​The Clock Master Begins Massive Cleaning of Breslin Clock

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

The interview with Keith Henley starts five minutes late and it’s easy to tell with the huge Seth Thomas No. 15 tower clock sitting in his dining room.
The No. 15 is a slightly smaller version of the No. 16 Seth Thomas clock in Breslin Tower on the campus of the University of the South, where Henley is “clock master,” a title bestowed upon him by the University.
“I wasn’t in on the naming. I like ‘caretaker’ a lot better,” he said.
Henley started as the sole caretaker six years ago, after his mentor Paul Engsberg died. Engsberg, University registrar, was the second clock master of the Breslin Tower timepiece, which dates to 1900.
Henley, 31, takes no money for his work, even though the University does regularly cut him a check. He lets them pile up at the accounting office until someone throws them away.
“It didn’t seem right to take money,” he said. “It’s extremely fun to do and you’re getting to work on a machine that nobody could just walk up to and say, ‘I’m going to take this apart,’ or ‘I’d like to set the time on it.’ It feels enough like a privilege just to be a part of the history of the clock.”
Sewanee Vice-Chancellor John McCardell said Henley’s work is much appreciated.
“Keith is a man who loves his work and undoubtedly knows more about the Breslin Tower mechanisms than anyone else. And what a blessing that is,” McCardell said. “His painstaking care of the winders and his meticulous attention to detail means that none of us can ever offer the excuse that we did not know what time it was, or that the Breslin clock was off. So we might add the virtue of punctuality to the many other benefits we have received at Keith’s hand.”
Henley noted that the “Westminister Quarters,” the chime of the Breslin Tower clock and many others, started as a prayer, four verses saying, “Lord through this hour, be thou our guide, so by thy power, no foot shall slide.”
“That is another reason I like to show people about time,” he said. “So as people pass a clock and hear it chime, remember that a clock is a reminder of the gift of time given by God himself…I say that prayer with the clock when it chimes.”
During Christmas break, Henley started a project to clean every part of the clock, a process that will take years to complete, in large part because of the deep and careful cleaning involved.
He disassembled and cleaned one of the three winders in the clock, which included soaking the oil and grease-coated transmission in a solution of kerosene and Dawn dishwashing liquid to strip off the main grease, followed by washing with clock cleaner. The one winder took about two weeks.
“After you clean everything and you remove all the old grease and build-up over the years, the sad part is, once you do that, you have to start oiling it again,” he said. “So now the oil you’re adding today will be the oil you’ll have to remove a couple of years down the road.”
The project includes pictures of his work for a book on how to disassemble and clean the clock. He’s also creating a ledger of the work he’s doing on the clock, which will help a future clock master and also identify parts that may be wearing out.
The design of the clock is intricate, with its driving chains, weight trips, pulleys, sprockets, bell strikers, winding arbors, bushings, shafts and hundreds of other parts. But Henley notes that most of the clock is original despite its age, which is a testament to the workmanship and design from the Seth Thomas Clock Company, which its namesake started in the early 1800s. Henley hasn’t had to correct the time in the Breslin Tower clock in six months, he noted.
At his home, Henley has about 20 clocks, and all but two of those are Seth Thomas clocks; the other two are antique Gustav Beckers, a German clockmaker. His house is filled with ticking, which he doesn’t hear anymore, but when he shuts the clocks down, the silence is loud.
“When you become a collector of clocks, when the ticking stops, it’s something else. It bothers you more than the ticking itself,” he said.
A Huntsville chapter member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Henley said he would like to travel to different cities repairing tower clocks.
For questions or to requests tours of the Breslin Tower clock, email Henley at theclock@sewanee.edu.

