Stan Voit: Some thoughts on this, that for a Sunday

Dec. 04, 2012 @ 12:13 AM

A few thoughts on things as we steamroll past Thanksgiving and on to Christmas ...

You may have noticed that our Opinion page includes the names of the two newest members of the Legislature: Dale Carr and Andrew Farmer. I had planned to wait until January when the new session begins before placing their names on the bottom of the page, but they actually assumed office right after the election, and the Legislature’s own website has them listed now with their contact information, so why wait? ...

Carr represents most of Sevier County in District 12. Farmer in District 17 represents Sevier and Jefferson counties — much of the city of Sevierville and the northern part of the county. It’s the first time in many years that Sevier County has two resident House members, and our lone senator, Doug Overbey of Maryville, is extremely loyal to this county. ...

Of course, both Carr and Farmer will be back-benchers, low on the seniority ladder. That will make a difference. But Overbey is a veteran legislator, and his experience should help compensate for the freshmen Carr and Farmer. I feel good about our legislative representation and what it can mean for the county. ...

By the way, in defending the redistricting that divided Sevierville, Rep. Richard Montgomery had said it gave the county a good chance to elect two resident House members, even though District 17 was 55 percent Jefferson and 45 percent Sevier. He was defending the new maps because of the suspicion he had a role in excising Carr from Montgomery’s District 12 so Carr couldn’t run against Montgomery. Carr simply moved into District 12 from 17 and proceeded to defeat the 16-year House veteran. Turns out, Montgomery’s prediction was right. ...

Remember, House members in Tennessee must run every two years. You can expect Farmer to face opposition from Jefferson County in 2014, and probably from now on as he tries to retain a seat in the Legislature in a district in which his home county is outnumbered. Carr, too, can expect an opponent or two when he runs in 2014, primarily because he’ll be new to the office and because he won by such a narrow margin. Not sure if Montgomery would try to run again. ...

Don’t miss New Hope Church’s annual Christmas production, scheduled for Dec. 6-9. It is always one of the most elaborate and entertaining of all the church holiday shows. By the way, Brenda Lane, who used to do PR for Smoky Mountain Children’s Home, is now doing the same for New Hope. ... Gatlinburg was crowded on Thanksgiving. The Voits had some company from Texas — two adults and three kids ages 10 and under — so we headed over to Ober Gatlinburg on Thanksgiving for snow tubing (not me, them) and then downtown, where things were humming despite the warm temperatures. Incidentally, did you know state law forbids Ole Smoky Moonshine from selling its product on Thanksgiving? That’s what the sign on the door said. The quirks in the law. ...

Odd to see Grand Hotel shut down and empty. It was so prominent in Pigeon Forge for so many years. Now yellow tape blocks off the parking lot. Not sure of its future or the future of the property, but the city’s largest hotel, and such a prominent piece of real estate, is sure to attract interest for the bank that holds the mortgage. Say what you want about Ken Seaton, but you have to feel for him to have fallen so far so fast. ...

It sure is nice to travel Highway 66 these days. When we moved here in 2005 we quickly learned to avoid 66 using using Douglas Dam to Powder Springs to Millican Grove to Lane Hollow get home or leave. Haven’t done that in a long time. Can’t wait for the whole thing to be six lanes. ...

— 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.