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Regas' Table War Declared

George Korda, the flackingest of the flacks, sends a copy of a letter to Bill Regas and his fellow restaurateur Mike Conner over the signature of lawyer/ex-legislator Wayne Ritchie.

It says the return of the traditional Regas on Gay Street is the best news in a long time in this city—"should be bigger than the return of original formula Coca-Cola."

The letter asks a favor: "On opening night, I would either like to bus tables for you or have George Korda's table (without George) by the fireplace (for four at 6 p.m.)." Ritchie goes on to say that he really enjoyed busing tables at Regas during the World's Fair summer of '82 and adds that it's always enjoyable to get Korda's goat. Korda was awarded the table by Bill and Gus Regas for lunchtime loyalty in the be-seen-or-die section of the restaurant. He's lost weight since the closing. A Ritchie colleague says the letter was authentic, probably.

Grin 'n' Wear It

Doug Berry was the outgoing director of development last week when the rank and file of city workers read about his impending departure in the morning paper. A department veteran, gambling on Berry's sense of humor, slipped into the fire marshal's office and got a sign which was posted on Berry's door when he arrived for work. "Notice to Vacate" the sign said. Berry not only laughed, he pinned it to his shirt and walked around the building wearing it. Later, Berry said that even Randy Vineyard, the city's finance director, whose unfortunate duty it was to "accept" Berry's resignation, had to laugh at the wearing of the sign.

"Applehood and Mother Pie..."

...was how the junior senator from Knox County labeled Governor Don Sundquist's State of the State Address. "We just gotta figure out a way to pay for it," said Tim Burchett, who is the newest, youngest member of the Senate's powerful Finance Committee, much to the chagrin of Speaker Pro Tem Bob Rochelle. Rochelle, a Middle Tennessee Democrat who had a history of antagonism with Burchett's predecessor Bud Gilbert, wasted no time letting Burchett know how he felt about the new committee assignment, and in terms Burchett wasn't willing to quote.

"I can't really repeat what he said," Burchett demurred. "But Ben [Atchley, Knox County's senior senator, who is also a member of the Finance Committee] just looked at us and grinned."

People and Parties

The congregation of Peace and Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church knows how to throw a party. The Rev. John Jordan's eighth pastoral anniversary celebration at the Candy Factory was a glitzy occasion with music, great food and a star-studded guest list.

Peace and Goodwill First Lady Diane Jordan was glitziest of all, and was literally decked from head to toe, starting with a braided fabric headpiece entwined with golden cord (imported, she informed us, straight from Detroit). She wore a floor-length black satin fantail skirt with a velvet shell blouse and a black and gold mesh jacket.

"If I do say so myself, it was rather dazzling," said Jordan, who is a First District County Commissioner. "When you walk in with something like that on, it doesn't matter what everybody else is wearing."

Gospel music was provided by the Blue Five, a quintet made up of Chris, the 10-year-old lead singer phenom, and brothers PJ, Michael, Julius and Jonathan Blue, along with their mother, Janice Blue. The Blue boys are students at Bearden Elementary, Middle and High Schools, and are moving up in the world of gospel music. They are godchildren to the Jordans. Another group, the New Travelers, also performed.

Among some 200 guests were Ruth Hardin (a known Republican). and various ministers—the Rev. Harold Middlebroook and his wife Betty; the Rev. Albert Booker and his wife Denise; and the Rev. Johnny Reid and his wife Bea. They feasted on roast beef, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, fried corn, mashed potatoes, green beans, cornbread, lemonade, peach cobbler and chocolate fudge cake made from scratch and catered by the Battle Family from Eloise Battle's kitchen.

Barnes Storm in a GOP Pot?

The Knox County Republican Party may not be the only GOP group looking for a new leader in the near future. Sue Methvin, who chairs the Knox group, has announced her pending retirement, and Jack Barnes' name is being mentioned as a likely successor. On the state level, GOP chair Chip Saltsman is apparently getting credit in high places for "delivering" Al Gore's home state to George W., even though this is a concept not given much credence within the Volunteer State, where Saltsman is best known for his divisive tactics. One outspoken critic, local conservative Lloyd Daughtery, has mixed feelings about Saltsman getting an appointment in D.C.

"It'll be nice to get him out of here, but if he does for the Bush administration what he did for the state Republican Party, get ready for President Hillary Clinton, 2004."

All in the Family

Dolly Parton's family feud has hit the supermarket tabloids. The National Examiner had a two-page spread on the effort by nine of the widow Avie Lee Parton's 11 children (including Dolly) to have her declared incompetent to manage her own affairs. The lawsuit would strip the mother of the right to control her $1 million assets, as well as all her legal rights, down to her driver's license.

The two youngest Parton offspring, twins Frieda and Floyd, are not a party to the legal action and have hired Knoxville lawyer Dennis Francis to represent their mom.

Francis was quoted extensively in the story, which made the Buffalo, N.Y., native sound like he was straight out of the Mayberry Courthouse. "My wife tells me this makes me sound like Andy Griffith instead of my usual Tony Soprano," Francis said.

Francis said the parties are attempting to reach a compromise that would allow the widow Parton to remain at home and live as independently as possible.

Marshaling Forces

One of the favorite insider "spoils" of the presidential election is up for grabs, and maneuvering is in full swing. The job of U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Tennessee was most recently filled by former Knox County Sheriff Joe Fowler, a Democrat. His successor might just be Jay Witt, a longtime local lawman with strong GOP credentials. Witt, an employee of the Knox County Sheriff's Department, has formally applied for the marshal's job. Other names being floated are Sterling Owen IV, a retired FBI agent who has been flirting with the possibility of running against Sheriff Tim Hutchison; Wayne Simms, a deputy marshal stationed in Oklahoma whose father, David Simms, is an active local Republican; and Bob Waggoner, a member of the highly political Waggoner family whose grandfather was a sheriff and whose sister is a judge.

February 1, 2001 * Vol. 11, No. 5
© 2001 Metro Pulse