Haslams swap residences

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Gov. Bill and Crissy Haslam are moving from their longtime home in old Westmoreland on Sherwood Drive back to the house where the governor lived as a young teenager on Lyons Bend Road adjacent to the Tennessee River.

The Haslams will still be city residents as both homes are in the city. They will continue to be represented on City Council by Duane Grieve and on County Commission by Hugh Nystrom. Martin Daniel is their state representative. Grieve is a Democrat, while Nystrom and Daniel are Republicans.

Bill Haslam is moving into the house that was occupied by his father for over 40 years before he and Natalie Haslam moved to Craigland Court this past year. Prior to the Haslams moving to Lyons Bend Road in the 1970s from Scenic Drive in Sequoyah Hills, the house was owned by the governor’s maternal grandmother, Hazel Lou Van Deventer, and her husband, James Van Deventer.

Reportedly, the Haslams are adding a swimming pool and renovating the kitchen area of the Old English brick home. The Lyons Bend house is not visible from the road as the Sherwood Drive house is.

■  Sharon Lee: The UT College of Law will host a reception honoring former state Chief Justice Sharon Lee at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, at the Howard Baker Center, 1640 Cumberland Ave. Lee, who has completed her service as chief justice, remains an active member of the five-member court. The public is invited.

■  The Arts and Culture Alliance is sponsoring Dinner on the Bridge (Gay Street) in honor of Knoxville’s 225th birthday 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, with entertainment by Carol Zinavage Shane. Tickets are available by calling 865-523-7543.

The city has outsourced most of the 225th birthday celebration planning, but the Arts & Culture Alliance will enjoy the proceeds for the bridge dinner. The 1991 Bicentennial celebration was operated by the city itself under the leadership of Sue Clancy, Roseanne Wolf and Carolyn Jensen. The arts alliance is ably led by Liza Zenni as director and veteran attorney Caesar Stair as board president.

There will be a luncheon celebrating the birthday on Monday, Oct. 3, at the Foundry at World’s Fair Park.

  Lt. Robert Saunders, the late Knoxville resident who was killed in a plane crash in Japan in 1970 on his way to Vietnam, will be honored at 10 a.m. today (Sept. 21) with the naming of the bridge over Dutch Valley Road on the Pellissippi Parkway. The ceremony will be held at the Shepherd of the Hills Church, 10231 Sherrill Blvd. in West Knox County.

Sen. Becky Massey passed a resolution in the Legislature naming the bridge in his memory. Mayor Tim Burchett will speak, and his widow and daughter, who was born after his death, will be there along with his older brother, City Council member Finbarr Saunders. State Rep. Martin Daniel and Sen. Richard Briggs will participate, too.

■  UT President Joe DiPietro has announced the four members of a special commission to review Title IX resources and programs for UT. Three of the four live in Massachusetts, Connecticut and the Washington, D.C., area. The one Tennessean is from Franklin and is a cyclist in his spare time. None attended UT, and there are no African-Americans in the group despite many UT athletes being African-American. This is a glaring omission.

While the news release did not indicate compensation, an inquiry from this writer produced the response that yes, there is compensation, but UT declined to respond that day as to the exact compensation, which appears to violate the open records law. UT also declined to say then if the first meeting, on Nov. 17, would be open to the public.

Two days later, UT acknowledged each is being paid $45,000 plus expenses and the meetings are closed, which triggered criticism. One wonders if UT is channeling studies like this through its law firm to lock out the public under the guise of attorney-client privilege. Why UT cannot give a direct answer to a direct question when asked is perplexing. It sends the wrong signal for an institution dedicated to education.

Media relations on this issue are being handled by the Nashville law firm of Neal and Harwell, which has already been paid over $400,000 and the meter is still running. The total cost of the lawsuit settlement continues to rise with no end in sight.

■  Gov. Haslam will host a fundraiser at the Governor’s Residence in Nashville on Monday, Sept. 26, for Marco Rubio’s U.S. Senate re-election campaign at $1,000 a person, while U.S. Sen. Bob Corker will host a fundraiser for New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte at his Chattanooga home on Friday, Sept. 23, also at $1,000 a person.

■  Mark Campen turns 41 on Sept. 27. He is the second youngest member of the Knoxville City Council.

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