Townsend, Tennessee
September 6, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast with a light rain falling in Townsend, Tennessee.  We have plenty of visitors this weekend for the holiday.  We were busy at the shop yesterday until the UT game started.  Then it was dead.  After the game was over, business picked up.  I guess a lot of fly fishermen like football. 

Paula asked me to check the newspapers online this morning.  She heard a bear was apprehended and captured at the bank next door to us yesterday.  It must not have been considered newsworthy.  I couldn’t find a thing.  I don’t know why a bear would be captured at the bank when it was closed yesterday unless maybe it was trying to access the anytime teller with a stolen debit card.  Bears are smart you know.  I wouldn’t put it past one to steal money and go over to the IGA to buy some honey buns.

I did find one bear story that I had not heard about.  Someone on a motorcycle hit a bear last Monday in town or near town during the middle of the day.  The cycle rider was not hurt, the bear wandered off into the woods and has not been heard from since.

I’m surprised that doesn’t happen more often.  There has been a huge increase in motorcycle activity around here in the last few years.  There are more bears in the valley too.  I drove by a bear Thursday morning on my way fishing.  I was pulling the boat in the dark at 6:45 am.  He jumped into the woods just as I got to him.  If he had gone the other way it would have been bad for him, me, my truck and Paula’s boat. 

I didn’t really talk to many people who went fishing yesterday.  A couple of guys said the fishing was good on the smaller streams where there are not people floating in tubes or swimming.  Fishing should be fine off the beaten path, especially in our watershed.  I would use a foam beetle or a small Yellow Stimulator as a dry fly.  Off of that I would drop a sinking ant or Green Weenie. We got some rain in the mountains yesterday evening.  The flow chart showed a slight jump in cubic feet per second around midnight.  I noticed Little River was up an inch or so this morning.  The rock I stood on yesterday to take the water temperature was covered today.

It looks like more rain is headed this way.  A cell that is dropping moderate rain is moving along the West side of the Smokies.  It is currently over our County but barely missing us here.  But the big yellow mass is not here yet.  I may take an hour or so.

I have to appear before the Townsend Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) Tuesday night.  It has nothing to do with our building, which is in the city limits.  It’s not about our house located just outside the city limits.  It’s about the Fall Festival held at the Visitors Center in three weeks. 

This issue is this.  The city is enforcing an old law about use of the State right-of-way.  I think they are doing the right thing.  I’m all for it.  As part of the plan the City would issue a permit for temporary use.  So we as organizers of a festival would buy a permit, set up for parking and artist booths, have police on hand to direct traffic then in a couple of days it would all be gone.  This festival will bring in several thousand people, it is part of a new partnership with the Heritage Center and Nawger Knob’s Craft Show and it is called “Townsend Days”.  The City is one of the partners too.

The problem is the City Commission has not finished the ordinance allowing the issuance of a permit for temporary use of the right-if-way.  We thought it had been done but it hasn’t.  So, the BZA is the only governing authority that has the power to make an exception to the ordinance.

I don’t know how this will turn out.  The real deep problem is our Sunshine Law.  In Tennessee, elected officials in cities or counties can’t get together and work without holding an open meeting, announcing it in the newspaper and making a big deal out of it.  The Mayor can’t call a Commissioner and talk this over on the phone.  They can’t even send each other e-mails. 

This law is there to protect us from backroom shenanigans going on and I guess to curb corruption.  But, it makes it hard for our part-time officials to get things done.  Pat Jenkins, our Mayor has been a personal friend of mine for years, long before he ran for office.  He is doing an excellent job.  Our Commissioners are all good people.  If Pat could call our Commissioners, meet them for lunch or send e-mail back and forth a lot more good things could be accomplished and government would move faster.  All the people who work for the City are nice, honest people.  We couldn’t ask for a better group of folks. 

But, it is what it is.  I’ll be asking for a variance from the City I stand behind and care about very much.  If it is denied, we’ll all still be friends with mutual respect for each other.  I just hope this all works out.  I know one thing for sure.  I’ll be prepared for that appearance Tuesday night.  It is a public meeting and I bet the press will be there.

Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
September 6, 2009

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