Monday, June 30, 2014

Top Knox leaders in line for raises

Knox County employees and local school teachers won’t get pay raises this year, but 17 of the county’s highest paid elected officials and administrators will.

However, they didn’t ask for them, and there’s not much they can do about it.

The salary increases are pretty much state mandated and automatically factored into their paychecks, starting tomorrow, the first day of the new fiscal year.

“I believe I’m paid too much as it is and I’ve said that before,” Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett told WBIR 10News on Monday. “I’m paid an exorbitant amount of money and I realize that.”


The mayor, who will get an almost $2,500 bump this year, said for decades various officials and organizations would lobby the state Legislature each year, asking for pay raises.

The General Assembly in 2002 eventually enacted a number of statutes that set minimum levels of compensation for officials based on a number of factors, including population size, whether state employees received raises, and the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, which measures changes in price levels of consumer goods and services.

The statutes affect the entire state, so officeholders and executives in all 95 counties are expected to get automatic raises this year.

For Knox County that means 17 officials will receive increases between $2,480 and $4,843, or about 1.5 percent to 3.3 percent.

The total combined cost? Almost $57,200.

Those leaders include, the mayor, law director, administrator of elections, circuit court clerk, criminal court clerk, clerk and mastery of chancery and probate court, county clerk, property assessor, register of deeds, sheriff, trustee, a juvenile court judge and five general sessions court judges.

You can find the complete story RIGHT HERE.

Knox Schools website gets new look

The Knox County school system has redesigned its website, although officials are claiming that they've actually launched a new website, even though it's the same address. Or something. I don't know.


Anyhoo,  according to a news release: The new site offers families, teachers, staff and the community easier site navigation; compatibility with mobile devices and tablets; real-time student grades, attendance and other information; updated technology; a more robust search function and more.

The release continues:
In 2014, the Knox County Schools had nearly 16 million page views, an average of 107,000 per day. The Knox County Schools wants to continue to provide an effective tool that enhances student learning, provides opportunities for community feedback and encourages robust interaction.

Due to the need to complete data transfers and validation between the old and new systems, the publication of students’ class schedules for 2014-2015 will be slightly delayed. Middle and high school students can expect to receive their schedules via U.S. mail in July. School staff will be available to work with students and parents in cases where adjustments to schedules might be necessary. As usual, elementary school students’ class assignments will be posted at the schools in early August.
Personally, I felt the old site was a mess, so I look forward to checking out this one. At least visually, it's certainly more appealing, so thanks to whoever actually did the work.

Friday, June 27, 2014

State weighs in on Kincannon BOE seat; timing will be everything

Indya Kincannon
The state’s top election official has weighed in on the upcoming vacancy on the Knox County Board of Education, and timing is everything.

Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins said if the Knox County Commission accepts school board member Indya Kincannon’s resignation by Sept. 5, then the seat will appear on the November ballot.

Otherwise, it will appear on the August 2016 ballot.

Goins, in a letter sent to the Knox County Election Commission on Friday, notes that once the commission accepts the resignation, it is binding and cannot be withdrawn.

The Sept. 5 date is tied to the state’s “60-day rule,” which gives candidates sufficient time to qualify for a race.

Goins letter RIGHT SMACK HERE.

Earlier this week, Kincannon, who is in her third term on the school board, announced that she will step down Aug. 6 to accompany her family to Slovenia where her husband was recently awarded a Fullbright U.S. Scholar grant.

She has served the 2nd District since 2004.

At this point, the Knox County Commission is expected to appoint someone to take over for her.

Further, the commission more than likely will accept her resignation by August, thus setting the stage for a Nov. 4 election, said commission Chairman Brad Anders.

The commission has a July voting meeting set for the 28th and an August one set for the 25th. During one of those meetings, members are expected to accept Kincannon’s resignation and appoint her replacement.

On a side note, there's already been a couple folks who have called commissioners and expressed interest in the seat. Traditionally, the board doesn't appoint folks who want to run for the position later on.

We'll see.

Mama Mia gets next lunch with mayor

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett continues his "Lunch with the Mayor" program next Wednesday (July 2) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mama Mia Cuisine, 9115 Executive Park Drive.

