All posts by Betty Bean

Slate of women campaigning to head Knox Dems

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

A slate of women candidates is looking to take over leadership of the Knox County Democratic Party. The candidate for chair is Emily Gregg, a senior majoring in Classics (with a concentration in civilization) at the University of Tennessee.

She got active in KCDP as a freshman in 2012. The Nashville native is making the rounds of district meetings during the run-up to the March 25 countywide reorganization convention and was a featured speaker at both the Democratic Women of Knoxville and the First District Democrats last week.

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Barber tells story of Gazan people

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

It’s going to take Brian Barber a while to get used to the word emeritus, but he will continue the work he’s been doing at the University of Tennessee for the past 30 years from his new home in Washington, D.C.

Barber, the founding director of UT’s International Center for Study of Youth and Political Conflict, studied a generation of Palestinian boys who grew up in the midst of violent political conflict in the territories of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. When he started, they were adolescents; today they are grown men, married with children of their own.

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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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School board politics: It’s not about party

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

There are no Rs or Ds on local school board ballots. Board members are elected on a non-partisan basis, and despite some past saber rattling from the Red-to-the-Roots crowd, it doesn’t appear that Republicans are preparing to change that status. This probably makes Knox County school board chair Patti Bounds happy.

For Bounds, a conservative who was raised Republican, it’s educational philosophy, not party lines that divide the board, the majority of whom oppose much of the reform agenda favored at the state and national levels.

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How to achieve ‘red to the roots’

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Like a football team that goes for a touchdown in the waning minutes of a 50-12 game, rumbles have begun that the state’s legislative GOP supermajority is looking to take over the last frontiers left for them to conquer – city governments and school boards.

How? By making those elections partisan. And that would be a mistake. (Let’s save the school boards discussion for another day.)

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Knoxville to state: Get us some money and leave us alone

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Mostly, what legislators heard at their annual breakfast with city officials is that Knoxville wants the state to help pay for a new treatment facility and otherwise stay out of city business.

Yes, they’d like the state to help foot the bill for a behavioral health urgent care center (formerly called the safety center). The sheriff and the police chief and the attorney general and the city and county mayors all want this facility, which they say will take the pressure off the Knox County Jail by removing mentally ill inmates and substance abusers from the jail population and placing them in a short-term treatment facility.

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Nick Pavlis won’t run for mayor

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Nick Pavlis has been city council’s Energizer bunny for the past six years, showing up for neighborhood meetings all over town and making himself available to anyone who calls him. He’s Knoxville’s longest-serving council member and has long been assumed to be aiming at a run for mayor in 2018.

But he now says 16 years in city government is enough.

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Eddie Mannis: 2016 Person of the Year

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

The day after wildfires ravaged Sevier County, Eddie Mannis, president and CEO of Prestige Cleaners, Prestige Tuxedo and the Downtown Grind Coffee House, interrupted his cheery holiday Facebook announcements to post this message:

“Sending prayers to our neighbors located in and around Gatlinburg. We are ready to help however needed. I have guest rooms and plenty of space and happy to do whatever I can.”

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Mountain Strong people celebrate the season, persevere

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

On the 10th day after screaming winds drove arsonists’ flames down the mountain into Gatlinburg, the city still felt like a war zone – blockaded at every entrance, strewn with rubble and charred reminders of lost lives, homes and businesses. Burned out motor lodges and shops and restaurants along East Parkway bore witness to that awful Monday night.

But just beyond the last police barricade, at the far end of a little strip mall on the left, there was music and food and laughter and friendship and happy surprises at the Three Jimmys restaurant, where the steel magnolias of the Gatlinburg Garden Club were having their annual Christmas party.

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