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VOL. 52 NO. 51
Bluegrass keeps grip on
History’s hidden truths
Young High grad
By Reneé Kesler “Don’t Turn On the Lights: History’s Unwritten Stories” is my feeble attempt to expose to a new generation the voices of our ancestors, those eyewitnesses Renee Kesler to a bitter past speaking uncensored truths. “They told us not to have no light on! And we didn’t,” stated Mary Etter, the widow of Joe Etter, a veteran soldier who fought in the Spanish American War of 1898, and was killed during the race riot in Knoxville. On Aug. 30, 1919, during a time when race riots were erupting all across the nation, the race relations climate in Knoxville took a bloody turn and the city became one of the “Red Summer” cities. Maurice Mays, a handsome black man born around 1887, was accused of murdering a white woman, and Knoxville erupted in violence. The National Guard was summoned to maintain law and order. During this time, soldiers armed with machine guns shot and killed Joe Etter as he tried to take a machine gun from one of the soldiers. In 1979, in her own words, Mary Etter described the nightmare she endured to Anne Wilson, program coordinator of an oral history project at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center. Here is an excerpt from that interview: Ms. Etter, your husband was killed in 1919 wasn’t he? Yes, he was. How was he killed? Well, he was killed in the race riot what they had here. Can you tell us what the race riot was? Well, it was kind of over … well, they said a colored man killed a white woman and that’s what started it out. Ms. Etter, what was the name of that black man? Let’s see … Morris Mays, Morris Mays they say killed a white woman! When the interviewer asked Ms. Etter to tell how she found out about her husband’s death, she talked in exquisite detail about the events of that night. She described how a man from the white-owned undertaker parlor located on Vine and Gay Street summoned her to come and identify the body. To page A-4
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July 29, February 1, 2013 2017
Jim Smith poses by his 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air in front of the G&D Deli, where Smith is a regular. The magazine and record album represent his long career in bluegrass music. Photo by Betsy Pickle
By Betsy Pickle Playing bluegrass has always been a sideline for Jim Smith, but it has also been a through line. He did it all during his working years, and it’s part of his contribution to his church even now. The Mississippi native moved to Knoxville with his family in 1946. He finished eighth grade at Gap Creek Elementary and then entered Young High School. He was a well-behaved student but not a good one, he says. “For some reason, English, they didn’t word it so I could make good grades in it,” he says over coffee at the G&D Deli on Tipton Station Road, his home away from home. “I tell everybody, ‘I liked school so well, I even went in the summer.’” In Mississippi, his father was a sharecropper, and the family was poor – like all of their neighbors. Their house had no electricity, so
the six siblings and their parents listened on a battery-powered radio to the Grand Ole Opry. “I didn’t know what they were playing, but I liked the sound,” he says, singling out the music of Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt. Once he started listening to Knoxville radio, he became a fan of “The Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour” and “The Mid-Day Merry-Go-Round.” His family bought him a mandolin from the Spiegel catalog, and he played music around the house with his brother Jessie, aka Buster, on guitar. He found his own teachers at the Merry-GoRound studio downtown. “I just went around bugging everybody who played, trying to learn something,” he says. He graduated from high school in 1952 and went to work with the Bell phone system in 1953. His job working on the switching equipment took him and wife Patricia all around
The Pinnacle Boys, with Jim Smith on mandolin, shot one album cover in Cades Cove. the country, towing their house trailer, until traveling interfered with school. (Children Pamela Wise and Craig Smith both reside still in South Knoxville.) Smith jammed with other musicians all along, but once he was settled in South Knoxville, he got an offer to play with the Pinnacle Mountain Boys. “They were a good band,” he says. “They got a booking over here one night at the Senator’s Club – it’s where the CourtSouth (National Fitness) thing is now. The guy that was co-head of the band was totally against drinking, and their mandolin player ordered a beer that night ... and they fired him. To page A-3
Strong marriage makes big move easier By Betsy Pickle Fathi and Rebecca Husain are doubly happy to have their children’s resale shop, Wee Care, in a new location. Having celebrated the store’s 25th anniversary in September, they doubled their space by moving across the parking lot from 2537 Chapman Highway to 2615 Chapman Highway, former home of the Disc Exchange. The new store, which opened in January, gives them room to show off aisle after aisle of strollers, playpens, clothes, toys, formula and more. They’re still moving things from the old store, and they haven’t replaced the Disc Exchange sign yet, but they’re open for business. Fathi got the idea to move when he talked to the former Disc Exchange owners about buying some light fixtures. He wasn’t sure how Fathi and Rebecca Husain have moved their Rebecca would react – a larger Shoppe into the former Disc Exchange. Photo by Betsy Pickle
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facility meant higher rent, not to mention the overwhelming chore of moving their inventory. “I thought I’d find a lot of resistance from her,” he says. But his wife of nearly 29 years saw the advantages. The Husains have been in harmony from the time they met as students at the University of Tennessee in 1987. Fathi grew up in Palestine and came to the United States to study electrical engineering at UT-Martin. He transferred to UT-Knoxville to finish his degree. Rebecca grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla., and after high school wasn’t sure about her future until she took a road trip to Massachusetts. She drove through Knoxville and spent some time here around Thanksgiving 1985.