Mama Mia Cuisine, a locally owned restaurant, and will offer a buy-one-get-one-free lunch entrée special during the Lunch with the Mayor event, so bring a friend.

The public is invited and other elected officials may be in attendance.  As always, attendees will be responsible for purchasing their own meals.

Fansler gets notable endorsements

Daryl Fansler
Yesterday (I was out), the Committee to Re-Elect Daryl Fansler, Chancellor, Part II sent out a release, nothing the endorsement of 26 past Presidents of the Knoxville Bar Association.

“The lives of so many Knox County citizens depend upon the experience of its judiciary - from family law to business disputes - these issues are as varied as they are complex,” the release states. “They must be met by someone who has the experience, intellectual ability, honesty, professional fortitude and common sense to bring about fair resolutions. That person is Daryl R. Fansler and we ask you to support him in our legal system, again.”

Signees of the letter include Bruce A. Anderson, Heidi A. Barcus, Bernard E. Bernstein, Robert R. Campbell, J. William Coley, J. Steven Collins, Sam C. Doak, Jack B. Draper, Ruth T. Ellis, E. Bruce Foster, Jr., Thomas M. Hale, John K. Harber, James Michael Haynes, Jr., Richard L. Hollow, Reggie E. Keaton, Michael J. King, Dennis R. McClane, M. Denise Moretz, Thomas R. Ramsey III, Thomas S. Scott, Jr., Sarah Y. Sheppeard, Dwight E. Tarwater, William D. Vines III,Howard H. Vogel, Edward G. White II, Annette E. Winston.

Fansler began practicing law at Bond, Carpenter, & O'Connor before co-founding what is now Stokes, Williams, Sharp and Davies in 1989. He was elected as Knox County Chancellor, Part II, in 2006.

Fansler, a Democrat, takes on Republican Clarence Pridemore, a relatively newcomer to the legal arena.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

BOE seat on November ballot? Maybe

A little update on Indya Kincannon stepping down in August from her school board seat. Initially, officials thought that the County Commission could go ahead and appoint someone to fill the spot, and that person would hold the position until the next county general election, which isn't until August 2016.

That's true if it's a partisan seat. However, school board spots are not. So, there is case law out there that suggests the county - based on timing - could go ahead and put the race on the November ticket.

A number of things need to happen and politics (obviously) could play a role. For example, Indya would need to officially  resign from the board and then the commission would need to accept it within a certain amount of time (I think 60 days), and then others would need to work to get the names, etc. on the ballot.

We'll know more in the coming days as the county election commission has asked the state for an opinion.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kincannon leaving BOE in August

Indya Kincannon
Indya Kincannon, who is in her third term on the Knox County School Board, will step down Aug. 6.

According to a release issued by the school system, she is leaving to "accompany her family to Slovenia, where her husband was recently awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant."

She has served the 2nd District since 2004.

The Porch sincerely wishes Indya and her family all the best.  I know a lot of people didn't necessarily agree with her, but she wouldn't BS ya.

CLICK RIGHT SMACK HERE for what Indya had to say on her website.

Now, onto what happens next.

The Knox County Commission will appoint Inday's successor. There will not be a special election. The person appointed will serve until the next county general election, which won't be until August 2016 when - coincidentally - her terms expires.

(November by the way is not a county general election.)

The commission will soon start taking applications to fill the slot, and my guess is that someone will be in place in late August or in September. The board will hold public interviews, etc., and then vote.

Folks, there is going to be some serious politicking going on here. And my guess is that there's a pretty good chance that whoever is picked will not be a supporter of Superintendent Jim McIntyre.

Let's face it: The commission isn't exactly his biggest fan. 

As someone else said: Get the popcorn ready; we're looking at a political dogfight.


Stretch of Washington Pike to close

Road construction crews will close a stretch of Washington Pike in Corryton to replace and upgrade an existing culvert, according to a county release.

The closure, beginning at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow, will be on Washington Pike immediately east of Corryton Road. Traffic will detour approximately 4.5 miles via Washington Pike to Corryton Road to Emory Road.