​American Spiritual Ensemble to Grace Sewanee

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

During a five-day residency at the University of the South, the American Spiritual Ensemble (ASE) will perform three times for the public in addition to working with area students and music groups.
The Ensemble features some of the top classical singers from around the country performing Broadway numbers and spirituals with a mission of celebrating and keeping the Negro spiritual alive. Everett McCorvey, professor of voice and director of opera at the University of Kentucky, founded the Ensemble in 1995. McCorvey said every time he and the group perform, he is aware of the remembrance at the heart of the music.
McCorvey, 59, was surrounded by the Civil Rights Movement growing up in Montgomery, Ala. When he was in second grade, state troopers on horseback broke up a civil rights meeting in the church across the street from the school’s playground. The troopers rode the horses into the church and started beating people with clubs. The students could hear the screaming even after teachers made them go inside and get under their desks, he said.
He also lived around the corner from Martin Luther King, Jr., when he was in Montgomery. McCorvey’s dad was a deacon at First Baptist Church, where the Southern Christian Leadership Conference often met and civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy was pastor.
“Those days will stick with me my entire life,” he said. “It never leaves my mind. One of the reasons I wanted to create and perpetuate this music is I feel like it is something we shouldn’t forget.”
Negro spirituals started as slave melodies and migrated into choral pieces, McCorvey said. Slaves passed down music orally and when the slaves were freed, the music was something they wanted to forget because it was a reminder of such a terrible time, he said. Their songs gained new life when Antonín Dvorak, a Czechoslovakian composer and director of the National Conservatory of Music in America in the late 1800s, insisted that black people be allowed to attend the conservatory and he placed a significant focus on reviving the Negro spiritual in classical music form.
McCorvey said the students at the conservatory were educated in how to write the slave music down and in the early 1900s to 1920s, choirs at black colleges performed the music around the South.
“People came and heard what happened to the slave people, this time, through music” he said. “The music teaches a history, which has great meaning and importance to the formation of the country.”
McCorvey founded the American Spiritual Ensemble in the tradition of groups such as the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the Hampton Institute Choir and the Tuskegee Choir.
“I remember hearing all these great choirs with a beautiful, full sound; it was something I wanted to emulate,” he said.
César Leal, associate professor of music and conductor of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra (SSO), became familiar with McCorvey and the Spiritual Ensemble while he was a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky. The Ensemble’s visit coincides with the 30th anniversary of the SSO.
“I have had a close connection with Everett and the ASE for many years and I always wanted to bring them to Sewanee,” Leal said. “I wanted to go big and for the orchestra to celebrate its 30th anniversary with a world class ensemble.”
One of the Spiritual Ensemble’s performances will be with the SSO.
“I am so happy to see so many groups from the University and elsewhere helping to bring the ASE and celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra,” Leal said. “I am also really happy to see that, in a time of division and instability, music has the power to bring us together. That is our best birthday gift: the support of a community that understands that, now more than ever, we need more music in our lives.”
The University’s Performing Arts Series is sponsoring the residency and all performances are free. The event is also made possible thanks to a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission and support from All Saints’ Chapel, the Office of the Dean of Students, the School of Theology, the Office of the Dean of the College and Dr. François S. Clemmons.
Here are the American Spiritual Ensemble’s public performances:
On Thursday, Feb. 9, at 11 a.m., the University will host a Community Welcome Assembly at Guerry Auditorium. The event will feature performances with Sewanee Elementary School fifth graders and St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School students.
On Friday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 p.m., the Spiritual Ensemble will perform again at Guerry Auditorium, featuring Jack Jarrett’s medley, “A Tribute to Gershwin,” and Linda Twine’s “Ellington Medley.” In the second half of the show, the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra will join the Ensemble to perform selections from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.”
In the finale on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 7:30 p.m. at All Saints’ Chapel, the Ensemble will perform almost two dozen spiritual and Broadway selections.

​Community Council Welcomes New Members; Refines Project Funding Protocol

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Jan. 23 meeting, the Sewanee Community Council welcomed four new members elected in the November vote for council seats. The new members joined with the returning elected and appointed members in strategizing on implementation of the council’s Project Funding program, which allocates $10,000 to be distributed at the council’s discretion for community enhancement projects.
“All council seats are filled,” said Provost John Swallow introducing new members Richard Barrali, Cindy Potter, Flournoy Rogers and Charles Whitmer. The election marked the beginning of a new directive reallocating council seats to include four at-large seats.
In August, the council voted to continue the Project Funding program, which began in 2014 on a trial basis. The council deferred discussion on future implementation of the program until following the election.
Discussing the makeup of the selection committee which reviews projects before presenting them to the council for a vote, council representative Theresa Shackelford said, “the past committee chairs did a great job, but I think the chair should be a council member.” Shackelford, who served on the committee last year, said the six-member committee was adequate. She recommended including two non-council members, as was the case last year, but proposed the council approve the non-council representatives.
Council member David Coe asked, “Would it be advantageous to have an odd number of committee members, seven for example, to serve as a tie breaker?”
“There was a good bit of debate last year,” Shackelford said, agreeing with the suggestion.
Vice-Chancellor John McCardell proposed a seven-member committee with a council member serving as chair and including two non-council representatives.
The council concurred with the recommendation. Council member Pam Byerly volunteered to serve on the committee. Community members interested in serving on the committee should contact Swallow at <jrswallo@sewanee.edu>.
Reiterating the Project Funding Committee’s (PFC) charge, Swallow said, “The committee’s function, as last year, is to solicit proposals for civic projects that should receive funding through a portion of the municipal services fee; to evaluate those proposals; and to recommend the meritorious among those proposals to the Community Council. The PFC may, at its discretion, consider one or more rounds of proposals and recommendations during the year. An affirmative Community Council vote will be necessary to authorize funding of any project.”
Bringing the counsels attention to a rumor the American Legion Hall was for sale, council representative Louise Irwin insisted this was not the case. Quoting from a letter by long-time Sewanee resident Ina May Myers, Irwin said the Legion was chartered in 1919 by returning World War I veterans. In 1949, the Legion’s Ladies Auxiliary took the lead in raising funds for the construction of the current Legion Hall on University Avenue.
“I know the Sewanee Village Plan promoters want the building,” Irwin said, “but we need to keep the building intact and in its present location.”
While acknowledging Irwin’s concern, McCardell stressed, “It’s inappropriate for the council to insert itself in private real estate transactions. If something is offered for sale it can be bought. This is a private Legion matter.”
Frank Gladu, special assistant to the vice-chancellor, will lead a town meeting addressing the Sewanee Village Plan at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Blue Chair.
The next council meeting is March 27.