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A new baby for a new year After being raised with a little sister who is nine years younger and being around nieces and nephews from six half-siblings, Melanie Mullins can say she has quite a bit of experience with babies. Still, the enormity of the situation was not lost on her. Mullins found out she was pregnant, and it came as a complete surprise. “We were not actively trying to start a family,” she says. “We were both a little scared, but also excited.” While the thought of having a baby was a little overwhelming, there was something that brought her peace. It was her faith in the medical staff at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. “I chose Fort Sanders Regional because I had been a patient there before and felt like I was really cared about while I was there,” Mullins says. The birth of a first child is a monumental event in the life of a family, but Fort Sanders Regional delivers more than 2,000 babies each year, so first-time moms-to-be can set their minds at ease. Expectant parents find exceptional medical backup with one of the best equipped neonatal units in the area. Specialized OB surgical suites are designed for ultimate efficiency. If there are complications, it’s comforting to know that East Tennessee Children’s Hospital is just steps away, and the two hospitals are connected by a tunnel, with medical coverage and care available around the clock. Jan. 2, 2017, was the original due date, but Mullins went into labor on December 31, 2016. Like many other first-time moms, she wasn’t sure if it was the real thing or a false alarm. “It was hard to get ready to leave the house, and I kept having to lie down,” she says. “I finally realized that it was definitely ‘go time,’ so I phoned the doctor and told
her I was on my way.” Mullins gave birth to the hospital’s official New Year’s Baby. Little Adalynn Irons made her grand entrance into the world at 1:45 a.m. on Jan. 1. Months of morning sickness had caused some concern about the health of the baby,
be more pleased. “I was nervous about being a new mom, but the doctors and nurses kept me calm and confident,” Mom and baby are happy and Mullins says. “The staff was healthy after a New Year’s amazing, from the nurses to the delivery at Fort Sanders Regional anesthesiologist who administered my epidural.” Mullins appreciated the quality of care and she also appreciated the compassion the nurses exhibited, making sure she was well cared for. That included little gestures of thoughtfulness that aren’t part of a nurse’s usual job description. “On my last evening in the hospital, I was hungry at about 4 a.m., and asked the nurse where the closest vending machine was,” Mullins recalls. “She brought me a sandwich, fruit, peanut butter and crackers, and a Sprite. “It was just the sweetest thing,” Mullins says. “I just want to hug them all.” Mullins says it’s “pretty neat” to be the mother of the New Year’s Baby. “The staff made me feel special, and I am glad I will have such a special story to tell my daughter when she is older.” Mother and baby are both doing well, although Mullins admits they’re both very tired. The new mom says her biggest challenge is trying not to worry, a common concern for every caring mom. “I just want to be the best mom possible,” Mullins says. Mullins is emphatic in recommending Fort Sanders Regional for expectbut Adalyn was a ant mothers. “It’s important to feel cared completely healthy about and listened to when you are having newborn. a baby,” she says, “and that is exactly my “My appetite was never re- experience.” ally there,” Mullins says. “We were surprised and grateful that she weighed seven To learn more about the birthing center pounds, 12 ounces at birth.” at Fort Sanders Regional, visit In fact, everything about the childbirth www.fswomensspecialists.com. experience went well, and Mullins couldn’t