All construction is scheduled to conclude by Aug. 11, which is the first day of school for Knox County students

Burchett looking at departmental consolidation; hasn't met with city

There's been a lot of talk about Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett's so-called proposal to unifying the two governments and creating a metro government. Look, this probably isn't happening. And it's not exactly what Burchett is proposing.

At this point, he's talking about consolidating certain departments, and it's nothing new. Whether he acts on it remains to be seen, but I suspect he probably will (eventually) reach out to City Mayor Madeline Rogero to talk about it.

And, if it saves money, I don't see why either will be opposed.

In the meantime, Jim Matheny had a great report about it yesterday. You can find it RIGHT SMACK HERE.

Additionally, check out this blast from the past - RIGHT SMACK HERE - about the 1996 consolidation vote and what happened in the election office that night.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Briggs's senate campaign now on TV

Colonel, doctor, war hero, county commissioner, nice guy Richard Briggs just released his first commercial, according to his campaign peeps.

Briggs is challenging incumbent Stacey Campfield for his 7th District state Senate seat.

According to the release, the ad:

Specifically targets Briggs’ leadership in the military, where he served for 30 years, receiving the Bronze Star and retired as a Colonel for the U.S. Army.

It also focuses on the trust he has garnered as a heart and lung surgeon for 30 years saving thousands of lives.

Briggs advocates a platform of a strong conservative who wants to create jobs, provide economic growth, improve education and ensure a strong quality of life for all Knoxvillians.

Early voting for the Aug. 7 elections begins July 18.

As always, send me your elections stuff for posting.

Election cell phone use policy set

Knox County voters won’t be able to talk on their cell phones once they enter a polling place.
Except during emergencies.

The Knox County Election Commission on Friday unanimously approved policy that establishes a new cell phone use policy for early voting and Election Day.

The policy prohibits voters from talking on their phones, however, it won’t stop them from texting or taking pictures, so long as they don’t take a picture of someone else that shows how that person voted.

“It’s not really all that dramatic, but it’s something that needs to be said,” county Administrator of Elections Cliff Rodgers said. “This way the (poll workers) can point to a sign and remind (voters) if they are on the phone that they are being rude.”

Additionally, Rodgers noted that the policy also protects voters. He said residents who talk on their phone run the risk of mentioning a candidate’s name aloud or talking about an issue, which would violate the state’s “100-foot” rule that bands any type of campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place.

Rodgers said he doesn’t expect problems from the new policy, adding that “most folks are reasonable.”

“We’re hoping people will be respectful and for the most part people are,” he said.

The policy will take effect beginning with early voting for the Aug. 7 elections.

The move comes as the county’s election commission received a complaint during the May primary that at least one voter at the Larry Cox precinct distracted and upset voters because he talked while inside the voting booth.

The state doesn't have a policy about using cell phones inside voting locations, so the decision is left to individual counties. Rodgers said that he's checked with other election administrators and policies vary from allowing cell phones to out-right banning them.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Still early but some now vying for commission board leadership seats

Brad Anders, L, Dave Wright, R
We’re still a ways off, but already there’s talk in the background around about who will serve as the Knox County Commission chair during the next go-around.

Brad Anders holds the leadership post right now, and he wants another shot. And, from what I’m hearing, so, too, does Commissioner Dave Wright.

As it stands, a board member can hold the seat twice during a four-year term.

Additionally, there’s talk that Amy Broyles is seeking the vice chair position. (R. Larry Smith currently holds it, but he can’t seek re-election due to term limits.)

Amy Broyles
In the coming months expects to see a number of  “sunshine” notices going out as individual members meet for lunch, dinner, whatever, to talk about “county business.” (Yes, that’s a hint: They will be politicking for the gig.)

The 11-member board selects the chair and vice chair seats during its annual reorganizational meeting, which will more than likely take place on Sept. 2. The seats are good for one year.

The chair runs commission meetings and sets the monthly agenda. He or she also oversees the board’s three-member staff, determines how the board’s public meetings will be handled, and often serves as the liaison between the public and the board.

The chair by default also serves on a number of boards, including the Great Schools Partnership and usually the pension board.

The vice chair caries out the chair’s duties when he or she is not available and helps run board meetings.

