Just when you thought it was safe to plant your garden on
spring's arrival last Wednesday at our hometown, winter staged a comeback with
blossom-biting frost and snow the last days of the week.
Before we move along talking about who I've met, let me
correct an important error made last week talking about Memorial Baptist
Church. At Kiwanis Club Alvin Watts, who is pastor emeritus of the church, said
the correct name for the pastor is Harold Ball. I should have remembered this
since he was voted people's choice pastor for two years in a row.
Final steps in gun permit
We have been talking about the process of getting a
handgun carry permit, assuming you can buy any bullets in Newport these days.
Sheriff Armando Fontes offers some free training classes during the year. One
of his trainers is Detective Kevin Benton. You are warned by Kevin and others that
you have only six months from the date of you training class certification to
complete the application process. If you don't, you must retake the training
class. Within the six months you must go to a state driver's license issuing
office, either Morristown or Sevierville, in the case for Cocke Countians. If
you attend a private class, costs are about $50.
Kevin and others who hold permits advised me to go to
Sevierville. The state driver's license issuing office, if you are traveling to
Sevierville, is easily reached by turning left at the traffic light in front of
Sevier County High School onto Industrial Park Drive. You can see the office
from Hwy. 411, if you look closely. It is next to the state Workforce
Development Career Center. Once you go into the office and fill out an
application, the friendly folks will photograph you and collect your $115 fee.
Before you quit after this step you must get electronic
fingerprints, and, no, you cannot go to the sheriff's office or jail where
these officers still do paper prints. I chatted with Fast Cash Pawn owner Roy
Jones, who is a native of southeastern Kentucky. His business has the computer
and scanning device, and your handgun carry permit fee is paid as part of the
$115 paid to the state. Many other workers, especially anyone who works with
children, are required to get E-prints that are sent to the Tennessee Bureau of
Investigation and the FBI. Jones said that his clerk, Stephanie Nickell, might
do as many as 40 people's fingerprints per day. Most employers such as health
and education charge a $42 fee and only a fraction is paid out to Fast Cash
Pawn. There are scanning stations in Greeneville and Morristown, too. "If
you have anything to do with a child you will have to get fingerprinted,"
said Jones, referring to teachers, day care workers, and even contractors
working at schools. "We are getting tons of people from Cocke
County." There are 67 sites in Tennessee with E-scan service, and all
appointments are made by phone or Internet only. Don't just try to walk in and
get this service. Then, you go home and wait several weeks. I was surprised how
quickly the permit arrived in the mail to my home.
Happy to have rings returned
Last week I mentioned coming across a story about lost
diamond rings but reflecting on those words decided it should be, found diamond
rings because the person who accidentally lost track of them never knew what
she had done.
Mary Pitner of the Jewelry Connection called to tell me
of this story. You recall we visited with her last year on stories, one being
the found baby book that made its way back to the now-grown mother who was glad
to get her baby book back. Mary and her daughter, Ronda Evans, are from Sevier
County. It was their friend of many years and from Sevier who told me the rest
of the story.
My first stop in learning the story was a visit to The
Closet off Morristown Highway just across from the gas utility. The owners of
the business did not want their names mentioned because they didn't want the
spotlight on them but the woman who got the rings back. But Angie Rolen agrees
they are Good Samaritans in doing what was right to return rings valued at
thousands of dollars.
Angie had gone to the The Closet as many folks do to
place items for sale on consignment. The items included clothing, knick knacks,
housewaress and a particularly interesting jewelry box. However Angie did not
open the box then. "I'm so thankful for honest people," Angie told
the two women at The Closet after they found the rings in the jewelry box and
called Angie to pick the rings up. She promptly took these to her lifelong
friend, Rhonda at the Jewelry Connection where they are in the safe.