Pre-delivery classes available through Teddy Bear University As you or a loved one prepares to give birth, you may benefit from classes through Teddy Bear University in breastfeeding, breathing and birthing relaxation tips and infant and child CPR. All classes are held in the classrooms on the lobby level of Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. Class schedules are available at http://www.covenanthealth.com/2016-fsr-schedule. The following classes are offered: ◊ Breastfeeding – Learn breastfeeding basics including correct positioning, tips for returning to work and an overview of breast pumps. Fathers-to-be are encouraged to attend. ◊ Sibling Class – Siblings age 4 to 10 are welcome to attend Sibling Class, which promotes family bonding to help reduce jealous feelings. A tour of the birthing facility is also included in this class. ◊ Birth and Babies Today –This five-week series covers the variations of labor and birth, breathing techniques, tips for your support person and care for the new mom and baby. This class is recommended for first-time parents starting in their sixth or seventh month and includes a facility tour. ◊ Super Saturday Class – The Birth and Babies Today class is condensed into one all-day Saturday class for women in their seventh or eighth month of pregnancy. This session is not recommended for first-time parents. ◊ Infant and Child CPR and Safety – American Heart Association-certified instructors are on-site to teach parents and caregivers how to effectively perform CPR and removal of airway obstruction for infants and children. All Teddy Bear University dates, times and fees are available at www.CovenantHealth.com/TeddyBearU or by calling (865) 673-FORT.
A special partnership Because of a special partnership with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital (ETCH), there is no safer place for a baby’s beginning than Fort Sanders Regional. The two facilities have an open door policy, so there’s nothing to slow down the effort to provide immediate, expert care to newborns who need it. When a baby who needs specialized care is born at Fort Sanders Regional, a team from Children’s quickly assembles and moves through the tunnel connecting the two hospitals. Babies are immediately assessed by pediatric specialists and if necessary, head back to a brand new neonatal intensive care unit at ETCH. While medical staff at Fort Sanders work to stabilize new moms, families are able to visit newborns without traveling too far from the delivery room. The close proximity not only provides convenience to patients and families, but provides the assurance that every neonatal service needed is available right next door.
At Fort Sanders Regional, we deliver! For more information about the outstanding physicians that deliver at Fort Sanders Regional, please call (865) 673-FORT (3678) or visit www. fsregional.com.
E Excellent obstetricians E The Fort Sanders Perinatal Center for high risk pregnancies E Direct tunnel access to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital
South Knox Shopper news • February 1, 2017 • A-3
Drocella Mugorewera is a grateful American These days we’re hearing a lot of talk about refugees. East Knoxville resident Drocella Mugorewera knows something about that topic. The executive director of Bridge Refugee Services, located at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, she fled her native Rwanda in 2008 and arrived in Knoxville in 2009. Through Bridge, she was able to find a connection to her church and employment as a production sales associate with Goodwill Industries. Before that, she had been head of Rwanda’s Ministry of Natural Resources: Land, Forests, Environment and Mining. Because of previous genocidal campaigns and attempts to suppress them, which only resulted in more violence, Mugorewera had been, she says, “enduring the situation. But it was getting worse and worse.”
