The real Andy Holt

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Maybe the early Seventies weren’t the best of times to be a student at the University of Tennessee, but anybody with a functioning brain knew that the rattiest booth at the Roman Room was infinitely preferable to the accommodations at Fort Polk, Louisiana – AKA Fort Puke, next stop Vietnam. Protesters and self-proclaimed freaks faced off against YAFFers (Young Americans for Freedom) and the specter of war shadowed us everywhere.

Nevertheless, lots of students liked Andy Holt, even though many weren’t crazy about some of the UT president’s old-school, paternalistic ways, particularly the time he invited Billy Graham to preach in Neyland Stadium and bring noted theologian Richard Nixon along, too. A World War II veteran born in 1904 (which means he enlisted even though he was well past draft age), he’d lived through two world wars and had a different perspective on life than did most Boomers.

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Four new state senators? Possibly

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

When state Sen. Mark Green is confirmed as the new Secretary of the Army (probably this summer) he must resign his state Senate seat, which triggers a special election to fill it until his term ends in 2020. Montgomery County Commission will appoint an interim senator for four months.

State Sen. Mark Norris, current majority leader, is widely mentioned as a new federal judge in Memphis, which would remove him from the governor’s race. He is 62 – older than what the Trump administration is looking for in new federal judges – but he has influential backers and could be tapped.

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Homey stay or animal house next door?

Nick Della Volpe
Features columnist

The hot zoning topic these days is about the potential benefits and problems of Short Term Rentals (STR), more commonly referred to as AirBNBs. These include stays at a residence for a short weekend up to a 30-day rental. To judge by comments at the city’s April 4 neighborhood meeting to discuss the draft regulations, this is all the rage among new homesteaders interested in owning and rehabbing older neighborhood homes for such business.

They argue that short-term rentals can help raise funds needed for the rehab, or to support a more leisurely lifestyle in semi-retirement. Tough questions need to be explored before Knoxville will have answers and a workable set of STR regulations.

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The color of money: Emerald

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

It’s budget time in Knox County, and the school system is first up to bat, which is the way it should be, because that’s where the biggest chunk of money goes.

Last week, Knox County Schools presented its preliminary recommended budget, which is set to be approved by the school board Wednesday. Then it will be handed off to be blessed by County Commission.

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Three women on list for federal judgeship

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Federal magistrate judge Clifford Shirley is not seeking a third term when his term ends in February 2018. This triggers a search for a new magistrate, which ultimately is decided by the federal judges for the eastern district of Tennessee with Tom Varlan as the Chief Judge. It also includes active senior judges.

Under federal law, a magistrate judge merit selection panel has been established to review applicants and submit five names to the judges who will make a final decision. The search committee is chaired by highly respected and hard-working Knoxville attorney Mark Mamantov. It also includes two non-lawyers as required by law.

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Harrington Insurance’s Fountain City roots run deep

Jim Tumblin
History and Mysteries

The senior class in the 1924 Central High School yearbook (“The Sequoyah”) is a veritable honor roll of women and men who made a contribution to Fountain City’s history: Staley Hensley, Glenard Gentry, Fannie Mae Andrews, Alberta Ahler, Roy Blanc, Jeanette Andrews, Dorothy Vise, Roy Acuff and Theodore “Ted” Lowe, among others.

But another person who graduated that year will be honored on April 22 when the company he later co-owned, the Harrington Insurance Agency, will celebrate its 75th anniversary. Each senior class elected two classmates who were granted the B.U. Degree, an honor given to their most popular man and woman. Joe Harrington was the male honoree in 1924, sharing the honor with his female counterpart, Nettie Blanc.

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Here comes Randy Boyd

Scott Frith
Government/Politics columnist

Last month, Randy Boyd, the former state commissioner of economic and community development, kicked off his campaign for governor. Boyd is best known for his philanthropy, ownership of the Tennessee Smokies baseball team, and as founder of PetSafe (the folks who make the invisible fence for your dog).

Media coverage is the lifeblood of any statewide campaign, and Boyd has proven skilled at getting it. While money can’t buy you love, money can certainly buy good publicity. Boyd has figured out that giving away a lot of money can bring a steady stream of positive media coverage for a nascent gubernatorial campaign.

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