It’s certainly too early to call at this point what will happen, although I see two scenarios playing out. Either Brad and Dave go into a board “election,” or there’s some sort of understanding hammered out that Brad stays on as chair and Dave takes over as vice chair with a somewhat understanding that he’ll sit in as chairman next year.

I haven’t heard much talk about the vice chair seat other than Broyles is interested in it.

Personally, I don’t think there’s any way that either of the four new guys coming onto the board will ask for or get appointed to either seat.

That then leaves Brad, Dave, Amy, Sam McKenzie, Mike Brown, Jeff Ownby and Richard Briggs, who is in own political contest for a state Senate seat.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Knoxville crews battling graffiti

Knoxville is partnering with other public sector entities – including the Public Building Authority, Knoxville Utilities Board and the Central Business Improvement District – to combat a rise in graffiti, according to a news release it issued earlier today.

But David Brace, Public Service Director for the city, said help from residents and businesses is necessary. That means quickly reporting to the Knoxville Police Department any time taggers are seen defacing any property, and it also means owners doing their part to quickly remove graffiti on private property.

Figure this wall will be a mess again in a few days. Heh.

Immediate and persistent removal of graffiti – within a day or two – is a vital key in discouraging taggers.

“It is critical that we consistently clean damaged public property and work with the Knoxville Police Department to prevent graffiti in the future,” Brace said. “For the private sector, graffiti is an expensive and unfortunate part of managing property.

“We understand it’s frustrating to have to spend time and money cleaning up damaged signs and buildings from spray paint and markers, but that’s really the best long-term solution

Brace’s crews have a new tool: The City recently purchased a new water-sand pressure washer with money from the CBID and the downtown capital improvements fund. The pressure washer was used to successfully remove graffiti from the Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) downtown station (before and after photos attached).

Graffiti throughout Knoxville on both private and public assets is on the rise. The Knoxville Police Department believes this is an issue across the State of Tennessee – and that many of Knoxville’s most visible taggers operate in multiple municipalities, making them tough to apprehend.

Graffiti contributes to declines in property value, and it generates the perception of blight. The appearance of graffiti on public and private buildings is often perceived by residents and visitors as a sign that a downward spiral has begun, even though this may not be true.

“Addressing this issue will require multiple tactics, including public awareness, education, law enforcement and finally a commitment by public sector entities to quickly clean tagged facilities,” Brace said.

The City of Knoxville and the Knoxville Police Department are encouraging citizens to report incidents of graffiti by calling 311 for non-emergency events or 911 if property damage is actively in process.

Knox e-warning system up, running

Knox County is implementing a new community-wide emergency notification system that will offer email, text and phone alerts in the case of an emergency, according to a release just sent out that we've reported on a number of times, but what the heck, why not one more?

The project was spearheaded by Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond.

Residents can register their home phone, cell phone and email addresses online RIGHT SMACK HERE.  Anyone without internet access can call 865-560-0239 to sign up by phone. There is no fee to participate in the program.

“I am proud that Knox County is now able to provide this notification system, and I want to thank Commissioner Hammond, especially, for his leadership on this project,” said Mayor Burchett. “We often get the feeling that we’re immune from tornadoes, floods and other disasters because we’re tucked away in the Tennessee Valley. Unfortunately, disasters, whether they’re natural or manmade, still happen, and we need to be as prepared for them as possible.”

“There is no question these systems have saved lives in other communities, said Commissioner Hammond. “This gives our citizens the chance to be notified in advance of bad weather, and to also be informed in the event of other emergencies. Special thanks to Mayor Burchett, Sheriff Jones, Police Chief Rausch and the County Commission for supporting this system.”

The emergency notification system is made possible through Federal Signal, Knox County’s contractor for this service.

“Knox County will now be able to immediately notify citizens during emergencies, and even geographically target areas around the county for specific messaging related to weather events and other emergencies. Additionally, the new Federal Signal system connects with FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning interface (IPAWS),” said Federal Signal Vice President and General Manager Matt Brady. “We look forward to all Knox County residents signing up for this important notification system.”

The emergency notification system will be implemented by Rural Metro using E911 Center data. Residents can choose to receive community-wide emergency alerts, public safety alerts and weather-related alerts.