Carol Z. Shane
On her way to a conference, “something happened which was terrifying,” she says. “I spent two nights without sleeping. What do you choose? Death or life?” Leaving her husband, two children and three nieces behind, she fled to Uganda, then Kenya, where she began the process of proving her refugee status. She was investigated, fingerprinted and interviewed. After arriving in America, she underwent a similar process and was approved. Over the next two years, all family members were able to join her. As of this May, all will have graduated from college, including hus-
Drocella Mugorewera is executive director of Bridge Refugee Services. Photo by Carol Z. Shane band Jen, who earned an accounting degree and now works as a CPA. “I have an accountant, a nurse, a flight attendant, an MBA and a human resources manager,” says Mugorewera, clearly proud of her kids. “To see them all graduate from college is one of my dreams.” The family has been Habi-
Bluegrass anchors Young High graduate “I knew the guy who was playing bass because I’d jammed around with him some places. They called me and asked me if I would play. That’s how I got into the group.” PMB disbanded around 1970 or ’71, and Smith and another ex-member started their own outfit, the Pinnacle Boys. Bluegrass was gaining popularity, and the new ensemble stood out because it featured two fiddle players. Another thing that set the Pinnacle Boys apart was that they all had day jobs. “Most people were in it (music) for money,” says Smith, who took vacation time to tour. “We could carry an extra guy, and it didn’t matter if we made money or not.”
The Pinnacle Boys played their first festival and recorded their first album in 1974. They played on the Opry twice, and Smith became friends with the Osborne Brothers and spent some time with his idol, Monroe. They traveled as far west as Reno, Nev., and as far north as the D.C. area, where they played twice at Wolf Trap Farm Park (now Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts). They were popular in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and “all around the Southeast.” Some of the festivals got pretty wild, Smith says, but the crowds enjoyed their music. To this day, he’s never had a drink (or smoked, or gotten a tattoo). “My daddy was a bootleg-
From page A-1
ger, and I saw what people would do to get that stuff. Just like drugs now. They’d spend their last money for it.” The Pinnacle Boys called it quits in the 1980s, but Smith continued to play as a sideman. He formed a group at his church, Stock Creek Baptist, about 10 years ago. The Stock Creek Gospel Bluegrass Band features two female singers and performs at special events at church and in the community. Smith, 83, expects to keep playing for a while. “Hands still work good,” he says. “Music came easier for me after I got older. I don’t know why. I guess the more different bands you play with, the more you pick up from ’em.”
tat for Humanity homeowners for the last three years. Mugorewera enjoys the parks and lakes of East Tennessee. “The environment is in my
bones,” she says. “When I fled, I lost a country, I lost a family, I lost my belongings,” she says. “I lost everything. It’s just starting from scratch when you come here. Finding peace, freedom, friends, support. This is a country of opportunities. I hope I can restore what I lost, but also go beyond.” She wants to be a successful businesswoman and to continue to reach out to people in need. “I want to touch many people’s lives, spiritually, socially and economically. I want to be a beacon of hope. “I’m very proud and thankful to the government of America. One of my duties is to educate the community about how people
Strong marriage keeps Wee Shoppe strong She went home only to pack her belongings, then moved at New Year’s 1986. She majored in theatre, with a focus on set design. Ironically, neither she nor her husband ever worked in their collegiate field. They held a variety of jobs early in their marriage, but once they had their first child, Layla, they knew they had to make a plan. They didn’t want someone else to raise their children, but they both needed to work to make ends meet. They visited a children’s resale shop called Wee Care in Strawberry Plains to buy coat hangers, and the owner persuaded them to buy the
store. They stayed in Strawberry Plains for three weeks before moving the business to 3611 Chapman Highway, where they remained for about 20 years. They moved to 2537 after the Henley Bridge closed. Family is a top priority for the Husains, who live near Ijams Nature Center. They have raised their children – Layla, Hasan, Abdalla and Mariam – to be caring individuals who love people, animals and the outdoors. While Islam has become a political issue, they say their Muslim faith hasn’t created friction for them. “We meet a lot of people,
and they get to know us,” says Rebecca. “We just worship God, like anybody else who believes.” Raised in Methodist and Presbyterian churches, Rebecca didn’t convert to Islam until after she married and had time to study it. “Having a God-centered life is important to me,” she says. She is proud of her husband’s compassion and giving spirit. “He loves to help people.”
