICHE offers at Fort Sanders Regional. “As a NICHE hospital, our patients experience a geriatric standard of care by staff trained to recognize geriatric syndromes and use best practices,” explains Stan Boling, Covenant Health’s Vice President of Senior Services. Fort Sanders Regional has been identified as one of the top 10 hospitals in the country that

“The care of the older adult presents a different set of challenges that all health care team members should be aware of.” – Stan Boling, Covenant Health VP of Senior Services

has performed exceptionally in disseminating knowledge and incorporating validated protocols for geriatric care into nursing practice. Fort Sanders has also participated in research projects sponsored by NICHE. “We’re involved in validating research that looks at the differences between adults

and seniors when it comes to hospitalization,” says Boling. Older adult patients often have multiple chronic illnesses and reduced function that may be both physical and cognitive. These issues can affect that patient’s success after they’re discharged from the hospital. “The care of the older adult

presents a different set of challenges that all health care team members should be aware of, and should assess on admission, during the acute care stay and all the way through to the discharge setting,” explains Boling. NICHE provides nurses with specialized training related to common health problems of older adults. These include issues such as skin breakdown, falls/injuries, confusion or loss of strength/mobility. NICHEcertified gerontological nurses offer patients and families a high standard of care and resources while promoting patients’

independence and facilitating a comfortable transition home. The NICHE program recognizes that patient and family-centered care is imperative to creating a positive experience for the older adult patient “With NICHE there are training and resources available for the family as well as senior spousal caregivers,” says Boling. “We are excited about the effort we’re making with NICHE.” For more information about the NICHE program and resources for older patients and their families, visit


older adult patients have special needs and that patient and familycentered care is important to creating a positive experience for the senior patient. Families provide a vital link between the patient and hospital staff. Hospital nurses are in a unique position to work with families as partners to provide quality care to hospitalized older adult patients. It is also important to have informed, involved patients who understand and participate in their care. The NICHE program is committed to creating a hospital culture where the main focus is on patients and their families. As a result, NICHE hospitals have a higher patient, family and staff satisfaction overall.

Join the 50+ fun of Covenant Passport! The motto of the Covenant Health Passport program is: Life is a journey, and it’s more enjoyable if you stay healthy, fit and active. That’s why Covenant Passport strives to be all about helping people age 50 and older enjoy better health and get more out of life! Passport members enjoy benefits such as free or reduced health

screenings, brown-bag lunch learning medical programs, lectures and seminars, and a reduced parking fee at Covenant Health hospitals. There are also travel opportunities that feature special rates on local tours and events. Members receive a quarterly newsletter with stories about active senior adults, health information and handy

tips for dealing with life changes. Best of all, joining the Passport program is absolutely FREE! Ready to join? Visit www.covenantpassport. com or call 865-541-4500 for details.

For seniors: How to prevent falls

As you age, your risk for falling increases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than one-third of people ages 65 and older fall each year. Although most falls cause only minor injuries, the CDC estimates that up to 30 percent of the people who fall experience injuries that severely limit their independence. Falls can happen anywhere, but most occur in the home, while climbing stairs or getting out of the bathtub, for instance. You can take steps to reduce your risk for falling. Here are some tips to help keep you safe: ■ Get your hearing and vision checked regularly before you notice problems. ■ Talk with your doctor about whether your medications can make you feel dizzy. ■ Tell your physician or health care provider if you are experiencing balance problems. ■ Try not to stand up quickly. Before standing, wiggle your toes and feet, and swing your legs, if possible. Move enough to increase your heart rate and blood pressure, then stand up. ■ If you feel unsteady on your feet, use a cane or

walker. Wear shoes with non-slip soles. ■ Exercise regularly. Exercise helps strengthen your muscles and improve your agility. ■ Limit your consumption of alcohol. ■ Keep your home free of clutter. ■ Eliminate slippery floors and throw rugs. ■ Add handrails and supports in your home. Grab bars in the shower and on either side of the toilet can prevent falls. ■ Improve the lighting in dark areas and use a nightlight if you get out of bed at night.

For more information, check out the CDC’s Fall Prevention resources at

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NICHE, which stands for “Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders,” is an innovative program designed to help hospitals improve the care of older adults. The goal of NICHE is for every patient age 65 and over to be given sensitive and exemplary care. The mission of NICHE is to provide the tools and principles to change the culture of health care facilities to achieve patientcentered for seniors. The NICHE program, based at the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University College of Nursing, consists of more than 350 hospitals and health care facilities throughout North America. NICHE hospitals recognize that

Shopper news • AUGUST 26, 2013, 2011 • 3

Cindy Mugford, left, Jim Jean and U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan chat after the Aug. 15 South Knoxville Republican Club meeting.

Kyle Campbell, left, Sean McCollough and Steph Gunnoe perform a fun show especially for children at the Krutch Park extension during the East Tennessee History Fair.

