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Handgun permit carry class brings out diverse crowd


Juanita Frazier, far right, takes aim with a handgun at the carry permit
training class last October at the Newport Community Center. From left
with her are Cocke County High School Assistant Principal Casey Kelly,
Missy and Rob Mathis, who is Cocke County Trustee. Juanita is a
long-time employee in that county office.
Published: 8:02 PM, 02/22/2013

Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

The last weekend of the shortest month of the year means no Leap Year birthdays but an early start in our hometown to March with farmlands already greening in time for St. Patrick's Day soon.

Let me start by correcting a couple of items I recently mentioned in passing. Luther Woody celebrated his 90th birthday in January, and his sister's name should have been Clararene Pack. She will be celebrating her 81st birthday on May 28th, said her daughter, Melissa Strom, who chatted with me. Clararene was married to the late Frank Pack and still lives at Midway. Some of you Brockwell Construction old timers will recall that "Little Frank" was a heavy equipment operator.

Also, You read my comment last week about "Coming Soon Seafood Festival" sign. I saw the sign, as some of you did, near the former Taste of Tennessee Restaurant off Highway 25/70 and assumed a new restaurant was opening there. However, Newport Huddle House Manager Belle Richens corrected me on the sign for Huddle House's new seafood feature that began Feb. 21 for a limited time. You can get the platter anytime, any day. I saw a group of five ducks heading for the Time Out Travel Center last Tuesday morning in the rain, and they may have seen the sign too.


Some folks I saw


Ace Antique's grand opening on February 19 at its new location behind Gary Kyker's garage brought out many people to support Ailor and Imogene Turner. I renewed conversation with David McClary, whom I had met a couple years ago at his musical instrument shop at Bryant Town. He is chair of the Cocke County Partnership board and an avid musician. He told me that he and a friend would be playing music at Alewine Pottery off Highway 321 and Glades Road on March 15-17 in the afternoon. I hope to meet Robert Alewine the business operator and get some photos of the band. Folks are also thinking more about fishing, too. I bumped into Make Barnes, veteran's service officer, at People's Choice restaurant. He told me that crappy fishing was good at Leadvale because the fish are trapped in the area because of mid January's heavy rain. At the restaurant the usual crew of characters including John L. Park were eating breakfast to contribute something to the local economy. John asked me a question I couldn't answer: "When was the last time Parrottsville boys and girls both won the basketball championship?" If you know, please let me know and I'll share this sports note. That same week I bumped into Gary Parks getting therapy where I was at VIP Premier Therapy and he told me a most interesting event that you will hear about here. It changed his life.


Sheriff leads gun safety


Last week we began talking about Cocke County Sheriff's Department annual handgun carry permit training classes. Since the October 12 free class sponsored by Sheriff Armando Fontes, I had planned to tell you about the experience and who was there. So, inearly  February, on a rainy day and after eating a butterfinger cupcake at For Heaven's Cake, I met with Sheriff Fontes to review this program and to talk about what else he has been planning to keep citizens safe and secure in these uncertain times.  If you haven't visited him, he spends some time on the third floor of the courthouse. Look for the sign on his door: "Restrooms." Draw your own conclusion on its meaning. These classes started in early 2012 and at no cost to the citizens. They were so popular that the sheriff is planning three for 2013, one already filled and set for Detective Kevin Benton, who is the class trainer. More about Captain Benton later but you probably have seen his ad in the Plain Talk classified announcing his weekly handgun carry permit classes at Grassy Fork.

You will find the classes interesting, not intimidating, and fun thanks to the trainers who include Administrative Captain Derrick Woods, and Chief John Carrell. Last year about 80 people got certified. In my class there were 24 people of whom 11 were women. I did not bring a weapon but there were plenty of guns brought and I wondered how did these folks carry the guns in if they did not have a carry permit?


Be careful with that gun


The key point observed at the community center and to learn for life is: "Don't point your weapon at anyone" unless you do need to protect yourself in a life-threatening situation. 

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