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From page A-1
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since 1985. “We want to give folks a chance When the groundhog pokes his head to clear out those stacks of tapes again.” out of his burrow on Feb. 2, his shadow Fleetwood will provide one DVD per might not be the most exciting thing tape, no matter the length of the tape. he’ll be able to see. If he’s taken all his Also, Distefano is careful to clarify that VHS tapes to Fleetwood Photo & Digi- by 8mm videotape, he doesn’t mean the tal, he’ll also have an easily accessible old 8mm movie tape from granddad’s trove of furry family memories to cheer day. Fleetwood does have the capability him up through the impending days of to transfer that type of medium, but not … winter? Spring? Who knows? for this price in this sale. Even if you’re not a This is also a great groundhog, you can time to make dupliavail yourself of cate copies at the some of the best same low price prices you’ll ever of $10.95 apiece. see for VHS-toFor various other DVD transfer. prices, Distefano Starting Thursand his staff can day, Feb. 2, Fleeteven upload your wood will transfer videos to the intera minimum of 10 net and make digiVHS, VHS-C and tal files. There’s a Clearly, the husband who designed 8mm videotape host of possibilithe mug on the right is a true rorecordings, inties. mantic. You can find all sorts of cute cluding standard, Also on hand in Valentine gifts at Fleetwood Photo & digital, and hi-8, the coming month Digital, as well as one of the best and to DVD for $10.95 will be various most popular sales of the year. Photo each. That’s a great Valentine’s Day submitted deal; prices for gifts. “Come in videotape transfer and see what we’ve usually start at $29.95 each for fewer got,” says Distefano. “We love foot trafthan 10 tapes. And if you do have few- fic.” And of course, for an extra special er than 10 tapes, you can still get great Valentine’s Day gift, you can make a savings at $17.95 each – almost half the memory book for your sweetie online or usual price. They’ll also transfer your in-store. mini-DVs at an additional $2 each. All So round up those VHS tapes and orders are prepaid. bring a box full to Fleetwood Photo & “The last promotion was wildly success- Digital. Those video family memories ful,” says Frank Distefano, who with his will give you joy for years – and generawife, Doris, has run the popular business tions – to come.
get here and what they can do. Some people don’t understand that these are new Americans coming; they are our neighbors, friends of our children. We have to work together to see how they can integrate because they bring cultural and economic values to our nation. America is built on an immigrant background and we are very thankful for people who donate time, cash, talents, love and kindness to make these people feel at home. Many of them have been in horrific, terrible environments – wars, violence, persecution. It means a lot for them to find a strong, supportive, welcoming community. “I hope that culture of welcoming and hospitality will remain forever.”
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A-4 • February 1, 2017 • South Knox Shopper news
He will purify But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. (Malachi 3: 2-3 NRSV) February, I discovered while researching material for this column, comes from the Latin “to purify.” The early Romans held religious rites to purify themselves for festivals that would be held at the start of the New Year. Their New Year began in March. Around 690 BC, Numa Pompilius turned a period of celebration at the end of the year into a month of its own, named after the festival Februa. (It sounds to me sort of like Lent – a time of fasting and purification before an important holy day!) So what should we do to purify ourselves? Well, we are a month away from Ash Wednesday, so we have some time to consider the matter. But it might behoove us to do some warm-up exercises. Maybe we should spend time reading Scripture. Take a look at
FAITH NOTES ■■ Messiah Lutheran Church, 6900 Kingston Pike, will host “Caring for All Creation” choral concert, 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. Choirs from Messiah Lutheran Church, Church of the Savior, Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church and St. Mark UMC will perform. Info: Tennessee Interfaith Power
some lesser visited books (Malachi, maybe, or Habakkuk?); there is good stuff there! Read the Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 3-11) and try to live up to them! Remember, we should purify ourselves before trying to lead others to a closer walk with God. Women particularly will enjoy the Book of Ruth, a love story for the ages. Men will profit from reading the Letter of James in the New Testament, a social gospel, to be sure, and one that calls on the men of the church family to help the pastor care for the flock. And pray!!!
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SENIOR NOTES ■■ South Knox Senior Center, 6729 Martel Lane. Info: 573-5843. ■■ South Knox Community Center, 522 Old Maryville Pike. Info: 573-3575. ■■ John T. O’Connor Senior Center, 611 Winona St. Info: 523-1135.
