Keep that Federal Gummint Out of, Never Mind

As Knoxville's economic boosters comb the countryside for land on which to locate new industrial sites and roads (see cover story), perhaps they'd do well to look right under their noses.

A cornerstone of the urban revitalization plan for which the city just got a $100 million federal grant is development of a Center City Business Park with 150 acres of environmentally restored "brownfields" for new industry and other job-producing businesses. The business park will center on I-40's Alcoa Highway interchange, so interstate access is not a problem. C'mon guys, repeat after us: if you build it, they will come...

Knoxville is one of 15 cities in the country (out of 135 applicants) to win one of these coveted Empowerment Zone grants. City officials are told their application, which was a magnum opus in itself, ranked sixth of all submitted. But a helping hand from Veep Al Gore may have counted for as much or more than the merits of the city's multi-faceted development plan. The $100 million for its implementation dwarfs any other federal grant the city has ever received.

"This moves Knoxville into the next century big time," exults a jubilant Mayor Victor Ashe.

Game Face

Remember the old saw about how kids' athletic events would be a lot more fun if you could bar parents? Well, a referee tried something like that at a local high school basketball game recently, and film of what happened is still being reviewed. School board member Steve Hunley, whose son is a point guard for the Gibbs High Eagles, was attending a game between Gibbs and Halls, played at Halls. Things weren't going to suit Hunley, who was, witnesses say, standing on the sidelines yelling at the referee to "Make a call!" (It is probably safe to assume he

wasn't urging a foul against Gibbs here.)

The ref took exception and told Hunley he was outta there. Hunley left the gym under protest and retreated to the parking lot. But he returned shortly flanked by an escort of armed deputies. Hunley, who could not be reached at his place of business Wednesday morning, has mounted a challenge to the referee's authority to throw non-participants out of athletic events. The referees say it was a good call.

UConn't Scare Semeka

Tennessee fans have had a lot to cheer about this week, what with our national champ footballers, the Lady Vols taking it to UConn and the Gentlemen Vols' gutty victory over Kentucky. Among all the splendid performances by People in Orange, none was more interesting than that logged Sunday in Storrs by Lady Vol Semeka Randall. Here are parts of a story by Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant:

"She nearly started a riot. She dived into the stands five times. She was forced to change jerseys when the blood began to flow. She yelled. She screamed. She bounced around and waved her arms like a maniac. The taut living space inside Gampel Pavilion on Sunday transformed into a wild sea of boos every time she touched the ball.

How Svetlana Abrosimova fouled out, while No. 21, er, No. 20 in orange had no fouls on the way to tying a career-best 25 points is one of the great Houdini acts in women's basketball history.

So, what did Semeka Randall think of her performance?

'That's Mike Tyson, baby. Total knockout right there.'

"...Chamique Holdsclaw is the best player in the women's college game. There's no doubt. But on this day, Randall was the one who drove the state of Connecticut over the edge."