Editorial: Three cheers

Aug. 30, 2013 @ 11:05 PM

Court rules for free speech

A federal appellate court affirmed an earlier decision last week that TripAdvisor was within its rights when it listed the old Grand Resort Hotel and Convention Center of Pigeon Forge on its list of the "2011 Dirtiest Hotels." 

The hotel has since been sold in a foreclosure sale, and new owners are renovating the building. The former owner of the building had sued TripAdvisor, claiming defamation and false-light invasion of privacy.

For the second time, a court upheld that the website — which allows users to rate hotels, restaurants and attractions — was expressing protected opinion.

The court found that, in part, the list was based on those user reviews, meaning readers would understand the list wasn't based on "a scientific study."

Zip lines ready for prime time

The state made a wise decision last fall when it decided to regulate and inspect zip line attractions as it does other rides and attractions across the state.

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development has made an equally good decision this week when promoting the change. 

They said they would not penalize cites currently operating unpermitted that came forward to acquire the proper documentation.

"We understand that (the permitting) is relatively unknown at this point, so there is a grace period," spokesman Jeff Hentschel said. 

"There's a big difference between operating with negligence and just not knowing that these requirements are out there."

Some may argue is an unusual gesture for a state agency to show so much common sense on an issue, but it's likely appreciated by business owners who were unaware of the new regulations.

Smokies on a roll

After a so-so first half, the Tennessee Smokies were on fire for the second half of the Southern League season, earning themselves a spot in the league's post-season.

Manager Buddy Bailey has the team firing on all cylinders: The Smokies offense is leading the Southern League in hitting, slugging, on-base plus slugging, home runs, total bases, and in the meantime, the team is also pitching very well.

Over the last 23 games, Tennessee was 16-7 heading into their Friday night matchup with Chattanooga, and they've already clinched their spot in next week's playoffs.

Next Saturday, no matter how the first two games of the playoffs go, the Smokies will play their first home game of the postseason at Smokies Park against Southern League North first-half winner Birmingham.

The team puts a good product on the field and deserves great attendance at the game.