The Mountain Press ■ Sevier County’s Daily Newspaper ■ Vol. 26, No. 225 ■ August 13, 2010 ■ www.themountainpress.com ■ 75 Cents
INSIDE August 13 - 19, 2010
On Smoky Mountain Entertainment
Resort to pay $900K in back wages Some 1,000 Westgate employees, including many here, affected Submitted Report
On the tube
Laura Linney stars in “The Big C,” premiering Monday on Showtime.
5On the tube this Monday Laura Linney stars in Showtime’s new series “The Big C” inside
Federal officials have ordered Westgate Resorts to pay some 1,000 workers nearly $900,000 in back wages. The U.S. Department of Labor says the Orlandobased company was not paying workers what it should have.
six other states, including in Tennessee, where it has a major presence in Call the Wage and Hour Division’s Jacksonville District Office at 904-359-9292. For more information about the Gatlinburg. he investigation included all locations FLSA, call the department’s toll-free helpline at 866of the company. 4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on The investigation, the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd. conducted by the Wage and Hour Division’s District Westgate Resorts is company operates time- Jacksonville operated by Central share resorts in Arizona, Office, determined that Florida Investments. The Florida, Mississippi and employees who scheduled
tours of timeshare properties for the company were not paid at least the federal minimum wage for all the hours they worked. Additionally, premium pay for the workers did not include commissions, and overtime work was incorrectly computed. The company also failed
For more information
See wages, Page A5
Residents voice concerns about posting rezoning By DEREK HODGES Staff Writer
5Having a ball
SEVIERVILLE — The debate over how planning officials should notify neighbors if a nearby property is set to be rezoned was rekindled this week as one county official complained not enough is done currently, saying she only found out about one such petition near her home a short time before the County Commission meeting. Commissioner Judy Godfrey said she wasn’t the only one on Seymour’s Pearl Road who hadn’t heard land accessed by the narrow two-lane road was up for commercial consideration. She opposed the move from residential for the former farm plot and suggested others in the area would have come out to do the same if they had more notice about the proposed switch. This isn’t the first time the question of how far the county’s planning staff should go in trying to inform neighbors has been raised at a County Commission meeting, with the results of the last such discussion the introduction of a sign placed on properties set for rezoning votes. However, it appears there may have been some confusion about even that measure in the case of the request for a new designation for the land that fronts Maryville Highway in the 200 block and Pearl Road. “We did not have knowledge this was going to be rezoned,” Godfrey said, complaining there was only one sign put up for the five lots set to be rezoned, all of which are owned by one family. “We could probably have every neighbor out here. Nobody wants it to be rezoned.” Specifically, Godfrey worried any commercial development on the land might use Pearl Road to access the site, something she believes the road isn’t capable of handling. Though other commissioners assured her any site plan would have to be approved by the Planning Commission
Plans set for 21st annual Evening of Elegance Mountain life, Page B1
Football anyone? County jamboree slated for 8 p.m. at Sevier County High School Page A8
Weather Today Isolated Storms High: 92°
Tonight Isolated Storms
See rezoning, Page A4
Curt Habraken/The Mountain Press
DETAILS, Page A6
Obituaries Emmett Smith Jr., 68 Enzlie Ogle, 82 Derik Campbell, 38 Willard Surber Jr. Larry Beck, 68 DETAILS, Page A4
Index Local & State . . . . . A1-6 Nation . . . . . . . . . . . . A3 World . . . . . . . . . . . . . A3 Money . . . . . . . . . . . . A4 Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . . . A7 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . A8-11 Calendar . . . . . . . . . . B6 Classifieds . . . . . . . . B6-9 Advice . . . . . . . . . . . B10 Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . B10
Officers bring out a victim from the incident to waiting firefighters and EMT/paramedics for treatment.
Humane Society paw-ses Agencies from across the county to hold Appreciation Day
come together to practice drills By DEREK HODGES Staff Writer PIGEON FORGE — Passersby slowed to eye the parking lot full of emergency vehicles in front of the Community Center om Thursday as emergency crews worked under a blue tarp in blistering heat to save eight victims of a hazmat attack at the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. Despite what those passing drivers might have thought, there was no reason to be alarmed — the situation was all
Curt Habraken/The Mountain Press
Every step of the incident is coordinated and evaluated from the mobile command center. contrived, the blood all fake and the area completely safe. The
gathering of responders from almost every
Corrections The Mountain Press is committed to accuracy. Please report factual errors by calling 428-0748 Ext. 214.
