The Mountain Press ■ Sevier County’s Daily Newspaper ■ Vol. 26, No. 69 ■ March 10, 2010 ■ www.themountainpress.com ■ 50 Cents
Spur totally open — for now
Work on phase two to begin on Monday By DEREK HODGES Staff Writer
5Great Expectations Sterling has high hopes for Lady Tigers Sports, Page A8
PIGEON FORGE — Just more than two months after a rockslide blocked both southbound lanes of the Spur just past the Pigeon Forge
city limits, traffic is flowing freely through the area again – at least for now. Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) officials announced Tuesday the road has been cleared and was opened completely Friday, though that will only last through the beginning of next week, with the second phase of the project likely to force occasional one-lane closures.
The move was made possible because the work now is being done off-site as crews from Charles Blalock & Sons Construction cast concrete panels that will be used to cover the wooden retaining wall that has been put up at the site. At the request of the National Park Service, which manages most of the road’s length between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TDOT agreed to put faux stone over the structure.
The Blalock workers are pouring wet cement into metal molds that will create panels that have the appearance of stone masonry. Those will be finished with a stain to make them appear more realistic, TDOT spokeswoman Yvette Martinez said. Having completed the first phase of the work, which called for the
Tires shot out after man rams squad car
Keeping his eye on the ball
By JEFF FARRELL Staff Writer
5Adoptable Pets Gnatty Branch Animal Shelter offers pets looking for a good home Local, Page A2
A magical weekend in PF Enthusiasts gather at Country Tonite Theater Page A3
Curt Habraken/The Mountain Press
Stephen Cain, 5, keeps his eyes on the ball as he practices t-ball with his father Chris at Sevierville City Park on Monday. This will be Stephen’s first year playing so he and his father, suffering a case of cabin fever, headed to the park to take advantage of the spring-like weather.
Weather Today Scattered Showers High: 61°
Tonight Scattered Showers Low: 49° DETAILS, Page A6
Obituaries Lawson Ogle, 94 Edna Inman, 79 Lon Sutton, 73 Dwight Wolfe, 53 DETAILS, Page A4
Index Local & State . . . . A1-11 Calendar . . . . . . . . . . A2 Money . . . . . . . . . . . . A5 Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . . . A7 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . A8-11 Classifieds . . . . . . A12-14 Nation . . . . . . . . . . . A15 Advice . . . . . . . . . . . A16 Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . A16
Corrections The Mountain Press is committed to accuracy. Please report factual errors by calling 428-0748 Ext. 214.
See spur, Page A4
AT&T brings U-verse to Sevier By ELLEN BROWN Staff Writer Local dignitaries and other community leaders arrived at the AT&T store in Sevierville Friday morning for the company’s latest announcement: It has launched AT&T U-verse services in parts of Sevier County, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, including its U-verse TV, U-verse High Speed Internet and U-verse Voice. AT&T U-verse services, which are all delivered over its Internet Protocol network, bring together customers’ TV, broadband, home phone and wireless services on one bill with unique features that provide a new level of integration, convenience and control. “Sevier County will have an exciting new entertainment experience,” said Alan Hill, AT&T regional director of external affairs. See at&t, Page A4
Launching AT&T U-verse in Sevier County on Friday were, from left, Jim McHargue, AT&T; state Rep. Richard Montgomery; Chris Gray, AT&T; Tammy DeGregorio, AT&T; Larry Waters, Sevier County mayor; Bryan Atchley, city of Sevierville mayor; Bill Snodgrass, district director for Congressman Phil Roe; Alan Hill, AT&T; state Sen. Doug Overbey; and Will Widby, AT&T.