Downtown makes some noise

Every weekend offers the festivities. As the fair was windplenty to do downtown, but Aug. 17 seemed to be over- ing down, the finals of the flowing. Scruffy City Band Eat Band competition got started on the stage at the Bill Lyons Pavilion at Market Square. Seven local bands competed for the grand prize of Betsy $3,000, recording-studio Pickle time, media interviews and band merchandise. Playing first was King Super, featuring Dave Bowers, Steve Corrigan, Sam The day started with the Quinn and South Knoxville’s East Tennessee History own Josh Hobbs, who is the Fair taking over the East band’s fourth guitarist (he Tennessee History Center, was also its first). Dressed in Clinch Avenue and Krutch Robin costumes to augment Park. Dozens of historical their superhero image, the groups offered displays and band played valiantly but demonstrations on life as it didn’t win. And that was OK. was 100 and more years ago. “We’re all here to support Adults and children each other,” said Hobbs. found plenty to engage “It’s a community thing.” them, whether it was learnGrandpa’s Stash won the ing about Knox County’s grand prize. The veteran historic homes and sites, ensemble released its firstwatching soldiers drill or ever CD last fall, but, fingers seeing how dolls were made. crossed, with the studioLocal musicians, including time prize they’ll be able to Sean McCollough and Steph put out a follow-up in short Gunnoe of South Knoxville, order. provided a fun backdrop for

Focus on climate change

Local environmental activists and groups came together in harmony at “One Earth, Our Choice!,” a rally and concert held at SEEED (Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development), 1617 Dandridge Ave. Organizer Todd Waterman, inspired by having environmentalist and author Bill McKibben visit the Knoxville area for two appearances Aug. 18-19, reached out to a number of organizations to create the Aug. 17 event, and the turnout was strong. After opening remarks by SEEED executive director Stan Johnson, who explained the mission of the urban-youth-oriented endeavor, keynote speaker Virginia Dale, an environmental scientist at ORNL, laid out some harsh facts. Dale said that despite claims to the contrary, 99 percent of scientists believe that “human-caused

climate-change is a real phenomenon” that actually started showing signs in the mid-19th century. In Tennessee, the average temperature has risen by 2 degrees since 1950. Climate change is having an impact on humans, animals and even agriculture, she said. About the best that can be done now is to mitigate the change. On a happier note, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker gave a mini-concert showcasing their thoughtful and entertaining compositions. The Ruckers are internationally acclaimed for their socially conscious music.

Duncan visits South GOP U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan got a warm welcome at the Aug. 15 meeting of the South Knoxville Republican Club at the Optimist Building at Gary Underwood Park. Duncan reminisced about his early activism – supporting Sen. Barry Gold-

King Super – bassist Sam Quinn, left, vocalist Dave Bowers, drummer Steve Corrigan and guitarist Josh Hobbs – opens the Band Eat Band finals Aug. 17 at the Bill Lyons Pavilion at Market Square.

SEEED executive director Stan Johnson welcomes attendees to the One Earth, Our Choice! concert and rally at the SEEED facilities.

ORNL scientist Virginia Dale explains climate-change reality.

water’s run for president – and encouraged attendees not to give credence to talk that the Republican Party is washed up. “Eighty percent of the American people are Republicans if they knew what we stand for,” he said. Duncan discussed the escalating national debt, worries about “Obamacare” and the effect that environmen-

tal regulations have had on business – all familiar talking points. He also apologized for the irregularity of his Washington Report newsletter, citing in part the vagaries of a bipartisan oversight panel that has to OK materials sent through the franking office. The group’s next meeting will be Sept. 19.

Dismantling the house

Tea & Treasures regular Cheryl Anderson, left, does some business with shop owner Jenny Wolf.

Bobbye Edwards paints on slate shingles that once topped Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.

Shop Treasures Red Cadence, welcomed customers to her booth. She also sold baklava for her friends at King Tut’s Grill down the street. Carrie Little Bird sold earrings and bracelets crafted by artisans in Arizona. Fathi Husain, owner of Wee Care children’s consignment shop on Chapman Highway, came to support Wolf and perhaps find a new audience. He has operated Wee Care for 22 years. Marlene Burnett of New Market, a regular T&T consigner, displayed her handcrafted moccasins and selfmade wedding dress – not for sale but as an example of her custom work. She also showed off the handbags and wine totes she makes

From page A-1 from repurposed cowboy boots. “I think it’s great to have an outlet for all these wonderfully artistic people,” she said of the Marketplace. Wolf, who graduated from the now-defunct Young High School, believes in supporting artists. She works full-time in retail and opens Tea & Treasures on Fridays and Saturdays. “I would love to just do this,” she said. For now, she’ll stick to jazzing things up on the weekends. In addition to the Sept. 14 Marketplace, she’s also planning her shop’s Sept. 7 sixth birthday celebration, complete with cupcakes and door prizes. “It’s just a big, fun party,” she said.

Moshak was the team’s athletic trainer whose nonstop rehab wizardry kept Candace Parker on the floor, and Tennessee in the tournament, despite Parker having seriously injured her shoulder during the regional finals. Longtime fans remembered a similar miracle she performed 11 years earlier when she helped point guard Kellie Jolly come back from an ACL tear to lead a 10-loss Tennessee team to an improbable championship in 1997. Actually, Moshak did it many times, and was considered an integral member of Summitt’s stellar staff. And that April night in 2008, Summitt gave her a Mercedes-Benz. Moshak, who has been busy this summer promoting her book, “Ice ‘N’ Go,” has been widely acclaimed as the best in the business. And now she’s gone, having tendered her resignation two weeks ago, 11 months after filing a discrimination suit against UT. Through her attorney, she issued the following statement: “Due to the overall atmosphere since I raised issues of equality at the University of Tennessee and given the university’s unwillingness to address the issues of discrimination and retaliation, I cannot continue my association with the university’s athletic department.”

