(c)2013 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL
Chad Webb, at far right, had an early surprise birthday party at Wood Acres thanks to his
friends and parents. With him are his parents, Wayne and Susan Webb, of Newport. Cha
is a member of the band, Fifth Street Saints that is growing in popularity. The band was
in Hawaii last week so you will read more about this soon in the Plain Talk.
|Published: 9:23 PM, 12/06/2013
||Last updated: 9:24 PM, 12/06/2013
Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
Weather took us on a rollercoaster ride last week with a
high in the 70s on Thursday in our hometown before cool rain and wind started
bringing in the Artic front. By later in the week we all may be shivering on
our way to get the Plain Talk from their orange tubes.
Let me share some new information before finishing our chat
with Dr. Mike Hood of the Family Practice Center. By the way, Weigelís did get
open on Thursday and its offer of Weigelís Club gasoline at $2.91 kept the
pumps packed and store full of people. I did see the Plain Talk newspapers in their
rack being sold so I bought some plump muffins. You remember we have talked
some about the old Witt Apartments near Newport Grammar School. The four duplex
apartment buildings were recently purchased by Wade and Linda Wester, who live
off Ruble Street a block from their investment. Wade wanted to know more abut
what he calls the Dixie Apartments. One caller shared stories from the early
1950s about these. I talked with Cecil Samples after a Plain Talk visitor gave
me a tip.
Cecil, a former county commissioner from the late 1970s
knows the apartments well because his uncle, Henry Brown, had them built in the
early 1940s. Cecil was about 12 years old then and said his Uncle Henry owned
these and rented them but I still donít know who actually did the labor and
building. Henry was one of four boys and two girls one of whom, Margaret Brown,
married Robert Samples, Cecilís father. Cecil said that the entire family moved
to Cleveland, Ohio for years. Henry Brown was a businessman and apparently did
well financially. The last recollection Cecil has of him is when Cecil visited
St. Petersburg, Florida, where Henry owned a mobilehome park. This was in the
early 1970s. At 83, Cecil is doing well except for a few aching joints. He retired
years ago from the local Ford dealership as a salesman.
Goodwater Vineyard days
By now the grape leaves are gone from the hundreds of feet
of muscadine vines growing off Goodwater Road at Goodwater Vineyard. We have
been talking with Dr. Mike Hood, who spoke to the Newport Kiwanis Club last
month about whatís happening at the vineyard. I will finish for know his
comments and hope to do an update early next year for our farming edition and
our 2014 Visiting the Smokies magazine.
Remember, now, the vineyard is not producing table grapes
but for grape juice that can be fermented into wine. Although Popcorn Sutton
often produced drinking spirits, he had no license. At least I was unaware of
his moonshine license, but he is recognized as a skilled Appalachian distiller.
Goodwater Vineyard is in the process of gaining Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
approval and then licensing by the Alcohol Beverage Commission to ferment
grapes. Until then, they have many gallons of grape juice refrigerated.
I was curious if grapes, like many fruit crops, require bees
for improved pollination. Dr. Hood said they did not. New equipment and friends
with tractors are making vineyard tasks easier. One machine destems and crushes
grapes: Unlike the I Love Lucy episode in which Lucille Ball got into the large
vat with many other barefooted Italian women to crush grapes the old way. You
recall what a purple mess that turned into. The Hoods and Pollards also bought
a bottler and bottles from Italy. As to the economics of wine, Tennessee wine
fetches $16 to $20 per bottle. Of this the grower makes $2. The best of both
worlds, then, is for the grower to also operate a winery. Dr. Hood said that
those who do are more careful about the quality of the grapes. Goodwater
Vineyard is one of 10 percent of the wine producers that also own a vineyard.
Fifth Street Saints Band
While we are shivering in the foothills of the Smoky
Mountains with about two weeks to the start of winter, a group of East
Tennesseans, two who hail from Newport, have been admiring surfers and palm
trees in Hawaii. It wasnít all play and touring as the men are members of the
up and coming band, Fifth Street Saints based in Newport. I first heard about
the band a year or so ago when Susan Webb called to give me an update on her
son, Chad Webb. Many years ago you recall some stories I did on Wayne Webb, a
popular local entertainer. He and Susan live a stoneís throw from my late
friend, Lenny Zmich, Old Knoxville Highway. Last weekend the band members were
available for me to meet them and talk about how they have been gaining on the
modern rock music circuit. This is no easy task because of the shear numbers of
talented musicians currently touring the US. Besides Chad the band includes
Eddie Self, Joey Davis, of Knoxville, and Shane Hoosier, of Morristown via West
Virginia. The members age from Eddie, 31, to Shane, 35, who takes care of their
Facebook and online/Internet communications.
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