Practical pieces can create stylish winter look By Betsy Pickle You hear it all the time during East Tennessee’s fickle cold-weather months: layer, layer, layer. But layering doesn’t have to be boring and practical. Fashion expert Lee Ann Hasemeyer showed a group of women at the South Knoxville Senior Center how clothing layers can add style and personality, not just warmth. Hasemeyer, whose day job is with Always Best Care Senior Services, used to work in retail clothing. On her visit to SoKno last week, she noted that in public, we are always representing something, whether it’s a business or a group or simply ourselves, so it’s important to make a good impression with our attire. Looking at her audience, she said, “I feel like I’m preaching to the choir here. … You all look great.” The attendees seemed to have followed Hasemeyer’s first piece of advice: Find your own style. But she suggested checking out magazines with layouts of complete looks for more ideas. Hasemeyer chuckled as she recalled an incident in which a woman at a store asked for her help choosing drapes because she looked “put together.” She said that the current trend of longer sweaters was
Jackets, vests and scarves are all useful in providing warm layers, but they also can help with contrast, she said. She especially pushed scarves; she likes to start with a short end down the front, wrapping the length around the neck and having the other end slightly off level from the first. She pointed out that wide scarves can double as a wrap indoors, for a little extra warmth. Capes are also useful pieces in an East Ten-
nessee wardrobe, she said. Blue jeans and white tops are a classic look that can be dressed up or down with scarves and other accessories. Her advice for jewelry was to match the weather. Heavier pieces are good for winter, lighter ones for summer. Pay attention to clothing necklines in choosing necklaces, avoiding clutter and using different lengths and bulk based on the fabric.
“They told us to bury him just as quick as we She noted that when she husband, Ms. Etter recalled could cause got there, “It looked to me how the white undertaker it might like there’s men but theys came to the house, took start anothcovered up. I went to go and down the bed, brought the er one.” pull the covers and they casket with the body into Within said no that’s not for you the house, asked the famtwo days, to look at. So they took me ily to leave the house and Mary Etter the white to where he’s at. But there’s lock the door. “They told us a lot of men killed up al- not to have no light on! And undertaker took Ms. Etter right.” After identifying her we didn’t,” Ms. Etter said. and her two daughters in a
cab to bury Joe Etter in the colored cemetery. This month, as we celebrate Black History Month, I challenge each of us to turn on the lights of history and open the dialogue of conversation with those still among us, those eyewitnesses to history who speak uncensored truths, and then write their stories.
Fashion expert Lee Ann Hasemeyer, center, arranges a scarf on Pamala Lane as Janet Word, director of the South Knox Senior Center, looks on. Photo by Betsy Pickle appropriate for women over 50, with leggings, jeggings and skinny jeans and cute boots to finish the look. With some basic outfits spread upon a table, Hasemeyer went to work to demonstrate the important concept of contrast, which can encompass light and dark, patterns, colors and textures. She warned against monochromatic attire, encouraging the use of items that “blend” rather than “match.”
From page A-1
Renee Kesler is executive director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center.