​SUD Elects New Commissioner; Reviews Plans for 2017


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
The vote count at the Jan. 24 meeting of the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners saw Charlie Smith elected to serve a four-year term as commissioner. During the course of the meeting SUD manager Ben Beavers reviewed plans for sewer repair, progress on the Midway pressure boosting station, and a request to supply water to Cooley’s Rift. Beavers also discussed the possibility of SUD offering leak insurance.
Reporting on operations, both supply lakes were overflowing, Beavers said. The board agreed with his recommendation to “lift drought restrictions and return to normal operations.”
Due to heavy rainfall, inflow and infiltration of ground water into the sewer system increased, according to Beavers, “but not nearly as much as in the past during heavy rain events. There were no overflows, and the refurbished Abbo’s Alley line worked fine.”
SUD completed camera inspection of the Baker’s Lane sewer line. “The line is in good shape,” Beavers said, “but restricted due to debris and grease. There’s no value in upsizing the line.” Instead, SUD will smoke test to determine the inflow source. Beavers suspects an open pipe or manhole cover. He projects the budgeted cost of refurbishing the line will decrease by nearly half.
SUD finished 2016 with revenues a significant 10.8 percent over budget and expenses just slightly over budget due to prepaying 2017 insurance in December. “Cash on hand, $1,722,000, is 20 percent over last year,” Beavers said.
The cash reserve has more than recovered the amount SUD withdrew for the 2014 meter replacement project. Beavers attributed the over-budget 2016 revenue to the large number of taps sold in 2016, 13 total for the year.
The board approved the SUD engineer’s recommendation to award the contracts for the Midway pressure boosting station to the two low bidders, Walter A. Wood Supply Co. for the pump ($34,586) and G & C Supply for materials and equipment ($4,326).
“The pipe should be here next week,” Beavers said. “The pump is being built. We told them we want it as soon as is humanly possible.”
Beavers expressed concern about the Cooley’s Rift developer’s request for water service to the remainder of the residential lots in Franklin County. “The hydraulic analysis showed minimum pressure,” Beavers said.
SUD engineers are reviewing the data. Beavers pointed the Midway pressure boosting station as a possible remedy for increasing the pressure. He stressed that Midway customers would not be in any way negatively impacted—“Were prevented by law from doing anything that would be detrimental to existing customers.” The developer would bear all costs related to increasing the water pressure to acceptable levels.
At the March meeting, the board will hear a presentation on leak insurance from an insurance provider. If SUD decides to offer leak insurance, the adjustments policy would change slightly. “The lifetime limit on three adjustments would be lifted,” Beavers explained.
The adjustment policy would continue to allow customers one adjustment per year, with the customer paying half the cost of the leaked water and SUD paying half. If SUD decides to offer leak insurance, for customers who opt in to the program, the insurance company would pay both the customers portion and SUD’s portion.
The estimated cost per month to customers choosing insurance would be $1.50-$1.80, Beavers said. The insurance policy would not cover leaks in the home.
At the next meeting on Feb. 28, the board will elect officers and oversee the swearing in of new commissioner Smith.

​Fiery Gizzard’s New Route Offers Challenge, Beauty

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

The second phase of the Fiery Gizzard Trail reroute opened in December and although the new route is more challenging, there’s also new beauty.

“All I’ve heard is people praising it,” said Ranger John Ball of the South Cumberland State Park. “People are big fans of the rock work that was done; there’s a lot of new rock staircases, and small retaining walls built to bolster up the trail that not only look cool but serve a great purpose—it’ll help the trail last longer.

“There’s also several waterfalls that the trail goes by that weren’t accessible before and are really pretty,” he added.

In addition to waterfalls, the reroute skirts sandstone rock faces and offers new views of overlooks and other facets of nature.

In mid-2015, the park announced that a middle section of the trail would be closed after a private property owner decided not to allow access there. Another section near Raven Point was slated to close in December 2015 for a similar reason.

Park staff and volunteers got to work creating about two miles of new trail to reroute around the private properties, which took more than a year. The work, primarily on weekends, involved dealing with an 800-foot drop into a gorge. Boy Scouts, college students, Friends of the Park, rangers, and many others cleared brush, rock and trees, prepared the ground, installed stone steps and wooden staircases, and built dams and bridges, including one across McAlloyd Creek.

“It was a monumental undertaking and it couldn’t have been accomplished without the help of a lot of very dedicated volunteers,” Ball said.

A 300-acre wildfire in October 2016 delayed the project after a scorched part of the re-route needed repairs, park officials noted.

Latham Davis, president of Friends of South Cumberland State Park, said people who love the Fiery Gizzard met the challenge.

“Originally it seemed distressful, both because we were having to change the route of a long-loved trail that had existed for a very long time, and the fact that it was going to take a lot of effort to reconstruct part of that trail,” Davis said. “But as it turned out we had a tremendous outpouring of help with that. So many more volunteers than we expected showed up and we had a great effort from the park rangers.”

The almost 13-mile Fiery Gizzard Trail starts at Grundy Forest Trailhead nears Tracy City and goes to Foster Falls. Since the 1970s, park officials have overseen the trail with the cooperation of a number of private property owners, officials said. Ellen Stamler, a private property owner, provided an access road so crews could bring in materials and equipment for the reroute.

The Lyndhurst Foundation, Sequatchie Valley Electric, Tennessee Trails Association, REI Tennessee, and the Friends of South Cumberland provided funding and materials for the project.

Visit friendsofsouthcumberland.org for more information, including videos of the reroute.

​Locals Join Women’s Marches, Attend Inauguration

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

A number of people in the area and with Sewanee ties joined women’s marches, which took place in U.S. cities and at least 60 countries on Jan. 21, and attended the inauguration of President Donald Trump the day before.

Sewanee resident Helen Stapleton and three generations of her husband’s family marched in the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., including her mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and her two daughters, Margaret, 20, and Anna, 18.