See drills, Page A5
By ELLEN BROWN Staff Writer The Sevier County Humane Society is hosting an Appreciation Day for the community from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Kroger on Highway 66. “This is something we started last year,” said Jayne Vaughan, executive director of the humane society. “It’s our way of thanking the community for their support.” Free hot dogs and chips will be served, and information about animals eligible for adoption and upcoming humane society events will be available as well. “It’s also an opportunity to shop for items at Kroger to donate to the shelter,” Vaughan said. “We will have a list of needed items. Of course, that isn’t necessary — this event is to thank our supporters.” Vaughan said spring and summer — breeding season — is a challenging time for the animal shelter. “We’re still getting a lot of animals. One thing people can do to help us out is to have their animals spayed and neutered. Also, please take extreme measures to protect your animals against the heat. “We are just so thankful for all of our support.” n email@example.com
UW Shark Race preparation begins to flow By ELLEN BROWN Staff Writer GATLINBURG — United Way of Sevier County is gearing up for its seventh annual Great Gatlinburg Shark Race, set for 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. United Way Executive Director Tom Newman has begun dis-
More information Tickets can be ordered online at www.uowsc.org. For more information, call 430-5727.
tributing the event’s $10 tickets at Ripley’s Aquarium, Food City, Gatlinburg Welcome Centers and other participating area businesses.
Each ticket purchased will be represented by a rubber shark racing down the river — with the winner awarded $10,000 in cash. “It’s a fun event to watch, and it’s fun to think, ‘I could actually win’ — with no more than 15,000 sharks floating down the river, your odds are better than the lottery,” Newman said.
Along with preparing for the race, Newman has been busy doing “a lot of foundation work” since he started his position with the United Way in May. Having worked with the Boy Scouts of America, one of the many nonprofits that United Way serves, he was very familiar with the organization. “I was used to being a comSee shark race, Page A4
A2 â—† Local
The Mountain Press â—† Friday, August 13, 2010
PF Commission will maintain ties with the United Kingdom By DEREK HODGES Staff Writer PIGEON FORGE â€” People all across the United Kingdom will have the opportunity to dream about a Smoky Mountain vacation thanks to a Monday vote by the City Commission. The group opted to continue a partnership with the stateâ€™s Department of Tourist Development that allows it to pay a relatively small amount to get a huge presence in England and its neighboring Northern Ireland territory. For several years, the city has worked through the state to contract with Lofthouse Enterprises, a travel trade representative in England. That company in turn places advertisements in publications across the kingdom, from newspapers to hundreds of travel magazines. They also pitch story ideas to reporters that relate to Pigeon Forge and, of course, the much-loved namesake of Dollywood, Dolly Parton. City tourism officials report impressive results from the effort. â€œWhen Pigeon Forge began participating in the UK Co-op Marketing Program 15 years ago, there was little to no awareness of Pigeon Forge as a vacation destination in the UK,â€? Department of Tourism Director Leon Downey told the commissioners. â€œI am happy to report that is no longer the case.â€? The metrics provided by the company show the investment is providing results, with 48 tour operators using their catalogues to promote the city now. Additionally, the city has received a host of media coverage that it otherwise would not have gotten, Downey said. â€œThe growth has been incredible,â€? Department of Tourism Marketing Manager Sue Carr said. The cityâ€™s dollar is extended through the cooperation with the state, which pays the lionâ€™s share of the bill for the advertising, Carr said. State officials view the partnership not only as a way to promote the state as a destination but to recruit new tax dollars by marketing its cities and attractions. From the money the city pays, $10,000 goes to pay for participation in the program, while $10,000 goes
