Parents win Title IX, FHS softball to get $1.3m boost

Two mothers of Farragut High School girls softball players have won a Title IX lawsuit, which dealt with gender equality issues concerning athletic fields at the school.

The apparent result will be an upgrade to the softball program’s Bellamy Field costing $1,305,000, which reportedly would bring it in line — in terms of features — with the boys sport to which it closely compares, the Admirals baseball complex known as John Heatherly Field/The Ballpark at Farragut.

Knox County Board of Education was scheduled to discuss implementing the upgrade, as an agenda item, during its workshop Wednesday, April 7 (after press deadline).

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In-person May meets?

Farragut Mayor Ron Williams stated last week he believes in-person Board of Mayor and Aldermen and Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meetings may be able to resume next month.

Meetings have primarily been virtual in Farragut and most state municipalities since April 2020, under Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Orders, which have been repeatedly extended during the pandemic — most recently allowing virtual meetings to continue through April 28.

Williams said Alderman Scott Meyer contacted him last week about his own plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, coupled with a desire “to start meeting in person again.”

“With the availability of it now, I think most are getting (the vaccine) or have started getting it,” said Williams, who was among the first Town officials to be completely vaccinated. “I think by the end of April, or the beginning of May, most will have been able to get both shots. I’m talking about staff and elected officials.”

Farragut Community Center’s Assembly Room is expected to be the in-person meeting location, Williams has said.

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$6 million for Town?

Farragut may receive more than $6 million in Congressional funding from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, but it will be some time before officials know for sure how much the Town might receive.

While the legislation included $1,400 checks for most Americans and relief money for state and local governments, a press release from Tennessee Municipal League indicated the distribution criteria and process for those funds is still being determined.

Under the Plan, municipalities are separated into two categories – “entitlement communities,” any city designated as the principal city in the metropolitan statistical area, and “non-entitlement communities,” which includes municipalities with populations of less than 50,000, which would include Farragut.

As an entitlement community, Knoxville, may potentially receive $43.9 million, according to initial figures, while Farragut’s initial estimate was $6.374 million.

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With ‘impaired driving, other charges,’ Matthews resigns

One of Knoxville Catholic High School’s most successful coaches in Fighting Irish sports history has resigned after having been “suspended indefinitely with pay,” the result of what a KCHS press released stated as “impaired driving and other charges” late last week.

Steve Matthews, 50, who led Knoxville Catholic football to a pair of TSSAA state championships in eight years as head coach with the program, was charged with driving under the influence and a drugs/narcotics violation/misdemeanor-simple possession charge following a Knoxville Police Department stop near the intersection of Maloney Road and Alcoa Highway at 11:40 p.m., Thursday, April 1, a KPD Initial Incident Report from Officer D. Griffith stated.

“Dr. Sedonna Prater, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Knoxville, and Dickie Sompayrac, president of Knoxville Catholic High School, have accepted the resignation of KCHS head football coach Steve Matthews, effective immediately,” the school press released stated Monday evening, April 5.

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‘Humble, loyal’ Herky Payne, ex-FHS coach/teacher/UT star, dies

How many student-athletes in college sports history actually helped a team reach the national championship game in one sport, then helped win a national championship in another sport?

Farragut’s own Harold “Herky” Payne was one of the few, as 1951 was quite a year for the former Tennessee Volunteer Football star running back and standout UT Baseball second basemen.

Fast-forward 25 years, and Herky’s first year as a teacher and coach would coincide with the opening of “new” Farragut High School, having moved “on the hill” north of Kingston PIke from its previous home near the intersection of Concord Road and K-Pike in the 1976-77 school year.

“I love Farragut, I greatly care for the school, and I had 22 good years there,” coach Payne said in 2019 about his FHS career as a baseball coach (21 years) and football coach (two years), and health and physical education teacher.

This legendary Vol, a beloved coach and teacher, died last week at the age of 92.

“I felt like they gave me a great opportunity. I went back to school at UT when I was 45 years old, so I got a late start with teaching and coaching,” said Herky in 2019 when inducted into the FHS Athletic Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

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More details, within Biddle Town Center site plan, told

Several final details of the Farragut Town Center at Biddle Farms site plan were discussed Tuesday, March 30, during the regular Town Staff Developer meeting.

The Town Center portion of the 37-acre project will come before Farragut Municipal Planning Commission for a public hearing and site plan consideration at its April 15 regular meeting. If approved, it would be the final hurdle for the Town Center part of the multi-million dollar project, which also encompasses a planned 286-unit multi-family development on the back portion of the property.

Project developer Budd Cullom of CHM LLC was on the virtual meeting call, as was the project’s architect Don Kendall, along with several FMPC commissioners and meeting facilitator, Town Community Development director Mark Shipley

Shipley briefly summarized the plans, which include an Aldi grocery store, 11 free-standing retail/commercial/restaurant buildings and a common space labeled “Village Green,” the grassy area that would separate Town Center from multi-family housing and would be taken over by the Town once completed.

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KCSO reports

• At 5:36 p.m., Friday, April 2, a Knox County Sheriff’s Office unit was dispatched to a crash involving a motorcycle at a George Williams Road address. Victim said he was attempting to make a right turn into a driveway along George Williams Road when suspect’s 2011 Harley Davidson motorcycle crashed into the passenger side of his 2020 Jeep Cherokee. Both parties were traveling westbound on George Williams Road. Suspect struck the passenger side of the victim’s vehicle, then traveled into the woods on the right side of the roadway. Suspect had visible serious injuries to his left leg and was transported to University of Tennessee Medical Center by AMR. A witness said the suspect went into oncoming traffic and crossed the double yellow lines to overtake his vehicle before the crash. The witness said he was traveling at about 38 mph when the motorcycle passed him. That section of George Williams Road is at the bottom of a blind hill. Victim refused medical treatment. Sutherland Wrecker Service towed his vehicle from the scene. Suspect’s motorcycle was towed by a private party at the owner’s request. A record check revealed the suspect has extensive driving violations history dating back to 1998. “Suspect was driving carelessly without due regard for himself or others,” the report stated. No value of motorcycle or vehicular damage was listed.

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