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May ending with more rain, graduation and long holiday


Keith Keller stands in front of a wide variety of long guns including shotguns,
rifles, and assault weapons at his Cosby Highway location in Newport. The
store also features tools, some furniture, shooting accessories, knives and
whatever other value he finds to sell to his customers.
Published: 9:15 PM, 05/24/2013 Last updated: 9:15 PM, 05/24/2013

Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

With the amount of rain dumped on Cocke County during May the Memorial Day weekend blackberry crop ought to be a record for our hometown gatherers, unless the blue jays and mocking birds beat you to the patches.

Newport Kiwanians were concerned about the sudden illness of one of their own and sent a get-well card to Claire Crouch. You know she is the president of the Cocke County Republican Women and Vice President Area 1B Tenn. Federation of Republican Women. It seems she required emergency surgery at a Knoxville Tennova Hospital in mid May after being transferred from Newport’s Tennova Medical Center and remained hospitalized last week. Her husband, Stephen Eldridge, told me on Friday morning she is at home and received good news from her medical tests. She is recovering after the five-hour surgery and thanks everyone who had her on their prayer lists. Our bulletin noted she joined the club on May 24, a few years ago I believe. During the month, May 21, Kiwanian Reid Bailey celebrated another birthday. Is he 91? Young son Marty Bailey was happy about that also being able to help all those folks with seasonal allergies with medication dispensed by him at Town & Country Drug Store. Surely the bombardment by thunderstorms on Tuesday and Wednesday knocked out the remaining pollen. I saw a pear tree limb ripped off one of Gary Kyker's trees and into his adjacent garden. Did he lose his entire lettuce crop?

Once the rain clears out, perhaps by June, the club has a couple of interesting things happening. Timothy Dockery, parks and recreation director, announced to the club the start of the summer Kiwanis Firefly Flicks. Saturday, June 1, and each following Saturday at the park near the pavilion, the films begin at dusk. E.T. is the first and on other Saturday nights you can watch, for free, the Lorax, Lion King, and The Avengers. Timothy told me the film series is made possible by the Cocke County Legislative Body, City of Newport, Parks & Recreation, and Newport Kiwanis. Bring your own chair or blanket. Kiwanian Brad Davidson reminds you of the June 7 and June 8 WLIK Radiothon and Auction at Food City West. I also learned at the club, when physical therapist Dr. Tamara Carver was our guest speaker, her mother, Bettye Carver, had knee replacement surgery during the winter, January. Sounds like she might have to endure another surgery for the other knee so it is excellent to have a daughter who is a great therapist. I asked how Dad, Jay Carver, was doing and he is well except for what sounded like "hunter's knee" from roaming the mountainsides. I suspect that tossing fat hogs around on the farm didn't do them any good either. Does anybody raise hogs for a living anymore? I'll end my update on Kiwanis by noting how good the pineapple cobbler was. Pam Williams took credit for this, as she is one of the hosts and cooks, and we appreciated the dessert treat at Fox & Hounds.




Long history of service


Last week I began talking about former Cocke County Sheriff Tunney Moore and his pistol barbecue grill. We visited for more than an hour on Thursday because I wanted him to refresh my memory on his early years growing up at Waterville and Grassy Fork. So you soon will be reading about his teenage exploits as a moonshiner, his military and work career, and how he came to be a multi-term sheriff and perhaps one of the best. Tunney does not hide his youthful exploits with moonshine production and sales but affirms he quit and later joined the church and ultimately became a deacon. For the 40 years I have known him, I've never seen him drink a drop of alcoholic beverages. Nor did Tunney as a teen even sip moonshine but judged the run by shaking the jars and watching the bubbles. He managed to take some time away from the green bean field where he had been staking and planting after Mother?s Day. I did learn that his Rock Hill Road farm of about 70 acres was just one of several that his late father John Lewis Moore had acquired as a tobacco grower and power line clearing contractor for the former Carolina Power Company that operated Walters Dam and hydroelectric plant. Tunney's oldest brother, Charlie, was long-time plant superintendent and taught me a lot about his family and life in the mountains.


Gun business smokin'


Weeks ago there was some activity outside of the large former Bryant & Pack Lumber building off Cosby Highway, now the home to Keller's Blades and Barrels. On closer check, a carpenter was cutting a large doorway into the side further from the entrance. Inside, Keith Keller told me he was adding another office. This eventually became the home for their real estate and auction business and an office for his brother, Brian Keller. I looked around and noticed Keith had added lots of Extreme holsters and it seemed he had more guns, at least more than I've seen at Walmart after the scare during winter that the government might somehow reduce the availability. Sportsmen have noticed the nearly empty ammo shelves at stores, but Keith said he has ample stock. The reason being he bought large quantities last year and is still getting shipments. Prices have increased because of demand and ammo is priced about 25 percent higher, some doubled in price.

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