Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

June 23, 2014

Tidbits: A yay-boo time for doughnuts

CROSSVILLE — Regular readers of my column will know, I have a sweet tooth. I love all kinds of pastries and confections, baked treats and iced deliciousness. Among my top five list of sweet treats are doughnuts. I'm particularly fond of cake doughnuts, an ingenious way to combine two of my favorite treats. And, if you get the blueberry cake doughnuts, it makes a perfectly acceptable breakfast for the busy gal on the go.

It's been a yay-boo time for doughnuts in this area, it would seem, with one long-time shop gaining some well-deserved national attention for keeping students, and everyone else, going with a sugar high over in Cookeville, and a shop in Chattanooga bracing for action by city hall over its delightful mural of flying doughnuts.

For those of you not familiar with "yay-boo," let me explain. A professor in college used this expression for when there was good news and bad news, good things and bad things, that came along. It offers a little perspective that, really, things are not as bad as they seem. Perhaps it should be boo-yay, but that sounds too much like booyah, an exclamatory statement often used in periods of extreme joy or by announcers on ESPN.

So first, to the good news. Ralph's Donut Shop was honored with an entry on "America's 25 Best Donuts" list by The Daily Meal for it's apple fritter.

Ralph's has been serving up these and other delicious sweets for more than 50 years from its Cedar Ave. store. Like the writers at The Daily Meal said, time stands still at this small-town gem. I can remember many trips to Ralph's for a little pick-me-up during finals week. My parents both recall their trips to the eatery, too, decades earlier. I still like to run through the drive-thru on occasion when I'm in the Hub City and treat myself to some doughnut holes.

The boo news came from Chattanooga where an overzealous city inspector said a delightful mural of flying doughnuts on 20th St. was actually an illegal advertisement for Koch's Bakery, owned for more than 30 years by Barbara Davis.

The city attorney there has halted further action against the long-time business owner, pending a review of the city's ordinance and review by the city council to consider potential clarifications.

Davis had paid $11,000 of her own money to have the charming, whimsical doughnuts painted on a blank wall of a dilapidated building.

The mural, which features several iced doughnuts floating through a blue sky, doesn't include any writing, or even the name of Koch's Bakery on Broad St.

The mural had been featured in the Chattanooga Times Free Press just days before the sign inspector came calling.  The 15-foot by 70-foot space was painted by mural artist Joseph Giri, who has done public art for years across the country.

The area of Chattanooga is called the Southside and, just a few streets over, grants and donations have been used to allow local artists to paint murals to beautify the area.

"I thought that was what they wanted people to do," Davis told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "To make the Southside look better."

The city's sign ordinance does not require a permit for a wall mural, unless they include written trade names, advertising or commercial messages. So the question is, is the mural a commercial message or is it public art? Had the bakery painted anything other than what is sold in the store, it would have been OK, the inspector told Davis.

The ugly street corner, which faces a different street than where Davis' storefront is, kept being tagged with graffiti. What would you want? Graffiti or happy little doughnuts flying through the air? Just looking at the picture of the mural put me in a better mood. Imagine fighting your way through Chattanooga traffic, which has been plagued by road construction since I was three, and then coming upon these bright, cheery doughnuts. Wouldn't you feel better, too?

Artist Giri said, "Those doughnuts aren't there to encourage consumption. They're a celebration of the woman being there for 31 years, getting up every day at 3 a.m. and busting her hump creating employment and helping out many, many people."

And that's what public art is about, celebrating the culture values and community identity of a place. It's as unique as the people of the neighborhood, who make that place their home. It communicates with and catches the eyes of people who might never find their way to a museum. It is part of a community's unique voice, and that voice needs to be encouraged, not stifled.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014