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.
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.
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.
A couple of days before Chris Blue headed out to Los Angeles to take the next step toward his future, he stopped by Peace and Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church to say thank you. Nobody was there, but he stood in front of the church and posted a video to Facebook with the following message:
“Earlier today I had the privilege of going to where it all started when me and my family moved to Tennessee!! You’ll hear me say it till I can’t say it no more!!…. Thank you ALL SO much for all of your prayers Love and support!!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!! I love you!!!”
Another name being mentioned for the TVA board of directors is state Sen. Ken Yager from neighboring Roane County, who chairs the legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee. He is a former county mayor and would be an interesting choice given the massive TVA spill several years ago in Roane County. However, if nominated and confirmed he would have to resign his state Senate seat to serve. He cannot do both at the same time.
At present, there is no one from East Tennessee serving on the TVA board for the first time in recent memory.
I heard from the cemetery woman again this week. This time she called me. Her English was better than my Spanish, but that didn’t get us anywhere, so she got my email address and sent me a bill. Best I can make out, if I don’t pay up, she’s going to dig up my grandmother.
My grandmother, my Mamita, lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her name was Luci Gonzales and she laughed a lot. She was deeply religious and was always making deals with God. Once, when my mother had diphtheria and almost died, Mamita told God she’d beg money and give it to the church in exchange for her baby’s life. Mama got well, and Mamita hit the streets with a tin cup. At a time and in a place when educating women wasn’t a big priority, she made sure her girls went to college. She saw ghosts in odd places, and once demanded to be moved to a different room in a Venezuelan hotel because there was a ghost under her bed. She sent me sparkly jewelry and big fancy dresses for my birthday and Christmas and Easter, and visited us in the winter because she loved to play in the snow (we’d go to the Smokies to find it).
If you’re reading this column on Wednesday, April 5, then you’ve already enjoyed two weeks of official springtime. And it’s been nice – after three nights of hard freezes, we’ve been having warm days, cool nights, occasional rain showers. The redbuds have rebounded from the cold snap into their usual luscious spring glory, and the cedars and elms are making pollen (Achoo!).
Most of the trees, though, are still a little skeptical of it all; the buckeyes and wild cherries are barely starting to peek out with some leaves. The wily walnut trees know better. They’re waiting, as the seed packets say, until “all danger of frost has passed.” Nevertheless, as we drive around in our part of the world here in Knox County and nearby environs, we are seeing a lot of bright, spring-fresh new green leaves. But notice – uh-oh – they seem to be growing on only a couple of kinds of plants. Tall bright green trees, shorter bright green undergrowth bushes.