Visitors to to Tennessee state park restaurants can now enjoy an exclusive Tennessee table wine with their dinner, reports the Crossville Chronicle.. The wine, a Seyval blanc grape blend grown in Tennessee, was developed especially for the state park system by Stonehaus Winery in Crossville in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Tennessee State Park system.
“They’ve [Stonehaus] been very involved in this region for a long time and are always looking for ways to partner with others to make things good for the whole area,” said Brock Hill, deputy commissioner Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
“It’s in our interest to promote the state park and for the state park to promote us,” said Rob Ramsey as he uncorked the first bottle of the special reserve wine.”
State Rep. Cameron Sexton added, “It’s nice to incorporate regional products into the state parks. It gives an idea of what’s available in the communities. I hope it continues.”
Winemakers Fay Wheeler and Jan Nix developed the blend that’s considered a semi-dry table wine.
“It’s not super dry or super sweet,” Wheeler explained. “It’s a nice in between that a lot of people should like.”
It also pairs well with many foods.
Rob Ramsey said the grapes were grown in Johnson City, TN, making this wine a great “Pick Tennessee” product through the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s marketing program. The label was designed by Smithville graphic artist Mary Ann Puckett.
Conventional Unity for TN GOP
At a convention where states such as Minnesota, Iowa and Maine have been divided by an insurgency led by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, The Tennessean reports that self-identified tea party activists in the Tennessee delegation have said they want to set their disagreements aside in the interest of party unity. “I think in the state of Tennesee that we address those tea party-type issues in the legislature all the time because we agree with them,” said Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. “I just don’t think we see a lot of disunity in Tennessee.”
…”I think if you asked around, you’d have a pretty good representation of the entire spectrum of the Republican Party,” Haslam said of the delegation. “Some of that is maybe they (tea party leaders) didn’t get on the ballot to be a delegate. There’s a process you have to go through. … But I’m not certain I buy that there are no tea party people here.” Brock Credits Tea Party
Former Tennessee Sen. Bill Brock, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Tuesday night that he credits the tea party for much of the enthusiasm at this year’s convention. (From a Commercial Appeal convention notebook). “I love it,” he said amid the Tennessee delegation on the convention floor. “There’s a lot of different energy here. I credit the tea party a lot for bringing some real — I’m a grass-roots guy. That’s what I tried to do when I was national chairman and that’s what I tried to do in Tennessee.
Brock, 81, served one term from 1971 to 1977 then was named GOP chairman, Winfield and Beth
Former Gov. Winfield Dunn on House Speaker Beth Harwell (from a Tennessean convention notebook): “As the governor of the state of Tennessee, I had to deal with some interesting people,” Dunn said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d want to go up to the speaker of the House of Representatives in the state of Tennessee and give them a big hug and a kiss.” Ramsey Remembers
While entertaining Tennesseans at the Republican National Convention, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey hopped in the way-back machine and told the story about the day he was elected Senate speaker in 2007.
His lively retelling Monday night featured the role then-Sen. Rosalind Kurita played the day she crossed party lines to vote to, in essence, hand the Republican Ramsey the gavel, according to the Memphis Flyer.
“I walk up the front of the chamber, turn around and come back and make eye contact with her, and she just winks at me. I said, ‘Hot dang, baby. We’re still in the game here. We’re still rocking and rolling.'”
(Above from TNReport, which also has a video.)
Democrats running in their party’s state House District 30 primary say they’re in the contest in part because of concerns over where the Republican-led General Assembly is taking Tennessee, reports Andy Sher. Brock Bennington, Sandy Smith and Brian White of East Ridge are vying for their party’s nomination in the Aug. 2 primary. They acknowledge that whoever wins will face an uphill fight to unseat Republican Rep. Vince Dean, also of East Ridge, in November.
…They said their focus will be on promoting public education and jobs-related efforts zeroing in on the district, which includes East Ridge, East Lake, East Brainerd and part of Collegedale.
“We need to be looking at real issues and not the evolution bill or the ‘gateway sexual activity’ bill,” said Smith, a retired Hamilton County teacher, calling those types of issues “red herrings.”
“I just feel we have so many more important things to deal with.”
Bennington, a private investigator for a local law firm, took aim at the 2012 “evolution” law that proponents said was needed to provide a framework to protect public school teachers who address controversies over theories like evolution and climate change.
“To me it’s a waste of our tax dollars [spending hours] debating the issue in committees,” Bennington said. “It just made us a laughingstock when corporations are looking at moving here.”
But Benningston, Smith and White all said they are conservative enough to appeal to voters in the general election. All said they support a controversial guns-in-parking lots bill that would prevent employers and others from barring handgun-carry permit holders’ ability to store weapons in their vehicles on private or public lots.
Smith, however, said schools should be excluded while White said he thinks it shouldn’t apply to universities.
White, who worked as a security guard but said he is now at home caring for his elderly father, also took issue with Dean’s support of two laws, which he contends are Dean’s main achievements. One allowed businesses in East Ridge to sell fireworks and the other bans motorcyclists from popping wheelies.
“There’s a lot of injuries” associated with fireworks, White said. “A lot of elderly people don’t like the noise. I don’t like the noise.”
You can still jump into a swimming pool at 27 state parks this summer, but Morgan Simmons reports that might not be true next year. “We’re constantly reviewing our operations and trying to make everything better,” said Brock Hill, the state’s deputy commissioner of parks and conservation. “We talk about pools all the time in connection with whether or not to close them.”
Early this year at a state budget hearing in Nashville, Bob Martineau, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, proposed closing six state park swimming pools and replacing them with splash parks, which would be cheaper to maintain. The closures were expected to save about $200,000 a year.
The proposal was rejected, and this summer, pools at Tennessee state parks are open as usual.
There are 27 swimming pools throughout Tennessee’s state park system. Of those 27, seven pools are reserved for inn guests, and the remaining 20 are open to the public for a small fee.
All of the state park pools are staffed with lifeguards. The pools lose money, but other state park amenities such as restaurants, campgrounds, and inns generate enough revenue to cover the loss. As a whole, park hospitality operations generate about $36 million each year, enough to break even.
Hill said that of the 20 general admission state park pools, about one-third stay extremely busy throughout the three-month season from Memorial Day to Labor Day.