With impending retirements of two key aides, speculation on campus is that UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek may himself retire this year and announce it concurrent with the summer UT Board of Trustees meeting in June.
Provost Susan Martin is stepping down, and Margie Nichols, who handles communications for Cheek, has announced her retirement.
Few city residents braved the rainy weather last week to vote in the primary for three contested City Council seats. But they’ll get a second chance to choose from exactly the same candidates, minus two at-large Seat C contenders, during the Nov. 3 general election.
The Seat C field has been reduced to incumbent Finbarr Saunders and challenger Paul Bonovich, a small business owner. Saunders raked in 64 percent of votes, while Bonovich received 13 percent − just 45 votes more than third-place finisher David Williams, who had 12 percent. Kelly Absher finished fourth with 11 percent.
Dave Hart, University of Tennessee athletic director, is acting as though the Lady Vol name controversy has blown over and it is business as usual.
Hart was quoted recently as saying the Athletic Department has moved on from this controversy. Little does he understand the Tennessee mindset when he says that. He can expect to see it considered in the next legislative session when respected members like Roger Kane and Becky Duncan Massey bring it up.
Last week’s City Council candidate forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters at Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church, was the best attended of this year’s crop of forums, suggesting that voters might actually be interested in the three contested City Council seats.
The contest for at-large Seat C, now held by Finbarr Saunders, is the most interesting. Two of the four candidates will move forward to the Nov. 3 general election following the Sept. 29 primary, and two will go home. Early voting for the primary runs through Sept. 24.
Just before he walked into the Oakwood Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association meeting last Monday, people were wondering aloud why city council member Finbarr Saunders has drawn opposition while his at-large colleagues are running unopposed. When Saunders took a seat, someone asked him that question.
“I don’t know,” Saunders said. “Marshall Stair and George Wallace are unopposed, and I’ve got three!”
Construction on the west end of Cumberland Avenue continues to harm businesses. Local media carried stories of the Exxon station at 22nd and Cumberland where business is off 80 percent. Vice Mayor Nick Pavlis, who represents this area, has urged people to do business here to assist struggling businesses. He is right.
The station owner, Rakesh Patel, has been especially harmed. The signage to enter his station going eastbound is poor and it’s not great going west.
Dave Hill has resigned from the staff of the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC). Likely this was done prior to the new director coming in. Hill, a high-paid city aide not retained by Mayor Rogero, was hired at MPC by former director Mark Donaldson.
Cumberland Avenue merchants who overwhelmingly opposed the current construction along Cumberland Avenue at a cost of over $20 million wonder why Mayor Rogero never comments on the troubles being created by the project. She leaves explanation to little-known subordinates such as Anne Wallace.