Mayors Rogero, Beehan join Obama at first-ever White House Maker Faire

Rogero (L), Beehan (R)
So, yesterday Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero's office shoots over a release, saying the information in it has been "embargoed until 6 a.m. on WEDNESDAY, June 18, 2014."

Someone over at the Paywall Paper saw it and must have thought "embargo" means "let's go," and by the early evening it was online. (Surprisingly I thought it was going to be a different news organization that would post it. Heh.)

Anyhoo, it wasn't like it was some groundbreaking, earth shattering news, but, you know, it's kind of about courtesy.

Here's the release:

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan are among 21 mayors invited to meet President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday for the first-ever Maker Faire.

The mayors will take part in a policy discussion with senior Obama Administration officials to discuss support for manufacturing communities on economic, infrastructure and community revitalization.

Rogero and Beehan said they hope to boost the Maker Movement in East Tennessee, which promotes advanced manufacturing and innovative technology.

"We're committed to creating jobs by capitalizing on our unique partnerships and bold new business models," said Rogero in a press release. "As I've said previously: We aim to be ground zero for the third Industrial Revolution."

The Maker Movement's goal is to provide access to high-tech tools and new approaches for businesses and entrepreneurs. Rogero and Beehan are part of a group of about 90 mayors nationwide taking part in the Mayors Maker Challenge.

Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers, who recently opened a retail store on Market Square, has joined Rogero and Beehan on the trip. Rogers and Local Motors have pioneered a new 3D printing method and plan to build the world's first 3D-printed car this fall.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Another gone from Criminal Court Clerk's Office due to mistakes

Well, another day in the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk’s Office and another mistake that leads to someone getting screwed.

Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey on Monday fired Genie Owens after she failed to complete the proper paperwork that resulted in one Knox County inmates being kept in jail for about five days longer than needed to be, from what I'm being told.

(Owens faced some problems back in January 2012 when she was suspended without pay for a week. She was hired in January 2006 and earned $32,000 annually.)

In addition, two folks were picked up when they shouldn't have been, although those problems are not related to Owens.

One lady was in court in March, but the clerk never set the attachment aside, so she was picked up in early May when she shouldn't have been.

Another got an attachment (kind of like a warrant) was issued for a guy for failure to appear in court on a suspended license charge when he in fact was there.

“It just points out all the issues that are wrong in the office and we just have to get them fixed,” said incoming Criminal Court Clerk Mike Hammond. “I can’t wait to get in there on Sept. 2 and start fixing them.”

At this point, we’ve relegated to reporting these incidents on the ol’ blog. Heh.

I’m sure there will be something else before September.

Knox E-warning system ready tomorrow

The county sent over a note, saying that tomorrow Mayor Tim Burchett, Commissioner Mike Hammond, "and others" will announce details for a new emergency notification service (that has the ability to instantly warn residents of approaching storms).

They'll hold the shin dig at 1:30 p.m. in the Mayor's Office (that's the county side of the Death Star).

We actually broke this story about a year ago. You can find the original awesomeness RIGHT SMACK HERE

Anyhoo, the e-notification system will allow the county to quickly provide emergency telephone, text, or email notices to every one of its residents at one time or focus only on a single neighborhood or street corner if need be.
Burchett and Hammond will be the first to sign up for the service tomorrow and will encourage others to do the same.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Looking into the recent claims made by Knox County clerk candidates

If you're going to spit out a bunch of BS, the smartest move isn't to then challenge a reporter to fact check it.

Anyhoo, Knox County Clerk candidate Mike Padgett issued 10News a challenge: Investigate the claims he and his opponent, incumbent Clerk Foster Arnett Jr, made during a recent edition of Inside Tennessee.

“We need to go to the finance department and find out those figures with the investigative reporter and find out how many millions of dollars Foster has turned over, and how many millions of dollars our administration turned over,” Padgett, who served as the clerk from 1986 to 2007, said during the June 1 program.

Well, we over here at WBIR did just that.

Padgett, though, might not be too happy about what we found.

Here’s a look:

1) STATEMENT: Padgett said that “we turned over millions of dollars . . . every year in fees to the county government.” Arnett said that his administration “turned over $6 million in the six years that I’ve been in office.”