SEVIERVILLE — Deputies had to shoot out the tires of a truck driven by local man after he repeatedly rammed a cruiser with it. The suspect was arrested with the help of a sheriff’s department dog when he tried to flee on foot, according to reports. Eric Christopher Hansen 31, of 1745 Walnut Lane in Sevierville, led deputies on a vehicle pursuit Sunday. He fled in his Nissan pickup after officers arrived at the scene of a dispute. “They got a complaint of a possible domestic dispute, and when they got there, he ran,” Sheriff Ron Seals said in an interview Tuesday when asked about the incident by The Mountain Press. Hansen reportedly turned his truck around at the end of a narrow road and drove straight at the deputies, striking Lewis’ vehicle head-on when Lewis didn’t move the cruiser out of Hansen’s way. Deputy Blaine Lewis said Hansen struck his cruiser during the pursuit, causing severe damage to the vehicle, then backed up and struck it again, and then again before Lewis shot out the tires. “I shot the front tire out because I was afraid he was going to run me over with his truck,” Lewis said in a warrant for Hansen’s arrest. Hansen then jumped out of the truck to flee, but was apprehended when Lewis sent his K-9 partner, Nina, after him. After See car, Page A4
Park gives tip of Stetson to honorary ranger Submitted Report
NATIONAL PARK — Great Smoky Mountains National Park managers and Friends of the Smokies board members gathered recently to recognize longtime park supporter Wilma Maples of Gatlinburg as an honorary National Park Ranger. Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson presented Maples with a mounted Stetson hat for her numerous contributions to support improvements to the Park, as well as support of the park’s staff and their families. “Over the years, Mrs. Maples has stepped up on numerous occasions to help the park overcome a challenging situation and keep us moving forward,” Ditmanson said. “In 2005, we were ready to award a contract for the new Twin Creeks Science and Education Center, but the lowest bid received still exceeded the federal funding available. The Friends of the Smokies came forward to make up the shortfall, with a leadership gift from Wilma. “She has been there for us on numerous other Submitted occasions. She helped create a Tremont endowment Longtime Great Smoky Mountains National Park supporter is presented that allows less fortunate students to participate with a mounted Stetson for her contributions by Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson See stetson, Page A4
A4 â—† Local
The Mountain Press â—† Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Local police nab three in connection with home invasion in Red Bank
o bit u a r i e s In Memoriam
Dwight David Wolfe
By JEFF FARRELL Staff Writer
Dwight David Wolfe, age 53 of Kodak, passed away Monday, March 8, 2010. He was preceded in death by his parents Virgie Breeden McFalls and Virgil Bryan Wolfe. A beloved husband, father and friend, he is survived by wife, Tracey Wolfe; son, Tony Wolfe; daughter, Rachel Wolfe; brothers, Jeff and Scotty Wolfe; sisters, Virginia Baxter, Sherry Adkins, and Lisa Bohanan; aunts, Brenda Blanchard and Nancy Grubaugh; uncle, Orton Breeden; special friends, David Kerr and Rick Williams; several nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made Atchley Funeral Home to benefit the family. Cremation arrangements by Atchley Funeral Home.
SEVIERVILLE â€” Sevierville police have apprehended three people wanted in connection with an alleged home invasion in Hamilton County. The Red Bank Police Department had issued a bulletin asking for law enforcement to be on the lookout for a black Camaro with a tem-
removal of slide debris and stabilization of the hillside, workers must now wait for the panels to cure before they can do anything further. That will likely take until Thursday and, with a forecast for extended rain showers and a contract stipulation that all lanes remain open during the weekends, the decision was made to open the lanes for now and start the next phase on Monday, Martinez said. â€œTDOT estimates crews will begin to install the rock faĂ§ade during the week of March 15,â€? she said. â€œAt that time one southbound lane will close to allow crews to safely work on phase two of the rockslide repairs.â€? That second portion of the effort also calls for repaving and re-striping work on both sides of the highway to repair any damage done by the heavy machinery used in the project on the southbound side or the demands of handling all detour traffic on the northbound lanes. Blalock, operating on an emergency contract, completed the first phase of the work almost two weeks ahead of schedule, meaning it will get the total early completion bonus of $50,000. â€œPhase two is also currently ahead of schedule for completion,â€? Martinez said. â€œThe entire emergency project is scheduled to be finished on or before April 30, 2010.â€? That date is the one set forward in the contract. So far, officials overseeing the project have been reluctant to offer a new projected completion date, concerned Marchâ€™s tendency to â€œcome in like a lionâ€? could push the effort back a bit. â€œWe want to be careful about giving people an end date and then not being able to meet that date,â€? Martinez said. â€œItâ€™s looking good now, though. Currently the contractor is ahead of schedule.â€?
that, Deputy Curtis French, who also took part in the chase, said he found Hansen smelled strongly of alcohol, with slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. â€œHe was highly intoxicated,â€? Seals said. Hansenâ€™s tirade continued even after he was taken to the Sevier County Jail; Sgt. Phil King wrote in a warrant that Hansen struck and broke a window in one of the jailâ€™s holding cells. Deputies also found
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Lon E. Sutton
Lon E. Sutton, age 73 of Sevierville, passed away Sunday, March 7, 2010. He was a member of First Baptist Church, Sevierville. He retired from the U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture. Mr. Sutton was a past president of the Sevierville Jaycees. He loved to fish on Douglas Lake and Lake Okeechobee in Florida. He enjoyed hunting, Tennessee football and basketball, and loved his game of golf. He and Beulah were high school sweethearts and were married 54 years. Although they didnâ€™t have children of their own, they had very special nieces and nephews that loved them dearly. He was preceded in death by his parents Ashley and Rhetta Sutton, sister Bess Rolen Lee, and infant brother David Lee Sutton. Survivors: wife, Beulah Allen Sutton; brothers-inlaw and sisters-in-law, Horace and Juanita Burnette of West Palm Beach, Florida, Ben and Kathleen Henry of Kodak, Eddie and Jeannie Allen of Sevierville, Aileen Shearin of Sevierville, Dr. Jim Lee of Sevierville; special nephew and family, Ronnie and Michelle Shults of Huntsville, Alabama; Godson and nephew, Preston Allen of Sevierville; special nephews, Robert Burnette of West Palm Beach, Florida, John Shearin of Odessa, Florida; nephew, Larry Rolen and wife Gena Rolen of Sevierville; special niece, Deborah Henry of Kodak; several nieces and nephews from Washington State to Florida. Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church, Sevierville, 317 Parkway, Sevierville, Tennessee 37862. Funeral service 7 p.m. Wednesday in the West Chapel of Atchley Funeral Home with Rev. Jerry Hyder and Horace Burnette officiating. Interment 1 p.m. Thursday in Allen Cemetery with Rev. Craig Mintz officiating. Serving as pallbearers will be: Anthony Rolen, Sutton Shults, Kirk Salmond, Isaac Lindsey, Tim Shearin, and John Shearin. The family will receive friends 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at Atchley Funeral Home, Sevierville. n www.atchleyfuneralhome.com
porary tag in the back in connection to an incident there, said Bob Stahlke, police spokesman. Lt. Matt Ayers spotted a vehicle matching that description and stopped it. After talking to the occupants, he determined they were the three people mentioned in the bulletin and took them into custody without incident. Sgt. Rebecca Cowan assisted in the arrest, Stahlke said.