“It was one of the most powerful experiences in my life,” Stapleton said. “I never really identified with feminism throughout most of my life even though I always believed in equality and was grateful to the women who came before me and gave me the rights I enjoyed. I was very smug, and thought that just because I had rights, everyone else did, too.”

Stapleton credits her daughter Margaret with enlightening her to the need for feminist advocacy and how it is tied to so many issues she already deeply cares about.

“We decided to march simply because we wanted to feel counted and heard in expressing that Trump doesn’t reflect our values,” she said. “I take his scapegoating very seriously, and it really scares me because I’m Jewish. Today the scapegoated people are Mexicans, Muslims and the Chinese. Sixty years ago, Jews were the ones being scapegoated.”

At the march, Stapleton said there were many clever signs and people taking photos of each other’s signs. She also noted that the demonstration wasn’t just about women’s issues. The concerns cited in marches included environmental issues, LGBT rights, scientific integrity, reverence for facts and truth, civil rights, immigration rights, disability rights, a demand for health care, nationalism, and others.

“There was such a feeling of unity, love and peace,” she said. “I feel forever bound to all of the men, women and children who were there. We were surrounded by oceans of people, many in pink. Lynne Vogel knitted a pink hat just for me, so I was proud to be part of that cohesive look and feel. I loved the fact that every one of those silly looking hats were hand knitted in the USA.”

The crowd was massive, and Stapleton’s cell phone didn’t work due to the demand on cell service, she said. But, people got along well despite the tight spaces.

“Everyone was pleasant and agreeable, high fiving and smiling,” she said.

Iris Rudder, who lives in Winchester and like Stapleton is a Franklin County commissioner, attended the president’s inauguration. Rudder was an area coordinator for President Trump during the campaign.

“Because we had worked so hard in the campaign and for Trump and were big supporters, it was just the trip of a lifetime to actually be there and watch him be sworn in,” she said. “The people impressed me. The people that were there were middle America. They were enthusiastic, they were courteous and respectful.”

Her friend Joann Davis, who is also active in the local Republican Party, attended the event with her. They were able to spend time with Congressman Scott DesJarlais, and do some sightseeing, including Arlington National Cemetery. Rudder said they had good seats for the president taking the oath of office.

“It was just a very moving experience because you have so much hope for the country and hope Trump will do the things he said he would do,” she said. “That he will turn our economy around, that he will bring jobs back and that he will renegotiate trade deals. All of those things are very important to me and I hope that President Trump will turn our country around.”

Stephanie Faxon of Sewanee joined the Women’s March in Nashville on Jan. 21 with her two twin 18-year-old daughters, Abbie and Allie. The Faxon women were among an estimated 15,000 people that marched in Nashville.

“We marched for several reasons, the rights of the LGBTQ community, healthcare, women’s and minorities’ rights, and the concern for our environment,” Faxon said. “My daughters are very involved in preserving civil rights. I was proud to share this day with my girls.”

The Faxon women were some of the first at Cumberland Park that morning, with initially only a few hundred people there before the demonstration crowd swelled.

“It was amazing to see all the people come together with their own personal reason for marching,” she said. “The speeches were powerful and the music was encouraging.”

After marching from the park to the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, Faxon said they were among people of many nationalities, ages, genders and races. They all marched together for about one mile to Public Square.

Another Sewanee resident, who asked to remain anonymous, also marched in Washington, D.C. She arrived early the morning of Jan. 21 and nabbed a prime spot close to the rally stage.

She said she was impressed with how many men were there, estimating about a third of the attendees were men. She added that the ocean of pink clothing was also inspiring.

“The multitude and variety of hats that everyone wore was a testament to American creativity, as were the signs,” she said. “By far, the most amazing aspect was the positivity and willingness to help one another, and the age range of attendees. Despite the dire need many felt to march, the communal spirit of kindness was overwhelming.”

There were human traffic jams at times when marches going east and west would meet up with marchers going north toward the White House, she said. A second march route was established after the original route became clogged, she said, which shifted people to Pennsylvania Avenue.

“I had no idea I would find myself in the middle of 500,000 people lending shouts, chants, raised fists and vocal roar—but once there, it felt like home,” she said.

She added that she felt a responsibility to take part in the demonstration.

“I have deep concerns for the environment under the new administration as well as a fear of nuclear war, and what appears to be the normalization of bigotry, anger and hate; not to mention the apparent repeal of many civil rights,” she said. “I would like to hope that we can come together as a nation under strong leadership, but after seeing the reaction from Washington the past several days, I have concerns.

She carried a Sewanee sign and many people stopped to take photos and share Sewanee stories and the occasional, “Yea, Sewanee’s Right.”

“The depth of love and recognition for our wee spot in the universe was powerful,” she said.

​Friends and Colleagues Unite to Make Music

The American Spiritual Ensemble (ASE) was founded in 1995 by Everett McCorvey, professor of voice and director of opera at the University of Kentucky. McCorvey and César Leal, conductor of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and assistant professor of music, are longtime friends and colleagues. The visit by the ASE takes place as part of the SSO’s 30th anniversary celebration.