BACKGROUND: The county clerk’s office collects various fees. The money first goes to paying the staff and covering a reserve tank that will keep the office running for three months. The rest is turned over to the county’s general fund. WBIR reviewed recent financial statements and the past 11 comprehensive annual financial reports that an external auditor puts together for the county each year.

FINDING: Arnett’s claims were accurate, according to financial records. Padgett’s were not. From fiscal years 2009 to 2012, Arnett turned over a combined $5 million. His office has already turned in $1 million for the current fiscal year, which wraps up at the end of this month. From fiscal years 2002 to 2008, Padgett’s administration turned over a combined $3 million. His office didn’t turn over any money during fiscal years 2002-04.

2) STATEMENT: Padgett said his office printed “every (car) title in the state of Tennessee” and that the state “would send it to us. Nashville would send it to us,” referring to contract work that would allow the county to print the titles. He said Arnett “lost” the contracts. Padgett said if he was elected he would “go to Nashville and I will receive contracts from the state of Tennessee to make that a recurrence.” Arnett disagreed, and said that “things have changed since my opponent has been in office” and that the state has “changed the way the titles are done in all 95 counties.”

BACKGROUND: The county did not print titles for “every” county in the state. At one time, it printed titles for at least 10 East Tennessee counties, according to records. However, about the time Arnett took office, the state gave counties the go-ahead to print their own titles, something most counties wanted to do anyway because every title printed equals an extra $3 in fees for the county that prints it. State officials say Padgett could not just go to Nashville and sign contracts to get this work. Further, they said, at this point no county prints titles for any other county. They all print their own.

FINDING: Padgett could not carry out his proposal.

3) STATEMENT: Padgett took issue with the county using Business Information Systems, or BIS, as its third-party provider to help the office submit information to the Tennessee Department of Revenue. He said “Foster is using that service. There are other providers around Tennessee. The state has no direct influence on what the county does. They would love to have help in the state of Tennessee for counties that don’t have providers.”

FINDING: If Padgett won, he would more than likely be stuck with BIS. According to the Department of Revenue, that company provides services to 92 of the state’s 95 counties. Shelby County uses its own in-house IT shop, and Stewart County “processes only limited manual transaction.” Sevier County uses eGovernment Solutions as a third party provider. However, that company is run by Padgett’s son, Mark, which would more than likely create a conflict of interest if he brought the business onboard.

Padgett, a Democrat, and Arnett, a Republican who is in his first full term, will face off in August’s general election. The winner will take over on Sept. 2.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Knox officials looking to implement cell phone policy for elections

Cliff Rodgers
Knox County officials are looking into establishing a cell phone use policy for early voting and for Election Day.

The move comes as the county’s election commission received a complaint during the May primary that at least one voter at the Larry Cox precinct distracted and upset voters because he talked while inside the voting booth.

The Knox County Election Commission will discuss the matter during its June 20 meeting. (8 a.m. Main Assembly Room of City County Building.)

“I don’t think the problem is going to go away,” said county Administrator of Elections Cliff Rodgers. “You either deal with it now or later and I don’t think the state Legislature is going to get involved.”

Rodgers said he hopes the five-member commission has something in place by the Aug. 7 elections.

He said at this point he will recommend that the commission bans people talking on cell phones while meeting with election workers to fill out paperwork and while inside the voting booth.

“We just need to do away with that – it’s not a good idea and it’s rude,” Rodgers said.

However, Rodgers said that he doesn’t want to ban people from using their phone to take pictures so long as the photo does not indicate how someone else voted.

“We let the media come in and take pictures and it is a public place,” he added.

Rodgers said the state doesn’t have a policy about using cell phones inside voting locations, so the decision is left to individual counties. He said that he’s checked with other election administrators and policies vary from allowing cell phones to out-right banning them.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Randy Tyree joins sheriff's office

Randy Tyree
Well, this is interesting.The Knox County Sheriff's Office has hired former Knoxville Mayor Randy Tyree to serve as assistant coordinator for the Senior Citizens Awareness Network (SCAN) and Project Life Saver, according to a news release.

He'll help recruit and retain volunteers for the two programs.

In the statement, Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones said "Tyree's leadership in the community and his service in many non-profit organizations over the years make him a perfect fit for the job."