Brick by brick

Last fall, Sports Illustrated writer Kelli Anderson, clearly disturbed by events in what she called the “once progressive” world of women’s athletics at the University of Tennessee, tried to make sense of what was happening. Like many national sports commentators

who admired the program Pat Summitt built, Anderson was concerned about changes she was seeing in the wake of the consolidation of the men’s and women’s athletic departments and Summitt’s retirement. Paying particular attention to a discrimination lawsuit filed by Moshak, strength and conditioning coach Heather Mason, assistant S&R coach Collin Schlosser and another filed by former Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations Debby Jennings, Anderson recounted something Jennings told her in 2008 when asked to explain why Summitt’s staff was so loyal: “It’s hard to leave a place where the salaries are fantastic, you’re working with the best people, you have the best facility, you have the best and brightest athletes, and you have an athletic department that’s in total support of every one of your efforts.” Back in 2000, Tennessee was one of two D-1 universities in the country to have a separate women’s athletics department (the other was Texas). Boosters on the men’s side urged consolidating the two departments in the name of cutting fat and “cleaning things up.” Boosters on the women’s side pointed out that Joan Cronan’s operation was leaner, more successful, in better academic standing and generally just smarter than the men’s, and was untouched by scandal (this point was reinforced by an impolitic T-shirt: “Tennessee – where men are men and women are champions.”). The signing of the graduation pole became a happy exit ritual in the women’s basket-

From page A-1 ball locker room, a tangible symbol that the winningest coach in the game took as much pride in her 100 percent graduation rate as in her eight national championships. Ditto for the academic banquet when Cronan would ask all the athletes who’d made the honor roll to stand. The basketball team took pride in having the highest composite GPA in the women’s department, and nobody wanted to be left sitting. Kerry Howland, the women’s director of academics, played a key role in that success. But in 2002, after the national scandal that blew up over allegations of cheating and grade-fi xing in the men’s academic tutoring program, tutoring services for all athletes were combined at the Thornton Athletic Center, and Howland began to be marginalized. She retired in 2011.

Hart takes down Jennings

Cronan’s retirement plans were already in place before Summitt’s very public health issues emerged. She was still around, but had no decision-making power by the time her successor, Athletic Director Dave Hart, started clashing with Debby Jennings, the most visible member of the house that Pat built. On May 15, 2012, he called Jennings to his office, accused her of insubordination and gave her a couple of hours to resign or be fired. Evidence suggests that Jennings’ major offense was her relentless effort to protect Pat Summitt as she struggled with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Other transgressions included

complaints that employees on the women’s side were not receiving equal treatment. Jennings, recipient of too many awards to list, who served as Summitt’s voice for more than 35 years and her Doberman toward the end, was forced out. In April of this year, Heather Mason, who had been steadily promoted and praised during the first nine of her 10 years at UT, was terminated at the recommendation of Summitt’s successor, Holly Warlick, and first-year soccer coach Brian Pensky, who said she had not performed her job to their satisfaction. They both said they wanted training specific to their sport, and Mason was replaced by a younger man with a relatively short resumé. Something else will be different when the Tennessee women take to the court named for Pat Summitt in the coming season. Superfans Raubyn and Donna Braunton have declined to renew their season tickets. The loud and proud sisters from Morristown have been profiled by ESPN and are likely to show up for games in anything from orange prison jumpsuits to referees’ uniforms. Last season, they debuted a different costume – a Tshirt emblazoned with Dave Hart’s name under a big red slash and another that says, “I miss Debby Jennings.” Raubyn, who also created an online petition protesting Hart’s actions, says she and Donna have been treated differently since they stepped out of line, and although they’ll continue to support the team, they’ll buy their tickets from scalpers from here on out.

government Schroer backtracks on parkway Does TDOT Commissioner John Schroer’s right hand know what his left hand is doing? The answer is not clear.

Victor Ashe

Recently, Schroer has been saying that the extension of the James White Parkway (all of five miles, all in South Knox County at a whopping $21 million a mile) is now a regional issue, not a local issue. So he is quite willing to override the views of Mayors Rogero and Burchett along with several neighborhood groups, Vice Mayor Nick Pavlis and Legacy Parks Foundation while negatively impacting two city parks. However, Knox County has the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization, or TPO, which can be found at Jeff Welch is the longtime able staff director. Mayor Rogero is vice chair. TPO is a regional group with representatives from Sevier, Loudon, Blount and Knox counties. On Jan. 23, 2013, TPO voted in a public meeting, which included TDOT rep Angela Midgett as a voting member, to remove the James White Parkway from the TPO priority list. Apparently, Schroer does not know this or does not want to know it. He wants to build this extension despite the regional group saying it is not a priority. The minutes of the TPO vote are online at the above website. Farragut Mayor Ralph McGill is chair. Now Schroer says more public hearings are needed. Apparently, the previous public hearings where the public voiced strong opposition did not satisfy him. He does not explain why he is ignoring the unanimous TPO vote. This was the recommendation of the technical committee and the motion was made by Knoxville Council member Brenda Palmer and seconded by Alcoa Mayor Donald Mull. TPOs are part of the TDOT process required by the federal government so regions will voice their priorities with the state

honoring those decisions. Fortunately, Gov. Haslam has indicated he will review this particular project personally, which should provide a more objective and level playing field for a final decision. Expect this issue to continue for some time. ■ Fifty years ago this month, U.S. Sen. Estes Kefauver died, with services in Madisonville attended by Vice President Lyndon Johnson and former Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson, with whom Kefauver had sought national office in 1956 as Stevenson’s running mate against Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. ■ As predicted in this column months ago, Knoxvillian Larry Martin, who was Mayor Haslam’s deputy, has been named permanent Finance Commissioner for Tennessee. This is good for the governor, for Knoxville and for Tennessee. ■ Former Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar will speak at the Baker Center tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 27, at 1:30. The public is invited to hear the senator speak on international issues on which much of his 30 years in the Senate was centered. He was also mayor of Indianapolis for eight years in the 1970s when unified local government was achieved by popular vote. ■ Former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and Syria, Margaret Scobey (a UT graduate who now lives in the Farragut area) is in demand for comments by the media and civic groups on the tragic developments going on in Egypt, which has traditionally been a strong U.S. ally. Other former ambassadors living in the area besides this writer include Cran Montgomery, U.S. ambassador to Oman for President Reagan, and Howard Baker, U.S. ambassador to Japan for President George W. Bush.

