50-plus FHS students show solidarity for high school shooting victims

More than 50 Farragut High School students walked out of school Friday with a mission to honor victims of school violence and lead a movement of change.

The FHS event was part of the planned National School Walkout April 20, which was held on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School, Colorado, shooting that left 15 students dead.

Junior Karlyn Simcox organized the FHS event, and said she had worked with a small group of fellow students “for about a month” on planning and coordination. They relied on social media and word of mouth to rally fellow participans to meet at the flagpole in front of the school under #farragutattheflagpole on Twitter.

Simcox estimated there were “between 50 and 100 FHS students” who participated in the walkout.

April 20 was the second student-led school walkout since the most recent large-scale mass school shooting, which occurred Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, leaving 17 students dead.

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FMPC approves facelift for Station West

Station West shopping center, 11311 Station West Drive, is getting a facelift.

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission approved unanimously a site plan to partially redevelop the retail and office development located off North Campbell Station Road and across from Apple Cake Tea Room.

The property has two freestanding buildings, built in 1988, and houses Elliott Boots, Shoes and Sandals and other businesses.

Farragut Community Development director Mark Shipley said the building predates “virtually all of the existing town-related land use requirements and design standards.”

Station West owner David Fiser plans to tear down and replace the westernmost building, fronting North Campbell Station Road, with a 12,000-square-foot brick, stone and siding structure, which would meet town standards.

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1 shot dead; suspect is held

A 16-hour manhunt ended Tuesday, April 24, with the capture of a suspect in the shooting death of a 19-year-old that occurred just outside of Farragut Monday night.

Mekhi L. Luster of Knoxville was fatally shot around 8 p.m., Monday, April 23, and found in a backyard along Amber Glades Lane, located just off Boyd Station Road, according to Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

His alleged killer, Isaiah T. Styles, 18, was apprehended Tuesday around noon.

Officers described the incident that led to the shooting as a failed “low level marijuana transaction” during a KCSO press conference Tuesday afternoon.

According to witnesses, an unidentified 13-year-old and Luster were driven to the area by an unidentified juvenile female to meet up with Styles and Sovereign Matthews, 18, who lived along Clear Ridge Road, not far from Amber Glades Lane.

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Keckley targets early 2019 to open ‘Villages’ Phase 1

Construction status of Villages of Farragut, Phase 1, as of Monday, April 23. Completion of Phase 1 and its opening to residents is expected sometime in early 2019.
Walls are going up at The Villages of Farragut Senior Living off Smith Road.

“The status of it is we’re framing, and we’re still looking at right after the first of the year (2019) completion and opening of the first phase,” said Gary Keckley, CEO and director of development with GoodWorks Unlimited, LLC., which is developing Villages of Farragut.

“Other than we just had the wettest February in the history of Farragut, things are going very, very well,” he said about finishing Phase 1. “I will say I have enjoyed working with the Town of Farragut on it. It’s been an amazing project so far.”

The senior living community, which sits on 23 acres, is situated adjacent to Farragut Church of Christ off Smith Road, and is being built in three phases, which offer a variety of housing and service options for senior adults.

Keckley said the first phase, which encompasses 103,000 square feet, will have 82 units with living suites ranging from alcoves — 377 square feet — to large two-bedroom units, with each more than 1,300 square feet.

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Despite protest, FMPC OKs Grigsby Park

Dr. Sophronia Ward and Doug Kimsey present arguments about increased traffic on Grigsby Chapel Road, using a PowerPoint presentation, during Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meeting Thursday, April 19.
Despite neighboring residents’ objections, developer Travis Fuller has received Farragut Municipal Planning Commission’s approval to continue with plans for Grigsby Park subdivision off Grigsby Chapel Road.

In a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Rose Ann Kile abstaining, FMPC approved Fuller’s concept plan for the 24.9-acre property located adjacent to Westside Unitarian Universalist Church and west of Chapel Point subdivision, during its meeting Thursday, April 19.

Fuller’s plans involve a 66-lot single-family home development, which would be similar to Chapel Point and Farragut Commons, both off Grigsby Chapel Road.

Gerald Tharton, who represented Westside Church, opposed the development, saying the plan shows a road running across the church’s property.

“We just learned recently that there was an amended concept plan that changes the plan in certain ways,” he said. “(The developer) did not talk to us about the road.”

Tharton asked FMPC not take action on the concept plan.

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Mancini, 5th Dist. Dems: flip GOP trend ‘one bite at a time’

Mary Mancini, left, chair of Tennessee Democratic Party, greets Kathy Spoon, 5th District Democrats member, while Lisa Plawchan, district party co-chair, looks on during 5DD’s monthly meeting Thursday evening, April 19, in Rosarito’s Mexican Cantina.
The Republican shift in Tennessee politics, which began in the 1980s, was described as “a cycle” by Mary Mancini, chair of Tennessee Democratic Party.

During Mancini’s address to 5th District Democrats at their monthly meeting Thursday evening, April 20, one member proclaimed Democrats could begin reversing that shift with “one bite of the elephant.”

“That’s right,” Mancini responded during her address in Rosaries’s Mexican Cantina. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

“The Republicans did it to us, they took back the state one cycle at a time; it did not happen overnight,” she added. “We will get back to the way Tennessee should be represented, one cycle at a time, one day a time.

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Strong develop push for Ivey, Swan farms

The Ivey family and developer David Robinette will find out next month if hopes of developing the Ivey Farm off Union Road into a subdivision will be realized.

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission heard from the family and went over developers’ plans during its meeting Thursday, April 19.

FMPC agreed to take action on the rezoning of the Ivey Farm property, along with the Swan property, 12639 Kingston Pike, at its meeting May 17.

Robinette, president of Site Inc., Ltd., has asked to rezone five parcels, which makes up the 115-acre Ivey Farm, from Agricultural and R-1 to R-1 Open Space Residential to build a subdivision.

At the same time, Robinette also asked to rezone 28.76 acres of the former Swan Farm, from R-2, R-1 and Floodplain District to Commercial-1, R-4, OS-P and floodplain district, to build a commercial development with some residential properties.

The Swan property, which backs onto Union Road, sits across the street from the Ivey property.

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Citizens along, near Virtue Road question Town’s upgrade plans

Fourteen people attended a public meeting in Farragut Town Hall Wednesday evening, April 18, to find out how their properties might be affected by Town of Farragut’s proposed improvements to Virtue Road.

Farragut Town engineer Darryl Smith said construction is expected to begin in fall 2019 and last about a year.

To get the project going, he said the Town is using its own funds rather than waiting to apply for federal funding. However, the Town could apply for federal grants for future phases of Virtue road improvements, he added.

“Two weeks ago, there was an accident here,” Virtue Road resident Kami Darakshani said, pointing to one place on the map of Virtue Road then pointed to another place. “A month ago there was an accident here. What about the rest of this road? What are you going to do about that?”

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police reports

• At 2:42 a.m., Friday, April 20, Knox County Sheriff’s Office units responded to 10551 Kingston Pike on report of a business burglary at M & M Jewelry. Caller said he observed an unknown black male, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, exit through the broken front door at the business and flee west through the parking lot toward Lovell Road. Upon arrival, reporting officer said he observed the glass had been broken out of the business and several showcases inside the business had been broken. The owner responded and said it appeared nothing had been taken. Estimated value of damage was listed at $1,000.

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