(c)2013 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL
Dr. Mike Hood, at left, talks with Kiwanian Reid Bailey, center, and John Blockman, Army
airman who was visiting the club and is married to Kiwanian Robert Kisabeth’s daughter.
|Published: 6:42 PM, 11/29/2013
||Last updated: 6:43 PM, 11/29/2013
Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
The coldest consecutive days arrived before Thanksgiving
with temperatures dipping into the teens for our hometown, but many of you kept
warm running through the aisles of stores for Black Friday sales.
Did you go shopping Thursday night responding to the many
advertisements in the Plain Talk? I went to Wal-Mart and Goody’s to make some
photos about 6 p.m. There were so many cars parked at Wal-Mart and Goody’s and
more coming in that I had to park at Tennessee State Bank. Judging from the
number of shoppers and long lines at the cash registers, I think the local
economy is doing well. People were not just getting one or two items but had
their buggies filled with toys, household items, even electric heaters, and
plenty of warm clothing. I will be talking with Carroll Kyker at Newport Dry
Goods to see how his sales did in comparison to past post-Thanksgiving sales.
Update on Dixie Apartments
You recall we chatted with Wade Wester about the Westers’
purchase of the four duplex frames houses facing Ruble Street. We wondered how
these came about and their early history. I got a call from a person who gave
me more information about what she called the Witt Apartments. If you go back
to the 1950s many people you know lived there. I still don’t know who built
them, but let me tell you what I just found out. If you face the apartments so
that the grammar school is at your left, the first apartments (duplex) on the
left were occupied by Jane and Doodle Weems; Dorothy and Bill Gorrell. In the
second duplex you would have found Dub and Hazel Brockwell on one side and on
the other, McKinney (Kinney) and Ida Sutton. The third duplex was home to Mr.
and Mrs. Paul Gene Turner and next to them an unidentified woman who had
several children. The fourth apartment was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Neville
Allen and son, but the caller couldn’t recall who lived in the adjacent
apartment at that fourth duplex. The block building that was destroyed during
the tornado some years back provided one car garage for each of the residences.
The rent for the Witt Apartments was $125 per month. In 1951 the Brockwells
were building a new home as was the
Weems family. The Turners moved to a city house nearby. The Allens moved to Ohio.
Kinney Sutton was working at American Enka and he stayed until he opened a
sheet metal shop in the building next to Feed My Sheep off Main Street. By the
way, Wade has named his apartments the Dixie Apartments. This carries on the
family business name of Dixie Pawn.
Salvation Army update
During last Tuesday’s Kiwanis club meeting, we got to meet
the new Salvation Army officer working in the Sevier-Cocke counties area. With
her was a man you know and see a lot of during the Holiday season. Ottie Hall is
a regular ringing the bell in front of Wal-Mart no matter what the weather to
help Salvation Army raise donations. Ottie has been doing this for at least 20
years. The Kiwanis club will provide volunteers on Saturday, December 16. So
bring your cash out. The 36-year Salvation Army veteran is Major Linda Sloan,
who also is an ordained minister and has ministered in many states. You may not
know much about the Salvation Army but it provided food baskets for the needy
during Thanksgiving and will do so at Christmas. Some of their programs include
ministering through a prison release program, home for women, and thrift
“We are trying to extend service to more people in Cocke
County and the same in Sevier County,” she said. She is currently taking applications
for food baskets and working with other local agencies on the project. After
January 1, Linda plans to be in Newport one day per week. “You can’t expect
people in need to drive to the Salvation Army office.” Many of the folks
needing help do not have vehicles, and, if they did, can’t afford the gasoline.
The main program two weeks ago at Kiwanis was an update by
Dr. Mike Hood on the family vineyard at Goodwater, which is in the middle of
nowhere. I accidentally came across it somewhere near the Nolichucky River and
Greene County. Dr. Hood and wife, Carol, retired veterinarian, bought the land
and have operated the vineyard for 10 years. The main workers are their
daughter, Laura, and her husband Gene Pollard plus at least four children, and
some good neighbors. Dr. Hood has been with Family Practice Center, Healthstar
Physicians, for 33 years. He dispelled the myth that “Dr. Hood has gone crazy”
getting into farming and agriculture. His father operated a 200-acre cattle
farm raising corn and soybeans. Grandpa had a dairy. So, yes he can stitch you
up, sing and act, but his real love is farming, at least growing grapes.
The first vineyard project was planting 10 acres
of a non-hardy variety. The deep freeze of 2007 destroyed all the vines. With
research, they discovered muscadines were best for East Tenn. mountains: late
bloomers, easy to tend, require no spraying, but need pruning. He credits Mr.
Bottom in Georgia with recommending the white magnolia and red noble varieties.
These are doing so well that 10 acres yielded about 15 tons of grapes. You do
have to worry about birds that like grapes as well as the next animal. “They
can take half your crop.” The answer is netting and lots of it.
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