NOTES ■ 8th District GOP will meet Tuesday, Aug. 27, at Carter High School. Speaker is Chancellor John Weaver. ■ 3rd & 4th District Democrats will meet 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, at Bearden Branch Library. Speaker is Rick Staples. Info: Chris Foell, 691-8933, or Rosina Guerra, 588-6260.

4 • AUGUST 26, 2013 • Shopper news

Launch pad to oblivion Larry Smith seeks commission chair

R. Larry Smith’s been accused of a lot of things, but nobody’s ever suggested he lacks ambition. The county commissioner from Halls is continually wading into controversy and testing the current for channels to further his free-flowing aspirations.

Betty Bean One week he appears to be getting ready to run for trustee, the next, it’s register of deeds. A school board rumor bubbles up occasionally, as does the suspicion that he’d like to be county mayor. In recent weeks, he’s devoted his considerable energy to getting elected commission chair.

Given the widely rumored suspicions about his lust for higher office, it’s hard to see this move as anything but a means to some unspecific end. But does it really work that way? A look at recent history suggests it’s more like a launch pad to oblivion. Common wisdom is that incumbent chair Tony Norman, who, like Smith, will be term limited out of office in 2014, could keep the job another year if he wanted it. This is not a notion he wishes to encourage. He doesn’t see the position as a springboard, launchpad or steppingstone – for Norman, it’s more of a cow pie from which he’s attempting to extricate himself before he ruins his good shoes. When talking about the past year, Norman sounds like the guy who was asked how it felt after being tarred and feathered and ridden

out of town on a rail and said, “But for the glory, I’d just as soon walk.” “It’s a royal headache,” he said. “Not only from the standpoint of the workload, but you’re also a target of your fellow commissioners, which I thoroughly have not enjoyed. It stings. But that’s not the reason why I’m leaving – I just think a year’s enough. Let somebody else do it.” So, does this mean he doesn’t plan to parlay his current prestige into another elected office? “Not without divine intervention,” Norman said. “After seven years in office, my eighth year can’t get here soon enough. It would take a direct communication from God.” Norman’s predecessor, Mike Hammond, used to be suspected of plotting to parlay his position into a run for mayor, but now he appears to be focused on his pro-

fessional life. Hammond’s predecessor, Tank Strickland, the only Democrat in human memory to serve as chair, likewise hasn’t demonstrated any signs of further political ambition. Former chair Scott “Scoobie” Moore had plenty of ambition, but got a rude comeuppance when he ran for county clerk in 2010 and got 17 percent of the Republican Primary vote. Previous commission chairs David Collins, Leo Cooper and John Mills were all defeated for re-election to their commission seats. So someone not consumed by a hunka hunka burning desire for higher office should carefully consider whether the lure of future glory is worth the pain of serving as commission chair. But we’re talking R. Larry Smith here. And unlike the guy on the rail, odds are he’d just as soon ride.

Clark reads book, goes to movies Casual voters have no idea how close the 2012 Presidential election was. Even I didn’t know, and I’m a political junkie.

Sandra Clark “What Went Wrong,” by Jerome Corsi, breaks down what he calls “the GOP debacle of 2012” and offers advice to Republicans for future elections. While I disagree with many of Corsi’s conclusions, I appreciate his analysis. Follow along: The Electoral College has 538 electors with 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency. Barack Obama started with 55 electoral votes from California and 29 from New York, “for a total of 84 electoral votes without any necessity to campaign in ei-

ther state,” Corsi writes. Both parties labeled states as “blue” or “red,” thus eliminating states where the presidential candidate would have to campaign. While analysts differed, Corsi said the consensus was that Obama entered the 2012 race with 251 electoral votes in states where Romney had no chance of winning; Romney had 191. “For all practical purposes, the presidential election of 2012 was reduced from the start to the seven swing states,” Corsi writes. Those states were: Nevada (6 electoral votes), Colorado (9), Iowa (6), Ohio (18), Virginia (13), North Carolina (15) and Florida (29). Romney lost six of the seven, winning only North Carolina. This book is a great read for those who want to understand how Mitt Romney could spend $1 billion and lose to a marginally popular incumbent. The difference was the cities.

In Ohio, Obama got his majority in one county – Cuyahoga, which includes Cleveland. Take out Cuyahoga and Romney carries Ohio. Obama won Florida by just 74,309 votes (4,237,756 to 4,163,447). Take out Dade County (Miami) and Romney wins. Take out Broward County (Fort Lauderdale) and Romney wins. Romney lost Colorado by roughly 138,000 votes of more than 2.36 million cast. Take out Denver and Romney wins. Romney lost Nevada by 67,800 votes out of nearly 1 million cast. Romney carried every county but two. Take out Reno or Las Vegas and Romney wins. Obama won Nevada by carrying only two counties – a state where unemployment was 11.6 percent. On and on. Obama won Virginia by just 148,000 votes out of nearly 4 million cast. Take out Richmond and Romney wins. Read the book and form

your own conclusions. ■ “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” is a must-see movie, especially for those of a certain age. The young director moves at a fast clip from Truman to Obama, a span of 60 years, hopping through domestic politics like a frog on hot coals. At the core is Forest Whitaker. Boy to man he wears 200 years of ugly racism etched in his face. The movie is a great character study of a man who loved his family (despite fissures) and a family that loved its country (despite strong disagreements about how to manifest that love). The movie elicited both sobs and applause at Regal Riviera on opening week. And Jane Fonda’s portrayal of Nancy Reagan – priceless! Watching the elderly butler slip into an Obama Tshirt at the film’s end adds soul to the numbers of Jerome Corsi’s book and helps answer his question: “What Went Wrong.”