directly to the marketing company to pay for its part of the advertising. Each participant â€” with the cities of Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga also part of the effort â€” pays into the pool that funds the program, Carr said. Pigeon Forge is the only city in the county that takes part in the initiative, a fact that pleased members of the audience and the board during Mondayâ€™s meeting. â€œI think itâ€™s a great way to promote and market the city around the world,â€? Vice Mayor Kevin McClure said. During the session, the group also voted to approve: n Ordinance 910 amending Ordinance 894 Annual Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2009-2010 (second reading) n Ordinance 911 amending Section 407.3.1 â€œPlanned Unit Development â€” General Requirements â€” Minimum Siteâ€? of the Zoning Ordinance (second reading) n Ordinance 912 amending Sections 20-404 and 20-405 of the Municipal Code on the Citizens Advisory Board of Directors and the functions of that group n A request from the Fire Department to trade fire hose couplings for new fire hoses n Accepting a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior in the amount of $18,244 for rural fire assistance to purchase reflective vests and fire shelters for the Fire Department n Purchase of a lane maintenance machine for the bowling center from Bowling Supply Company for $22,995 with the trade-in of a Phoenix Lane Machine n Purchase of salt for the Street Department at a price of $71.71 per ton from North American Salt Company n Purchase of uniforms for Public Works from Whole Armor Uniform at a piece-meal rate n A request from Sherwood Forest Resort for the acceptance of the development into the cityâ€™s water system n Reappointing Ray Ogle, Ken Bell, Leslie Thomas and Laurie Faulkner to the Tourism Advisory Board n Contributing $5,000 to the school system in support of the 2nd Annual Smoky Mountain Football Jamboree. n firstname.lastname@example.org
Hilton Garden Innâ€™s Logan Coykendall, left, Kris Reagan and Tony Jovee joined Gatlinburg Chamber staff member Erin Moran to pick up litter along the Spur.
Garden Inn joins Chamber in picking up trash on Spur Submitted Report GATLINBURG â€” The Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation is helping to keep the Spur between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge clean and litter-free through its Adopt-A-Spur efforts. Due to the construction and repaving on the Spur throughout 2008, this program was halted, but restarted through the Gatlinburg Goes Green program. Businesses are sending volunteers to help Chamber staff to pick up litter along the Spur once a month. â€œWe are so excited that our business community has stepped up to the plate to help us reinstitute such an important program. It is through this program that we are able to see tangible results to our concerns for the national park and its well being,â€? said Chamber Executive Director Vicki Simms.
Logan Coykendall, Kris Reagan and Tony Jovee of Hilton Garden Inn joined Chamber staff for the second time recently to clean the portion of the Spur that stretches from the Gatlinburg Welcome Center to the beginning of town. More volunteers are needed for the second Tuesday of the month through 2010. The Gatlinburg Goes Green program is in its third year. In 2009, the Chamber reached its goal of having 75 percent of its membership enrolled, and Gatlinburg Goes Green has been making huge strides in 2010 with more than 10 percent actively enrolled at the Bronze level or higher. For more information about Gatlinburg Goes Green or to volunteer for an Adopt-A-Spur shift, contact Erin Moran at the Chamber of Commerce at 436-4178, or e-mail to erin@gatlinburg. com.
Humane Society hosts Appreciation Day By ELLEN BROWN Staff Writer The Sevier County Humane Society is hosting an Appreciation Day for the community from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Kroger on Highway 66. â€œThis is something we started last year,â€? said Jayne Vaughan, executive director of the humane society. â€œItâ€™s our way of thanking the community for their support.â€? Free hot dogs and chips will be served, and information about animals eligible for adoption and upcoming humane society
Genealogical conference set
events will be available as well. â€œItâ€™s also an opportunity to shop for items at Kroger to donate to the shelter,â€? Vaughan said. â€œWe will have a list of needed items. Of course, that isnâ€™t necessary â€” this event is to thank our supporters.â€? Vaughan said spring and summer â€” breeding season â€” is a challenging time
for the animal shelter. â€œWeâ€™re still getting a lot of animals. One thing people can do to help us out is to have their animals spayed and neutered. Also, please take extreme measures to protect your animals against the heat. â€œWe are just so thankful for all of our support.â€? n email@example.com
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Submitted Report KNOXVILLE â€” The Federation of Genealogical Societies will have its national conference at the Knoxville Convention Center Aug. 18-21. The conference theme is â€œRediscovering Americaâ€™s First Frontierâ€? and is co-hosted by the East Tennessee and Kentucky Historical societies. The event is projected to attract more than 1,500 people and will feature lectures and workshops covering basic research topics, as well as the latest in genealogy trends, technology and methodology.
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