MUSHY'S MOOCHINGS: September 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I just wanted to share some photos I took while on a wet and soggy "lessons learned" trip to Maryville, TN Saturday. Capitol Theatre there was restored a few years ago and continues to turn a profit for its owner Heath Claiborne. He told us several pitfalls to avoid and gave us the 50 cent tour.

We found several people visiting their coffee and souvenir shop, milling around the lobby, and many were in the auditorium setting up for a wedding. Gary introduced himself to Benita and Heath Claiborne, owners of the Capitol, and we soon had the 50 cent tour, including the auditorium, the basement, the upstairs interactive video game and lecture room, complete with wide-screen, and Heath’s private artist studio. My apologies to the lady I cut in half!

I went with Gary Baker (right in the group shot) and Dr. Julian Ahler (retired - center of the photo), who have a habit of doing a "road trip" once a month, and have begun inviting me alone. We all work on the Princess Restoration Project in Harriman, so these trips usually involve fact finding for that effort. Although, sometimes we are hunting watermelons, sourdough bread, and homemade cheeses!

Today we found a wonderful doughnut shop (Richy Krème), a used bookstore, and a pint of ale and appetizers at Sullivan's Fine Food in historic downtown Maryville!

As we begin to spend the $1.7M the Princess Foundation just received from TVA, there will be several of these trips, and plenty of opportunities to share my adventures with you!

There are some other shots posted at FLICKR and more about the theater on the Princess Blog!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Yes, after all these years I finally got to a professional football game. It seems like I saw a pre-season exhibition game twenty or more years ago, but I can’t be sure. Anyway, I was quite pleased with my first experience even though it turned into a very hot and humid day in the sun.

My friend, Gary Baker, invited me and a couple more friends to Sunday’s Titan vs. Texans game in Nashville. It’s only about an hour and a half to Nashville, so we took our time, stopping for a Cracker Barrel breakfast in Lebanon, TN.

I rarely go to University of Tennessee games anymore, preferring to watch in HD from the comfort of my recliner. Fighting the traffic and crowds in Knoxville is just not that much fun. But, this was different…we parked about 200 yards from the main entrance, and walked directly down to our 45-yard line seats with ease! That coupled with the great fellowship and cold Fat Tire beer was something I could enjoy most anytime.

Gary has been down with bad sinus congestion all this week, and I think he thought he was about over it. However, it turned out that the heat, humidity, and the drive was more than he could stand. We didn’t stay the entire game, and started back before the game, which was a fairly boring offensive game, was over. Titans lost 34-31.

Our buddy Nathan Hammond (first to my left in the photos - then David Webb and Gary), took the controls back while Gary sat, eyes closed, in the back. Gary didn’t miss a beat in the conversation though, so he never really went to sleep. However, you can bet he went straight to bed after getting home!

I’m posting this just to tell Gary THANKS, and get well soon! He was a trooper!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Some of you news buffs may remember hearing about a devastating ash spill at TVA's Kingston Steam Plant on December 22 of this year. TVA is still engaged in the cleanup of that catastrophic containment breach, and settling with area home owners that lost their homes and property.

In a further attempt to make amends and gain positive PR, the Tennessee Valley Authority has earmarked $43 million in Roane County, Tennessee restoration projects. While education is the primary area needing funding, a portion of that funding, $1.7 million, was awarded to the Princess Foundation Project, a project that I have been a part of since the first of 2009.

In celebration of that good news, I posted this piece on the Princess Theater Blog today:


The Roane County Economic Development Foundation announced today the projects that will be funded with the money TVA donated on Monday (9/14/09) for the restoration of Roane County, Tennessee.

Today (9/16/09) the Foundation announced the “approved” projects that the $43 million earmarked for Roane County economic development. Those specific projects were:

$5 million: Kingston sewer improvements

$32,000: Rockwood paving improvements

$1.7 million: Princess Theater complex renovation in Harriman

An approval for $32 million for the Roane County school system expansion is anticipated to come very soon.

The $1.7 million for the restoration of the Princess "complex" area in Downtown Harriman, could actually have been included in the promised $32 million that will be directed toward the Roane County school system, since the theater, and the two adjacent buildings, will become an Arts Education and Conferencing Center managed by Roane State Community College. However, it is important to highlight the Princess Project because this project will have a long lasting effect on the County’s educational system, and bring new life to Downtown Harriman area.