Sheriff’s Office brings crime stats home By Sandra Clark The county’s chief law enforcement officer is not afraid to wear pink in public. And he’s not afraid to blast the Obama Administration and immigration officials by declaring he will stack illegal immigrants “like cordwood” in his jail. So why would anyone think he would be scared to post the county’s crime statistics online? Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones was not scared to do that. In fact, he encouraged

Captain Bobby Hubbs to hop to it. “This has revolutionized our Neighborhood Watch,” Hubbs said last week as Jones demonstrated the computer program at the Halls Republican Club. “This is the future,” Jones said of the program. “If you’re not willing to step into the future, you won’t be arresting people.” He said criminals don’t mind the city limits or the county line. Burglars might break into homes in Nor-

can log in to the system to get updates about crime nearby their home or business. “It will send you a link or message each day. You can check on the dorm where your kid lives,” said Hubbs. When Jones OK’d the plan, only Collierville used Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones the system in all of Tenneswood one day, Powell the see. Now the “RaidsOnLine” next and Anderson County is regional, covering Knoxthe next. When the officers ville, Oak Ridge, UT and communicate crime stats Loudon. Sign up free online at online, it helps enforcement and click on across the boards. Jones said individuals Crime Map.

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Shopper news • AUGUST 26, 2013, 2011 • 5

Why am I doing this!!?!

The magic of small business

People start and stay with an independent business for many reasons. For some it’s a job. For others it’s a calling. For most it’s a fierce desire for independence in a world where that’s harder and harder to achieve. We want to salute local businesses in this column (and catch up with a few old friends), so here we go.

Kenny Adams stands outside the new Graning Paint store on Magnolia Avenue. Kenny Adams started working at Graning Paint while in high school, learning the business from his dad, the late Paul Adams, and handling chores like sweeping up. “Downtown is my customer base,” Kenny says, so when road crews started talking about improvements to Broadway near the interstate, Kenny looked close by. He got lucky and landed the building that previously housed the Lighting Gallery which had merged with Stokes. So Adams got a modern, airy building to display his paint samples along with expanded warehouse space and loading docks for his merchandise. Kenny has seen the business change over 58 years, as Graning went from 17 stores to one. He’s also seen his suppliers consolidate or close. So today, Graning carries 4,000 regular colors and, thanks to new technology, can match anyone’s competitive color. Major brands are Glidden, Devoe, Flood Stains, Sikkens, Ralph Lauren and Pratt & Lambert. And Graning carries them all. Kenny has a skilled staff including his son, Kevin. My dad always said, “Stay with what you know,” said Kenny. “That was the whole idea behind getting a better building – for my family.” Graning Paint is open 6:30 a.m. to 5 weekdays and 6:30 to noon on Saturdays. Info: 546-4881. Pam and Brian Trainor have been married 27 years. “It was arranged, we were just 14,” says Brian. And they’ve worked together in various businesses most of that time. Now Pam represents the 9th District on the school board. Brian continues a catering business, and they are partners in a niche business called River Dog Bakery on Kingston Pike in Village Square in Bearden. The continue to live in the house where Pam grew up in South Knoxville. Wouldn’t live anyplace else, both say. They’ve owned just three Golden Retrievers over the years. The current companion, Cooper, comes to work at River Dog Bakery. It’s his job to taste-test the treats. The bakery has other pet supplies and is open daily 10 to 6 and Saturdays 10 to 4. The Trainors met as college students, but they didn’t meet at college. Both were working at J.C. Pen-

Sandra Clark

ney’s in East Towne Mall. Their kids are Craven, a student at UT-Chattanooga, and Liam, a sophomore at Tulane. Pam and Brian are a two-person praise band for South Knoxville. “Where else can you find acres and acres of green space just three miles from downtown?” Pam asks. “You pull off the road and you’re in the woods. You don’t know there’s a town nearby.” Pam Trainor said the Henley Bridge closure has been “horrible” for businesses. And now the proposed James White Parkway would shoot traffic right past them. “We’re rallying over the parkway,” said Pam. “We’re really standing up.” What’s next for the Trainors? How about River Dog II in South Knoxville. “Yeah, right on the river,” laughs Pam. Reach Brian’s Catering Unique at 579-5960. Call Cooper and the folks at River Dog Bakery at 5888100. Call Pam at 577-5311 or (mobile)548-2381.

“This is something I’m doing for me,” she said. “I was too young to go the first time. This is for me to tell my grandkids.” Nichols is the president and chief executive officer of the Knoxville Area Urban League (KAUL). Her husband, Jim Nichols, heads Red Door Brokers, a local real estate firm. He was previously with ReMax. They’ve been married since college. Phyllis is no-nonsense with a keen wit. Based at 1514 East 5th Avenue, the KAUL is about the opportunity to thrive (children), own (housing), earn (jobs), and prosper (entrepreneurship). Phyllis herself is active with various business groups and sponsors an annual awards gala along with the just-finished “shoes for school” promotion. She a new friend, and we made a deal. You’ll read a lot about KAUL in the Shopper-News. And we’ll get some referrals for more great stories. After all, everybody runs out of people they already know sooner or later. Info: 524-5511.

Pam Hammontree has expanded local business to Nashville and beyond.

Phyllis Y. Nichols, energetic head of Knoxville’s Urban League Phyllis Y. Nichols is heading to Washington, D.C., for the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1963 March on Washington.

