The Mountain Press ■ Sevier County’s Daily Newspaper ■ Vol. 26, No. 242 ■ August 30, 2010 ■ www.themountainpress.com ■ 75 Cents
Off on a good foot
5Committed to revival
It wants members on tourism board
Obama visits Gulf on Katrina anniversary, says he won’t forget
By DEREK HODGES Staff Writer
NATION, Page A5
5Tide bigger and better Alabama increases Bryant-Denny Stadium to more than 101,000 SPORTS, Page A9
Jeff Farrell/The Mountain Press
Trial Lawyer of the Year SCHS grad Richard Sayles wins honor from Texas association Page A3
Weather Today Partly cloudy High: 89°
Wedding industry’s proposal to Forge
Cody Hurst, of Sevier County, tries on some new shoes while a volunteer from The Lord’s Child helps. The local organization helped more than 120 area children get new shoes and clothes Saturday.
Lord’s Child provides shoes, entertainment for kids By JEFF FARRELL Staff Writer
shoes as well as giving them a good day out. “It’s just an all-day event,” said Darla Walker, spokesperson for SEVIERVILLE — Dozens of The Lord’s Child. kids from several East Tennessee The children were picked counties got a good start to the school year thanks to a local orga- because they are children of single parents or they have lost both nization. The Lord’s Child, an outreach of parents, she said. They could be living with just one parent or with The Gathering, took 122 children from Sevier County and four other relatives or in another situation, she explained. counties to local stores and local They got to pick out their own entertainment venues Saturday, brand new shoes and clothes, with paying for new clothes and new parents or guardians and volun-
teers around to help, enjoy some local entertainment, and go out to eat — with lunch provided at a restaurant and a cookout to cap off the day. It was a much-needed boosts for the families they helped. “With the economy like it is, this has been a big help and I really appreciate it,” said one mother as she watched her two children try on shoes. “They’ve been a big help to a lot of families.” n email@example.com
Partly cloudy Low: 61° DETAILS, Page A6
PIGEON FORGE — Officials in the local wedding industry say they believe officials here have divorced themselves from a great marketing opportunity in not promoting their businesses, though they’ve vowed to push on until that changes. The latest effort to get the chapels married with tourism advertising is playing out now in Pigeon Forge, where city officials are set to discuss who they want to fill new seats on the citizen board that oversees marketing there. One strong advocate for the industry has been petitioning the City Commission for weeks to think of an army of women in white gowns when they name new at-large members of the group. So far the commissioners seem amenable to the idea, promising to remember the advice from Laurie Holmes — who co-owns Wedding Bell Chapel with her husband Tom and operates a pair of Web sites extolling the area as a destination for weddings — when they vote. Holmes seems to have been successful in getting the group to think of not just wedding bells but cash registers ringing when a group comes in for a matrimony service. She pointed out during lat week’s City Commission meeting that those who wed here almost never singly come, bringing with them family and friends to join in their happy days. And those folks piling in, some of them with crowds upwards of 100, See WEDDING, Page A4
Former Sevierville police chief Hatcher dies
Lynn Hatcher, 85 Paul Ellison, 84 Gina Tolifson, 52 Barbara Todd, 81 G.H. Conner, 72 Bob Reynolds, 89 Velda Manis, 70 DETAILS, Page A4
Index Local & State . A1,A3-A6 Calendar . . . . . . . . . A12 Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . . . A7 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . A8,A9 Business . . . . . . . . . . . A3 Advice . . . . . . . . . . . A15 Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . A15 Classifieds . . . . . A12-A14 Nation . . . . . . . . . A5,A16 World . . . . . . . . . . . . A16
Corrections The Mountain Press is committed to accuracy. Please report factual errors by calling 428-0748 Ext. 214.
Jeff Farrell/The Mountain Press
Tanya Gant, center, helps collect money as Stephanie Moyers, left, of the March of Dimes helps to register participants in the March of Dimes Bikers for Babies Ride.
