Fugate says good-bye at West Knox gathering

Sandra ClarkFeature, West Knoxville

It’s good to get politicians who represent the same people talking to each other. On Thursday, Hugh Nystrom (county commission District 4), Lynne Fugate (school board, District 4) and Andrew Roberto (city council, District 2) met wth constituents at Pelican’s Snoball, 5900 Kingston Pike.

How can anyone pay rent, buy ingredients and earn a living selling flavored ice? Then I saw the order board. With 100 bold flavors, why not indulge. So, I sprung for a $3 regular-sized dream cycle-flavored ice. It was surprisingly good. It’s a cheap treat for families without the calories of ice cream. Hmmm. Does Powell need a Pelican’s Snoball?

Andrew Roberto was observing his 215th day on the Knoxville City Council (but who’s counting?) He’s still enthusiastic and unjaded.

So, he talked about the city’s street light conversion to LED lighting. The city spends about $4 million annually for energy and maintenance costs for its approximately 29,500 high pressure sodium street lights. By converting to LED, the city anticipates better light quality and reduced costs. “We’ll pay back the installation costs with savings in eight years,” said Roberto.

Sidewalks are the most frequent ask by residents, he said. Two upcoming projects in District 2 are: Gleason Drive from Bearden High School to Downtown West and Middlebrook Pike at Lakebrook Blvd.

Lynne Fugate noted her eight years on the school board will end when Virginia Babb replaces her in September. “We have better schools now than we had eight years ago.” These strong schools have stabilized property values and small businesses are flourishing, she said.

She is proudest of the International Baccalaureate program at West High and the more recent IB feeder program at Bearden Middle. Programs like these “keep our kids in the public schools.”

Hugh Nystrom shared an off-record story about how he met the owner of Pelican’s Snoball. (You’ll have to ask him.) He chaired the meeting, which started inside the party room and moved to the patio. “Knox County passed a $819 million budget,” he said. “I’m glad we were able to fund Project GRAD and the gifted programs.” He serves on the pension committee and the audit committee, but he said his most boring task was to update the HR policy for the commission office.

Gossip and lies
  • Some politicians measure their achievements by their first 100 days. Tim Burchett seems to be counting his by his last 100 days. We’re had ribbon-cuttings for two new middle schools (7/10), a new park in Karns (7/19) and now a press conference to announce the site for a Farragut community and Knox County senior center (7/24).
  • That press conference is set for 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 24, at 239 Jamestowne Blvd., the former site of Faith Lutheran Church. Hmmm. Wonder where that new site could be???
  • Victor Ashe is safe. President Trump announced Thursday that he won’t permit Russia to interview U.S. citizens, including former ambassadors. Although Ashe probably could give Putin some advice on forced annexation.

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