Pam Hammontree is alive and well in South Knoxville. OK, so she’s spittin’ mad about the proposed James White Parkway extension. Isn’t everyone? “Why two of the three (proposed) routes would cut right through my building. I built it in 1989. It’s a landmark!,” she said. Otherwise, Hammontree has survived the recession

and sees business picking up along the Chapman Highway and Gov. John Sevier Highway corridors. “South Knoxville sells pretty well,” says Hammontree, a Realtor since 1979. A second sign now hangs alongside Hammontree Realty. What is Hammontree Tucker International Farms and Estates? That’s a relatively new business, Pam says. It’s a partnership with the family of entertainer Tanya Tucker, and as the name suggests, the brokers specialize in farms big farms as in Nashville area spreads favored by the country music crowd. The company is based right there in that landmark log cabin office on Gov. John Sevier Highway, but its reach has extended past Nashville as far as South Dakota. Pam just grins and repeats the old joke about anyone being an expert if they come from far away. Pam and her team are at work every day, selling farms and homes right in South Knoxville. She’ll return your phone calls quickly, but don’t ask her to sing. She’s leaving that to Tanya Tucker. Info: or 573-0145. Bill and Janie Emmert are retired now, him from the road building business and she from Home Federal Bank. And the last time we visited, they were mad about the sneak attack by The Development Corporation to buy up farms around their house in the Thorn Grove neighborhood of deep East Knox County. We found them there last week, still on their back porch (although this time not breaking green beans), and still enjoying the view of open farmland where no businesses have been built. Janie reminisced about the time she and some “girls” pranked my dad as he settled in to close a loan. They had taped shut his desk drawer and stuck his phone on the receiver. “We waited until he sat down and got the customers settled. He spread out his papers and we called him. He tried to answer the phone and then tried to

Cooper with his people, Pam and Brian Trainor

The original River Dog

Bill and Janie Emmert on their back porch in Thorn Grove open his desk to find something to unstick it.” Wonder what the customers thought as everyone on the floor started laughing? Bill doesn’t talk as much as Janie, but he spoke up

recently to ask what she would like for their 42nd anniversary. “I don’t need anything,” said Janie. Then looking slyly, she added, “But I could always use diamonds.”

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Holston working hard to succeed Holston Middle School administrators know that there are areas to work on at their school, and they aren’t making excuses. They are making changes.

was moved to track all to Gibbs students High) and and provide i m me d iate she is eager feedback on to continue the good what is gopractices ing on with set in place students. “We need to and to help H o l s t o n Wolfenbarger know now Jessie Ruth continue to what’s goWhite grow. ing on. We cannot wait until Assistant principals this pre-testing for the TCAPS year are Jim Wolfenbarger to find out how students are performing,” said Jessie. and Sara Greene. Holston Middle School student Morgan Corum chats with To strengthen reading The school currently Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre during a recent school visit. “We have a great plan and language arts, classhas 16 teachers trained for Photo by Ruth White ahead,” said principal Ash- room time has been in- Common Core and two ley Jessie, “and we are ready creased to allow students state-trained teachers who to rock and roll.” Jessie more time to focus on those will facilitate training the was assistant under former areas. The staff will also others. Holston also has principal Tom Brown (who use progress monitoring three master teachers and

six mentor teachers who will provide modeling and classroom support for teachers. Every Greene teacher is assigned a coach and will receive support depending on needs. “We (the teachers) have to be on the same page and get this literacy up,” said Jessie. With this plan in place and the dedicated staff, Holston seems to be on a good path to success.

Inside Carter’s classrooms

Fulton quarterback Penny Smith carries the ball downfield for the Falcons during the recent Kick-Off Classic. The Falcons face three tough opponents on the road for their first three games – Powell, Bearden and Austin-East – before playing on their home field Sept. 13 against Farragut. Photos by Tim Gangloff

Football season

kicks off

Classroom visits from the superintendent, administrators, school board members and county commissioners can be nerveracking to some, but the staff members at Carter Elementary didn’t flinch when they were observed at work. Principal Shay Siler welcomed the guests and shared the progress of her school since last year. Carter’s biggest strength was in 3rd grade math and reading. Siler’s team of teachers doesn’t plan to let up in that area as they work to strengthen areas of need through PLC facilitators at all grade levels and establishing several vertical teams in needed areas. The school has three

coaches for Common Core state standards (one in math and two in English/ Language Arts) and Siler herself is a leadership coach. Half of the staff at Carter attended a Common Core Institute for instruction over the summer. In year three of the new evaluation system, Siler is pleased to see the staff more comfortable with the rubric and knows that Carter Elementary has a history of effective teaching. “I have told them to do what they do best every day,” she said. Notes: East Knox County Elementary School second grade parent night will be 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27.

Teacher Sherry Beeler works through math problems with her 2nd grade students.

Knox County Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre visits with student Logan Stamoulis in Staci Leach’s classroom at Carter Elementary. Austin-East senior Michael McMahan makes a catch and heads down the field during the Kick-Off Classic at Neyland Stadium. Austin-East traveled to Grace Christian for the first game of the season and will host Anderson County at home Aug. 30 and conference rival Fulton on Sept. 6. Blair King is the new assistant principal at Carter Elementary School. He comes to Knox County from Oak Ridge Schools and is part of the great team headed by Shay Siler. Photos by Ruth White

CARTER FOOTBALL STARTS ON THE ROAD ■ Carter High School football team played at Gibbs last week. The Hornets will play on Thursday, Aug. 29, at Cocke County; on Friday, Sept. 6, at Pigeon Forge; and will host the home opener Friday, Sept. 20, against Austin-East. Game times are 7:30 p.m.