Bikers take a Saturday ride for babies By JEFF FARRELL Staff Writer PIGEON FORGE — Saturday was a perfect day for riding a motorcycle, and the bikers forming a long line at the Dixie Stampede had a good cause for riding, too. Saturday was the annual March of Dimes Bikers for Babies ride, a fund raiser for the charity that’s working to improve the health of babies and eliminate premature deaths and birth defects. Dozens of bikers had registered
and more were streaming in as the 11 a.m. startup time closed in. “It looks like it’s going to be a success,” said Stephanie Moyers, spokesperson for the March of Dimes. She credited Tanya Gant, one of the interns who worked there this summer, with putting this year’s Sevier County ride together. Gant said she got interested because her fiance, Robert Lord, rides. Even though her internship ended and she’s back in school, she returned to help with registration and planned on going on the
ride with her fiance, she said. “He loves to ride and I’m getting my feet wet, so I’m going with him,” she said. They had a good reminder of why they were there. Ashley Carver was present with her 20-month-old daughter, Cheyla, who was born premature and spent 77 days in a natal intensive care unit before coming home. Cheyla was born with cataracts and wears glasses, but Saturday she was as curious and rambuncSee BIKERS, Page A4
SEVIERVILLE — Lynn Hatcher, who rose through the ranks to become Sevierville chief of police, died Saturday at age 85. Hatcher’s son, Mike, said his father served as police chief “from about the mid ’60s through the mid ’70s.” He said his father was one of the original members of the Sevierville police auxiliary and served in several positions before becoming chief. Mike Hatcher said the former chief left the force and worked for Rohm & Haas for about 10 years before retiring. Hatcher was a Naval veteran of World War II, a longtime Shriner and member of Valley View Baptist Church. The family will receive friends from 4-6 p.m. today at the church. Complete obituary, Page A4.
The Mountain Press ◆ Monday, August 30, 2010
Business â—† A3
Monday, August 30, 2010 â—† The Mountain Press
Familiarize yourself with retirement strategy early
Connie Holbert, area sales executive for Dixie Stampede, received the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce Friendship Award at the recent Coffee Talk. Chamber membership coordinator Jim McGill presents the award.
Dixie Stampedeâ€™s Connie Holbert wins Chamber Friendship Award Submitted Report SEVIERVILLE â€” Connie Holbert, area sales executive for Dixie Stampede, received the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce Friendship Award at the recent Coffee Talk. Holbert has been part of Dixie Stampede for 14 years. â€œI love the Sevierville Chamber,â€? Holbert said. â€œItâ€™s a great way to meet new people, network and tell people about what Dixie Stampede offers.â€?
Holbert received a gift card from M&M Shows and a plaque from Sign Master. Chamber membership coordinator Jim McGill said, â€œThis is Connieâ€™s second win with the Friendship Award. Sheâ€™s always there to support the Chamber, and because of that our members see that Dixie Stampede is an involved and active member of our community.â€? Friendship Awards are based on points accumulat-
ed monthly from attending functions and volunteering as well as bringing inactive members and potential new members to Chamber events. Monthly points will go toward determining the Friend of the Year Award recipient. The next Chamber Friendship Award will be presented during Coffee Talk Sept. 21, hosted by Charter Media. Coffee Talk begins at 8 a.m. at the Civic Center. For more information, contact McGill at 453-6411.
Honeysuckle Hillsâ€™ Regina Starkey wins awards at state photographer convention Submitted Report Photographer Regina Starkey of Honeysuckle Hills studio in Pigeon Forge won several awards at the Tennessee Professional Photographersâ€™ annual convention held in Franklin. Starkey was chosen as one of the top 10 photographers as well as receiving the Fuji Masterpiece award for her wedding print titled â€œA Country Romance.â€? Additionally, Starkey won the Bill Stockwell Wedding Award for the print best exemplifying the late Stockwellâ€™s style and tradition. All five images entered in the print salon were accepted for exhi-
bition, and were all photographed at the Honeysuckle Hills photography studio and wedding venue. Starkey and Geoff Wolpert of Park Grill Restaurant in Gatlinburg have teamed to donate a Canon Powershot camera, memory card, and set of rechargeable batteries for the childrenâ€™s division in the photography contest at the upcoming Sevier County Fair. One person will receive this prize for the best photograph overall in the childrenâ€™s division. For more on Starkey visit www.mypigeonforgefamilyportrait.com and www. honeysucklehills.com.