South Knox Shopper news • February 1, 2017 • A-5
Winter workouts, then and now Winter workouts are under way at Tennessee – famous new strength and conditioning coach, new goals, positive attitudes, favorable conditions. Motivation is firmly in place. Players need only review the Vandy video to conclude the need for improvement. The Vols have great facilities. Official description is state of the art. Modern machines are or were all around. Ambiance is the stuff of champions. Refreshments are available. The team will strive to get stronger and quicker. One plan will not fit all. Individuals, as Butch likes to say, will have individual programs designed to meet their needs. Rock Gullickson has a book of plans. He may have a scientific formula for reducing injuries. This is critical. The winter aspect of college football is completely different from the good old days. Robert R. Neyland suggested that players not get fat in the off-season, what there was of it. His idea of the lull between storms was a couple of weeks of fishing in Florida. Early spring practice was vigorous. Under the guidance of Bowden Wyatt, football
players were encouraged to stay in shape. They could lift weights or participate in racquetball or handball. They could play intramural basketball or sign up for a volunteer, noncredit physical education class. Real live winter workouts arrived with young coach Doug Dickey. He had learned the value as an assistant coach at Arkansas. He was surprised that UT had nothing similar. Dickey told the story of sending forth a search committee to find a place for workouts. It didn’t find much. There was running room at Dean Planters Tobacco Warehouse. Weather permitting, there were open spaces at the agriculture campus. The report mentioned the possibility of the northwest corner of Neyland Stadium, under Section X. It was described as unsuitable, dirty, drab and dreary, space once used for storage. Dickey inspected it. He said the room looked like
something left over from the Civil War, except dusty cobwebs appeared older. The coach could have made it better. He made it worse. He installed old mats on the floor and hung a heavy rope from on high. Those who thought they wanted to be on his football team were going to do agility drills, wrestle, fight and scratch as if their life depended on it and then climb that blasted rope, hand over hand, until they bumped their head on the concrete ceiling. Center Bob Johnson remembers a one-on-one war, Vols on opposite sides of the mat, no rules, do anything you want to get to the other side. Tempo was frantic for other drills, run here, jump there! Down on the mat, up on your feet, seat roll right, jump up again, forward tumble. Everywhere a player looked or landed, there was another assistant coach yelling for more speed and greater effort. Dickey said some players were overcome by the setting and spirited exercises and lost their lunch. He admitted the smell was terrible. One of his most dramatic terms described the winter workout scene: “A stinking mess.”
Joe Graham, sophomore guard, landed right in the middle of it. There wasn’t room under Section X for all players. There were groups with different times to report. Joe was in the third group. “We arrived to the sound and smell of some of the guys throwing up. In the middle of the winter, the room seemed nearly steamy. Everybody was sweating. I don’t remember how long we worked but it seemed forever.” Dewey Warren was there. The scene matched his imagination of Marine boot camp, only worse. “Under Section X was like a dungeon, dark and smelly, the worst place I’ve ever been.” Bert Ackermann recalls that complaints to Coach Dickey went unheeded. Robbie Franklin said there were more losses than lunches. “We lost several teammates that first winter.” Ackermann said it was a special learning experience. “It was the foundation for the great comeback of Tennessee football under Doug Dickey.” Now would be a good time for a great comeback under Butch Jones. Marvin West invites reader reaction. His address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Knox to prosecute aggravated animal cruelty A Corryton man has been charged with killing two neighborhood dogs on Thanksgiving morning and faces two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals. Billy C. Mounger Jr. is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Feb. 23 in Criminal Sessions Billy C. Court. UnMounger Jr. like a “simple” animal cruelty case, which is a misdemeanor, aggravated cruelty is a Class E felony, punishable by one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000. “We don’t see a lot of these cases,” said Sean McDermott, public information officer with the Knox County District Attorney General’s office. “We only had one case brought last
Betty Bean year in criminal court.” That’s because law defines aggravated cruelty as an act committed “in a depraved and sadistic manner,” which creates a high threshold for the prosecution to prove. The case brought last year is scheduled for trial in March. Jethro and JuJu belonged to Frances Thompson and her husband, Eric Schafferman. Thompson sounded the alert on her Facebook page Thanksgiving Day after the dogs didn’t return from their morning run. “Jethro (blond) and Juju (black) are missing from the Wood Road area in Gibbs/Corryton. Left home
Thanksgiving morning without breakfast. Both are friendly and have collars with names and our phone number. Please call or message me if you have seen them. Please share.” The warrant says that Mounger shot the dogs “with aggravated cruelty and no justifiable purpose,” dragged their bodies out of the woods, loaded them into his pickup truck and drove to Irwin Road and dumped them. When found, their collars had been removed. Mounger also was charged with violating a state law requiring “big game” hunters to wear daylight fluorescent orange. Jethro, whom Thompson describes as a big, goofy Lab/boxer mix, had lived with the family for a year. Juju, who was black with a notch bitten out of one of her big pointy ears, was adopted from a friend who
could no longer give her the attention she needed. There were two other dogs in the household, as well. “This broke our hearts,” Thompson said. “It broke our hearts. “Eric and I both just sort of held each other and cried for a long time. He goes into a shell and gets real quiet. I cried every night. Jethro’s probably the most joybringing dog we ever had.” McDermott said his office sees three or four misdemeanor cases of animal cruelty per week in Sessions Court. Most of the cases involve dogs, followed closely by horses. Cats come in third, and are typically victims of hoarding situations. Under a state law that went into effect last year, the names of those convicted of aggravated animal abuse will be recorded on a registry, and will remain there for two years.
