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

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July 29, March 8, 2013 2017

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Making music for Mount Olive By Betsy Pickle It was homecoming for all who love Mount Olive Elementary School. Former students, teachers and administrators joined their current counterparts in Music From the Mount, an evening of song and celebration held at Mount Olive Baptist Church, across the street from the school. Mount Olive folks packed the sanctuary for the event organized by music teacher Rob Huffaker. Performers ranged from 5 years old to, ahem, much older on a program that featured several outstanding performances. The talent show was formed as a fundraiser for the music classroom, which boasts chairs older than most of the students’ parents. Huffaker has tracked down chairs made specifically for young musicians to replace the current ones, which are in woeful condition. A grant helped him procure one-third of the seats needed. But purchasing all the chairs and accessories needed will cost $4,200. The Mount Olive PTA has established the “Musical Chairs Fund” to cover the cost of the chairs. Longtime music teacher Barbara Hensley was honored with a plaque affixed to one of the chairs. The talent show helped make a good start on the fundraising, and

Look for more photos on page A-3

lots of performers did their best to encourage generous giving. MVP for the evening was South-Doyle High School senior Thomas Bush, who not only served

After their humorous sketch about the music-room chairs, Thomas Bush and Cody Edds look on as former music teacher Barbara Hensley checks out a chair dedicated to her. More pictures on A-3

as a comical master of ceremonies but also performed twice – in a duet with younger brother Grant and singing solo the

popular song “You Raise Me Up.”

Park manager proves persistence pays By Carol Z. Shane

As a young adult from Northport, Long Island, with no concrete plans for a career, Justine Cucchiara had no idea that someday she’d end up loving her job as lands manager of Seven Islands State Birding Park, now part of the Tennessee State Park System. The route that got her there was circuitous, but Cucchiara firmly believes she’s right where she should be. “I want to make sure that people continue to connect with nature. Being able to share that exuberance and fascination with it is important to me.” With a lifelong affinity for water and wildlife, she lived aboard a 37-foot sailboat for several years based out of Beaufort, N.C., and worked as an observer for the state’s marine fisheries. “That’s how I first became interested in natural resource management,”

she says. After that, she moved inland to Asheville but, as a lifelong flatlander, underestimated the impact of moving to the mountains. A Craigslist ad from Beardsley Farm led her to East Tennessee to teach aquaponic farming to at-risk kids. “I made more friends in two weeks in Knoxville than I’d made in eight months in Asheville,” she says. She also decided to pursue a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology at UT, but “got in the wrong line.” She was loaded onto a bus and taken to the UT Ag campus, where she ended up in the office of Dr. Richard Strange, a professor in the department of forestry, wildlife and fisheries. Cucchiara decided that would do just fine. She ended up earning her bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fishery science with a minor in forestry.

Along the way, she says, “I made a pest of myself” in pursuing a position with CAC AmeriCorps – a nine-month term with Legacy Parks Foundation at Seven Islands Cucchiara Wildlife Refuge. “I served two of those terms and then they kept me on, creating a position for me as science research coordinator.” When the refuge became a state park, Cucchiara underwent 14 weeks of training in law enforcement to qualify for park ranger status. She was promoted to assistant lands manager, and then awarded the plum: lands manager, which includes a residence on the property. Now she’s working toward a

master’s degree in habitat restoration and management. “I get really focused on the park and it becomes my whole world sometimes,” she says. “Going back to school is good for me.” One new project she especially wants people to know about is the Wild Yards Garden, which showcases native plants and offers information about how to turn your property into a sustainable, birdcentric wildlife habitat. As you might imagine, it goes way beyond hanging out the feeder. But it’s not only desirable, it’s doable. “It’s important that, as leaders, we continue to make parks relevant and important to individuals. I am responsible for this little piece of dirt,” Cucchiara says of the Seven Islands’ 416 acres. “That is my mission and I have accepted it!”

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

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

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

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

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A-2 • MArch -NewS arch 8, 8,2017 2017 •• PSowell outh SKhoPPer nox Shopper news

health & lifestyles

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

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

Allergy symptoms

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

Preparing for

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

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

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Wash towels and linens in hot water.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon races set for April 1-2

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South Knox Shopper news • March 8, 2017 • A-3

Music at Mount Olive

The Mount Olive Ukulele Club provides the evening’s most unusual music. Photos by Betsy Pickle

SKA members offer Saturday fun, deals Second Saturday South is upon us. Members of the South Knoxville Alliance of Businesses and Professionals will offer a wide spectrum of deals and treats this Saturday during their (almost) monthly event. Bargain Hunters Antique and Flea Market Mall, 4006 Chapman Highway, is hosting a ’50s day from noon to 4 p.m. Classic cars will be on site, and there will be free root-beer floats, free food and giveaways. There will also be live entertainment by Larry Blair. Tea & Treasures, 4104 W. Martin Mill Pike, will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 11 a.m.-4 p.m. with food and fun. The shop will have a

Amelia Bumpus generates enthusiasm with her rendition of Cat Stevens’ “If You Want to Sing Out.”

