Plug pulled on Horne-Ford AGORA Town Center plan

Following several contentious Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meetings, Horne Properties owner Doug Horne has withdrawn his proposal for AGORA (Greek for “gathering place”), a planned Mixed-Use Town Center on former Farragut Mayor Eddy Ford’s 68.31-acre property along Kingston Pike, which is less than a half mile from the Pike’s intersection with Campbell Station Road.

Horne, a long-time developer and businessman who also owns Republic Newspapers, Inc. (parent company of farragutpress), made the announcement late last week following more than six months of interaction with Town officials and staff on the application process.

Most recently, the FMPC denied Horne’s rezoning request for the 68.31-acre property April 15, noting a prerequisite traffic study had not been completed.

At that time, Horne indicated he would bring the project back for further consideration — but has decided to walk away from the planned development he described as offering “restaurant outlots, medical, office and retail buildings and 101 high-end condo lots, along with 200 upscale multi-family units inside the condo lots.

“You will notice the high-end condos surround the upscale apartments,” Horne said of the AGORA plat. “Also, this plan extended Jamestowne Boulevard through the property and shows a possible future connection to South Campbell Station Road.”

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Briggs’ support of term limits earns recognition

State Sen. Richard Briggs (R-District 7, which includes Farragut) “was honored with a plaque for his support of term limits on Congress,” stated a press release from U.S. Term Limits, “the nation’s oldest and largest pro-term limits group,” which presented the distinction to Briggs at the Capital in Nashville earlier last week.

Aaron Dukette of USTL presented Briggs the “Champion of Term Limits” wood plaque, which reads, “In recognition of a steadfast commitment to restore citizen government through term limits, Briggs has pledged to support House Joint Resolution 8, which passed through the lower chamber in April.

“The convention bill does not set the specific length of term limits; rather, it simply starts a discussion among the states on what the ideal term limits of Congress members should be,” the release stated.

“Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, the states have more power to amend the Constitution than the Congress does. In this situation, Congress would have a conflict of interest to propose term limits on itself. Recognizing this, the Founders assured the states could both propose and ratify amendments without the approval of Congress. HJR8 leverages this power so the states may act in the best interest of the people.”

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89th rep ‘the state’s most conservative’ in House

State Rep. Justin Lafferty (R-District 89, which includes Hardin Valley) recently was named the most conservative legislator in Tennessee House of Representatives by the American Conservative Union.

“The ACU’s ratings are based on a wide range of bills that reflect a legislator’s unwavering support of initiatives throughout the 2020 legislative session that have made crucial conservative reforms and that have enhanced Tennessee’s economic prosperity,” a Lafferty office press release stated. “Lafferty received a 97 percent approval rating and boasts a 95 percent lifetime average rating.

“It is a true honor to be acknowledged by the ACU for my conservative voting record,” Lafferty said. “I will continue to reflect the views of House District 89 by supporting legislation that promotes the conservative ideals and beliefs that have helped Tennessee become a leader in the nation on all conservative fronts.”

According to its website, the ACU believes “the Constitution of the United States is the best political charter created by people for governing themselves.”

As for the entire Tennessee House and State Senate, this Conservative Union gave the General Assembly an overall conservative average of 66 percent for 2020.

Citing Title IX FHS case, Povlin cautions BOMA about grants

Considering grant donations to Farragut schools and area non-profits, Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen have been advised, by one of their own, to be careful in light of a recent court case affecting Knox County Schools spending and centering on Farragut High School.

This was a highlight of BOMA’s Thursday, April 28, in-person meeting in the Community Room of Town Hall.

Grant requests for fiscal year 2022 have come from the Concord Adult Day Enrichment Services program at Concord United Methodist Church, Dogwood Arts Festival, upgrades to the Farragut Middle School boys basketball program’s locker room, Knox County Rescue Squad, Metropolitan Drug Coalition and Second Harvest Food Bank.

However, Vice Mayor Louise Povlin said she was concerned about giving monies to FMS boys basketball, as the school’s girls basketball team might want a similar donation.

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Lee’s signal opens Farragut, Knox Co. to maskless options

Farragut officials moved quickly last week following announcements from Gov. Bill Lee and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs relaxing mandated mask policies, and Town administrator David Smoak announced “masks are now optional in the Town of Farragut and live meetings are resuming” as of Wednesday, April 28.

“Given Gov. Lee’s recent Executive Order (80) and Knox County’s guidance, Town of Farragut facilities will now allow individuals to make a personal choice on wearing a mask,” Smoak added.

“However, as citizens are still getting vaccinated, the Town will continue to follow social distancing regulations through the month of May to protect the public, staff and elected officials.”

The actions of both Lee and Jacobs were same-day swift Tuesday, April 27, and seemingly unexpected.

