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Ear to the Ground

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The CTV camera never revealed the face of undercover officer Ben Edmondson, who appeared before the city Beer Board Tuesday to urge the city to revoke the Underground's beer permit. Last month, Beer Board Chairman Nick Pavlis—who ran for City Council on a "Three strikes and you're out, let's get tough on beer permit violators" platform—had blown off Edmondson's reports of multiple violations at the Old City night spot (also known as Egypt) as "uncorroborated," and from an "off-duty officer," even though Edmondson had audio-taped statements from three underaged girls whom he'd caught drinking there.

Edmondson said he had been "restrained" by Underground employees while he was trying to do his job, and that the three girls were willing to cooperate in a revocation hearing.

On Tuesday, he told of having to revive an unconscious 15-year-old who had passed out in a car parked outside the Underground, and of seeing teen-aged drinkers scatter and scurry for the exits as he walked into the room to check IDs. Obviously addressing Pavlis' "uncorroborated" and "off-duty" characterizations, Edmondson said he was on duty during the sting operation, and he brought along another officer and the mother of a 17-year-old Union County girl who had been cited for underage drinking at the Underground as "corroboration."

The Union County mother was grilled by Councilwoman Jean Teague regarding her parenting skills.

No Underground representatives were present because Pavlis had declined to sign a letter summoning them to attend the meeting. Councilwoman Carlene Malone pushed for an emergency revocation after Edmondson urged the board to take immediate action and not wait until April to consider yanking the Underground permit. The City Code allows it if the law director, beer inspector, and Beer Board chairman ask for it. There was no audible response.

Underground owner Harold McKinney spends $30,000 annually on security for the club, which includes hiring KPD Captain Randy Lockmiller during his off-duty hours.

Thou Shalt Not Piss Off the Sheriff

Best quip of the day during Monday's County Commission meeting was uttered by John Griess, who didn't vote for the Ten Commandments resolution, (he abstained), but did support giving Sheriff Tim Hutchison a brand-new helipad.

(The Ten Commandments resolution is one that is being circulated around East Tennessee by a Spring City woman who suggests that elected officials who vote against it will be struck dead.)

"I'd rather vote against the Ten Commandments than the sheriff," he told a colleague.

One wag in the audience muttered that while the repercussions of voting against the former might be more severe, the consequences for voting against the sheriff would certainly be more immediate.

Crying Time

Katie Wynn, stalwart secretary to Pat Summitt, wears many hats. This week, she's been playing therapist to dozens (maybe hundreds) of heartbroken Lady Vols fans who call in with condolences on the team's loss in the East Regional finals, but end up needing comfort themselves. One fan brought in a gazing ball for the coaches and team to use during the mourning process.

Top 5 Rejected Titles: Crob Stocky, Scooby Trek, Yes Botorck, Scoot Kerby, Betsy Crook.

When they filmed the movie October Sky hereabouts last year, its working title was Rocket Boys, which is also the name of Homer Hickam's autobiographical book on which it's based. We didn't complain to hear about the name switch. October Sky, which refers to where and when Americans were looking when they first glimpsed Sputnik, seems more poetic. The phrase appears briefly in the beginning of the critically acclaimed movie, in a radio voice-over. We didn't realize right away that October Sky is also a perfect anagram for Rocket Boys. Spooky, eh?