Building Gibbs Middle leaves big hole for Holston

Sandra Clark
Editor

A parent said she was “happy when Gibbs got their middle school,” and then she realized that rezoning could draw her Shannondale Elementary School student out of Gresham and into Gibbs. She and some 100 others came last Tuesday to Holston Middle for the fifth of six community meetings on middle school rezoning.

Most parents wanted their kids to move through school with their friends. They wanted siblings to attend school together. Members of the NAACP asked that East Knox neighborhoods be kept intact, and they spoke against busing black kids across town for racial balance.

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Knox to prosecute aggravated animal cruelty

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

A Corryton man has been charged with killing two neighborhood dogs on Thanksgiving morning and faces two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.

Billy C. Mounger Jr. is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Feb. 23 in Criminal Sessions Court. Unlike a “simple” animal cruelty case, which is a misdemeanor, aggravated cruelty is a Class E felony, punishable by one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000.

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Davenport shreds diversity

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Those who had worried that the first female chancellor at UTK, Beverly Davenport, would be serious about diversity can rest easy based on her appointments to the first significant committee she named – the search committee for the new athletic director to replace Dave Hart. She shredded diversity with her six appointments.

The six include only one woman and no African-Americans, but two male trustees and the brother of a third trustee who is the chair of the UT board. Two are neighbors who live three houses apart on Lyons View Pike in West Knoxville on either side of the neglected historic UT-owned Williams House. The woman is Donna Thomas, who works for Hart and will help choose the person she will be working for.

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Cacophony on the ridge

Dr. Bob Collier
Nature notes

We get top-notch periodical publications from each of our favorite nature- and conservation-related organizations, and I look forward every month to looking through them for the newest developments and the latest findings. One that really caught my eye this past month offered me an explanation for what, to me, has become a worrisome local situation. It was in the National Wildlife Federation publication, with the clever title, “Coping with Chronic Clamor.”

Now, we’ve all heard about light pollution, the dimming of our night skies by all the lights of urban sprawl. Those of us near town can hardly see the stars any more. The Milky Way? Almost never. But noise pollution? We are actually afflicted more by noise pollution than by light pollution – the noise is with us 24 hours a day.

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Speaker’s job changes hands

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally turns 73 on Monday, Jan. 30. He represents part of Knox County and all of Anderson County in the state Senate. He is the first person to represent Knox County to be Senate speaker in over 100 years.

State Rep. Jimmy Matlock, who came close to winning the GOP speakership contest in Nashville over incumbent Beth Harwell, turns 58 on Feb. 5.

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Kane won’t seek re-election

Sandra Clark
Editor

State Rep. Roger Kane says he won’t seek re-election to a fourth term in 2018. He enjoys the work but said he’s tired of the commute to Nashville and spending time away from his family.

Kane, 53, was elected from the state’s new 89th district in 2012. A former schoolteacher, he has made education his primary focus in Nashville. He chairs the House subcommittee on education instruction and programs.

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