Leal and McCorvey met at the University of Kentucky when Leal was appointed assistant conductor for the UK opera; Leal has considered McCorvey a mentor ever since. “He was extremely supportive and offered constant feedback,” said Leal. “Our collaborations helped me refine my conducting technique.”
Leal introduced McCorvey and the ASE to the International Sacred Music Festival in Quito, Ecuador, in which the ASE has now participated several times. “For the last few years, Everett McCorvey and I have had the idea of having an artistic residence in Sewanee,” said Leal. “I am thrilled our musical paths will now intersect in Sewanee; I know this collaboration will enhance the musical life on campus.”
Events scheduled are:
Thursday, Feb. 9, 11 a.m., Guerry Auditorium, Community Welcome Assembly, featuring community and University leaders with students from Sewanee Elementary School leading a sing-along with the American Spiritual Ensemble;
Friday, Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m., Guerry Auditorium, the American Spiritual Ensemble in performance with the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra featuring selections from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess;
Saturday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m., All Saints’ Chapel, the American Spiritual Ensemble in Concert featuring a dynamic conclusion including Sewanee Praise, Sewanee Chorale, the University Choir and the Schola of the School of Theology.

For more information go to www.sewanee.edu.

​Potluck Yields Message of Protection, Unity

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

Warm and drizzly winter weather cloaked the community potluck dinner on Jan. 15 at the American Legion Hall in Sewanee, which welcomed two Lakota Sioux families entrenched in the Stand at Standing Rock.
All tables were full with between 75 and 100 people taking part in the event that boasted plenty of drink and food, such as rabbit and smoked sausage with rice, pizza, venison chili and kale salad. And like the food, the gathering had a feel of merging cultures.
Isaac Weston is one of the heads of camp at Oceti Sakowin near where Energy Transfer Partners plans to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River. Weston sat by himself before the program began, quiet, withdrawn, getting ready to be the main speaker of the evening.
Oceti Sakowin has been Weston’s home since August and being in a warm bed while in Sewanee was a nice change from sleeping on a cot in a teepee amongst at least four feet of snow and brutally cold temperatures. Protestors prefer the term “water protectors” and Weston said the resistance effort has changed him.
“That’s when the beginning of my new life started,” he said. “I was going to help revitalize the Lakota language but instead I stepped into this fight. It’s something that is calling me and something I’m going to keep doing.”
Weston planned to teach the Lakota language to children on the Pine Ridge Reservation before joining the effort to halt the pipeline from crossing the river the Lakota call “The Big Muddy.”
Opponents say the potential for an oil leak threatens the water supply for not only the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, but for millions of people, including other tribes and reservations further downstream. Energy Transfer Partners and supporters say the pipeline is safe, legal and critical for the nation’s energy needs.
As legal challenges loom and a change in the presidential administration raises questions about the future, the disputed section of the 1,171-mile crude oil pipeline remains in limbo after the Army Corps of Engineers ordered construction to halt in favor of more study.
Approximately 800 people remain at the camp, Weston noted, and they are currently relocating the campsite about a mile south onto the Standing Rock Reservation itself, in part because the current site is in a floodplain threatened by mounds of snow. The new camp will be self-sustaining with features such as solar energy and compost toilets, he added.
Frank Bullhead, Isaac’s father-in-law, said that a renewed drive for green energy is a major result of the stand against the pipeline. Bullhead lives in Standing Rock about 25 miles south of Oceti Sakowin. He said after leaving Sewanee, he and family members plan to visit Seattle and Arizona, continuing to share the message of protecting water.
“This water fight is for your sons, your grandsons, for them and their future,” he said prior to the event. “We’re fighting for your auntie, your sister and their kids, so we will have a better quality of water.”
When the event began, Weston shared stories of Lakota history and prophecy, saying that the gathering of the seven Sioux tribes to stop the snake that is the pipeline was foretold centuries ago. Weston wrote a song in Lakota for those at camp and translated lyrics include: “Protectors of the Earth take courage, future generations depend on you.”
Family members also danced in full regalia for those in attendance and Rochelle Bullhead, Frank’s wife, spoke, becoming emotional as she talked about her willingness to die for a just cause, and her willingness to give her life to protect not only the Sioux people but the people in the room.
Her husband also spoke to the crowd and told how an officer shot him in the back with a rubber bullet while he was protecting Rochelle during the protests.
Weston said the gathering of the tribes at Standing Rock is a wake-up call that Western ways aren’t working for Native Americans, where life is bleak on reservations and suicide rates are high. The gathering of tribes at Standing Rock is a call to return to the old ways for Native Americans, he said.
Chris Colane, a Sewanee resident, said she attended the potluck event because she wanted more education about Standing Rock.
“Not only did it inform me about the environmental issues but it also touched my heart about the spirituality and beliefs and lifestyle of the Native American culture and their willingness to stand up non-violently for something they strongly believe in,” she said. “And their purpose is to bring attention to water issues even if what they are standing up for will not be achieved. They’re still achieving their purpose of calling us each to have a desire to preserve our Mother Earth.”
Sewanee area friends provided hospitality for the families during their stay, and the visitors also gave presentations in Nashville and at The Farm in Summertown, Tenn.

​University Winter Convocation, Jan. 20

The University of the South’s Winter Convocation will be held at 4 p.m., today (Friday), Jan. 20, in All Saints’ Chapel. Honorary degrees will be presented and approximately 100 new members will be inducted into the Order of Gownsmen. Sir Peter Crane, until recently the dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, will give the Convocation address and will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

During the Convocation, Paul Farmer, medical anthropologist, physician, and founding director of Partners In Health, will receive an honorary doctor of civil law; journalist and poet Eliza Griswold will receive an honorary doctor of letters; and S. Zachry Young, former headmaster at Wesleyan School in Atlanta, will receive an honorary doctor of civil law. For their complete biographies, go to www.sewanee.edu.
Convocation will be streamed live for those who are unable to attend at http://parents.sewanee.edu/convocation-live/.