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AT&T U-verse is the only 100 percent Internet Protocolbased television service offered by a national service provider. U-verse TV customers can manage and playback recorded programs from a single DVR on any U-verse connected TV in the house with Total Home DVR; watch up to four channels at one time with U-verse TV Multiview; access High Definition channel lineup with more than 120 HD channels; program DVR recordings from a Web-connected mobile phone or personal computer; access personalized, on-screen weather, sports, traffic and stock information with the AT&T U-bar; stream personal photos and music files from a PC to a U-verse TV with Media Share; check current weather conditions and forecasts in any U.S. city with Weather on Demand, and more. AT&T is able to introduce U-verse services in Tennessee because of the Competitive Cable and Video Services Act of 2008. The legislation provides an environment that encourages new video pro-
Lawson L. Ogle
Edna Ruth Inman
Lawson L. Ogle, 94 of Gatlinburg, died Monday, March 8, 2010. He was a member of Shady Grove Baptist Church Survivors: wife, Ellen S. Ogle; daughters and sons-in-law, Bonnie and Johnny Bennett, Lynda and Randy Houser; one grandson; three great-grandchildren; brother, Ellis Ogle; many nieces and nephews. Funeral service 10 a.m. Thursday in the Chapel of Atchley Funeral Home with the Rev. David Carver officiating. Interment will follow in Shady Grove Cemetery with military honors provided by American Legion Post 104. The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Atchley Funeral Home, Sevierville.
Edna Ruth Inman, 79, of Seymour, died Monday, March 8, 2010. Survivors: sons and daughtersin-law, Greg and Jean Inman of Seymour, Eddie and Linda Inman of Maryville; grandchildren, Andy Duncan, Melanie Myers, Carla Carter, Jennifer, Brandi and Kimberly Inman, Ginger Lawson, Greg Inman Jr., and Justin and Jacob Purkey; 10 great-grandchildren; brother and sister-in-law, Raymond and Pat Glenn. Funeral service 7 p.m. Wednesday in the chapel of Atchley Funeral Home, Seymour, with the Rev. Dennis Robertson officiating. Interment 11 a.m. Thursday at Valley Grove Cemetery. The family will receive friends 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at Atchley Funeral Home, Seymour, 122 Peacock Court, Seymour, TN 37865.
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Hansenâ€™s driverâ€™s license had been revoked due to previous convictions, according to the warrants. Hansen now faces two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of reckless endangerment, three counts of evading arrest, and single counts of DUI, driving on a revoked license, violation of probation, resisting arrest, vandalism and vandalism causing damage of $1,000 to $10,000. He is being held a the Sevier County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bond. n firstname.lastname@example.org
viders to invest in the state to compete against incumbent cable providers, building advanced broadband networks that will create jobs and fuel economic growth. Hill thanked state Sen. Doug Overbey and state Rep. Richard Montgomery, both at Fridayâ€™s store event, for helping to pass the legislation. Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters and Sevierville Mayor Bryan Atchley were also present, as well as Bill Snodgrass, district director for Congressman Phil Roe; Allen Newton, director of Sevier County Economic Development; Amanda Maples Marr, marketing coordinator for the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce; and various other business leaders. â€œIt is amazing to see how far technology has come in 40 years,â€? Atchley said. For more information about AT&T U-verse services, visit www.att.com/u-verse.
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in hands-on, residential environmental education programs. â€œShe helped launch the Friendsâ€™ Trails Forever capital campaign to upgrade park trails, supported our Parks-asClassrooms program, and helped establish a Smokies Employee and Alumni Association Scholarship Fund that provides college funds to children of park employees.â€? In recognition of the parkâ€™s 75th anniversary in 2009, she presented the park with a 105-acre tract of land that adjoins Foothills Parkway right of way just west of the Spur. Upon accepting her mounted hat, Maples said, â€œI have always thought that being named an honorary ranger is one of the nicest things that can happen to anyone.â€? Maples is owner of the landmark Gatlinburg Inn, but she originally came to the Smokies from her native Loudon County in March 1943 to accept a three-year war service appointment as a clerk/ stenographer to the chief ranger. She followed that appointment with a job at the Gatlinburg Inn where she met, and later married, its owner, Rel Maples.
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