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Tensions between News-Sentinel editor Harry Moskos and his nominal boss, publisher Bruce Hartmann, escalated this week into a noisy semi-public confrontation. It apparently started when Moskosmaybe trying to hold on to some of the authority that was eroded when Hartmann was promoted from general manager to publisher a year agorefused to run a grip 'n' grin photo for major advertiser Rick McGill Toyota. When Hartmannknown on the editorial side of the office as "Bruce Heartless"and ad sales chief Debbie Smiddy marched into Moskos' office last Friday, the trio got into an argument that could be heard around the newsroom. Moskos refused to back down and angrily ordered the pair out of his office. Sentinel reporters and editors, who haven't always been sure of their boss's willingness or ability to stand up under Hartmann's pressure, responded with a spontaneous round of applause for Moskos, who quipped with some embarassment, "You all had better be on your lunch break." Still, as one editor was heard to comment, "Harry might have won
that battle, but he'll lose the war." There has been speculation for some time that the 60-something Moskos might retire sooner rather than later, given his unhappiness with the paper's management structure.
Greg Isaacs is a hotshot lawyer, right? He got that church choir director who tried to kill the soprano's husband off with a slap on the wrist, and he's done a pretty fair job on defending Tom "Zoo Man" Huskey, too.
Well, turns out he may not be the best lawyer in the family. His wife, Melissa Isaacs, who is also an attorney, is obviously more persuasive than her husband and his cohort Herb Moncier combined.
When Huskey's serial murder trial ended with a hung jury last month, Judge Richard Baumgartner vowed to put the retrial on the fast track and do it all over again, pronto! He turned a deaf ear to Isaacs and Moncier's pleas for more time, and was prepared to rock and roll with another jury immediately.
That was before Melissa, who is due to give birth in April, got hold of Baumgartner at David Eldridge's party.
"Melissa told him he'd be in hot water if it was before or during the time when the baby came," Greg Isaacs said. "She went after him with that wild-eyed 'I'm pregnant' look."
Baumgartner has now announced that the Huskey retrial will take place some time in August.
Prosecutor Jennifer Welch's baby is due this week, as well...
Down in the Valley
Sure, Knoxville's first annual independent film festival, Valleyfest, was a huge success with visiting filmmakers from around the country and enthusiastic crowds at Regal Downtown Westbut more importantly, it scored big points in the cool-o-meter by being featured on Ain't It Cool News (www.aint-it-cool-news.com). The movie info site (infamous for leaking all sorts of studio secrets, particularly George Lucas') raved about the festival's "impressive array of films" and finished with "Valleyfest II, we need you!" We second the motionfor a first-time effort it was surprisingly strong with solid programming choices. The festival wrapped up with an awards ceremony at Manhattan's Sunday night, with awards going to the following winners:
Best Feature: Stolen Heart (Terry O'Brien, Ontario, Canada); Best Short: Peep Show (Charlie Call, Los Angeles); Best Animated Film: The Dirt on Mom (Doug Aberle, Battleground, Wash.); Best Documentary: Cutting the Cord (Greg Makoul and D. Malinoski, Chicago); Best Film is a Four Letter Word: Green (a.k.a Whatever) (Karl T. Hirsch, Los Angeles); Audience Award: Snake Tales (Francesca Talenti, Austin, Texas)