Now You See Her...

Now you don't. The media event of the week was definitely the departure of Kim Stephens, co-anchor of WBIR's top-rated nightly news cast for the past four years. The official word from Channel 10 was that the cheery (and sometimes vapid) Stephens had left to "pursue other interests." Scuttlebutt said she had been cut loose by the station when her contract came up for renewal, a version WBIR news director Margie Nichols said was "not exactly the way it happened." Nichols apologetically declined to go into more detail, although she acknowledged Stephens did not leave to take another job. The unfailingly perky Robin Wilhoit, Channel 10's morning anchor, will return from maternity leave as Stephens' replacement. She will share the set with the beloved Bill Williams (who just renewed his own contract, ending speculation that he might retire).

Teed Off

On the second day of the Nike Knoxville Open, cars were backed up for miles along the main route to Three Rivers Golf Course. Pro players were finding themselves stuck in traffic at their assigned tee-times and locals were astonished to see what the holdup was. A bad wreck? A mudslide? A flood? No, no and no. The problem for the county-sponsored tournament (the main surviving fund raiser for the rubber duckless Girls and Boys Club) was that the county picked that day to resurface Washington Pike. "The safety of the people of Knox County is way more important to us than any silly ol' golf tournament," says Bruce Wuethrich, director of county engineering and public works, just before he said he was only kidding. Wuethrich explained that the county's paving contractor Renfro Construction are guys who are too busy to play golf and were humping it to take advantage of a rare sunny day, not realizing that the golf extravaganza was going on. Local wag P. Smith, after inching her way out to the East Knox golf course, gigged Sandy Hull, who coordinates the event: "Who'd you piss off, Sandy?"

Inside Baseball

The document you didn't see at the last County Commission meeting was dated May 25 and started this way:

"As you know, County Commission has a meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. on Tuesday. It will be important for the County Executive to announce an agreement to negotiate between the two private parties if all parties are in agreement at that meeting..."

There were four signature lines; one each for the super chamber, the Smokies, the Public Building Authority and property owner Al Heins. Heins attorney Rob Frost says Don Parnell, a chamber official, "showed up at our office unannounced and uninvited at 8:30 in the morning" with the agreement to negotiate. Al Heins turned it down flat.

Carlene Said It Would

When City Council voted last year to do drainage improvements on property belonging to Messiah Lutheran Church, Carlene "Too Tall" Malone warned that doing such work on private property would set a dangerous precedent. Flooded-out North Knoxvillians who showed up at Tuesday's council meeting reported that they had been informed that city workers couldn't help with flooding on private property, and Malone reminded her colleagues of the Messiah decision last year. Jean Teague suggested that the problem was caused by residents throwing brush in ditches.

Week Two

Still no word from KCDC on how much they're paying the Ingram Group to spindoctor the Hope VI project in Mechanicsville. When they tell us, we'll tell you.