Valley variety: part 1

Special election: District 6 Board of Education seat bid features political novices Henderson, Gray, Kirby

Three candidates are vying for the Knox County Board of Education District 6 seat (includes Hardin Valley) vacated in September by former Board representative Terry Hill, who was elected to Knox County Commission from the 6th District in August.

Robin “Rob” Gray, Betsy Henderson and Hannah Lizbeth Kirby are running for the post in a special election, which will be decided through Early Voting and Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 3.

The candidates were asked the same basic questions by farragutpress in advance of the election:

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Contingency $218k for McFee OK’d

Farragut’s largest project to date will now offer a multi-purpose court when completed in 2021.

Following a work session, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 3-2 during its Thursday, Oct. 8, meeting to approve an additional $218,305 to add a multi-purpose asphalt-based acrylic-topped sporting court as part of ongoing Phase 3 work in McFee Park.

That amount is in addition to the $7.385 million previously approved by BOMA for the project, which is adding a great lawn, a four-court tennis complex, a restroom pavilion, loop road and additional parking.

Town administrator David Smoak explained during the work session that a 5 percent contingency ($369,000) had been built into the project, and since there had been few change orders and the project is moving along relatively on schedule, additional amenities were discussed.

“The staff feels confident that some of the contingency money could be utilized to provide more amenities to the park if it is the desire of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen,” Smoak’s report stated.

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Long lines at Town Hall for state-federal election/Knox amendments early voting

Tennessee’s first day of early voting Wednesday, Oct 14, set records — but not in Knox County, where just beyond 8,000 cast ballots.

“We had very long lines yesterday, but it was not a record,” said Chris Davis, Knox County Administrator of Elections, on Thursday, Oct. 15. “Farragut — one of the largest precincts — was actually down the most because of social distancing.”

He said the process was hampered “by printer and computer issues” the first day, but overall “everything, knock on wood, has gone really well. Folks have been gracious to our workers and we are hoping the weather stays good.”

However, a county record was set Saturday, Oct. 17, Davis said, with 6,595 casting ballots. Voters have been waiting in line up to four hours in the first days of early voting, which continues through Thursday, Oct. 29.

“Our workers have been doing a great job, helping keep people safe,” Davis said.

As early voting continues at 10 locations in Knox County, including Farragut Town Hall, Downtown West, 1645 Downtown West Blvd., Unit 40, and the City County Building, Davis said participants should continue to expect long lines.

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Farragut’s Tourism/Visitor Advisory Committee meeting

Farragut’s Tourism/Visitor Advisory Committee received both good and bad news during its in-person meeting in Farragut Community Center Tuesday, Sept. 15, the first since the “week before the world shut down,” Farragut Tourism coordinator Karen Tindal noted.

“There’s no mystery, COVID hit the hotels, hospitality, the restaurants, attraction industries extremely hard all over the world,” she said. “It’s really been an interesting time to be in tourism and work with businesses.”

In referring to the Town of Farragut Smith Travel Research subscription reports, she reported Farragut’s hotel occupancies in 2019 were 73.6 percent in 2019, compared to 41.2 percent in March 2020; 69.9 percent in April 2019, compared to 21.5 percent in April 2020; 71.6 percent in May 2019, compared to 35.5 percent in May 2020; 76.3 percent in June 2019, compared to 45.8 percent in June 2020; and 74.1 percent in July, compared to 55.1 percent in July.

Because of the COVID-19 effects, Tindal said Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to delay enacting the Hotel/Motel Tax, which was supposed to start in June, until Sept. 1.

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KCSO police reports

• On Oct. 12 a KCSO unit responded to an Outlet Drive address in reference to a hit-and-run on Pellissippi Parkway. Upon arrival, contact was made with the victim, who said while driving to work in his 2000 Jaguar STY a white Ford F-150 pick-up was tailgating him on Pellissippi Parkway. Victim also said the driver of the truck was flashing his lights and yelling at him. Victim said he then felt an impact to his vehicle, adding the driver either threw something at him or struck the Jaguar with his truck. While officer did observe damage to the rear passenger side bumper of victim’s vehicle, he did not observe any white paint from the suspect vehicle. Value of damage was listed at $1,600.

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