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Chump Change

The dapper and well-connected lawyer Jeff "Hollywood" Hagood was headed into court with a client, who had to stop at the security checkpoint and empty his pockets. Nothing incriminating got thrown onto the table, but the paltry few coins from the pockets of the citizen being checked out caught the eye and sparked the wit of helpful sheriff's deputy Winston Ragon, who summoned Hagood back to the metal detector:

"Hey, Jeff! You've left your client with some change."

Primal Urgings

Knoxville Police Chief Phil Keith came very close to announcing his intention to run for mayor Tuesday morning on WNOX radio. Keith said he is being urged to run and that more people are beseeching him to throw his hat in the ring all the time. "The interest is getting stronger," he said.

Where There's Smoke?

With the Recall movement over, at least for now, Mayor Victor Ashe can afford to relax a bit. But maybe not for too long. Ashe is still appealing a federal court ruling that he violated the civil rights of firefighters who supported his opponent in the '95 election, and there's another case in the pipeline that could, if it finds its way into federal court, cause him some major heartburn, since he is under an injunction forbidding him from further politically-motivated mucking about with the fire fighters.

Master firefighter Robert Crisp, a decorated Vietnam vet who has served 28 years with KFD, is suffering from a liver disease called alpha one antitrypsen deficiency, which causes his white blood count to soar and attacks the lining of his lungs, leaving him physically unable to contend with the smoke and heat of a fire scene. He has been assigned to the training center for four years and has been passed over for promotions despite making high scores on the captain's test and serving as an acting captain. A civil service hearing is pending.

Crisp and his wife, Sheila were both active in the mayoral campaign of Ashe's '95 opponent, Ivan Harmon. Ashe supporters would likely point out here that since being slapped with the injunction, Ashe has delegated KFD responsibilities to city Finance Director Randy Vineyard.

Get Outta Town

Members of the Knox County school board who checked into the Townsend Best Western for their two-day retreat this week probably got more than they bargained for at the front desk. The clerk, a garrulous and cheerful guy who identified himself as a former Knox County teacher and a current Knox County taxpayer, couldn't help asking why exactly the board was spending public time and money on a meeting so far from home. "Why are you way up here?" he asked board secretary Elizabeth Wells. Why indeed? The board has made an annual tradition of its retreats for many years, usually sojourning in Sevier or Blount counties but sometimes going as far as Nashville. (The meetings are still open to the public, of course, provided you can get there.) Maybe the Knox Area Chamber Partnership can direct our wandering educators to accommodations a little closer to home—think of it as economic development.

July 19, 2001 * Vol. 11, No. 29
© 2001 Metro Pulse