For our first issue of the year, we asked a random sampling of Knoxville personalities a timely question: Do you have any predictions for Knoxville in 2012?
I predict that Peyton Manning will retire from the Indy Colts this year and be named "Eminent Czar" of all UT Sports. On the political side, I predict suburban conservatives will call for a Knox County Charter change that reduces the number of county commissioners from 11 to 7 with no representation within the city limits.
—Mike Arms, former Knox County commissioner
Dogs will be elevated to full citizenship with all the rights and privileges sustained therein. Stacey Campfield will declare himself the avatar of a fourth gender. Golden Corral's "Chocolate Wonderfall" will be declared a religious sacrament.
—Jack Rentfro, spoken word performer with the Apocalypso Quartet, renegade farmer
This may be more of a wish than a prediction, but 2012 could very well be the year the McClung Warehouses are freed from their current owner to be transformed into a vibrant part of downtown's renaissance. The new administration's commitment to focusing on redevelopment areas and codes enforcement gives one hope for the future of the beleaguered buildings. They are the missing piece along Jackson Avenue that could bridge the link between the Old City, downtown and World's Fair Park and their highly visible location along I-40 presents an opportunity to display a truly positive image of downtown to thousands each day once they are restored. As we approach the fifth anniversary of the inferno that destroyed half the buildings, it's past time for local officials to step up and get this done.
—Kim Trent, executive director of Knox Heritage
Downtown retail will take another leap forward, with the addition of some exciting new players (and a couple that aren't so exciting). More people will learn more about the public pension systems than they ever really wanted to know.
—John Craig, Market Square District Association president
2012 will be the year for EQUALITY. SB 49/HB 229 (the Don't Say Gay bill) will be defeated in the House. LGBT students, teachers, administrators, and parents will be encouraged to be who they are regardless of orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Every high school in East Tennessee will work to create a vibrant, thriving Gay-Straight Alliance that works for the equality of all students—gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and gender non-conforming students.
—Rebecca Long Lucas, president, PFLAG Maryville
People in the area will be experimenting even more with retro style—realizing that they can be stylish and sexy, but still a little classy, not so revealing and skimpy. People are seeing it first at Goodwill stores, but the real vintage outfits were so tiny that they're needing to buy reproductions to get something that fits. The perfect example is the pencil skirt. It usually goes at least to the knees, but it's still very attractive without being trashy. You're starting to see it not just in reproduction vintage clothing, but a little in mainstream design. Also, the retro hairstyles are coming in and will just get trendier, like pin-up girl style—up dos, pin curls. And bright red fingernails.
—Michelle Sable, co-owner of the new in 2011 store Crush