Stan Voit: Time to clean out notebook one more time

Apr. 22, 2013 @ 12:01 AM

Cleaning out the notebook, and the mind, of a few little things. ...

A bill that is about to pass the General Assembly will change the state’s judicial districts, but it won’t have any effect on Sevier County. The 4th Judicial District will still include Sevier, Cocke, Grainger and Jefferson counties.

There was some talk in Nashville about making Sevier County its own judicial district or combining it with other counties, but thanks to Reps. Andrew Farmer and Dale Carr and Sen. Doug Overbey, that proposal was shot down. It might be nice for the county to be its own district and not share responsibilities with three other smaller counties, but changing the formula carried too many risks to pursue it. Perhaps one day we’ll be big enough to justify our own district, but not now. The measure would affect 22 counties in eight districts. The number of judicial districts will be reduced from 31 to 29. ...

Kirby Smith’s new Holston’s Restaurant in Sevierville appears to be a major success. The parking lot looks crowded most evenings. That’s good news to a restaurateur who also owns or co-owns Blaine’s, J.T. Hannah’s and No Way Jose’s eateries in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Now he and a partner have bought or leased the old Maxwell’s restaurant building in downtown Gatlinburg and are creating a restaurant specializing in breakfast. The work is well under way, and it appears the restaurant will open in several weeks. Given Smith’s golden touch with his other enterprises, and the novelty of a restaurant with this kind of niche, here’s betting it is a success as well. ...

Speaking of restaurants, Cheddar’s in Pigeon Forge is poised to open later this month or the first of May. They have scheduled training sessions for the new staff with invited customers in the community, who get a free meal and help break in the employees in their new roles. Cheddar’s occupies the once-vacant property in front of Holiday Inn and next to a branch of Sevier County Bank. I’ve visited the one in Maryville and enjoyed the food and atmosphere ...

I met Terry Morrow a couple of times and enjoyed his company. He always talked fondly about his years as a reporter at The Mountain Press. Morrow, who died last week at the age of 52, worked here in the 1990s, leaving in 1997 to join the staff of the News Sentinel. He later became their entertainment reporter. While it might seem glamorous and fun to interview stars, I sensed from my conversations with him that it could be tedious.

Many journalists who leave smaller papers to work at bigger ones develop a snobbishness, an arrogance, toward community newspapers like The Mountain Press. Terry never did that. He loved his years in Sevierville and, I believe, missed it. Having Dolly Parton and Johnny Knoxville on speed-dial is nice, but I’m a guy who has spent almost his entire newspaper career at community papers, and I say there is something special and intensely gratifying about what we do as well. ...

Lots of things going on in the days ahead to occupy your time and support worthy causes. King Family Library hosts the spring used book sale Tuesday through Saturday. Proceeds benefit the three Friends of the Library groups in the county system, who use the money to support their community library. Next Saturday is the annual Flower & Garden Show at the fairgrounds, sponsored by the Master Gardeners and Extension. And don’t miss the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Tuesday through Saturday in Gatlinburg. Get out and enjoy the good weather. ...

— Stan Voit is editor of The Mountain Press. His column appears each Sunday. He can be reached at 428-0748, ext. 217, or e-mail to svoit@themountainpress.com. Twitter: @stanvoit.