Leigha Rudd is new to Carter and teaches 3rd grade. She is working with a student on number placement in the class- Staci Leach is a new 1st grade room. teacher at Carter Elementary.

Mount Olive principal discovers school’s strong sense of community By Betsy Pickle When Paula Brown found out in late June that she’d been appointed principal at Mount Olive Elementary School, she didn’t have time to worry about what the job would be like or how it would differ from her previous positions with Knox County Schools. Her husband, however, had a question. “Where’s Mount Olive?” As a West Tennessee native, he wasn’t familiar with South Knoxville, but even the new principal – who grew up in East Knoxville and graduated from Holston High School – had to study the map. She knows where she’s heading now, however. “What’s interesting about this school is there are still generations and generations of kids,” says Brown. “I have retired teachers who come in and say, ‘I attended this school, and I taught in the same room that I had 5th grade.’ Then you have the children and grandchildren of those retired teachers. It

Paula Brown, principal of Mount Olive Elementary School appears to be a very closeknit community where many haven’t left.” That continuity is reflected in community involvement with Mount Olive. “With this school, it’s been a strength,” says Brown. With 258 students and 14 classroom teachers, Mount Olive is a sharp contrast with Brown’s previous gig.

She came from Bearden High School, where she was a vice principal. Before that she was vice principal at Austin-East Magnet and Carter Middle. Her resumé also includes five years with Project GRAD, two years as president of the Knox County Education Association and nine years teaching fourth grade at Cedar Bluff Intermediate. She started her teaching career in special education at Camelot Care Center in Kingston. This is her 30th year as an educator. Though she has taught for three decades, she says students haven’t changed from the 1980s to now. “Kids are kids,” says Brown. “They have different tools to use to access information. But the way they learn hasn’t changed. Everyone has their own style of learning. “There’s so much that has not changed that I think really impacts a kid and their learning, and it’s not

Principal Paula Brown, center, talks with Missy Robinson and her daughter, 2nd grader Faith Penner, at Parent Information Night. whether they have a computer or not. I think it is whether they know you care about them, whether they know you respect them and they’re treated with respect, that they see you as a role model. Those are the things that I think haven’t changed – the relationships. “You start out with relationships, developing strong relationships, and they’re going to do anything you

want them to do – it doesn’t matter what grade level they are, from kindergartners to seniors in high school.” Brown set out to become a psychologist but added a second major in special education when East Tennessee State University switched from quarters to semesters, and she needed to fill time until a required psychology class was offered. She likes the connections

of classroom teaching and the fulfillment of providing teachers with professional development, but she’s happy in her new role. “I just feel like it’s a blessing,” she says. “I don’t know any other way to describe it. I always feel like I was placed wherever I was for a reason, from the very first time I was hired into the Knox County Schools system.”

Shopper news • AUGUST 26, 2013, 2011 • 7

Moore endows UT faculty award By Betsy Pickle

John R. Moore doesn’t have the kind of loyalty to the University of Tennessee that calls to mind a marketing slogan – like #VolforLife or “My blood runs orange.” After all, he isn’t a UT alumnus. But since 1953, he has been a fi xture in the College of Business Administration’s department of economics, serving as a university professor, administrator and researcher. Now, in gratitude for the career he has had, he has created an endowment to establish the John R. & Shirley Burr Moore Economics Faculty Award. “It’s not very often that you come to someplace – your first employment is basically at age 25 – and you stay there for 60 years,” says Moore, sitting in the kitchen of the East Knox County home where he has lived for 28 years. “Either they have to be terribly tolerant or …” Or you have to be good? “Not necessarily good,” he says, “but persistent. I think of all my qualities, persistence is probably the strongest.” The department head and business dean will select the award winners, but not all the details have been finalized. It seems likely that those chosen will have accomplishments in line with Moore’s achievements: He was named an Alumni Distinguished Service Professor in 1989, received a Chancellor’s Citation for Distinguished Service and was a University Mace Bearer. It would also be wise for

John Moore stakes an orchid in the greenhouse at his East Knox County home. Photo by Betsy Pickle

them to look for qualities exemplified by Moore’s wife, Shirley, who passed away in 1992. They met at graduate school at Cornell University after he graduated from Colgate University. She had earned her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and a master’s from the University of Oregon and was working on her Ph.D. in economics at Cornell. “She was a much better student than I,” says Moore, who earned his master’s and doctorate at Cornell. “The faculty looked up to her as a model student; they didn’t look up to me as a model student.” When the Moores came to UT, a nepotism policy prohibited married couples from teaching in the same

college, so Shirley Moore taught math and statistics in liberal arts. After the policy was abolished, she taught statistics and economics in the business college. They bought a home in the Holston Hills area in the late 1950s and reared their three daughters there. In the mid-1970s, Shirley became interested in growing orchids. They built a small lean-to greenhouse in the backyard, but after expanding it and then building and outgrowing a separate, even larger greenhouse, they moved to a new home in the county, and she used two greenhouses there in the operation of Pinnacle Orchids. He still has the smaller greenhouse and cares for

George and Lisa Bitzas enjoy their historic Blount County home.

Settled in Seymour What do you do when you’re close to retirement from an illustrious career teaching and performing music?