Most people think the Princess will become a “movie theater” again, which is far from the truth. True, there may be times a special movie, especially ones created by local movie makers and/or the arts departments of Roane State and the local high schools, is shown and premiered at the Princess Theater, but the truth is the primary purpose of the auditorium segment of the Arts Education and Conferencing Center “complex” (see area #3 in the photo above) will be for arts and event productions, large scale teleconferencing meetings, reunions and similar party and planning events, and live music.

Area #1 (in photo above) is slated to become a TV and radio station operated by the students of Roane State Community College. Area #2 will become part of the lobby of area #3, an area that will showcase art and memorabilia. Area #4 will be used as project related offices, teleconferencing management/control areas, and dressing areas for the various events, shows, and live music.

The result of such a “complex” will be the enhancement of arts education in the area which results in entertainment for the citizens of the area.

As Harriman Mayor Chris Mason said today, “This Princess project will have more of a positive impact on the downtown revitalization than anything else we could have done. The best thing about this project is that it will expand our youth’s education throughout the region and that is what really motivates me to keep going on this project.

The Mayor went on to say, “Today I have the pleasure to let you know that the Roane County Economic Development Board voted unanimously to give the Princess Foundation for Arts Education and Conference Center $1.7 million for the project. This, combined with the grant will fully finish the project and make it the most technologically advanced building in our county. It will be an extension of RSCC campus where all of our youth will be able to participate and take classes in media production, lighting, stage production, sound design etc. It will bring tourists in from out of town to watch shows on the weekend as well as be the catalyst for economic growth downtown.

I want to thank everyone that has participated in this LONG endeavor including the Harriman City Council that formally passed a resolution requesting that this project be funded. THIS IS THE BEST NEWS THAT HARRIMAN HAS HAD IN THE LAST 40+ YEARS!! This project WILL change the downtown as we currently know it and will change the lives of so many youth in our region.

The projected open date will be Summer 2010.

Thanks again…the future is bright for the City of Harriman!”

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Harriman's 22nd Annual Labor Day Celebration was held this past Monday at Riverfront Park. The celebration is normally held on the blocked-off Roane Street downtown, but the promoters decided to add cooler river breezes and shade trees this year. Those additions did help some, but the day was still very humid, although the temperatures were in the mid-80s.

As Judy and I entered the park, she immediately began meeting people she knew and it seemed like forever before we got to the heart of the celebration, the music, the antique cars, and the wonderful food the many concessionaries had prepared. Judy always seems to see someone she is kin to, used to work with, or someone with which she went to school! Me, no one remembers Mushy! Right!

There were vendors everywhere, selling baskets, jewelry, t-shirts, fried apple pies, brownies, funnel cakes, fried Twinkies or Oreo’s, Sno Kones, hot dogs, fried bologna sandwiches, popcorn, and most anything you can imagine.

The crowds seemed gathered mostly around the hot dog stand and the funnel cake maker, but the wait was well worth the trouble. They were delicious and very satisfying. It was like an old county fair, without the Ferris wheel and hawkers.

Further into the park was the large pavilion where people were square dancing and clapping to the music. Then there it was; the large open field at the north end of the park where all the wonderful old cars were parked! Hordes of people were milling around among the vehicles with fantasies and memories of yesteryear dancing in their heads. I’ve been to the “Cruisin’ in Harriman” shows on Roane Street, but there were only two cars in this showing that I recognized. There were nearly a hundred new cars for me to enjoy!

Judy and I sat by the Emory River and ate our bologna and hot dog lunches, and later we shared a funnel cake. It was a great time with music coming from the pavilion and the large gazebo venues, and many people passing by helping us hone our “people watching” skills.

We left before the Babahatchie Community Band got set up and played, but the couple of hours we spent there was more than enough for two vintage folks! So, we walked back to the soccer field to the car, discussing everything we had seen in the park. It was a great day for us and Harriman.

It’s these local events that need to be supported. If we are ever to bring back the “old days” in the downtown’s of our lives, we must show that we want it to happen. You might wonder what you could do to help revitalize our little town centers, well, it don’t take much, just participation in city and county events. The promoters are trying to draw you in, and get you excited about “small town USA” once again. Please…come on down next time!

Please go to my Flickr “Hooray of Harriman” set and look at all the wonderful people and cars at the event!