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A great community newspaper serving Halls and Fountain City

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  • VOL. 53 NO. 27 July 9, 2014www.ShopperNewsNow.com | www.facebook.com/ShopperNewsNow

    7049 Maynardville Pike 37918(865) 922-4136

    NEWS

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    By Betty BeanBack in 2009, Knox County

    commissioned landscape archi-tect Mike Fowler (a founding prin-cipal of Ross/Fowler P.C.) to draw up a master plan for Clayton Park. Halls residents had raised money to buy 11 acres on Norris Free-way and deeded the land to Knox County.

    Fowler conducted community meetings, took suggestions and came up with a plan for a passive park that transformed the sites challenges into assets.

    The master plan prepared by Ross/Fowler takes advantage of such unique site features as an emerging wetland, numerous ex-isting mature trees, open mead-owlands and over 1,000 feet of frontage on Beaver Creek. The proposed Halls Greenway Exten-sion passes through the park and provides linkages to schools and active recreational opportunities in the nearby Halls Community Park, the narrative said.

    The park under construction nearly fi ve years later bears little resemblance to the leafy, multi-purpose passive park Fowler de-scribed. His plan, for which the county paid $14,250, envisioned these features:

    A multipurpose meadow amphitheater ringed with picnic tables and fi xed seating that could serve as an outdoor classroom or a venue for larger events.

    A recreation meadow and a system of loop trails.

    Structured play opportuni-ties.

    By Betty BeanChancellor Mike Moyers ruled

    last week that Gentry-Griffey Fu-neral Chapel can continue to use its crematory, giving the Foun-tain City funeral home victories in three different forums the Board of Zoning Appeals, City Council and Knox County Chancery Court. Gentry-Griffey now runs the only such facility in Knox County, a fact it advertises heavily.

    Foes of the crematory have in-dicated a willingness to appeal Moyers ruling, so the fi ght, which began in 2012 when a group of

    Fountain City business owners and homeowners learned after the fact that Gentry-Griffey had obtained a permit to build a cre-matory as an accessory use to the funeral home.

    Crematory opponents objected to both the lack of community no-tifi cation and to the designation of the crematory as an accessory use.

    Gentry-Griffey partner Eric Botts promised the protesting group that the crematorium would be used only by Gentry-Griffey clients. Further appeals may be forthcoming.

    City takes leadin lake cleanup

    The slimy green algae covering Fountain City Lake has become a source of embarrassment and ir-ritation to Fountain Citians like Janet Phillips, who says she has made it her business to become a thorn in the side of local offi -cials.

    It looks as though she has been successful. City Council has set aside $250,000 for repairs and cleanup of the lake in its new bud-get, and Phillips was notifi ed that

    the city of Knoxville is advertisingbids for the cleanup process. Thebids will be opened by the end ofthe month, and a contract is ex-pected to go before City Councilat its Aug. 19 meeting, if all goesas planned.

    Volunteer inmates from the Knox County Detention Centerwill help remove algae, and thecitys civil engineering divisionwill preside over the cleanup ef-fort. Construction should beginin October or November; thoseare the driest months of theyear.

    The Clayton Park master plan designed by architect Mike Fowler.

    Clayton Park: What might have been

    A wetland boardwalk and an elevated creekwalk and overlook with interpretive signage.

    A raised deck/observation platform/teaching station where wetland biology is interpreted in exhibit panels overlooking the wetland.

    A Tree Top Adventure Play area overlooking the wetland.

    This system of decks, ramps, slides and steps reaches up to in-teract with the canopy of several mature trees, Fowlers narrative says.

    The most visible difference be-tween the Ross/Fowler plan and

    the facts on the ground is trees. Although Knox County Parks and Recreation director Doug Bataille said he plans to replace trees that were removed to accommodate a road from the park entrance on Norris Freeway to the parking area at the top of the hill, it is clear that there will be no canopy of mature trees in the parks central area.

    More diffi cult to envision, but equally substantive, is the impor-tance of the $615,413 greenway (80 percent of the funding from a state grant that is less than three months away from expiring, 20 percent from

    the county). The state funding is be-ing jeopardized by the countys lack of progress on the walking trail, which was meant to connect the park to the campus of Halls Elemen-tary School.