Carol Zinavage

Carol’s Corner Most folks would sit back, slow down and let someone else do all the work for a change. Not George Bitzas. Four years before his retirement from The University of Tennessee, George and wife Lisa began a complete rehab of the first frame house built in Blount County. A year later, with the work still in progress, they moved in. “We were probably sleeping with possums and raccoons,” says Lisa. “Definitely rats!” The house has long been in Lisa’s family. It was built in 1817 by Joseph Black, a

captain in the Revolutionary War, and was then passed down to the Bogle and later Atchley families, all related to Lisa on her mother’s side. Outlying buildings included a dairy, cantilever barn, brooder house, smokehouse and well house. Some of those buildings still stand and were also updated. And after 179 years, they needed plenty of work. The process did not go smoothly. There were heavy rains, many delays and no straight lines in the sagging main structure. Even now, maintaining the house takes effort. “We moved in on April Fools’ Day of 1997,” says George with a rueful grin, “and it’s been April Fools’ Day ever since.” The Bitzases had been living in a spacious condo at Mariner’s Pointe on Fort Loudoun Lake. Lisa was particularly fond of the floor-to-ceiling windows that afforded water views, and she “fought tooth and nail” to stay there. “But this is home,” she admits. “This is my grandfather’s house, so I was here

George Bitzas sang the national anthem at UT football games for more than 27 years. Photos by Carol Zinavage

as much as at my house when I was a kid.” Now, both George and Lisa enjoy the serenity of the mountains and the silence, “except for the donkeys and the cows,” laughs Lisa. They especially enjoy entertaining in their kitchen/dining area, which includes the original stone fireplace and marble floor, both beautifully restored. You may be wondering why the name George Bitzas sounds so familiar to you,

the remaining orchids as “something to do” when he’s not visiting with his daughters and grandchildren. He says he has never really had a hobby. He spent his free time during his teaching and administrating years working as a consultant. Since earning his emeritus status 22 years ago, he has done research at UT – supposedly part-time – primarily for the Department of Labor. His consulting usually was for lawyers, drawing him into the courtroom many times. That may be what inspired his one true hobby, which he’s able to practice only when he visits London. “I like to go to the Old Bailey and watch trials,” he says.

even if you don’t know a lick of music. If you’re a fan of Vol football, you know him as the man who sang the national anthem at the start of every game from 1973 to 2000. Born in northern Greece in the small town of Tsamanta near the Albanian border, he came to the USA at the age of 3. After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Converse College, he accepted a teaching position in the voice department at the UT School of Music in 1965. With his bright tenor voice, he was a natural, and in 1973 the job became his. Even after suffering a bout of thyroid cancer in 1978, he kept on performing the notoriously singerunfriendly piece. “They told me I probably couldn’t sing anymore,” he remembers, “but I didn’t miss one ball game.” “I can’t think of another tune that has such an unsingable range,” says the anthem’s current singer, baritone and UT professor of voice Andrew Wentzel. “Add to that the fact that you are singing it for 100,000 people and a radio audience, as well as the fact that everyone knows every word, and the pressure can be pretty intense out there.” George Bitzas did it for 27 years, and did it so well that he’s recognized in unexpected places. When he and Lisa went to Greece last summer for an extended visit to his homeland, a couple came up to him excitedly and asked, “Are you George Bitzas?” They were faithful Vol fans. He’s also enjoyed a long career as music director of Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church, from which he retired in 2010. Now, lounging by their pool on a sunny day, the Bitzases relax together and comment on how much they like a recently-added wraparound deck. But no more major house rehab. “Enough,” says George. Send story suggestions to news@

Northeast Knox resident Kevin Murphy signs Rocky Swingle’s petition urging City Council to reject Tennova’s Middlebrook Pike rezoning request. Photo by Betty Bean

City Council challenger is no-show By Betty Bean The August meeting of the Alice Bell Spring Hill Neighborhood Association (ABSHNA) was to have been a debate between 4th District City Council incumbent Nick Della Volpe and his challenger, Rick Staples. The plan changed when Staples didn’t show up. (Contacted later, a Staples campaign staffer reported a scheduling mixup). And there was still a lot to talk about as some 35 ABSHNA members, three of Della Volpe’s City Council colleagues, a West Hills Tennova opponent and a developer with a subdivision plan showed up at the New Harvest Park community center. Of most interest was the upcoming City Council rezoning vote for the new Tennova Hospital on Middlebrook Pike, scheduled for the Sept. 17 City Council meeting. ABSHNA president Ronnie Collins told the group they need to get involved in this West Knoxville rezoning, which Tennova must have before it can proceed with its plans to close the former St. Mary’s Medical Center (now known as Physicians Regional) in North Knoxville. “That leaves this end of town with no hospital at all,” Collins said. “The neighborhoods out there don’t want it in their back yards, or anywhere next to them. … Just think about how long it’s going to take for an ambulance to get from this end of town down through there.” A member of the audience, who said he recently survived a life-or-death medical emergency because

he was able to get to the Physicians Regional emergency room quickly, agreed: “If it’s down there (on Middlebrook), I’m dead,” he said. “I think this is one of the most important issues for our community.” Della Volpe said it’s difficult to get a clear picture of what Tennova wants to do because its ownership was recently taken over by a New York hedge fund operator. “The problem right now is we don’t know who’s running Tennova,” he said. “They (the previous owners) said they had talked to the Sisters of Mercy (the nuns who ran the old St. Mary’s Medical Center), and that they are committed to providing some services at that location. But there’ll be no acute care, no emergency room.” Della Volpe said he is concerned about the jobs that will be moved to west Knoxville as well as the ripple effect on surrounding businesses like restaurants, florists and pharmacies. In other business, developer Ronnie Phillips, who wants to build a duplex on a nine-acre parcel on Washington Pike, brought his engineer, Brad Salsbury of Cannon & Cannon, to explain the runoff control measures he plans. Eventually, the subdivision would contain up to 19 units, and the discussion between Phillips and the neighborhood is whether he should be required to submit a concept plan for the entire development or be permitted to go forward with a single unit before submitting the plan.

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