Is Martha Whaley, 104, Sevier County’s most senior citizen?
On Sept. 14, 1929, Ella Mae Wiggins and other labor supporters drove to a union meeting in Gastonia, N.C. When they arrived, they were met by an armed mob and turned back. After driving about five miles they were stopped by a car, and armed men jumped out and began shooting. Wiggins, a single mother of five, was shot in the chest and killed.
It's getting to be that time of year again. Late August and early September mean the transition from summer to autumn; kids are getting back to school; summer tourism, and the traffic it brings, are winding down.
I haven't kept up in detail on the situation in Ferguson, Mo. However, just like anyone else in the world who is exposed to print or electronic media, by osmosis alone there is no way I couldn't have picked up facts and fiction regarding the actions and reactions that began Aug. 9. The media reporting has run the gamut from being good and fair to being sorry and biased. The communication, or lack thereof, from some leaders on the community, state and national levels has run a similar gamut.
Summertime in the South unleashes a full-throttle sensory experience. The sounds of crickets and cicadas. The smells of magnolia trees and hundreds (thousands?) of other plants. The green of vegetation at its apex. The taste of blueberry pie. The water of one's own body seeping to the surface of one's skin. This humidity...
How many times have you seen this play out in a movie or on TV: The bad guy goes to fire his weapon, and the hero shoots it out of his or hand. The day is saved, and the villain is wounded but alive to learn a lesson, go to jail or possibly just to plot again.
Dr. William Wayne "W.W." Cope served as pastor of Pigeon Forge First Baptist Church for 28 years. He is the longest serving pastor in its 100-year history. Dr. Cope began his long tenure at the church June 4, 1964.
Some banjo innovators are world-famous. Carroll Best just liked to play. The music of the Haywood County, N.C., farmer and factory worker is featured on “Carroll Best and the White Oak String Band,” a new CD released by Gatlinburg’s Great Smoky Mountains Association.
Will Rogers said, "A person only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people." Since I'm probably not any smarter than most of the people reading this column, I need to make sure I supply my readers with information that in one way or another is either uplifting, insightful to some degree, encouraging, entertaining, helpful in some way or emotionally stirring, bringing either a little lump to your throat or a little laugh or snicker (or at least a smile).
Peppered throughout Gatlinburg are reminders of Mayor William L. Mills. Known as a selfless and honest man of unquestionable integrity, he was a well respected Gatlinburg leader for three decades. The W.L. Mills Conference Center and Mills Park are among the testaments to the appreciation the citizens of Gatlinburg had for him.
It was a concert by a Grammy-winning pop star, not a middle school play. But you might not have guessed that based on the way people were acting.
I accompanied wife Jean to a supermarket we frequently visit. While she shopped in the produce and dairy sections I went to get a few things, including my favorite breakfast cereal. I looked for it in its usual place, but it wasn’t there. So, in a style made famous by Dr. Seuss, “Let me say – I searched high, and I searched low, that very day – I searched here, and I searched there – When I was through, I had searched, everywhere.”
Now in its third year, the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival is introducing something new: a major headlining act. Legendary country star Bill Anderson will perform Saturday, Aug. 23, in the Quality Inn Creekside’s conference center.
Barbara Fairchild’s smash 1973 hit “The Teddy Bear Song” is a gem of a country tune – gentle, funny, sad and, when you think about, kind of unsettling.
The first time Melvin Lonas lived in Sevierville, he was a student at the Church of God Bible Training School. Before he graduated, the school swapped campuses with the Church of God Home for Children, which was then located in Cleveland, Tenn. He continued his studies at the Bible institute in Cleveland on the campus of what is now Lee University.
As the premiere episode of “Fat Guys in the Woods” begins, a camera swoops over a rugged, wooded landscape.
First I read in the paper about Kat Kingdom, the cat attraction one can visit to play with cats, in one of the shops at the Covered Bridge development on Glades Road in Gatlinburg. Later I read that Kat Kingdom would have a grand opening featuring cupcakes, cookies and live music. They had me at cupcakes.
I had just spoken at a convention attended by hospitality industry personnel. Following my presentation, a man in his late 30s or early 40s engaged me in a conversation that eventually led to his tattoo story. Prior to obtaining a job with a convention hotel, he had been the manager of a travel center on a heavily traveled interstate. The tattoo on his forearm was easily accepted there – but not in his new job.
Few stories that I’ve written lately have gotten the enthusiastic response that we saw for the announcement of a possible new movie theater at Governor’s Crossing.
On June 7, 1911, the Montgomery Vindicator reported, “A big shakeup among business firms of Sevierville is scheduled to take place in the near future. Walker Mize, who has been the efficient deputy trustee under John F. Ingle during two administrations, takes the place of W.S. Murphy as cashier of Sevier County Bank.”
In Sevier County’s robust entertainment scene, there is no shortage of live revues featuring singing and dancing, comedy, even animal acts.
The content of this column is part literature lesson, part hippie history lesson, part point-making humor, part communication breakdown examples and part human relations tip.
You may have heard the recording. In a story that recently went viral, a technology journalist named Ryan Block tried to cancel his Internet service with Comcast. A hostile customer service representative tried to dissuade him. Block preserved much of the mortifying conversation.
“I was just stunned,” said local author Ron Rader, of learning that his book had been honored in the Independent Publisher Book Awards.
We recently spent almost six hours at Mills Park in Gatlinburg. Yes, in one day. The kids loved it and wanted to go back the next day. The playground area provides a lot of entertainment and great physical play. They hang from the monkey bars and stretch to get to the next ring. They walk up and down the stairs to use the slide over and over. They jump on the hanging bridge.