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More news on Dixie Apartments, and Salvation Army bell ringers

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 stores.

“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.


Goodwater Vineyard


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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