Lee issued Executive Order 80, which not only ended state-wide public health orders, it also ended the authority to issue mask requirements in the 89 counties under the state health department’s guidance

“A widely available vaccine changes everything and it’s a new season in Tennessee,” Lee stated. “I am not renewing any public health orders because COVID-19 is no longer a health emergency in our state. Remaining executive actions will address a few lingering economic and regulatory issues. We have never had a statewide mask mandate, and I am removing authority from local officials to issue mask requirements.

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Board of Ed mask mandate plan unclear: chair Horn

While the Town of Farragut and Knox County followed the lead of Gov. Bill Lee last week in lifting COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates enforced for more than a year, Knox County Board of Education has yet to address the situation after it failed in a 4-4 vote to pass the agenda for its special-called meeting Friday morning, April 30.

Officials had announced the special-called meeting early Wednesday, April 28, and failed to approve the agenda as presented, which included revising Policy C-240 regarding face coverings and another item, which would have suspended the typical BOE requirement for two readings before passing policy amendments, which would have allowed the mask policy to expire at the end of the school day last Friday.

Board xhair Susan Horn, who represents the 5th District (which includes Farragut and West Knoxville), said she was surprised when four of the eight Board members present refused to approve the agenda.

“After the governor put out his statement (that public health mandates would be ending), and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs put out his press release on Tuesday (ending the enforced mask policy in Knox County),” Horn said the Knox County Law Office recommended the BOE have a called meeting to discuss the mask policy.

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town calendar

• Youth ages 12 and under are invited to 37th Annual Bob Watt Youth Fishing Rodeo Saturday, May 15, at Anchor Park (11730 Turkey Creek Road) for a morning of fishing and competing for prizes in various categories. This free event will include two rounds of fishing: from 8 to 9 a.m. and from 10 to 11 a.m.

Participants will fish from designated spots along the shoreline. The Town will provide bait (any type may be used), and a limited number of fishing poles will be available for use. Poles will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis; participants are encouraged to bring their own poles. Winners will be contacted after their event and their prizes mailed to them.

Each session has a limit of 75 participants. Register children individually, for one session only, by Wednesday, May 12, at Town of Farragut is still accepting community donations for the event, including youth and adult spincast (push button) rod and reel combos in good working condition, line, hooks, bobbers and sinkers. Farragut businesses also are encouraged to consider donating items to be used as prizes for participants.

Special thanks to the Watt family, and to East Tennessee Scale Works for the use of scales and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for stocking the lake. Fishing rodeo will be held rain or shine; however, in the case of severe inclement weather, check Farragut Parks & Rec on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for the status of the event. For more info, contact Special Event and Program coordinator Brittany Spencer at or 865-218-3378.

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‘Surprised’ to be val, Hu

Becon Hu is valedictorian for the Knoxville Christian School’s Class of 2021.

He had the highest grade point average among his 13 classmates, and will be speaking at the school’s graduation ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 8, in West End Church of Christ.

“Valedictorian wasn’t my goal to be honest,” Hu said. “It was kind of a surprise. The reason I study hard is that I have always wanted to be a doctor and I know that requires a lot of studies.”

Hu, whose given name is Shurui, adopted the name Becon when he moved to Farragut from China four years ago, specifically as an exchange student to attend high school in the United States.

His host parents are Jeremy and Contessa Kendricks of Farragut, of whom he said, along with his host siblings, “are like my family now.”

While at KCS, Hu has been involved with the Knights basketball team, Cyber Patriots, Student Council and the National Honor Society.

“I have been a part of the basketball for four years,” he said. “And I have been in Student Council for three years, and am currently the president.”

While Hu has been on the basketball team all four years, he said one of his favorite memories was playing on the team as a freshman.

His favorite scripture is Matthew 20:16, “So those who

are last now will be first

then, and those who are first will be last.”

Hu plans to attend Boston University this fall with a focus on general atudies, after which he plans to attend medical school.

Knoxville Christian School did not name a salutatorian this year, according to Chase Caples, the school’s director of marketing and public relations.

KCSO reports

• At 6:25 a.m., Sunday, May 2, a complainant called Knox County Sheriff’s Office Teleserve Unit to report a burglary to her 2018 Kia Forte at a Lanesborough Way residence. Complainant advised she last saw her unlocked vehicle around 3:30 p.m., Saturday, May 1. At 5:55 a.m., May 2, complainant said she woke up hearing an alarm and went to check on her vehicle after noticing the interior light on from inside the house. Complainant further advised she noticed the center console had been opened and items taken with a total value listed at $306 ($300 perscription sunglasses and $6 in cash). Complainant said she did not notice any damage to the vehicle’s interior. Complainant also said she is unsure if the apartment complex has video surveillance over the parking area.

• At 2:10 p.m., Tuesday, April 27, a complainant called KCSO to file a report on a theft that occurred at a Chapel Grove Lane residence. He advised an unknown suspect took his mail from his mailbox. He was out of town and the Post Office was holding his mail. He advised he spoke with his mailman, who advised him he did put a stack of mail in his mailbox the day before. When the suspect checked his mailbox the mail was missing, and all he had was that day’s mail.