​South Cumberland Chamber of Commerce Welcomes New Director

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“My ultimate goal is to raise the community’s standard of living,” said John Payne, the new executive director of the South Cumberland Chamber of Commerce.
Payne, who took office on Jan. 9, will look to the strategic plan drafted in 2016 for guidance. Top on initiatives called for by the plan was changing the name of the organization from the Monteagle Mountain Chamber of Commerce to the South Cumberland Chamber of Commerce. The name change reflects the chamber’s intention to broaden its service area and adopt an all-encompassing strategy for economic development.
“Located in three counties, Monteagle is the gateway to a number of other communities on the plateau,” Payne said. The new website lists the chamber’s service area as Monteagle, Sewanee, Tracy City, Coalmont, Altamont, Beersheba Springs, Gruetli-Laager, Pelham and Palmer.
Payne sees the challenges facing the chamber as the same challenges the community faces. “As is typical in small communities confronted with limited resources and lack of funding, our most talented young people grow up and move away. Our task is to provide opportunities to keep them here.”
Payne brings a wealth of experience to the role of chamber executive director. During the course of the past 45 years, his career in the manufacturing industry and economic development placed him in a position where he either served on or interacted directly with chamber boards.
Born and raised in Wisconsin and graduating from Wisconsin University with a B.S. in Business Administration, in 1980 Payne accepted the challenge of Wisconsin-based Monterey Mills to oversee the start up of a 150-person manufacturing facility in Cowan, Tenn. He continued at the Cowan plant as technical operations manager until the facility closed in 2002.
Taking a position as Regional Economic Development Specialist with the Tenn. Department of Economic and Community Development, Payne worked directly with local economic development professionals and chamber boards assisting with industry recruitment and retention programs.
When a position opened as Executive Director of the Franklin County Industrial Development Board (FCIDB), Payne welcomed the opportunity to move back to the area from his regional office in Cookeville. As FCIDB director from 2005-2011, Payne recruited six new industries which located in Franklin County resulting in over 220 new jobs.
When funding dried up for the FCIDB, Payne assumed a similar role as executive director of the Rhea County Economic and Tourism Council working to provide financial incentives for new industry and partnering with local chambers to create a tourism development program.
Payne cites tourism and the University of the South as assets not yet tapped to their maximum potential. “For the University to grow and thrive is a tremendous asset to the community,” Payne said.
He stressed the importance of keeping money in the community by promoting businesses that provide for the needs of the community.
He also pointed to the importance of pursuing economic development born from a recognition and reverence for the region’s heritage.
A personal task he’s set for himself is to identify a method to measure the chamber’s progress.
“It’s important to quantify the work you do,” Payne said, “to demonstrate to those you want to engage what they can expect to get back.”
Payne welcomes inquiries from individuals and businesses who have ideas to offer or who want to learn more about the Chamber’s work. To contact the South Cumberland Chamber of Commerce phone (931) 924-5353 or email <mmtnchamber@blomand.net>.

​School Board Revises Internet Use Policy

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Jan. 9 meeting at Clark Memorial Elementary School, the Franklin County School Board approved a revised internet use policy. At the December meeting, Sewanee school board representative Adam Tucker expressed concern the Internet Use Policy recommended by the Tennessee School Board Association was “overly broad.” Tucker drafted a revised policy more specific in terms of permitted and proper social networking by school district employees both during school hours and non-school hours.
In keeping with school system-wide policies already in place, the revised policy prohibits internet activity which constitutes discrimination or harassment of students or other employees, as well as prohibiting internet activity which violates confidentiality as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The policy also prohibits employees from posting as representatives of the school system unless authorized to do so by the director of schools or the director’s designee and discourages employees from engaging with students on social networking sites.
Regarding internet use during school hours, the policy prohibits social networking on school computers except for instructional purposes and prohibits social networking on personal devices during school hours except during breaks.
Board Chairman CleiJo Walker praised the revised policy for setting “clear parameters” for internet use.
In other business, board member Lance Williams asked the board to endorse a resolution supporting a new sewer system for Huntland School which is currently served by a septic system. The Huntland Board of Mayor and Alderman is considering applying for a state loan to install a city wide sewer system, Williams explained.
Board member Gary Hanger asked about the cost of public sewage service and expressed reservations about obligating the school system to use the service.
“The cost would depend on water usage,” said Director of Schools Amie Lonas.
The resolution did not place the board or district under any obligation, according to Williams. The resolution was circulated among the board members for their signatures.
In December, the Tennessee Department of Education released the 2015–16 State Wide Report Card with data on achievement, graduation rates, academic growth and other criteria making possible comparisons between state averages, districts and individual schools. Last year Lonas commented extensively on the result, putting them into context, but has no plans to do so this year.
“The only test scores were from high school level subjects that give end of course tests,” Lonas said, explaining the assessment mechanism was different from the previous year so it was difficult to make comparisons. Last academic year the state decided not to precede with the proposed Common Core testing, so many subject areas were not assessed.
The mechanism for counting disadvantaged students also changed, Lonas said. Previously, all students who received free or reduced lunch qualified as disadvantaged, but in the 2015–16 assessment, only students certified as disadvantaged were reflected in the total. In Franklin County the percentage of economically disadvantaged students dropped from 57.7 percent to 31.9 percent. Grundy County statistics showed an even more dramatic decrease from 81.2 percent to 7.8 percent.
Lonas expressed concern about the effect on Basic Education Program funding which is linked to economic factors.
At the suggestion of Walker, the board changed the meeting time from 6:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The board meets next for a working session on Feb. 6.