Tyree has served on the board of the Senior Citizen Home Assistance Service, Inc., the Clinics of Hope, which provides medical care for the uninsured and working poor, the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association, and has been commended for his leadership in establishing the Veterans Cemetery and the East Tennessee Veterans Nursing Home in Knox County.

The SCAN program, started in 1996, provides special training to volunteers who go out in the community to help the elderly.  They provide personal well-being checks, home security surveys, crime prevention information, victim outreach, and other agency referrals.

Project Life Saver is another volunteer program which provides electronic bracelets to Alzheimer’s patients or others who may have a tendency to wander and get lost. Electronic equipment can then be used to find their location.

MPC: Happy Holler nominated to National Register of Historic Places

Been on vacation. Latest from the Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission:

The Happy Holler commercial district has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places for its cultural and historic significance to Knoxville's early days of development. 

The nomination, submitted to the U.S. National Park Service, was written by Metropolitan Planning Commission staff and was pre-approved by the Tennessee Historical Commission.

Happy Holler's historic and cultural value is tied to its collection of early 20th-century buildings, the most complete example in Knoxville outside of Downtown. The district runs along both sides of the 1200 block of N. Central Street and forms the core of a community-oriented shopping district established along early trolley lines.

Most buildings in Happy Holler are one-story commercial structures built between 1900 and 1930. The area served northside residents, from the community now known as Old North Knoxville, a Victorian-era neighborhood lying to the east of Happy Holler, as well as the families of textile, railroad, and iron workers who lived to the west. Trolley lines brought other Knoxvillians-many from nearby Lincoln Park and Oakwood subdivisions-to the grocery, drug, and hardware stores, movie theater, and other venues in Happy Holler.

The name "Happy Holler" came from both its low-lying topography and its popularity during Prohibition, well known for its bootleggers who operated from back rooms in the district. Despite its notoriety, Happy Holler also became a popular entertainment area. The first suburban movie theater in Knoxville, The Picto, opened at 1205 Central Street in 1916.

Today, Happy Holler retains a unique identity that has not diminished with the passage of time, and it remains a distinctive and vital retail and service area.

The National Register documents properties that are historically and culturally important to local, state, and national heritage and highlights their significance by placing the nomination reports within the National Archives of History. 

A Register nomination establishes a review and mitigation process in cases where a federal project would have a negative impact on the properties. Another benefit is a Federal Income Tax Credit for the certified rehabilitation of properties listed in the National Register.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Burchett to host food truck Friday

From the county mayor's office: Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett will host a special Food Truck Friday event today from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The event will take place downtown in Food Truck Zone 1 at 550 W Main Street, near the Bank of America Building.

All three registered vendors in the City of Knoxville’s Mobile Food Vendor Pilot Program will be participating in Food Truck Friday. Participants include Forks on the Road, Savory & Sweet and Tootsie Truck.

Like other Lunch with the Mayor events, the public is invited and elected officials may be in attendance.  As always, attendees will be responsible for purchasing their own meals.

The Mobile Food Vendor Pilot Program was established by the City of Knoxville in April 2014 to allow mobile food vendors to operate in public rights-of-way and on private property under certain guidelines. For more info about the program, click RIGHT SMACK HERE.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Senior center to host flag ceremony

From the county mayor's office: Knox County’s Corryton Senior Center, 9331 Davis Drive, and Rural/Metro Fire Department will host a flag retirement ceremony on Friday, June 13 at 11 a.m.  Flag Day is Saturday, June 14. Members of the American Legion will perform the ceremony.

Senior Financial Group, East Tennessee Personal Care Service and Smoky Mountain Hospice will provide a barbecue lunch, which will be free and open to the public.

Flag Day commemorates the June 14, 1777 signing of the Continental Congress resolution adopting the current design of the American flag. The national observance was formally approved by President Harry S. Truman in 1949.

Local artist Alexander Dumas and students from nearby Corryton Elementary School will have patriotic artwork on display, and members of Rolling Thunder TN Chapter 3 will also perform a special ceremony.

The Corryton Senior Center is currently accepting any flags from businesses and residential homes for ceremonial retirement.