Baker Creek then and now

Former student Jordan Harb amazes the audience with an accomplished performance of “Amazing Grace.”

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history. “Baker Creek Preserve is such an exciting place for the K nox v ille community,” said Nick PavCarol Evans lis, South Knox’s member of city council. “The addition of this kiosk gives our families the opportunity to learn about the history of the people who lived here while experiencing the healthy benefits of having green space and trails just a few miles from downtown.”

Legacy Parks Foundation unveiled a kiosk at Baker Creek Preserve Saturday. The backside displays information about the Cruze family, which owned the land for over 100 years. “We are in the heart of a neighborhood where people have lived for multiple generations, and we thought that was just really important to celebrate that here and to preserve a family story,” said Carol Evans, executive director of Legacy Parks. The kiosk in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness displays information about the nearby trails along with the rich

Betsy Pickle

“lucky” drawing for a door prize every hour, selfies with the Tea & Treasures leprechaun, an artist meetand-greet with Tracy Allen and 25 percent off vintage crystal and cut glass. Other businesses participating include H&R Block in Chapman Square, the Herald, the Roundup Restaurant and Wee Care Info: South Knoxville Alliance on Facebook or SouthKnoxvilleAlliance.org

Fifth-grader Neila Hudson delights the crowd with an interpretive dance.

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A-4 • MARCH 8, 2017 • SOUTH KNOX Shopper news

First kids who were brats! By Kip Oswald

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

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

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett reads “Looking for Bigfoot” to Shaylee Britton’s fourth-grade class. Photos by Betsy Pickle

WVLT meteorologist Heather Haley reads “Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues” to Shelley Morales’ kindergartners.

Local leaders book time at New Hopewell By Betsy Pickle Read Across America Day was a big deal last week at New Hopewell Elementary School. Community leaders visited classes and read to students as part of an annual tradition. The kids responded with rapt attention and lively questions, making it an interactive learning day.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett started early with fourth-graders in Shaylee Britton’s class. Tuning in to one of his favorite subjects, Burchett read “Looking for Bigfoot” by Bonnie Worth. A Bigfoot aficionado, he added personal insights throughout his session, and he made a note of the title and author so that he could get his own copy.

Heather Haley, a meteorologist at WVLT-TV, read “Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues” by Kimberly and James Dean. The mom of two read expressively. She also had fun answering questions about her job. Also reading throughout the day were Knox County Schools Interim Superintendent Buzz Thomas, Mark Benson from the

Great Schools Partnership, WBIR-TV anchor Robin Wilhoit, officers from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and members of the University of Tennessee football team. Benson said he enjoyed doing a double stint. He chose a versatile book – “Armadillo Rodeo” by Jan Brett – and read it to secondgraders and fifth-graders.

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South Knox Shopper news • March 8, 2017 • A-5

The marble king Cotton had once been king and the railroads had dominated for a time but, by the late 1880s, another industry had assumed a major role in East Tennessee’s economy. Knoxville became a leader in the marble industry, and the industry was so big that Knoxville became known as Marble City. Although the first extensive developments were in Hawkins County, shipments from Knoxville via the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad were three times as great by 1881. There were 11 quarries operating in Knox County by 1882, and 300 workers were employed. By 1906, it was estimated that the county’s marble industry generated $1 million annually. The pioneer marble company in East Tennessee was

Jim Tumblin

in Rogersville (Hawkins County). Founded in 1838 by S.D. Mitchell and Orville Rice and operating as the Rogersville Marble Co., its quarry provided marble for interior furnishings such as floors, doors and mantelpieces. By 1850, its water-powered finishing machinery was used to produce monuments and tombstones. In 1873, William Patrick founded the Knoxville Marble Co. near the Forks of the River and became its president, with George W.

News from Office of Register of Deeds

Mixed results in February By Sherry Witt On the heels of a redhot start to 2017, local real estate and lending markets cooled off a bit in February. For the month that Witt ended Feb. 28, there were 774 property transfers recorded in Knox County. While that number bested both January and last February’s totals, there was a substantial decrease in the value of properties sold. The aggregate value of land transferred during the month was $155.6 million,

which was about $73 million less than January’s total, and nearly $25 million behind the pace set during February 2016. With only 19 business days on the calendar, February suffered from a lack of sizeable commercial transactions. Coming in the middle of winter, February is traditionally the slowest month of the year for real estate activity. Increases in federal rates had an effect on mortgage lending, as only about $221.9 million was borrowed against real estate in Knox County, compared to almost $280 million in February of last year. Last month’s total also fell well short of the $314 million loaned in January.

