ear (2006-05)

Backfiring Junk Mail

Wager Wade

Thundering Heard!

Judicial Fears

Bug in Our Ear

Backfiring Junk Mail

Rather than let them force him from the race, Smith has been carrying the cards with him when he goes door to door campaigning. He shows them to voters to demonstrate what is being done to him in the campaign. Dealing with the issue head-on may have turned the tables on the anonymous postcarder and it could make Smith a sympathetic figure.

Smith says his campaign has been “energized” by people’s outrage and that he got $3,000 in unsolicited campaign contributions in one week. “People are really mad about this. I’ve been active in the community for 20 years and people know me,” said Smith.

Wager Wade

If you want to get a bet down, look no further than Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Gary Wade , from Sevier County. Wade is a respected jurist, but he is also very active in the community and is a leading cheerleader and fundraiser for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He is the former mayor of Sevierville and president of the Friends of the Smokies. He was appointed to the appeals court in 1987 and was elected in 1988, re-elected in 1990 and 1998. He would have bipartisan support and be a popular choice should Bredesen pick him.

Justice E. Riley Anderson , 73, from Anderson County, has retired as has Justice Adolpho Birch , 73, from Memphis. Justice Frank Drowota retired earlier and was replaced by Justice Cornelia (Connie) Clark .

With Anderson’s retirement Bredesen may be looking for another justice from East Tennessee, for geographical balance. Clark is from Middle Tennessee and Birch was from West Tennessee. The remaining court members are Justice Janice Holder , from Memphis, and Justice William Barker from Chattanooga.

Bredesen will have had the opportunity to pick three of the five state Supreme Court justices within a six-month period.

Thundering Heard!

Mike Fish , an investigative reporter for ESPN.com, compiled a list of the Ten Most Powerful Boosters in college sports. It is a list of people who “pull strings” and it is not necessarily those who give the most money, according to the article.

Of all the trustees at all the colleges in the country, John “Thunder” Thornton and the University of Tennessee made the list. “Sits on the University of Tennessee board of trustees… long-time football Coach Phillip Fulmer counts him among his best friends. Thornton is also tight with Coach Pat Summitt .” The article notes that Thornton once gave UT $1 million and was allowed to run through the Power T at a football game in Neyland Stadium. “His Chattanooga home… is so massive it’s called ‘Thunderdome.’”

Elsewhere in the SEC, Paul Bryant Jr. from the University of Alabama made the list, as did Bobby Lowder at Auburn and Don Leebern Jr. at Georgia.

Christy Gaylord Everest , whose family owns the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, made the list as a supporter for the University of Oklahoma. Her family has given the school $80 million and the football stadium is named after the Gaylords.

But the biggest booster has to be T. Boone Pickens , who recently gave Oklahoma State $165 million to upgrade the stadium and build Olympic caliber track and field facilities.

Judicial Fears

Roane County Sessions Judge Thomas Austin , 57, has been arrested for extorting money from driving-school operators to whom he referred traffic offenders and is being investigated for alleged drug abuse. Austin is the judge who held preliminary hearings and signed search warrants in the case of prison escapee George Hyatte and his wife Jennifer . Jennifer Hyatte is accused of killing prison guard Wayne “Cotton” Morgan while helping George Hyatte escape. Hyatte was delivered to the Roane County courthouse from Brushy Mountain State Prison to attend a hearing when Jennifer Hyatte came up shooting. Morgan was killed and the two escaped. A manhunt found them in Kentucky.