A "friend" called Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert a week ago Tuesday to tell him one of his County Commission colleagues had been in a terrible car accident, had been hospitalized, and might not survive.
Lambert got the terrible news on his way to attend a funeral. He got up at the funeral and asked everyone to pray for his fellow County Commissioner at the point of death. After the funeral he called another "friend" (in on the joke) to tell him about the terrible accident. The "friend" asked him why he cared, since the Commissioner never voted with him anyway.
April Fool's Day was almost over before Lambert discovered he had been had. He said later he felt the joke was way out of line: "You don't joke around about life and death."
Meanwhile, the same day, someone called new school board member Bill Phillips, representing East Knox County, and identified herself as School Board Chair Karen Carson, from West Knox County. Phillips has made a new school for Gibbs one of his top priorities.
The caller told Phillips the board would not be building any schools in his East Knox community because West Knox County needed more construction because of population growth.
Phillips went off and reports surfaced about a feud between he and Carson, while Carson denied making the call.
Although there are suspects, no one will admit to manufacturing the April Fool's Day call to Phillips.
New Hope for Nerdy Professors?
Jim McNulty, UT psychology professor, came out with data to support something that had seemed obvious to many of us for years: that less-attractive men make better husbands. The survey has gotten a good deal of national attention, including a spot on the Today Show. It even earned UT some national attention recently on the NPR news-quiz show, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! Describing McNulty's research, the ever-witty host, Peter Sagal, wondered aloud whether this research might be especially useful to wife-seeking nerdy sorts, "especially psychology professors at the University of Tennessee."
State Rep. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, is mounting a rare challenge of an incumbent fellow party member; he has qualified to run against state Sen. Raymond Finney, R-Maryville. But Blount County political activist Sunny Day has filed an election commission complaint against Overbey saying Overbey serves as Alcoa's city attorney and sits as a city judge and therefore cannot serve in the judicial and legislative branches at the same time.
Day challenges Overbey's qualification to run for the state Senate as well as hold his current House seat.
Finney, a conservative Right-to-Life candidate, upset popular former state Sen. Bill Claybough in a low-turnout Republican primary in 2004.
Falafel Hut Revival
Those who've been missing the Falafel Hut, the beloved Middle Eastern-food establishment on the corner of Clinch and James Agee in Fort Sanders, don't have to wait much longer for its return. Renee and Sam Jubran had closed the place—which after 25 years was something of a neighborhood institution—when they retired, but were reportedly very particular about whom they would bequeath their legacy to. The new owner to earn their approval is Mike Soueid, formerly of Atlanta, who has hired Wissam Tarhini, formerly of West Palm Beach, to cook. "He's a great chef from Lebanon," attests Renee Jubran, who sounds almost more excited about this restaurant than she was about her own. Most of her customers might recognize her only behind the counter, on her feet, but she admits she's looking forward to finally getting to be a customer. "It will be a glamourous new Falafel Hut," she says of the place, which has been fully remodeled.
The new Falafel Hut will open casually this Friday, with a grand opening to follow in a couple of weeks.
In the interval, another restaurant on the same block, the Campus Deli, has picked up some of the slack with a partially Arabic menu. A little competition never hurts.
No Seat for You
Former TVA board chair Glenn McCullough lost the Republican primary to be a congressman from Mississippi after his opponent blasted his TVA record in television ads. McCullough was criticized for traveling by plane back and forth from Knoxville to his home in Tupelo and not reducing TVA's debt.
The ads quoted Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott as saying he did not support McCullough's reappointment because he didn't do enough to reduce the utility's debt and the ads accused McCullough of spending $472,000 on plane trips home and buying "$75 veal chops" in Washington restaurants.
McCullough lost to Republican Greg Davis, the mayor of Southhaven, Miss.