​Sir Peter Crane to Give Convocation Address

The University of the South’s Winter Convocation will be at 4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 20, in All Saints’ Chapel. Honorary degrees will be presented and approximately 100 new members will be inducted into the Order of Gownsmen. Sir Peter Crane, until recently the dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, will give the Convocation address and will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

During the Convocation, Paul Farmer, medical anthropologist, physician, and founding director of Partners in Health, will receive an honorary doctor of civil law; journalist and poet Eliza Griswold will receive an honorary doctor of letters; and S. Zachry Young, former headmaster at Wesleyan School in Atlanta, will receive an honorary doctor of civil law.
Convocation will be streamed live for those who are unable to attend. Go to for more information.
Peter Crane recently retired as the Carl W. Knobloch Jr., Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. His work focuses on the diversity of plant life: its origin and fossil history, current status, and conservation and use. Before joining Yale, he was director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, one of the most influential botanical gardens in the world. He previously was director of the Field Museum in Chicago with overall responsibility for the museum’s scientific programs. Crane was elected to the Royal Society in 1998. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He was knighted in the U.K. in 2004 for services to horticulture and conservation.
Paul Farmer is a physician, anthropologist, and co-founder of Partners in Health, an international social justice and health organization. He is also the chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Farmer is best known for his humanitarian work to provide quality health care to rural and under-resourced areas in developing countries, starting in Haiti. He has also written extensively on health and human rights, about the role of social inequality in the distribution and outcome of infectious diseases, and about global health. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award.”
Journalist and poet Eliza Griswold teaches writing at Columbia University. Her poetry and reportage have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among others. She won the first Friedman Prize in Investigative Journalism in 2004 for a piece about Pakistan’s Waziristan Agency, and has written widely about the war on terror. Her book “The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam” was awarded the Anthony J. Lukas prize and was a New York Times bestseller. In 2011, Griswold published a report in the New York Times Magazine that investigated fracking practices in Pennsylvania. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012 for her ongoing work on water and poverty in America. Her collection of reportage and translations of Afghan folk poetry, “I am the Beggar of the World,” was published in 2014, and in 2015 won the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.
S. Zachry Young is the retired headmaster of Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Before joining Wesleyan, Young had a career at SunTrust Bank and served as director of development at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, where he played a critical role in growing the schools’ endowment. During Young’s 18 years at Wesleyan, he led Wesleyan’s transition from a small K-8 school to an 85-acre K-12 campus with five academic buildings and first-class athletic facilities. As headmaster, he worked to make Wesleyan a full-activity school, and during his tenure, over 85 percent of students in grades seven through 12 participated in some after-school activity. Young’s legacy for fundraising and building is eclipsed only by his reputation as a caring educator who made an effort to know the name of every student at the school.

​Familiar Face: Bromka to Perform in Sewanee

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

In the insane grip of jealousy, Elaine Bromka once kidnapped a woman, tossed her in a boiler pit and waited for a demolition crew to blow up the home-wrecking temptress.
She’s mellowed with age and on Jan. 19, Bromka will be more civil in portraying the wives of three former presidents in her one-woman show, “Tea For Three: Lady Bird, Pat and Betty” at Guerry Auditorium.
In the early 90s, Bromka, playing Stella on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” hatched the plot to destroy Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) with that boiler pit explosion and she’ll likely be a familiar face to TV fans. She’s appeared in a wide field of shows such as “Girls,” “Law & Order,” “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos.” She also played Cindy Russell, the mom from the movie “Uncle Buck.”
Bromka, 67, said via telephone that when her son and daughter were teenagers, they would switch the channel when mom was on TV, but now they appreciate her work. In fact, it was her daughter, a writer, who challenged Bromka to pen her own play, which became “Tea for Three.”
An Emmy Award winner and accomplished stage actress, Bromka said in her 30-plus year career, the roles for women haven’t changed a lot—another reason to write your own play.
“I’m so grateful for the show because the opportunities for women continue to be so limited—a crying mom, or I don’t know, the principal of a school. A very narrow spectrum of emotions,” she said. “We need more women writers and they are out there and we need them to be produced.”
Bromka said her show is an intimate look at Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon and Betty Ford.
“I want people to know that the play is very funny along the way but ultimately it’s really an uplifting evening of theatre and that is the kind of theatre I believe in,” she said. “I think you should walk out with a lot to talk about and a feeling of hope.”
She has performed Tea for Three in 26 states since 2004. The idea developed after she starred as eight first ladies opposite impersonator Rich Little in “The Presidents,” a touring show also featured on PBS. She recalled having dinner with Little and he was studying his thumbs to try and get a better idea of how President Ronald Reagan carried himself. She said she wanted to bring that same level of detail to Tea For Three, which she co-wrote with Eric H. Weinberger.
“I worked at the National Theatre of the Deaf for three years and I really believe that we communicate first and foremost through our bodies. So I studied the body language of the women and their voices,” she said.
Her research also included interviews with Luci Baines Johnson, Lady Bird’s daughter, and personal secretaries and friends who knew the first ladies well.
“We were really interested in a psychological study rather than a resuscitation of history. So we leave in the history but we really take you into their hearts,” she said.
Jim Crawford, an associate theatre professor at Sewanee, helped bring Bromka’s show to town. The two met when he worked at SMU in Texas and she was teaching a class there.
“He’s a wonderful teacher,” she said. “Sewanee is very lucky to have him. Very down to earth guy.”
When asked about some of her roles, Bromka talked about learning the business side of show business from Deidre Hall, how she idolized Vanessa Redgrave, and the fun she had with the late comedic legend John Candy.
“I had a hilarious time doing the mom in Uncle Buck,” she said. “John Candy was such a gentle person and very introverted actually. He wasn’t looking for the limelight all the time.”
Bromka is slated to make an appearance in Judd Apatow’s upcoming HBO comedy “Crashing,” but she says nowadays her best acting is with her three-year-old granddaughter.
“As an actor, oh my God it doesn’t get better,” she said. “You get to go absolutely wild and they love it. More than going wild yourself you get to be in the moment. I can see everything through her eyes; it’s so electric for both of us.”
Admission to “Tea for Three” is free and the show begins at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 19, at Guerry Auditorium.