SCHS grad Texas Trial Lawyer of Year Submitted Report DALLAS â€” Former Gatlinburg resident Richard A. Sayles has been named Texas Trial Lawyer of the Year by TEX-ABOTA Inc., the Texas chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Sayles is a graduate of Sevier County High School and Vanderbilt University. Co-founder of the Dallas trial law firm Sayles Werbner, Sayles will be recognized during an awards presentation in October. â€œOur firm has been fortunate to work on some pretty great cases this year, and I believe this honor is a reflection of the
work we do together,â€? said Sayles. â€œTo be selected by fellow lawyers whom I consider to be the Sayles best in the profession means more than I can say.â€? Sayles earned the award based on his work for clients in cases, and his dedication to the preservation of the American jury system. His recent courtroom work includes: n A $1.67 billion verdict on behalf of a unit of Johnson & Johnson in an intellectual property trial over patents used to produce a popular arthritis medication. The verdict
represents the top U.S. verdict of last year and the biggest intellectual property verdict in history. n A $3.7 million patent infringement verdict on behalf of Commil USA LLC against Cisco Systems Inc. in a dispute over wireless network technology. Sayles is named in The Best Lawyers in America, Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, Texas Super Lawyers, Chambers USA, and Martindale Hubbell, among other listings of the countryâ€™s top attorneys. He is the son of Geneva Sayles and the late Hall F. Sayles of Gatlinburg.
By PATRICK PIDKOWICZ Like most people, you probably save and invest throughout your working years so that youâ€™ll be able to afford a comfortable retirement. Once you retire, youâ€™ll want to focus on strategies to help you make the most of your retirement income â€” and you might want to become familiar with these ideas well before you retire. Basically, youâ€™ll have some â€œmust doâ€? moves and some â€œthink about doingâ€? moves. Letâ€™s take a look at the â€œmust doâ€? ones first: Take the right amount of distributions from retirement plans. Once you turn 59Â˝, you may be able to take penalty-free withdrawals, or distributions, from some of your retirement accounts, such as your traditional IRA and 401(k). But once you turn 70Â˝, you generally must start taking distributions from these accounts. Your required minimum distribution, or RMD, is based on the previous yearâ€™s balance in your retirement plan and life expectancy tables. You can take more than the minimum, but youâ€™ll want to make sure you donâ€™t take so much that you outlive your savings. Maximize your Social Security benefits. You can start collecting Social Security as early as 62, but if you wait until your â€œfullâ€? retirement age, which will probably be around 66, your monthly checks will be larger. And if you wait until after your full retirement age before you start collecting benefits, your checks can be even larger, though theyâ€™ll â€œtop offâ€? when you turn 70. What should you do? Start taking the money as early as possible or delay payments, waiting for bigger paydays? Thereâ€™s no one right answer for everyone. To get the maximum benefits from Social Security, youâ€™ll need to factor in your health status, family history of longevity and other sources of retirement income. Now letâ€™s consider two moves that you may think about doing during your retirement years: Purchase incomeproducing investments. Outside your IRA
and 401(k), you may have other investment accounts, and inside these accounts, youâ€™ll need a portfolio that can produce income for your retirement years. You may choose to own some investment-grade bonds and certificates of deposit (CDs), both of which can help provide you with regular interest payments at relatively low risk to your principal. However, these investments may not help you stay ahead of inflation, which, over a long retirement, can seriously erode your purchasing power. Consequently, you also may want to consider dividend-producing stocks. Some of these stocks have paid, and even increased, their dividends for many years in a row, giving you a chance to obtain rising income. (Keep in mind, though, that stocks may lower or discontinue dividends at any time, and an investment in stocks will fluctuate with changes in market conditions and may be worth more or less than the original investment when sold.) Go back to work. In your retirement years, you may decide to work part time, do some consulting or
even open your own business. Of course, the more earned income you take in, the less money youâ€™ll probably need to withdraw from your investments and retirement accounts. However, if youâ€™ve started collecting Social Security, any earned income you receive before your â€œfullâ€? retirement age will likely cause you to lose some of your benefits. Once you reach full retirement age, you can keep all your benefits, no matter how much you earn. Keep these strategies in mind as you near retirement. They may well come in handy. â€” This column was provided by J. Patrick Pidkowicz, investment representative for Edward Jones in Sevierville.
