published Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Reporters Notebook: Smile when you say that, partner

by Cliff Hightower

The City Council took some time Tuesday to talk about guns that look like toys.

Councilman Peter Murphy said he was afraid some children may pick up one of the guns and play with it.

"Boys will be boys," he said.

Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd immediately chimed in.

"Don't forget the little girls," she said.

"Do girls play with guns?" Murphy asked.

Ladd shot back a gruff answer.

"Don't get too close to me," she said.

Norton ready for next chapter

Interim General Sessions Judge David Norton may have lost his position in the county's courtroom, but he's taking it all in stride.

"I've had a good 28-, 29-year run, and I have no quarrel with where things stand now," said Norton, who was Soddy-Daisy municipal judge for nearly three decades. "Once you've had a good run, you hopefully know when it's time to move on."

Norton, who was appointed to the Sessions bench by the Hamilton County Commission in March, lost the seat to attorney Gary Starnes in Thursday's special election.

"It was a very clean campaign, and I appreciate that from all the candidates," he said. "Gary Starnes is a good friend, and we decided from the start we'd remain friends whatever the outcome."

Last week, Norton announced that he was dealing with a nonlife-threatening illness that affected his motor skills and could affect his ability to serve on the bench.

Norton said he is heading to Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Monday to meet with physicians about the next stage of his treatment. After that?

"Life," he said. "My life expands outside of this job. We will see."

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