The outdoors are free (but donations help)

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

More than 2,000 supporters voted for their favorite state park, raising just over $111,000 for improvements, according to reports from Tennessee State Parks.

Close to home is Norris Dam State Park, where on a recent evening I spied a dozen deer, a skunk and a black panther-like animal. OK, maybe it was a cat.

Norris Dam State Park’s goal during the fundraiser was to raise enough money to restore the Historic Rice Gristmill at the park. More than 60 people donated just over $3,000 to Norris Dam, allowing the park to start the long-awaited restoration project. A portion of the funds are currently being used to replace cogs inside the gristmill. Staff will continue to post updates about the restoration on the park’s Facebook page.

Powell’s love affair with Aubrey’s

At 6 o’clock Thursday the parking spaces at the Powell Aubrey’s were full. It wasn’t a question of how far to walk. It was finding a space at all.

Powell loves Aubrey’s. And on Monday, Aubrey’s owner, Randy Burleson, said (and showed) that he loves Powell. Mike Donila has the details, but Burleson’s big donation to Legacy Parks Foundation will fund an upgrade to the kayak put-in at Powell High Landing on Beaver Creek.

Now folks with various abilities can “get out and paddle,” said Carol Evans. And yes, there’s a second accessible dock going in a few miles downstream at Roy Arthur Stormwater Park so people can “get out.”

Richie Beeler goes back to work

Richie Beeler

Knox County Commission chair Richie Beeler has been hired as chief deputy for Knox County Clerk Sherry Witt. The job has been open since J. Michael Paseur, 46, of Powell, passed away in March 2021.

Beeler retired from the Register of Deeds office, where he had worked with Witt, and was elected to the county commission from District 8 in 2020. He is not expected to resign from the commission to take the full-time job with Witt, but said he will not seek another term as commission chair. He does plan to continue his ministry. Beeler was recently profiled here.

Come on, man

Richard Jacobs is a candidate for trustee. He’s not lived here long (profile here). He called to talk and I mentioned that a majority of his fundraising is not from Knox County. He disputed that, rattling off names and addresses of folks I’d never heard of. So, I revisited his only on-file campaign disclosure. He’s had 12 contributions of $1,600 each. Four are from Knoxville, four from Pikeville, Kentucky, and four from “Lewisville” (I think they meant Louisville), Tennessee. Isn’t trustee a math job?

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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