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Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Mayor Victor Ashe held his first "Mayor's Night Out" of the new millennium in an unusual venue: the Great Southern Brewing Co. on Gay Street. (N.B. Anyone who writes or calls to say it's not really the new millennium will be hunted down and tagged for scientific observation.) The visit to the pub was largely occasioned by the nascent political activism of downtown residents and business owners, who are increasingly vocal about all the giant projects going up in their environsjustice center, convention center, the grand, soon-to-be-unveiled Worsham Watkins plan. A sizable crowd turned out to see Hizzoner, who was tucked away Pope-style in an alcove near the front. His department heads arrayed themselves at a couple of tables right in front of the bar. Despite our best journalistic efforts, we were unable to catch any of the city employees sampling the brewpub's wares. Not so the assorted petitioners, who bided their time swapping political gossip and keeping the bartender busy. The exchanges with the mayor must have gotten interesting as the evening wore on... In any case, Ear applauds Ashe's initiative. We have long thought the tenor and liveliness of civic participation would benefit greatly if all governmental functions included a cash bar.
Follow the Dancing Ball
Or you might not make it to the Public Building Authority meeting set to introduce the heretofore semi-secret plan to revamp downtown Knoxville. The meeting, let alone the plan, has been pretty hard to keep up with recently, with the original December date being jettisoned because of "conflicts" with City Councila concept Councilwoman Carlene Malone finds odd, considering Council meeting dates have been on the books since last year. Jan. 10, 6 p.m., Large Assembly Room, City County Building was the time and place originally advertisedas required by state open meetings laws. Then new notices came out, announcing that the meeting was moving to the Bijou at 6 p.m. January 10. But be warnedif you show up at 6, you'll miss the whole shooting match, because the meeting is now scheduled for 4:30. Maybe the best thing about the newest start-up time is that the meeting won't run late because of the shindig Victor Ashe is throwing for departing city employees Sue Clancy and Roseanne Woolfe at Calhoun's on the River at 6 that evening.
Feel the Need to Read?
Meanwhile, something good is finally happening downtown, and on the East side, for pete's sake. The Magnolia Avenue campus of Pellissippi State in the newly-vacated Catholic High School building is up and running and opening its doors for classes Jan. 14. Registration is Jan. 12 for the spring semester. Among the course offerings are Acting I, Drawing I, basic history, reading, writing, political science, public speaking and math courses, fitness classes, tennis, basketball and marketing. Want more information? Call the Admissions Office at 694-6571.
Feel the Need to Run for Office?
If you're interested in running for County Commission and don't mind moving to far west Knox County, you might want to call Attorney General Randy Nichols, who was so ticked at 5th District Commissioner Mike Arms that he chewed him out during a recess of the December Commission meeting. "He said Mike is no longer his commissioner and that he's going to find somebody to run against him," says First District Commissioner Frank Bowden. "I've known Randy a long time," was about all Arms would say. The issue, of course, was the building of the justice center, which Arms supports and Nichols opposes.