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A4 ◆ Local/State
The Mountain Press ◆ Monday, August 30, 2010
OBITUARIES In Memoriam
Lynn B. Hatcher
Lynn B. Hatcher, age 85, of Sevierville, passed away Saturday, August 28, 2010. He was proud to be a former Police Chief for the City of Sevierville. Mr. Hatcher was a Navy Veteran of World War II and a dedicated Shriner. He was a committed husband, father and grandfather and loved his family unconditionally. Mr. Hatcher was a member of Valley View Baptist Church where he started the Cemetery Association next to their farmhouse in Wears Valley. Survivors: Wife: Edna Ownby Hatcher; Son and daughter-in-law: Mike and Leilah Hatcher; Grandchildren: Jasmine Hatcher Hardin and husband Scott, Nancy Hatcher Cherry and husband Nick, Lindsey and Megan Hatcher; Great-grandchildren: Kahli N. Hardin, McClain Ownby Hardin, Campbell S. Hardin and Henry Hatcher Cherry; Brother: Marion Hatcher; Sisters: Lorraine LaHaie, Thelma Keith and husband Don, Florence Autrey and husband Clarence. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made online at shrinershospitals.org in his name or Valley View Cemetery Association, c/o: Debbie Litton, 3569 Ownby Rd., Sevierville, TN 37862. Funeral service 6 PM Monday at Valley View Baptist Church in Wears Valley with Rev. Preston Joslin officiating. Interment 10:30 AM Tuesday in Valley View Cemetery with military honors provided by American Legion Post 104. The family will receive friends 4-6 PM Monday at Valley View Baptist Church. Arrangements by Atchley Funeral Home, Sevierville. n www.atchleyfuneralhome.com
Paul J. Ellison
Paul J. Ellison, age 84, of Sevierville, passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 28, 2010 at Mountain Brook Village. Paul was a member of Oak Street Church of God. He served many roles in his beloved church for over 50 years. He was a loving husband to Helen (Guffey) Ellison, the love of his life for 63 years. He was a kind, gentle and humble man who loved those around him, especially his three grandchildren. He served in the U.S. Army 8th Infantry Unit from August 16, 1944, to July 6, 1946, during World War II. He is survived by his two sons, Gary Ellison and wife Rita, Larry Ellison and wife Doris Ann, his three grandchildren, Bryan Ellison and wife Hope, Megan Ellison May and husband Jeremy, Meredith Ellison Honey and husband Rob, two great grandchildren, Ava and Isabella May, and three step great-grandchildren, two half sisters, Velda Seagle and Daisy Ogle. The family will receive friends 5-7 PM Tuesday with a service to follow at 7 PM in the West Chapel of Atchley Funeral Home, Sevierville with Rev. James McFalls officiating. Interment 10:30 AM Wednesday in Middle Creek Cemetery. n www.atchleyfuneralhome.com
3From Page A1
G.H. Conner G.H. Conner, 72 of Sevierville, died Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010. G.H. was an auctioneer and real estate developer in business in Sevier County since the early 1960s. He was an Army veteran and served in the Military Police in the Korean War. G.H. was a charter member of the Sevier County Board of Realtors and assisted the Friends of the Smokies as auctioneer for many benefit auctions. Survivors: wife, Debby Proffitt; son and daughter-inlaw Tim and Debbie Conner; daughter Debra Conner; step-son Josh Ray and wife Ginger Walker Ray; granddaughter Elizabeth Conner; step-grandson Brady Ray; brother Robert (Bob) Conner; sister-in-law Martha Conner; nieces, nephews. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the G.H. Conner Scholarship Fund, c/o Great Smoky Mountain Association of Realtors, 1109 Glenhill Lane, Sevierville, TN 37862. The family received friends Saturday with funeral service in the West Chapel of Atchley Funeral Home. Rev. Bill Barnes officiated. Interment was Sunday in Shiloh Cemetery with military honors provided by American Legion Post 104. Arrangements by Atchley Funeral Home, Sevierville. n www.atchleyfuneralhome.com
Robert Reynolds Robert “Bob” Reynolds, 89 of Pigeon Forge, died Thursday at Sevjer County Health Care Center. He was a veteran of WWII. Survivors: wife, Mable Reynolds; step-son, Richard (Valerie) Williams; brother, Ralph (Martha) Reynolds; son-in-law, Ray (Phyllis) Hudson; sister-in-law, Frances Reynolds; four grandchildren; 10 greatgrandchildren; nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held Sunday at Rawlings Funeral Home. The Revs. Wayne Cook and David Huskey will officiate. Burial followed in Cummings Chapel Cemetery.
Velda Manis Velda Manis, age 70 of Sevierville, passed away Friday, August 27, 2010. Survivors: daughters, Geraldine Ogle, Marty Gattis and husband Gary; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; sisters, Jeanette Morgan, Gloria Holbert and Emily Chance; several nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to benefit the family. Funeral service 10 a.m. Monday in the Chapel of Atchley Funeral Home, with Pastor Stephen Rose officiating. Interment will follow in Middle Creek Cemetery. n www.atchleyfuneralhome.com
Father dies saving family’s lives during shooting rampage at party CLEVELAND, Tenn. (AP) — A Cleveland man killed during a shooting rampage at his daughter’s birthday party is being hailed as a hero for saving the lives of his ex-wife and three children. The Cleveland Daily Banner reports 41-year-old Kenneth Simonson died at a hospital, where he was taken after the shooting Thursday at a home in nearby Whitfield County, Ga. Whitfield County sheriffs deputies say they were called to a home around 8:30 p.m. Thursday where they found 61-year-old Edward Henry Manz III and 41-yearold David Dwight Hartline dead, and Simonson and his ex-wife 35-year-old Mindy Nicole Bullard injured. Police say Simonson spirited the three children to an upper floor of the house and physically shielded two of them from gunshots. The newspaper reported he then created a diversion that allowed his ex-wife to escape Hartline, the shooter, by jumping out a second-story window.
