Two Council Races?
Falafel Hut on the Block
A 23-year institution in Fort Sanders, the Falafel Hut may be on its last legs. The restaurant, as well as Sam's Party Store and The Laundry next door are for sale. Renee Jubran , who owns and runs the family businesses with her husband, Sam , says, "It breaks our hearts to have to sell. We love Knoxville, and we love the customers, but first of all, Sam came down with cancer last year, although we are lucky to say he is doing well. And number two, I'm getting a little bit old for this, and my kids want to have more family time." The Jubrans hope to sell the three spaces together, maybe even to someone who wants to keep the restaurant going. On the other hand, there are options for converting the space. "This area could use a minimart if someone doesn't want to keep up the restaurant," Jubran says. "The whole thing could be opened up." While Sam's Party Store carries a motley assortment of groceries and boasts a fine selection of beer, many in the neighborhood would welcome a larger grocery. But the closing is not the result of a lack of business. Sam Jubran says, "This area is a goldmine, we've been lucky to have the support of the university staff and students all these years." Still, no offers have been made so far. "It's not a rush job," says Renee Jubran. "We may be here for another year. And I will stay and train whoever buys it if they want to keep the restaurant. I would hate to see it go." We would, too.
We hear there may be another familiar face on the reconstituted TVA Board. Current Chair Glenn McCullough had been thought on his way out, but he may stick around for at least two more years. Seems the two Mississippi senators are split on keeping McCullough, who is from Tupelo, and the compromise may be to let him serve a two-year term. Current TVA board members Bill Baxter and Skila Harris will also remain.
Alabama is insisting on having a member of the new TVA board, but it's disturbing to some to hear it may be a former Alabama Power guy. The original TVA act prohibited a board member that had worked for a private utility company, because of extreme private utility animosity toward the federal utility when it was formed in the 1930s.
Memphis and Upper East Tennessee are also lobbying for an appointment. Memphis argues it is the largest consumer of TVA power and should have two appointments. As far as we know, neither would be named Ford .
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is said to be taking a more active role in the selection process. Sen. Lamar Alexander , R-Tenn., Sen. Trent Lott , R-Miss., Sen. Thad Cochran , R-Miss. and Sen. Richard Shelby , R-Ala. are making suggestions; Frist is the referee.
Other candidates include Bill Musler , former TVA employee now in Long Island, and Jim Baker , from Middle Tennessee.
The Most Tickets Wins
Spending our money on numerous performances at the Tennessee Theatre improved our lives, and, it turns out, helped put the renovated gem on the industry map. Knoxville's grand entertainment palace has ranked as the 47th most attended theater in the world for the first quarter of 2005 by Pollstar , a music-biz magazine that keeps up with such things. The Tennessee reported 18,528 tickets sold, which is more than Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, which Pollstar recently named National Theater of the Year for the second year in a row. Ashley Capps , president of AC Entertainment, which the mag ranked 19th among the world's Top 50 promoters, manages the theater. He says he believes the Tennessee is the smallest theater in the Top 50.
Judging the Election
At this point in the process the only contested judges' race next year appears to be for Juvenile Court. Cynthia Chapman and Tim Irwin are sounding out supporters and are expected to face off in a Republican primary. The redoubtable Judge Carey Garrett is retiring.
Criminal Court Judge Ray Lee Jenkins has had another bout of health problems, though he is generally thought to be a candidate for re-election. Though there is much speculation about a possible opponent, one has yet to materialize.
County Law Director Mike Moyers is serious about running for chancellor, the seat of retiring Chancellor Sharon Bell . No word of an opponent yet.
Two Council Races?
Ellen Adcock , director of administration for former Mayor Victor Ashe , planned to pick up a petition this week to run for City Council. She lives in the district now represented by Councilman Steve Hall .
The only other non-incumbent that has picked up a petition is Ken Knight , manager of the downtown Radisson, who lives in Councilwoman Barbara Pelot's district. Knight was a leader in the petition drive to stop the building of a new convention center hotel.
Take Your Butts Outside
Downtown's newest bar opened last week on Gay Street in the old Kimball's jewelry store, next to Downtown Grill and Brewery. Its name, Sapphire, matches its posh and polished atmosphere. This hotspot (yes, already! ) is crystal clear—there's no ciggy smoke to muck up Knoxville's most recent smoke-free bar. We dig the place for a change—the mod, butt-cupping barstools, zippy restrooms, attentive barkeeps, but not the jacked-up prices. As downtown's bar scene keeps developing, we expect Sapphire will draw some of the westside's sophistos downtown. All weekend the place served up scores of fruit and cheese plates to rosy-cheeked patrons who drained wine like water. Word is that only a few people got nasty with the bartenders about not being able to smoke. Most everyone else tolerated, if not loved, the restriction; there were gazillions of new customers there Friday night, and they all went home smelling like fresh-picked petunias.