    And a county park off Lovell Road, Plumb Cree k Park, already has lost a state grant. Bataille says he hopes to get it back by reap-plying, but he cannot start work at Plumb Creek Park until he fi n-ishes at Clayton. Looking at Clay-ton Parks parched grass and lack of shade, perhaps Plumb Creek is better off without Batailles tender touch.

    Gentry-Griffey crematorium legal, chancellor rules

    By Betty BeanFormer Brickey-McCloud Ele-

    mentary School assistant principal Sheila Earl was moved to tell her story at last Wednesdays school board meeting after hearing board members at the Monday workshop talk about clamping down on teach-ers who bypass the KCS chain of command by going public with complaints about the administra-tion. Earl is fearful of retaliation but promised her daughter shed be brave because many colleagues have received the same treatment she has and dont know why.

    The last year she was an assis-tant principal, she was evaluated by Knox County Schools elementa-ry schools director Nancy Maland, who gave her the highest possible rating a level 5 score. This result was typical for Earl, a 23-year KCS

    employee, so she had reason to be excited when she got a phone call from the KCS human resources de-partment July 19, 2012.

    I naively believed that my time had fi nally come and I was going in to interview for a principalship, she said. After all, I had spent nine years as a successful assis-tant principal after 14 years as an award-winning teacher. I had even completed the D-21 program with excellent results as well.

    When she went to the meet-ing with Maland and HR director Kathy Simms, she was stunned to hear that Superintendent James McIntyre had decided to return her to the classroom, a change that carried a 25 percent pay reduction.

    When I asked for the reason why, I was reminded that adminis-trators serve at the pleasure of the

    superintendent. (Nancy) Maland acted as a scribe, but she remained silent. (Superintendent) McIntyre was conveniently out of town.

    Maland retired at years end.Earl, a single mother, was given

    very little time to clear out her of-fi ce, prepare to teach third grade and readjust her family budget to the pay cut. Her former principal said she had no idea why Earl was demoted. Her new principal sug-gested that perhaps this was a test to see how gracefully she handled diffi cult situations and speculated that she might get a promotion the next year.

    That, of course, did not hap-pen, Earl said.

    There was a bit of a silver lining, she thought. Under state guidelines, Earls evaluation score qualifi ed her for an APEX bonus, so she had rea-

    Demoted Earl speaks out at school boardson to expect some fi nancial help that fall. But when she checked the APEX website in November, the words next to her name were Em-ployee no longer in good standing. She attempted to fi nd why she had been labeled a loser, but multiple phone calls and emails got no re-sponse until her sister (acting with-out Earls knowledge) contacted the county ethics board.

    Finally, in April 2013, she heard from KCS chief accountability offi -cer Nakia Towns, who informed her that being reclassifi ed as a class-room teacher after having been an administrator automatically made her ineligible for the bonus. Earl, who said she has been shocked at the level of micromanagement that classroom teachers have to endure

    To page A-3

    Urban gardensThe city of Knoxville is

    ready to propose changes in the zoning ordinance that will make it easier for individu-als and community groups to establish gardens on privately held land.

    Anyone interested in community gardens, urban agriculture or sales of produce from these gardens is invited to meet 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, July 14, at Cansler Family YMCA, 616 Jessamine St. Info: 215-2065.

    NEIGHBORHOOD BUZZ

    Payouts to paramours

    It is not often a serious candidate for the U.S. Senate has in his past a state Supreme Court decision that delves into his personal life, thereby making it public. But such is the case with Gordon Ball, a wealthy Knoxville attorney and Democratic U.S. Senate candi-date in the Aug. 7 primary.

    Read Victor Ashe on page A-5

    Find us in FoodShopper-News publisher

    Sandra Clark says if a news-paper is good enough, readers will fi nd it even if its stuffed inside the Wednesday Food section.

    Read Sandra Clark on page A-4

    McIntyres mojo melting away

    It started as Alices Restau-rant. Superintendent James McIntyre