3From Page A1
tious as any 20-monthold should be. “It hasn’t slowed her down any,” Ashley said as she watched Cheyla climbing into and out of a stroller. March of Dimes has
been a major help for them, she said, and she hopes to help them so one day there won’t be any premature births or birth defects. “It’s just a great organization all around,” she said. n firstname.lastname@example.org
mean big bucks for local retailers and government coffers, not just those in the wedding industry, Holmes said. “They stay in your hotels, they eat in your restaurants, they go to Dollywood and other things,” she said. “It really benefits the entire local economy.” In addition to bringing in wedding parties that fill up local hotel and dining rooms, Holmes points out many of those who wed here return here year after year for anniversary celebrations or just because they like the area. If those folks start multiplying, bringing family and telling friends what a great time they have here, they’ll be a marketing engine of their own, Holmes reasons. The industry has seen some truly booming years based on the number of marriage licenses issued here in years past. According to information from the county clerk’s office, the number soared from 1993, when the total was just 9,982, to 2000, when it reached a record peak of 21,136, good enough to rank the area as second in the nation for total weddings. However, since then, there have been fewer and fewer people making their way down local aisles. Last year the clerk’s office issued a relatively paltry 11,662 licenses. As even more bad news for folks like Holmes, the figure for the first six months of this year is already down by 835, including a drop of 234 in the usually booming Valentine’s month of February. “The word is just not getting out about what we have to offer here and it’s just down, down, down,” Holmes told the group. “Chapels are closing and those that are still here are really struggling.”
Of course, some of the most recent decreases might have more to do with the economy than the word not getting out, but the effect seems to be cyclical. That is, as the economy locally has fallen, so has the number of weddings, which means that the economy locally falls more. Holmes sees an opportunity to start turning things around with that army of women in the flowing gowns. She has a sort of, “If you advertise it, they will come,” attitude about the industry she’s dedicated her life to. “I think it would be a wonderful opportunity for everybody,” she said of upping the marketing done for the business. Beyond just pushing for the increase, Holmes has ideas on where the new advertising should start. She offered the commissioners information showing the hoops folks who want to marry in Mississippi must jump through there, including a blood test and a three-day waiting period. She suggests targeting the first wave of ads at neighboring states, pointing out to folks there how easy — and delightful, in her opinion — it is to be wed in the Smokies. Holmes’ solitary push isn’t the first effort by wedding chapel owners to get local officials to push their businesses in national advertising. Representatives from the industry have also approached leaders in Gatlinburg and at the county about expanding matrimonial marketing with mixed results. As for Holmes, she vowed she’ll just be satisfied if the group can get one of its number named to the tourism board. “My concern is just that the wedding industry have the opportunity for representation,” she said. n email@example.com
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Gina Marie Tolifson
Gina Marie Tolifson, age 52 of Harriman, passed away Saturday August 28, 2010, at her sister’s home in Sevierville. Survivors: Husband of 21 years, Rick Tolifson of Harriman; Daughters, Krystal Ault, and Jenny Parton; Son, Larry Davidson. Sisters and brothersin-law, Donna and Burton Houk, Vicki and Joe Teran; 6 grandchildren. Mother, Kay Cochran. Cremation services provided by McCarty Funeral Directors and Cremation Services, 607 Wall Street, Sevierville 774-2950.
Barbara May Todd
Barbara May Todd, age 81 of Sevierville, passed away Sunday morning, August 29, 2010, at Ft. Sander’s Regional Medical Center. Survivors: Husband of 61 years, Earl R. Todd; Daughter and son-in-law, Kathy and Jim Brown of Sevierville; Daughter, Cindy Mason of Demorest, GA; Son and Daughter-in-law, Rick and Kim Todd of Branson, MO; 6 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her honor to the American Cancer Society. Cremation services provided by McCarty Funeral Directors and Cremation Services, 607 Wall St., 774-2950.
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