Ross as secretary-treasurer. Ross’s son, John M. Ross, succeeded Patrick in 1886 but eventually sold to the W.H. Evans Co. Perhaps the most interesting of all the companies was established in 1878 by John J. Craig (1820-1892). Over the years it eventually morphed into John J. Craig Co. and its subsidiary Candoro Marble Works, where the marble was finished and artists such as the Italianborn sculptor Albert Milani (1892–1977) created elegant monuments. The patriarch of the family was succeeded in the business by his son John J. Craig Jr. (1860-1904) and then by his grandson John J. Craig III (1885-1944). With quarries near Friendsville and Concord, as well as in South Knoxville, the company became the foremost producer of pink Tennessee marble by the early 1900s. Born in Lauderdale County, Ala., on Sept. 20, 1820, John James Craig came to Knoxville in 1839. He married Mary C. Lyon, whose home was on what became Lyons View Pike. Craig began his career as cashier of the Union Bank and,

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of two acres of gardens and woodlands with exedra, ponds and herb gardens. The marble columns, walls, ceilings and floors provide a museum-like example of the beauty of Tennessee marble. Locally, the Craigs provided marble for the U.S. Post Office on Main, the State Office Building on Cumberland, the Criminal Court Building on Gay and interior marble for some of UT’s buildings. Several Washington, D.C., buildings were also constructed with marble from the Craig quarries: SmithAlbert Milani (1892-1977). The Italian-born master sonian Museum of sculptor is probably working on the American eaHistory and Techgles used on the U.S. Post Office Building between nology, AFL-CIO in 1858, Main and Cumberland. Photograph courtesy of the East TenHeadquarters, Ausnessee Historical Society b e g a n tralian Chancery construcand, most notably, tion of an some of the stone impressive mansion on 11 Italy, it has two wings con- for the National Gallery of acres that now are a part of nected by a loggia with six Art, at one time the largthe University of Tennessee sets of Palladian doors. Sev- est marble building in the campus. He called it Luc- eral terraces provide views world. know, but it eventually became Melrose. The house was almost completed when the Civil War broke out, and Craig sold out and moved to Cincinnati. The family, including the three children who grew to maturity, W.L., John J. Jr. and Mary, returned to Knoxville in 1869. Many East Tennessee marble is prized the world over. more generations of John There are only two months left to visit the exhibit that J. Craigs have continued to describes the industry that launched the stone’s fame make the company a strong and crowned Knoxville as the Marble City! presence in the industry for The marble industry was once an important secover 125 years. John J. Craig tor of East Tennessee’s economy. Beginning in the IV and John J. Craig V conmid-1800s, demand for East Tennessee marble intinued until recent times to creased, it being sourced for the interiors and exteriserve as officers in the busiors of homes, businesses and government buildings in ness. Tennessee and across the country.  In 1926, John J. Craig Occurring in a vein in what is called the Holston III, like his grandfather, Formation, Tennessee marble is actually a type of built an elegant mansion. crystalline limestone. It resembles marble when polHis was called Craiglen and ished, and architects and builders cherish its pinkishwas located on Westland gray color. It also occurs in gray, dark burgundy (“ceDrive, featuring Tennesdar”) and some variegated shades. see marble throughout. It Visit the exhibit at the East Tennessee Historical has been called the most Society Museum at 601 S. Gay St. (across from the elaborate and beautifully Tennessee Theatre). M-F: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. • Sat: 10 a.m. detailed of all the Barber- 4 p.m. • Sun: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m., 865-215-8830. Exhibit designed homes. Patterned closes Sunday, May 14, 2017. after a palazzo in Florence,

Rock of Ages

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last words Sickness or sin?

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

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

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

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

A-6 • March 8, 2017 • South Knox Shopper news

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

Marvin West

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

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

able last outdoor season. The school doesn’t have an indoor track. It does have track history. Several coaches were responsible. Chuck Rohe put track in the headlines and won an astonishing 15 consecutive SEC titles. Stan Huntsman built on that. Back in the era of dual meets, he led the Vols to a 93-26-3 record, 20 SEC titles and Tennessee’s first NCAA championship. Ex-Vol Doug Brown lasted long enough to go 53-8 and win four SEC titles and another NCAA crown. Bill Webb did rather well – 521, four SEC and two NCAA titles. Terry Crawford and Clark were big winners with the women. Clark got promoted with the merger. You don’t really want to know what happened after that. Right now, the Vols do not have a competitive track team. They have one of the finest sprinters in the world and others in similar colors who don’t accomplish all that much when it is time to run, jump or throw. Coach and athletes remain hopeful. Maybe the new AD will fix it. Marvin West invites reader reactions. His address is westwest6@netzero.com

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

Victor Ashe

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

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

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

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