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Ear to the Ground

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I.V. Leaguer

Street talk is, the White Guys are looking to groom a candidate to slap too-big-for-his-britches Sheriff Tim Hutchison into the Be-Sweet Chair come next election. Some of the speculation has centered around the lately-retired J.J. Jones, Hutchison's former pal and ex-chief of detectives, who resigned last month amid a storm of invective.

That speculation, however, would be wrong.

Keeping in mind that it's way early to be talking about the election of '02, the White Guys' real fave as a potential Hutch-Buster is a guy named I.V. (pronounced Eye Vee), AKA Sterling Owen IV. Owen, a dapper former FBI agent who put in 23 years at the Bureau (and also the volunteer head of the city's Police Advisory and Review Committee), ain't talking, beyond a grudging admission that "...there's always conversation." But Ear's sources say it's gone further than that.

As for conversation with head White Guy Jim Haslam, Owen says he "...can tell you unequivocally, it hasn't happened..." But sources say Owen has been involved in "preliminary" discussions, and point to Owen's mug shot among the members of the current Leadership Knoxville class as a tangible clue. Hutchison has never been invited to join Leadership Knoxville, whose chairman is Haslam.

Stormin' Down to Gainesville

Anticipation is building around the environs of Neyland Land as Hurricane Floyd bears down on the mainland and the Gator Game approaches. Lt. Tom Freels of the University of Tennessee Police Department figures he and another officer, possibly an off-duty deputy, will be accompanying the Pride of the Southland Band to Gainesville. "If we can get this storm out of the way."

Band members have expressed apprehension about heading to the Swamp, where they will be seated within a urine-filled Coke bottle's throw of the frolicsome Florida student section, which has achieved a degree of notoriety for such activities.

There will be eight busloads carrying some 350 band members to Florida, and Freels says they will be advised to "...fasten their straps securely" lest their hats become trophies for Gator fans.

Foul Is Fair

Not everyone knows that WUOT's venerable classical-music authority, Norris Dryer, was one of the Smokies' most loyal attendees at Bill Meyer Stadium. As everyone probably does know, the AA baseball team ended its career at the 46-year-old stadium with a nail-biting loss to Orlando last Thursday. Dryer was there for the finale, of course, but didn't seem quite as melancholy as many of the weeping fans that evening. The night before, you see, Dryer had snagged a foul ball that had veered into the stands over the Third Base line; it was his second in 27 years.

Surely not Sam Venable...

First it was Ina Hughs, then David Hunter—good grief, who's next? The News-Sentinel's pages have been all afog recently with columnists 'fessing up to their pot-smoking pasts. Ostensibly, this is by way of commenting on the George W. Bush foofaraw, but maybe there's something smarter going on—like a marketing effort to reach that desirable 18 to 34 stoner demographic? (Kinda gives a whole new meaning to "Every morning. Every day.") In any event, we think N-S readers deserve the full truth; how far does this dark cloud reach? We will not rest until we know. As for those of us here at Metro Pulse, well, if you don't ask, we won't tell.