​MLK Day Celebration

The 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Celebration will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 16, in Upper Cravens Hall. The program will celebrate the life, works and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Everyone is invited to take part in the annual potluck dinner. After welcoming remarks from the Vice Chancellor of the University, John McCardell, students will host the program and share poetry and dance along with other selected works. The Sewanee Praise Choir, under the Direction of Music Professor Prakash Wright, will perform selections from their songbook. The School of Theology Choir, under the direction of Kenneth Miller, will perform musical selections as well. We will hear remarks from the Cumberland Center for Justice and Peace and others in the community. Those in attendance will also have an opportunity to lift their voices in song and join in with the singing together. This will be a great community evening as we enjoy good company, an inspiring program and delicious and nourishing food.
The African American Alliance, the Cumberland Center for Justice and Peace, the School of Theology and the Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs, are the co-sponsors of the event, which is free and open to the public.

​Local Schools on Lockdown During Deep Woods Crisis

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Early on the afternoon of Jan. 5, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department contacted St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School (SAS) and Sewanee Elementary School (SES) recommending the schools initiate lockdown procedures. Officers were en route to assist with an armed, distraught man who phoned Franklin County area 911 from the vicinity of Deep Woods Road, threatening violence.
“The context of the call was he was going to kill himself or force law enforcement officials to kill him,” said Franklin County Sheriff Tim Fuller. Later identified as Randy Cole, age 40, from Antioch, Tenn., the caller told the dispatcher he was “hearing voices,” according to Fuller.
Cole was unable to describe his location. Two Franklin County deputies accompanied by two police officers from Sewanee and two from Monteagle responded to the call. The sheriff’s department used Cole’s phone signal to track his location to Deep Woods Road at the junction with the Monteagle city limits.
Cole remained on the phone with the dispatcher until the officers arrived on the scene. When the officers attempted to negotiate with Cole, he drew a handgun and fired, Fuller said.
Five officers returned fire. Cole was rushed to Emerald-Hodgson Hospital in Sewanee where he later died.
The incident occurred less than a half mile from the SAS campus. At about 1 p.m., SAS received a call from the Franklin County Sherriff’s Department instructing them to “lockdown,” said SAS Director of Communications Sherri Bergman.
The school sounded the lockdown siren. SAS had practiced lockdown procedures just before the holiday break, and the students responded calmly. “The procedure is for students to go to a room where the door can be locked and the curtains drawn and to be as quiet as possible,” Bergman explained.
After 20 minutes, SAS received notice the danger had passed, and students went back to classes. Parents of SAS students were notified by email to avert any unnecessary alarm.
“The students didn’t appear noticeably upset,” Bergman said. “Many SAS students are well versed in lockdown. They previously attended metropolitan public schools where they experienced lockdown incidents.”
At SES, the school was instructed to go on soft lockdown. According to the report SES Principal Kim Tucker received from school resource officer Robin McNeese, “the subject in question was in sight of the officers, so we shouldn’t be in imminent danger, but we needed to take precautions due to the proximity of the situation.”
Under soft lockdown, “no one can go outside, but students and staff have freedom to move within the building,” Tucker said. McNeese and Tucker went room to room privately informing the teachers of the situation.
Tucker expressed relief the school was able to “avoid causing undue stress” to the children. “I doubt any of them knew we were on lockdown. With the colder temps on Thursday, I’m sure they didn’t think it strange to be kept inside for recess.”
“When we got the call notifying us the situation was resolved, I announced ‘all clear’ on the intercom, as I do at the completion of all our emergency drills,” Tucker said. “We practice safety drills thoroughly, and we recently put a detailed plan in place for evacuation and reunification with parents. If we have a serious event requiring evacuation, parents will be reunified with their children at Angel Park and should go there instead of trying to come to the school.”
Since the University of the South was on break and few students were on campus, the sheriff’s department did not instruct the college to initiate lockdown.
“We’re unsure why Cole was in the Deep Woods area,” Fuller said. Prior to phoning 911, he visited relatives in the Sewanee and Cowan area and was reportedly “acting out.”
A roadblock closed the crime scene to traffic until 3:30 p.m., Jan. 6. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident.

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