Davenport shreds diversity Those who had worried that the first female chancellor at UTK, Beverly Davenport, would be serious about diversity can rest easy based on her appointments to the first significant committee she named – the search committee for the new athletic director Davenport to replace Dave Hart. She shredded diversity with her six appointments. The six include only one woman and no AfricanAmericans, but two male trustees and the brother of a third trustee who is the chair of the UT board. Two are neighbors who live three houses apart on Lyons View Pike in West Knoxville on either side of the neglected historic UT-owned Williams House. The woman is Donna Thomas, who works for Hart and will help choose the person she will be working for. Stunning that no African-American serves on this search effort given that a large number of the players for basketball and football are AfricanAmerican. Women make up almost half of the total UT athletic program, not to mention the Title IX issues UT has paid millions to go away, but only one of the six is female and she has an acute conflict of interest. The best-known member is obviously Peyton Manning. This past weekend he made news by speaking to the GOP Congressional meeting in Philadelphia, along with President Donald Trump. There are several well-known UT female athletes such as Candace Parker, Chamique Holdsclaw, Semeka Randall and Tamika Catchings who maintain ties to UTK and could serve along with Manning. The truth is, Davenport’s committee includes members of great ability and significant achievements.
They contribute to our civic society in many ways. But they have been placed in an unfortunate situation that could be resolved easily by expanding the committee. It does not look good when half of a committee are trustees or related to a trustee. Two of these members helped recruit Derek Dooley to UT as football coach. We all know how well that worked out. Mistakes can be made, even by wellknown, respected people. What is also remarkable and exceptionally inconsistent about this committee is the obvious desire for the UT board of trustees to own it. On paper and in theory the campus athletic director reports to Chancellor Davenport. The board of trustees just approved her hiring as chancellor. No way she will turn down or even question the finalist this committee picks given who is on it. New trustees are always told that they should not micromanage the university, just as the Legislature is told the same. However, here Davenport has basically turned over the hiring of the new AD to the people who run the board. Will she do the same when she names the search committee for a new provost? So why did Davenport do this? It is hard to come up with an answer on this. However, it is not too late to expand the search committee to give proper representation to all. Hopefully, UT will move to remedy this. ■■ Bob Clement, former U.S. representative and TVA director, is out with a book on his life titled “Presidents, Kings and Convicts.” It starts with growing up in the Governor’s Residence. Not clear whether Clement will do a book signing here in Knoxville.
Putting 5,430 kids into 6,550 spaces: Knox County flunks math Numbers revealed last week show Knox County Schools will have 5,430 kids for 6,550 middle school spaces in 2018 when the new middle school opens at Gibbs. The challenge: Finding enough kids to populate Gibbs Middle School without wrecking Holston.
Here’s one model: Gibbs: Pull 100-200 from Halls, aligning the middle and high school zones. Take whatever kids come out of Gibbs and Corryton elementary schools. That will leave Gibbs Middle short to start, but folks swear growth will follow the school construction. (They
Sandra Clark might have been better off extending sewer lines. Time will tell.)
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Leave Gresham and Whittle Springs alone. Trim enrollment at South-Doyle by using the river as its boundary. Kids on the east side would attend Vine or Holston. Holston: Rezone 200 from Carter to Holston. Currently, the Carter zone includes Holston Hills, a
stone’s throw to Holston Middle. This solves the middle school dilemma without closing a school. A more fiscally sound model would convert all or some of Vine to headquarters for the central office. “Be creative,” said Cynthia Finch. “Open a school
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at Gibbs for the people who live there. Don’t zone anybody. Find other uses (for the empty spaces).” We’re running out of time for creativity. The number crunchers might look at a combined high and middle school at Holston. One thing’s for sure – we won’t all live happily ever after.
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