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Phil Garner and best day in baseball

Marvin West

“Hacksaw” is the best nickname in Tennessee sports history.

“Scrap Iron” is second best. It is the personification of Phil Garner, former Bearden High and University of Tennessee infielder who chopped and carved out a very interesting career in professional baseball, 16 years as a player for five different clubs and 15 as a manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros.

The nifty nickname wasn’t a gift. It was earned. Garner was tough – as in gritty, rugged, fearless, aggressive and sometimes combative. Seldom do you find little baseball players, 5-8 and 170, ready and willing to take on the world, bare-knuckles brawl if necessary, pick the time and place.

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How many sheriff’s cars patrol Knox County?

Sandra Clark

Last week candidate Bobby Waggoner said at any given time there are fewer than 30 officers on patrol in the 400 square miles beyond the city limits, the area patrolled by the Sheriff’s Office.

We asked Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones for a response and were told, “The sheriff doesn’t respond to purely political innuendos.”

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Mari Brooks speaks out for colleagues

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Hardly anyone in Knox County has poured more time, work and love into a school than Mari Brooks at West High School, which she believes is the last, best hope for a better future for a significant portion of its students.

“I am a devout believer in public education,” she said. “It is the foundation of our nation, and it’s where kids learn to live in the real world. We’ve got kids born in 33 different nations at West and everything from the lowest socioeconomic group to the highest and everything in between. At West High School, you can excel no matter what your background.”

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Mark Taylor challenges TVAAS

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Mark Taylor has become the second Knox County educator to challenge the constitutionality of the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System for teacher evaluations.

The Tennessee Education Association filed a lawsuit on Taylor’s behalf in federal court last week charging Gov. Bill Haslam, Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman and the Knox County Board of Education with violating Taylor’s 14th Amendment right to equal protection from “irrational state-imposed classifications” by using a small fraction of his students to determine his overall effectiveness.

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Vodka as foreign policy

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Bob Gilbertson, owner of Bob’s Package Store on Winston Road in West Hills, has removed Russian vodka from his store in protest of the Russian occupation of Crimea. Gilbertson was interviewed on Fox News from the University of Tennessee’s Communications Building last week.

Gilbertson said he was tired of Russia being a bully in its region and undermining freedom. Wonder if any other package stores will join Gilbertson in his support of freedom?

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